Engaging in carp fishing is a favored pursuit among many anglers, and discerning the best time for carp angling can be the key to transforming a day on the water from frustration to success. This discussion delves into thebest time for carp angling and imparts some insights on maximizing the outcome of your fishing expedition.
WHEN SHOULD YOU CHOOSE TO CARP FISH?
The best time for carp angling typically unfolds during the warmer months, spanning from late spring to early autumn. During this period, the water temperature is at its zenith, motivating carp to be more active and engaged in feeding. As cold-blooded creatures, carp experience an uptick in metabolism with rising water temperatures, necessitating more frequent feeding.
Weather conditions play a pivotal role in planning a carp fishing venture. Carp exhibit heightened feeding behavior when confronted with low barometric pressure, often coinciding with an approaching storm. Overcast and rainy days are opportune for carp fishing, as these conditions encourage carp to venture closer to the water’s surface for feeding.
Considering the time of day is equally critical when orchestrating a carp fishing excursion. Optimal fishing times are typically early morning and late evening, coinciding with cooler water temperatures. Carp tend to be less active during the hottest part of the day, retreating to deeper, cooler waters.
STRATEGIES FOR EFFECTIVE CARP FISHING:
Now armed with knowledge about the best time for carp fishing, here are some strategic tips to enhance your fishing experience:
Choose the Right Bait:
Carp are omnivorous, consuming a variety of bait like pellets, boilies, sweetcorn, and bread. Experimenting with different baits can help determine what works best in your specific fishing location.
Use Appropriate Tackle:
Given the strength of carp and their formidable resistance, employing the right tackle is imperative for successful landings. Utilize a robust line, a high-quality reel, and a suitable rod.
Carp can be elusive, demanding patience. Set up your fishing spot, wait quietly, and be patient for the opportune moment when carp are enticed to bite.
Carp possess keen eyesight and are easily startled. Maintain quietude, avoid sudden movements, and wear muted clothing to prevent casting shadows over the water.
Maintain Fresh Bait:
Carp have a keen sense of smell, necessitating the use of fresh bait free from overpowering odors that might deter the fish.
Best Time for Carp Angling: CONCLUDING THOUGHTS
To sum up, the best time for carp angling aligns with the warmer months, emphasizing early morning and late evening as optimal fishing times. Overcast or rainy days further enhance the prospects.
Success in carp fishing involves employing the right bait and tackle, coupled with patience, stealth, and the use of fresh bait. Wishing you a rewarding and enjoyable carp fishing trip!
In this insightful piece, Marc Cavaciuti, a key member of Team Korda, delves into the Carp Spring Strategies he employs during the spring season and sheds light on why they prove highly effective as carp begin to stir.
Be Ready with these Carp Spring Strategies
Spring marks a crucial phase in the pursuit of big carp, demanding meticulous preparation for optimal results.
By now, your chosen spring waters should be identified—a critical opportunity that shouldn’t be left to the last minute. It’s imperative to be present when the fish truly wake up, rather than waiting at home for venue updates. Be the one igniting the spark, not the individual left dampening the embers.
Familiarity with your campaign water enables effective preparation. Last year, the 15lb Touchdown stood out for me—sinking well, nearly invisible in its submerged green color, robust, and a dream to cast. This versatility allowed me to adapt swiftly based on swim availability and, more importantly, the fish’s location—essential elements in circuit water angling.
As mentioned earlier, the ability to respond promptly to what you observe or don’t observe is paramount. My kit is downsized significantly, with spare leads and food left in the van until I’m convinced I’m on fish. On busy circuit waters, being back on the barrow and moving faster down the path than the competition is vital.
As daylight hours extend, shallow areas become pivotal, especially if they receive the sun’s first rays. Cold-blooded creatures seek warmth, enhancing their eyesight, senses, and metabolism. These areas are remembered by the carp, as it’s their neighborhood. Shallow regions receive much of my attention, allowing me to react to visual signs of activity.
In spring, shallower water warms quicker than deep, dark water. Zig rigs are crucial for several reasons:
1. They enable fishing in the water column where the fish are, avoiding the futility of presenting baits too far below or above them.
2. As their senses awaken from the winter cold, fish are more likely to accept a piece of Goo’d up foam in their hazy vision.
3. Zig rigs facilitate swift responses to showing fish without worrying about presentation issues in leftover winter debris or new weed growth.
Fishing with singles or employing minimal baiting has proven successful in landing big fish. With their senses slowly recharging, exploiting their adapting eyesight and heightened sense of smell/taste is crucial. They aren’t after large quantities of food at this stage.
Excluding zigs, I use only two rigs in spring, both featuring pop-ups. Employing the Heli-Safe and Naked Chod system allows me to switch between the two presentations quickly without the need for leadcore or tubing.
My preferred rigs are Naked Chods for depths over three feet, ensuring presentation, stealth, and consistency with big fish. The second rig is an adapted spinner rig for depths under three feet, suitable for fishing close to snags and/or up island shelves, with an adjusted top bead for a softer drop.
In summary, prioritize mobility and reactivity. Opt for bright, enticing singles—be it Goo’d up zigs or pop-ups presented in areas where the fish want to be. Being right in front of them is undoubtedly the key in spring.
The Importance of Location: This article primarily focuses on Carp fishing in cold water, but the principles can be applied throughout the year.
The two most crucial elements for successful angling are timing and the importance of location. Even with the best bait and rigs, without being in the right place at the right time, your efforts may be futile.
Locating carp during the colder months can be challenging. Several factors can either work in your favor or against you. These include the size of the lake, stock, depth, climate, angling pressure, bait restrictions, club or syndicate rules, and the ever-present factor of “time”. All these factors can either increase or decrease your chances of getting bites.
Keeping things as simple as possible is essential. Here are five basic rules I follow for winter fishing:
Tight Lines and Angles
Staying alert and keeping a keen eye out is crucial! Even a minor sighting can contribute to a larger understanding. Look for the obvious signs – shows, bubbling, and cleared areas that indicate fish activity. Also, pay attention to what others are catching, as fish tend to stay localized, meaning they won’t move far if they’re comfortable.
As we transition into Autumn and the clocks adjust, so do the patterns of carp showing. It seems that the lake comes alive after dark. Although it’s challenging to see the shows in the dark, our hearing tends to compensate for the lack of vision, making us more attuned to the slightest sounds. Sometimes, it can be beneficial to not set up before dark (unless there’s obvious evidence), and let the carp reveal their location. By walking around and listening for shows, you can gain an advantage.
Using a bare lead on a braided line rod, you can feel the areas of the lake bed that the fish visit regularly. It’s not about clean, bumpy gravel areas. It’s about soft, clean, odorless silty areas rich in naturals.
Once you find these zones, the carp won’t be far away. Also, when it’s cold and the fish start to group together, casting around with a light lead can help you feel it drop through the layers and locate the carp in higher stocked venues. A few casts in each swim as you walk around the lake might just lead you to bump into one on the way down, revealing their location.
Tight Lines and Angles:
Fishing a reasonable distance out into the lake with tight lines can not only provide a chance of a bite but also give you an indication if the carp are moving around. If they are, you’ll receive liners, allowing you to bring your rig in and recast shorter. If the liners continue, repeat the process until they stop. It’s a simple, old-fashioned method, but it works!
When all other strategies fail and you need a reliable backup, consider consistently baiting one or two areas, this always provides the chance to fish in spots that have been baited before.
I’m not suggesting massive amounts, I’m referring to a frequent but small quantity. The birds and fish will provide all the information you need about your baited spot. If birds are continuously diving in that area, the bait is still present, and you haven’t had any bites from the fish. Conversely, fizzing and a change in feel on the spots will indicate that they are being visited.
Importance of location: I’m convinced that after three or four visits you start to form an image of where the fish are located, if you start to receive regular bites from a specific area, keep trying your luck, if it’s not broken don’t fix it! But trust your instincts and confidence is crucial, for pinpointing the right location. Once found, the fish can often be caught.
In January, I embarked on a small campaign on a local club ticket water, which I estimate is 6 to 7 acres, with a large population of fish, varying depths and high pressure. There’s a 45lb plus common in there, which can be like finding a needle in a haystack. So, location was crucial. I took all my factors into account and saw another angler catch it. I was sure due to the time of year it wouldn’t move far as it was content there. I started to fish in that area, when I could get in there. And sure enough…. The rest is history…. 45lb 15oz of pristine UK Common.
Enjoy your winter campaigns folks, catch a big one! ~ Jim Chisnall
Rules for Catching a Big Carp: Scott Sweetman excels in precision fishing, directing his efforts toward a specific fish. In this guide, he elaborates on his methodology for identifying particular carp. A seasoned angler with a knack for pursuing coveted big fish, Scott Sweetman predominantly structures his fishing pursuits around targeting these extraordinary carp that capture our dreams. Discover his six essential guidelines for honing in on the majestic rulers of your selected water.
1 – Choose the Target and Fishing Location
When zeroing in on a target fish, I consider several key factors in deciding where and what to fish for, with the primary focus being on the carp itself. I seek distinctive qualities, such as its age, appearance, size, or the unique characteristics of the lake it inhabits. This might include opting for a less-frequented, sparsely stocked lake, an aged park lake, or a vast windswept pit. My goal is to pinpoint something that sets that particular fish or group of fish apart.
For me, the pursuit is not solely about going after the largest carp available; I find equal satisfaction in fishing for a visually appealing mid-30lb carp as I do in the pursuit of a massive 50-pounder. As long as both the lake and its inhabitants continue to inspire and motivate me, I consider my fishing endeavors a success.
2 – Swim Selection
Choosing the right swim is undeniably crucial when targeting specific carp. Old carp often adhere to familiar patterns, and a retrospective analysis of their past captures can provide valuable insights, allowing you to identify specific areas to focus on during particular times of the year. This strategic approach significantly tips the odds in your favor for catching that elusive carp.
A compelling illustration of this strategy occurred when I was fishing a compact, weedy, and snaggy lake, where the carp faced heavy pressure and proved challenging to catch. Observing the frequent presence of most of the lake’s stock, including the target fish, in the snags, revealed that these seasoned fish had a preferred corner they rarely strayed from.
The lake presented a unique dynamic, offering the opportunity to almost handpick the ‘A team’ by targeting specific areas. One particular carp I sought after, named ‘Shoulders,’ consistently appeared in a neglected corner. Although rarely seen on the bank, this end of the lake had witnessed the majority of his captures. Undertaking a mission in this overlooked section, I successfully landed him just a few feet from the bank, weighing in at 40lb 10oz, nearly a year from his last capture, once again from the same swim.
The key takeaway: never underestimate the potential of neglected swims when engaged in targeted fishing.
3 – Tackle
Choosing the right tackle is of utmost importance in the pursuit of large carp. I opt for the most robust equipment that I can confidently use, selecting reliable components that consistently perform. Securing every bite becomes imperative when targeting big carp, necessitating a strategic approach.
For the mainline, I prefer Sub Braid whenever possible, providing maximum strength while ensuring exceptional accuracy and sensitivity to every ‘drop.’ In situations where braid is not permitted, I turn to 20lb Touchdown, offering ample strength for the task.
If the fishing venue allows, I always incorporate Kable Leadcore, approximately 1 meter in length, enhancing strength and reliability. This is always paired with a Heli Safe, presenting a significant advantage in fishing rotary-style and facilitating the release of the lead when necessary. The ability to drop the lead can often make the difference between losing or successfully landing a fish—a critical factor when targeting specific fish species. Notably, the Heli-Safe comes with a practical sleeve option, allowing for lead retention when not required. In most scenarios, I prefer the reassurance of knowing that the lead can be ejected as needed.
I prefer lightweight leads to minimize disturbance, typically opting for around 1.5oz. In this setup, I use extended hooklinks and Kamakura X hooks, known for their razor-sharp points and robust gauge, instilling me with the utmost confidence.
All the tackle Scott uses conveniently fits into a compact storage solution, specifically a small Compac. His rig essentials include Kamakura Wide Gape X hooks, 15lb IQ2 line, and a few additional pieces of equipment.
Scott’s favored rig involves a clever modification, featuring a piece of silicone that extends the ‘D,’ providing enhanced movement for both the hook and the bait.
4 – Bait
The role of bait in carp targeting is substantial, often serving as a pivotal element in angling success and a key factor in enticing your desired fish. Pre-baiting or consistently introducing bait to the lake can significantly tilt the odds in your favor, particularly when establishing a productive spot. Maintaining a steady supply of bait can yield consistent results, with larger carp often succumbing to this strategic approach.
Reflecting on the past decade, the majority of my target fish have been lured by baited areas, frequently in overlooked and neglected zones.
In the summer of 2021, I discovered a promising spot at Flint—a highly weedy bay that had been largely ignored despite its historical success. Observing carp activity in the weed, I embarked on a campaign by first raking a fishing spot just large enough for one rod. I initiated the baiting process with a mix of hemp and approximately a kilogram of 16mm Krill. Subsequent baiting sessions throughout the week contributed to the spot’s expansion.
Using this method, I successfully landed several fish over the following weeks, including a notable 45lb common, all by fishing with a single rod in this secluded spot within the weed. Baiting in this manner allowed the fish to feed confidently without the presence of lines in the water. When I would drop in for a night of fishing, bites were often immediate.
This approach not only instills confidence in me as an angler but, crucially, fosters the carp’s trust in the baited spot. I consistently seek and exploit such opportunities in my angling pursuits—identifying fruitful spots, baiting the area for a week or two, and then returning to capitalize on the established feeding zone. Although these spots may not endure for extended periods, they often yield the capture of several fish in just a few trips, even in sparsely stocked pits.
5 – The Numbers Game
In the pursuit of large carp, I employ a couple of distinct approaches. One involves patiently waiting it out in well-known swims or areas that have historically yielded big catches, even if it means accepting a lower overall catch rate. However, this tactic positions me favorably to land my target fish.
The other strategy, which I predominantly employ based on my available time and personal style, is to engage in the numbers game. Essentially, this means aiming to catch as many carp as possible. Personally, I believe that consistent catches bring me closer to the desired ones. It assures me that my rig and bait are effective, boosts my confidence, and tips the odds in my favor.
As you progress and deplete the stock, there comes a time when you start doubling up on captures, with the main target fish becoming more accessible. During such phases, I’m inclined to shift towards waiting it out in known big fish swims, anticipating that one crucial bite. However, especially when starting on a new lake, my primary focus is on catching as many carp as possible.
By actively engaging with the fish, changing swims, and consistently getting bites on lakes where a successful season might only yield 4 or 5 carp, achieving that quantity or more significantly enhances the likelihood of eventually landing the specific ones you desire.
6 – Mindset
Maintaining the right mindset and mentality plays a crucial role in targeting large and elusive carp, especially when fishing in lower stocked lakes where bites can be infrequent.
Consistently adhere to what you know works best; it’s counterproductive to start making changes during periods of inactivity, a common aspect of fishing in less populated venues.
Recognize that success won’t happen every time you cast your line, but let this drive you even harder. The key is to stick to rigs and bait that instill confidence, emphasizing the importance of placing them in the right spot at the right time. Pursuing big carp is a captivating journey, and the satisfaction of netting that elusive specimen is unparalleled.
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+
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
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.
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.
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.
The timeless Scopex Kiana Carp Goo, once championed by the angling legend Rod Hutchinson, has now been given a captivating twist by Kiana Carp. In their latest innovation, two exceptional Goos have been crafted, enhancing the already remarkable fish-catching capabilities of this classic attractor.
Super Scopex Supreme – Kiana Carp Goo
The Super Scopex Supreme stands out with its lively hues, presenting a subtle orange tint in the bottle. This vibrant Goo is ideal for drizzling onto hookbaits, allowing it to permeate to the core. It proves equally effective when coated onto stick mixes, providing a slow-releasing, enticing scent. PVA friendly, it can be added to the outside of PVA bags for unmatched attraction, or incorporated into Solidz bags for a halo of irresistible scent and color surrounding your bait.
“Try blitzing up some Mainline Cell boilies in the food blender, then just adding either the scopex Supreme or Buttercorn into the mix. Then use a little Funnelweb bag of this, hooked onto a wafter hookbait or popup which has also been soaked heavily in it, and you have a brilliant set-up that very few fish would ever swim past without investigating.”
Scopex Cream Smoke –
Maintaining the irresistible Scopex flavor, the Scopex Cream Smoke offers a different viscosity and Goo makeup. With a signature green haze, it’s perfect for enhancing Method feeders, zig foam, and hookbaits before casting. Its durability during casting and slow release over an extended period make it an excellent choice for short sessions.
Neil Spooner showcased the Scopex Cream Smoke’s versatility in Korda Masterclass 8: Carp Fishing, achieving success with a ready-tied zig rig and landing a 34lb mirror from St Johns on the Linear Complex.
*Pro Tip:* For an extended leak-off time, roll hookbaits soaked in the Supreme version in the Smoke variant and expose them to sunlight or dry heat.
Buttercorn Goo – Kiana Carp Goo
Considered one of Kiana Carp’s finest blends, the Buttercorn Goo has proven extraordinary in field tests, delivering excellent results globally. This sweet and potent fish attractor is versatile, excelling as a hookbait soak and enhancing stick, Method, and bag mixes. It complements white hookbaits, providing a mild haze and signaling a sweet orbit around your bait.
Notably featured in Danny Fairbrass’ top 5 flavors, the Buttercorn Goo has played a crucial role in major Masterclass and Thinking Tackle films. Its smooth, rounded smell and strong penetration make it ideal for a washed-out look when paired with a white hookbait, especially effective when fished over the Cell.
“Buttercorn Supreme – A very smooth, rounded smell yet a really strong and penetrating one. I prefer to use this with a white hookbait, ideal for a washed out look to your bait, and one that works really well fished over the Cell. With the Buttercorn Goo, you can achieve this washed out look, yet still have a bait oozing with attraction.”
*Expert Tip:* Combine Buttercorn Goo with Tiger Nut Goo in a 50/50 mix for an irresistible concoction. The resulting aroma will speak for itself!
In my journey through carp fishing, one undeniable truth has surfaced – location is the linchpin of a successful catch. It’s the heartbeat of the entire game; nothing else matters unless you’re right on top of the carp. Let’s dive into the essentials of locating carp (Guide to Mastering Carp Location Strategies), as I break down the key points from my perspective.
The notion that “this is the most important part of my fishing” has been tossed around in various fishing aspects, from hook patterns to bait choices. But let’s face it, location takes the crown. Without being where the carp are, the story ends before it begins. I jest about conjuring up ways to catch carp without a hook, perhaps resorting to a lasso or a net, but the reality is, without carp present, the struggle is real.
Explaining precisely where an angler should position themselves on each fishing trip is akin to navigating a labyrinth. There are countless factors that can shift fish locations. However, amidst this complexity, a few simple rules stand firm, serving as reliable guides throughout the fishing seasons.
In the ever-changing scenarios on the bank, I advocate for allocating a significant portion of mental bandwidth to observing the location and movement of the fish—80%, to be precise. It’s not about complicating things; it’s about understanding that different situations arise on every fishing outing. Yet, when you’re out there, the location and movement of the fish should dominate your thoughts, both in the moment and as a lesson for the next trip. Spend time before setting up to ensure you’re in the right swim.
I can’t stress enough the importance of watching the water, especially at dawn.
Guide to Mastering Carp Location Strategies: What should you look for?
Carp can give themselves away in various ways, and it’s crucial to understand what to look for. The most obvious sign is a carp leaping clear of the water. It’s a sight you should constantly be on the lookout for. Despite its obviousness, I’ve witnessed people missing opportunities because they simply aren’t paying attention to the lake. Seeing one fish jump and adjusting your position can be the difference between a blank and a fantastic weekend of fishing.
Most of the time, carp aren’t that easy to find, requiring you to look for subtler signs. Keep your eyes peeled for bubbles, flat spots, murky water, and anything that seems out of place. When a carp feeds, it disturbs the lake bed, creating cloudy water, bubbles, and sometimes bits of debris. Pinpointing these signs of fish activity is the most critical job, allowing you to fish in the area with confidence.
Guide to Mastering Carp Location Strategies: Let’s talk weather
Weather plays a pivotal role in the carp’s location habits. Winds, in particular, can push fish into specific areas, making them either easier or harder to catch, depending on the lake’s layout. Carp love and respond to wind, even if it’s cold. It’s not necessarily about moving into the windward corner, but they almost always shift from their current position when a new wind arrives.
The direction of the wind has the most significant impact. Southwesterly winds are frequent and bring fantastic fishing weather. Overcast, mild, and windy conditions are what I consider fantastic fishing weather. Fish often follow a wind from the south, ending up in the general area that the wind is pushing into.
Westerly winds and a big pressure drop, northerly winds bringing wet but colder weather, and easterly winds, with clear skies and high pressure, are all factors to consider. Keep a close eye on the weather to understand how it affects the movement and mood of the fish.
Snags and islands are prominent features in any lake. They serve as both shelter and patrol routes for carp. When you have no other signs to go on, these are the areas to head for initially. In my experience, the leeward side of an island is preferable, offering a calm area for carp to feed comfortably.
Casting tight to island margins can be a massive advantage. Don’t be afraid to cast multiple times to a likely-looking spot, as fish will only retreat into a snag while the disturbance is happening.
About the trees
Trees offer the best vantage point for actively finding carp. Using a safe tree as a viewing point allows you to look down through the water, gaining a better picture of fish behavior. The higher you get, coupled with a good pair of polaroids, enhances your ability to make the most of the situation.
Popular swims are popular for a reason. While it’s easy to say, ‘ignore the popular swims,’ sometimes you just have to fish them if you want to succeed. However, don’t ignore less-frequented areas, as the majority of fish caught in certain swims doesn’t mean the rest of the lake is devoid of carp. If reality dictates limited access to popular swims, make a plan in a swim that gets left alone, creating a backup plan.
Fishing for liners might not be a tactic for finding fish initially, but once you’re confident in the area, paying attention to smaller things, like liner activity, can make a difference in hook bait placement.
During a recent shoot, I considered everything I’ve shared here. I had a good look around the lake, saw nothing, so I set up on the wind.
Fishing into the lea of an island, as I hadn’t seen other signs of carp, I hadn’t received a bite after an hour or two but had experienced liners. Constant liners can indicate that you’re fishing too far out. I reeled in, repositioned my hookbaits, and received two bites within half an hour of the first recast.
Condensing a mind full of situations and conditions into an article has its challenges. There are a million and one different situations, and a slight change in one variable can make a huge difference. The moral of the story is to keep watching, keep learning, and never ignore a sign. Keep an eye on the weather and an even closer eye on what’s happening, both location and weather-wise, when others are catching from your lake.
Darrell Peck – Embracing the Hinged Stiff Rig: For those entering the realm of rig setups, the stiff-hinge rig stands out as a proven winner, having likely landed more substantial carp than any other rig. Darrell Peck, a seasoned angler, swears by this rig, especially when presenting a pop-up.
The hinged stiff rig has withstood the test of time and remains a go-to choice for pop-up presentations. Its enduring popularity is attributed to two key factors: its guaranteed presentation and exceptional hooking efficiency.
This rig is primarily favored for larger fish, as it can be a bit too robust for smaller carp in the single and low double weight range.
Various constructions of the rig exist, but I’ll elaborate on how and why I tie it in the manner I do. Keeping things simple is my mantra for rig creation. The essentials for me are tangle-free operation, effective presentation on the lakebed, efficient hooking, and the strength to land every hooked carp.
The hinge rig comprises two sections: the hook section and the boom section. Let’s start with the hook section.
When using a hinge, a pop-up hookbait is essential, attached via Bait Floss to either a rig ring or a micro ring swivel. This is connected to a ‘D’ section on the back of the hook, crafted from 20lb MouthTrap. A six-turn knotless knot, with the tag end pushed back down through the hook’s eye, forms the ‘D.’
My preferred hook for this rig is a size 6 or size 8 Wide Gape, known for its reliable hook holds. I’ve found it to outperform a Choddy hook, and the smaller size aids in securing hookholds.
Attention to the hookpoint is crucial, and given that the hook sits proud from the lakebed, a sharp point, such as a Kamakura or hand-sharpened hook, works well.
The 20lb Mouthtrap is my preferred material for its excellent memory, crucial for the hook section to maintain its shape. It’s essential to have the flexibility to create a curved ‘D’ at the rear of the hook.
While some anglers use alternative materials for hinges, such as supple fluorocarbons or braid, I advise against it. Stick to products designed specifically for this task.
The length of the MouthTrap varies based on the situation, but as a rule, I prefer hinges to sit around 2.5 inches off the lakebed. Very short sections of 1 inch can lead to hookpulls.
To complete this section, I tie the MouthTrap to a size 11 Ring Swivel via a 2-turn blood knot. When tying the blood knot, leave a smaller gap between the hook and the swivel than you think; the knot will gain an extra inch when tightened.
Once tied, give the MouthTrap a gentle curve to help turn the hook into the bottom lip, regardless of the carp’s approach direction. This curve is a potent weapon, and steaming the rig after pinning it into a chod bin helps set the MouthTrap into the desired shape.
For the boom section, Hybrid Stiff remains my top choice, ranging from 5 to 12 inches. Krimping it into position is a neat and easy way to set it up.
The lead arrangement can be a Lead Clip or Heli Safe, depending on personal preference and lake bed conditions.
The hinged stiff rig excels in various situations, with its peak performance as a single hookbait tactic or over a spread of boilies. It has likely accounted for more big fish than any other rig and remains my go-to for pop-up work.
Get Hinged Stiff Rigs now at Big Carp Tackle Store:
Baiting Carp for Beginners: Goo Tips by Jamie Londers
Meet Jamie Londers and get ready for some Goo Tips!
“Originating from South Africa, this secret mixture of additives was used to devastating effect by their national team in carp competitions. It is manufactured by Kiana and all different colours and flavours are available, as well as two different versions – a thinner one to soak hookbaits in; and a thicker one that can be used in PVA bags, groundbait, or even smeared onto the outside of baits before casting out.”
1. Combine Flavors
Don’t limit yourself to one flavor – mix it up for maximum food signals in the water. Experiment by combining different Goo flavors to create your own custom blend for a personal edge. Each Goo variant offers distinct acidity or alkalinity levels, scientifically proven to alter the water’s pH and trigger positive feeding responses in carp. In simpler terms, fish find it nearly impossible to resist. The dense viscosity of the Smokes sinks through the water column, while the lighter Supremes rise, creating a powerful attraction that draws fish down to your hook-bait. It’s pulling power at its finest.
2. Bake It On
Let your Goo’d pop-ups dry in the sun. Use the thicker Smokes to coat your hook baits, then leave them in the sun to bake and form a crust. Once in the water, this layer of attraction breaks down slowly, creating a long-lasting cloud of unrivaled attraction around your bait’s orbit. This tactic, favored by successful zig anglers, ensures the Goo withstands the force of a cast and disperses gradually once in position.
3. Use PVA to Create the ULTIMATE Attractor Package
Take advantage of the PVA-friendly nature of Goo by applying it directly to your sticks. This opens up a world of possibilities, allowing you to make a bag or stick mix with high levels of liquid attraction – a fantastic way to apply taste and smell. The Goo’s solubility, combined with its PVA-friendly composition, lets you get creative. Apply a stripe of neat Goo directly to your bags or hook-baits before casting out to further boost attraction.
4. Use the Nozzle to Inject
For a quick and easy way to create an irresistible parcel of flavor and attraction, use the nozzle to inject Goo into your solid bags. Time is precious, and with just a squeeze, you’ll have a concentrated burst of goodness surrounding your hook-bait. This forms a cloud of high-level attraction, providing both a visual element with the colored halo and an unmatched concentration of some of the finest tastes and smells in the bait scene. A proven and winning tactic that keeps it simple.
The impact of Korda’s Carp Fishing Masterclasses on the world of angling has been nothing short of revolutionary since their launch. For this reasons Korda has created the Carp Fishing Masterclass Videos Series.
This remarkable series provides anglers with hours of valuable instruction from some of the most prominent and successful figures in the fishing industry. They share their expertise on a wide range of waters, both in the UK and overseas.
What makes these tips truly exceptional is their versatility, making them applicable to any fishing location for outstanding results.