Stuart Gardiner

Keep the bites coming in winter

Well January certainly has not disappointed when it comes to being a trying month, the cold weather, the heavy rain rendered many rivers flooded and un-fishable so its down to the lakes to get some fish in the net. Of course fishing in cold / freezing conditions requires a different approach and generally is hard going but fish can still be had with the right approach

IMG 1987

I was fortunate last week to catch a day off at the end of a 3 day mild spell with overnight temperatures around 6-7 degrees and westerly winds so no frost or ice breaking, remember that one old saying that is a great tip ” when the winds in east the fish bite least ” . I am lucky that even with covid restrictions on my venue to fish is Redbridge lakes being 5 minutes from home.

IMG 1990

The water was fairly clear another sign of the fish feeding sparingly so I set up my light waggler rod with a 2BB fine antenna with 4 x no.8 stot shots string out about 10 inches apart the first shot 8 inches from the hook, I find using stots as my dropper weights much easier to use and they stay in situ better than split shot i find and more user friendly to mono should you need to adjust your shot pattern using 4lb main line to a a 20 barbless Preston SFL pattern hook ready made hook length. I fished approx 3 rod lengths out where the lake has a gradual sloping shelf bottoming out at approx 6ft of water in line with a rush lined spit going out into my swim. I set my depth at just a few inches off the bottom to start with.

I made up a small bowl of black mixed crumb groundbait that i find better in winter and clearer water conditions. I put in 2 golf ball size balls of ground bait to start with approx 15 pinkies in catapulted over the top with 2 pinkies as hook bait . It did not take long for the first bite with a succession of plump small perch which are always a welcome sight

IMG 1992

Every 2-3 casts i put in 1 golf ball size of ground bait and 15 or so pinkies over the top hoping to draw the skimmers in which after about an hour they arrived catching a steady stream around the 12oz to 1lb mark keeping to the same feeding pattern of very little and every few casts, the bites from skimmers were nearly all lift bites. I tried single maggot no bites, bread punch and small piece of chopped worm same no bites, double pinkie was the go to bait of the day.

IMG 1985 1

Although no monster fish it was still a most welcome session with good sport on light tackle and rod, but it shows with the careful approach and light feeding in tough conditions the fish can still be had.

IMG 1991

One reply on “Keep the bites coming in winter”

The ditty I learnt donkeys ago was:
When the wind is in the North the skilful fisher goes not forth
When the wind is in the East, ’tis neither good for man nor beast
When the wind is in the South it blows the bait in the fish’s mouth
But when the wind is in the West, then ’tis at its very best

(same spirit as yours though)

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