Preparing for Winter – Tony Curd

For me November is the ideal time to start getting out on the bank with the aim of getting all my kit sorted for the winter months ahead. This not only means lightening up on line diameters, feeding a lot less bait and fishing with finer gauge hooks but one massive element is elastic choice, there is nothing worse than waiting for bites, hooking a fish and the fish coming off as you haven’t got the balance right especially when the margins between winning and losing are so slim during the winter.  With the weather seemingly getting colder and colder it was time to get a move on and a trip to Colemans Cottage for the open on Stepfield Lake.

I managed to draw myself peg 8 which is a nice peg at the car park end of the lake with a big bed of reeds across and choice of depths to fish in it has the best of both worlds so I’d be hoping it would come good today! Stepfield has a really diverse stocking with small F1’s of under a pound, bigger F1’s to 3lb and carp between 8oz and 5lb so elastic choice is a thing that is very difficult to get right but what I like to keep in mind is that the smaller fish are your bread and butter so make those a priority and take your bonuses as they come along.

With this in mind there was only one elastic that I was going to be using on my deep water lines where I was expecting to catch most of my fish on multiple lines between five and eleven metres and that was the new MAP TKS Twin Core Orange in 3-6. I’d been looking forward to giving this stuff a good work out and it’s coming into its own now as the fish start to slow down in the colder water, three top kits were threaded up all to side pullers and set probably 3 inches under tension through the top kit, these lighter elastics always seem to work best when set ‘pingy’ and return into the top kit perfectly every time.

My rigs for fishing these lines were fairly standard and my rig for fishing at 5m was a 4×14 WD1 set up on 0.15mm Power Optex to a 0.10mm hook length and a size 20 808 hook. As it was windy strung bulks were out for me and a bulk of number 9’s with two number 10 droppers. For fishing in the deepest water anywhere from 7 to 11 metres I opted for a 4×16 WD1 same line and hook combination this time with a bulk of number 8’s and three number 10 droppers to give the last bit of the rig a slower drop.

Bait couldn’t have been more simple, for the deeper water lines it was going to be an all-out pellet attack, 2mm Carp and Coarse Pellets would form the main part of the feed, with a few 4mm’s just in case I needed to feed less small particles to get more bites or if foul hookers became an issue. For hook bait I pumped some 4mm Xpand pellets, but instead of doing it in pure water I added a good dose of the V2 glug that is currently under testing into the pump and left them to expand in this. I had some maggots with me too, just in case I needed to fish down the edge or right across at any stage.

Starting the match at 5 metres I had to convince myself that it’s nearly winter and a small pinch of micros would be plenty to kick the swim off, dropping in I waited a few minutes before I had a little sharp dink on the float and a lift saw plenty of the Orange elastic streaming from the pole tip, three pulls on the puller kit and the first fish of the match was in the net – a small F1 of around 12oz. I decided that changing anything would be silly so the same amount of pellets were put into the flexi pot and the float held out of the water to allow the rig to straighten up under the pole tip before lowering it slowly in. Almost as soon as I’d finished the process the float shot from sight once again and an initial run which lasted for half an hour began! Once this first 5m line went a bit quiet I started another slightly to my right, doing exactly the same, and had a few more fish but I wasn’t setting the world alight.

From here I moved to a top kit and four sections where I hoped I’d find the best sport, and so it proved! The fish seem to have moved into the deeper water and once you’ve found them it’s quite simply a case of rotating several lines in the same depth to continue catching. F1’s from 8oz to 1lb 8oz and carp from hand-sized mirrors to an odd three pounder kept me busy until the end of the match where I weighed 96lb 8oz to win, a nice start to the winter!

After a day like this it really does give you a far better feel for the rigs, tackle and also ways of feeding you need to be working on going forward so although this match went to plan it’s important to realise that there is a lot more work to be done yet! After a summer of catching loads of fish, it’s very refreshing to have to work hard for bites and winter is certainly a thinking mans season, don’t put the gear away in the cold, get out on the bank and fill your nets!

Tight Lines

Tony Curd

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