Fishing in the winter can be tricky and fish may be less likely to bite. However, for those people that like a challenge then it can be a lot of fun and very satisfying when you catch something. You will need to be well prepared though, both with regards to yourself and your methods.
What to Wear
It is really important to make sure that you stay warm and dry. Make sure that you are aware of what the weather is going to be like so that you can be prepared, but in the UK it is always wise to assume that it might rain! It is wise to have a warm base layer such as thermals, a jumper and a waterproof and windproof layer on top, including waterproof trousers and a thick jacket. This site has some great clothing options. You can always loosen or remove clothing but once you are fishing, you will not want to return home to grab more. A warm hat could be a useful addition as a lot of heat is lost through the head and there are lots of styles and fabrics you can choose from to find one suitable for you that will be comfortable too. You also want to make sure your feet stay warm and dry so thick or insulated socks and lined or insulated boots could be a good idea. Gloves can be handy too but it is worth considering fingerless ones so you can still easily do things. If your hands are really prone to the cold, you can consider insulated gloves or hand warmers. It may even be wise to wear a pair of fingerless gloves under a large pair of thick insulated gloves so you can remove the outer gloves when you need to put bait on the hook etc but still stay warm. You may also want to have a warm drink with you. It is good to think about whether you want an umbrella as well and a large one could keep you and your kit dry. Consider how much you tend to feel the cold and which parts of you are likely to suffer the most and then you will be able to prepare well.
In the winter the water is clearer so fish might be able to see bait better so a wriggling item could really help. Fish do not eat so much though as they are not so active so you need to be careful. If you throw bait into the water to attract them, you might find that will satisfy them and they will not be interested in what is on your hook. The type of bait you use may change depending on where you are fishing and you may need to experiment more with different types. If you know people that regularly fish in the spot that you have chosen then it could be worth chatting to them to find out what works for them. It could be worth taking a few different types of bait to experiment with. You may find that different things work on different days anyway so it is a good idea to be prepared with a few different items so you can try them out and see what seems to be attractive on that particular day. As you may need to tempt the fish more, because they will not be so hungry, then flavouring the bait with spices could attract them. Things like curry powder or turmeric will not only give a flavour, they will colour the maggots and will make them move more, all of which can make them more attractive to fish. Pellets and paste may also be options that can work well in the winter and so are worth thinking about too. Bread, if it is liquidised and thrown into the water can cause a cloud which can help to attract fish to the area but it will not feed them so they could then be more attracted to the bait on the hook.
In the winter you will find that it will normally take longer for the fish to bite. This could lead to feeling a bit bored and frustrated. It is good to think of it more as a challenge and when you do catch a fish it will be much more rewarding as you will have had to work really hard for it, tempting them with the right bait and being patient. If you are just not patient, then perhaps it might be better to avoid fishing at this time of year and wait for some warmer weather.