With It being nearly a year since I received My Solar P1 pod, and Global Conversion Kit I figured why wait on on showing the versatility of this pod! Not unlike the original Worldwide pod the new P1 has had some increased refining, and engineering as well as some aesthetic upgrades. If you have not used a Solar pod before you’ll appreciate it’s strength and versatility immediately. If you have owned the Worldwide pod You’ll enjoy the ease of the new buzzer bars as well as the rock solid setting the new 5 point Titanium knobs deliver. The P1 as well as the Worldwide are such solid and reliable fixtures in the carp world by now that a review is not entirely necessary!
Note: Product prices vary greatly on this range so I have deliberately not included them.
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.
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.
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.
There are always folk who will say that the use of various electronic aids detract from the nature and experience of fishing. The same could be said for the many developments and ingenious items of tackle that have contributed to modern carp fishing over the past 20-30 years. Just imagine where we would be without them!
All these tackle items are of little use unless we know where the fish are to be found and the best spot to place our baits. It can take a delicate feel and experience for ‘leading’ around to determine the nature of the lake or river bed while the use of a marker float to map out a swim or lake can take considerable time & effort especially on larger bodies of water. So a device that can do both should make things easier – right?
The clever folk at Deeper have managed to miniaturize the electronics for depth measurement and GPS positioning into a neat & easy to cast package weighing only 3.2 oz. This when combined with real time satellite mapping allows the angler the opportunity to map out swims quickly and easily.
After opening the package I found the instructions easy to follow and after downloading the Deeper App soon had my Deeper Pro + connected to my IPhone 5SE. As with any Wi-Fi set up the range that can be achieved will depend on any number of variables. Elevating your phone as high as possible will help maximize the range and switching to Aircraft mode and then switching on the Wi-Fi will also improve signal strength.
The App allows you to select a choice of Sonar Modes but for mapping select the Onshore GPS Mode. The screen then splits to show a Google map on one side and a sonar map on the other. It is then a matter of casting the Deeper unit out and slowly retrieving to build up a detailed map of your swim. The data can then be uploaded and retrieved on-line for more detailed analysis or simply scrolled through on your phone.
Once the map has been uploaded you can access your Deeper map account on-line to review it in either map or satellite view mode.
The sonar screen helps distinguish between hard and soft bottom structure as well as weed growth. There is also a ‘fish’ marker option that can help with location.
So how does it work in practice?
First of all I set off to map a small local pond of about 1/2 acre in size. Casting the 3.5 oz Deeper Pro + device was easily achieved on a 2.75 test curve 12′ carp rod and it took less than half and hour to map the whole pond.
I then set out for another water that I planned to fish. Once again it was a simple matter to pick up the wifi signal being broadcast by my Deeper Pro + and then set the App to record data in GPS mode. After casting and retrieving the Deeper unit around the swim and looking at the sonar image it didn’t take long to see a few areas of interest. Once the data is recorded it can be accessed bank side or better still uploaded to the secure Deeper Map ‘Library’ site and accessed (using your individual & secure account) in combination with online maps or satellite overlay. The latter provides a bathymetric type map that is easy to read. I did notice that my recorded data seemed noticeably ‘smaller’ in area than the displayed map but overall it provided good correlation.
As with any sounder interpreting the data presented on the screen is critical. Key aspects such as the nature of the bottom (silt, gravel, leaves etc), weed density, contours etc requires some interpretation but with a little practice you’ll soon build up a detailed picture of your swim. I already had a general idea of where I wanted to position my baits and the Deeper Pro + helped me find a clear area next to some dense weed. As you will see the narrowing down of this precise location would prove to have a very happy outcome!
So how did the fishing work out? I learned from the sonar maps that there were a couple of areas in the swim that might be ideal places to position a bait. The bottom in some shallower areas had a thick covering of blanket weed and nearby depths to 6′ were some taller weeds that grew to withing a foot or so of the surface. As the depth of the silt increased (shown by the thicker bright orange layer) the tall weed growth decreased and allowed a pop-up to be positioned perfectly. After a few days baiting up with Spotted Fin Catalyst baits it was soon time to see if it would all come together as planned.
After setting up in the swim just after 2:30pm I made my first casts at 3:00pm, hooked up the bobbins and sat back to enjoy the warm afternoon sun. I did not expect any action until nearer 5 or even 6pm but at a little before 3:30pm the right hand rod rattled off. There was no screaming run but this fish set off steadily for about 50 yds before I could slow its progress. It began picking up strands of weed along the way and as I slowly gained line was forced to try and remove it as it threatened to jam the tip ring. After a solid battle & some nervous moments a large fish finally slid into the net. As I looked more closely it was clear that this was indeed a very large fish and after checking the scales a couple of times settled on a weight of 39.04. I was stunned and elated. After some photos and watching this exceptional fish swim off I recast and settled back behind the rods.
The remainder of the session proved to be nothing less than sensational. A 27.08, 21 & low teen followed finally capped of by another beast that capped off an incredible 5 hours of fishing at 35.04.
My observations using an iPhone 5SE suggest that the typical working range is about 50 – 60 yds. This range also depends on how high the phone or other device can be held relative to the Deeper unit (so standing on top a bank instead of at water level will increase the range significantly). I had my iPhone attached to the rod above the reel which proved a little awkward but workable. I plan on using a tripod or tall bank stick to raise the device to eye level which might help the range and ease of use. An iPad or similar device with better wifi reception than a phone may well provide longer range up to the claimed 100 yd range. Overall I’m very impressed with the ease of use of the Deeper Pro + and it is now a key part of my gear for mapping swims and narrowing down those carpy looking hot spots!
North American waters are challenging for many reasons. The larger lakes and rivers not only require a step up in tackle but can be especially problematic when trying to set up your alarms and indicators. Strong currents and undertow will often result in ‘bobbin creep’ which will invariably trigger false beeps which are particularly annoying if you are trying to get some rest and even more so if it means you are simply not registering that initial interest from a fish in your swim.
Tension wire indicators have proven popular in Europe over the years for big water carping especially at long range. However adjusting the tension or adapting them for smaller waters and greater sensitivity is a limitation. Heavily weighted swingers & bobbins require continual adjustment and subject to swinging around in windy conditions.
In early 2014 I was about to head to Romania for the Big 5 Carp competition and was in the market for something better suited to big waters. As luck would have it I saw a set of the just launched Prologic Windblades at a European carp show and realized these would be an ideal choice.
The clever design allows them to function either as a ‘swinger’ when minimal weight is required on the line such as in margin fishing or with a twist of a thumb screw set-up to act as a tension style indicator to combat excess current or drag typical in windy conditions. The tension can be set over a reasonable range to ensure the optimal resistance.
The heads come in a choice of colors and each has a spring ball line clip that can be adjusted for tension with a small side screw plus there is a slot for a small isotope. The Windblades drilled mount sits easily around the alarm bolt or D-Lok screw and have a quick disconnect clip so you can easily detach and store them safely at the end of a session or when you want to revert to a traditional bobbin style or other indicator.
I’ve now been using them now for over 3 years and they have truly proven themselves as ideal for North American waters. As many of you know I’m a long time Delkim alarm fan and in combination with the Windblades I’ve been able to get the best possible set up in some of the most adverse conditions.
On the last night of the 2016 CT Carp Tournament a sudden and violent wind kicked up sending gear flying everywhere. Amazingly, after reducing the sensitivity only slightly, my Delkim’s only beeped when I got a drop back as a carp picked up my bait on its journey upstream. I’ve repeated this on numerous occasions and found that undertow, wave action and wind blasts can be neutralized from giving false beeps while any fish activity can be instantly detected. While friends have been up and down all night checking their lines due to incessant beeps I’ve been able to sleep peacefully with my receiver next to me confident that when it does go off it will be a fish and not a false alarm!
Here Enrico Parmeggiani describes the background and design.
Big Carp Tackle will be carrying the new line of CC Moore Liquid foods which include the Liquid G.L.M. Extract , Red Venom and finally the Hot Chorizo Extract . These will all be available in the coming months and stocked regularly.
This highly successful, natural, red
pepper-based liquid food is a tangy,
sweet, energy rich additive that supplies
essential nutrients to baits. It also releases
potent natural attractors to all layers of
the water column stimulating a strong
G.L.M LIQUID EXTRACT
The moment you open a bottle of Liquid
G.L.M. Extract you receive an incredible
food of mussel-rich aromas that leave you
in no doubt as to its fish-catching
potential; it absolutely screams fish.
HOT CHORIZO EXTRACT
This outstanding liquid food enables
anglers targeting a broad range of
species the opportunity to
dramatically enhance their
baits with a powerful, smoky,
meaty profle that makes
their baits really stand
out from the crowd.
Ideal for storing all kinds of pop-ups, wafters, bottom baits, imitation plastics and much more! With each section featuring a high-quality seal so all manner of glugs and flavouring can be used without fear of spillage.
Bait storage just got organized! No more loose jars rattling around in your rucksack with one of these – designed to screw together with a twist of the hand, the system comes complete with removable internal glug cages and a hard-wearing carry case.
While the principal behind visualbite indication is fairly simple. If you get a run the indicator moves upwards, upon a dropback the indicator will drop or sag. So why have things gotten so complicated, and furthermore what else does a bite indicator need to accomplish? When I began Carp Fishing I fished exclusively by quiver tip or float fishing, which is undoubtedly the best way to register a bite. In fact I’d say you can learn much more about what is happening in your swim by quiver tipping, and float fishing that is unless you are confronted with high winds, weed, bankside obstructions, current, and of course any body of water that has boats to cause a wake.
Over the years I’ve unintentionally developed a collection of indicators, and side by side there’s very little difference in effectiveness between them. It seems that the only development behind indicators has been adding weights for more tension, material composition, or the ability to ‘light-up’ during a take. Fortunately the Titanium Indicators have completely eliminated the use for weights while still being able to increase line tension. That’s right NO WEIGHTS. A simple twist of the base on the indicator will tension the hanger to either be completely free and function like a bobbin ‘Hanger’ or you can tighten it enough so that no wind, wake, or distance can disturb the line tension. This will also be a relief to those who prefer to fish hangers and dislike adding swinger arms during sessions.
While I have experienced ‘Quiver’ swingers before and I always felt that not being able to adjust the tension of the arm always limited their applications. Quality is another area where Solar has it over many other brands. Not to name names, but fragile plastic parts, chipping plastic bobbins, plastic hockey sticks, or tags that will break in a couple years are not what you will find with the Titaniums, as expected from Solar the main components are all Stainless Steel, and now titanium Another huge plus is the carrying case for the indicators. Those who are fans of the Solar Worldwide Pod packaging and luggage will really appreciate the tidiness of Titanium Indicators.
Over the past couple of year’s I’ve found that the Enterprise Tackle Pellet & Corn Skins have increasingly become an invaluable part of my carp fishing armory. I first used them to help present dog chow (chum mixer for the Euro’s) as a surface bait for some nice koi that had become especially wary of floating bread. Since the chow soon soaked up water the cups ensured that the pellet did not disintegrate or sink too quickly. After a while they would eventually begin to sink slowly so I found soaking the pellets in a little vegetable or hemp oil helped to make them remain buoyant for a while longer. Adding a small split shot to the hooklink an inch behind the hook also allowed them to be fished as a pop-up creating yet another presentation option.
It didn’t take me long to explore some other ideas that also proved the potential for these simple but clever pieces of kit. Since then I’ve found that the pellet & corn skins can be used to present a wide range of baits. The choices are almost limitless and I’m sure my list can easily be expanded upon. This past winter I fished an area that had seen a lot pressure from anglers. As many were fishing sweetcorn on the hook it was inevitable that the carp soon wised up which resulted in lightning fast bites and empty corn skins. This gave me a good opportunity to use the pellet cups which meant I could quickly and easily change between different baits. While sweetcorn was taken only hesitantly a change to peanuts, pepperami, dog chow or other baits soon had the tip on the feeder rod being pulled hard around in some solid hook-ups. As soon as the bites slowed down after two or three fish a quick change soon had them going again! This success also gave me the confidence to try some other novel bait ideas including a couple that were more on a whim but worked way better than expected. This included stuffing a piece of gummy worm candy into a pellet skin which the carp simply inhaled!
It’s really very easy to mount the pellet skin on a hair. Just form a hair loop and pull it through the pellet cup before adding a hair stop to keep it in place. Now all you need do is simply push in your bait.
In the photo on the right I show three different rigs. #1 Top right is an ‘oiled’ Dog Chow pellet in a Cup mounted on a soft braid hook link (PB 15lb Chameleon) with a hair aligner on a #8 PB Anti Eject Hook. Typically I would add a small split shot or piece of tungsten putty just behind the hook to counter balance it when fished as a pop-up. #2 In the middle is a Pellet Cup with a piece of foam (its actually the round green window insulating foam you can buy at hardware stores in a coil). I made a simple loop from some braid, looped it around the hook and back through the loop and then mounted the pellet cup. The hook is then tied to 6 or 8lb mainline depending on the size of fish I expect to encounter. I’ve used this very successfully when fishing chum (dog chow) mixers as floaters for surface fishing. #3 Bottom right is just a simple mono hair & hook link tied on a PB #8 KD Wide Gape hook. I’ve trimmed down and inserted a dry roasted peanut into the cup and when fished with a feeder packed with dry bread crumbs and ground peanuts its an absolute carp magnet!
Some baits like peanuts need a little trimming to make sure they sit securely in place. It’s also easy to make a variety of flavored pastes that can then be smeared or pushed into the pellet cup creating a deadly presentation. A few bread crusts or dough pastry from the freezer section at the supermarket can be mixed with cheese, peanut butter, Nutella, Marmite etc to create a firm but pliable texture. If it is too dry just add a little margarine or vegetable oil and work together till you get a nice consistency. Luncheon meat is a deadly but often little used bait for carp. It is difficult to keep on a hair or hook but squeezing some into a pellet cup keeps it in place for ages. Peperami sticks are very easy to use and a small section can be cut off and pushed into the pellet skin while a few free samples are thrown into the swim. Lastly the ‘skins’ & ‘cups’ can also be mounted directly on a hook making them ideal for float or feeder fishing.
Just a few of the baits I’ve tried successfully…
Cored out boilies
Halibut & Other Pellets
Peanut Butter, Nutella etc
Marmite or Vegemite
Raisins, Sultanas – can be soaked in flavors or alcohol.
Cheese & other pastes
Peanuts – Plain, Dry Roasted etc
Chick Peas & Various Peas & Beans
Luncheon Meat & Spam
Cheese – soft or hard
Gummy Bears or Worms – carp love the fruity flavor!
When I returned to the sport of carp fishing I knew nothing of the modern accepted standards of carp care. Back when I first started fishing, in the late 70s, early 80s, weigh and retainer slings, cradles and mats, dedicated nets for carp, medicated kits to treat wounds and sores, simply did not exist. The fish were often placed upon a grassy bank and weighed in a simple plastic bag. Kevin Nash had only just pioneered the first commercially available carp sack in the late 70s. We have learned so much in the decades since Richard Walker landed the UKs first 40 lb’er back in 1952 from the Redmire Pool, ironically the very same County I was born in, Hertfordshire.
As I began to catch carp again, my first in nearly three decades, I proudly displayed my capture photos to the members of the Carp Anglers Group here in North America. I had joined CAG but a few months earlier to learn more about carping here in the USA. The feedback I received was not something I expected, or was prepared for; members politely sending me private messages to let me know that the standards of carp care I was demonstrating was sorely lacking!
Surprisingly, especially in a world full of keyboard warriors, this was not done in a hostile manner. There were no personal attacks, no vitriolic replies.
Instead, CAG’s members offered encouragement and provided a more gentle message of how carp care has evolved over the past few decades. They helped me learn the appropriate techniques and tools available to catch, unhook and return the carp to the water in as good, or better condition, than it was caught.
Honestly, if instead I had received a hate storm of feedback it is unlikely I would have continued on with the same passion in my angling endeavors today. Any enthusiasm I had for sharing my captures would have stopped, as would my contributions to the many forums and local fishing communities.
Over the past few years I have learned so much more and now endeavor to share this with others, encouraging and educating on what is appropriate or recommended, especially with new anglers to the sport.
The most common feedback I now receive when recommending the use of mats, cradles, slings and carp friendly nets to new anglers is,“it’s too expensive!”
I can appreciate where this is coming from. My first round of carp care equipment, retainer sling, carp cradle, a good net, cost me well over $300. This may not sound like a terrific sum of money to some, but to me, it certainly was. However, years later, there are now good companies out there providing affordable ranges of quality carp care products that even the most frugal of anglers can afford.
Over the past couple of seasons I have been putting Next Generation Tackle’s (NGT) range of carp care products to the test, both in my own angling and when out with others on the bankside. I was especially interested in both their functionality, durability and price point with a focus on those new to the sport, or the budget conscious angler.
I am passionate about demonstrating that carp angling can be affordable for all and NGT’s products fill this niche for me. I use their products in my everyday angling and when taking new anglers out onto the bank for their first time carp fishing. This allows me advocate to the new angler that they don’t need to sell their car, or children, just to get into the sport to see if they enjoy it !
I have been using the NGT 6 ft Carp net handle, the 42” Carp net with metal spreader block and a basic net float.
Personally I prefer a net with the metal spreader block and threading. These are the two components most prone to failure, especially when a new angler tries to lift the fish out of the water still in the net, by the handle. The single piece handle is sturdy with little flex and the net arms fit easily into the spreader block. Sometimes I do regret not getting NGT’s net, with the longer telescopic handle. There always seems to be times when a 6 ft reach is just is not enough. The mesh is not as fine, or soft, as that of a more expensive product but it still lands the fish without their fins getting caught.
After 2 years use, with well over 150 carp landed, the mesh is now worn and ready to be replaced. Consequently, with NGT constantly working on their products and innovations, this year I will be upgrading to the new 42″ Specimen Net, with a Dual Net Float System, eliminating the need for a separate float.
Mats & Cradles:
I have used many of NGT range of mats, and their 2015 award winning Cradle, for over a season now. The most simple, and affordable of which, would be the Quickfish Mat. An inexpensive, no frills lightly padded mat, that folds down for easy storage and transportation.
If the beginning carp angler can afford nothing else, then the Quickfish Mat works and is a huge upgrade from simply lying the fish in the dirt or upon the rocks.
However, when I am using a mat, I do prefer one with sides. This helps to stop the fish from sliding off the mat and keeps some water on the fish. Thus, I have also used the Beanie Unhooking Mat.
This mat has plenty of support beads for padding and side walls. Measuring in at 24″ x 48″ x 5″ it is plenty big enough to accommodate a pretty decent sized carp though with the beads it does not roll up all that well (end up folding mine in half for transport atop the wagon).
For me personally, I prefer to use a cradle over a mat. I like to keep the fish elevated off the ground, padded, secure and at a height better suited to me for handling the fish. I also enjoy having the cradle stable and level, especially on uneven ground. Thus adjustable leg height is a must. When taking that important capture shot, I only need to lift the fish a foot or so up above the cradle and can easily lower it back down if it becomes too lively. Perhaps i’m getting old but leaning over at mat on the ground wears my back out quickly!
In 2015 NGT released a new product that immediately caught my eye, the framed Carp Cradle. This proved to be well worth the investment. Made with a strong, yet light weight aluminum frame, soft PVC durable material, the cradle folds down easily for transport and is very quick to setup.
The height adjustable legs come with mud feet. The attached cover folds down and be used as a knee pad. The cradle incorporates soft, but strong, rubber mesh in the bottom corners allowing for drainage.
Having used a few other styles of cradle in the past the NGT Cradle hits just about every mark for me.
If I had to find a criticism, I would be that NGT needs to release a larger version!
The current 304 model is 101 centimeters wide, including side walls and frame. The cradle easily holds carp of up to 36″ in length comfortably. Perhaps an XL model will eventually be made for those real big slender torpedoes?
Having used this cradle now for over a season I can see why it was voted for, and won, the Angler’s Mail Award as “Best Cradle of 2015”.
Never, ever, weigh a carp using a scale with the hook through the carp’s lip or use lip grips. This is so totally unnecessary and causes damage to the mouth of the fish. For a big heavy carp, they could easily rip through mouth causing permanent and disfiguring damage to the fish. It’s simple, please, just don’t do it, instead get yourself a weigh sling or combination weigh / retainer sling.
Having previously used a retainer style sling it was a change to use the NGT Carp Sling System. The sling comes with zips on either side allowing you to put it on the mat (or in my case, the cradle), place the fish on the sling, zip up, weigh via the handles and release it again safely afterwards. There are fiber glass rods running through the two upper seams for added strength. The system even comes with a stink bag, which I highly recommend the use of after a long hot day of catching.
I did find during the prior seasons fishing that I missed the retainer element of a sling system, when I had a double run for myself or when with a guest we both had fish on. Yes I could sack a capture if necessary but i’d rather use a retainer sling.
For the 2016 season I am looking forwards to getting myself the newly released, NGT Captur Floating Sling and Holding System. This sling incorporates 8 independent floats to ensure it stays afloat even in the harshest of conditions. With a double zip and locking clip there is zero chance for the fish to escape the sling in the water.
Included are a 6 ft rope and peg to secure the system to the bank. There are removable bars that hold the system open at all times. Constructed of fish friendly materials, with a fine mesh running along both the sides and bottom of the system, there should be fast drainage for weighing and after the release. There are 6 Carry handles which cover all contingencies and yes, this sling is large in size, ideal for specimen fish. Heck it even comes with a carry case!
In closing, carp have a protective slime coat over their scales. This is the carp’s first line of defense against infection and disease, shielding the fish against such organisms in the water. The coat also prevents the loss of internal electrolytes and fluids. Any removal of the slime coat can make the carp more susceptible to disease, bacteria or fungal infections. This could potentially lead to the death or disfigurement of the fish.
Carp should never be placed upon a dry surface such as the ground, dirt, rocks, a boat deck or anything that could pull the slime coat from the fish. Everything that touches the carp needs to be wet first, from your net, to your mat, sling or cradle, including your hands. Carp care does not have to be expensive. There are plenty of products available at very affordable prices.
So when you next see a post, or image, or angler on the bank that does not portray the standards of carp care you expect to see, please take just minute to pause. To think of how you first learned or were helped to understand by others. Encourage others, offer advice in a positive and non-confrontational manner.
The majority of anglers are usually open to feedback depending on how it is presented to them. Catch & release anglers do really care about the welfare of the fish. Perhaps they just need a gentle nudge in the right direction.