How to Camouflage and stalk big carp

About carp fishing with stealth/stalk – I find it amazing the amount of camouflage or disruptive pattern material, equipment and clothing available in carp fishing nowadays (real tree, mossy oak etc) Disruptive pattern is a pattern designed to assist us to blend into the environment to stalk carp with stealth. Do we use it as effectively as we could do?
Has the angling fraternity really switched on to using camouflage for which it was intended – see without been seen? Or is the run of the mill carp angler being influenced to purchasing and wearing it due to it being the – in material? For the majority I think the latter is possibly the case, I don’t sit on the fence but tell it how it is. If this is the case for you then let me educate you by explaining the use of camouflage in carp fishing and how it can be utilised in order to achieve what it is designed to do. Hide the angler from view and is especially useful to creep, crawl and stalk your way to more productive fishing.

If an angler is not exposed, there is a good chance his results will improve or at least present more opportunities. Lets put that in a different context, if you disturb your swim, you will see fewer carp feeding or spend time in it during your session, than if you had arrived without too much disturbance – undetected. Your presence may push the fish out which makes catching them more difficult. Which leads me onto another question, Can you achieve a better presentation within a few yards or at extreme range? The further out you fish the more difficult it is to achieve the most effective presentations! The majority of methods are feasible when fishing within a few yards; only single hook baits are possible at extreme range.

Stealthy carp fishing

Stealthy cap fishing is an alternate to the mainstream approach of session fishing, an approach that I see being practised a lot less than it use to be. It has been some time since I have read any articles based on this type of approach, consequently thought it apt to put pen to paper. I do practice session fishing on a regular basis, but is not my only approach.
Given the opportunity I would rather catch fish craftily, Picture the scene: A large carp meanders its way along a patrol route within a few feet of your hide, it slowly up ends as it engulfs the loose offerings, the slack line twitches, your heart is in your mouth, you remain motionless as a bead of sweat rolls down your forehead not wanting to wipe it in fear of scarring the fish, the line tightens, you strike, the water erupts as an angry carp powers off, the rod hoops and battle commences, the bank is over grown with snags and reeds, the only possibility of landing it is to jump in, your body momentarily shivers as the water finds every crevice. After a prolonged fight, it waves the white flag and as its head touches the spreader block, you punch the air, not due to her girth but at the satisfaction of your achievement, you have conquered the art of stealthy carping.
Some anglers ruin their chances of this by approaching a swim in full view and barrow load of gear, only to proceed in throwing it of with enough motion to waiver the needle on the Richter scale (slight exaggeration.) Many times

I have been sat fishing my preferred cubby hole swims, not a quake from my body, observing feeding carp, only to be greeted in nearby swims by those that can only be described of making a likeness to that of a heard of wilder beast! The said anglers often persist with their game of Jumanji throughout the session. Does that sound a bit unkind? It probably is to some, however when you consider the carps ability to detect vibration is exceptionally acute, then you will appreciate that noise/sound waves are amplified significantly when travelling through water to nearby fish. Most have watched wildlife programmes about whales, the sound they emit travels hundreds of miles, lets learn from it.
Stealthy carp fishing comes into its own when fishing small/medium sized venues or larger lakes with marginal features, and can be more productive than sitting behind a dug out swim. Take a leaf out of Terry Hearn’s book, he creeps camouflages and conceals his presence! We all know how successful he is? I was fishing a lake near Yately, it was 0400 hrs in the morning and my mobile phone signalled my arousing via the vibration in my combat trouser pocket. I awoke with the intention of an early morning stalk. It was a beautiful start to the day with mist rising from the lake surface, without hesitation I was up before the cockerels and any other carp angler, or so I thought.

Carp fishing edge

Camou gear adorned, armed with a couple of carp stalking rods I moved silently to an area in which I had located carp feeding within a few feet of the bank edge. However on arrival in the chosen swim I met another angler placing his camouflaged water bottle within it, the said angler being Terry. Too cut a long story short I had previously placed some bits and pieces in a swim to the right. Terry moved to an adjacent swim with Rob Maylin thus leaving the 3 swim bank open to myself, he left via moving in a slow and deliberate manner, causing minimal disturbance, using the fore and background vegetation to conceal his presence from the carps prying eye. If it’s right for him!
Stalking has been around for years but how many anglers actually practice it nowadays, approaching areas via being camouflaged and concealed will enable you to get close to carp, present a bait nearby and create many more chances. On many occasions close I have witnessed carp feeding in the margins near sleeping anglers, without them realising it. If I were to encapsulate stealthy carping in a sentence it would be that of – fishing from close to medium range with any number of rods or methods via approaching, fishing, presenting and observing in a deliberate, delicate and concealed manner. So how can this be achieved?

The pre-approach to carp fishing


The approach is not just physical but also mental. A stealthy carp fishing approach starts at home, with equipment preparation, travelling as light as possible and being able to move within 10 minutes or so. Go through a routine of approach and pack your equipment accordingly. What you will need to start fishing should be easily accessible and at the top of your Bergen.
Rather than listening to the latest tunes whilst on route to the lake, mentally prepare yourself, think about the following: likely whereabouts of the carp in accordance with current weather conditions, your approach to the areas you would expect to locate them, methods and alternative areas. The most uncomfortable swims, i.e. small, boggy, tight, weedy, overgrown are often the least fished. Carp realise this and find them safe havens, such areas should be checked on arrival.

My camouflage clothing is not packed in my rucksack but placed on top of my other kit in the car boot, where it is easily accessible. My Polaroid’s and cap remain in the jacket pocket, so that I can start a sneaky search around the fishery without having to take my other equipment. In a separate pocket I carry a small bag of pellets as the opportunity may arise where you can induce them to giving their presence away by placed pellets in likely areas.
On arrival in the lake car park don’t just pick up your kit and move to the best looking swim, take your time to locate carp then collect your equipment. I normally adorn the real tree clothing and move stealthily from area to area swim to swim, climbing trees to gain a better view and reduce the surface glare. All I carry is camouflaged bait bucket that can be placed in a swim to reserve it. The last thing I want to do is spend many hours locating fish only

to loose the swim to someone else. Placing the bait bucket gives others the impression that an angler has taken the swim and in the process of collecting the gear from the car.
The bivvy remains in the car until late evening – erecting a bivvy in full view of the fish you are trying to catch is not conducive to a cautious approach. Off course its horses for courses, I adopt the above method on venues which are suited to it.

Getting close to carp


There is a knack to approaching fish without alerting them to your presence; stealthy movement to conceal is of prime importance. Too much noise and the fish will spook, profile yourself and you are likely too be seen, Combat the likelihood of being compromised move covertly.
This can be achieved following a few basic principles; avoid sudden movements, move like a sloth, lift your feet and placing them gently, pre-select stepping points to avoid snapping twigs. Don’t give away your presence through silhouetting and ensure you are wearing appropriate clothing.
Once you are close make the extra effort of keeping low, crouch or crawl if necessary. Once in your chosen hide lift your head in a slow deliberate manner in order to avoid being seen through sudden movements. Think about the best use of cover, and use it to your advantage.

Peer through the bushes/undergrowth rather than lift your head above the foliage. Slowly manoeuvre yourself into well hidden but viewable position’s, don’t peer over the bushes to get a better look unless it is absolutely necessary, this may mean sudden death as your head becomes profiled, the resulting bow waves will have made the effort a waste of time!
Once you have observed your quary and monitored patrol routes/feeding spots silently manoeuvre yourself out using the same principles in which you approached.
Be aware that to person that does not fish an angler creeping around in bushes looks rather strange, and may be misconstrued!
On return you will be armed with tackle which will make the approach more difficult therefore choose a swim that best enables you to fish the desired spot effectively.
Anglers have practised these methods for many years, Chris Yates is seen in some of his videos creeping around Redmire Pool in order to stalk, get close and outwit some crafty carp. If he can do it so can you by following some of the methods I have laid out.

Presentation at close to carp


Within this short paragraph I will give an overview of how to delicately place baited rigs without creating too much disturbance. This can be achieved using light leads, floats or even free lined tactics. Once you have chosen your presentation I recommend that you place your bank sticks/pod (if you need to use them) behind cover so that once in position only the rod tips are viewable over the marginal bank, if possible place an obstacle that will block the view between the fish and yourself, reeds, shrub etc


Your preparation (baiting hooks) should be made to the rear of the swim out of site out of mind, then approach the lake margin behind cover. Gently place your trap within the patrol route, lowering it under control whilst you crouch, this reduces water disturbance and therefore less likely to spook fish. My preference is for light leads of around an ounce, a 4 oz lead dropped/cast rather than lowered will create a shock wave as it travels to impact on the lake bed, lighter leads create less disturbance.
When fishing in this manner my preference is for sinking lines, at present I am using fluorocarbon X line and find it beneficial due its flouro carbon properties. Due to it being heavier than standard monofilament it sinks and is suited to hugging the bottom contours, the aim being to fish slack enough to allow the mono to relax into the marginal slope.
When presented with the opportunity of catching carp at close quarters monitor the patrol routes and place the bait when the carp have moved out. Carp being creatures of habit will often follow the same patrol routes; next time they venture past the ambush is in place. Avoid placing your baited rigs on top of their heads, be patient and wait until the opportunity arises to place a rig without spooking them.

Concealment for session fishing


On lakes that are suited to close quarter carping for session fishing my approach is pretty similar to that of short session stalking sessions. The only difference is that I prefer to set the bivvy 10 – 15 yards to the rear of where I am fishing, behind cover if possible. If I happen to be fishing to snags then my chair is placed behind cover next to the rods. An angler that moves away from his rods whilst snag fishing is likely to lose carp and run the risk of damaging fish.

Carp often move from sanctuary areas such as snags in late evening and return early morning, this seems to be more common during the warmer months, therefore I opt to fish accordingly and move the rods to likely marginal or open water features as the sun sets.
The longer you are in a swim the greater the likelihood of fish becoming aware of your presence, therefore silence is of great importance, I even go to the lengths of going to anglers that I see approaching for a chat to prevent them disturbing my swim.

The approach above is especially good for weekend anglers and my first avenue of approach if the lake is suitable, it is only one of many options open to you and one that takes some beating when a lake or situation will respond well too it. It is more tiring than the traditional approach and you will go home on a Sunday afternoon fatigued, but you will have left the fishery knowing that you have done all that you can to locate and catch carp.


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