During the summer months I tend to try and fish the shallow spots in the lake I am fishing, and 9 times out of 10, I am looking for the cleanest spots I can find. Areas amongst weed that are getting attention from the carp…
I am looking for the cleanest spots I can find. Areas amongst weed that are getting attention from the carp…
I normally go in with the use of a bare lead to start with. This simple set up, can illustrate how clean a spot is, by the type of drop I get. After a cast or two, if it goes down with a ‘crack’, to me that is a very clean area and these are the spots I am always trying to find, and fish during the summer months.
Shallower areas in a lake can be found in various different areas. For instance if I decide to fish the shallower water surrounding a gravel bar. I would make sure I’m fishing the peak of the bar. Sometimes, I opt to use a marker float, casting past the bar, pulling it up until the lead locks up on top of the bar, that tells me I’m bang on top.
If I’m fishing cleaner spots, I tend to use a lead clip set up with a 4” of 30lb invisi-link with a size 4 rigga chod hook and a 14mm bottom bait and a big lead . I would alway have one on top of the bar and one on the bottom , so which ever the route the fish take, hopefully they will come across one of my hook baits. Baiting – I tend to fish boilies and particle over the rod on to of the bar and a single on the bottom of the bar. The thought being that it is likely, and often the case that the odd bait will roll down the gradients of a lakebed, and gather in the deeper gullies. Fishing a single on it’s own on this type of spot, I feel, mirrors the type of loose feed the carp will come across on their journies around the lake. It’s just something I have always done, it’s inconspicuous and without a doubt helped me land those wary ones over the years.
The lakes margins also get my attention during the warmer months. I will always be looking out for those cleaned, and polished areas that the fish have clearly fed off. With a good pair of polaroids, a trickle of bait here and there, walking and observing every inch of the bankside margins often can quickly give the game away of the carps whereabouts and where they like to spend their time.
As with all the seasons, I will continually analayse my appraoch and results throughout that season, and when I feel it’s the time to tweak or change my appraoch I will do so straight away. Come the colder months, I look too, and tend to fish the lakes deeper areas, where natural food may be stored or still in supply for the carp. It’s worth noting, that these areas might not be as clean as those I have targeted in the summer months, so my set-up will be adjusted accordingly. Often the order of the day is Heli’s and Pop-Ups, ensuring im presented and fishing as effectively as I can.
With summer in full flow, and water temperatures now at their optimum in the summer. All waters will now be totally in bloom if any weed present. All my current venues have a variation of weed present. One thick and dense with it and the others with more general sparse coverings. One thing they all have in common, the water clarity is as clear as tap water.
In the summer, I start by considering the weather conditions to indicate where the carp are most likely to be. Hot, bright and higher air pressure daytime conditions, will tend to mean they will be laying up and taking shelter under canopy’s and snags. Overcast, moody and lower air pressure, will tend to mean potentially in open water and on the feed. Depending on these conditions and what time I have available to me, will help me decide if I fancy being somewhere more intimate and near the snags or out in open water.
For my venues with weed present, I am always looking for how the weed has formed through the spring and changed in to the summer. I will be looking for the clear or clearer areas and if any channel like patrol routes are visible. Carp obviously do swim directly through weed, but will often take clearer channels to move to and from different parts of the lake. I safely spend time up trees to give me those vantage points to visibly observe these areas. I then also use a small lead combined with my Gardner GTA application rod and a reel loaded with braid to feel and mark these or other areas on a simple map.
I am a big fan of angling with a helicopter set up and predominantly use stiff link rigs of around 5-6 inches. The only thing I do chop and change is the hook arrangement depending on certain conditions. I will tend to pivot between a stiff D rig, a Ronnie or a simple combi link. What tends to dictate this is the lakebed substrate I am presenting over. In the summer, my mindset and approach remains the same as the spring, but my rig placement is based on what I have observed from those vantage points or felt with my marker rod and braid. In the summer I always want my hook bait to be visible, but not blatant. By the time summer arrives, most carp will have seen everything and you are also competing with an abundance of the lakes natural food.
In the summer, my mindset and approach remains the same as the spring, but my rig placement is based on what I have observed from those vantage points or felt with my marker rod and braid.
With line concealment in my weedy venues, I become less paranoid as I feel more weed can provide more natural camouflage for the mono to weave amongst. What I find is really important though, is allowing the mono to find its natural resting place on the weed or lake bed from the rig end back to the rod tip after casting. I will always look to avoid tight lines where possible especially at the rig end.
Summer months can often be tricky to get a bite, the carp have generally spawned and you’ve either hit it right and had a couple after they have done the ritual or missed out completely and your fishery is inconveniently going through a slow period because It’s that tough bit that’s in between the hard feeding spring and autumn period, when the fish tend to be feeding properly, and instead take to basking on the surface, without a care in the world! However, it’s lovely being out there without a ton of clothing on, despite the mosquitos!
So how do I normally go about catching carp in the warmer months?
Ideally, my water has an abundance of weed, I love the stuff, but then I make sure I’m geared up to landing the fish should I come into contact with one, both safely and sensibly. Weed is my friend and certainly not my enemy. It provides the much craved sanctuary carp require, as well as natural food larders from the many insects that thrive within its mass. Finding small holes in the weed is what I’m looking for, be it silt or gravel, or failing that, low level weed where I can fish a Chod Rig suitable for this application is also something I’m not adverse to. You just need to make sure the weed is of the right type and not something like Canadian pond weed if you want to present on top of it.
Weed is my friend and certainly not my enemy. It provides the much craved sanctuary carp require, as well as natural food larders from the many insects that thrive within its mass.
Other areas to consider would be snags, which I apply the same logic as with weed, in that all careful measures need to be recognised for the fishes safety. Snags easily give the whereabouts of the carp away, as the fish can be often found here, usually in the upper layers basking, whilst they comfortably reside in the warmer levels of the water. The margins are also a firm favourite with the warmer shallower water and, yet again, observational skills are key here with a good pair of polarised glasses required to help spot your quarry. In the warmer months, the fish are far more active than they are in the colder ones, so be prepared to be up at first light as this is usually the most popular time for the carp to be throwing themselves out of the water. This can save you a lot of time and energy trying to find their whereabouts.
Personally, I try to stay away from the deeper water, contrary to the winter months, there are exceptions to this rule but as an approach, I’m far happier fishing the warmer, shallower areas if I’m presenting my baits on the bottom. On weedy waters, where I predominantly fish, zigs and surface fishing can be devastating but, applying this method in the weedy areas is dangerous to the fish’s welfare as the terminal tackle required to get the bite is not strong enough to land the fish, in my opinion.
That leads me on to line and rigs. I’m a recent convert to the Gardner Hydro Sink braided main line, which I find invaluable for weedy lakes, especially ones where a boat isn’t necessarily on hand when it comes to helping you land a weeded-up fish. The abrasive material of the braid helps cut through the weed, helping to enable a constant contact with the fish. I have also witnessed the carp behaving far better when they brush against braid in comparison to mono as I suppose it feels more natural to weed. If I wasn’t using braid, it would be a minimum of 0.40 diameter mono in the form of the GTHD, or the ridiculously strong tow rope, known as Hydro Tuff, only if your water is very weedy.
I don’t necessarily change my rigs, other than upping the hook size to say a 4 over a 6 which is something a few friends have advised me who have greater experience when it comes to braid fishing.
Finally, keep an eye on weather conditions, like new wind directions and drop in air pressures that can switch the carp on and, if you are into your moon phases, time your sessions around the new moon, but I’m not going there, that’s for another time!!