Winter time can be the hardest time of the year to catch carp. The problem being that the colder conditions slows down the fishes motabolism (sp).Therefore the fish doesn't need as much food to survive. Not so many years ago it was thought that carp were almost uncatchable during the colder months.With the popularity of long stay (session) carp fishing and advancements in protective clothing and camping equipment it has been proved that carp are catchable right through the winter months. I have found through my own and friends experience that carp tend to feed for only short periods of time . Sometimes these feeding periods are quite distinct in the same way as dawn and dusk are good in the summer on a lot of waters. Just like in summer , every water has its own feeding times so its difficult for me to estimate feeding times. i have found on a lot of waters in europe , 10-12 am and 1-3pm seem to be good times for action. I do know of one water in England that fished well in winter one hour after dark so there are no hard and fast rules on this . A lot of people think that in the winter the fish are always in the deepest area of water . This just is not the case ! The fish tend to be around snags or areas they feel safe . Don't ignore the areas you caught carp from in the summer as there may be a good supply of natural food nearby which holds the carp like a magnet .
When fishing for carp in winter i always tend to fish boilies. Particle baits such as peanuts , tiger nuts and maples tend to lose their effectiveness possibly due the viscosity of the attractive oils these nuts contain (as the temperature decreases they thicken considerably). Also particles seem to work better in bulk. When i am winter carp fishing i use little or no free offerings. All the successful winter carp anglers i know use very little bait. I feel the carp dont feed as hard in winter as in summer. The type of boilies i would use would be a spice bait with a nice spice flavour. The choice of attractors and flavours are very critical in winter. The fish feed inducing oils are prime example , in summer they are a fantastic attractor but as the temperature drops they increase their viscosity and end up going solid . Most spice flavours are made up of natural aromatic spice oils and esters which tend to be somewhat resistant to solidifying to some degree. There polarity makes them mix well with water. Adding a few powdered spices (few pinches) to the boilie mix can only help its effectiveness.