Carp specialist and writer of 'Finding the Time to Cast' Chris Currie (pictured) shares with AM readers some of his top tips to give yourself the best chance of catching big carp.
CARP being so much more visible in the summer really helps you to observe individual fish, and time spent watching is by far and away the biggest help when you want to catch a specific big fish.
The mythical biggest fish that everyone talks about is usually revealed when the carp are all up and about and a few sightings of a big fish when walking around a fishery in the morning or evening can give you that added drive to concentrate your efforts and determination.
Which swim or swims do you see the fish you want to catch in? Does it always follow a particular route, maybe around some pads or along a tree line? Is it normally on its own or with several other carp?
Even that basic bit of information can help you decide whether you are fishing for one carp and one bite or you need to be feeding a swim to interest half a dozen of them.
I caught one fish around the mid forty mark after applying bait to a small secluded spot from March to September. I finally hooked the one and only fish from the spot after patiently engineering my chance.
The ultimate edge
The more pressured the venue the more likely the fish will come into the edge away from the lines and potential danger.
I have on all venues always watched and observed margin spots and will always look to prime likely looking areas throughout my time on a water.
A handful here, a handful there, it allows you to introduce bait in spots where carp aren’t being caught or pestered by other anglers.
Two of my biggest fish were both caught within two rod lengths of the bank on very pressured waters.
So often the first place people stop fishing when a water is tough is right under their own feet. Just keep quiet and it’s a winner.
Remember the bank can often be undercut and carp can be keeping out of anglers’ way by being literally under your own bank in places you wouldn’t even guess they could get to.
Everything about fishing close makes sense, there’s no disturbance from lowering a rig in, you can be absolutely accurate with your free bait and you’ll know much more readily if there are fish about than if you are fishing 80 yards into the lake.
Gaining the confidence of the fish on your chosen bait or on a specific spot is invaluable.
After fishing a big pit over a 6 month period, I would regularly find fish milling around close to the bank on quiet evening walks, so on the odd occasion I’d scatter a few baits, just a handful, around the area.
After giving the carp a number of small free feeds in an out of the way area I scattered the bait the night before and came back the following afternoon after work for a 6 hour session.
Just 45 minutes after casting out the elusive leather of the pond and biggest fish in the lake at the time was in the net.
Allowing carp to feed confidently without tackle in the swim is such a simple way of producing chances for very little time actually fishing.
The more out of the way you can find a spot that carp are visiting the better because it also reduces the chances of someone else fishing the area and catching off the back of your hard work.
How aware are the carp you are fishing for of the line between rod tip and end tackle?
I learned an important lesson when fishing a small lake of about an acre. The fish were visiting a bay at one end which was about 50-60 yards across, from observation they were approaching the area almost with a sense of danger even with my lines extremely slack and putting everything in very quietly.
So after consideration I decided to tighten up but fish the washing line trick keeping all the line from rod to far bank above the water with the aid of a stick and peg on the far bank, only leaving the rig end of around 12 feet approaching the spot from the no fishing bank at a different line angle.
Within hours the fish showed renewed confidence in visiting the bay and the baited spot produced two nice twenties within a couple of hours. So don’t always blame the weather and bait – sometimes simple things like tackle visibility are making the difference between catching and catching nothing.
Keep it going in
Something we have all lost from our angling as children fishing with a float for smaller fish is the importance of bait being introduced to encourage feeding in the first place.
The constant little and often approach has been largely replaced by the bait and wait approach. I think feeding once when you cast out is a completely backwards step.
Whilst fishing for barbel one of the most deadly methods I employ is little and often feeding, applying small paste balls which gives a constant leak of attraction downstream drawing fish from the cover to your hookbait.
On more heavily stocked carp waters the sound of bait arriving helps trigger a reaction in just the same way, whether the splash of a pouchful of pellets or the noise of a Spomb landing. You’ve only got to see the success of the match carpers who keep feeding over zigs to produce competition up in the water to see that the principle applies to double figure and 20 lb carp just the same as it does when fishing for roach and perch on the waggler.