END TACKLEUKCARP MAGAZINE 6 JANUARY 3RD 2012SCALING DOWN FOR WINTERClear, cool water in winter requires some tactical changes to your tackle and bait approach, says Korda's Darrell Peck
UKCARP MAGAZINE 7 JANUARY 3RD 2012Scaling down your end tackle can put more fish on bank for you this winter. It is a tactic that match anglers use to great effect and a method that we can also benefit from. The idea is to drop the size of everything from hook to line in order to create a less obtrusive rig.During cold weather, the water clarity of many of our lakes will dramatically improve once the lake's temperature drops. The sudden improvement in clarity is often down to the lake's ecosystem slowing down. As the lake cools, the pond life such as algae will slowly die off and the lake will begin to settle. This is more apparent on some lakes than others, but on waters that are affected it can become much harder to get a bite.It's not just increased water clarity makes scaling down such good sense. The fish are considerably less aggressive in their feeding once it's cold. During the warmer months, carp rely on much longer feeding spells to keep their bodies fuelled. This is different during the winter, though, and carp feed much less heavily. When the carp are feeding slowly their ability to sense a rig in their mouth is heightened. This is something that we need to combat.So, water clarity and modified feeding behaviour should be taken into account when approaching your lake this winter. There are ways to make sure that these issues don't affect your catches and things really can improve once changes have been made.Something that will take its toll within both coloured and clear water are reduced feeding levels. It doesn't matter where you are fishing this winter, the carp will feed less frequently and at the same time, more cautiously. By simply scaling your end tackle down a bit you can make the carp far less likely to suss your rig out.HOOKLINK A good start would be to consider using thinner, more supple hooklink materials. When a carp takes your bait into its mouth the hooklink follows. If your hooklink is a little wiry to the touch, then it is more likely that the carp will feel it and eject the rig.Using an uncoated length of braid is the most effective way to conquer this problem. Something like Supernatural is ideal - it is very supple and will be almost impossible to detect.It goes a little against what I have just said about braids, but the use of fluorocarbon hooklinks is also worth a go. Something like an IQ and Supernatural combi-rig will be ideal, but so too will a standard knotless knot. The real strength of a fluorocarbon hooklink lies in its ability to virtually disappear. This comes into its own in clear, cold water. It's not just its ability to disappear that can help - its anti-eject properties are more than helpful too. The heavier breaking strains of fluorocarbon are quite stiff and this will give the carp problems when trying to eject the bait. That in turn should lead to Boilie crumb coupled with a bright bait is a great attractor in the cold, and it can be deadly.Darrell is rigged for the cold as well...A thin mono or fluoro mainline will score well in clear water conditions.Small, hi-attract baits will score well in the winter.In clear water try a leader made from 20lb IQ Soft or a clear Safezone Leader.PVA sticks of boilie crumb will give off a lot of attraction yet little food, an ideal situation during the winter months."Carp are more than capable of noticing lines and this problem is worsened by a lack of colour in the water"