Fishing for carp in small ponds
I believe it was around 1978, probably when I was around nine years old when I got my first fishing rod. I got it for my birthday, it was a 10 foot Shakespeare three-piece coarse rod. I'm not even sure to this day why I decided I wanted to start going fishing. It may have had something to do with my grandfather who would take both me and my two cousins sea fishing whilst we were on holiday in Paignton, but I really couldn't say for sure. I have very fond memories of getting up early on a Sunday morning in anticipation of my father taking me to Wrest Park for a few hours fishing. Off I would trot down to Anglers Den, a tackle shop about 15 min walk away to get myself a pint of maggots. To this day, I can still remember the smell of the shop as I walked in. I would look at the wicker baskets and Mitchell reels in awe. I would then take my bait box full of maggots back home and wait in excitement for us to drive to our destination. My dad wasn't into fishing himself, whenever I mention him taking me fishing as a kid now, he always maintains it was his fatherly duties, I'm afraid my old man has become a bit of a miserable old bugger in his old age :-)
At nine years old, I was more than happy catching small roach and perch which never got any bigger than about three or 4 ounces, I was easily pleased in those days. I think I was about 10 years old when I was finally allowed to go fishing without my father being with me. Both myself and Kevin Sheridan, a friend who lived in the same road went to the Grand Union Canal one summers day. This is where I encountered my first carp. Fishing a single grain of sweetcorn and a small stick float, I hooked into what seemed like an absolute monster. It turned out to be a small carp not much bigger than a pound. By today's standards it was tiny, but to a nine-year-old boy, this was Moby Dick, an absolute monster in my eyes, I'd never seen a fish so big. I was so proud of it, I put it in my keep net and just kept going back to look at it, it was absolutely magnificent. I doubt whether any of us will ever forget our first ever carp, I certainly haven't
The waters around Torbay that I fish for carp are both day ticket venues and also club waters. This means that you can either pay on the bank for your days fishing, or you can join your local club where you will pay a yearly membership and have access to their waters. If you go fishing on a regular basis then it may be a cheaper option to join your local club.
There are loads of techniques for catching carp, however there are just a few that I really love using myself. It's difficult to say exactly which is my favourite method because each one has its own merits. I would probably say that surface fishing is the most exciting way to catch carp, but I really love catching them on the feeder, I've been using this method more than most as of late, if you pardon the pun. My articles are based on my experience catching carp at several venues around the Torbay area, including Town Parks, New Barn and Rocombe in Torquay.
Float fishing for carp is a great way to catch carp from close in to your swim, or right in the margins. Most of the venues I fish are quite shallow, probably between two and 3 foot in the margins and just in front of you in your swim. Therefore I don't really think there's any need for complicated shot patterns, keep it simple in my opinion.
My favourite rod for float fishing close in is my Avon rod. It's actually the which I've had now for quite a few years. John was somewhat of a hero of mine back in the 80s and 90s so I had to have one of his rods. The Avon is actually an all-rounder, it's got two tips, a standard tip, and a quiver tip. The standard tip is 1.4 test curve so it's more than capable of landing fish well into double figures. I've also been a massive fan of Shimano and I've got several of the older 1990s models which will remain in my collection forever. I normally use between six and 8 pounds line on the Avon rod when float fishing.
I like to use a that is self weighted. I then lock the bottom of the float with float stops. If you want to use a bog standard float then you will have to lock the bottom of the float with shot and then add extra shot to sink the float to the correct depth so you can just see the tip.
One thing to remember is that because you are shotting your float so the tip is just showing, any extra weight is going to pull the float under. Therefore it is very important to make sure that your bait is hard on the bottom. Because I'm normally fishing fairly close in where you may have several carp feeding in a fairly small area you want to try and avoid line bites. So what I tend to do is have about 6 inches of line actually lying on the bottom. To make sure that the line is pinned down properly, put a small shot about 6 or 7 inches from your hook. Obviously when you plumb the depth of the water you'll have to plumb 6 inches over depth.
It's important that you introduce some ground bait into the swim, preferably half an hour or so before you start fishing. You can't go wrong with a commercial ground bait made by Sonubaits. They actually brought out a brand-new last year that is definitely worth trying, I shall certainly be getting some for the summer. If you want to make up your own ground bait then check my other information further down the page. There is nothing written in stone about what should go into ground bait, you can make your own mixture up and I'm sure the carp will love it.
If the water is very shallow then you will know when the carp are in your swim, you will see what I refer to as a vortex on the surface of the water, this is caused by the fishes tail fin as it feeds. This is always an exciting time for me, there's nothing more exhilarating than to see a big tail swishing around right in front of you. Don't go and drop the float right on top of the fish, you will end up spooking it which will just ruin your chances of catching fish. What I do is calculate where I think the fish is going to swim and put my float in the position that will basically ambush it. Nine times out of 10 you will catch a fish once it's feeding in your swim, you just got to be very gentle and certainly don't stand up and move around where the fish can see you.
If you can fish under overhanging trees or bushes then all the better, carp love hanging out in these sort of sheltered places. So don't overlook swims that are overgrown, they are often the best places to fish.
Know the Depth of the Water
It's very important that before you start fishing with a float you first know how deep the water is. If you are ground baiting your swim then there seems little point in fishing 1 foot under the surface. The term we use to work out how deep the water is is called "plumbing". It actually originates from when sailors used to use a plumb line to determine how deep the water was and what substrate they were sailing over. We anglers use what we call a plummet in exactly the same way.
Plummets are available in all shapes and sizes and every angler should have one. I actually prefer the ones that I refer to as "hippopotamus" plummets. This is basically because they look exactly the same as a hippopotamus's mouth. They are actually and can be bought in packs of three. I like these because they can accommodate larger hooks and just clip on and off with no messing around. Plumbing the depths is simple, clip your plummet onto the hook, put your float in the water where you intend on fishing and observe what happens to the float. If the float goes under then you know you are under depth and you need to move the float up. If the float lays flat on the water then you are over depth and the float needs to be slid down the line. Adjust your float so you just have the coloured tip sticking out of the water. As mentioned in a previous article under float fishing, you may want to adjust the float so it's slightly over depth, this will ensure that you have 6 or 7 inches line laying on the bottom.
The lift method is still float fishing. It is probably most widely used for tench and carp fishing because of the way the fish feed. The reason it is called the lift method is because when a bite occurs, the float lifts out of the water, rather than going under. In my opinion, this method is much more efficient at detecting bites from carp in shallow water.
When fishing the lift method use a straight float that isn't too long. Peacock quills are excellent for fishing the lift because they are extremely light. You can normally get three or four good floats out of one long peacock quill. I normally paint the top will red. Just use a float rubber to attach it to the line, you can then easily slide it up and down. However, it is not always that easy to get hold of a peacock quill, unless you happen to live near a zoo. I actually now use a small crystal float that is around 4 inches long. They normally have a thin fluorescent top that is very easy to see. I use small rubber float stops that you slide onto the line to lock the float. I find that this method performs a lot better than the old peacock quill. The rubber float stops normally keep the float very secure, unlike the bands on the old peacock quills, they would often slide when you strike. setting up the lift method is simplicity in itself. You don't have to bother about complicated shot patterns, all you do is place a single shot anywhere between three and 6 inches from the hook. It really depends on how big the float is to how big the shot should be. You need to choose a shot that will pull the float under. So, you may need to use a 2SSG to achieve your goal. If you don't use a shot that will pull float under, you will not know if the shot is actually on the bottom. You then alter the float so that when the weight is resting on the pond floor, the float tip is just visible above the surface. Some people actually submerge the float completely so that when the float appears above the surface, they know they have a bite. Personally I like to see the float. The reason being is because you often get traditional bites where the float does go under so I prefer to keep about half an inch of float sticking out of the water. If you do choose to fish the float just under the surface, watch for the line moving away, this sometimes happens rather than the float lifting out of the water.
This is how the lift method works, when carp and tench feed, they often feed at an angle, rather like the illustration to the left. When they lift their heads up with your hook in their mouth, they dislodge the shot, thus making the float, lift out of the water, rather than go under. You may see the float lift quite high out of the water, or it might suddenly lie flat on the surface. As soon as this happens, strike. The lift method is a superb way of catching carp very close in. They often stay in one place when feeding so will not pull the float under. Using the lift method is an ingenious way of detecting baits from feeding carp. If you are fishing over slightly uneven ground, you may have to move the float around occasionally so that it sits exactly right. If you are fishing at a slight distance using the lift method you may have problems finding the correct depth. If you find that you are slightly over depth, i.e. the float is laying flat, reel in very slowly until the float cocks. The line will be going down at a slight angle from the bottom of the float to the weight rather than straight down but it will still work. This method is also a good way of catching wary carp. Because the line is at an angle, there is less chance the carp will bump into it and become spooked. You may have to put the rod on the bank or on some rests because the slightest movement will move the float.
Peacock quills are not always easy to get hold of. The ones I had a few years ago I found at Paignton zoo under some bushes. I tend to use a short crystal waggler nowadays. However, instead of passing the line through the hole at the bottom, I use a float rubber and attach it to the bottom so that the float runs freely up and down the line. I also prefer to use a 2SGG as it gives me more control and stops the float moving around, especially if the bottom is slightly uneven.
Many anglers overlook the margins in favour of fishing further out. Unfortunately they are often missing out on some real action right under their feet. Just because it may be only a few inches deep right next to the bank, don't let that fool you into thinking that fish don't visit these areas. One of the best times to fish the margin areas of any lake or pond is in the evening. Carp are not stupid fish, they have been accustomed to anglers packing up and discarding any left over bait into the margin areas. Therefore they know that at the end of the day there is going to be food there waiting for them that doesn't have a hook in it. Having said this, don't think that the evenings are the only time you'll catch carp in the margin, I have caught them in the margin at all times of the day, the margin areas of the lake are also a retreat for fish, they will sometimes retreat to these areas as they find it safe, they can hide in weed, under low hanging branches and bushes without being disturbed.
I have a compact 10 foot float rod that is great for fishing the margins. However just occasionally it's really great fun to use a pole. There's nothing more exhilarating and nerve wracking than watching the elastic stretching out to what seems like a mile, you're just waiting for it to snap, really gets the heart pumping. Being disabled means I cannot use one of these larger poles that are made for the margins. Many of these poles are simply too long to handle when you have no hand movement at all. Therefore I favour a Carp Margin Pole that you can buy for as little as £10. Make sure you choose one that is elasticated, there's no point in getting one that has the little ring attached on the end. These are made so you attach the monofilament on the end, they are basically made for catching tiddlers, certainly not bigger fish that fightback. If your disability is similar to mine then you will probably feel comfortable up to around four or 5 m. Although these whips are like, they can get a little bit top-heavy, couple this with a fish and you will have quite a struggle bringing the fish in. I always have my whip attached to my right arm and control it with my left hand.
The majority of the waters I fish are very shallow in the margins. Therefore I don't use a big long float, I favour the small dibber float.These are very very small, probably no more than a couple of inches long and are only really suitable for fishing extremely close in where you can see them. They are really good for fishing in extremely shallow water, no more than 12 inches deep. They only need one small shot to cock them, I normally place this around six or 7 inches from the hook. The diagram I have included shows the float setup being fished at the exact depth of the water. I prefer to fish slightly over depth, around 6 inches, I find that you can reduce line bites and foul hook ups. If I am fishing in deeper water, four or 5 feet then I will use a larger float with a bulk shot placed around halfway between the hook in the float, and a smaller shops about 6 inches from the hook, this shot will be laying on the bottom and will not be there to cock the float, it will be there to keep the bait steady.
Carp will visit the margins for one reason, food, so be prepared to give them plenty to eat. I've recently started using ground bait rather than pellets or free offerings. My philosophy is that if you use a good Carp ground bait and fish only your hook bait over the top, once the carp are confidently feeding on the ground bait, they will pick up your hook bait without even thinking about it. If you give them too many of what you already have on the hook, sometimes it can take ages for a bite to come. I've tried this several times now and it worked really well, therefore I don't waste my time piling in lots of pellets and free offerings, I just makes up the ground bait when I get to the water. I have recently gone back to using luncheon meat and spam, the plain old stuff from Sainsbury's. To be perfectly honest Carp absolutely love these processed meats straight out of the tin, however I do like to add a little bit of flavour to it, whether it actually makes a difference I really couldn't say. I've started using F1 liquid additives which smells very much like vanilla. All I do is cut the meat up into small squares, chuck it in a plastic tub, squirt a little bit of additive in and give it a good shake and is ready to go. If I've got some left over at the end of the day, I certainly don't throw it away, I freeze it which by all accounts draws more of the additive into the meat. There is absolutely no way I am going to pay £3.99 for the stuff they sell at the angling shops.
I am a great lover of presenting my hook bait on a hair, I feel much more confident that I can present a bait well and get a hook up straightaway when a fish takes the bait. I recently found a product called "quick stops" these are basically small stops that are already attached to a hair on the hook. Using a special baiting needle, you just push them through the bait and you have a nicely presented bait, hair, no more messing around with piddly little stops that keep falling out all the time. Of course you don't have to use a hair, a plain old hook is what the majority of people use. I would be inclined to use a strong hook when fishing in the margins, I have lost fish before when they have literally opened up the hook when bolting away from the margin.
When you are fishing in the margins, especially in the shallow water you must use a strong elastic. My preference would be between 16 and 20. If you use an elastic that isn't stronger than the chances it will snap on hooking a big Carp as they normally bolt. As for mainline, I don't normally use anything less than 8lb. I always use a slightly lighter hook link as I don't want the elastic snapping.
Float ledger in the marginsAnother effective way of fishing the margins is to combine a ledger with the float. The setup is quite simple and actually only uses one knot which is on the hook. What you need is a float, some and a . Attach the float first either side with two float stops. Slide your weight on followed by your buffer bead. Slide two more rubber float stops and finally your hook. Set the two bottom float stops so they are about 7 inches from the hook. The weight doesn't need to be too heavy, definitely a more than 1 ounce. The buffer bead will rest against the two float stops and will stop the weight sliding down towards the hook This method is for fishing for up to 4 feet out from the bank so you will need to plumb the depth of the water. Now you don't want your float sitting up in the water like it normally would, you need to have it laying flat so set the float over depth. When a carp takes your bait you will see the float start to move, it will then start to cock and finally go under.
Fishing the method and pellet feeder
These are two methods I have been using a lot in the last 12 months and I've caught a lot of carp. I particularly like using these two tactics because when bites come they are almost always explosive and if you are not hanging onto your rod tightly, there's every chance it will get pulled in. If you come from a sea angling fraternity then you will probably be used to watching the tip of your rod, therefore this method may be right up your street.
You can use a method feeder on any carp rod, it doesn't necessarily have to be a feeder rod. However, to get the best out of these methods feeders you should opt for a method or bomb rod that has a very sensitive tip that can detect small bites. Because I tend to only fish small venues I only feel the need to use a small feeder rod, certainly not my 11 foot Drennan, a nice rod but far too long for a small pond. Last year I bought a which are absolutely perfect if you are fishing on very small ponds and lakes where you're not casting very far. They come with three tips so you can vary the weights of the feeder.
The reel I use on my 8 foot TF Gear feeder rod is the Shimano Baitrunner DL 2500 FA . This is the perfect reel for this compact feeder rod, I would highly recommend you have a look at it. If you are fishing where there are carp up to double figures then I would be uncomfortable using anything less than 8lb. In fact you should check the venue rules as some places insist on you using a minimum of 8lb line if you are fishing for carp.
There are various different makes of method feeder on the market that come in different shapes and sizes, however they all do exactly the same job. and manufacture in-line method feeders that are very similar. I particularly like the moulds that come with these two feeders. make a pretty good feeder but I'm not all that keen on the mould that they supply with the feeder. However, I suppose it's each to their own and you will find one that you like.
With traditional method feeders you would put the method mix all around the feeder, so basically you have a ball that you cast out. These new feeders are slightly different, the method mix is only attached to one side, the feeder is also weighted on the other side so when you cast your method mix is facing upwards, just like a dinner plate ready for the carp. The other good thing about this method is you're not really looking to give the carp too much to eat, just enough so that they take your hook bait fairly quickly. What you'll find happen after a while is that the more you cast, the more free food will build up in the swim. This will then encourage other carp to move in on your swim. You will then get them all into a feeding frenzy, however they will have to compete over what food is available, which won't be an awful lot. If you play your cards right you should get a fish every cast. Try and land your method feeder in the same position every cast, after all there's no point in fishing where the fish are not feeding.. A lot of anglers like to use the line clip on the real, this will guarantee that your feeder lands in exactly the same spot.
It's important that your hook links are kept very short when using the method feeder. The whole point of using this method is that your hook bait is right next to the free offerings on the method feeder. If you use a 12 inch hook link then it defeats the object if your bait is 12 inches away from where the carp are feeding on the free offerings. My hook links are always very short, no longer than 4 inches. Because my hook bait is always small, I like to use a small hook, anywhere between 12 and 14. Drennan now make a wide variety of different carp method hook links, some of them have bait bands attached, others have hair rigs attached to the hook. If I was using pellets then I would nearly always use a bait band, if I was using artificial sweetcorn then I would stick to a hair rig.
My favourite swim at Town Parks is right opposite an island. Carp love islands and margins, casting your method feeder right next to an island can often yield big catches. Also, don't neglect the open water, I found that carp will often sit feeding in mid open water in between islands and channels. This particular spot I fish not only enables me to fish tight to the island, but also the fish into open water, I've got the best of both worlds.
I've used the term method mix a few times, however I more than often use 2 mm pellets that have been soaked until they stick to the method feeder. I've mentioned Sonubaits already, I've been using their range of pellets for a couple of years now. I particularly favour the range of pellets they produce. They come in a resealable packet and are made in various sizes ranging from 1 mm up to around 8 mm I believe. The 2 mm range are absolutely perfect for the feeder. I wouldn't advise you to go much bigger than 2 mm, if you go too big and the pellets won't stay on the feeder properly. The rule of thumb is that if you are using 2 mm pellets then you soak them in water for exactly 2 minutes which should render them soft enough to mould around the feeder. So what I do is put the required amount of pellets in a small bait box, completely submerge them with pond water. Leave them for approximately two minutes, sometimes it's a bit longer. Then I turn the box upside down and drain the water out and obviously I'm using a bait box which has holes in the lid. When you open the box you will see you pellets have literally doubled in size. If for some reason you make the mix too wet then simply add a few more pellets which should soak up add a baked the excess water.If you want to add a bait additive then put it in before you drain the water. I used Sonubaits F1 flavouring last year, smells like vanilla ice cream, but the carp obviously like it.
If you want to use a traditional method mix in conjunction with one of these method feeders then I would highly recommend one of products. You can use them straight out of the bag, just add water. However, if you are going to use a method mix on the feeder then it is important that you use a to get all of the lumps out of the mixture, you want it really fine so that you get the perfect method mix.
Get yourself a decent feeder rod rest that has different slots on it. This means you can locate your rod in different positions if you want. Locate the tip of the rod fairly close to the water so that there's not much line on top of the water. On very windy days, you may just have to put the tip of the rod under the water. There's no need to have too much of a bend in the tip, just a small arch. If you are fishing a few yards in front of you then leave the line slack because you may find that the carp will bump into the tight line.
When a carp takes the bait you normally get a pretty big tug which will actually hook the fish, so there's absolutely no need to strike. If you are fishing tight against a bank then you may get what we call a "drop back" bites. This basically means that the carp has picked up the bait and instead of running away, it has started swimming towards you because that's the only direction it can go. When this happens you will find the line goes completely slack quickly, that's the time to wind up really quickly into the fish.
I must mention silver fish, that is roach, bream, and hybrids. If you are fishing for carp then these can be a real pain in the backside. Unless it's a fairly sizeable fish you won't get the same bite as you do with carp. I find that I will notice the rod tip switching back and forth, similar to what it does of the carp are attacking the feeder. Sometimes this will carry on for ages and then you will reel in only to find a tiny roach on the end. Bream are a little bit more forceful when it comes to bites, but unless it's a sizeable one, they can't fight for toffee. Having said that, bream and roach often save the day when carp are not biting.
It's a good idea to have various hook baits at your disposal. Carp can be a little bit picky when it comes to what they eat. You may find that an 8 mm pellet works for a few hours, then suddenly they don't want it anymore. That's what I love about Ringers allsorts, they come in a variety of colours so if one stops working, you can change until you find a colour that the carp do want. I've mentioned artificial sweetcorn, don't overlook this as a hook bait, it's fantastic and will work completely on its own, there's no need to use it in conjunction with the real sweetcorn, the carp are not going to be studying it for too long, they will be wanting to get it in their mouth as quickly as possible.
Loading the Drennan method feeder
Using the pellet feederPellet feeders are deadly for carp as well. These are slightly different in design, you don't actually attach the pellets on the outside of the feeder, they are actually pushed inside the feeder. When the feeder hits the bottom, the pellets will start swelling more and fall out slowly. Because they are in-line, the carp can only access the pellets from the bottom this is where the hook link will be located as well, the carp will be literally touching your hook bait as they eat the pellets that are falling out of the feeder.
There are a few different types of pellet feeder on the market, however my favourite is manufactured by . They are in line feeders that you set up exactly the same way as a method feeder.
If you are going to be fishing in fairly deep water then I would advise you to use a pellet feeder over a method feeder. Method feeders are great devices, but if you use them in deep water, by the time they hit the bottom most of the pellets will have fallen off. You won't get the same thing happening with pellet feeders, most of the pellets will stay inside.
So that's my take on feeder fishing, give it a try, you'll love it, especially when you get those huge rod wrenching bites.
Ringers Banded Allsorts Pellets
Last summer I came across some awesome pellets that are probably the best I've ever used for the feeder. Manufactured by Ringers they are marketed as Banded Allsorts Mini High Flavoured Sinkers. They are shaped like a dumbbell which means they are absolutely perfect for use on the pellet band as it does not easily slip off. I've been using them on nearly all the feeder sessions since I got them and have caught a ton of carp. What I really like about them is because there pellets don't come off easily, you will catch more than one fish on the one bait. Yesterday I caught three bream and one carp on the same pellet. I got mine from eBay, £3.99 and you even get a free packet of bands, you can't beat that for price, especially when there are plenty of pellets in the box.
TFGear Fishing Rods
I've recently started using one of TF Gear New Compact Commercial Feeder Rods. These rods are only 8 foot long and are absolutely perfect for small commercial waters where you are casting short distances. As a disabled angler with limited strength in my arms I also find that the shorter the rod the easier it is to control a carp when it's pulling hard. Because the rod is short, you haven't got the leverage which can tire you out quite quickly if you have a sizeable fish in the end.
When the weather is warm and the carp are hungry they will happily take floating surface baits. Taking a carp from the surface is I think the most exciting way of catching these fish. If you want to introduce your kids to carp fishing then getting them to surface fish is probably the best way of doing it. I've been there before, trying to get a kid to watch a float is quite difficult. If they can actually see the fish then that's a different ball game altogether.
What I absolutely love about surface fishing for carp is that you actually see the fish take your bait, rather than waiting for the float to go under, or a bite alarm to sound. I don't think there is anything more exciting than seeing a carp getting closer and closer to your bait and then slurping it into its mouth.
As the name suggests, you will need to use a a bait that is buoyant and will float. Traditionally bread is probably what first started off surface fishing for carp. I suspect that one day somebody was feeding the ducks and noticed that carp were taking the bread from the surface. The great thing with using bread is that carp absolutely love it. Also, you'll find that carp are more often not really suspicious of a piece of floating crust. On the other hand, when you're using dog biscuits, you will find that they can be very suspicious and it will take ages before you actually get one to take your hook bait. So there's a good tip for you, if you can't get a bite on pellets or floating biscuits, put a piece of crust on, even a large piece, it will soak up the water and become very soft and it won't take much for the carp to suck the hook in.
The big disadvantage with using bread is you really only have one cast, once it becomes soggy it just won't stay on the hook for a second cast. Also, you won't really be able to cast long distances using a piece of bread crust. Baits such as dog biscuits and floating pellets have now become the most popular surface fishing baits. There are various ways to attach dog biscuits or pellets to the hook so that they don't fly off, even when you cast hard.
In der to deliver your light bait out to feeding fish you will need a special kind of float that will enable you to cast distances. These are known as surface controller floats and come in various shapes weights and sizes. Some controller designs are specifically made for casting a long way, others are egg -shaped, transparent and are designed to fish for carp that may spook easily.
Carp can often be very wary about taking surface baits, therefore I always use slightly smaller hooks. In the last three years I've been using size 10 mixa as these really complement both dog biscuits and pellets. Whether you use a band, or soft hookable pellets, these hooks are absolutely perfect.
A lot of people suggest that you should use a very long hook length, up to 6 feet. I've never quite understood this myself because 9 times out of 10 when you are surface fishing the carp will actually pay more attention to your controller float rather than your bait. So with this in mind I use hook lengths between 6 inches and 2 foot, but never any longer. 6 inches is far too short you may say, wrong, it is absolutely perfect if you are casting into snaggy areas, overhanging bushes and trees.
I haven't used dog biscuits in quite a while now, when I was using them I used to use an elasticated bait band which was attached to the hook. You simply stretch the small bait band around the biscuit and you are ready to go. It may help if you cut a small groove either side of the biscuit, just so the band has something to rest in, this can often stop them falling off when you cast for the first time. Alternatively, soak the dog biscuits overnight until they are soft, you can then use them directly on the hook. Some people like to flavour and even colour their dog biscuits. Food colouring and bait additives are perfect for doing this. I came across a couple of years ago and these are what I tend to use most of the time now. You simply corner hook them and cast out, no messing around with fiddly elastic bands which can be awkward sometimes.
On a nice warm summer's day when it's nice and still with hardly any surface movement on the water you will no doubt see quite a few carp patrolling back and forth. Don't be tempted to tackle up and cast out straight away, be a little bit patient, see if the fish are feeding to begin with. Before I even set my rod up, I will introduce a few free offerings to see what's going on. It should be fairly obvious if the carp are going to be up to taking surface baits. Spend a few minutes putting out two or three pellets at a time, once you've got a few carp taking them regularly then introduce your hook bait. Alternatively, you can walk around the venue and pick off individual fish, that's always fun.
It is quite important that you grease your line with Vaseline in order to make it float. If the line sinks then it makes it difficult to make contact with the float quickly. You can get Vaseline from the chemist, alternatively I like to use Mucilin which is available from most tackle shops. It's purposely made for fishing and comes with a piece of foam which makes it easy for you to put a small layer of grease on your line without getting covered in it.
To keep the fish interested it's a good idea to introduce free offerings every now and then. Don't go overboard and chuck handfuls in because you'll just give them more than they actually need.
One mistake I see people making a lot is when they strike as soon as the fish goes anywhere near the bait. In most cases a carp will investigate a potential meal before actually eating it. On heavily fish commercial waters carp will become suspicious because they have been caught so many times. If you are float fishing, or maybe feeder fishing, you will see the float bobbing up and down, or the tip of the rod twitching, this is often when the carp is investigating your bait, but not actually taking it properly. They will do exactly the same thing with the surface bait. The best way to get a successful take on the surface is to let the carp take the bait when he wants it. If you strike when you see the carp mouthing the bait the chances are you will miss. When you become fairly experienced at this method you can hook the carp when they mouth the bait, but you've got to know exactly when to do it because they often split the bait out if they feel something is not quite right.
Although not a method I use much, you could try surface fishing using the anchored float method. Use a bubble float which has a couple of rings attached either side. Thread this onto the line first, then a weight with your hook length. When you cast out your weight will keep the float and bait in the same area and it won't drift around with the wind. You can then concentrate on feeding that area with free offerings.
The wintertime is not normally noted for good surface fishing. However if you get a couple of days of really good sunny mild weather than you will find the fish coming to the surface, so my advice would be to keep some surface fishing tackle with you at all times.
If you haven't tried surface fishing for carp then give it a go, I almost guarantee that you will love it.
Surface fishing with the suspender rig
The suspender rig is probably not a very common sight on many commercial waters nowadays. However, the principle of this method is actually very clever. Basically you are eliminating the need to have the line floating on the water which can often spook carp, all you have is the bait touching the surface. I suppose it's rather like a crane that has a wrecking ball attached on the end of it, although you're not trying to bash the carp on the head. This method utilises the anchored float technique. You use a weight, probably around 1 ounce minimum as the anchor. The suspended rig consists of a tube of around 12 inches, it has a buoyancy aid attached at the bottom, normally a ping-pong ball is used. When you cast out you use the tension of the line to suspend the bait from the arm. The beauty with this method is that you can use baits that will sink under normal circumstances. Personally I would only ever use this method if you are sure the carp are seeing the hook length and are being spooked.
Carp surface waggler and the blobIf you want to try a slightly different way of catching carp then read on. This method is simplicity in itself and requires only two main elements. The first thing you'll need is a . These floats are made to fish surface baits and even though they look like a standard waggler float, they are actually designed to have the line passing through a ring on top of the float. The next element is probably what makes this method of fishing different from your standard surface fishing, that is a "blob". Okay, this has got nothing to do with that awful B horror movie of the 1950s. The and are basically a little round buoyant ball that you attach onto your line in exactly the same way as a rubber float stop. The difference between this way of fishing and surface fishing is you don't actually use a buoyant bait. The point of using this method is you actually want to fish your bait 2 or 3 inches just under the surface, rather than having it as a floating bait. This is where the blob comes into the equation, you position the blob two or 3 inches from your hook bait, this then suspends your bait just under the water. I would probably be inclined to use small pellets when fishing this method. The reason being is because carp are very much used so seeing pellets showering down from the sky, so seeing one just under the surface is not going to be something they haven't seen before. However, you can experiment with any thinking bait, as long as the blob can support it then really is up to you what you try on the hook. In many cases, the carp take the bait very gently, they don't rush off quickly like you find when you are surface fishing. Therefore you are watching for the blob to go under, this is when you strike immediately. This is a really good way of catching carp. There is a guy who fishes Town Parks in Paignton and he catches one carp after another using this method, it's truly amazing to see.
Fishing the Polaris float
Nothing to do with submarines or nuclear weapons, however this is a very clever design that enables you to combine float fishing with ledgering. The beauty with using this method is you always know exactly where your bait is. Also, bite detection is a lot more sensitive than even fishing the feeder. Polaris floats are very easy to set up, they come with full instructions and are by no means complicated at all. You can fish with hook links from 6 inches, right up to 6 feet, although mainline must remain monofilament. You can use a simple ledger, or you can fish using a feeder. However, unlike feeder fishing where you angle the rod to detect bites, when using a Polaris floats you have to point your fishing rod directly at the float. Polaris floats have a unique locking design. When you cast, make sure that the float is sitting on top of the swivel so you just have the hook length hanging below the float. When you cast it's very important that you do not close your bale arm straightaway, you must allow the float to set its own depth. All you do then is put your rod on a couple of rests and adjust line tension so the tip of the float is sticking out of the water, just like any other form of float fishing. Obviously if it's quite choppy then you can leave a bit more sticking out, if it's very very still, then just a tiny bit. If you're fishing the feeder then leave a bit more sticking out of the water, you want to avoid getting false bites as the fish attack the feeder. I wouldn't advise you attempting to hold the rod because the slightest movement will pull the float under. The other great thing about the Polaris floats is that it works very much like the lift method. This is why people who fish for bream favour this matter so much. If the fish dislodges the weight, rather than running, the float will rise out of the water. This is a really brilliant method that can be used in any depth of water. When you reel in don't be alarmed if you see that the Polaris is miles away from the weight, just keep reeling when the float touches the top eye of the rod, it will then just push back down again. Polaris now make different designs of these floats for all types of fishing.
When the water warms up during the summer months, carp will often feed in the upper layers of the water where its warmest. When this happens you can often catch carp from not only the surface, but just below the surface as well. When we fish just below the surface we call this "up in the water" fishing. When you fish using this method you want to present the bait between 12 & 18 inches below the float. Personally, I wouldn't fish any deeper as when there carp become confident, they will take your free offerings almost as soon as it's the water.
You can get purpose made floats for fishing up in the water, they are normally fairly chunky large floats that make a splash when they hit the water. They are often called . There are loads of designs you can choose from, they come in all shapes and sizes, in fact don't let the Mrs see some of them or she might mistake them one of her special toys.
There are also purpose made hook links that are made for fishing up in the water. To be perfectly honest, you can probably use them for other types of fishing, but they are marketed for fishing up in the water. However, they normally have a bands which have been hair rigged onto the hook. Traditionally, most people tend to use pellets when fishing partner in the water, so the pellet bands come in very handy for hooking hard pellets. You can use pellets between 3 mm and 12 mm, although I prefer the slightly smaller pellets. I have actually started using small match boilies as the carp really seem to love them. Pellet bands are really not any good for mounting these round baits so I use like to use a bait bayonet which is also hair rigged to the hook. You could use a traditional hair rig if you are using slightly larger boilies, however the ones I use are 8 mm and 10 mm and is there is a tendency for the baiting needle to split them.
If you are a "sit back in the chair and relax fishermen" then up in the water fishing is probably not really for you. The reason I say this is because when you fish up in the water, you have got to constantly introduce free offerings around the float to bring the fish to the area. Carp are attracted to any type of noise caused by floats or free offering, splashing is like ringing the dinner bell for carp. Some people like to offer up fairly large free offerings, anything up to 12 mm. I actually prefer the scatter smaller pellets as I think this is a more attractive noise. Also, a bag of 3 mm pellets will last you a lot longer than a bag of 11 m pellets.
I normally cast my float out, start introducing free offerings and then slowly tweak the float back in towards me whilst continuing to introduce free offerings. When you tweak the float, you lift the hook bait so that it falls naturally like the free offerings, you can often initiate a take by doing this.
Bites are normally fairly positive, when the carp are really feeding confidently they will just grab your bait and when they feel your float will bolt so you often don't even need to strike. If they are very skittish and are just mouthing the bait then you may have to be a little bit more on the ball and strike as soon as the float dips.
I thought I would mention the rod and reel that I use for fishing up in the water. I use one of Drennen's 13 foot power wagglers rods as they have bags of power and you can chuck one of Middys heavy pellet floats quite far. As for a real, I use a Shimano GTE 3000, a real than I've had for years and would never part with. I have 6LB line loaded onto this as this is more than enough.
The Zyg Rig
The Zyg rig is an excellent method for catching carp when they are feeding at the surface or maybe midwater.
The principal is the same as a semifixed rig, the difference with a Zyg rig is in the length of the hook length.
You must make sure that the hook length is clear, using a hook length that stands out in the water will spook the carp, fluorocarbon is well-known for being invisible underwater. The hook length must also be shallower than the depth of the water, if it's too long then it won't perform properly as you will just have a lot of slack line.
If you know the depth of the water then you can experiment with different lengths of hook length to find out where the fish are feeding. If you don't know the depth of the water then use a marker float.
If the fish are taking baits from the surface then set your rig up so that the bait is either just under the surface, or just at the surface. If the fish are not taking from the surface then experiment from anywhere from 6 inches upwards, some people find the fish feed midwater so you might need to make a hook length of 3 feet or more. This method of fishing can often be used to get around a "no surface fishing" rule, although be sure that you are not actually fishing your bait on the surface.
If you find that your hook link is tangling when you're casting then you can use soluble foam nuggets that you simply hook, when you cast they prevent tangling, they dissolve within a minute or two so there is no need to worry about your hook being covered in gunk.
You can use any floating bait, pellets, boilies, bread, anything that is buoyant will work with the Zyg rig. A lot of people nowadays use artificial buoyant baits that quite frankly don't resemble anything, but they seem to work. You can also simply just use a piece of cork that resembles a pellet. I think it's possible that in many cases the water is not particularly clear and the carp will just grab at anything they see falling through the water.
It's probably worth mentioning that the Zyg rig is not a lazy man's way of fishing, to make this work requires constant trickle of loose offerings that will entice carp into the area and get them on the feed.
Korum Hook Hair Quick Stops
I use hair rigs as much as I can and I just feel confident that I will hook the fish without having the bait masking the hook. I recently came across these which are a absolutely marvellous design. You can see by the picture how they work, there is a little plastic stop attached onto the hair, you simply push this through the bait and security on the other side, it takes a couple of seconds when you get used to it. I would advise you to purchase the special baiting needle that accompanies these quick stops as it's sometimes difficult pushing the stop through a large bait. These come into a couple of varieties, the hooks on their own with the stops attached, and also complete ready tied hook links in various sizes.
What is the best bait for carp
Carp, especially smaller carp tend not to be too fussy about what they eat. Commercial water carp will often take a wide variety of different baits. It really is impossible to say what bait works best. I could guarantee to you that I could go to my local commercial pond and fish artificial sweetcorn on a pellet feeder and do just as well the next day using 8 mm Ringer allsorts with the same method. I could then go down the following week and blank using both baits, that is what it is often like when you fish on a small commercial carp water.
If you shop for carp fishing bait on the Internet then you'll see that there is a frightening amount of different baits available, far too many for you to try all of them. I decided a couple of years ago that I was going to stick to one particular company when getting my ground bait and pellets that I use on the pellet feeder and method. This company is called Sonubaits and I am quite happy with their products, I don't see any need to go anywhere else now, certainly makes my life a lot easier. However, when it comes to my hook bait I am always looking around for something different, something new on the market that the carp may not have seen.
I have compiled a list of hook baits that I have used over the years. I'll tell you how I mount them on the hook and how much I rate them as a carp bait.
- the first bait on the list is probably the best bait ever for carp. I caught my first ever carp on a single grain of sweetcorn so obviously it is a bait that I carry with me on fishing sessions. If I am loose feeding sweetcorn then I use the cheap stuff from Sainsbury's. However if I'm using real sweetcorn on the hook than you can't beat the stuff that Van Den Eynde sell. Sweetcorn now comes in a variety of flavours and should always be part of your arsenal, just for emergencies when nothing else may work on that particular day. Maize is basically the same but just a little bit bigger, again you can buy it in large tins from companies like. If you're fishing for carp into double figures then don't be scared to put seven or eight kernels of corn on a size 8 hook. Alternatively, you can hair rig two or three pieces of corn. Some anglers like to include a piece of artificial corn just to put some buoyancy into the hook bait so the fish sucks up a little bit easier.
- I came across Ringers allsorts last year when shopping on eBay. They are shaped like a dumbbell and come in various colours. They are made to be used on a small bait band and can be fished using various methods. I like to use them on the pellet and method feeder.
- these pellets come in various sizes and are manufactured by different companies. Some companies are now pre-drilling sizes down to around 8 mm which obviously makes it very easy for them to be put onto a hair rig. These always work well on the method or pellet feeder. I use short method feeder hook links which are about three or 4 inches long and are ready side, normally with either a hair rig or a band. I would recommend using companies such as or with these particular type of pellets.
- mini boilies range from around 8 mm up to 10 mm and can be a very good carp bait. I like to use them when fishing up in the water with a pellet waggler. I have found the ringers 10 mm white boilies to be particularly good. Now these particular boilies can be a little bit difficult to mount on a hair rig as I found they can often split when you're pushing the baiting needle through them. Try and get yourself a baiting needle that has a very thin needle, if you use a standard one then you'll probably find your keep splitting the boilies. I had some Middy pre-tied hook links which had a bait bayonet attached to the hook. These bayonets are perfect for little mini boilies because you can push them into the boiling without breaking it in half.
- another fabulous bait that the tackle companies have jumped upon and are now producing their own versions of the stuff that we often put on our sandwiches at lunchtime. There is no way I am paying £3.99 for a tin of luncheon meat, I would rather get some from Sainsbury's for £1.70. The basic luncheon meat from Sainsbury's is all you need, you can flavour it with bait additives and get exactly the same results. Try baking grill, carp love this. You can mount cubes of me either directly onto the hook, or onto a hair. Try using Korum quick stops when using cubes of meat, it's very quick and easy to mount them and you get great presentation. Peperami is a great way to use on the hair, loads of spices and flavouring which carp like as well.
- this is a fabulous hook bait, however unless you can get a very stiff mixture you may find it falls off the hook easily. It's more than often used when people fish for carp using the pole. You can make your own paste by soaking trout pellets for several hours and maybe adding a little bit of cornflour. This way you can get the texture exactly as you want it. If you're going to be casting with paste then use a big hook, no smaller than 8.
- what fish dosen't like worms? If I'm fishing for carp then I prefer to use a nice big juicy lob worms. You don't need to buy lob worms, if you've got a back garden then go out in the evening, sprinkle water that has a little bit of washing-up liquid over the grass and then wait for the worms to appear. Alternatively, go out on a football pitch, especially around the goalmouth if the mud is exposed after it's been raining and worms often appear in their thousands. Another good place to get worms is a golf course, golf groundsmen hate worms and you may get permission to go and harvest them after it's dark when it's damp. You'll need a fairly large hook if you're using a big lob worm, at least a size 6. Hook the worm just above its stomach so that you've got plenty of worm wriggling around. Match fishermen love using worms, ones that you find in compost heaps. They will often chop the worm in half so that it releases all its smell into the water which apparently is irresistible to fish. Hook the worm where you've cut it in half.
Bread - bread isn't just a surface fishing bait, you can use it on a float as well and it can be very good indeed. Don't use crust if you want your hook bait to sink. Use normal white sliced bread, or you can use the white fluffy inside of tiger bread. I like to use a fairly big hook when using bread, a size 8 or 6 is a good size. Take a piece of bread about the size of a 50p piece, fold it around the hook and then squeeze very tightly around the knot, but don't squeeze all of the bread, make sure you leave some nice flaky bits that will come off in the water.
Maggots/casters - maggots and casters will catch just about anything that swims in a pond. However, expect to catch loads of silver fish. Alternatively, use a bigger hook, a size 10 and cram it full of maggots, as many as you can get on. You can always use a cocktail, maybe sweetcorn and maggots, the list is endless and can be very attractive to fish.
Shellfish-seafood - often overlooked by many anglers, shellfish can be a fabulous hook bait for carp. They absolutely love cockles (without the salt and vinegar) and muscles as well. If you are using muscles then I'd probably use a fairly big hook, around size 6. Cockles are fairly small, but you can cram three or four onto a size 8.
Hotdog segments - a lot of barbel fishermen use this bait, however carp absolutely love hotdogs as well. To my knowledge not a lot of people where I fish use this type of bait, so if you've not noticed people using hotdog segments, give it a go. Cut your hot dog sausages into segments of around half a centimetre thick. Don't just hook the hotdog through the side with all of the hook showing, push the hook into the side of the sausage so that none of it is showing, this way the carp will just look upon the sausage as being another free offering. Believe it or not, carp are quite clever and may well be able to tell the difference between something that has got a hook in it, and something that hasn't.
Cat meat - believe it or not you can use cat meat as a hook bait for carp. Make sure you use the stuff that comes in small cubes. It's very soft so I doubt whether you'll be able to cast with it very far. However, having had a cat for several years myself, I know that cat food absolutely stinks so on your head be if you use this bait.
Nut baits - before you start using nuts on a venue check the rules first because many fisheries will not allow nuts to be used. are a wonderful bait for carp, they cannot get enough of them. Giant American peanuts where a favourite of John Wilson, he used to use them a lot and rated them highly, although I've never managed to find the ones he used.
- there are hundreds, probably thousands nowadays of bait additives that you can enhance your hook baits and free offerings with. The one I was using last year which smelled of vanilla was an F1 flavour manufactured by Sonubaits. I used it when fishing a small method feeder. After adding water to a box of pellets, I would add a couple of liberal squirts of the liquid flavouring and give it a good shake.
Anyway, I could make a list a mile long talking about different hook baits, however I'd rather talk about ones I've used myself, rather than ones I haven't. I've caught carp on all of the above hook bait, they all work well so give them a try.
Before you go to the tackle shop and spend a fortune on baits, consider getting your baits from Sainsbury's, it will cost you a fraction of the price and you will be getting the same results.
ground bait your swim
To increase your chances of catching a carp you've got to give them a reason to visit your swim. If you just stick a piece of sweetcorn on your hook and drop it into the water then you are relying on a fish to come across it by chance. However if you add a variety of foods and scents to the water then you are going to attract fish into your area. There are loads of different ground baits available that you can use straight out of the bag, just add water, mix and introduce into your swim. I've been using Sonubaits for the last couple of years and I am very happy. I found that I can get a couple of sessions from one large bag. They are resealable as well so the ground bait stays fresh longer and you don't end up with it falling out.
The ground baits are very easy to mix and only take a few minutes to prepare. If you want a ground bait that is nice and smooth without lumps then use a riddle, this well help you end up with a very fine mixture. However, I don't bother with a riddle myself, I have never really seen the advantage if I'm only dropping the ground bait at my feet. The ground bait can be used straight out of the bag with great results, or if you want you can mix other ingredients, such as what you are using on your hook, sweetcorn or pellets for instance. I normally make up about four balls the size of a medium size orange and introduce them into the area I intend to fish. Sometimes I will ground bait two or three areas so that I can swap in between if carp start feeding. You can throw balls of ground bait at distance, but you've obviously got to be very accurate or it's just not worth it. Therefore I only fish a maximum of two rod lengths out when using ground bait, but I mostly use it in the margins..
Make up your own ground baitThere are loads of different ground baits on the market that will do the job for you. However if you want to get a bit more creative then you can make your own ground bait mixup using various ingredients. Here is one mixture that you could use.
- this contains all sorts of goodies that carp love. You could also take particles included in this mix and user for your hook bait.
- carp love spicy food, chilly hemp is a great addition to any ground bait mixture. I get mine from Dynamite Baits.
Sweetcorn - no ground bait is really complete without a liberal helping of sweetcorn.
Powdered chilli powder - you can get this from Sainsbury's, again a nice liberal sprinkling will give the whole mixture a presence in the water which carp will be attracted to.
Salt - we like salt or our food, carp also like it.
Tinned tuna in oil - all fish love this type of food, I often used to feed it to my tropical fish occasionally so I can guarantee that the carp will definitely enjoy eating it.There are no specific measurements, just add as much as you think you need.
Simple to make ground bait
If you don't want to go to too much trouble to make a ground bait then you can use three or four off-the-shelf food items to make a very effective ground bait that will definitely bring carp into your swim. The ingredients are bread, bran, sweetcorn, and whatever you are using on your hook. Bran is readily available in bags, I got mine from Holland and Barrett for about £2.50, more than enough for a couple of sessions. Put about 3 or 4 inches of lake water in a bucket, take four or five slices of white bread and mash it all up into a pulp. Don't worry if you still got lots of extra water, when you add the bran flakes, you will find it soaks up the water almost straightaway. Then add your sweetcorn and mix it all up and you are ready to go. If you are using pellets, or chunks of meat then check a few of those in as well. This isn't the sort of ground bait that you can throw, it's only suitable for use in the margins.
Attach Your Pellets Easily
If you like using bait bands but find them extremely fiddly to use, especially when they are the very small ones then I might be able to help you. I recently came across a special gadget that enables you to quickly and easily mount any sized pellets or dog biscuits on any size band. The gadget is called a and is available at many tackle suppliers for a few quid.
Some Fishing Tips
Here is a diagram that shows you how to tie a knotless knot, or hair rig as it is also known as. The hair rig is a integral part of many carp fishermen's tactics and is one of the most common knots people use when fishing. A hair rig enables you to present your bait whilst leaving the hook totally clear and away from obstructions. The most common bait used on a hair rig is the boilie, although just about any other bait can be used. Even though many people prefer to tie their own hair rigs, many of the fishing companies now produce "ready tied" hair rigs. The single ready tied rigs are quite expensive however, the match hair rigs which often come in packets of up to 10 are quite cheap and in my opinion it's a lot easier to buy these off-the-shelf, rather than spending ages making something that costs less than three quid.
My local angling supplies stocks most of what I want, however there are times when I need to get on the Internet to obtain an item of tackle. Poingdestres have quite a nice variety of hooks to nylon, many of them incorporating a hair for various baits.
Every angler should know how to tie a loop, I use loops nearly every time I go fishing. A surgeon loop is a very convenient way of attaching various different types of tackle. For instance, the Drennan in-line flat method feeder is designed to be attached using a couple of surgeons loops, one on the mainline, the other on the hook link, it's so easy, no need for any knot tying if you leave the loop on your mainline. Tying very small loops is difficult at the best of times, however I recently came across a clever little device that makes tying small surgeons loops childsplay, check out the Sensas loop tyer.
If you are a beginner to fishing then it's always a good idea to have a book or these in your tackle box so that you know your knots will always be good, after all you don't want to lose the fish of a lifetime just because you haven't tied your hook on hook properly.
Fish the Evenings
Most guys who fish commercial waters get there quite early in the morning and then pack up at around 5 PM. The one thing they are overlooking is the evening period just before dark is often the very best time to fish for carp. Think about it logically, what do a lot of anglers do when they stop fishing and start packing up? They throw their unused bait into the swim. Over the years the carp have realised this and know that they will be getting a free meal at the end of the day. That is often why you will see a lot of activity in the margins in the evening. So instead of sitting there all day roasting your chestnuts off in the hot sun when the carp are often not very active Go down at about five o'clock and fish through to 10 o'clock, I can almost guarantee that you'll get a lot more action. Also, you'll probably have the whole pond to yourself as well.
Carp love overhanging trees and bushes
Carp love hanging out under overhanging bushes and trees, they probably find these dark places a sanctuary to feel safe. If you're fishing in undergrowth then try opting for a short that come in sizes of around 8 foot. These little powerhouses are perfect for fishing where there are overhanging branches and foliage that will make it impossible to fish with a longer rod. There's one location I fish where I am situated under a tree and am basically fishing right under my feet. Using my eight-foot
I like to use a method feeder with a very short hook link. I just drop the method feeder next to the bank, leave the line slack and wait for the fish to run, absolutely brilliant fun. And believe me, this particular location is absolutely packed with fish, they obviously really like it under this tree.
In the spring time when the weather starts getting a little warmer the carp start thinking about other things rather than food, in other words they have got sex on the mind. A female carp can hold hundreds of thousands of eggs, when the time comes to release them the male carp get very excited and jostle with each other so they can be the one to fertilise the eggs when the female releases them. You'll know when the carp start spawning because firstly, you probably won't catch anything, but more noticeably you will hear a lot of splashing around, especially in the margins around the foliage. When fish spawn they are really not interested in feeding, so don't be surprised if you don't catch anything during this period. Once the carp have finished spawning, they are often extremely hungry so it's often very good fishing just after they have spawned. Don't be surprised if after spawning time, some of the carp you catch have got injuries, this is inevitable as they are extremely rough during the spawning period. If you want to help the carp, always have some antiseptic in your box, Klinic is one manufacturer that comes to mind.
Hot days aren't always best
Anglers often think that baking hot days are the time to catch carp. Warm days yes, baking hot days, unfortunately not always the case. The problem with long spells of hot weather is on the small commercial waters, the oxygen is sapped out of the water. When this happens, you often find that fish are just not interested in eating. It's very easy to tell when this is happening, you will see all the carp sitting just under the surface of the water. We've all done it, you cast a floating bait at them and they just ignore it. If this is happening to you, try fishing near an inlet if there is one at the fishery. Many commercial fisheries are spring fed so you will have constant water entering the pond. When the water enters the pond, it creates plenty of oxygen and I suppose revitalises the fish which is why you will often find the one guy catching all the fish on a hot day is the one who is right next to the inlet.
If the weather is going to be very hot, I often prefer to go down to the pond and fish a few hours in the evening when the weather cools down. I'd much rather do that than sit on the bank all day roasting my chestnuts off catching absolutely nothing.
Fish into a southwesterly wind
None of us like to be uncomfortable when we go fishing, there's nothing nicer than sitting there with your rod with the sun blazing down warming your cockles. As soon as that wind starts blowing, most people try and find shelter. However, winds that come from a southwesterly direction can actually improve the fishing. Southwesterly winds are always warm, they often bring the fish on to feed.. Fish will follow a southwesterly wind. So if you're going fishing on a day when there is a southwesterly blowing, don't sit on the side of the lake where it is nice and sheltered, fish into the wind, especially if you are fishing in a corner, the chances are, you'll bag up because that is where all the fish will be. But remember, this is only with any southwesterly, don't waste your time fishing into a freezing northerly wind, the only thing you're catch is hypothermia.
Online Tackle Shops
There are a few online tackle shops that I use on a fairly regular basis. The Tackle Box in Kent supplies just about anything you will need for carp fishing and is well worth a visit. Poingdestres Angling Centre have over a nice website and use them on numerous occasions this year to purchase most of my hooks to nylon. Angling Direct another company that I have used, this time I bought my rod quivers from them for a very reasonable price. If I come across any other shops as I think are worth mentioning then I will do just that.