About carp angling tips and tactics – There are no set rules to achieving an edge in carp fishing, what maybe advantageous in a certain situation or lake may not be good on another. That sounds like a politician’s answer; nothing concrete for you to work with? It would take more than I can fit into this article to describe the many advantages that will put the odd extra fish on the bank, therefore have opted to cover a few and portray the thinking behind achieving an edge rather than attempting to detail as many as possible. Hopefully this will spur you into thinking about your approach and even what else can be done to increase your chances. Here is an open question that I would like you to think about whilst reading this piece, I will present my opinion of the answer in the conclusion; why are some anglers more consistent than others?
We are mid way through the maggot boom; they are a brilliant bait and will encourage a take when other methods fail. Rob Maylin then came up with the maggot aligner and landed many of the big fish from Swan Valley using the method. I wonder what the next ‘in method’ or bait will be? I suspect chopped lob worms with a whole worm over the top will be re-invented or naturals such as cockles will be the in thing, if maggots, worms or cockles have not been used on your lake I strongly recommend you give them a go!
Polaris float fishing is little practiced and a highly successful method for short session carping, more so than sitting behind indicators. I believe it is effective due to its sensitivity, a single bleep or rod tip knock can be an indication of a missed take, that single bleep when fishing a float would pull it under resulting in a hittable indication and possibly extra fish on the bank. Additionally the float helps keep the majority of the line near to the surface and only a short length of line from float to lead. I suspect maggot fishing using a polaris float will be a devastating method!
We understand that carp learn by association? How many times have carp associated long lengths of line travelling through their patrolling level from rod to lead as danger? Would it be advantageous to keep as much line as possible out of their patrolling level? We automatically presume that pinning the line between the rod tips to the lead is the right thing to do.
Back leads are appropriate in many situations but maybe not so good for all as the main line is often pegged up above the lake bed due to running across obstacles such as bars, weed and debris. An open question leading on from this; should we not look at keeping the line in the surface layers when the fish are deep and the line close to the bottom when they are in the upper layers, thus avoiding line running through and across their motorways. The sensitivity of a float is far greater than that of any alarms. Think about it, for example: the depth is 7 foot: that is only 7 foot of line that a bite signal must travel through before an indication is seen? In comparison to a far greater distance that the signal must travel through for an alarm indication, even then it may only be a single bleep. I don’t normally hit single bleeps but would hit the same amount of indication transmitted to a float, interesting?
Fishing larger lakes
On larger lakes an angler that can cast over 160 yards will be able to apply those skills to pick up bonus fish at distances that the majority cannot achieve. I recall fishing High Town Lake near Ringwood 15 years ago, using my trusty old whisker rods casting single hook baits into a bay where the fish felt safe and out of reach. Using 8 lb line and a shock leader to encroach into their safe haven and pick up extra fish. At the time no one else fishing the venue that was able to reach the magic zone. However the next season a couple of the local anglers had observed the successful tactic and had been out honing their casting skills and soon became accomplished casters.
Able to place a single hook bait at the edge of the carp’s safe haven, and having a moderately successful season. Why didn’t they think of that in the first place, why did it take someone else to demonstrate the advantages of the method on the lake? A little forethought would have given them a distinct advantage, fortunately for me I was able to catch the majority of fish I was after during the first season of casting into the safe haven, the following year the fish held further out of range due to the pressure and the method was not nearly as productive, to a certain extent they missed the boat. The moral of the story is if you can identify an approach that would give you the edge then get on it as soon as possible before the method is done to death and blown. I had it good at the right time and took advantage of the situation. I believe an advantage can be gained on all venues if a little thought is put into the approach.
I have wandered off track a little within the previous paragraph, where was I? Oh yes, achieving an edge tips. Placing a hook bait where they do not associate danger will give you an advantage. This can be accomplished by looking for suitable spots e.g. I recall a season on Somerly near Ringwood where an edge was achieved via dropping the baited rig close to a rope within six foot of the bank and near to a snag, it was not possible to cast to the spot due to overhanging bushes. However it was possible to drop the baited rig through a small gap in the bushes, near to the snags, then crouching down in order to pass the rod around two trees to the pod. This little extra effort often resulted in nettle stings to the derrière but was worth it. I went on to land over 30 x 20 lb fish and 4 x 30s that season including the lake record, a carp named Billy Boy, most of them from that one little spot. Bare in mind the period I am referring to was around the early 90s, a good result on any water back then. The consistency was soon noticed, but due to pointing the rods towards the centre of the lake and keeping the top two feet of the rods under the surface it was difficult to spot exactly where I was placing the rig. I had the spot to myself for many months until someone saw me place the bait, soon after the spot was blown as he informed others and the old falling domino effect took place i.e. don’t tell anyone but I know where he’s having the fish from, he tells his mate and so on. Hence the reason I was deceptive at the time.
The use of roach poles with a small plastic cup glued to the tip allows us to place a bait close in under bushes as long as they are hollow underneath of course. The rig and bait is placed in the cup and the pole extended to the desired spot and tipped. It is often used in spots that are difficult to cast too. Is this method altogether ethical, I would not like to pass comment and will sit on the fence? The pole or wading will allow you to accurately place a rig and bait and are good methods in certain situations.
Anglers that are new to a venue occasionally do very well! You may recall occasions when the new person on the block out fishes the regulars. This may be due to them not being aware of the vogue methods. The new angler tends to turn up with a fresh set of eyes and ideas, approaches the lake using a strategy that the carp are not accustom to and catches them off guard. The regulars often look on, unaware of the fish having grown wise to past successful methods, failing to notice that results have slowed. Jumping on the bandwagon will place you pretty much on the same level as the majority on the venue, but may not be the method for the best results, something different and some analysis may give you an advantage.
Some of the top UK anglers do a lot of tree climbing; it allows the angler to get above the water which in turn reduces the amount of glare. Many of them practice tree hugging on a regular basis as they can observe fish habits, this gives a greater understanding and feel for what is happening sub surface, do you climb trees or fish blind?
When the weather is warm surface fishing comes into its own, although it is an oft practiced method, usually with a float controller. The beach caster method looks clumsy but is an absolute brilliant method; it works due to there being no visible line on the surface, only the hook bait. Alternately laying the line over lily pads or hang it from a twig. Nowadays I have found it increasingly difficult to entice a take using float controllers unless I drop down to 6lb X line.
I cannot detail all of the possible edges due to their being an infinite amount; however I do hope that I have been able to give some pointers in the right direction and as the saying goes, ‘food for thought.’
Conclusion for carp tips
The edges mentioned are but a fraction of what can be used to gain an advantage. I have purposefully presented you with many open questions and not too many direct answers in order to get your brain working. If you wish to improve your chances then take a leaf out of the most successful angler’s books. As stated in recent articles doing something different may catch the carp off guard, don’t put all of your eggs in one basket, test and adjust for maximum results.
The initial question within the first paragraph was: why are certain anglers more consistent than others? Answer: They work hard at achieving an edge and think about what they are doing! If you too work hard and think about your approach, you may swing the pendulum in your favour. I hope within this article I have achieved the aim of getting the ‘grey matter’ working?