I'm now using my winter tactics on most outings even though the temperature today was a beautiful 65 degrees. The water is definitely cooling and the nights are much longer signaling a change in tactics. It has been working since I am picking up a few fish here and there like the mirror I landed today (see photo).
Here are some ideas on a winter approach:
1. Go small....small hooks (I am using a Tiemco 2457 #8), small bait ( I am using only two kernels of corn on the hair, see photo), small hooklinks and the smallest sinker you can use to get the bait out to where you want to cast. Carp tend to get lethargic in the wintertime and smaller is often better.
2. If you use a method ball, go smaller. Sometimes I don't even use it and make out just as well.
3. Two baits that are very effective in the late fall and winter are small doughballs and sweet corn. No need to worry about pests since they are pretty much dormant right now.
4. On cold days I like to fish the warmest part of the day, say noon to three. However, realize that carp will still hit on warm nights (check out Kevin Wasliewski's Dark Carping blog at www.carpteamri.blogspot.com ).
5. I like to continue to prebait, but not at the same level as in the earlier months.
6. Focus on small spots like small ponds, canals and small rivers. Carp tend to bunch up in the winter and small places are far easier to find them and far more manageable than big spots.
7. Keep fishing until the ice comes. It remains productive, but realize you will not catch the same numbers you were getting in the warmer months.