Waggler fishing is not necessarily the technique you think of first when you want to fish in winter. But it can be very effective for catching fish that are not very active at this time of year at a greater distance than a pole line. Fish often move out into deeper water as the colder weather sets in and the water becomes a lot clearer.
As a bonus, waggler fishing is quick and easy and requires a lot less tackle and accessories on the bank compared to pole fishing This is a massive advantage for short pleasure sessions which can be imposed by the short winter days. It can also be a huge advantage in matches, as the fish may not move within pole distance for a few hours. Catching fish on a waggler whilst the pole anglers are struggling can give you enough weight advantage to
What equipment do you need for winter waggler fishing?
For the equipment, nothing really different compared to fishing in summer. A decent waggler rod with the correct casting weight to comfortably cast the float you intend to use, and with a nice fish playing action. Generally, the lighter the line and smaller the hooks the softer the rod needs to be. But it is about finding that correct balance. A 13’ 3 piece waggler rod with a medium power action should be able to cope with most wagglers and play fish well. The 13’ SUPRA 3-PIECE MATCH can cope perfectly in these situations. If you want to spend a little more the 13’ ESSENTIAL 3-PIECE MATCH Float will also be perfect for the job.
Before embarking on winter fishing, you also need to be well equipped in terms of clothing and be comfortable and warm. Wind and waterproof outer layers are essential to keep you dry and warm. Take a look at the Garbolino Breathable Bib & brace & GARBOLINO MATCH JACKET for the ultimate winter warmth, even on the worst days.
Targeting winter silvers on the waggler
For delicate feeders like roach, skimmers and even bream you need to keep the rig delicate as well. The fish are very lethargic in winter and bites are not always as positive. Smaller hooks and lighter lines will help you get more bites. Thinner antennas on the floats will also enable you to see even the smallest of indications, which might be all you get in winter especially in calm cold conditions. It is still sometimes necessary to fish a decent weight waggler to get the distance and presentation required, but the lighter hook lengths, smaller finer hooks, and a thinner but highly visible antenna on the float will help counter the extra weight you need in the float, and get you good bites. When the conditions allow the use of lighter wagglers, this can be a big advantage. For roach and skimmers a size 16-20 hook and 0.10mm Garbolino Super Soft hook length are ideal. Main line need to be between 0.14-0.18mm depending on the size of the waggler. The lower the diameter of the line, the less drag you will get in windy conditions. Without this drag or ‘bow’ in the line your rig and hook bait will be presented in a much better way, and sit still. This gets you a lot more bites.
Feeding is important too. If you can catapult maggots or casters at the required distance, then this is the perfect way. Little and often is the key, and gradually encouraging the fish to feed. However, the weather often prevents this, and it is often better to introduce a few small balls of groundbait by hand or a catapult if distances require it. Keep the groundbait fine and dark so as not to spook the fish, or overfeed them. By adding a few dead red maggots, pinkies, and casters depending on what you prefer, you can set a trap to entice a few fish to feed. Be careful not to overfeed them at the start of the session. You can always put more bait in at a later stage in the session if the fish are responding well.
Waggler fishing is winter is extremely satisfying, and a great way of catching silvers in matches or if you are just out enjoying yourself for the day.