Target soft areas this winter

Target soft areas this winter

Nash's Matt Rhodes says it's time to think differently when the mercury plummets

As the fishery manager at Nash’s Royston day-ticket fishery I get to spend more time next to the water than most people, which allows me to follow the changing ways of the carp through the seasons.

One thing that has been very clear this autumn has been how the carp have changed the spots where they are feeding confidently as the water temperature has started to fall away. 

The carp switch attentions to softer areas as the temperature falls

The carp switch attentions to softer areas as the temperature falls

Through the summer months it was all about finding the hard spots. If you found a spot where the lead cracked down close to showing fish then it would be a dead cert for a bite. A light scattering of baits was all that was needed with little and often baiting definitely out-performing filling it in. 

Around the middle of October the carp subtly changed their behaviour. As with most day-ticket lakes the fish tend to show at night when most people are tucked up in bed and disturbance is at a minimum. Regular as clockwork, the carp had been showing close to the hard spots, but this changed. Now they were over more broken ground and deeper water. With bites hard to come by on the hard spots, I guessed it was time to try something different. 

A typical Royston 20-pounder for Matt

A typical Royston 20-pounder for Matt

Fortunately, my change in tactics worked a treat. A spread of the new Key Cray boilies would hopefully keep the fish looking for grub and my version of the multi rig would keep the hook popped up an inch and clear of any weed and chod.

Now, I only normally get to fish one or two nights a week, so it was a real confidence booster when the opening night fishing into the softer areas resulted in a cracking brace of twenties. 

So if you are struggling on your normally productive spots, have a look for some softer areas nearby, the fish may well be feeding up there on the millions of tiny invertebrates contained in the silt. One thing to remember though is it needs to be clean silt - if your lead or bait comes back smelling horrible then you are unlikely to catch. 

Fish spotting is best at dawn and dusk 

Fish spotting is best at dawn and dusk