BIG CARP MINDSET | Sharpies Winter Carping

Right, being in the main an angler who needs a target fish to get me out of bed and get the grey matter going I tend to fish all year round for carp. About the only time I deviate from carp fishing to other species is when the lakes have a lid on them or if I’m timed out on a water that has time limits in place.

Obviously after being a carp angler for 35 years I’ve a fair few years of winter carping under my belt and I choose my winter waters carefully. Gone are the days of me sitting on a low-stocked, deep, weedy waters that’s for sure. I prefer to fish weed-free waters with a decent head of carp to go at and preferably a fair few big ’uns among them.

The reason I like to pick a lake that’s not deep or weedy is purely because they tend to respond more quickly to changes in the weather, and the lack of weed gives the fish less cover and they’ll be more predictable as to where they’ll rest up, such as in snags, dying lily beds or major features like islands or plateaus.

Another thing I like to have on a water during the dead of the winter (which will surprise a few of you) is some company. This doesn’t necessarily mean having a fishing companion, it means having other anglers regularly fishing the same water.

My line of thought behind this is based on something I’ve noticed over the last couple of decades. It seems that having more anglers on a lake tends to keep the fish moving around, and all the while bait keeps going in they tend to keep grazing on it. The first time I noticed this was a good few years ago so instead of adopting my normal selfish approach, like I do in the summer, I tend to start encouraging others to fish. Yes this can dilute my chances of dominating a water but all the time leads, Spombs and the like are shifting the fish about I feel like I’ve more chance of catching a few fish than I would if I was going it alone.

Sometimes when the lake I’m fishing does become quiet I’ll spend some time replicating angling pressure by leading around in other swims, putting some baits here and there and also jumping around on a few holding snags. I’ve never really talked about these practices before but I am now and one of the most important months to be doing this is December, and last year was no different.

The reason I consider December to be the most important month to do this is because no matter how keen others are, lakes tend to get quieter because people have things like Christmas shopping to do and attend Christmas parties and suchlike. I’ve even noticed on waters like Sandhurst and Frimley that the water starts to get clearer, which indicates less fish movement, so as I said I try to keep them moving and keep the baits regularly trickling in. This I believe is part of why I do quite well in January, which I’ll explain later.