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Due to a busy work schedule and Christmas, my fishing time since my last blog has been somewhat limited so I was keen to get back out on the bank and begin to find out what 2019 holds in store for me. Unfortunately the winter cold snap had well and truly taken hold and my local lakes have actually been partially frozen on a number of occasions. Despite this I remained determined to get out on the bank so I have been fishing short afternoon sessions to allow the ice to thaw where necessary and to ‘enjoy’ the warmest temperatures of the day. 
Ed Hawes Successful Baits UK Ltd Carp Fishing Baits
In 5 visits to 2 different lakes in January I didn’t see a single carp show and I spent my time on the bank closely watching the water. This isn’t surprising at all with the low temperatures so I’ve been using my previous knowledge of my club waters and targeting areas where I’ve either seen fish holding up or showing in warmer weather, or traditional fish holding areas such as snags and submerged trees. In addition to this I have also at times been casting rigs close to islands where I have previously found the depth of water to be shallower than the main areas of the lake. In such cold weather these shallower areas respond quicker to any sunshine and therefore may have a slightly higher water temperature which any moving carp may seek out. 
With the water temperatures dropping below freezing at times some carp will naturally have adopted a dormant winter state and be lying up on the lakebed uninterested in feeding, so you have to be realistic in your catching expectations. Because of this I have been targeting one bite a session and have managed to achieve at least one bite on 4 out of my 5 sessions. 
Finding areas that potentially hold carp is of course only half the battle. To get them on the bank you also need to use a bait that will encourage them to feed whilst also bearing in mind that they almost definitely will not be feeding as much as in the warmer months of the year so limit, or even stop, your freebie baiting to fit in with these feeding habits. 
To fit in with this plan and also to combat any debris on the lakebed (fallen leaves etc) next to the chosen snags or features, I have been using smaller hookbaits, either 12mm Pop Ups or trimmed down wafters to create a dumbbell/barrel shape, together with smaller than normal hooks. I have found that a size 8 compliments these sized hookbaits to offer a subtle presentation. The Neon Pop Up range from Successful Baits are perfect for this time of year as they offer a vibrant and bright colour to make them highly visual and they also possess a pungent aroma to encourage any passing fish to come and investigate. Pop Up wise I have been using the Scoberry and Pineapple flavours whilst also turning to my favourite VNX+ wafters, which I have found to work really well in all weather conditions during my time using Successful Baits. 
To compliment the hookbait and to add smell and aroma to my chosen spots I have also been using small PVA sticks loaded with either VNX+ stick mix or crumbed VNX+ boilies that I had pre-soaked in the great smelling VNX+ activator liquid. The PVA will also protect your hookpoints on the cast. 
Although the bigger fish have managed to elude me I have managed to catch 8 or 9 carp with a couple approaching double figures. Any bites at this time of year are both welcome and rewarding for braving the cold weather. Hearing your alarms sounding is one of the best bits of carp fishing for me and more importantly it shows that the tactics and baits that I have chosen to use are working in tough fishing conditions when the majority of carp anglers aren’t venturing out on the bank. One of my favourite fishing quotes is ‘You can't catch them at home’ - so I will be continuing with these tactics over the next couple of months and hopefully will be rewarded with a winter lump or 2 before spring and the warmer weather finally arrives. 
VNX+ Successful Baits UK Ltd Carp Fishing Baits
Pineapple Pop Ups Successful Baits UK Ltd Carp Fishing Baits
VNX+ Wafters Successful Baits UK Ltd Carp Fishing Baits
Pop Ups Successful Baits UK Ltd Carp Fishing Baits
Tagged as: Ed Hawes
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