In the UK it is illegal to fish and a lot of rivers and lakes without first of all having a valid fishing rod licence. Some fisheries to have their own fishing rod licence that covers people using their lakes and ponds. But always find out first before going fishing there because it's your responsibility to make sure you have an up-to-date and valid rod licence. Fines for fishing without a rod licence can be as high as £2500. However it's probably shame that is much worse because I've seen the names of people who have been prosecuted for not having a rod licence printed in some of the angling magazines and papers.
Two baits that really go together when margin fishing are
. Carp absolutely love hempseed, I reckon that they look upon them as little snails that they enjoy crunching.
Tiger nuts are brilliant because carp absolutely love them. They are also very robust. Roach and Rudd can't eat them and tench have problems with them as well. You can buy raw tiger nuts from the health food shop. However, unless they are prepared properly they can be dangerous to carp. So my advice would be to buy ready prepared tiger nuts that are completely safe for carp. A lot of anglers like to boil their own hempseed up, again you can get ready prepared hempseed that has been prepared properly and is completely ready to go straight from the tin.
Some anglers like to critically balance, or pop-up the tiger nuts by adding a small piece of cork to the tiger nuts. I saw an article with one angler who like to use a couple of tiger nuts, one of which had a piece of cork inserted which then lifted the nuts just above the hook which is laying flat.
If you are in the position where you are hooking fish but they seem to be dropping off then there could be a simple reason for this, your hook is not sharp enough. Think about it logically, most people use knives on a regular basis, whether that be in the kitchen or part of your job. A knife isn't any good if it is blunt so most people will have a knife sharpener that they will use on a regular basis. A hook isn't really any different, it won't stay sharp for ever, after a few fish it will start to blunt and off and eventually it will be absolutely useless.
Now you could change your hook or rig every two or three fish, however this could start getting expensive. So the easiest way to keep a hook sharp as to have
in your tackle box. There are loads available, some of them are quite expensive, others are cheap, choose a decent sharpener and you should always be able to keep your hooks nice and sharp and hopefully not lose too many fish.
One of my absolute pet hates when I'm fishing is when I see people mishandling carp, whether that be by mistake or because they just can't be bothered to treat the fish with respect. I know that the non-fisher folk will argue that if you respect and love the carp then why do you haul it out with a hook in its mouth? I've got to be honest, I don't really have a valid answer to that question, they are quite right really, I don't suppose it's very nice for a fish to firstly have a hook in its mouth, then to be hauled out of the water and plonked on the bank. I don't suppose us humans would like it very much if we were suddenly dragged into the lake by the mouth. However, we are fishermen and that's just part of the hobby that isn't so nice and we hope that the fish doesn't suffer too much.
Serious carp anglers will take as much care as possible to make sure that the carp doesn't suffer any more than it needs to you once it's in the net. If you are not going to weigh or photograph your fish then if it's possible unhooked the fish while it's still in the landing net and release it immediately by turning the net inside out and letting the fish swim out by itself. If you need to take the fish out of the water then you must be in possession of a
. Most carp fisheries have strict rules which nearly always includes using an unhooking mat if you are going to remove the fish from the water. If you are fishing for fairly small carp then you can place the carp back in the landing net to return it to the water. Alternatively, you can get unhooking mats that also act as a sling. Basically this means you can place the carp on the mat to protect their whilst unhooking, then wrap it up safely and place in the water for release, then is absolutely no chance you will drop it on the bank. These type of unhooking mats also enable you to weigh the fish safely.
If you want to weigh the fish then get yourself a good quality pair of
. Before you remove the fish from the water then make sure the scales are zeroed and ready to go. There's nothing more frustrating than seeing people take the fish out of the water, leave the poor fish flapping around on the unhooking mat while they mess around setting their scales up. You can leave the fish in the landing net whilst you weigh it if you want, that's probably the easiest and safest way to weigh small to medium-size carp. I normally remove the handle and weigh the fish whilst it still in the landing net. You can either zero the scales with the net hanging off them, or you can simply weigh the net and then deduct its weight off the final reading. A word of warning, if the fish is too heavy and you weigh it in the landing net, you may buckle the frame of the net. That's why it's a good idea to have a
for larger fish.
Carp can live for a very long time. They are also very expensive to replace so it makes sense to do your best to look after the carp that you catch. You can now get
that is used to treat wounds and lesions that carp often pick up. It's also a good idea to put a little bit of medication in the area that the hook penetrated. Hopefully by treating the fish like this it will avoid picking up any infections in the wounds. You'll find that carp can injure themselves during spawning time, so in the spring and early summer I would strongly advise carp anglers to keep a bottle of in their tackle box just in case you do catch a carp that needs treatment.
One of my biggest gripes is anglers who use keep nets for no apparent reason. I've seen it so many times, anglers who have fished for 10 hours and have 30 or 40 carp all cooped up in the keep net. Then all they do is tip them back into the water. I might understand a little more if they at least took a photograph of them, but just to keep them all crammed in the keep net during summertime when it's warm to them just tip them all back into the water makes no sense to me at all.
I don't think it's asking too much for anglers to take a little bit of care when they catch a carp. Put it back carefully, don't throw it back in, that's not going to do the carp any good whatsoever. By all means take it out of the water, take a photograph, weigh the fish, but just be aware that you are dealing with a very precious creature that is basically there for your enjoyment. If we do our absolute best to look after these incredible fish then they will continue to help us enjoy our hobby for many years to come.
If you like using boilies for bait then there's one little piece of equipment I would highly recommend. It's called theC
and as the name suggests it's used to mince our baits with just a few twists of your wrist. If boilies are a favoured bait then you will probably be used to chucking out loads of boilies around your hook bait. A Boilie in its finished form has a fairly tough outer layer. However, once you break through the outer layer you are then releasing all those enticing smells that the carp love. Using the to literally break apart the boilies will ensure that all those lovely flavours seep into the water. I think it's worth mentioning that the Korda crusher will mint stop just about anything you want to use for bait, meats, pellets, you name it.