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The most explosive, heart thumping, exhilarating form of fishing!
WE’RE now well into the peak of summer, and yet to see some consistent spells of sunny weather. However, when the round ball of flames does decide to shine on us, there’s some carp to be had…off the top.
Short sessions, a few hours here and there after work or at a weekend are all you need to winkle a carp or two off the surface and it’s our very own James Armstrong that has been exploiting this to its full potential…
“Surface angling has to be the most explosive, heart thumping, exhilarating form of fishing in my opinion. It’s just you against the carp, a game of cat and mouse. Due to busy work commitments; travelling to Italy to meet new Korda recruits, Carp Fests and more, I’ve been making the most of short sessions. That, and the fact that the carp rarely get caught at night, meant that evenings after work and weekends were the name of the game – different from my usual overnighters.
“It was clear that on the warmer days, the carp would climb in the surface layers. I’d do a brisk lap and eventually find them in one of the corners. I’d see large, humpy backs just breaking the surface as they sucked in leaves, fluff and anything else they fancied feasting on. This was a sure sign that they were up for a surface bait.
“I catapulted several pouchfuls of floaters just behind them, allowing the slight brisk drift each biscuit over their heads. Before long, the odd pair of lips cautiously sipped in each biscuit one at a time. The fish were cautious and as there’s only 40 odd carp in the lake and I had four or five in front of me, I wanted to ensure they felt safe to feed.
“In fact, I spent two hours feeding them before I even contemplated grabbing my rod. Sometimes it can take time to build the carp’s confidence. You want them to compete with each because this makes them far less cautious and a lot more willing.
“I once read an article written by a very good angler. He wrote a very simple, interesting analogy about creatures. He said that he used to own several dogs. If he placed down a bowl of food to one dog, it would take its time and eat at its own convenience. Yet, if other dogs were in the room, it’d wolf it down immediately. Why? Because they compete for the food, just like carp.
“Anyway, I was soon happy that each fish was pac-manning the mixers I’d fired out so it was time to grab the rod. I like to be prepared and had a floater rod in the car already rigged up. I use a Daiwa Longbow Special with a Ballistic reel. This is spooled up with 12lb Adrenaline. This runs through to an Interceptor float, which flies out like a dart and then the hooklength is tied on using 10lb Guru N-Gauge – a very strong, neutral-buoyant mono. The hook was a trusty Wide Gape in size 8, perfect for this situation where I was targeting big carp with weed potentially out in front.
“Rather than hooking or hair rigging my baits I glue them to the back of the shank. This makes them last far longer and also cocks the hook into a claw position on the surface. To keep the hook link nice a buoyant, I also smear Vaseline along it. Alternatively you can use natural oils from your skin.
“Now for the trickiest bit – getting you rig into position without spooking them. You must NEVER cast right on top of them because they will spook. Consequently, cast past the fish and then very slowly retrieve you bait back on them or just behind. The minimum disturbance the better.
“After several casts and pouchfuls of mixers, I watched as large pair of lips took one, then two, then three and bang…he sucked my hook bait down with gusto. I swept the rod back and was in contact with a powerful fish. It kited from left to right out of the bay and my little surface reel was screeching as line was being pulled at a rate of knots.
“Eventually, after a few hairy moments in the weed, I netted a hefty common carp. It was a cracking old warrior and as you can imagine I was absolutely elated with the result as it was my first 30 off the surface.”
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