When it comes to fishing in the winter, the weather is your friend and foe alike. The colder waters can create a fun challenge, but the freezing temperatures can also leave you cold, fed-up and unwilling to wait around for a bite.
Here are our top tips for getting the most out of fishing during the colder months in the United Kingdom.
Know your fish: During the winter, fish become lethargic and tend to move around less. This means they often huddle together in spots that benefit them. If you can find these spots, you’re apt to catch more fish.
Small lakes: Smaller lakes, of which there are many across England, are prone to freezing over on colder days. Even when they aren’t frozen, the fish may not feed often enough to make them worth the catch. Larger rivers, lakes and the open sea are all better options.
Dress right: If you’re sea fishing or doing anything that involves getting your feet wet without a full fishing suit, you should still wear a reliable pair of wellies to keep your feet dry. In the cold months, wet feet can cause woe. You should also wear thermal clothing such as a woolly hat, thermal gloves and thermal socks – especially if you’re pier fishing into the sea, which involves lots of waiting in the freezing cold.
Bait: Using live bait can be the best way to entice fish to bite, even on the coldest winter days. Moving bait like maggots and worms will be easier for fish to see and to catch.
You can use a system called pre-baiting if you’re fishing on still water, which means placing some loose offerings into your chosen area over the course of a week. This creates an artificial ladder for the fish, drawing them close to your eventual fishing spot and making them easier to catch.
Locations: The winter is almost synonymous with cod fishing in the UK, which means the best place to fish will be the sea – where fishermen can pick up whiting, cod, flatfish such as flounder and coalfish. Anglers fishing in the north will also have the best chance to catch coldwater species such as Atlantic wolfish when the weather is at its coldest.