Well, I think it’s fair to say it’s been somewhat wet this winter for this country, with so many floods and even certain fisheries closing due to unsafe access to swims and their banks simply underwater. The one good thing has been that due to all the mild Atlantic wind pushing into us it has kept it to a fishable temperature and we seem to have missed the big freezes that we’ve endured over the past couple of years and these high temperatures have kept the carp searching for food on most venues.
This has clearly had an effect on the fish’s well being, as most carp I know are at their top weights! With this in mind I think 2014 is going be a big fish year for many of us. Especially when you consider that when spring is finally upon us the majority of carp are going to go on a munch potentially adding further to these big weights.
Spring is a magical time of the year, as everything starts emerging and growing. I honestly can’t think of a better place to be than behind the rods; that and the fact that it is one of the best seasons for carp fishing.
Carp in spring are so much more catchable as they are competing for food against the others fish in the lake.
KEEPING YOUR EYES PEELED
A good starting point during the spring for locating your quarry is in the woodwork i.e. looking carefully in snags, bushes, etc. Carp at this time of year use these areas to clean themselves off – after all some sit dormant in the silt over there colder months. Searching out these areas will give away their presence on most venues. Watching carefully for twigs and branches banging about and twitching due to the carp moving through or using them to remove parasites i.e. leaches etc is quite exciting to watch for an angler.
Another area that I will always carefully scrutinise, that can offer a bite or two, is at the back of the wind. That’s simply because this area is a little warmer and the carp love the extra warmth offered by little calm spots and flat water on sunny days. Look at corners.
It’s a big advantage if you’re able to get up trees to view the area – and this is a big advantage point for me being a tree surgeon. Twenty years experience climbing trees for a living means I can often reach areas where most wouldn’t dare!
Remember – only go up trees if you are allowed to climb on your chosen venue – and please note that care must be taken!
It’s essential you wear a good quality pair of polarised glasses to cut out the surface glare and help spot fish that might be a few feet down in the water. I use the Gardner Hi-Lo polaroid’s which have a little case with interchangeable lenses saving me from carrying a couple of pairs for different light conditions to suite the levels. In this game your eyes are your guide – and they’re the most vital part of my angling.
Applying different tactics in spring can bring big rewards too. As most know we see a lot of talk of zig fishing in spring. Well the reason for this is simple – they catch carp!
No matter how deep the venue you’re fishing the carp will mainly be up in the water column as the water will be warmer here. This is especially true on sunny days where the warmer water is more comfortable and the carp will be feeding on natural hatches (and anything else that descends through the water).
Fishing Sandhurst really was eye opening a few years back. I was plugging away using the Gardner Zig Rig Foam, and after ringing the changes it became blatantly apparent that the most effective method was simply to use the tiniest piece of black foam I could get away with – this was hammered home as the other rod with a bigger piece sat dormant. It just shows that a little perseverance and experimentation with your zig hook baits can certainly bank you extra fish. It’s definitely something not be ignored!
Carp in my eyes, tend to get a bit carried away in spring so giving ‘em what they want, in terms of a good food bait applied on a regular basis is paramount and a vital key to consistent success. Most anglers know that a good quality bait never blows and Carp Company certainly deserve praise for that. Having been established for many years they have a deep understanding of how to get the best from particular products and additives used in their baits attractor profiles. When I use their bait it seems to make the carp tick and really rip up the lake bed looking for more!
With this in mind, in the spring I tend to use a lot of boilie crumb. It’s something I’ve done for a few years now as I prefer the feeding reaction it creates. Rather than filling themselves up with whole baits the crumb keep the carp browsing over the bait for longer periods with all those attractive particles of food wafting about.
Another big benefit is that the crumb just descends through the layers giving off immediate signals to the fish. On numerous occasions I’ve watched the carp turning as it falls down on the spots to find no food items to pick up; only the one attached to a razor sharp hook.
Over the years I’ve had a lot of success in the spring using bright flouro coloured hook-baits simply due to the visibility factor. Choosing the correct rig for your pop up fishing can be critical as getting it wrong can be a kiss of death. It’s important that you consider the contours of the lake, whether it’s littered with leaves etc. Inevitably its shallower parts which see more that will see the fastest emergence of aquatic life such as invertebrates and fresh weed growth. I find that the original (running) chod rig is the best in this situation. Incorporating a decent long lead core means the hook bait is well presented over most contours provided the end tackle is to suit. A supple lead core like the new CamFlex lead core from Gardner will naturally blend in to most situations I’ve encountered and is entrenched in my armoury. In conjunction with a size 5 Covert Chod hook, 20lb Trip Wire and Covert Safety Beads, I don’t think you can get much better on the presentation side of things.
Fishing is all based on percentages. Provided you can locate them and present your hookbait in a manner so that the terminal tackle blend in your setting yourself up with the best possible chance of a bit or two ….