Author: Evan Cartabiano

Tying a rig for a PVA bag

Koi with Kids

Carp Tackle Unboxing #2 (WARNING: Covered in children) – Gardner Tackle, Rod Hutchinson baits

February 12, 2018

More unboxing fun! Read more

Tying a rig for a PVA bag

February 8, 2018

  For most of my koi fishing I have found that a hiviz pop-up is really effective. This Rod Hutchinson Force pop-up in 12mm fits the bill nicely. Some children love pictures…And some children don’t like them at all. He was very happy right before and after and I just… Read more

Koi with Kids

January 22, 2018

When taking kids fishing, where you decide to fish is the biggest thing that will make it successful – the same applies to catching koi.  Finding the right place to fish is the hardest part of any kid-koi adventure, unlike a “normal” fishing trip, the ability to play in the… Read more

Classic Carp Fishing Video from Bernie Haines

January 13, 2018

It has taken me some time to finally get this video uploaded for everyone to see. This was produced in 1995. I had to have it converted from VHS to DVD. It’s quite old and the quality is not the best however it has been enshrined in my memory since… Read more

Guide to entry level “Euro” carp fishing gear

January 13, 2018

We receive a lot of calls and emails about what gear is needed to start “Euro” carp fishing. There are quite a few terms that can become confusing if you are not familiar with them. The amount of knowledge available on the internet can be overwhelming so I will try… Read more

Carp Tackle Unboxing #1 – Daiwa Reel, Gardner Hooks, Rod Hutchinson Pellets

January 8, 2018

Here is my first video of 2018. I discuss my first thoughts on the tackle and why I decided to get these items and how they will fit into my fishing. This year I will be doing an unboxing of all equipment I purchase as well as many other videos… Read more

Spod vs Marker Clip Distance

So if you find a great spot with your marker, and get clipped up, how far should you clip for the spod? As it turns out it’s not the same as your marker, but shorter. Take a look at this chart, and say the water is 20 feet deep, follow this line and you will see that you need to take off approximately 5 feet from you casting distance. This is of course not set in stone as many factors such as wind, line type, and other factors can impact this. This chart is based off of 1 foot of line for every 4 feet of water and seems to be a fairly close approximation of what you might expect.

Find the depth on the Y axis and then subtract the number of feet indicated on the X axis from the point where your marker was clipped.

Keep in mind that if it’s windy you will need to give more line as you will get a large bow in you line as you cast. Stay tuned for my next article on accurate baiting and bait placement where I will discuss how I try and maximise my baiting accuracy.

Gardner’s Pop-Up/Bait Bag

If you are having, as I had, a problem with you hook baits being a mess of pop-up tubs and various containers of all sorts, the Gardner Pop-Up/Bait Bag might be just what you need.

The Gardner Pop-Up/Bait Bag.

The outside of the Gardner Pop-Up/Bait Bag is a durable material with both handles and a strap for carrying. The bottom is made from waterproof material so you bait will stay dry if you set it down on wet ground. It also has the added benefit for being easy to clean when covered in mud.

Carrying strap.

The zipper has two pulls and is nice and robust. I have been using it for almost a year and it has not had any issues.

The top tray with six compartments.

The first thing you see when you open the bag is the removable top tray. It has six compartments and will accommodate variety of different bait and dip containers. It also comes with six empty tubs that you can add your own bait to if you so desire.

The top tray is soft.

The fact that the top tray is soft really helps accommodate a wide variety of bait containers. The compartments are also deep enough to dube stack smaller tubs of pop-ups.

Zipper pouch under the top.

Under the lid is a mesh storage area with a zipper closure. It is really handy for baiting needles, boilie stops, and other such items. If you are looking to travel light you can fit enough supplies in here for a short session.

Flap to bottom compartment.

Under the tray there is another flap with a zipper that keeps the bottom compartment separate and since it is insulated, cold.

The bottom insulated compartment.

The bottom compartment is big enough to hold a couple of kilos of bait, or you can fill it with more hook baits as it is large enough to accommodate full size pop-up tubs and dip containers. It also has a smooth coating that is super easy to clean.

Overall this is a quality item and extremely handy for keeping baits organized and in good condition.

To purchase this bag, click HERE!


Making The German Rig

The German Rig is a super simple rig to tie and a super effective rig for fishing bottom baits. The stiff boom of the hook link keeps tangling to a minimum and turns the rig well in the carp’s mouth. So, let’s take a look at making one.

My hook of choice for this (and many other rigs) is the Special Edition Continental Mugga from Gardner. Of course, other Mugga hooks will work, as will other patterns, but I’d stick to patterns that are similar to this one.


The Items you need are simple: Trick Link hooklink or other monofilament hook link like Amnesia, hook of choice as we have already discussed, size 12 rig swivel, and a hook stop.


To start the rig slide the swivel onto the hook followed by the stop. The stop has a small pilot hole in it. This is used to align the point of the hook while threading the stop onto the shank. This is likely the hardest part of making this rig!


After you have the stop on, slide it up over the barb and onto the bend.  At this point it should look something like this.


Next cut about 12in of the hooklink and attach it to the hook with a knotless knot or any other snell knot you like.


I like to add a bit of shrink tube to get the angle I like. This is optional and many anglers don’t do this. I personally like the angle with the tube better as it catches on your palm better this way. It’s up to you and I’d recommend trying it both ways and finding out what you like better.


The tube has been shrunk. Again this it optional and is up to personal preference.


Next attach your bait. You can use any method you prefer but I am going to demo the “heavy mono” method. To do this use 5in of 30lb monofilament line. Put it through the swivel and double it over. Then start pulling the bait onto both ends until its about this far onto the swivel. Note: bottom bait is 20mm Rod Hutchinson Strawberry Cream Boilie .


In this example I am using a snowman arrangement. Notice the tag ends of the mono above the popup – these will be turned into the “hair stop”. I am a fan of the snowman arrangement of baits as I feel it gives the fish a bit more of a target. Note: popup is a 15mm Rod Hutchinson Fruit Frenzy.


Once you have the baits on the hair, simply blob the end with a lighter to keep the bait from sliding off. This method works well with boilies, tiger nuts, and plastic baits. Don’t overlook baits such as tiger nuts on this rig – it’s well suited to them!


After you have “blobbed” the mono with the lighter smash it down flat with your finger and it will form a stop that looks like this. As you can see it’s not very obvious and is also fairly large and really holds the bait on very well.


Since the bait is free to travel the length of the hook, I like to trap it down during the cast so it can’t get stuck on the point of the hook. I do this with a small PVA stick with a longer tag end which I wrap around the hook to lock everything down.


The final rig. If using boilies I like to use a small sick or bag of broken or crushed boilies of the same flavor that I am fishing with. Spraying the whole thing with a top quality attractor is never a bad idea either, but I have found it’s best to not go overboard with the flavor if you are looking for a quick bite.


And here is proof of concept! Not the biggest fish but it’s well hooked which shows the rig to be working well.

Gardner Braided Hair Needle

I have used a lot of hair needles over the course of my carp fishing career and I can easily say that the Gardner Braided Hair Needle (standard size) is my favorite. There are a few reasons for this but the biggest is that they are versatile. As my baiting needles seldom serve as only baiting needles but rather as multi-function rig tools, I find that the barb on this needle is perfect.

The Gardner Braided Hair Needle comes in two different colors. They both work great but the green one is easier to find in a black rig box.

Since it is not like the barb on a hook but rather more of an indent, it can be used for pulling line through various rig bits without snagging up while doing so. The sliding design is also surprisingly useful as it allows you to push the bait onto the hair just the right distance from the bait but it also keeps the it from snagging on stuff while being stored or in your pocket. While you might think that a needle without a barb might be at somewhat of a disadvantage when using monofilament, it really works just fine on just about all material.

This hair needle is not sharp and has a rounded end – which makes it much safer than the normal ones!

Unlike most baiting needles, this one does not have a super sharp point. I have found that this even works on really hard air-dried baits and had the added benefit of being much safer to use than a normal baiting needle as the lack of barb and sharp point really help to keep it from sticking in your hand!

The construction is durable and the only issue I have had is the two parts of the slider will separate if abused – however they can be easily snapped back together. The hole in one end can be used to put it on a key ring or to tighten knots which is what I often use it for.

So, if this sounds good to you, head over to Big Carp Tackle and get one!


Carp Genetics and Catchability

Have you ever noticed that some carp are nearly impossible to catch? What makes one carp easier to catch than another? Searching to answer this question, I came upon a handful of scientific studies that discussed some of the issues involved. Of course, there are many factors such as the amount of fishing pressure, what the fish are naturally feeding on, location in the water body, and many, many other things that can impact fishing. However, I became interested in one that is less talked about: genetics. Carp have been domesticated for a long time and the result is many different “strains”, much like breeds of dogs or any other domesticated animal. And just like dog breeds these strains have different characteristics that impact everything from appearance to growth rate. While this selective breeding was not with angling in mind, the outcome of it is of major interest to anglers—and not just if the fish is a common or mirror, or how big it can ultimately get. It turns out that this selective breeding also has an impact on how easy the fish are to catch. This is isn’t just a minor difference either, as studies have shown that some strains of carp are much harder to catch than others. Most of these comparisons were between wild type carp (common) and more domesticated mirror carp. Mirror carp have been bred for two things: few scales (obviously) and a high growth rate. These traits were useful in the production of carp for food and set these fish apart from their wild brethren. In order to achieve a higher growth rate these fish have to eat more, which in turn naturally makes them easier to catch as a fish that eats more has more chance of getting a hook in the process.

There is also a difference in what the strains prefer to eat. Both have been shown to prefer to eat sweet corn over pellets (even when raised on pellets) which is likely a combination of the bright color but even more importantly the sugar content of sweet corn (the fish prefer to eat candy). But in another study the wild type carp preferred worms over other food types which can go a long way to explaining why there are many waters in the USA (and possibly other places) where often the biggest carp out of a lake was caught by someone who was not fishing for carp at all but rather by someone fishing for sunfish or catfish – using worms. Iain Sorrel has an article on “Alternative Approaches” that discusses this very topic.

But back to the impact of genetics. Studies have also found that even with the easier to catch domesticated strains there is a relatively high percentage of fish that were never caught at all in experimental ponds. For mirror carp this was about 45% of fish never being caught, and for the wild type this number was 68%! That means that 68% of the fish in a small pond could not be caught in 20 days of fishing. Keep in mind these were fish that had been raised in a hatchery and were used to eating pellets and had never been fished for before. Now think about the fish that you are fishing for and it makes you wonder how you ever catch anything!

The impact of angling pressure was similar for both strains as they become harder to catch the more they are fished for. This means that the carp get better at not getting hooked – which is no surprise to anglers on heavily fished waters. Even if you can see the fish feeding over your baited area it doesn’t mean that you will catch any: a study using tagged fish showed that even when fish are feeding directly where angler’s baits were located, it made little difference on whether certain fish were caught. The interesting thing is that it has been found that the carp kept feeding similarly but more slowly and with more inspection of the food. Not only did they use sight, though, the carp were likely able to detect the rig by feel as well.

Added to all of the above are individual differences between carp in the same lake, from food preference to handling of that food. This also makes some easier to catch than others. Feeling overwhelmed? Some take home messages for carp anglers include this advice: keep your rigs concealed. The fish can and will learn to avoid the rigs. This is not “smart” so much as the same conditioning they use to avoid other predators. Try alternative baits. There are potentially a lot of “wild” fish out there that are never caught because they prefer to eat wild food. Make sure your hooks are sharp. When the carp can feel the rig, you’ve got a much better chance of hooking them before they reject it if you aren’t making it easy for them with a dull hook!