COLIN MITCHELLEvery Sunday we welcome coarse fishing all-rounder Colin Mitchell.

For many years Colin was a senior Angler’s Mail magazine staff man and he has enjoyed a long, interesting journalism career.

He understands match fishing, pleasure fishing, carp fishing – the lot.

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Winter bites!

WINTER has kicked in, which means over the next few months you are going to face much tougher angling conditions.

Of course there will be red letter days when you can catch loads but most of the time your are going to have to work hard to get a few fish. Is there an easy answer to netting a few specimens? In my book the answer is yes – keep everything simple.

Here are ten tips which could just see you land a few more fish.


  1. Watch the weather. A river that is coloured but dropping is good. Likewise a settled spell of three days or more of warmer weather will switch on the fish.
  2. Fish light. Fish don’t fight as hard in winter, scale down those hooks and line diameters. You will be surprised what you can land on a size 20 hook to just 1.5 lb line.
  3. Target species. Don’t just cast in and hope. Think about what you are going to catch. Perch will feed in the cold, as will roach, but both like darker days. Bream and skimmers tend to feed in bad weather, especially if there is a bit of colour and ripple.
  4. Eat and drink. You can wait ages in cold weather to get a bite. Make sure you stay alert by eating and having warm drinks.
  5. Feed sparingly. You can’t take out what you have already fed…but you can up the feeding if you start getting more bites. Generally speaking, certainly on stillwaters and canals, feed light and then don’t put in very much more until you start getting bites.
  6. Worms catch anything. When all else fails the trusty old worm can catch virtually every species. Chop up a few to feed and ensure you fish accurately over the top of the bits. Don’t think a small worm or small piece of worm is best…sometimes it pays to go the other way and fish a massive lobworm on the hook.
  7. Casters are a great feed. They lay on the bottom until the fish find them, they can tempt larger fish and other baits can be fished over them. Don’t feed too many – they are to fish what eating donuts is like for us! Lovely but filling.
  8. Big isn’t always best. Small maggots like pinkies and squatts can often catch when bigger maggots fail. Fluoro pinkies fished singly or in doubles can score well over small, hard nuggets of groundbait.
  9. Bright is best – that’s baits not your clothing! Sweetcorn and bread can be seen from great distances so in clear winter water they are great baits for fish to home in on. This means you don’t have to feed so much.
  10. Don’t hammer you swim. If you catch a fish or two from one area, try another spot in your swim to give that spot a rest – or even better change swims if you can.

If you’ve got a winter fishing problem drop us a line and we will see if we can help to solve it for you. Just because the weather is cold doesn’t mean you have to hang up your rods until the Spring.

There are times in winter when you catch so many fish you wonder what’s happened. It’s all about timing, getting things right and thinking a lot more about your sport than you did during the warmer months.

Chub, grayling and gudgeon will often show in the coldest of weathers. All other coarse species have to eat sometime, so don’t give up!

Fishing through holes in the ice can produce some fantastic sport. But under no circumstances walk onto the ice and risk your life.





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