Veteran UK carp angler Dave Lane has spent many a long winter on the bank, in the worst conditions possible in his full-time quest for carp. It’s not always easy, and winter can be a challenging time, even for the very best angler. Find out which carp fishing tackle essentials help Dave get through his grueling long haul winter sessions.
1. The proper kit for the job.
The big difference between winter carp fishing in recent times, compared to yesteryear, is the level of comfort we are now able to achieve.
This is a huge bonus and a major contributing factor to the increased amounts of fish that now get caught during the months that we used to write off as being worthless.
The availability of decent thermal fishing clothing, boots, twin skinned bivvies and sleeping bags that can keep you warm regardless of the outside temperature, have made winter fishing actually enjoyable, rather than just an exercise in survival.
This leads to more time on the bank and more fish in the net.
With fifteen hours of darkness per day in mid-winter it becomes essential to be able to actually see in the dark.
Just one trendy, red bulbed and dim head torch may seem very ‘carpy’ but the reality is you will find yourself in situations where that just isn’t enough.
This is not only on a comfort level, but on a safety and efficiency one as well.
I have three different types of fishing head torch and two bivvy lights, obviously not all on at once I hasten to add, but all there and charged should I need them.
If I catch a fish in the middle of the night I will take it away from the water’s edge and use a powerful head torch to ensure that the hook is removed safely, the fish retainer is fastened correctly and there are no unseen stones or brambles or other foreign objects in the sling or mat.
If I am setting up for night-time photography then I also want to be able to see what I am doing and not scrabbling about in the dark for the camera remote or adjusting the camera settings by the light of my phone.
Inside the bivvy I may need to tie a fresh rig, or just rebait the one I have, and I want a decent light level for this, even if it means putting down the door for a few minutes while I do so.
Back up torches are an essential item of kit, they are inexpensive and can save a session if the primary light fails, is dropped in the water, trodden on or just gives up the ghost.
3. A decent set of binoculars.
If you haven’t ever tried using binoculars in the dark then you have been missing out.
A front lens of 50mm will gather a huge amount of light, far more than the naked eye, perfect for confirming if that last big splash was a bird or a carp.
They are also handy on a pitch black night for picking out the far bank markers before you re-cast, just to confirm that that indistinct shadow is really the tree you thought it was, the one you are supposed to be aiming at.
4. Zig fishing kit.
I would never even consider winter angling without the ability to fish zigs if needed.
I have changed my whole mind set over the past five years, about where I think the carp are within the water table during cold weather.
I am not saying it’s the best method all of the time, because it isn’t, but I will always make sure I have the correct line, hooks and foam to give it a go.
5. My kindle or I Pad.
Boredom is a killer on a winter’s session, it’s all well and good when people say you should spend the whole time watching the water but, during those interminably long nights, that isn’t actually realistic and will only lead you to getting cold and miserable.
A good book will while away some of those hours of darkness and you can still hear if a fish jumps; this winter I have decided to try and write a good book rather than read them so most of my ‘downtime’ has been spent tapping away on the keyboard of my pad.