few nights a week and we were really going to let them have it on the boilie front. We even left a fair amount of bait for fishery manager Roy to trickle in for us in a certain area so the fish would get used to our freebies. Well, I wish I could say it was an extended winter campaign, but on the second trip my mate only went and nailed Cut Tail over 41lb and that was that! He was on Cloud 9 and wasn't really bothered about carrying on the campaign, and I didn't fancy doing three 18-hour nights a week on my own. What this episode proved is that if you suit your approach to a water that responds well to it, results can be astounding. If you look at anglers like Ian Chillcott, who openly admits to using more bait in the winter than the summer, that should tell you that not all carp go into a state of torpor when the water temperature drops.Moving on to the other lakes at Linear, St Johns can be very hit and miss due to angling pressure, but in winter it can be a real ball-breaker. I don't tend to bother unless the fish have been seen showing by other anglers or when Roy's been on his rounds, but I would love to have a go on the zigs on there in the winter. I think if I found the depths the carp were sitting at, a real big hit would be on the cards. It just takes guts to slog it out on three bits of foam hung at various heights off the deck when it's minus 3ºC! These days only the most hardy (or foolhardy) anglers seem prepared to brave the elements. I suppose I'm somewhere between wuss and hard man, in that I do fish at this time of year. What I don't do, though, is punish myself in Siberian conditions for nights on end. Instead I'll choose a water close to home that suits my style, and fish mainly day sessions. However, if I do want to do a couple of nights in the winter Linear Fisheries in Oxford is top of my list. I've been fishing Linear for nearly 10 years now, and not only are the lakes run on an open access day-ticket basis, but several of them offer you the perfect choice for a winter's day or even a few nights. Linear offers a real mixed bag, from waters like Manor (which does have good winter form, even on boilies) right through to the much newer Brasenose 1 and 2. These will respond to a variety of tactics, but most of my success on these runs waters is on maggots or solid bags punched out into the middle of the pits.I always approach Linear with a plan. But because there are so many lakes to choose from this plan needs to be flexible and take into account the weather, angling pressure, and whether or not a lake is producing fish regularly. Try and do a bit of homework - take a look on Linear's very informative website, or tap into the various forums. I know the complex very well, and can say for certain that a boilie-only approach will work well on the Manor but can be useless on St Johns. A good few years ago a mate and I put in some time on Manor through the cold months until the lakes froze up. We were aiming on doing a UKCARP MAGAZINE 61 JANUARY 3RD 2012Sticking out boilies ready to fish a choddie over the top. Just a small part of the Linear Complex.
SOLID BAG FOR WINTER 1Using the filling tool, introduce an inch of bag mix before adding the rig.2Slowly fill the bag, checking that the lead is always sitting centrally.3Tighten and tie the bag, then stick the corners down to make it aerodynamic.for a couple of nights it could be well worth exploring a little with a marker rod. What still amazes me about the Brasenose pits is that anglers still turn up in winter and fill the swim full of bait. Brasenose carp learn how to deal with certain situations a lot quicker than on lakes with half the number of anglers.So there you have it, a little insight into the most varied lake complex in the UK, and certainly one with good winter form. Go with a plan but don't dig your heels in and stick to it just because you are reluctant to change. Somewhere on Linear those carp will be very catchable all year round - just do your homework. I have caught from Hunts Corner in the past when it's been freezing - admittedly nothing huge, but that's not what I'm about in the winter.Oxlease is now returning to the form it showed before the floods of 2007 hit Oxford, and big thirties are a common sight again. I've done well spodding maggots over small bright pop-ups in solid bags on here in the past, and after Manor I'd put Oxlease as my next favourite Linear winter water. The final two we'll look at are the Brasenose waters. Both 1 and 2 contain a massive head of well catchable fish, and B1 is lends itself to casting to showing fish with solid bags, sticks and zigs. The same approaches will work on B2, but this one is a lot more egg-boxed than B1 in its topography, so if you're there UKCARP MAGAZINE 62 JANUARY 3RD 2012A long, lean Linear carp caught in winter.PLANNINGA small in-line lead fished drop-off style. A very short bag rig with a balanced pop-up. "Brasenose carp won't simply crawl up your rods"