Category: Tutorials

Beginners Guide

Basic Beginners Guide to Carp Fishing

If you’re new to carp fishing, the journey can be as simple or complex as you make it, read this short beginners guide to help you get started. Stepping into your local tackle shop for the first time might feel overwhelming with the array of options for bait, tackle, and gear. Where do you even begin?


Start by choosing a brand that offers everything you need to kickstart your fishing adventure. Cygnet Tackle is a great option with a wide range of products, including terminal tackle, luggage, and fish care items, all at affordable prices.


When it comes to rigs, keep it basic. Start with a simple hair rig or possibly a pop-up rig, depending on your fishing venue. Don’t get too caught up in experimenting with different rigs just yet. Focus on getting fish on the mat and building confidence before diving into more advanced rig setups.


Selecting a fishing venue should be straightforward. Opt for a well-stocked location that isn’t overrun with weeds and is of a comfortable size. Your goal is to catch fish while mastering essential skills like accurate casting, playing fish, and carp care.

Social Media

Take advantage of the wealth of advice available on social media platforms. Follow pages like Trakker, Korda, Aqua, BCN and Cygnet on Facebook and Instagram for beginner-friendly tips. Additionally, watch instructional videos on Fishing YouTube channels, covering everything from tying knots to bivvy care.

Connect Locally

Attend local open days or shows to connect with experienced anglers and test out products before making purchases. Investing in a quality pair of polarized sunglasses, like Trakker’s wrap-around polaroids, is essential for spotting fish and navigating underwater terrain.

Take Notes

Keep detailed notes of your fishing experiences, noting productive times of day, successful baits, and weather conditions. These insights will inform your future outings and improve your chances of success.

Remember, every angler starts somewhere, and making mistakes is part of the learning process. Embrace the journey and enjoy every moment spent by the water’s edge! Hope this beginners guide will help!

Also join our Discord community to ask questions and find someone to show you the ropes.

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Marker Float

Guide: How To Use A Marker Float

The Marker Float is a crucial tool for understanding your swim. By following some simple steps, you can accurately map out depths, substrates, and distances to fish with precision on specific spots.

A Marker Float is a fishing accessory used to map out underwater features such as depths, substrates, and fish-holding spots. It typically consists of a buoyant float attached to a line with a weight at the end, which is cast out into the water. Anglers use it to measure depths, find underwater structures, and accurately position their rigs for fishing.

1. Setup:
– Begin by assembling your marker float setup. This typically involves attaching the marker float to your mainline using a strong swivel. Make sure the connection is secure to withstand casting and retrieving.

2. Attach Weight:
– Next, attach a heavy weight to the end of the mainline, below the marker float. This weight will help the marker sink to the bottom quickly and stay in place while you map out the swim.

3. Casting:
– Cast the float out to the area you want to explore. Aim for the spot where you plan to fish or any area of interest you want to investigate further. Allow the marker float to land gently on the water’s surface.

4. Depth Measurement:
– Once the float is in position, release the line slowly until the weight touches the bottom. Note the depth by marking the mainline or counting the number of rod lengths between the rod tip and the float.

5. Retrieve:
– After measuring the depth, reel in the marker float setup. Be sure to retrieve it carefully to avoid snagging or tangling the line.

6. Repeat and Map Out:
– Repeat the process by casting the marker float to different spots within your swim. By doing this systematically, you can map out the varying depths, substrate types, and any underwater features like gravel bars, weed beds, or drop-offs.

7. Note Observations:
– As you retrieve the marker float each time, take note of any observations such as changes in depth, bottom composition, or presence of underwater vegetation. These details will help you build a comprehensive understanding of the swim.

8. Position Rigs:
– Once you’ve mapped out the swim, you can use the information gathered to position your fishing rigs accurately. Place your baited rigs on or near the spots where you’ve found promising features or fish activity.

9. Adjustment
– Throughout your fishing session, you may need to adjust the position of your rigs based on changing conditions or fish behavior. The marker float allows you to do this efficiently by providing reference points for your fishing spots.

10. Safety Precautions:
– Always ensure safety when using a marker float, especially when casting near other anglers or obstacles. Be mindful of the surroundings and avoid casting over other anglers’ lines.

By following these steps and using the marker float methodically, you can gain valuable insights into the underwater environment and improve your chances of success while fishing.

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Crucian Carp

Exploring Crucian Carp Fishing Tactics and Bait

During the spring and summer, targeting crucian carp ranks high among my angling pursuits. Their mesmerizing golden scales shimmering under the sun’s rays create an irresistible allure.

Traditionally, crucians were deemed cautious feeders, prompting anglers to employ delicate float fishing techniques during the tranquil hours of dawn and dusk. While these methods hold their charm, modern specimen fishing has ushered in refined tackle and tactics, offering new avenues for pursuing these elusive fish.

Venue Selection

For those seeking hefty true crucians, the Marsh Farm complex managed by Godalming Angling Society stands as a premier destination. Renowned for its sizable crucians, this venue attracts anglers yearning for a shot at landing a personal best. While other waters boast crucians, Marsh Farm’s abundance sets it apart, drawing top specimen anglers seeking golden treasures.

crucian carp

Location Insights

In crucian fishing, astute location scouting is paramount. These fish often signal their presence with telltale rolls during the twilight hours. Spending evenings observing potential hotspots along the margins can provide invaluable clues. Areas with depth and marginal features are prime crucian territory, especially during dawn and dusk.

crucian carp

In instances where shallow margins are absent, targeting distances of 20-30 yards during daytime proves fruitful. However, transitioning to close-range setups at dusk or to evade pesky tench becomes strategic. Crucians thrive in marginal zones, making depth secondary to suitable cover.

Hook Baits and Feeding Strategy for Crucian Carp

Small hookable pellets, corn, mini boilies, or casters serve as ideal hook baits for crucians. I favor fishmeal-based groundbaits with minimal feed, relying on their potent scent to lure crucians. Hookable pellets dominate my arsenal, complemented by backup options like corn and 10mm boilies.

Feeding tactics vary, with some anglers opting for light baiting approaches. Conversely, I embrace a more assertive strategy, heavily baiting swims to entice crucians. Employing a spod to dispense groundbait at 20-30 yard ranges garners attention, as crucians are drawn to the sound of feeding. This proactive approach challenges traditional notions, often yielding favorable outcomes.

Crucian Carp Tackling Techniques

Rig simplicity reigns supreme in crucian fishing. While traditional float tactics hold merit, employing modern flatbed method feeders offers versatility. Paired with short hook lengths, this setup enhances bite detection, converting subtle movements into confident strikes. Accurate casting, facilitated by stop knots and line clips, maximizes effectiveness.

crucian carp crucian carp

A robust main line like Gardner Tackle’s 6lb Hydro Flo ensures durability during feeder casting and fish handling. For hook lengths, Gardner Target fluorocarbon in 5lb strength strikes a balance between stealth and resilience. When employing groundbait sticks, masking the hook bait from debris optimizes presentation.

crucian carp

By implementing the tactics and bait strategies I’ve discussed, I successfully landed 15 crucians, with the largest one nearly hitting the elusive four-pound mark, weighing in at an impressive 3lb 14oz. This achievement underscores the effectiveness of fine-tuning your approach and maintaining a positive mindset, which can lead to significant success in carp fishing.

~ Alan Stagg

Top 5 Crucian Carp Fishing Tips:

1. Ensure precision in feeder fishing by using a stop knot marker alongside the spool’s line clip. Consistent accuracy increases your chances of success.

2. Cast your line regularly. Fish often respond quickly to recasting as they home in on the feeder or groundbait stick.

3. Maintain a steady supply of feed in your swim. Crucians and tench consume ample bait, so topping up regularly ensures sustained activity. A quiet swim signals the need for replenishment.

4. Opt for small pellets, whether real or imitation, as effective hook baits for crucians.

5. Allow the swim time to settle. Allowing a period of rest after baiting encourages fish to confidently gather in the area.


Get Gardner Gear now at Big Carp Tackle Store:



best time of year for carp fishing

Best Time For Carp Angling: Seasons

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.


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.

best time for carp angling

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.


Now armed with knowledge about the best time for carp fishing, here are some strategic tips to enhance your fishing experience:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Exercise Patience:
    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.
  4. Practice Stealth:
    Carp possess keen eyesight and are easily startled. Maintain quietude, avoid sudden movements, and wear muted clothing to prevent casting shadows over the water.
  5. 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!

Happy angling!

Carp Spring Strategies: Marc catches "Matts Mirror" as part of a big hit

Carp Spring Strategies Unveiled by Marc Cavaciuti

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.

Carp Spring Strategies
Carp Spring Strategies: Marc cradles 30lb Common caught in two feet

Shallow Waters

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.

Zig Rigs

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.

Carp Spring Strategies
Kiana Goo on a Zig Rig


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.

Spinner RIg
Spinner RIg
Naked Chod Rig
Naked Chod Rig

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.

Scaley Mirror caught just 3ft below the surface

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.

Importance of Location

The Importance of Location

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:

  1. Observation
  2. Listening
  3. Feeling
  4. Tight Lines and Angles
  5. Pre-Baiting


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.

Importance of Location


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.

Importance of Location

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

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

Six Golden Rules for Catching a Big Carp

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.

Rules for Catching a Big 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.

Rules for Catching a Big Carp

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.

Hemp and Boilie, perfect for pre-baiting before your sessions.

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.

One rod was all that was needed.
45+ slipping up on the rod above, over a pre-baited spot up against the weed.

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.

This one taken with the biggest mirror in the lake, a memorable brace from an ultra low stock pit.

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

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!

Kiana Carp Goo

Products How to: Kiana Carp Goo – Scopex and Buttercorn


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

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.

Kiana Carp Goo

“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.

Kiana Carp Goo

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.

Kiana Carp Goo

*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.

Kiana Carp Goo

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.

Kiana Carp Goo

Kiana Carp Goo

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!

Get Karp Goo now at Big Carp Tackle Store:


Tom Dove - Location Is Key

Decoding Carp Fishing: Tom Dove’s Insightful Guide to Mastering Carp Location Strategies

Guide to Mastering Carp Location Strategies

Guide to Mastering Carp Location StrategiesIn 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.

Guide to Mastering Carp Location StrategiesExplaining 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 StrategiesGuide 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 StrategiesGuide 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.

Guide to Mastering Carp Location StrategiesFishing 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.

Be lucky!