Staying power: This is a crucial part of any winter campaign, it depends where you fish, and I’ll only speak for myself here, but you have to be prepared for a tough ride. Winters can be harsh, particularly if you’re targeting a lake that’s hard during the warmer months. You have to stick to your guns and keep fishing, a half-hearted attempt will rarely see you succeed. The winters are often quiet, but quiet for a reason, the fishing is hard – you have to accept this and push for a result. When the results do come, they’re all the sweeter.
The desire: If you’re going to do it, you have to want it, and want it bad. This applies to any serious campaign, at any time of year, but more so in the winter. In order to fish well, and catch carp, you have to give it 100%. Having a true desire to achieve what you’re setting out to do is so important – if it means enough to you, you’ll push through the hard times with ease. If you’re there for the sake of it, just because you can be, it’s not the one. I’d much rather fish easy lakes for the winter, than sit somewhere blanking for the sake of it.
Adaptability: There’s no telling how you’ll catch fish during the winter, and every lake is different. What works in the summer may not work during the winter, and this is often the case in my eyes. You need to be able to adapt your approach according to what is necessary at the time. If you’re an adaptable angler, with many strings to your bow, the small windows of opportunity will be easier to grab. Bites will be hard to come by, most of the time, but couple this with a one-sided approach and you’re probably going to struggle. It’s not just the winter that this will be the case, the more adaptable you are, the more you’ll catch at any time of year. Learning new things, and ways of catching carp is priceless.
An open mind: I’ve seen carp caught in a whole manner of ways during winter, and sometimes they’ll do things or visit places that you might not expect. I’ve found that the only way to truly decide you’re on the right track is to catch carp. This might sound funny, but it’s all too easy to think you’re doing it right, when in reality you couldn’t be further from the truth. Location is absolutely crucial, and having the open mindedness to look in all areas, rather than just writing them off will pay its dues. By paying great attention to all areas, you may not learn that fish are there, but you’ll be able to categorically state that they’re not, which is just as valuable at times. I try not to expect too much, let the carp tell you exactly what needs to be done, and where to fish.
Attention to detail: A big thing at all times of year, but everything is heightened in winter, as it’s much easier to get it wrong. The smallest of signs can mean big things, investigating and logging the smallest bits of info will help you. Things that might get shrugged off during the summer, can be vital in the cold. The times of day that certain things happen, particularly the bites and areas in which carp are spotted, the effects of particular weather conditions, the birdlife, there’s so much to read into. When you’re up against it, which you always are, attention to detail towards these small things can be really helpful.