Winter Tactics

Zerkalo

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So it's coming to winter now, am starting to feel cold at time and it won't be long until the first frosts. I have a way of fishing in winter which I'll run through below just with the intent of sharing what I do, not a totally pointless thread but with the intent of getting some feedback and seeing what people have to say. I've said before it's how I enjoy fishing but would not fish like this in a match if the intention was to catch the biggest weight of fish, but after all, when pleasure fishing enjoyment of the day comes foremost.

1) Venue Selection.

I like to fish places with a decent head of fish in winter to keep bites coming when I might get less on natural venues. For me, this means Bells Mill Fishery and Furnace Mill Fishery.

At Bells Mill I can expect small Carp averaging 1-2lb with the very occasional bonus 5lb+ fish, infact those bonus fish are very rare during winter, but there's also the odd Skimmer and Roach to be caught. I expect around 30 fish for around 40lb.

At Furnace Mill I can expect slightly bigger Carp averaging 3lb with a few bonus fish going over 10lb. There's also Bream, Small Tench which still show in winter, and big Perch going 2lb+. I expect around 30 fish for around 80lb.

2) Peg Selection.

I'm often told fish will be in shallower water in winter as this will be the warmest. Contrary I pick the deepest pegs on the two venues. Only around 7 foot deep but deeper than an average of 4-5' deep. I also cast into open water with the theory that fish back off from the margins a bit with the clearer water in winter, even though I'm often told at Bells Mill I will catch more casting tight to the island.

3) Cage Feeder.

I use medium or large sized 20g cage feeders. I like fishing the tip in winter as it means I can sit on my hands as well as just enjoying feeder fishing. I use larger sized feeder quite often as I think with a fine groundbait mix and bait as discussed below, you can still throw a fair bit of bait at these waters when it's cold and still catch. At Bells Mill I have a cast of maybe 25m and at Furnace Mill I underarm cast to around 13m, they are not typical feeder lakes I think using this method on a place it's not usually fished results in extra bites. I use a simple running feeder rig with a twizzled boom.

4) Bait

Using a cage feeder I like to have quite a dark mix of groundbait. For me this has been Sonubaits F1 Green mixed 50/50 with Black Lake. I then mix fishery Micro Pellets and around half a pint of Flouro Pinkies into this. I usually only need a pint of maggots, usually reds, and use those on the hook with a pinch put in the feeder each cast.

5) Tackle

I will be using a 10ft Guru Feeder Rod this year with 4lb Maxima on the reel and 0.12 hooklengths to a size 16 Drennan Wide Gape Carp Hook.

Summary

So that's what I'll be doing over the coming months. I would not recommend fishing like this on all venues or even on the venues I mention, it's just the way I've came to do it and hopefully it is not too bad of a read.

Over to you...

Feel free to critique what I do and remember I only fish for fun, or to share your Winter Approach...
 

davej1981

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Wont be fishing through the winter i dont think but when i used to fish matches in winter on the local river i would scale right down as bites were hard to come by. Would drop down to 10/12oz hooklengths size 24 hooks fishing squatt and pinkie for less than 1lb of small gudgeon and roach
 

Zerkalo

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Wont be fishing through the winter i dont think but when i used to fish matches in winter on the local river i would scale right down as bites were hard to come by. Would drop down to 10/12oz hooklengths size 24 hooks fishing squatt and pinkie for less than 1lb of small gudgeon and roach

It used to be canals that I used to fish in winter but don't think I have the stomach for that anymore, but also don't think I could last without fishing so it's nice to find a simple way I can still fish, keep warm, and catch on even the coldest of days. Last year I had 100lb+ in January fishing like this at Furnace Mill and usually have the lakes to myself at that time of year.
 

Northantslad

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At least one a month for the Barbel still and through winter, no scaling down of approach, but bait/baiting changes.
Bit of winter carping, again as above.
Fancy some winter commercials this year, so the 0.13 and 0.15 rigs given an airing.

In all cases i seem to find i get my feeding better in the cooler months than i do in the summer and during the do you don't you cross over months, should just try feeding for each fish as a year round approach i suppose, but i get too excited sometimes.
 

Zerkalo

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Interesting on the baiting changes @Northantslad on the Barbel front. My Barbel approach is a cage feeder with pellets and groundbait, 'time bomb' method, and wouldn't really know where to start changing it too much but I agree that hopefully another month left of decent Barbelling now for me.
 

Northantslad

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Just on amounts, sizes of baits and feeders and release rate mate really. Every month is potentially decent if conditions are stable, been an eye opener really in the last couple of years. As long as keeping warm which i do, it's quite encouraging to experience the cold conditions they will feed in. Go with a mate or two for someone to bounce off if its slow and i can't think of many better days out.
 

Deejay8

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On sunny days, the water may be warmer in the shallows and encourage the fish to feed there, but on cold, windy days, the shallow water will chill quicker, and the fish are more likely to retreat to deeper water, where the variations in temperature are much more stable. So I think you picking the deeper swims is correct. I don't think the fish will back off an island margin in clearer water, but they will move away from the fishing bank margins, due to seeing the anglers.
 

Zerkalo

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On sunny days, the water may be warmer in the shallows and encourage the fish to feed there, but on cold, windy days, the shallow water will chill quicker, and the fish are more likely to retreat to deeper water, where the variations in temperature are much stable. So I think you picking the deeper swims is correct. I don't think the fish will back off an island margin in clearer water, but they will move away from the fishing bank margins, due to seeing the anglers.

It's something I've thought about, as the theory is there that conditions will dictate where they are on the day as you say, so something to experiment with I think. I just have favourite pegs that seemed to produce last winter, might switch it about a bit this year!
 

davej1981

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It's something I've thought about, as the theory is there that conditions will dictate where they are on the day as you say, so something to experiment with I think. I just have favourite pegs that seemed to produce last winter, might switch it about a bit this year!
I never turn up and choose a peg, i “draw” a peg at home just like in a match. My idea behind it is it stops my heading to favoured pegs and i will therefore hopefully learn more about the venue
 

Deejay8

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It's something I've thought about, as the theory is there that conditions will dictate where they are on the day as you say, so something to experiment with I think. I just have favourite pegs that seemed to produce last winter, might switch it about a bit this year!
It never hurts to experiment, and if it doesn't work, at least you know which swims did produce last year, so you go back to fishing them.
 

Zerkalo

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This is the peg I fish at Furnace Mill, Willow Pool. Think I fished it every time last year. ?

Screenshot 2020-10-25 at 17.31.34.png

As you can see it's only a very short chuck to even contemplate fishing a feeder, but that's what I did and had some good days. There's a danger deep water sign up that end of the pool and it's shallower out in the bowl.

At Bells Mill I like to fish peg 1 in front of the cafe. Can't find a picture of that. Had the occasional day I couldn't get on it and caught more skimmers than Carp on shallower pegs.

I like the idea of drawing a peg at home, though I think when I do drag myself in winter it's nice to have a choice from empty lakes, I should experiment more.
 

Silverfisher

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I’m hoping we are still about a month off winter conditions yet but you never know with November. Some years it’s more like October so fishes well others more like December so can be hard. Long term forecast isn’t suggesting any frosts yet but looks like floods are imminent. Either one of those will signal the end of the good part of the season here.

Still once we get into winter it all depends how the weather goes. If it’s mild and not too wet I should still be able to find silvers shoals on the Thames they just won’t be as widespread as the summer and autumn. If it is cold and wet it’ll likely be chub or bust. Just cold probably still chub or bust with maybe other stuff. Then wet and mild might see most species still catchable in the right places. I’ll probably spend some time on the Avon and maybe Ouse as well as they tend to fine down and warm up quicker than the Thames so can often fish well whilst the Thames is hard.

If it’s like last winter though I won’t be fishing much at all though as it’ll be floods the whole time!
 

Zerkalo

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I’m hoping we are still about a month off winter conditions yet but you never know with November. Some years it’s more like October so fishes well others more like December so can be hard. Long term forecast isn’t suggesting any frosts yet but looks like floods are imminent. Either one of those will signal the end of the good part of the season here.

Still once we get into winter it all depends how the weather goes. If it’s mild and not too wet I should still be able to find silvers shoals on the Thames they just won’t be as widespread as the summer and autumn. If it is cold and wet it’ll likely be chub or bust. Just cold probably still chub or bust with maybe other stuff. Then wet and mild might see most species still catchable in the right places. I’ll probably spend some time on the Avon and maybe Ouse as well as they tend to fine down and warm up quicker than the Thames so can often fish well whilst the Thames is hard.

If it’s like last winter though I won’t be fishing much at all though as it’ll be floods the whole time!

I'll still have a few goes on the Worcs Stour for Chub but can't see myself out on the Severn save for the odd Barbel session but we'll see, admire the fact that you still plan to stick to rivers over winter! For me when it's ice cold the comfort of the commercials I fish is too much to resist.
 

Silverfisher

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I'll still have a few goes on the Worcs Stour for Chub but can't see myself out on the Severn save for the odd Barbel session but we'll see, admire the fact that you still plan to stick to rivers over winter! For me when it's ice cold the comfort of the commercials I fish is too much to resist.
Yeah I only really fish stillwaters in the closed season these days, just much prefer being on rivers or at sea. They're generally nicer places to be than most the stillwaters around here and tbh not much more difficult to fish seeing as I prefer the more naturally stocked stillwaters when I do fish them anyway. Even when I used to fish stillwaters more often my two most regularly fished ones that I genuinely really liked (now both syndicates ?) were not really options in the winter as the semi natural one would get rock hard and the commercial annoyingly closed from if I recall start of November to end of February for some unknown reason.
 

Freesolo82

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Same rigs in winter for me on the river just scale down hooks and hooklength when it gets hard. The main difference will be what I feed and how much also location becomes more important for me
 

Wise Owl

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Same rigs in winter for me on the river just scale down hooks and hooklength when it gets hard. The main difference will be what I feed and how much also location becomes more important for me

Roaming the River 6 to 10 pegs Baited on the way down fished on the way back, when the Flask of Coffee is Gone So am i ;) ;)
 

Zerkalo

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I have a wormery this year so going to experiment especially at Furnace Mill with chopped worm going through the feeder. If I was on matches there I'd be looking at pole with maggots over micros in winter. Standard tactics in summer there would be margin lines and a shallow line over 4mm fishery pellets. I prefer it in winter doing it the way I do though.
 

DAMFLASK CHRIS

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Hopefully we get to try for pike on deadbaits this winter while casting out a feeder rod will try club Waters also if weather OK don't mind cold but not keen wind and rain
 
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