Winter fishing… either you hate it or you love it. I myself belong to the latter category of fishermen and love to brave the cold for a few cold ‘claws’ and a golden catch. OK,
it is sometimes quite hard to do, especially if there are also nights fishing, but with a little good preparation in terms of clothing, warm food and drinks, it is usually fine to stay along the waterfront.
One of the main reasons for me to go to the water’s edge during this period is the ultimate tranquility that prevails along most waters; in nine cases out of ten I have the realm alone. Other additional advantages for me are that the fish are often at top weight during the cold months, are glowing with health, have beautiful colors and are often a bit more lazy in their actions. I hear you think; ‘it is not good at all for the catches that the fish are languid and barely move from their place’? Partly agree; it is indeed a less fierce battle than during the warmer temperatures, but… the fish often look for obstacle-rich cuttings in the winter and that is why this lethargy can work to our advantage!
Cuttings that can hardly be fished during the year due to the many obstacles under water and the power of the fish to reach these obstacles suddenly become very interesting in my eyes. Because I usually fish during the day in the winter, left a few nights there, I’m always right behind my sticks. With a tight slip and an extremely strong braided line, Power Pro from Shimano in my case, you can now fairly easily direct the most powerful fish away from the obstacles, because the resistance is much less due to their laziness. Please note; this fishery does require the discipline to never walk away from your rods and stay sharp and alert at all times. Can you afford this, after all, we want to catch the fish and not lose or damage it, then winter is a fantastic period to catch a series of beautiful fish!
So, the choice of cuttings has been determined. What are we going to fish with? In the winter it is in any case wise to work with small food particles; think of sweetcorn, hemp, buckwheat and small boilies or better pieces of boilies. This small food ensures that the fish will become satiated less quickly and will have to move a bit more if it wants to outsmart something tasty. Little but attractive is often the key to winter success. Personally, I prefer to use a so-called cloudy mix that does not contain any solid food particles. I put my ingredients in a blender, add a baitsoak and mix this until a firm sticky paste is formed which will cloud enormously under water. The idea behind this is to trigger the fish as much as possible, possibly arouse food envy, but to saturate it minimally. There is only one small conspicuous food particle at the bottom amid this maddening cloud; you guessed it… A razor sharp piece of metal is attached to this!
To make a short bridge to my rig; a bit shorter than I would normally use. Depending on the soil conditions, my rig is 12-15cm long. And I made it
just as briefly; because of the lethargy and the somewhat harder jaws of the fish, your hook must be really razor sharp. Always super important, but especially in the winter!
For those who read to the end; give winter fishing a chance. If 1,2,3 doesn’t work right away, don’t give up too quickly. Once you have held such a cold nugget in your hands, all ‘hardships’ melt like snow in the sun.
Good luck and have fun!
Remond van Dijk