Winter Fishing by Graham Plowright

Selecting a winter water certainly gets the old grey matter ticking , I historically choose a water with winter form and local to me so I’m not travelling too far for a blank . However these waters are crammed with anglers all looking for a winter bite. Because of these pressured places I looked a little further afield to find a little peace and quiet with the chance of a carp or two.

Searching around I stumbled across a park lake which is mostly overlooked in winter ,other than the odd Esox hunter , with stories of ” no one bothers because it’s trickier in the colder months” . In the warmer days of summer carp play amongst the heavy pads and weed that festoons the lake and makes it difficult to extract the stock , this of course deters anglers .The lake itself has a pretty uniform depth and for the biggest part of it is relatively shallow , hence the weed problem.

After obtaining a ticket I set out on a few trips to look and watch , the bulk of the fish I found in sheltered areas of dying lilies , this is of course where they had spent the long hot days of the summer and they obviously loved the cover and security they afforded. But the pads had virtually died off and it seemed a great place to start my campaign.

Trips to trickle in some chopped baits and hemp in this area  were planned for the week leading up to my first visit with the two rods I was allowed. During this time I saw a few lovely carp from the lake on social media and picked out a couple of targets for myself ,one a particularly heavily scaled mirror and one the locals had named ” the Italian ” due to its high shouldered appearance .

My first trip was a weekday and I hooked and lost a large ghostie which I’m told could have been the lake record at high 20’s , so I was off to a flyer … Not !! Later that day , after I had beat myself up enough and was ready for going home , I was in again and after a short but spirited fight I slipped the net under a scraper double common. That’ll do as a start I thought and as I left I baited the area again as I planned a return trip in a few days time.

My next trip went much better , and even though the weather was horrible , cold rain and a brisk wind , I managed to get straight on them with a mirror of around 15lb ( an old original I’m told ) a passer by who was mesmerised offered to take the trophy shot and gasped at the “huge fish ” (in her words) , a new washed out pink hookbait flossed onto my ever faithful semi stiff hinged rigs whizzed back out and a celebratory cuppa downed. Thirty minutes later when the swim had settled , the alarm let out a single bleep , and after a swift battle I couldn’t believe my eyes or luck !!! The scaley one was in the net , I weighed her in at 19lb 7oz and marvelled at the beauty of those big scales and creamy belly , what a lovely creature .

I topped up the swim with chopped baits and re baited a freshly sharpened rig , I was still gobsmacked at having had one of my two targets so early into my campaign . An hour I had to wait for the bobbin to fly up and bury itself , a fight of around ten minutes ensued , I could feel every stem of the dying pads pinging as they gave way , even though the lead had ejected immediately this fish tried its hardest to bury  it’s head and be free of the stinging lip. A pristine common of 22lb 4oz had slipped up and I carefully photographed it and returned the fish , this was December I thought to myself !! 3 fish in a few hours on a new venue ?  The carp gods were certainly smiling on me this day .

As I was wondering if this was it for me as I tied on another fruity pastel pop up the buzzer was signalling yet another bite !! This older looking common trudged up and down on the surface defiantly looking at me in disgust as it went past on a medium line , it fought me tooth and nail all the way in but eventually submitted and rolled into the net !!, this one beat me up again on the mat and after it calmed down I weighed the defiant one in at a little over 18lb . What a great December days fishing .

My winter water choice had turned out to be a good call !!  The hookbait , and rig choice had worked well , five fish in two visits on a seemingly hard water ? Right now I’m enjoying the empty banks and mild weather …. Get out there and be lucky 😉 .


Big thanks to Graham for writing this article, If you have an article you would like to share then drop us an email


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