MIKE BRIDGES

Carpworld - - MAINLINE -

Age: 38 Favourite Venue: Welling­ton Coun­try Park UK PB: 48lb 10oz

Idon’t change my ap­proach or strat­egy re­ally, as my mind­set is and has al­ways been that old mantra of ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. I’ve al­ways re­mained con­sis­tent, what­ever fish­ery I’ve been on in early win­ter. How­ever, I feel a great deal of that is due to the lo­ca­tion as­pect. If I’m catch­ing con­sis­tently in the spring, sum­mer and au­tumn, then the early win­ter and be­yond should be no dif­fer­ent – but a lot of this re­lies on my hav­ing that pos­i­tive mind­set and be­lief.

If you can re­ally be­gin to un­der­stand and pin­point where the carp are fre­quent­ing more in early win­ter (and most im­por­tantly feed­ing) then your catch rate will stay con­sis­tent. They cer­tainly won’t be hug­ging those shal­low mar­gins as much, which is why your wa­ter­craft skills and knowl­edge re­ally come into their own. Try to lo­cate deeper silt which will con­tain an abun­dance of nat­u­rals. Ev­ery lake will have var­i­ous bays, gul­lies and deep holes if you look hard enough. There will be some­thing that at­tracts the carp into th­ese win­ter areas. You just need to crack the code, as such.

There is no doubt that we had an ex­cep­tional sum­mer

this year, and even now the wa­ter tem­per­a­tures are way above what they should be. This will en­sure that things carry on in the same vein in re­gards to mine and every­body else’s early win­ter mind­set, and it will cer­tainly en­sure that shal­lower lakes don’t shut up shop like they nor­mally do from the end of No­vem­ber on­wards. As and when the rules per­mit, I en­sure that my cho­sen food source con­tin­ues to go into the venue I’m fish­ing (two or three times per week, via a throw­ing stick) in or­der to keep the carp mov­ing and ul­ti­mately feed­ing. I think that’s the crit­i­cal as­pect to any kind of con­sis­tency once win­ter starts tak­ing hold. Things can be­come al­most im­pos­si­ble if that level of en­thu­si­asm doesn’t re­main.

One thing is for sure and that is that you cer­tainly can’t catch them at home. So wrap up with ad­e­quate cloth­ing, ap­ply some qual­ity bait you have the ut­most con­fi­dence in, and above all be safe.

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IMAGES1 - Find them and they will feed2 - Lo­cate that deep silt, as they will be look­ing for the nat­u­rals3 - The sea­sons are chang­ing but they are still there to be caught4 - Hav­ing con­fi­dence in your bait is para­mount 2

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