Tips for Winter Fishermen

Anglers like to fish all year round and the cold winter weather is no obstacle!  While fishing in summer conjures up images of spending lazy days in the glorious sunshine, fishing in winter requires a whole different approach.

There are many different species that are ideal to fish in winter, so if you're an inexperienced angler, make sure you research this before setting off on your trip, so you know the best bait and rods to take with you.


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Winter species

Before you set off, study the fish you might expect to find and equip yourself accordingly. This may sound obvious, but it's surprising how many anglers go after the wrong species and return home disappointed.

You'll have the best chance of success if you're something of an all-rounder, with the equipment and skills to catch several different species. If your usual targets aren't biting, broaden your horizons and aim to attract more common winter-feeding fish including chub, grayling, pike, dace, roach, or perch.

Prepare properly

Once you've set your target, prepare yourself properly for the cold conditions. The best time to go in winter is in the afternoon, as this is when the majority of the fish are most likely to be feeding. The first few hours after dark can also be a good time, as some fish may feel more confident feeding under cover of darkness - that doesn't mean the fish won’t bite at daybreak and other times, there just might not be as many and it's preferable to enjoy a lie-in rather than having an unsuccessful spell on the riverbank at dawn!

Make sure you have the correct clothing to combat the cold weather – the layering approach is advisable, starting with your base layer of thermal underclothes. Be prepared to keep warm and keep out of the rain where possible – equipping yourself with a portable shelter and chair is a good idea at this time of year.

Tackle and hook

The fish tend to be more lethargic in colder temperatures, when there's also less underwater vegetation. This means you may be able to use lighter tackle with some success, so it's possible to scale down your hook, line and bait.

It can pay to add a strong-smelling flavouring to your bait to help attract fish. Try turmeric or curry powder to your maggots or bait, as both the smell and bright orange-yellow colouring will help attract them. Any spice is worth trying and there are plenty to choose from.

Many anglers rig up the same as they would during the summer, but with everything scaled down. This means smaller hook sizes and line diameters, with a lighter breaking strain. In a commercial fishing area, it can be as low as a 3lb mainline and a 2lb hook length. On a canal, a 1.5lb mainline and a 1lb hook length should suffice.

When you're pole or float fishing, ensure you use a sensitive float. Fish bites can be hard to detect so it's best to use a rod with a soft quiver tip or a swing tip. Most anglers' choice for bait in winter is maggots and worms. Pinkies and squats can also be used successfully as a winter bait, as they are smaller than maggots and are ideal as hook bait for fine wire hooks.

When planning a fishing trip, make sure you use only the best tackle boxes. Solent Plastics' range of "reely" good storage solutions for fishing trips include containers for bait, fishing rods and tackle and other fishing equipment, such as folding seats and portable shelters.

You might also want to check out our marine and waterproof storage boxes and trunks that are available in a variety of sizes. Contact us on 01794 514478 for further help and advice.