By Zak Taylor
During the winter the carp are going to be looking for warmth, whether it be a thermal layer of water or an area where the sun will be on the water the longest. I always avoid any windswept areas as the cold wind will be making that area slightly colder and it only takes a single degree to make a difference, so for me finding the warmer areas in winter is key.
Once I’ve found the right area I will ping out some singles on different spots using a very high attract bait from Advanced Hook Baits on a hinged stiff rig and if that doesn't produce the goods then I would turn to zigs in case they are up in the thermal layers keepingwarm and not very interested in feeding so by having a zig out, I've got a much higher chance of a take.
Early mornings I will find a much shallower area where the sun will hit the water first making it warm the water much faster and therefore the carp will want to be in that early sun in the shallow water, but if your water doesn't have shallow areas then I would find the area of water that the sun will hit first and fish zigs in the upper layers.
As we come into spring the carp are going to start moving about a lot more and will start patrolling the margins, reedbeds, islands and areas where they will find natural food such as insects and any other natural food sources that reside in the lake. If you can find a bloodworm bed then your laughing as this will be one of the most visited food sources you can find in your lake.
Fresh weed growth is always a winner for me as the carp will be grazing on this as soon as it starts to show, so it's always good to lead around looking for fresh weed growth.
When it comes to fishing in weed it has to be a fresh weed bed for me, one that's not too deep and full of natural food sources. I would more than happily cast a chod or a hinge stiff rig into the weed using a heli setup with the bead set right back up my leader and the front bead about a foot away from the lead then I know my rig is always fishing over the weed, then just trickle some chopped baits over the top so that they settle nice and slowly on top of the weed, if you were to use whole boilies for this, they will sink through the weed and that's what you don't want.
I also like to use black zigs in spring imitating tadpoles, this can be a deadly method as there will be times where the carp are tuned in to hunting the tadpoles rather than eating man made bait.
Bait wise I wouldn't use a lot of bait maybe 15 boilies over each rod and making sure I'm feeding a good soluble feed bait like the cell, I would always rake some spots to get the old weed out then bait over the top if there is a lot of dead weed about.