The venue

With so many big carp day ticket venues dotted around the country, the modern day carp angler has become spoilt for choice. Catching a big day ticket carp is no walk in the park; most are heavily pressured and have seen almost everything. Although difficult, there are a few things to help you bank that fish of a lifetime.

In order to stand any chance of catching a big day ticket carp, you will need to select the venues that will give you the best chance. Fish a lake that you know has produced multiple big fish, fishing for a needle in a haystack will most probably result in you not getting what you dreamed of. Select a venue that best suits your own personal angling, if you’re not a confident range angler then don’t fish a venue that requires fishing at distance. To be most effective when on the bank it’s important that you fish to your own angling strengths, fish venues that allow you to feel confident in your approach. The venue location will play a large part of having success; travelling hours across the county for a one off short session will not help increase your chances. If possible, fish a local venue that you can keep a track of. This will allow you to keep a mental note of where the majority of fish are located alongside what’s working best. The more knowledge you can gain about the venue/fish you are angling for, will only help increase your catch rate. If you’re fortunate enough to have a great venue on your doorstep, why not pop down and get one step ahead of the other anglers fishing, more knowledge will only increase your chances. There are lots of variables to think about when selecting a venue, but one thing to make sure is you give yourself enough chance of success.

Welcome to Kracking.

Proof is in the pudding, for me I had considered all of the above to select the perfect venue for me to complete this challenge. My situation, like most, did not allow countless hours on the bank. With mainly nights to fish, I had to select a venue that most importantly produced big fish within the time frame that I would be at the lake. Not being blessed with loads of good day ticket lakes locally, I only had a few to be able to choose from. After thinking through my options it’s was clear that the best chance for me, with the limited time I had available would be Anglers Paradise’s Kracking Carp Lake.

Kracking holds a small head of big carp, with around 15-20 carp, of which fifteen are 30lb+ including some weighing over forty pounds. If I could get a take, the likelihood of it being over the 30lb boundary would be very high. Being only an hour away from me it’s local enough to be able to get down a get some bait in if needed. Although it’s not an easy venue, previous experience alongside Zig and his team’s advice, gave me great confidence in getting a bite. With fish having been caught at night previously, I knew I would be fishing during feeding time. All the variables fitted nicely together and style of angling fitted in perfectly with my own angling strengths. The venue ticked all the boxes that I needed to feel confident in completing this challenge.

Fish a venue you enjoy alongside giving you the best chance, always want to be happy on the bank especially when the going is tough.


When it comes to rigs we all have our personal favourites. For me personally, the single most important factor is reliability, especially when fishing for big fish. Gardner Tackle have developed and produced some of the most reliable products on the market, you should never be let down by your tackle, so fish strong and especially fish safe. To catch a big carp from anywhere, the style of angling and rig selection are vital to achieving success. When you’re setting out to catch your prize, use a rig you’re confident in and have caught on in past or in similar conditions. Using a rig for the very first time while trying to catch a big fish can be a confidence killer. “Is it sat right, is it tangled?” Thoughts like these need to be eliminated or you will end up chopping and changing all the time thus killing your chances. I have done it many a time and looked back in regret.

Tackle up to do the job, if you’re fishing snags, then use strong tackle. A Gardner Continental Mugga down to a 25lb Sink Skin coated hooklink, will drastically improve your chances of landing a fish once hooked. Fishing light tackle in situations where you require stronger kit will only cause heart break, and could be VERY unsafe for the fish. At the opposite end of the scale, if you’re fishing a snag free lake then scale it down to maximise your bite potential. It’s all about tailoring your approach to the situation. Confidence catches carp, make sure you’re sat behind your rods knowing your bait is presented perfectly and you have every chance of landing that dream fish if you hook one.

Ricky's trusty terminal tackle.

The situation I’m faced with allows me to drop my rigs with a Gardner Baiting Spoon onto the far margin shelf, giving me perfect presentation. With a barbless rule imposed on Kracking, I have tweaked my set up accordingly. My normal 2oz Gardber Flat Pear lead has now been replaced with a 5oz Flat Pear; this is for a very good reason. Although I’m fishing at about 30 yards to a weedbed, I need the fish to hook itself completely, then simultaneously for the lead to eject (fished on a Covert Lead Clip). The addition of a heavier lead aids hooking potential that and make up for the compromised hooking hold created by not having a barb. An increased size of hook from a size 8 to a 6 alongside a short (4 inch) section off Subterfuge semi stiff hooklink will also help slam home that hook instantly giving me more chance of landing my prize… If I’m lucky enough to get a chance.


Like everything, use a bait you 100% confident in. For me it has to be Mainline for boilies, pop-ups, pellets and Hinders for all things particle. The success of catching on it before has given me so much confidence there is no reason to change. If it’s not broke, why fix it? Nearly all venues have a bait that tends to out fish all others, if you’re confident in using that then get on it, if not then use what you prefer. Personally I would happily use any of the Mainline range of products on any venue, but like everyone I have my preferences. Currently my number one choice is new bait on test called Hybrid. It’s always done me proud so far and even on Kracking where Cell has previously dominated, Hybrid is still the one for me. Like rigs, bait is a personal choice, however if you do get stuck one day it’s good to know any of the Mainline range of boilies are irresistible to a carp on the right day. Personally I feel it’s better to use less of a good quality bait opposed to more of a rubbish bait, cheap does not mean good, so select a bait that’s good for the fish nutritionally and attractive. A good quality bait will never blow, so when you find one you know works; don’t change for the sake of it.

Going on past experience and local knowledge my approach to snag a day ticket thirty would be very simple. Hinders ready pre-paired salt and chilli hemp mixed with dead red maggot over a few kilo of whole and crushed Hybrid would be the way. Hook bait choice again is personal to each angler, for me a white Mainline Milky Toffee soaked in Hinders Betalin would be fished on one rod and a small Hybrid/ Fruttella snowman would be fished on the other.

On arrival the plan was to get the bait into a good looking spot for a bite, and then leave the area un-fished and un-pressured for a good 24 hours. Fish a small scattering of bait over two different spots well away from the main area of bait. If the smaller spots failed to produce after 24 hours then switch to the main spot in the hope that the fish would have come in, fed confidently and have got an appetite for the hemp and Hybrid. I then planned to re-bait the spot with a lesser amount in the hope that the carp would move back in, allowing me to nick a bite


Although most of us don’t have a lot of time on our hands, it does take a certain amount of commitment to catch any fish. Generally speaking, the more effort you put in the better the result you will achieve. Limit the time need actually fishing on the bank by finding the fish first. Every little helps, even picking up the phone of an evening and asking the bailiffs what’s happening.

A carpy corner on Kracking.

Perfect planning and preparation prevents a poor performance is a saying that applies to fishing as much as life. Be on the ball, do your homework and I’m sure the reward will equal your effort.

Be persistent in your approach and don’t except failure. We have all blanked, so if it does not happen instantly, keep trying and don’t give up. The longer it takes, the more rewarded you will feel come the end when it does happen.

The result

After my very first attempt at the challenge, I was lucky enough to land a big mirror within just thirty hours of fishing.

Like planned, I arrived in the morning and got the bait into a far margin spot amongst some weed (all dropped by the Gardner Baiting Spoon to avoid too much disturbance). As intended, I left it to settle and fished two other marks. During the night I heard a big fish crash on the spot, this made me confident that a fish had found the bait. Mid-morning then next day I decided to switch both rods onto the baited area along with applying a bit more free bait. Early evening came with a new wind and before long I was into a chunk. After a spirited fight the big fish was safely nestled in the mesh of my net.

She weighed 37lb 10oz and was its first visit to the bank in over 3 years. The fish fell to a single white Milky Toffee pop-up. Although the venue had been fishing hard of late, it just shows how planning in advance can get you a chance. I was one happy chappy as you can tell from the smile and more importantly it was MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

Hopefully with a few tips you can get out and catch your day ticket 30, the feeling is brilliant so get out and give it a go.

Ricks top 5 tips and Golden Rule

1) Fish to your strengths not your weaknesses.
2) Have confidence in your bait/rigs while knowing it has every chance of working.
3) Fish a venue that holds a good head of fish and fits in with your lifestyle.
4) Gain as much knowledge as possible from other anglers and the bailiffs before commencing with your angling.
5) Create your own luck by doing everything right that’s under your control.

Mission accomplished for Ricky, his day ticket thirty weighed 37lb 10oz.

How to tie Ricky’s day ticket rig.

What you’ll need…

What you will need...








Step 1 – Take off 6 inches of Trickster Heavy braid and tie a small loop in one end.

Step 1 - Take off 6 inches of Trickster Heavy braid and tie a small loop in one end.








Step 2 – Cut off a small slither of Covert Silicone Tube and slide it down the braid.

Step 2 - Cut off a small slither of Covert Silicone Tube and slide it down the braid.







Step 3 – Tie a standard knotless knot to the hook.

Step 3 - Tie a standard knotless knot to the hook.









Step 4 – leave two inches off braid above the hook and connect it to Subterfuge Stiff via a allbright knot.

Step 4 - Leave two inches off braid above the hook and connect it to Subterfuge Stiff via an allbright knot.







Step 5 – Trim the tag ends.

Step 5 - Trim the tag ends.







Step 6 – The finished rig.

The finished rig.