Winter Wonderland

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At 54.14 it’s a true winter whacker and the stuff dreams are made of!

My name is Mick Price, I’m 29 years old and have been going purely Carp fishing for 18 years. I work full time in the leisure industry and have two nights a fortnight to get my angling fix, with the odd overnighter after work where I can. With limited time available it is vital that every second is well thought out, carefully planned and utilised in every way possible.

Winter is by far my favourite time of year. I love everything about it – the quiet bank, the frost covered rods, and that early morning brew as the lake stands silently still looking straight back at me with rising steam as far as the eye can see. Awesome. But the sight of my quarry staring at me from the mesh in all its beautiful winter splendour will continue to pull me back no matter what Mother Nature throws at me. The fact is that the winter is ignored by so many anglers, but that just makes it more special. Dedication and determination are what carry me through the long dark sessions with freezing fingers and freezing toes, and the dream of cradling my target fish for that very special trophy shot. I have had my best memories during this magnificent time of year and also some of my greatest hauls. As I write this piece the clocks are due to go back and the first severe frost is just days away – it’s arrived and I can hardly wait.

One from the Nene Valley Pit – that’s why I will be travelling. Stunning!

Last winter proved to be a huge success and I fully intend on improving my catch rate by learning from the blanks and making the little tweaks needed to bank those extra fish. I have three venues to fish this year as apposed to just two the previous. I live in Middlesbrough so not the most prolific part of the country for any Carp let alone big fish. I have been fishing down in the Nene Valley quite a bit and this is a 400 mile round trip, OUCH! But this is what I have to do if I want to get among the real biggies and I will continue fishing this water through the winter months as I know it throws up a few fish in the depths of winter.  This is of huge importance as I need to have a realistic chance when travelling this far in poor conditions.

Minus10 that morning – no excuses!

The lake is 25 acres and has a good stock of 30 and 40 pound Carp, enough to keep the determination and heart needed to make the 3 hour drive. This will be my first choice winter venue however, you always need a back up water or two for when the weather is really bad and the lakes are carrying ice. I have two waters within an hour of my home which are awesome winter waters. One is spring fed so very rarely freezes, and the other has a huge stock of 20 pound Carp. I have taken some unbelievable captures from these venues over the last two winters, and will continue to fish them both when the Nene Valley Pit is un-fishable. These venues will also be used when I only have 24 hours to fish as its just to far to the Valley for one night, and this will help me keep the fire burning by bagging a few fish from my local

Rods out

I will leave it there for now until my first winter session down in the Valley which falls next week, and I know there are some real biggies due out. With the poor weather due to move in at the weekend, most will be hanging their rods up until the spring, but this is just the start of my new exciting winter adventure, watch this space

Be Lucky

Mick Price

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2 Responses to Winter Wonderland

  1. Graeme Simkins says:

    Hello Mick,

    This will be the first year I fish right through the winter. Could you give me some tips on baiting etc please. I will be fishing Lily Fisheries’ Hasse Fen. Other anglers on the lake tell me the Carp shut down during winter but I wonder if that just seems to be the case because its barely fished November to March?
    I’ve got my clothing, bivvy etc sorted and I don’t intend to change my rigs but any baiting suggestions would be gratefully received.



    • Mick Price says:

      Hi Graeme,

      I’ve never been to this particular venue before but have read up on it and checked out the website. The first thing I would say is that all Carp will feed in the winter, FACT. Some lakes will fish better than others and this is down to a number of things; fish stocks, depth, area, size, and most importantly, angling pressure. The biggest tip I can give you is to do your homework with regards to previous winter captures as to where they came from last year.

      Looking on the website the lake has massive depth changes from 4ft down to 20ft which means the Carp will certainly be moving around from deep to shallow areas, depending on the conditions. I would stick to what works and bait both a shallow swim and a deep one keeping your options open for when you arrive. I tend to bait really heavily before I go home and stick with bags or a light scattering of bait when actually fishing.

      Another winter edge which must not be ignored is maggots. Give them a whirl and only time will tell if this is the right approach, but they certainly won’t harm your swim. Keeping the bait going in is a must, and rod hours are vital. If you can visit the lake a couple of times a week to just keep the bait trickling in on your chosen spots then it’s only a matter of time till it comes right. This venue has a fantastic head of big Carp and I’m certain this approach will work for you.

      Best of luck and let me know how you get on.

      Mick Price

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