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A change of Carp fishing tactics. Try, Try, Try and Try Again!

Updated: Jul 12, 2023

During my previous carp fishing session, I chatted with a dog walker who is also a regular Carp angler. It had been, what had seemed rare this summer, a bit of a warm spell. He told me that there were loads of Carp cruising the surface in the far eastern end of the lake.

This time out it was even warmer, so I thought I’d have a look and give it a go down there. I’d not actually fished this area before, so it was nice to go and start from scratch, marker out the swim and locate some features.

On arrival, the 1st thing I notice was the margins and under overhanging trees. They were absolutley full of fry, which looked a good week or 2 into their early growth stage. This was good news, the fish had already spawned and I hoped they’d have had their post spawn rest and be back on the feed.

I watched the surface of the tree shaded bay for a while and was happy to see a few fish cruising, and some possible signs of feeding. Surface bubbles, a few decent tail swirls and 1 area clouding up too.

That was enough to convince me to give it a go, in this end spot, which with all the overhanging trees, certainly had that Carpy look and feal to it.

1st things 1st, get the marker rod out and work out what was out in front of me. It turned out to be a pretty uniform, smooth bottom. There was however a definite rough patch, possibly gravel area out at 13 wraps, 52 yards, which was right where I’d seen the cloudy water. This had to be a regular feeding spot.

I choose my spots and baited up with a few handfuls of boilies in each area. I didn’t want to chuck to much loose feed in just yet, not until I’d seen more evidence of feeding fish anyway.

The 3 rods went out, 1 under the trees to my right, on an orange wafter, 1 on the clear spot in front with a snowman rig and another out at the same distance, but a couple of rod lengths around to the left, with a brown wafter.

It wasn’t to long before I got liners on the left and centre rods. Was the clear spot going to deliver straight away?

I trickled in a few more boilies to try a maintain the interest of what ever fish were there, but disappointingly, my illuminated bite indicators remained motionless.

The afternoon turned into evening, and it had been deathly quiet. I maintained a scouring watch of the lakes surface, hoping for just a single giveaway sign of a feeding fish. Nothing.

Bite time came and went without a single bleep. I pulled each rod in 1 at a time for a bait and hook check. Then cast them back in with a bit of loose feed, and got my head down around 11.30pm.

At just before 1 am, the right hand rod woke me up, sounding out 3 bleeps. I watched the bright red illuminated bobbin as I slipped on my summer Carp footwear, also known as my sons old Crocks. The bobbin dropped back so I reeled in to take up the slack, but lifted into nothing. Hook and bait check, then straight back in under the tree.

30 mins later, after just nodding back off, it was the turn of the centre rod. This time no drop back, just a few bleeps and then stop. The bite indicator illuminated bright blue and was now closer to the alarm, I could see from my bed chair that it was no longer the same height as the other bobbins. But that was where it stopped.

Another hour or so passed, and off it went again with the left-hand rod following suit, just a few seconds later. They both stopped after just a few bleeps, must be liners!

With fish seemingly swimming into my line, I brought the left-hand rod closer in by about 10 yards but kept the middle rod on the nice clear spot.

Unfortunately that was the story of the night. Getting regularly woken up though, allowed me to hear fish boshing out, about halfway down the lake to my right, and they sounded a good size too.

That morning, further up the lake, I saw a nice Mirror Carp chuck itself out of the water, making a very rewarding splash as it’s side impacted the surface. A smile broke across my face and hope was rekindled.

That was all that was needed, and I moved to a swim where I could cast to the showing fish.

My right and centre rods went out on to the spot where I’d seen the showing Carp, accompanied by a couple of handfuls of loose fed boilies. I dropped the left-hand rod tight into the island to my left, then made a coffee and watched the rods with eager anticipation.

Nothing, absolutley nothing. Midday came and still nothing.

It was turning into a warm sunny day, and I could clearly see Carp cruising a foot or so below the surface. I was in 7 foot of water by the island, and the 2 mid-lake rods, were 12 foot deep, so out came the zigs.

I left 1 of the mid water rods on the bottom, but used PVA bags to deliver a mix of crushed boilies and hemp oil.

Within the hour, I had a run on the hemp oiled bottom bait. There was no fight from the hooked fish and my heart immediately sank. A Bream and not even a decent sized 1 either.

A couple moved into the swim to my left, so with no excitement from the rods, I went over and had a chat. Later that afternoon, a Swan took a liking to what I thought was their car. Check out this short video, it's quite funny: Find '@stemtackle' on TikTok | TikTok Search

As the sun went down, I changed the zigs back to wafters and as I hadn’t had any more Bream, added PVA bags to them too.

The night passed silently and when I woke at 5am, I was well and truly staring a big blank right in the face.

I needed another change. Time for the big guns to come out!

I brought the middle rod in and changed it to a boilie topped with an orange, maze coloured, L7, fillable corn stop. Filled it with liquid attraction and coated the outside with mist liquid. I also added a PVA stringer of 16mm boilies.

This time, I cast to a shallow area I’d found on the top of a drop off. Feeling the lead down here was key to judging if I was on the shelf, as if I’d gone to far, the lead would roll down the drop off and into the deep water.

I did the same with the right-hand rod and cast out just 10 to 15 feet to the right hand side of the centre rod.

Within 20 mins, the centre rod’s bite indicator let out the most welcome sound but stopped, as the bobbin slammed into the alarm.

Please, please, run, just run, I thought as I paused over the rod, hoping to lift into a blank saver. The alarm sounded again but the bite indicator flashed, as it dropped back towards the ground. I quickly reeled in the slack line and lifted into a solid take.

Yes, come on!!

The rod bent from the middle and the fish kited immediately left, heading for the snags by the island. I kept the tip down low to allow it to pass under the island rod’s line, and was able to keep this powerful fish away from it's safe haven.

It changed direction and pulled hard, straight towards the tree in the margin to my left. This was a good fish, it felt solid, it knew exactly where the snags were, and it was stripping line to get there!!

I had to keep the rod tip under the water and could feel the line’s friction and pings, as it was pulled into the tree branches. I felt it snag, everything went tight, but a few seconds later it was free, the lead drop off did it’s job, and I was able to recover this brute back out from under the tree.

The tail powered again, producing a tremendous swirl as the Carp pulled and pulled for the snags.

Then ping, it all went slack and that amazing creature had won the battle. I let out a quiet “nooooo” (maybe not that quiet) and paused in disbelief, as I hadn’t lost a fish to a hook pull in my last 19 runs.

I was again staring a blank firmly in the face.

Licking my wounds, I set everything back up and dropped a newly sharpened hook and fresh bait, straight back onto the shallow spot. The liquid attraction leaking out, all over my hook bait from the L7 Corn stop, had just resulted in a quick take, no reason why there shouldn't be another.

Just as I clipped the bobbin on, the right-hand rod screamed into action, and I lifted into another hard fighting Carp. This was different though, faster, strong, but not solid like the last fish. It still pulled towards the tree to my left but this time, I was able to keep it away from the perilous snags.

This fight covered a lot more ground and even though it didn’t have the raw power of the 1 lost, it was an energetic battle. I slipped the net under a nice looking Common Carp, but it gave another strong pull, taking line, as it tried 1 last dash. It’s head turned and raised out of the water though, and I was able to keep it there this time, to successfully get it in the net.

Yes, the blank saver was secure!

Getting a Carp in the net is always a thrill, but when you’re counting on it to prevent a blank, especially after just loosing 1, it’s a million times more exciting and rewarding.

Time for a long calming breath out, and a few lakeside pic’s. Happy days.

Just another 10 minutes later, the middle rod was off again, and I lifted into another powerful fish. The battle was almost a repeat of the last one, but without the speed.

There must be a meeting place in the middle of the lake somewhere, where the Carp all get together and chat about where the snags are, and what to do to eject a hook.

This time it was a nice solid Mirror Carp that tipped the scales at just over 20lbs. I couldn’t be happier.

With that, I packed up and headed home. The journey gave me time to reflect on the last 36Hrs fishing. The number of times I changed my tactics, changed hook baits, moved to showing fish, changed rigs and water depth.

In the end all the hard work, watching the lake, assessing what the fish were doing and just trying different approaches paid off.

There’s always something to learn, consider and adapt. In my opinion, that’s 1 of the most rewarding ways to improve.

Thanks for reading my blog.

If you’d like to get involved and tell some fishing stories of your own, especially if they’ll help others with hints and tips, please get in touch via email or phone.

Thanks again


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