Myles Gibson reveals how he goes about single hookbait fishing in the late winter and early spring.

Myles Gibson reveals how he goes about single hookbait fishing in the late winter and early spring.

The vast majority of people out there I am sure would associate my angling with mass baiting campaigns, lobbing kilos of lovingly prepared particles over the side of the boat hoping for a big hit. Yes, this may be the case in the summer months, but during the wintertime, I would very much be shooting myself in the foot if I did that. In fact, my winter approach is often based around using very little, if any bait!


Single hookbait fishing is such a devastating method, yet you see so few people doing it. A single can be productive at any time of year, but they really do come into their own for a short period, as winter begins to give way to spring. It’s almost like the stars align for single hookbait fishing when we start to see the air temperature rising to high single figures and staying there, with the odd day creeping into double figures thrown in for good measure. This normally coincides with increased daylight hours; all of this contributes to the metabolism of the carp.

Being cold blooded, even the slightest rise in water temperature is enough to wake the carp up. However, you can’t go lumping in the bait, they just won’t be interested. All the fish do is they start moving around a bit more and as such they seek out quick, easy meals as they go on their travels. This could be anything from a snail on the bottom, to a mayfly larva and if you are lucky, and you fish the right areas, your hookbait!

The areas I tend to target are quite different depending on the weather, if it is reasonably warm, I look towards marginal areas. Snags, anywhere with some structure really, out of bound banks are even better if you have access to them. If it is still very cold, then I look for deep, silty areas as the fish tend to hold up in those areas.

I don’t tend to get transfixed on finding a perfect spot when single hookbait fishing, more an area where the fish want to be. As such I need a rig and bait that will work for me on every lakebed. Pop-ups are an absolute must in this situation. They help lift the hook off the bottom, ensuring the rig sits perfectly presented away from any debris. As many will know, I use Mulbz for all of my fluoro fishing; the high leakage and mixture of colours in one tub suits single hookbait fishing to the ground.

Mulbz have the perfect blend of both instant and prolonged attraction thanks to a unique blend of liquid flavours and powdered fruit palatants

By nature, single hookbait fishing is a very mobile approach. Casting around the swim until you stumble across a few fish is all it takes, I don’t tend to fish multiple rods on the same spot either, I spread them around. An added bonus is the lack of bait weighing you down means you can almost fish off the barrow, moving around the lake until you find them. There’s no need to give it a day in a swim with this method before deciding it might not be the one. A couple of hours maximum is all I spend in a swim, unless I see definite signs of activity or I catch one of course.

Even myself being super keen, winter fishing can get you down if you aren’t catching a few. I keep a few tickets close to home that produce some results and with all the covid restrictions this year, these came in handy. I really enjoyed fishing day sessions, moving around loads and getting a few lovely northern carp on the mat. It wasn’t instant though, I had to work it all out from scratch. Everything from the colour of hookbait they wanted, to their patterns of movement throughout any given day. It really has taken me back to my routes, and further emphasised the devasting method that is single hookbait fishing!