Carp Fishing ~ Shake, Rattle and Roll ~ Lewis Read

  • carp fishing shake rattle roll

Let me ask you a quick question squire. What do you think of when you think about all matters related to the rig concealment?

No doubt the first thing that you would think is obviously the visibility of everything from the rod tip down to the terminal tackle (not forgetting keeping a low key bank-side profile in terms of sound, light and vibration).

Sometimes the difference between getting a bite or not on a tricky venue is the carp’s frame of mind. If they’re on edge it makes everything harder and they will take longer to drop their guard and start having a relaxed feed. This is the why! This is the crux of deception we’re trying to hood wink the fish with. If they don’t know we’re they, and don’t realise they are being fished for, then our life is so much easier as carpers.

Screaming clutches, bleeping buzzers and bendy rods. In other words ‘living the dream’…

A covert bank side presence cannot be over stated. Make no bones, it is as important as all the other considerations and setting good habits at the start of your carp fishing journey will inevitably hold you in good stead for a lifetimes angling (whatever species you choose to fish for).

No stamping about, bright lights moving around in the swim, loud noises (throw your mallet away!) or blatant positioning of your carp hovel right on the bankside by your rods – unless the fishing situation dictates you do then you have to be mouse like and discreet – and always look away from the water when you have your head torch on. In other words treat each and every scenario as if the fish are there, just out of view down the marginal shelf and you won’t go far wrong.

We are all willing to go to pretty extraordinary lengths in order that we achieve the desired devious and surreptitious trap, by camouflaging almost everything that could give our game away. Slack lines, heavy leaders, added weights and almost every other imaginable means of pinning everything down to the lake bed, hopefully avoids the fish from feeling the lines as there when they are mooching around, browsing on either naturals or our bait.

Natural looking lead coatings and dull covert finishes applied to hooks, rings and swivels to reduce any chance of glare in clear water only add to these ongoing efforts to make sure that the rig and end tackle blend in seamlessly to the area. No effort is too great and rightly so too.

But are we missing something?

Am I the only person that asks whether there are any other areas of tackle concealment that we have missed? Another consideration in terms of making sure that the fish are not aware that they are being angled for?

Call me potty, but I’m starting to think that there is…

So, what am I going on about? Where’s this going? Let’s start by thinking about the physiology of a carp. What are the senses they use and how would they identify impending danger?

It’s logical that all fish are hard wired to flee when they sense imminent danger – and if you think about it that’s not at all surprising really. After all, as a small fish in a big pond this is the only mechanism of surviving to maturity in a wild world surrounded by potential diners that are hungry and want to eat you…

Obviously the stand out one is sight/vision, and I would say that we have that covered to a fair extent already – so tick that box, and let’s move on…

Touch is also hugely important by largely covered by our efforts to pin down the line and end tackle. There are subtle variations that may be of benefit in situations where your line is held up by weed just shot of the spot (based on the premis that they will inevitably bump the line at some point) and that’s where specialist products with a natural feel like super soft and smooth Camflex Leadfree comes into their own. Again an area that is already well documented and well understood.

The next is the highly complex sense of taste and smell that is the carp’s olfactory system. Ever since I can remember, bait anglers have been taught to rinse their hands clean before touching bait or terminal, just to nullify the slightest chance that something on our digits could potentially taint the bait with an odour that would be sensed and turn a feeding fish away from the sucking in the hookbait.

Certainly after filling a Coleman or rolling a fag it would be an eminently wise precaution measure to rinse off your hands. Why advertise your presence if you don’t need to – and just as all animals have a distinct individual odour, we as a species must have our own too. Common sense dictates this. I think that rubbing liquid attractors into leaders and the like may not do a great deal in terms of attraction, but if they mask our smell then perhaps that is just as important and yet another step forward in catching the carp of our dreams. So, I think we can say another box ticked and you never know, it might be another couple of percent gained in terms of attaining our aspiration of angling as efficiently as we can

That leaves one key sensory area – vibration (which also crosses over into sound which is just a form of vibration) and though anglers think about it in terms of their own presence I’m not sure if I have ever read about it as a consideration related to terminal tackle!

We already know all too well that noise and vibration travels amazing efficiently through water – and this means that the carp can be aware of our presence due to the slightest tremble transmitted through peaty ground, or a twig breaking, or even a raised voice.

Anyone that has done scuba diving or snorkelling will be aware of just how acute (almost amplified) even the slightest under water sound becomes. Fish feeding amongst coral or rooting through course sand make easily audible sounds that even a human ear can perceive – so just imagine the cacophony that a fish that has evolved for millennia are aware of.

All those crunchy baits aren’t successful simply because of the texture – the sound arouses interest from other fish and this in itself is quite possibly a greater competitive feeding stimulus than any magic dip or powder. Competitive feeding is key in so much angling, and this is another way to stimulate that response…

From that point of acceptance, of a fish’s finite and amazing perception of its environment and its ability to pick up the faintest sound, then it’s only a tiny cognitive step to recognise and accept the key point of this piece.

Is it not utterly logical that the fish could ‘hear’ the rattle of metallic components rattling about as they disturb an area? Even a careful carp, gently browsing around over a baited spot will displace enough water to cause a rig like the 360 to rattle about like an old chain.

As I said to my mate Gav recently (whilst cogitating on this possibly paranoiac topic) and whilst I stood rattling one of his rigs around next to his ear, I said something along the lines of “If we can hear it, they bloody too can Gav!”. That encapsulates the issue perfectly…

Do you think that’s mental?

I don’t… It’s just another element to consider in terms of tackle concealment. And although it may not matter most of the time – if you get just one extra bite in a campaign, it could end up being from the wariest and rarest, most prized fish in your lake. Wouldn’t that make considering the rattle factor worth a moment of reflection? Hell yeah…

Carp Fishing ~ Kicking Up A Storm ~ David Gaskin

I had been persevering down the lake for a few weeks previously doing work nights, and to be honest I was getting a bit fed up of how poor the weather had been and as a result the lack of fish activity. I’m more governed by my work schedule these days, so I hadn’t really paid much attention to the weather forecast coming in. So much so, that I didn’t even know there was a storm due. It’s not the first time I’ve gone fishing under-prepared for a tussle with Mother Nature!

I got to the lake in good time after work and was greeted by the sweet smell of a slimy sling and the legendary Doc grinning ear to ear. The crafty old boy had snared one (only the second fish the lake had done this year). I quickly got the low down off him and it appeared that the brewing storm was causing a subsurface response in the shallow lake.

I was beginning to get a sense of déjà-vu because these conditions had the same characteristics of a wonderful session I had nearly a year ago. Surely it couldn’t happen again! With this in the back of my mind and going on the info of where a couple of fish had been seen, I went round to the bush swim. A usually productive swim that had been pretty poor in terms of captures this season, so poor in fact that I can’t even remember the last time a fish had been caught from there!

With the wind increasing, I had to get the rods out sharpish because I wanted to try and hit some long spots in the swim and the crosswind was far from kind. I chose a short helicopter setup with a 12mm pink pop up attached to a size 6 Covert Dark Mugga mounted on a Munnie rig (a variation of the Ronnie rig). Once the rods were out, I sticked out approximately a kilo of 18mm Live System boilies in the zone. It was the first time in weeks that I believed I had a genuine chance of a bite as the conditions were just getting better and better. At 11pm I had a bleep on the rod and was convinced the bobbin had moved. At that very moment a one toner got me scrambling out of the bivvy into the gizzards of Doris and I was battling my first carp of the year. Thankfully the scrap was straight forward and a 30lb+ carp was in the net. With a lack of anglers and a grizzly Lewis on the other side of the lake, I was instructed to only wake him up if it was one of the A team because of a “hard day at the office”. I decided to let the princess sleep and did a few self takes.

I woke up at first light looking across the windswept lake thinking these conditions couldn’t be any better. With the chance of a daytime bite I patiently waited until the wind had died down enough to get the rods and a bit more bait back out on the spot. Another kilo of Live System was dispatched with the Pro-Pela stick and the pop-ups were back on the spots. I kept my eyes peeled through a letterbox view keen to see if any more fish decided to let me know if they were present. I was fortunate to see a small ghostie show no more than 20 yards from the spot, so my decision to stay put was looking like the right move. At around 4pm the middle rod on the island was away. This time I had a more powerful creature attached but the Mugga held firm as usual and I coaxed one of the most splendid looking commons I have ever seen over the cord. By now the long cold nights of the previous weeks were a distant memory and all was worthwhile, the glorious common weighed in at 42lb 08oz.

With the light levels fading I was just hoping for one more favour off the carp gods to give me an opportunity to get the rod back out to the spot. I stood in the water, rod at the ready with 4oz of lead cocked until the wind dropped enough to pull the trigger. Thankfully after a few minutes of waiting an opportunity arose and the pop-up was back on the spot with one cast and the lull in the wind even gave me a chance to get a few more handfuls of Live System out there.

After dark the island rod was away and it felt like an eternity to get in. A little pink pop up on the Munnie rig was never in doubt to land this beast and eventually the huge frame of a mirror carp broke the surface in front of me. I immediately swooped with the net and the leviathan was sitting safely in the folds on the mesh. In the wind and spray it was hard to identify which fish it was, so I got everything prepped and tried to weigh it. It was at this point things got real and my poor little arms were wobbling all over the place with the needle frantically swaying around the 60lb mark. She was going to be a two man job, so I safely secured the fish and made a phone call to Lewis who was already on his way down to politely “hurry up” to help weigh and do the photos of this creature. A few of the other lads on the lake came round and helped to do the honours, which was handy because I was shaking and feeling sick with nerves at the sheer size of this carp. The final weigh-in revealed 59lb 8oz of February carp! An afternoon brace of over 100lb of phenomenal fish from an equally phenomenal venue.

Carp Fishing ~ Taking Chances As They Come… ~ Lewis Read

It has been a little while since I have had the opportunity (or reason) to write for the website. Like many in the trade this is mainly because of the dual evils of the weather and show season that have inevitably impaired my time on the bank. But finally, after an extremely enjoyable trip to Poland last weekend I was going to get a couple of nights in good conditions, and I’ll be honest and say that I was ABSOLUTELY GAGGING to get out!

Habitual weather watching somehow becomes a way of life for us all year carpers, and this latest weather window couldn’t have come at a better time. Early/mid February always sees the longer daylight hours kicking in which has a dramatic affect on everything in and around the lakes we frequent. It’s my favourite time of the year, having been fortunate to land a few memorable carp in February over the years, and it is the tipping point when you finally feel like the spring could finally be ’just around the corner’.

The mild weather had been with us a few days before water temperatures started creeping up, so an overnight ‘quick work night’ trip was lined up with ‘she who must be obeyed’ and I got down the lake at about 7:30PM to find a carp had been caught by the wonderful Dr Dave (I’m glad he wasn’t my GP). As I stood congratulating him, a couple of fish sloshed out in the darkness over the other side of the bay in short succession!

Sweet ‘Jesus! One of them sounded substantial enough to cause a proper stir, and I quickly hugged the goodly Dr and ran back to the fisherman’s shed to get signed in and collect the carp care kit. I was bordering on hyperventilating I was so excited. I stomped round there in the dark, pushing the barrow as quickly as my chubby little legs would take me!

The fish had shown about 50 yards apart and not far off the far bank, so I dropped into a rarely fished little swim that would give me access to both areas and set the gear up behind the bushes, sheltering form the ‘lively’ breeze that was pumping across at me.

Each rod was simple to sort out, a Ronnie tied with the usual 25lb Ultra Skin and size 4 Cover Dark Mugga combination. Hook bait was a pink 12mm Carp Company Caviar and Cranberry pop up on fished on Covert lead clips coupled with 1 ½ ounce Bolt Bombs. Each rig was balanced to gently settle over and was primed with a two bait stringer in a way to protect the hook point of the rig should land on anything scruffy like old leaves (being on the end of the wind it is likely there would still be a few leaves about).

The Welly fish really hate leads going in, so I only wanted to do one cast per rod keeping it just stringers and hookbaits to avoid the noise of freebie boilies going in too. I was happy with the drops on the rods as I flicked them out and fanned widely across the front of the swim at about 25 yards range perpendicular to the bank.

The wind was getting up all evening, and as I lay under the stars being buffeted I was constantly getting single and double bleeps, some of which coincided with gusts and some that didn’t so I was sure there were fish in the area still. I drifted into a very strange semi-dream state whilst trying to get my head down.

At 2:30am the bleeps were punctuated by a toner on one rod and I jumped up and picked up the offending rod desperately trying to shake the shroud of sleep from my consciousness. As I did the usual silly stumbling ‘dance of the chest wader’ the fish plodded about in front occasionally taking line until I was out in the water with the net in position shaking like a leaf. These moments are deliriously exciting, and the calibre of fish that swim in the park is so immense that every bite has the potential of being the fish of a lifetime. It reminds me of the Car Park days…

I soon had the fish in close and duly netted it and pulled her back into shallower water and nipped up the bank to get my head torch. It was chunk and at first l thought it was a recapture of the Chinese Common. The Mugga was solidly implanted in her lip about an inch back and hadn’t moved a millimetre (like normal) and she was literally mint. Not a mark or blemish on her, which is always lovely to see.

Once I got my mate Disco Dave Gaskin (aka The Goose Point Impregnator) round to help, we identified her as the Long Ghostie. I think the bulked up shape confused us both for a little while as she looked far chunkier on the bank than normal; and when I hoisted her up on the scales to find the needle settle on 53lb I was left in a state of shock! Once again I rightfully got ribbed by Dave as I really should know this one as this was my third capture of the mega looking beast (the best Ghostie in the lake in my eyes).

With the photos done, and the hook mark treated with a quick squirt of Intensive Care, we released her just down the bank and watched in awe as she lazily trundled off glowing in the torch light.

With an early pack up to get in to the office it was a match sticks job the following day, and then it was back to the park for another work night in amazing conditions. This time, as I was setting off from home my phone went and it was Dave hysterically jabbering that I ‘HAD TO GET THERE’ as he had a monster in the net. I tell you what, he wasn’t kidding either but that’s his story to tell, suffice to say the photo’s had to be right or I would never have been forgiven.

The ‘stars had aligned’ and the fish had fed. God I love February…

Carp Fishing ~ Milemead Day Trip ~ Ricky Knight

Having seen loads of Milemead’s stunning fish popping up on my Facebook, it was only a matter of time before I went for a trip down there. Before my visit, I did my research by asking a few guys about the lake and how best to approach it. From the feedback, it was clear especially in the winter that a very ‘small’ amount of bait was the best approach to nick a bite.

I got down to the venue early on the Tuesday morning, but due work commitments I did not actually get the rods out until about 11am. I set up in peg 2 on the Specimen Lake as it was sheltered from the cold wind and I had been told it contained the deepest water. With no signs or shows to go by, the deeper water in the cold always seemed to be a sensible option.

The main feature in the swim was a big reed line, but the marginal shelf was quite weeded and I did not feel that it was worth trying to find a clear area on such a short session. From experience it’s apparent that on similar small venues like this (it’s 3acres) the fish really don’t like noise and especially leads going in, so casting around to find spots would likely spoil everything to start with. In hindsight, I think that leading around quietly pushed the fish out at the start of the session.

Eventually I found where the shelf ended and the weed stopped. The bottom of the shelf was silty and about 6ft deep. I fanned all three rods out and fished them all in the deeper water along the edge of the weed.

I decided to fish the same rig on all three rods; as it’s a presentation that I have a high level of confidence in as it has worked well for me many of times for me before. It’s a Fluoro combi-rig consisting of 15lb Soft Subterfuge connected Albright style to 25lb Trickster Heavy Braid. I like the fluorocarbon for the combi-rig as the lake’s very clear, so it makes sense to keep the terminal tackle hidden. This went down to a size 8 barbless Covert Dark Mugga. I fished that blowback style with a scaled snowman style hook arrangement, using a 10mm Cell bottom bait with a matching 8mm pop up. The critically balanced set-up went out with a small bag containing crushed boilie and micro pellets. Some people struggle fishing with such small baits, but for me it works wonders. With a couple of pouches of 10mm baits catapulted over each spot, I was fishing.

The day passed uneventful, however as it started to get dark, the reeds opposite started to knock showing some active fish had moved into the area. I would have liked to fish really tight to the reeds (where the fish were) but I could not get a drop. That evening ‘Top-rod Jamie’ came down and told me VERY tight to the reeds is clear and shallow but you must almost touch the reeds on the way otherwise you would be in weed. We’re talking less than a foot away! This was really valuable information that I wouldn’t have realised otherwise. Cheers for that mate, owe you one!

The rods had been out all day but to save the disturbance, I left then out into the night. At 10:30pm, and after they had been in the water over 12 hours, the first bite came on the left rod (almost in front of peg 1)… and turned out to be a pretty mirror of about 10lb.

The rest of the night after was uneventful. At first light I reeled in the left hand and middle rods and fired them up tight to the reeds in the hope the morning sun would bring the fish back up to the reeds. I also cast the rod I had caught on back out onto the same spot and added another little 10 baits.

At 9:30am the left rod was away again, this time resulting in a lovely upper double mirror. The reeds were moving all day but as I added 10 freebies over the top in the morning (massive mistake) the ducks murdered me in the shallow water. Then at about 3pm the ducks finally left me alone and I got a bite from really tight to the reeds, after re-casting numerous times. Soon enough a nice ghost common of about 10lbers was in the net. Less than 5 seconds after re-casting it back out, I had another bite! This time the culprit was a hard fighting dark coloured upper double common. As I started to pack up just before dark, I caught another small common from tight to the reeds once again. That spot had really come good.

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