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The carping pirate, Rick Willeatts, reveals another three tips to keep you catching through the colder months…

ONE: Fish A Single

Similarly to my brother, who has mentioned it elsewhere in his own top winter tips, I use three hook baits that I have absolute confidence in. This not only applies when fishing over bait but also as a single. A huge number of anglers can’t get their heads around fishing single hook baits, but I’ve caught far too many carp on them for it not to be a worthy tactic.

Along with the Pineapple Juice and Diamond Whites, my absolute favourite has to be Milky Toffee, which I sometimes top with a Cell Topper. I have absolute confidence in this combination which, when coupled with a good rig and super-sharp hook, can definitely get you a bonus bite or two in the cold. There are absolutely loads of different pop-ups that Mainline produce now and which I’d be confident using, some even with dedicated matching sprays, which look ideal. Get on the singles!

Image © Mainline Baits

TWO: Take Indication Seriously

Slack line or tight line is a debate that rages on, but for me there is only one answer, and that’s a line which is fished somewhere in between.
I fish a semi-slack, semi-stiff line with bobbin hanging under its own weight and with the stretch taken out of the mono line. However, it’s not fished so slack that my bite indication is compromised.

Often at this time of year, a single bleep can register a proper pick-up; you’re rarely going to get full-blown screamers from largely lethargic carp. It’s vital, therefore, that your indication is spot on.

Practice setting your lines with differing tensions and then making short movements on the line beyond your rod tips, you’ll see the different that each one makes. I’ve done this both on the bank and also on grass, where I’ve been able to move the lead an alarming amount on a slack and tight line without getting so much as a bleep. That perfect tension is midway between the two, trust me

Image © Mainline Baits

THREE: Be Comfortable

Even the most hardcore winter angler will take comfort seriously, and probably take along one or two creature comforts that he may not otherwise carry. There’s very little fun in making your winter fishing an endurance exercise, so try and make it as comfortable as you can realistically can.

Good quality cold-weather clothing is the starting point, including warm socks and boots. Take spare socks we well, and change them daily. Also, if you’re fishing overnight then get the best sleeping bag and cover that you can afford. Trust me, there’s no fun in freezing to the bone when trying to sleep at night.

I take a hot water bottle with me, which doesn’t really weight much or take up any real room in my bag. I use it not only to pre-warm my sleeping bag at night but also sit it on the bivvy floor and rest my feet on it. It’s amazing how much warmer your whole body feels when your feet are nice and toasty.

Image © Mainline Baits
Image © Mainline Baits

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