The arrival of winter sometimes makes you withdraw into your home where it's nice and warm to wait for the good weather. This is the ideal time to prepare your equipment, work on your strategies or simply dream about the forthcoming season. But that's forgetting that winter is a time of year when you can still fish and catch fish, particularly still fishing. Unlike predators, white fish can be fished all year long even when the temperature is low.
Tip #1 / Find Some Warm Water
If you decide to go still fishing in cold weather, you need to find some warm water or rather areas where the water will be warmest on the spot (lakes, ponds, river branches). This is key to having any hope of good winter fishing sessions.
If you're fishing in a pond or a lake, find the shallow areas like the edges where the fish will gather. Don't disregard areas where there's a high density of fish to increase the number of touches during the day. An area where you only get a few touches in the summer should be avoided in the winter.
As a matter of course fish with the sun in your eyes! That way you'll definitely be on the sunniest bank where the water is warmest. You can also make the most of it to keep you warm.
If you're fishing in canals and rivers, move closer to areas with a high urban density. In point of fact the water is generally warmer. A town centre can thus be transformed into a very good spot for still fishing. Harbours and boats are also areas of choice with their many artificial spots.
Be aware that in these port areas where there can be a high density of white fish, you're not the only "predator". You will certainly come across some predatory fish such as perch or pike. It might be worthwhile bringing a casting rod as well for these "surprise" guests. Don't forget, the closed season for pike fishing runs from 26 January 2015 to 30 April 2015.
Tip #2 / Don'T Zap During The Weather Forecast
A stable weather forecast with mild temperatures over several days offers ideal conditions for fishing. Did you know that the temperature of water changes more slowly than the air temperature? So you can still catch fish the day after the temperature drops. On the other hand, there will be a greater chance of coming back empty handed the next day.
With regards to the water temperature, you need to check that it's higher than 3°C so the white fish (bleak, roach, rudd) continue to bite. Watching the weather forecast in advance means you can decide on the best day for going out and setting yourself up on the water's edge.
Tip #3 / Only Fish At The Best Times
In winter, there's no need to get up at dawn to set up your line.
The lack of sun and low temperatures really don't encourage fish to start biting at that time of day. Make the most of this particular seasonal feature to prepare yourself properly in the morning so that you arrive fresh and rested at the end of the morning. The best time of the day is between 11 am and 4 pm, because the air temperature is the warmest. It's also the time when there will be more sun and at this time of year a few well placed rays might be enough to wake things up.
If the wind gets up during your session, don't put your trip off until tomorrow whatever you do. You can always fish with the wind at your back. It takes longer to get cold and it's easier to cast the line. Cold northerly winds can disturb a fishing trip while warm winds from the south create a pleasant climate for fishing.
Tip #4 / Equipment: A Lightheart And A Light Box
With regards to bait for example, a 2kg bag will be enough to fish for the whole session. No need to carry large bowls to keep your bait in. 12 litre volume will be perfectly suitable.
In winter, fish always feed less and "heavy" bait, which works in the summer, is no longer relevant. All you have to do is simply "remember" often, in other words bait regularly with very small amounts of bait. This principle is even more true when fishing for bleak at the edges, which can be very productive in winter. You can complete your bait with a powdered additive, which is less nourishing and more effective at this time of year.
With regards to rods, a telescopic rod 4 to 6 metres long is perfectly suited to fishing spots at the edges where the fish can be found. Those who own long press fit rods can just use the last 3-4 metres and change to the 11m or 13m version if activity picks up in the open. Think about taking a pole roller for more comfort.
Short rods (4m to 6m) are perfectly suited for winter fishing
With regards to setting up, use a seat box which is easy to carry and set up and don't forget the indispensable accessories (keepnet, cloths, rigged lines, bait boxes).
Tip #5 : The Cold: Protecting The Body And Extremities
If you're well protected even the biting cold won't stop you from fishing and enjoying being at the water's edge.
The body's extremities (hands, head, feet) are very sensitive to the cold and wearing a hat and gloves is recommended more than ever. Your hands are bound to come into contact with cold water (seizing fish, taking the temperature, rinsing equipment) and special attention should be paid to them.
#A Caperlan tip
Take two cloths to protect your hands better from the damp. The first one to wipe them (moist bait, mucus) and the second to dry them properly.
A warm jacket and trousers will be your best friend and are not to be forgotten, especially if you're planning on staying on the spot for several hours. If you start to sweat, don't hesitate to take off a layer.
Cover up to get the most out of your fishing trip
If the wind gets up and threatens to ruin your session, a fishing umbrella tilted on its side will protect you effectively from this nasty nuisance.
You should have understood by now that for still fishing in winter, you need to look for as much "heat" as possible so that both you and the fish can stay active. By following all this advice, pleasure and fish are within reach of your rod.
So, are you still determined to wait for spring to go and set up your lines?