A Day’s Winter Carping

As this is my first blog for Angling Lines I thought I’d start with a bit about me and my fishing background. I, Steve Bedford, started fishing aged 5 when my dad would take me fishing off the pier at the town of Donaghadee; we never caught anything but I really enjoyed it and from then on I was hooked on fishing. A few years later I moved back to the UK and started course fishing, starting out with a rod and reel and moving onto the pole, which I loved, this just made my passion for fishing grow. I am a strong believer that everyone who goes fishing, whether it be for carp, pike or match fishing should start out by course fishing. Not only does this give you the confidence to catch more/bigger fish but it also gives you the experience at handling fish and give you a respect for not only the fish but also other anglers.

My carp fishing started when I was about 26, I was fishing my local water Pilsworth Fishery on the small lodges. It was just a normal day fishing with my pole catching roach, rudd and bream when suddenly the float ripped away to my left under an over hanging tree, straight away I could tell this was something a bit special, after a 10 minute fight the fish gave up and started coming towards my landing net, soon going over the cord. I couldn’t believe it, my first carp and it was a nice little common, as I was fishing on my own I struggled taking a photo on my phone and carefully slipped it back in the lodge. From then on I was hooked on carp fishing, the pole went away and the carp rods came out.

I’ve learnt a lot over the years about fishing for carp and hopefully I can share some of that knowledge with whoever reads my blogs and at the very least I hope it’s a good read for someone. Anyway, enough of the past, lets bring you up to speed with what I have been doing this year. Due to work and family commitments I haven’t been able to get on the bank as much as I would have liked to this year, however, I have managed to get out a few times and have started my plans for next year. For the remainder of this year I plan to fish my usual lake at Bradshaw Hall Fisheries, Lake 2. I have had a fair bit of success on here throughout the years but next year I fancy a change.

Winter Carp Fishing Blog

Bradshaw Hall Fisheries, Lake 2


My most recent trip to Bradshaw was last week, I managed to squeeze a short session in on one of my days off work, the weather seemed to be good, the wind on the day I chose was set to change from a North Easterly to a Westerly wind with no rain forecast and the only downside was that the temperature on this day was set to be the lowest of the week. With all this in mind I took a trip to a local tackle shop and stocked up on some new boilies and PVA mix.

During the winter months Bradshaw is only open from 8am until 4pm and night fishing is not allowed, this combined with the fact that it is usually busy every day with tons of bait going in constantly I had to make sure that my bait was a little different from everyone else.

I arrived at the lake at around 9am, there were already 2 people on the lake in one of the usual hot pegs, but I managed to get to another hot peg on the other bank. I don’t normally get to pick this peg as its usually the first to go so my hopes for the day were high. Shortly after arriving and setting up I decided to fish my right hand rod about a third of the way out to where the fish are usually seen and caught, there wasn’t much in the way of fish showing today so this was my best guess. This rod was setup with PVA bags with a mix of 2mm and 4mm carp pellets that had been coated in a light drizzle of Mainline Baits Banoffee stick mix liquid the night before and mixed with some Mainline Baits Tiger nut stick mix. As for my hook bait, I decided to start with Korda slow sinking Fishy Fish plastic dumbell.

Winter Carp Fishing Blog

The mix


My left hand rod was setup on a running inline lead attached to my favourite D-Rig with Sticky baits Buchu Berry Dumbell Wafter, this was also cast about a third of the way out to the left of my swim. Both of the rods were followed by a scattering of Activ-8 Boilies. Shortly after casting out a few line bites followed but no other real interest.

At around 10:45 I decided to change my baits over as there was no real interest in my current baits, the left hand rod was changed over to my homemade slow sinking banoffee cell boilies and also moved to the left hand margin as this is usually where some of the lakes bigger fish are caught. The right hand rod was changed to Cell dumbells that had been soaked in Almond Goo and the PVA mid now included a splash of almond goo for extra attractant and to hopefully pull the fish closer in.

As the day went on the right hand rod in open water had a few more line bites but no real action. By mid day there was about 9 other people on the lake, considering the size of the lake (1.9 acres) that’s fairly busy and there were a lot of lines in the water. A few of the other people on the lake were fishing for silvers and there was even a guy opposite me using a spinner! Considering this is the main specimen carp lake of the fishery and there are no pike in there it seemed a bit odd.

I tried a few different baits during the day as I usually carry a fair selection of boilies but nothing seemed to work. As I spoke to some of the other anglers there it was apparent that no one had seen any carp or had any bites and that it seemed like the last few days were just as quiet. Not the best start to my new blog!

At around 4pm I decided enough was enough and I packed up. Unfortunately I got nothing this time but that doesn’t change my opinion on my baits, I usually see a lot of people on the bank and on forums complaining about certain baits when they go a session without catching on them, I am a strong believer that certain baits work better on some venues than others and that one day a certain bait might not catch much but on another day it will do really well. For my next session I will try to the same baits again and hopefully on the same peg just to make sure I give them a fair trial.

The weather wasn’t in my favour on this session but I guess that’s the same with all winter carping, the main thing is to not give up and keep trying, winter carp are a little bit more special than summer carp as they are harder to catch and are usually at their premium weight this side of winter ready for the colder months.

For my next blog I plan on explaining some of the rigs and baits I use and show you how to make them. To me, catching fish on homemade baits and rigs is a lot more satisfying than using shop bought gear, I’m sure if you try it too then you will agree.

Steve Bedford

For more winter carping articles click here


2 thoughts on “A Day’s Winter Carping

  1. Shaun Harrison says:

    Try dropping those pellets out of your mix Steve. Carp really struggle to digest oily pellet in the winter and because of this it stops them feeding again so soon. Eating a lot of pellet at this time of the year is very harmful to the fish with the chances of it going rancid inside them with them not able to break it down and pass it through their system. Not only that but you will be pushing very little attraction out with them anyway as the oil/fat tends to congeal in the colder months similar to the fat in a cold frying pan.

    If you really want to use pellet choose one with the lowest oil content you can find. I appreciate there isn’t a lot going into a stick mix etc but if everyone is putting a bit in…

    Plus like I say the pellet doesn’t really give off any feed stimulation signals during the colder weather. There are plenty of far more attractive (to the carp) products that will work far more effectively in cold water. Simple broken boilie will replace the pellet whilst you explore other avenues but again choose a boilie with as little oil and fat content as you can for maximum cold water attraction.

  2. Steve Bedford says:

    Hi Shaun,
    Thanks for reading, those pellets were low oil content, they didn’t really impress me at all, I will stick to boilie crumb for the rest of the winter. I did try boilie crumb at Bradshaw fishery a fait bit this year but it never got as much interest as pellets, hopefully my target water for next year will respond better, fingers crossed!

    The main reason for the mix I used was at the recommendation of a local tackle shop, I guess given the right conditions and less angling pressure on the water it would do better.
    Tight lines,

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