In astronomical terms, the 20th March marks the beginning of spring. And so with only 9 days to go here’s a post from Shaun Harrison answering a couple of FAQ’s…
Two questions I am asked regularly I thought I would answer but more importantly would be interested to hear the answers others would give?
Question 1: What is the one thing you ‘must have’ whilst on a winter session. This could be anything from certain clothing, food, terminal tackle, bait, shelter, hot water bottle, radio, etc, etc. What do you have to have?
You have to get the carp to pick up a bait before anything else comes into the equation so a bait with a ‘proper’ proven winter track record that the carp will actually be triggered to eat and want eat would always be the first on my list.
It is then essential that bait can be digested easily in cold water too so that they continue to feed again shortly afterwards giving everyone else on the water a chance of catching a few fish too.
Added to that statement above, a good pair of rig scissors to trim the hook bait down to hide the round shape of the hook bait and release the attractors more quickly is something I have found to be more than beneficial during all times of the year.
The four most successful cold water baits I have used have been Quest Baits Fruity Trifle, Rahja Spice, Ghurkka Spice and Magnum White. I would be happy to take these anywhere in the world knowing the carp will want to eat them during those long cold days of winter as well as the water warming months of Spring.
Question 2: What have you found to be the most productive parts of your waters during the winter and early spring period. This might be a particular underwater feature (silt, bar, gulley etc) or a visible feature (overhanging trees, snags, island, reeds, old lily beds etc.)
Many people make the mistake of looking for deep water during the cold winter months. During the lead in to winter then the deep water can be a good place to try as they hold onto their summer temperatures a little longer but once the cold water temperatures really kick in (usually around the Christmas period) then I would always look for shallower water preferably a bit of a sun trap close to the bank.
Old dying reeds are often a magnet for carp in the winter and many fish go un-noticed simply because the anglers tend to be looking at and fishing into deeper water. I believe the reeds themselves absorb a small amount of heat as there are often ice free areas in them when the rest of the pool is frozen.
I also prefer to fish over silt in the winter rather than cold gravel areas as again it tends to absorb a little more heat than the cold gravel areas, particularly on shallow lakes. Take a walk around your garden on bare feet and you will notice quite a difference in temperature of different parts.
If I were to choose an ideal lake for winter carping, it would be shallow all over with minimal weed. Give me that and I’m a happy man in the cold winter months. A lot of the French venues fall into this category and I’m surprised more anglers don’t get themselves over there during the winter.
Shaun Harrison, Quest Baits
Find all of Shaun’s articles for Angling Lines here – Shaun Harrison’s Carp Fishing Tips