Colin Mitchell, our popular weekly blogger, shares his key winter fishing focuses ... and it's not a case of sitting there like a garden gnome! If you like this blog, click the social media share buttons.

THE past few weeks have been tough for some anglers. With the weather totally inconsistent it’s meant fishing has been patchy too. 

Some anglers have caught loads, some have caught very little and others have earned the old Blankety Blank.

This begs the question: Why are some anglers like garden gnomes who just sit there and do nothing?

There are occasions when no matter what you do you will not catch fish. Fact! They just won’t feed or won’t be fooled. But quite often you can turn a blank day into one where you have got the landing net under something.

Most of the time it’s a case of chopping and changing, trying something new or even just making a slight adjustment to your rig. Yet I have seen anglers chucking out a big lead and boilies as if it was still summer when the carp were munching as if there was no tomorrow.

I’ve seen others who have thrown in enough feed to ensure the lake’s residents are probably fed up to the gills for weeks.

I’ve watched others chuck out heavy rigs that would be better off in the sea (or in some cases in the dustbin!).

And there have been some anglers who have actually recognised there’s been a turn in the weather and have cut back on everything… in fact cut back far too much!

Fishing is simple. Yet far too many anglers – even some so-called experts – insist on making it difficult. So let’s get some basics right for better winter fishing.

Presentation – and feeding

The two things you have got to remember is that most fish are caught by correct presentation and feeding. Get those two things right and you won’t be far wrong!

Of course hook and line size matter as does choice of bait. But it’s no use slinging out the right bait on the right end gear if you haven’t thought about what you want to catch or where the fish is likely to be living. Once you have worked out those things you can then think about what you want to feed.

You can increase your feeding usually at this time of year.

Little and often is the feeding pattern that’s often quoted as best… and 99 per cent of the time this will ensure you do get some fish. Unlike a hook that can be decreased in size or line diameter that can be reduced if you can’t get bites, once you have fed you can’t take feed out of the water.

This is a time of year when we do get a bit more wind hitting venues – so think where it will blow your loose offerings. Even in lakes there is a flow or tow that could drag your loose feed or groundbait away from where you think it might be.

Simple or off-the-wall?

All the above is so very simple. And that is how you should keep your fishing if you want to catch. Should the simple approach fail then go for something totally off the wall which might just be rewarded with a catch before you go home to reflect on what you did right or wrong.

Lots of anglers know that if they float fish a river they trot with the flow or hold their rigs back a touch every now and then. But how many think about trotting a lake?

Blog MitchI know some will cast a waggler into a lake and watch as it drifts round having not sunk their line to stop it moving… and others who will not hold their pole rig in place against the drift.

Yet sometimes you can actually trot through on a stillwater and find that it is far better than nailing a bait to the bottom or changing to a leger or feeder rig.

That bit of movement might just take your rig into an area where loose feed or groundbait has been pushed by the tow. Or it might just give your bait a bit of movement that will entice a fish to pounce on your bait, despite the fact it’s not very willing to feed.

Like you would on a river… give the bait movement or try it stationary. Let it go with the flow, add on depth to nail it to the bottom or just lift or jerk the bait to give it a bit of a flip or twitch.