I am now using my winter tactics to fish for carp. With the water temperatures dropping into the 30's and ice forming along many of the shorelines (especially in the mornings), a different approach is needed to coax sluggish winter carp into hitting.
Think small and light. At this time of year I always use sweet corn. Unlike other times of the year I go with a small hair on a small hook (#8). I usually thread just two pieces of sweet corn on the hair (see photo at left). I also rarely use a method ball at this time of year. If you are fishing areas without current, go with a smaller sinker like a quarter ounce steel egg sinker.
I also sometimes really change things around in the winter as I did the other day. I will often use a very light rod ( 9 foot noodle steelhead rod) along with a baitrunner reel that is spooled with just 8 lb. test monofilament line. I will use a small sinker and a foot long monofilament leader (8 lb test line). At the end I will tie on a #12 hook and just hook a couple of pieces of sweet corn (yup, no hair rig). That super light set-up can work exceptionally well with finicky winter fish. Of course, you might find yourself in trouble with this super light set-up if you hook a big fish.
Today I got out on a real cold morning and found ice along the shore everywhere I went. I did, however, manage to bank half a dozen carp as the weather warmed in the afternoon using the winter techniques described above. One of those fish one was a magnificent 20 lb. mirror, a real good size winter fish (see photo at right).