Carp fishing in the winter can include long periods of inactivity and obviously it is important that you stay warm. Below are some hints and tips to help you stay warm during the long winter sessions. Most of this is common sense, but it doesn’t hurt to remind yourself of the obvious now and again.
Lots of Layers
Ensure that you wear several layers of clothing, we can’t emphasise enough how much having multiple thin layers can make a difference. The air trapped between the layers acts as insulation against the cold. Two T-shirts, a thin fleece, jumper, jacket. If you get too hot, you can just remove a single layer.
Few things are as miserable as being cold and wet. Ensure that you have a good quality waterproof outer layer, stay under, at least, a decent brolly or preferably in a bivvy with an extra skin. I have a Fox Frontier bivvy which goes up in no time and keeps the worst weather out. Not only will this keep the rain off, but it will keep the rain out too. A pair of waterproof over trousers are often overlooked and can be found for as little as £15, these pack up small and do a fantastic job when you need them!
Be a Hot Head
A lot of your body heat is lost through your head, get yourself a decent hat and wear it all the time.
Get a good pair of gloves. A good idea is to get a pair that you can quickly convert to fingerless, to allow you full control when casting, reeling in and baiting up. You might also want to consider getting some hand warmers, a gel-like substance that warms up when squeezed.
Thermal socks and a really good pair of waterproof boots will keep your feet warm. Again, several layers will help too. I know a few guys who wear women’s pop socks (cut down stockings) on their feet under their socks and they swear that this keeps their feet really warm (just don’t tell your mates what you’re wearing!)
Food and Drink
Invest in a really good large thermos flask for day sessions and a portable camping cooker for longer sessions. Obviously, take extreme care when cooking. Cook outside your bivvy to prevent risk of fire and noxious gases. You can now get reasonable quality pouches of food that heat themselves when you open the packing. These can be a little expensive, but do provide a good option for hot food if your cooking skills aren’t up to it. Angling Direct hold a good range of flasks, kettles and cooking utensils.
Catch so many carp that you haven’t got time to feel the cold. Seriously though, if you are still feeling the cold, a 4 Seasons sleeping bag will keep the worst of the cold out. Also, invest in an waterproof sleeping bag cover.
Find more useful winter carping articles here