Supercharged singles

With the water temperature now being arctic cold and unlikely to drop any further, bites throughout this period in the wintertime can be hard to come by. The carp’s metabolism is slow and eating isn’t top of the agenda. Due to this being the case I find using high attract bright pop-ups can instigate a bite when everything else is against you, if you put them in the right place, sometimes the unthinkable can happen and a session of a lifetime could be just around the corner, even in the harshest of weather conditions.

Don’t Bait And Wait

Due to the water being so cold, unless you’re fishing a really high stocked venue with no natural food the chances of building up a series of bites over beds of bait are minimal. I know that for some people the thought of putting out just one pop-up with no loose feed around it is mind boggling, but you need to get that out of your head; a high attract bright hook bait is plenty to nick you a bite at any time of year, but especially throughout the winter.

It’s hard enough locating the fish throughout this time of year so the last thing you want to do is find them and proceed to lead the granny out of it and fill it in with a bucket of bait. The chances are by doing that, you’ll move the fish out of the area into another zone they feel safe and comfortable in, whereas if you just plop a couple of singles on to the fish with minimal disturbance the chances of a bite are greatly increased.

Moving Around Freely

One of the beauties about using just single hook baits with no loose feed is the fact that you’re not committing to an area as such. In the warmer months when you introduce bait to a spot, you feel somewhat obliged to sit on it, due to it costing you money, even if the fish are showing up the other end of the lake, whereas with singles in the winter, even if you see the most subtle of signs, you can just wind the rods in and get on the move without the worry of being out of pocket, so to speak.

Probably the most key aspect when winter fishing is staying mobile; generally the fish are grouped up tightly in pods, they might not all be in one area but you can sure as hell guarantee that if you see one fish show, it won’t be alone. So, with that being said you need to get your location bang on. You might nick a quick bite and notice the fish have moved off due to the disturbance, so another move may be on the cards; just analyse the situation and let the carp dictate your location.

More Attraction Brings More Bites

The colour of your hook baits can definitely play a huge part in drawing the carp’s attention down to your rig, but sometimes, I feel it isn’t quite enough on those days when the conditions really are against you. The way I enhance my pop-ups to the next level is with the addition of liquids and powders.

Through the winter generally Northern Specials are my go-to hi-viz hook bait so to complement them I use a small amount of the matching hook bait booster liquid. When applying this, less is more, because if you put lots in you will affect the buoyancy of the pop-ups, so add a little bit at a time and allow the pop-ups to suck it in and dry out again; using this drying process will help minimise losing any of the buoyancy. After I have infused the pop-ups with the matching liquid, I will apply a second layer but not allowing it to fully soak into the baits – I want them semi-dry and only ‘tacky’ to the touch – I will then apply a light dusting of Fructose Concentrate. This is an extremely potent fruit palatant that complements the Northern Specials perfectly, Once I’ve added this powder, I’ll give the pot a good shake and the hook baits will look like little sweet bonbons, oozing with attraction.

For other hook baits such as the Elite range and the coloured Live System range, which I’ll also use in the winter, I’ll repeat the same process but using the Lactose Concentrate B+ instead as I find it goes hand in hand with those pop-ups.

Right Rig For The Job

Now there are loads of different rigs out there in this day and age, but for me there are three that I will use specifically for pop-up presentations. The chod rig is a forgotten classic really, it went through a stage of being used by most anglers, but in recent years it seems to have been discarded, but for me it’s the perfect presentation when you are casting into unknown territory. It never tangles and as long as you position your beads on the helicopter presentation correctly, the chances are you will always be presented, no matter what it lands over. So, if you see a fish show in an area you haven’t chucked a lead in before and you want to guarantee you’re fishing then a choddy will certainly be the go-to.

Next up is the hinge stiff rig; this is an all-time classic big fish rig and has similar properties to the chod rig, apart from the fact that it has a boom section, so it’s not as suited for fishing over intense detritus. The times when I use the hinge are generally over silt or low lying silkweed, where you want slightly more separation between the hook and the lake bed than a conventional pop-up rig would give you. I also feel the hooking potential is far greater on a hinge, due to the fact of having that boom section, which is always wanting to pull the rig down into the fish’s mouth.

Lastly I use a spinner/Ronnie presentation; this is probably my go-to in 80 per cent of my angling all through the year at the moment. It’s really versatile and can be fished over clean bottoms and over low lying debris like the hinge, and I find the speed of how quickly you can take the hook off and put a new one on really helps in the wintertime when those feeding windows can be so short and making the most of the time your rods are out can certainly be key.

Now although the winter is bleak and cold there is always an opportunity to be had no matter what the weather, I think with the addition of jazzed-up high attract fluoros you can often nick those bonus bites, even when things aren’t looking favourable, so it’s worth getting out there, staying on the move and getting on those carp!