Rob Phipps – Winter Approach

My winter angling approach..but where to start.?    

I suppose coming out of late autumn I’d already set my plans on targeting a particular part of my club water (The Fenrod), an area with reasonably deep margins and plenty of snags that seem to hold the carp in.

It’s an area I’d constantly see carp in and out of so I really wanted to put the time in here throughout the winter months. With this commitment made I invested a couple of afternoon hours having a good probe about with a bare lead to find a few nice spot’s to wrap up to making my shorter day sessions that much easier.
The first session came from an early finish from work just before the Christmas period, it had been absolutely chucking it down and the water level was up over the peg but I was dying to wet a line so it was game on.! After clipping the two rods up in no time they were out and exactly where I wanted them, a scattering of UltraNut over the top and I was feeling as confident as I could ever be. Next job was kettle on and time for a brew, got to keep warm on these winter sessions! I was sat back chatting with the wife on Facetime and out of nowhere my stow absolutely slammed up in to the blank and the rod bent right around with me fishing locked up.! It was full on panic mode for a second and my heart was pounding, this fish was not happy it was hooked and absolutely beat me up for the first part of the fight, after somehow gaining some sort of composure we had an epic battle and I slipped the net under a lovely dark character.

This session and report went on to win me the Korda weekly winterhero.!      I was in the car on the way home and already thinking about my session the next weekend and hoping the area would be free again. After packing the barrow as quickly as possible I was off to go and luckily enough the peg was empty..armed with two ronnies, one with the Squid & Plum midi wafter and the other a trimmed down UltraNut wafter topped with a small piece of slow sinking corn, they were clipped up and out on the money once again. With not long to wait I was in to my first fish of the session which turned out to be a lovely apple sliced mirror.! A quick hook change and swapped both rods to the UltraNut lead to another two fish that session for me.! It seems a small pouch of the UltraNut catapulted over the top every now and then was tripping them up. Now it was definitely the way I wanted to attack the winter months.!

After a lovely Christmas with the family I was itching to get myself back on the bank for a session before the dreaded back to work blues kicked in, an early alarm set and I was off to go..arriving early I went for a quick walk around incase the fish had gotten on a new wind and headed up the top end of the lake, with no signs of fish I was heading straight back to where I really wanted to be. As per usual wrap the rods up and get them out.! This session was a lot colder than the last couple so I went in with trimmed UltraNut wafters with a small piece of pink corn on both, instead of the usual scattering of boilies I opted for small mesh bags of crumbed UltraNut in the hope it would pinch a bite from a passing carp..turns out that’s exactly what it did and it was a brute of a carp named the ‘unit’. This 30lb+ common absolutely beat me up right till the very end and I genuinely have never been so relieved to get one in the net.!

After a short week back in work and my wife and daughter busy that coming Saturday it was straight back to the lake for me..with the temperatures still low I just hit repeat from the weekend gone and didn’t want much free food out there for them, a few hours went by without even a bleep so a recast and a change over to the Almond special midi wafter on one and the Squid & Plum on the other..within the hour I was away with a lovely 26lb+ common falling to the Almond.! This time I was lucky enough to share the moment with one of the boys who was walking by (cheers Marcus for the pics of this one).

After a week off through family commitments I managed to get myself back on the back the weekend after, horrid fishing conditions with extremely high pressure, very cold and sunny intervals. That said I will take any bank time I can get so it was a rethink on how to go about it. I ended up putting one out on a zig with black foam and the other on a ronnie with the Squid & Plum wafter just fished as a single. Very quiet morning to be honest but out of nowhere an absolute rattler of a take on the single to my surprise.! Another great battle and my reward was a lovely coloured common in the net.!

(ronnie rig with a Squid & Plum midi wafer fished on a lead clip with the 3oz dumpy distance from Alpha leads)      Another break from the bank to celebrate the wife’s birthday and nice and refreshed I was heading up the lake for a quick night after work on a Friday, I’d managed to get myself on a night peg next to the one I’d been fishing in the days so I was hoping to be close enough to get in on a bit of action. I went in with solid bags for this session filled with the bag mix pellet and a Squid & Plum mini wafter. Both rods out on their spots and a very quiet evening ahead..I’d nodded off and early hours of the morning the only alarm I like to hear was in full motion, up and out with 1 boot on and in a complete daze for a minute I was finally in to a fish, one that turned out to be………..a cricket bat common.! Each way it was a bite and I hadn’t blanked. After a quick recast I was back in my bivvy just thinking how much better I’d feel with my rods out next door. This in my mind I was getting itchy feet and had to get packed up and moved at first light.! Once back in the other peg everything just felt right for me and sure enough within a couple of hours I was in to a better fish.! The battle was every bit as good as this carp looked and a first starburst scaled mirror for me. Absolutely stunning fish going 23lb+. It really does show that putting the effort in to move can get you your reward.

I suppose this brings me on to my final part of this article where I’d got myself up for another day session and certainly one to remember.! The conditions were absolutely spot on for a bite but absolutely atrocious for fishing with solid bags, it was chucking it down through most of the session and a stern wind to go with it.! I still felt the bags were my best chance of a bite so stuck with it, managed to get both out exactly where I wanted them first cast so all was going well. Things got even better when the rod bent around just a few minutes after some savage liners, I was in to something heavy that didn’t want to give any line back..after a very nerving and shaky fight I’d slipped my net under something very special, it was the stunning ’slate grey’ coming in at 31lb 10oz and I was absolutely buzzing.! This was one I’ve wanted since joining the water.!

(My solid bag rig constructed with 20lb dark matter braid, size 4 Kurv, 3oz drop off inline from Alpha leads and the all important Squid & Plum mini wafter)
   After sending all my catch reports, pictures etc to Korda for the winter hero competition I’ve had a complete shock to be tagged by them on Instagram saying I’ve gone on to win the whole thing.!! So in all I have truly had an amazing winter and hopefully I’ll go in to spring in the same way, after all #confidenceisCRucial
Thanks for reading and tight lines all.!!