IT’S MONDAY and that means it’s carp blog time. This week we are pleased to welcome the guys from… Nash. Thanks to Nash man Keith Jones for supplying this round-up, with contributions from some top names.
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GREAT FISHING TIPS TO CATCH MORE CARP IN SPRING
AT the beginning of our last blog I made the mistake of stating that spring had finally sprung! Since then we’ve had to endure more snow, freezing winds with day and night time temperatures that felt more like mid winter.
But even so, all the signs are still there. The sun is higher in the sky and the days are getting longer and despite low water temperatures the carp are on the move and very catch-able. Some anglers are catching well, some are struggling and results generally are patchy.
But looking at the steady flow of catch reports that are arriving at Nash HQ there’s a definite pattern and there are certain tactics, methods and baits that seem to be out-fishing all others. So let’s start with a look at what’s catching.
First of all I’ve got to say that there is no substitute for good angling, location is crucial at any time of the year, the very best baits won’t catch if the swim you are fishing is devoid of carp.
Spring time carp are very mobile and its no surprize to me that the most successful anglers at the moment are the ones that are prepared to up sticks and move swims if they are not catching. That might seem obvious to some but there are many anglers that are prepared to sit it out and hope that eventually the carp will come to them.
Preparation is another factor. Those anglers that have made time to visit their chosen venues prior to starting their spring campaigns to explore the lakebed and maybe prebait a few spots and start establishing their baits are now reaping the rewards. Even on a lake that you are already familiar with, in time, weed beds move, feeding hot spots change, winter storms can also transform fish holding features that you thought you knew well. So a few hours exploring with a marker rod is time well spent early spring.
On those tricky days when bites are hard to come by, the number one catcher recently has been a Purple Monster Squid pop up or balanced wafting bottom bait. These Hi-Viz baits are becoming a bait bucket essential for many anglers.
Before I go I must mention zigs, the carp fishing world seems to be going zig mad this spring, the new ever expanding range of Zig Bugs in particular seem to have really grabbed many anglers imagination. But to get the best from the Bugs you need to be proactive.
It’s not a chuck it an wait method, you need to be in tune with your water and be looking for natural occurrences such as the massive fly hatches that are happening throughout the day at the moment. These are the areas where you need to position your bugs.
The carp on many waters will soon become obsessed with chasing fry, a Zig Bug fished in amongst these tiny fish is a top tactic for a quick spring time bite. I look for those margin sun traps which seem to draw the fry like a magnet, a hook bait positioned at just the right depth is so effective, fishing for carp you can actually see is very exciting too! Zig Bugs also make very effective alternative surface hook baits, so that’s something else to try soon.
Nash HQ is buzzing at the moment, everyone seems to be out fishing whenever they can find the time and most mornings someone has a story to tell about a capture or some kind of bankside occurrence.
That’s it from me – spring is a fantastic time to be out on the bank, but it doesn’t last long – go out and grab it!
Much of the material I read at this time of year seems to indicate that carp in the spring are there for the taking and its “fill your boots” time ! Well from my experiences its not quite that simple and the long cold winter still has the carp somewhat lethargic and still not making many mistakes requiring us to get as many percentage points stacked in our favour as possible !
Some of the takes I have had have been single bleeps on the Siren so ensure that whatever buzzer you have is set as sensitive as possible and preferably have your rods on single banksticks pointing directly at the end tackle for maximum registration.
If you get a bleep watch the line, does it lift? Feel it in your fingers and if in doubt strike! I am sure some carp don’t even know they have a problem so hooks ( I use Fangs or Twisters ) need to be pin sharp. You are more likely to properly hook the carp when the hooklength is at full extension and the weight of lead, leader and line is felt so I like any coated hooklength like Missing Link to be straight not looped or bent.
To avoid that, stringers are made from Soluballs inside a mesh bag, this encourages the hooklength to kick out so improving that “pricking effect”.
Be vigilant at all times, watch and listen and you will catch a lot more carp even in the cold.
Has the winter finally beat a retreat? I know it’s been hard going all over the country but on my first trip out for a while I did manage a lovely common in freezing conditions – so they have been ‘temptable’!
For much of the winter it can feel like you’re wasting time, so generally, over the colder months I tend to focus my spare time on putting brownie points in the bank for later on in the year. This Jan/Feb I’ve been re-tiling and fitting a new shower in the bathroom and generally being a good boy!
This serves a number of purposes – firstly it keeps the wife happy and secondly it gives me plenty of time to think about the year ahead and appraise what I did wrong this last year. I think impartial reflection on a season’s efforts is an important factor in trying to develop your approach going forwards.
My major decisions this year are to drop my syndicate ticket and to spend more time fishing day ticket waters. For me (as a father of 3), and the time I have available, spending £300+ on a syndicate is just a false economy. I’ve decided that for the year ahead I’ll only be fishing day ticket waters – and aiming to catch consistently. It’ll be a bit of a culture shock compared to the ‘campaign’ fishing I’ve undertaken in recent years.
So, with this new pattern to my fishing I’m going to have to be more instinctive and focused on trying tactics that might buy me a quick bite. I also like to set myself a target or two each season and will endeavour to up my bests with certain tactics.
Zig fishing is one such method and during the spring we’ll be getting some bright sunny days with cold nights, conditions commonly associated with high air pressure. At these times a zig fished a couple of feet under the surface can be a killer method and this year I’m going to be doing my best to up my Zig PB. Luckily Nash have some superb products available to help me improve my skills in this area. I’m already sold on the Attractor Beetles and the Zig Flo, but I can see the new Zig Floats are going to be another item that find their way into my box.
I’ve also set myself a spring target of a day ticket 30, not an easy proposition in this part of the country (Norfolk) and on limited time I know it’ll pose a challenge. I do however have a few ideas that I’ll be trying to use to my advantage. Firstly I’ve got the benefit of the Monster Squid boilies having been so well established on most of the day ticket lakes around my area (and probably yours too!) so where I might have chosen to pre-baited in the past I can bypass that and use stringers and small bags of a bait that I know they’ll enjoy eating.
I’ll also be using the new Ball Makers to improve the attraction in the swim with minimum feed. One of the methods will be to mix crumbed and chopped Monster Squid boilies with some of the Nashbait Crab & Crayfish groundbait and using the matching Monster Squid Food Dip to dampen the mix sufficiently I reckon they’ll be a winner!
So, that’s my spring planned out, I’ll let you know how I get on!
Thank goodness spring has finally arrived. I do love a winter campaign but not one that seems to have lasted the last 6 months!
For me spring, or certainly the start of spring, is all about the preparation for the coming season. It is crucial for me to be sure that I am confident in the bait choice that I make because whatever choice I make is what I will stick with for the coming year; so that the carp will become confident and recognise it as a natural or readily available food source as the season progresses.
My baiting strategy is very simple but it has served me well over the years. Coming into spring I will be spreading boilie all over the swim that I am fishing to tempt the carp into moving from bait to bait, not huge quantities probably 100 or so baits.
However in preparation for the rest of the season when I have finished my session I will make sure I have a good couple of kilos with me that I will spread all over the lake, as long as no one is fishing it.
As the season goes on I will concentrate the bait more on one particular area once I am confident in where the fish are feeding once I get used to the venue.
In my experience if you can get the fish picking up your free bait from early spring, from all over the lake without them getting caught it makes them far easier to catch for the rest of the season.
Also when I am fishing a spring session I do use an attractor that I personally don’t use any other time of the year. We have all heard about it, it’s the worst kept secret in carp fishing, human grade rock salt.
Personally I don’t believe in the explanation that by putting salt into your bait it makes the bait taste better to the carp. In my opinion using salt in PVA bags or small amounts in your spod mix you are giving the carp the thing that it finds most difficult to source in its environment and that is sodium and as we all know, salt has a very high sodium level. It’s made a massive difference to my fishing, particularly at times when the carp are waking up after their long winter slumber.
Have a great season everyone.
It’s the time of year when zigs are the best for me, with the cold nights and the warm days , the fish will be higher in the water where the sun is shining, making the most of it on their backs. I would think about having all three rods on zigs at the right time of day, with one in the top two feet of water, one four feet from the surface and the other rod at mid depth.
I will leave the mid depth one out all night, even if nothing occurred during the day. I chop and change colours and bugs, until I find out which one works on this particular day or night, then I switch all my rods to this depth, with this bug and colour, and if the bites dry up I start altering the depths and colours again.
All my bugs and foam would have been soaked in the classic flavours of Strawberry and White chocolate, flavours which had been forgotten by many, but keep catching fish for me, time and time again. On shallow lakes, say three to four feet, I would have zigs at ten to fourteen inches. This had always produced fish for me, more on silty lakes than any other method.
The Zig Bugs have transformed my zig fishing, and have given me a new edge, with the water warming up, and more bug types in the range, I will be using them more than ever.
With the fish waking up in the coming weeks, it’s the time of year when I try not to use lots of bait when I’m actually fishing, but I add quite a bit after or between visits so the fish are used to finding it.
I like to use bright baits this time of year, more than any other. Although pink and yellow are my two favourites, it’s impossible to ignore the results achieved recently on the new purple Monster Squid. A bright one catches their eye, so all they see is food, bright ones stand out the most.
Everything seems hungry this time of year, the ducks, swans and coots are all trying to stack up some calories after a long winter, and the carp are no different. I’ll be baiting my chosen lake three times a week with 2kg at a time. These baits would have been pre-soaked in Food Dip, and then re-frozen for added attraction.
I’m also going to be using my all time favourite boilie, Scopex Squid, with a few brilliant white Amber Attract baits in there for added colour. If I see fish over the spots, I fish for them. If I see fish anywhere else, I fish for them, whether it be singles or little bags, I’ll be dropping back on my spots over night. All my bright baits will be soaked in the matching Food and Boilie Dips so they will get me quick bites over the bait and on their own.
Good luck – keep thinking and catching!
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