Category: Other

compac coolers

Compac Coolers

In the warmer seasons or on extended outings, freshness is key for both angler and fish alike to relish their meal! Compac Coolers to the rescue!

Compac cool bags, are a versatile solution for any fishing excursion. Whether it’s a brief jaunt requiring milk and sandwiches or a lengthier trip demanding ample bait or sustenance for days, these bags have you covered. They even maintain frozen items, albeit the duration hinges on external conditions and bag capacity.

Selecting the right Cool Bag or Cooler necessitates consideration of its intended load. Packed bags with minimal air retain coldness longer, suggesting varied bags for different trip durations or payload volumes.

For optimum preservation of bait or food, the Compac Cooler stands as the pinnacle choice, available in 14-liter Light Kamo or 20-liter olive green variants.

While the Compac Cool Bags boast insulation, they aren’t as extensive as the Cooler but offer a range of sizes from small to X-large. The larger versions feature extra pockets for utensils or cooking gear.

Specifically tailored for bait storage, the 12-liter Compac Bait Cool Bag accommodates loose bait or packaged boilies, ensuring freshness for days. Regular opening hastens thawing, a factor to bear in mind.

To bolster preservation, Compac Cool Packs come in two sizes, fitting snugly within the Cool Bags and Cooler. Their design maximizes storage space and ease of handling.

In essence, whether it’s chilled or frozen items and whatever the duration, the Compac range has the solution to keep your provisions at their best!


Crafted in four sizes, the Compac Cool Bag maintains freshness for food or bait, offering a choice between olive green or Dark Kamo to complement your gear. Reinforced handles and heavy-duty zips ensure durability, while internal straps secure Cool Packs for optimal cooling efficiency.

compac coolers


The Compac Cooler guarantees extended freshness with its closed-cell insulation and airtight design. Available in 20-liter olive green or 14-liter Light Kamo, it features sturdy handles and a detachable shoulder strap for easy transport.

compac coolers


Designed specifically for bait storage, the cylindrical Compac Bait Cool Bag boasts a 12-liter capacity and reinforced construction for durability. Its accessible zip top and reinforced handles make it a practical choice for anglers.

compac coolers compac bait cool bag


Tailored for use with Compac bags, Cool Packs come in standard and XL sizes, fitting seamlessly for enhanced cooling performance. Frozen prior to use, they ensure prolonged freshness for your provisions.

compac coolers cool pack


Get Compac Cool now at Big Carp Tackle Store:


Specimen T-Rig

Introducing the Specimen T-Rig (How To)

Targeting species like Tench, Crucians, and Carp? The Specimen T-Rig is your ticket to success. Here’s a step-by-step guide to crafting this stellar rig.

What You’ll Need for the Specimen T-Rig:

Make sure you have these essentials ready for the finished rig.

Specimen T-Rig

Step 1:

Begin by taking a length of Trickster Heavy braid and tying a double overhand loop to create the hair.

Specimen T-Rig

Step 2:

Next, mount an imitation buoyant caster lengthwise and insert another one sideways into the hair loop to form the distinctive ‘T-shape’ hook bait.

Specimen T-Rig

Step 3:

Apply a small dab of glue to the bottom of the lengthwise caster and slide it down the hair until it meets the sideways caster. This helps secure both casters in place.

Specimen T-Rig

Step 4:

Now, take a Target Speci-Beaked Point hook and execute a simple knotless knot, whipping down the hook shank. Opt for a short hair for best results.

Specimen T-Rig

Step 5:

Thread a Target Anti-Tangle Sleeve down the hook link to minimize tangles.

Specimen T-Rig

Step 6:

Finally, tie a double overhand loop at the end of the hook link to facilitate attachment.

Specimen T-Rig

Get Gardner Products now at Big Carp Tackle Store:


Carp Fishing Weather

Optimal Carp Fishing Weather Conditions

Carp Fishing Weather: Carp fishing presents challenges, and beginners may feel disheartened after several unsuccessful sessions. Even seasoned carp anglers experience blank sessions—it’s all part of the journey. Understanding the weather conditions preferred by carp can enhance your chances of success.

The perfect Carp Fishing Weather involves a moderate to warm air temperature, low air pressure, south/south-westerly wind, and an overcast sky—creating ideal ‘carpy’ conditions.

Stable water temperature is crucial. Carp are less active in excessively cold or warm water but become feeding machines in more temperate temperatures. Evening, night, and early morning hours often yield the most bites, as lower temperatures and increased oxygen levels prevail. Ideal water temperatures range from 47 to 57 degrees Fahrenheit (8 to 14 degrees Celsius) in Autumn/Winter and 60 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 22 degrees Celsius) in Spring/Summer.

During winter, carp gather in deeper, slower-cooling areas of the lake, so targeting these zones increases your chances of success.

Barometric pressure significantly influences carp behavior. Low or gradually falling barometric pressure is optimal. After an extended period of high pressure, a pressure drop (preferably over several days) can trigger increased carp activity and feeding due to reduced pressure on their swim bladder.

Understanding air pressure is essential for optimal carp fishing weather. High-pressure systems in winter bring clear skies and cold temperatures, less favorable for fishing. In contrast, low-pressure systems, characterized by cloudiness and warmth, create better conditions for carp fishing.

While wind direction isn’t the most critical factor, windy conditions can benefit carp fishing. Ripples on the water reduce light visibility, allowing carp to feed more confidently. Agitated surface water absorbs more oxygen, and wind pushes food supplies toward the margins, attracting carp.

Southern or southwesterly breezes, often warmer and coinciding with lower air pressure and moderate temperatures, are ideal for carp fishing.

An overcast sky with dense clouds is favorable for carp fishing. Clouds reduce underwater visibility, making cautious carp feel more comfortable. Heavy cloud cover retains warmth, moderating the ratio of daylight to nighttime temperatures in air and water, keeping carp active for longer.

While we can’t always plan around the weather, monitoring forecasts is crucial to understand the optimal carp fishing weather conditions. Apps like XC Weather provide reliable information on air pressure, wind direction, and rain, aiding anglers in planning their sessions.

While not universally applicable, understanding and leveraging weather conditions can significantly improve carp fishing outcomes. The described conditions consistently yield success for many carp fishermen, as carp behavior remains consistent across locations. Whether you’re a novice or exploring new fishing spots, fishing in these conditions increases the likelihood of landing your first carp. Best of luck and tight lines!

Carp Fishing Winter Mindset

Carp Fishing Winter Mindset

Meet Oscar Thornton, a Winter Enthusiast

Carp Fishing Winter Mindset: Embarking on winter fishing expeditions is Oscar Thornton’s specialty, a fact well-documented in recent years. Despite the chilly conditions, Oscar consistently manages to deliver impressive results during the colder months, even on the most frigid days. In this discussion, we delve into the secrets behind his consistently successful winter campaigns.

Winter holds a special place in my heart for fishing. The serene banks, breathtaking sunrises, and winter landscapes create an unmatched ambiance. Picture fresh blue mornings, the comforting hum of the Coleman stove, and pastries toasting on the ridge – with the right mindset, winter sessions become truly enjoyable.

One observation that always stands out to me is the unnecessary changes some anglers make during winter, often at the expense of missing out on fish. My mantra is to keep things simple, stick to what you know, and make minor adjustments to ensure a continuous flow of bites, no matter how cold it gets.

Immaculate December Common: 43+

Carp Fishing Winter Mindset

First and foremost, my advice is simple yet crucial – get out there and do it. Winter provides quieter banks, and being fortunate to have a local lake, I can visit almost daily to observe the water and introduce some bait. Recognizing my privilege, I acknowledge the value of putting in the work behind the scenes, a factor that significantly contributes to success.

The most pivotal piece of advice I can offer is to locate the carp. Winter sees them grouped together, and as spring approaches, their increased activity reveals their whereabouts. The golden moments for carp spotting are first light, when the sun gently warms the water, and early afternoon when the sun is closest, providing another warming opportunity. Sunlit areas are winter hotspots, as carp, like us, seek the sun’s warmth. Monitoring weather forecasts, especially in winter, is a significant aspect of my angling strategy. Favorable conditions such as warmer days, strong winds, pressure drops, and moon phases play a role in determining my fishing plans.

Winter feeding windows are limited, making it crucial to capitalize on them. Recent windy days, for instance, could trigger a reaction from the fish. While each venue is unique, I’ve noticed that after a fresh wind stirs up the bottom, carp may follow it for a day before seeking calmer waters.

Staying focused on the lake can be challenging with distractions like mobile phones. I minimize phone use during fishing, opting for a radio to stay connected while keeping an eye on the water. It’s impossible to watch 24/7, but the more attentive you are, the higher the chance of spotting that vital show, potentially changing the course of your season.

When it comes to tactics, I advise against unnecessary changes in winter. Stick to what you know and have confidence in; winter is not the time for experimenting. Doubting your rigs or bait in the cold behind the rods is the last thing you want.

Solid Bag Rig: My Go-To in Recent Years

Carp Fishing Winter Mindset

In terms of rigs, solid bags have been a game-changer for me. They allow precise casting to showing fish without the fear of tangling. My solid bag rigs consist of Size 4 Kamakura Wide Gapes and 4 inches of 18lb Supernatural. Paired with heavy 4oz inline leads and 12lb Kontor straight through, it’s an effective tactic for winter fishing.

Carp Fishing Winter Mindset
Blow Back Rig My Favoured Approach Over Bait

Alternatively, if spot fishing over bait, I opt for blow back rigs using Size 4 Kamakura Wide Gapes and shrink tube kickers. Steam-fitting the kickers at an aggressive angle helps flip the hook. My hooklinks feature fairly long 8 to 10-inch sections of 20lb N Trap Soft, with Hybrid Lead Clips and 4oz leads. Fishing with slack Kontour mainline, nearly invisible in clear winter water, complements this setup.

Don’t Forget the Zig Kit

Never leave home without zig bits, especially in winter. They can make the difference between a blank and a successful fishing day. My zig kit includes Size 8 Kamakura Wide Gapes, 11lb Zig line, and a substantial lead of at least 3oz, often paired with red and black foam soaked in Rod Hutchinson Nouvelle Fizz.

Carp Fishing Winter Mindset – Minimal Baiting for Winter Success

Baiting strategy shifts in winter, where I prefer a minimal approach due to time constraints. Carp are less active, requiring less food. Overloading them in winter is counterproductive. As spring approaches, single hookbaits may become more effective than baiting. If I spot a group of fish, deploying single hookbaits among them is a strategy worth exploring.

When spot fishing, and if baiting feels right, my go-to winter mix includes red maggot, Sweetcorn, chopped Cell boilie, hemp, and Smart Liquid. I distribute no more than 6 spombs at a time, occasionally topping up with 3 more after each bite. Keeping baiting tight ensures carp don’t have to move much to feed, providing them an easy meal in the winter.

Comfort is Key for the right Carp Fishing Winter Mindset

My final piece of advice revolves around comfort – an uncomfortable angler is a less effective angler. Cold and wet conditions can be demoralizing. Always bring spare clothes stored in the car as a backup. With a plethora of high-quality clothing options available, investing in comfortable gear is essential for every angler. Keep the stove topped up, and enjoy your fishing to the fullest by prioritizing comfort.

Have Fun!

Enjoy it!

New Year Banger in the Frost!

Dive into the Thrill: Luke Vallory’s Capture of Coin Carp

Capture of Coin Carp – Embark on a journey through Luke Vallory’s summer angling escapades, where a tale unfolds of capturing one of the most exquisite mirrors, not just in Cambridge, but among the country’s finest!

Capture of Coin CarpPicture this: a scene straight from a carp angler’s dream. Last month, as the sun timidly embraced the dawn, a damp, foggy morning cast its enchantment over Cambridge.

It was on this atmospheric canvas that the magic unfolded, marked by the exhilarating bite that signaled the presence of a truly special carp.

Luke Vallory's Remarkable Capture of 'Coins' Meet ‘Coins,’ a true gem in the realm of carp fishing. In the prime of late summer, this magnificent creature boasts old-world charm with its wrinkled and crusted exterior, adorned by dark chestnut flanks and distinctive rounded scales.

Capture of Coin Carp: ‘Coins’ is not just any carp; she is a testament to the allure of the ancient and the extraordinary.

Zooming in on the finer details reveals the carp’s remarkable features—a gracefully wide bend to the back, thick rounded fins, and an array of colors that beckon admiration.

Carp like ‘Coins’ are a rarity, making this capture an event to be cherished.

Luke Vallory's Remarkable Capture of 'Coins' Luke Vallory's Remarkable Capture of 'Coins'The tactical prowess behind this achievement is equally fascinating. Fished to a small clear patch, Luke employed his trusted spinner rig, artfully set up with a Squid pop-up positioned over a handful of freebies tightly grouped with the Light Katapult.

The arsenal included Size 4 Spinner hooks, 6-inch IQ2 booms, Heli Safe setups, all tied together with 4ft IQ2 leaders leading to fresh Sub Braid mainline.

Capture of Coin Carp Capture of Coin CarpThis was no ordinary morning—it was a symphony of nature, strategy, and sheer angling finesse.

As the images from that day attest, Luke Vallory’s Capture of Coin Carp is not just a catch; a morning not to be forgotten and some seriously special pictures to look back on!

Norton Disney Pettitt’s Lake Essential Tips

Norton Disney Pettitt’s Lake Essential Tips: For those venturing into the world of lake fishing, Rob Burgess, the Korda Koach, is your go-to expert at the Norton complex. With a history at the complex dating back to its opening, Rob has amassed a wealth of knowledge to help anglers make the most of their sessions. Below are his invaluable tips for tackling Pettitt’s Lake.

Pettitt’s Lake stands out as the specimen lake within the complex, spanning 16 acres and home to a whopping 250 carp, including an impressive number of 30-pounders. As of the autumn of 2022, an astounding one in four fish in this day ticket fishery tips the scales at 30 pounds, making it a remarkable statistic. Supporting the 30-pounders, there is a solid backup of 20-pounders to target.

Pettitt’s Lake Depth and Swim Maps

For those seeking depth, pegs 5, 6, 7, and 8 are the hotspots, particularly in the later months extending into winter. Peg 7, in particular, remains productive throughout. Within a range of 100 yards, the depth is generally consistent, with firm silt covering the lake bed.

Norton Disney Pettitt's Lake Essential Tips

Pegs 1-4 come into their own during spring and summer, offering a variety of features with an almost egg box-like bottom. Shallow bars, plateaus, and deeper channels make these swims intriguing, with depths ranging from 4 to 15 feet. A marker float becomes an essential tool in these areas.

Norton Disney Pettitt's Lake Essential Tips

In terms of bait, the options are limited to boilie, pellet, and corn during the summer months. Pure corn can be highly effective, especially double fake corn. Crumb and chops are also viable, as well as the beloved pellet, a favorite during the summer.

Norton Disney Pettitt’s Lake Essential Tips

During the peak of summer, weed can pose a challenge, particularly in shallow bars and plateaus. Leading around and fishing in clean patches can be advantageous, as well as using low-lying pop-ups on spinner rigs with Heli Safes to ensure a proper presentation.

Given the nature of spot fishing, the marker float proves invaluable, allowing you to fish precisely in identified areas, whether they are shallow humps or gravel bars.

Yellow, pink, and match-the-hatch hookbaits have all shown success, each having its day on Pettitt’s Lake.

A key piece of advice for Pettitt’s is to pay attention to the wind. Anticipating a change in wind direction, getting into a swim before the wind shift, and having your rods ready for the new wind is a significant advantage. Carp often become more catchable when they follow a new wind, making those initial hours or days of a wind change a dream scenario at Pettitt’s Lake!

The Journey To Thirty

The Journey To Thirty – No, I’m not talking about my age, although I am getting close to 30..I’m talking about the elusive 30lb+ carp. It seems that, depending on where you live, catching and landing a 30lb carp is a goal most of strive for, and for some of us, it takes years to make that goal a reality.

The Journey To Thirty
The Journey To Thirty

The image above was my first big carp at 26lbs 12oz caught in September of 2018. I was running with minimal gear at the time. I didn’t even have a proper carp net. But I’d been fishing this newly discovered swim for a few days and had a really good feeling about it. On day 3 one of my rods went off about an hour into the session. After a long fight I finally got the fish into the net and onto the mat. I was blown away. This was the biggest fish I’d ever seen at the time and it left me wanting more. This is where the hunt truly began.

Fast forward to June 10th of this year (2021). I’m fishing one of my go-to local swims. This spot has always produced a lot of fish but nothing of any substantial size. I was lucky to get one in the low 20’s from here on occasion.

Something was different about this day. The weather was perfect, it was quiet, and the carp were showing. I casted my middle rod to the far side of the bank, a risky move due to snags but I knew that’s where the fish were. Nearly 2 hours into the sessions my middle rod went screaming! When I picked it up I felt an incredible force on the end of my line. “This is definitely a big one” I said to myself as I attempted to steer it away from a downed tree close to the swim to no avail.

This crafty carp buried itself deep in the tree branches, leaving me with a tight line and potentially no fish on the other end. Moments before this happened my right hand rod started ripping. I set the middle rod down with the drag loose and tended to the left hand rod. It was a small carp, maybe around 12 pounds, so I quickly let it go while watching for the other line to start moving..which it did! By some miracle this carp managed to free itself from the snag! Now it’s back on! The fish nearly got snagged again but managed to free itself a second time. After a really intense fight the fish was in the net. 29lbs 12oz. Exactly 3 pounds heavier than my previous PB, but not quite 30lbs. The hunt continues..

Fast forward again, but this time only one month to July 10th. I took a ride to another favorite local swim for a 24hr session. This spot is great for longer sessions because you can fish right out of the car. When I arrived I was on the phone with a friend so my initial setup was a bit sloppy being that I was distracted. I put a salty-pineapple flavored tiger nut topped with a single pop-up corn on each rig. I casted one to the left, about 10ft off the bank, and the other to the right also 10ft off the bank. No method mix or pack-bait, but I did throw a few handfuls of range pellets over each rig. The fishing here is always slow, I usually only average one fish per session and they never EVER bite in the middle of the afternoon. Well apparently today was different. I saw a few fish jump while sitting in the passenger seat of my car, but nothing too crazy. I wasn’t even sure if they were carp or not. I couldn’t have been here for more than 45 minutes when the left hand rod took off.

I ran over and swiftly picked it up, the fight was on. Oh, and not to mention, I was at a bit of a disadvantage in this situation because I was using my new 8ft stalker rods instead of my usual 12ft rods…making this a much bigger challenge than usual. The fish ran to the right for what felt like forever, just pulling line like it was nobody’s business. For a moment I thought it was gonna spool me out. Eventually it slowed down and I was able to start carefully walking it back up the bank. It’s hard to say exactly how long it took to land it but it sure felt like a while. Now I’m standing in the water with my heart beating out of chest looking over the fish in total disbelief. “This might just be..”

I thought to myself as I lifted the fish from the water and carried it over to the mat. This carp was long, and mint. Not so much as a missing scale from this one. Now ready to weigh the fish I lifted the scales and watched the dial wobble until it settled at 30lbs 8oz. Finally, I got my 30, and in my home state of New York no less. Upon release the fish swam away calmly while I sat on the bank still sweaty and shaking from the adrenaline rush. This is what we live for isn’t it? Whats next? 40? Only time will tell.

I’m using a handful of products from Forge Tackle during most of my sessions now and so far everything has greatly exceeded my expectations. The end tackle is of great quality and comes in eco-friendly packaging, my unhooking mat does a great job of keeping the fish safe while taking pictures, and the stink sack is a lifesaver if you’re riding in the car with a wet net and sling like I usually do. Click here to view the full range of products currently offered by Forge Tackle.



Summit Tackle – Colosseum Euro Pod Kit



The euro pod kit has been designed and manufactured in the UK, The euro pod kit comes with,

1 x Colosseum pod and bag

2 x 9” twist lock banksticks

2 x 3rod adjustable buzz bars

2 x Ratch-it, 3/8 universal angel adaptor

2 x 20” front legs that will adjust to 32”

2 x mini pod points

2 x 19” F/S banksticks

1 x easy tight key

The Pod is fully adjustable for those difficult to fish swims. Ideal for many big waters on the Continent and for river fishing. Making this the most versatile adjustable pod kit available.




To buy and try the Summit Tackle – Colosseum Pod, for yourself. Follow the link over to Big Carp Tackle HERE.

You can check out more items in the range from Summit Tackle HERE.

Google Maps Is Your Best Friend

That’s right, everyones favorite navigation app can also be a valuable asset to the carp angler, and all anglers alike. According to Wikipedia, Google Maps is the fourth most popular app in the United States, and with good reason. It’s your trusty sidekick, your guide to the unknown, and if you end up lost, it’s your North Star. Something Google Maps isn’t necessarily designed to do, however, is to help us anglers find our next swim, and to assist us with gaining the knowledge needed to better access, and approach these new swims, which it very much does. Here are three simple ways you can better utilize Google Maps as an angler.

1. Find access points

So you’ve noticed a local body of water that screams carp, but there’s one small hurdle you’ll need to overcome. How do you get to the water? Public access points? What if there are none? Well, aside from searching for marked locations on the map like public boat launches, fishing access, and so on, you can use Google Maps satellite view to do some in-depth investigating, and find those precious, quiet, isolated swims we all love.

You’ll want to start by identifying the water you’re trying to explore. Scan the shoreline and look for unmarked access roads and pull-offs. You’ll likely be intrigued by your findings. I’ve fished a few local waters near me with unknown access points right under my nose. Some of which have produced some stunning fish since discovering.

Things like tire marks in the grass and worn out spots near the waters edge are dead giveaways that people fish that spot, and that it’s likely accessible.

Here is a perfect example of a spot near me that took a while to find. It’s quite difficult to access and I haven’t fished here yet it but it certainly has potential. From the sky it’s hard to see much of anything..

…but upon further inspection I noticed a spot that appeared to be a parking area with a few large rocks clearly placed intentionally. After scanning the map I found an unmarked access road leading in the direction of the parking area. Naturally, I dropped a ping on the map and made plans to attempt to visit this carpy looking swim at a later date, which brings me to my next tip.

2. Save pinged locations and take notes

It’s important while you’re finding these new spots that you drop a ping and save the locations before moving on. Otherwise you may find yourself wasting time scanning the map again later and losing track of which one was where. The only thing you need is a Google account to access this feature. Simply tap the location you want to save to drop a ping and the above options become available.

From here just click ‘save’ and you’ll be prompted to a menu asking which list you’d like to save your ping in. You can use an existing list such as “Favorites” or “Want to go”. Or simply create a new list titled however you feel appropriate. This will give you the option to leave some notes about the swim as well which really comes in handy before and after you’ve physically been there. Tip number three talks about one of the most critical variables to take note of when fishing any swim, structure.

3. View structure you can’t see from shore

Incredibly, given the right circumstances, you can see an unbelievable amount of structure in the water using the satellite view on Google Maps. Structure such as fallen trees, weed beds, sand flats, changes in depth, inlets/outlets, the list goes on. This is wildly beneficial to us carp anglers because it can give us an idea of what we may be getting ourselves into before we even cast our first lead to feel out the bottom. Also, it can lead us to more remote swims such as ones only accessible by boat. You can spend hours mapping out places to visit in the future, and if you live in an area where winter forces you away from the bank for a few months, this is a great way pass the time and hype yourself up for what’s possible come spring. As you’ll see below, I’ve spent quite a bit of time mapping out swims across my entire home state of New York.

So while you’re trapped inside with cabin fever pull out your phone and get to searching! You never know what may be right around the corner teeming with massive carp waiting to be caught. But most importantly don’t forget to take action on those findings come spring and get out on the bank!

Thank you for reading, Tight lines everyone!