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3 Top tips for winter fishing

Monday, 10 November 2014 16:22:00 Europe/London

Three 'Top Tips' for Winter Fishing

When I looked out the window last weekend contemplating whether to fish, it was clear that Winter was well on it's way. The days are shorter and the nights colder and for most this means it's time to give the rods and reels one last clear and pack them up until the spring. But for many, it's an opportunity to try something a little more challenging, and a lot colder.

If you'd like to extend your fishing season into the winter months there are a few things you may want to think about to help you enjoy and benefit from extending your fishing year.

1. Stay warm and Sheltered
Frozen Angler

This seems to be quite an obvious thing to say, but it's one of the main things that people adapting to winter fishing underestimate. Staying warm, wearing appropriate clothing and sheltered during your fishing trips will not only help you enjoy it more but save you from the mental anguish of leaving early after being defeated by the weather having caught nothing more than a cold! In order to  stay warm, conventional advise is the layer your clothing... consider the following;

  • Base layers – Back in the day, this would have been a vest (Or some longjohns) now there are many, many solutions including clothing specificallymanufactured for the purpose of staying close to the skin adn traping a layer of warmer air against the skin.
  • Mid layers – Comfort and warmth are key here. Think fleece, wooly jumper or Hoodie, essentially something that is soft and easily removed in the unlikely event that you get too warm..
  • Wind Proof/ Insulated jacket – Find something that is not only wind and waterproof, but also has padded or fleece lining.
  • Footwear - This is the part of my body that's the first to feel the effects of the cold. Neoprene wellies are a fantastic option for warmth and comfort
  • Hat and gloves – Almost HALF of your body heat is lost through your head, so a hat is an absolute must! A quality pair of gloves are important too. I prefer the fingerless option, which allow better access to rods, line and bait

For many types of fishing it also helps to take some shelter too. During the perishing temperatures we experience during our winters a good quality bivvy or shelter is well worth considering as a base. 

These days, most shelters are quick and easy to erect, and offer excellent stability even in the strongest winds. If possible, you should also purchase a winter skin for your bivvy to increase warmth and eliminate condensation.

2. Food for thought 

I'm never at my best on an empty stomach, but standing next to the water, cold, watiing for a bite isn't my idea of fun. Staying well fed before and during winter fishing will help you focus and keep you're body fuelled. Hot food clearly is the way to go here and hot, home made soup is about as good as it gets. It's hearty, wholesome and delicious. But best of all it's full of goodness and your body will thrive on it. 

While I understand you probably won't want to carrytoo much extra weight, for me a quality flask filled to the brim is a must.

Another vital ingredient for a successful winter fishing session is plenty of warm food and drink. It’s amazing what a nice slurp of hot soup can do for your spirits.

Although you don’t want to be carrying any excessive weight, you should always try and pack a good quality steel flask of hot tea, coffee or soup. When it comes to bankside cuisine, ditch the bulky camping stove and go for a compact burner instead. Dried packet mixes are easy enough to cook, and make for a nice hot meal.

3. Great winter bait and tackle

Most anglers know that during the winter months as the temperature drops, a fish’s metabolism slows down. This means that they need less nourishment and therefore seek less food than during the warmer summer period. That means you'll need to alter your choice of bait in order to encourage them to take. These great baits will help you catch even the most stubborn of fish:

  • Pilchard Oil - Dripping some oil on your bait is a great way to extend the life of it and attract lazy cod to bite.
  • Salt – Many Anglers believe in adding just a little sea or rock salt to your bait as a great way to get maximum attraction in cooler conditions. Just add a sprinkle to maggots, casters, pellets or corn.
  • Maggots - If you’re fishing for carp, a mesh bag of maggots, along with a bunch of grubs on a hair-rigged maggot clip, is one of the most reliable winter carp tactics.
  • Spices – Spicy flavours have long had an association with winter fishing. A sprinkling of turmeric on your live bait or a touch of turmeric on corn is a great way to spice up your bait.
  • Peperami – These little spicy sausages are perfect for winter fishing. They’re highly attractive to carp, chub and barbel. For maximum effect use small chunks with a scaled down line and small hooks.

Remember that in the winter the waters we fish generally become much clearer which makes it far easier for fish to spot threats in and out of the water. Scale your tackle down accordingly, fishes energy levels will be lower and should allow you to drop a hook size fairly easily.

As always, there are many opinions and strategies for fishing during colder months, these are simply 3 of the most basic and obvious for you to consider as you contemplate extending your fishing season into the winter period.

Posted in News By

Game Fair

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