Steve Ringer re­veals his top 10 tips for win­ter pole fish­ing – try them now

How to keep the F1s and carp com­ing as the tem­per­a­tures drop

Angling Times (UK) - - CONTENTS -


POLEFISHING in the cold is all about try­ing to get fish to drop down onto the bot­tom to feed and there is no bet­ter way to do so than with a sprinkle pot.

The beauty of a sprinkle pot is that you can feed very small amounts of bait on a reg­u­lar ba­sis with­out hav­ing to keep ship­ping back in and out to do so.

The idea with feed­ing just one or two mag­gots or five or six mi­cro pel­lets is that any fish in the area see the bait fall­ing through the wa­ter and then fol­low it down to feed.

F1s in par­tic­u­lar re­spond re­ally well to this ap­proach. Quite of­ten if the fish­ing is hard I will fill the pot full of mi­cros and just keep tap­ping a few out ev­ery 60 sec­onds or so. This is a great way of mak­ing some­thing hap­pen as op­posed to wait­ing for it to do so.


POLE pot po­si­tion is, with­out doubt, one of the most im­por­tant things to get right when fish­ing for F1s.

It never ceases to amaze me when I see an­glers who just slide a pot on and start fish­ing.

F1 fish­ing is all about feed­ing small amounts of bait and keep­ing ev­ery­thing tight, some­thing you can’t do if your pole pot is 6ins back from your tip!

If your pot is 6ins back then ev­ery time you feed your hook­bait is at least 6ins away from the loose­feed. While you might get away with this when carp fish­ing, you won’t when tar­get­ing F1s.

The op­ti­mum po­si­tion for a pole-mounted pot is right on the pole tip. This way you know you are feed­ing right on top of your float and con­cen­trat­ing the fish where you want them.


WHEN tar­get­ing carp and F1s in the cold a re­ally ef­fec­tive trick is to start new swims away from my ini­tial area.

Of­ten I’ll catch five or six fish from a spot be­fore it dies, usu­ally be­cause the fish have spooked and moved. The prob­lem is that they rarely come back and so you need to go chas­ing around your swim to find them. This is where half-ex­ten­sions, or dolly butts as they’re also known, come into their own.

When fish move they don’t go far, so mov­ing just 0.5m is more of­ten than not far enough to put you back in touch with the shoal.

A half-ex al­lows you to move quickly, ef­fi­ciently and ac­cu­rately.


WIN­TER polefishing is all about mak­ing the fish ‘have it’ as op­posed to sit­ting and wait­ing for a bite.

If you sat be­hind me polefishing I think you would be stag­gered at how much I move the hook­bait. I do this pri­mar­ily by lift­ing and drop­ping the rig.

Lift­ing and drop­ping ba­si­cally in­volves lift­ing the float any­thing from 3ins to 12ins clear of the wa­ter and low­er­ing it back down again slowly. This move­ment causes the hook­bait to rise and fall in the wa­ter, some­thing which fish of­ten find im­pos­si­ble to re­sist, and bites tend to come just as the float set­tles again.

Quite of­ten you can sit with­out a sign with a mo­tion­less float, only to lift and drop and get a bite im­me­di­ately, that’s how ef­fec­tive that lit­tle bit of move­ment can be.


ONE thing is for sure, when the wa­ter goes cold and clear, any sort of cover – es­pe­cially rush beds, aer­a­tors, or even struc­tures like bridges – will hold carp and F1s.

When it comes to tar­get­ing them, I al­ways fish just off the cover to start with and try and pick up a cou­ple of ‘easy’ fish.

Once the early bites stop I sim­ply move closer and closer to the cover, pick­ing fish off as I go.

When I say you have to go tight to the cover, I do mean tight – this of­ten means rest­ing your float against an aer­a­tor for in­stance.


A TRICK which has served me well when F1 fish­ing is to take both pel­lets and mag­gots, and al­ways start by fish­ing with pel­lets.

Pel­lets are very much an in­stant bait for F1s and will give you a fast start. I’ll usu­ally stick with them for chas­ing fish around up to the three hour mark, be­fore mak­ing the im­por­tant switch to mag­gots.

The dif­fer­ence with mag­gots is that the fish al­ways seem to feed prop­erly on them, as in they get their heads down and you won’t need to move around your swim.

It there­fore makes sense to fish mag­gots late as that’s when the F1s tend to want to feed, nor­mally as the light starts to drop.


AS far as open wa­ter pole fish­ing goes, the best bit of ad­vice I can give you is that if you’re strug­gling for bites then ‘go long’! When the wa­ter is cold and clear and the carp don’t re­ally want to feed they will push out from the bank to where they feel safe.

When I used to fish Makins Phase One in the win­ter when it was rock hard the best way to catch a carp or two was al­ways on the long pole, nor­mally 16m if the wind al­lowed.

When I went long, I’d feed just enough bait to catch one fish and wait, then re­peat the process.


A LINE I al­ways like to put in at this time of the year is a short pole corn line. In the warmer months this would be a meat line, but at this time of year it is all about corn.

With the wa­ter be­ing clear I feel that corn of­fers that bit more vis­i­bil­ity, mak­ing it a lot more ef­fec­tive.

The se­cret to the short corn line is the feed­ing and I won’t start putting any bait in un­til two hours to go. Even then I will feed it purely by hand if pos­si­ble.

Lit­tle and of­ten is the key and I’ll flick four to six grains out ev­ery two min­utes, work­ing on the same prin­ci­ple as the sprinkle pot, bank­ing on the bait fall­ing through the wa­ter draw­ing the fish in.

Most peo­ple make the mis­take of dump-pot­ting corn in, and this just isn’t as ef­fec­tive once the wa­ter goes clear – keep it drip­ping in.


AF­TER spend­ing a lot of time mag­got fish­ing for F1s it be­came re­ally ap­par­ent was that hook­bait choice made a big dif­fer­ence, and two mag­gots on the hook al­ways seemed to be bet­ter than one.

Most an­glers, how­ever, tended to just fish two red mag­gots whereas I al­ways found adding a lit­tle bit of colour made a huge dif­fer­ence, and seemed to get more bites fish­ing a red and a white mag­got.

I’m sure that in the clear wa­ter the white mag­got stood out that lit­tle bit bet­ter than the red but by com­bin­ing the two I was get­ting the best of both worlds so don’t be afraid to mix it up with your bait colours in the win­ter.


OVER the last few years I’ve be­come a mas­sive fan of fluoro­car­bon in cold, clear wa­ter as I be­lieve it gives me an edge, es­pe­cially when I am tar­get­ing no­to­ri­ously clever fish such as F1s.

I use a 4ins hook-length of 0.10mm Pure Fluoro­car­bon and this is at­tached loop to loop to my main­line of 0.13mm Guru N-Gauge.

Hook choice for mag­got fish­ing is a size 18 Guru F1 mag­got hook which is a light­weight pat­tern per­fect for this type of fish­ing.

A sprinkle pot is a great way to feed in win­ter. Get your pot as close as pos­si­ble to the pole tip.

Use a half-ex to chase mov­ing fish. Lift and drop your rig in the cold.

You might have to go very tight to any cover.

When you start to strug­gle it’s worth go­ing long.

Chuck out a few grains ev­ery two min­utes.

Kick off your ses­sion on pel­lets.

A mix of colours work best.

Fluoro­car­bon gives you an edge.

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