I'm going to quickly talk to you about one of my favourite ways of catching carp, and that's being able to watch them in the edge and stalk them. I've found that particularly on smaller shallower lakes, it doesn't take a lot for the water to warm up and when it does those fish will actively be searching out the warmer parts of the lake, that allows me to go and find them and present a hook bait in front of them.

Because in the winter, the water is often a lot clearer, fish can see your terminal tackle so I opt for just two simple freeline tactics to catch them. The first one I've got set up for maggots, and the second one set up for bread and I like having both set up as the fish will normally prefer one bait on the day.

For the maggots, all I've got on there is a little fake maggot slid over the eye of the hook, this acts as a little kicker and it also adds a little more buoyancy back into the back so it flutters down in front of the fish. For the bread, slightly bigger hook, you're fishing with a slightly bigger bait, and I've got a double hooked bait band on there and that allows you to attach the bait easier and keep you fishing for as long as possible and again, just a little bit of silicone acting as a bit of a kicker.

I've recently used both this tactics to catch a number of fish from a few local lakes, just walking round with a couple of rods, pair of polarised sunglasses and catching a few fish out the edge; real good fun. I've also caught a couple of really good looking koi, so it's definitely worth taking a bit of stalking gear with you, even though its still cold. it doesn't take up a lot of room, it's not very heavy; just a couple of rods, net and a pair of sunglasses and it can catch you a few bonus fish, even on the cold days.