Great tips for staying warm when winter carping

If you carry on fishing through the winter for carp quite often you will be limited by the temperature. These tips for keeping warm will keep you comfortable, warm and fishing at your best in even the worst extremes.


Layers – Multiple thermal layers are essential. A base layer, mid and outer will keep you warm and feeling snug. For example the TF Gear thermo-skin underwear and Chill out onesie could be combined with a fleece lined waterproof jacket and trousers like the Trakker Core Multi-suit – a perfect cold weather combo.

Head wear – A lot of your body heat is wasted through the head. Wear at least a cap and preferably a nice bit of knitwear like one of the Trakker beanie hats.

Feet – Like the head these are a vulnerable to losing heat, and unless you take care of them they will get cold extremely quickly. Use extra socks or neoprene socks – but make sure you don’t wear them too tightly or you will negate the advantage by restricting the blood flow round your feet.

Bivvy choice – Use a twin skin for best results in the depths of winter. Twin skin’s capture a layer of air. This is very effective cold weather insulation. With a twin skin condensation is also reduced which means drier, warmer air. Some bivvy brands offer a ‘winter skin’ option that allow you to upgrade your summer time bankside accommodation at a reasonable cost.

Sleeping right – If you fish right through the winter it is well worth investing in a proper 5 season bag with a thermal cover. A quality bag is a god-send on those cold winter nights.
Another tip is too add a layer underneath you – a bed with a built in thermal mattress will provide a wonderfully warm night.

Food and hot drinks – Calories keep you warm – FACT. Great excuse to fire up the Ridgemonkey and cook up grease laden food in abundance. And it always tastes better in the cold….. Ditto for hot drinks.

Cold weather munchies! Image: Ridgemonkey FB

Cold weather munchies! Image: Ridgemonkey FB

Know Your Carp Baits

Pellets, plastics, popups? Do you find it hard to know which carp baits are the best to use, and how they work?

Man holding mirror carp

Catch a swimming carp
Image source: Wikipedia

Here’s our guide to knowing how and why each of them attract a bite, along with hints and tips from some of our favourite bloggers too.

What a carp needs

Knowing the nutritional needs of carp is one of the keys to finding the right bait. As the lads at Carp Fishing Tactics put it:

“A carp is an intelligent fish and it also has a memory. It knows what’s good and what’s not edible”.

They’re able to “test” the bait as they swim nearer to it and will reject any smell or taste that they recognise as previously having carp tackle attached to it.

They go on to say that carp are particularly attracted to “amino acids emitted by bloodworms, crayfish, and aquatic plants”. Extracts from green-lipped mussels, kelp, liver and molasses all contain this acid, and carp recognise this aroma as having nutritional value.

Types of carp bait

There are five broad categories of carp bait, and each has their own appeal for the carp – and therefore, benefit for the carper; Boilies, Particle, Liquid Additives, Pellets and Plastics.

1. Boilies

The boilie is the number one carp bait and, according to Angling Times, by a considerable margin. There seems to be a bewildering array of different sizes, shapes and flavours on the market, but only two main types – pop-ups and bottom bait. Both have their advantages.

Bottom bait

This is a loose bait you let into the water that will quickly sink to the river or lake bed – a carp’s natural habitat. Bottom bait is easy for the carp to grab with it’s mouth as they are used to foraging for natural grub in this part of the waterway. These types of baits are best suited to clearer waters in which you know nothing will obstruct your hook.

Pop-up bait

Pop-ups are buoyant, and are sometimes brightly coloured and flavoured, which will stop your rig from getting caught in any floating detritus in the water. However, from time to time, carp can get suspicious of something they see floating on the surface of the water and might not always take them.

Pop-up baits are more durable than a bottom bait, as they have to be able to stay buoyant above the lake bed. These tend to be more robust than a ground bait. You can usually keep a supply of these in your fishing kit for years without worrying that they’ll go off, or lose their efficiency over time.

Top of the boilies

There’s a huge choice of boilie for the carper to try. By all means experiment and find what works best for you – but here are a couple of our favourite types:



There’s plenty scope for scopex
Image source: Fishtec

Scopex is a type of flavouring for bottom bait that crops up time and again in discussion among carpers. It’s very distinctive. It’s made with a base of ground tiger nuts, and has an unusual ‘burnt butter’ flavour. forum moderator, Nick, explains that Scopex gets its characteristic aroma from the main base ingredient, N-butyric acid. This is a compound found naturally in rancid butter, as well as in other animal fats and plant oils. Carp are attracted to fatty foods, and as Hammercarp points out at the Carp Angler’s Group forum, one of the benefits of Scopex boilies are that the burnt butter scent will linger in the water for days.

Pineapple pop ups

Jar of fish bait

Top of the pop ups
Image source: Fishtec

One of the most popular pop-ups is the Pineapple juice dumb-bell. It’s fluorescent yellow, and has the flavour of tropical fruit. They’re particularly suited to winter carping. Their intense aroma and flavour will attract carp, even when the fish are a bit slow in the cold water. But they can be used any time of the year.

Dave Lane raves about these in one of his YouTube videos, saying that these are fantastic single baits, especially if you just want one brightly coloured attractor bait in the water.. However, he does add that you don’t need to restrict yourself to using pop-ups that way. Dave’s also had great success using them over a bed of natural food bait.

DIY pop-ups

Do you fancy having a go at making your own pop-up baits? It’s easy! Look no further than Mark Pitcher’s guide at Carpology. Mark writes:

“The process is so simple you can even do it on the bank (if you don’t want to annoy the other half with a messy kitchen)”

He adds that you could try making your own personal mixes like brown fruit baits, yellow or pink fish baits, and unusual flavour combinations.

Mark uses Mainline liquids and pop-up mixes with raw egg. His other great tip is to double up on the amount of bait dye you use. This makes them really bright so they’ll stand out in the water.

2. Particle baits


It’s Alive…
Image source: Fishing Magic

A Particle bait is a catch-all term for any sort of natural or food-based bait, including insects. Some examples include: chickpeas, dog biscuits, groats, hemp seed, maize, maple peas, sweetcorn and tiger nuts. The latter being used as the base of Scopex bottom bait. Kev Hewitt at Carpology says:

“I find that once carp get on the particles they feed more aggressively, instigating other carp to feed which in turn creates competitive feeding”.

When carp feed on particles, they start to hoover up everything on the bottom, and filter the silt through their gills. This clouds the water and encourages other carp to feed, and also makes it more difficult for them to suss where your rigs are.

Penn at Tetraplegic Living has some good ideas for particle baits you can rustle up yourself, including simple kitchen standbys like plain white bread. He says:

“Take a piece of bread about the size of a 50p piece, fold it around the hook and then squeeze very tightly around the knot”

Penn tells us it’s best not to squeeze all of the bread too tightly, and to make sure you leave some nice flaky bits that will come off in the water.

Northern Carp Angler recommends mixing different particle baits:

“I like the analogy of the buffet, if there’s only pork pies there and you happen not to like pork pies you’re going to go hungry. If there’s also pizza, sandwich, crisps and buns you’re much more likely to like something and have a munch”

It’s the same for fish. Offer them variety, and they’ll feed. Penn takes this idea and suggests using either maggots or worms and ‘cocktailing’ them with sweetcorn clusters.

3. Liquid additives

Bottles of goo

Goo for your life
Image source: Fishtec

Liquid baits come into their own as we roll into Autumn and Winter and fish become less active in the cooler water. This is when carpers need the most help to get a bite.

Liquids fall into two categories, artificial and natural:

Artificial: These are chemical liquids that have been developed to mimic the taste and aroma of real foodstuffs. They’re often brightly coloured to make them even more attractive to carp as they lace the water.

Natural: Anything taken from real life foodstuffs that either fish or humans would recognise, so for instance, liver extract, molasses or bloodworm. If it has amino acids or natural sugar in it, carp will be drawn to it.

Artificial liquids like Korda Goo form an aroma cloud in the water, which provides some extra added attraction for the carp to bite at. They also make a great addition to bind stick mixes, added into ground bait for soaking pellets, and for glugging hook-baits. They come in a vast array of flavours ranging from tropical fruits like pineapple through to sweeter, stickier tastes like caramel and coconut.

By far one of the most popular natural liquid attractants for carp is molasses, according to Matt Sparkes at Angler’s Mail. It’s high in amino acids, sucrose and has no chemical additives. Best of all, it’s relatively cheap at just under £10 for a gallon and can be bought from most pet food retailers.

Matt offers a great tip for a homemade mix, using liquid molasses:

“I like to add [molasses] to a dry mix of dog cereal, adding warm water the next day. This results in a fantastic mix that’ll cling to any feeder with ease and it won’t break away on even the meatiest of casts”.

He adds that you don’t need to be too specific with measurements. Fish will be attracted to the sugary taste and aroma, and aren’t bothered about weights and measures.

4. Pellets

Close up of fish pellets

Pellet them with these little delicacies
Image source: Fishtec

Pellet baits are compressed ground bait or fish meal that break down fairly quickly in the water. High in nutrients and essential proteins, they are great carp attractors. For Carpology, Gary Bayes says that you can use pellets for pre-baiting very successfully and it’s a “wicked way of getting the fish into an area without the hassle from diving birds”. The pellet turns to mush, and the birds don’t get anything and lose interest. But the fish will keep coming back for days.

He suggests that if you’re going to pre-bait, match your pellet to your boilie in terms of its flavour and aroma, for maximum effect.

5. Plastics

Plastic fishing bait

Plastic fantastic fishing
Image source: Fishing Magic

Are artificial baits worth using? Carp Tackle Review suggest that every angler should carry fake bait in their kit. They can be used alone or with other liquids and flavourings, such as Korda Goo. The notion of an artificial bait is to persuade the carp to take anything that looks like it might be a real bait, without them inspecting it too closely.

According to Total Fishing the most popular form of artificial bait is corn, particularly for carp. It works well during the daytime, as it’s a highly visible shade of yellow, which looks very attractive to fish in the water. Add artificial corn to a bed of pellets with some real corn in the mix, and you’ll find that the different textures and tastes will attract carp. You can also use artificial baits on their own, without any other feeds.

It’s important to mention that not all angling venues will permit the use of artificial baits, so always check their rules and regulations before you go ahead.

What different types of bait do you use to catch your carp? We’d love to hear your hints, tips and opinions, so head on over to our Facebook page.

A Carping Christmas Wish List


Tis the season to be merry… and carpy

Christmas is just round the corner, and that means the carp lover in your life will probably be hoping for a little special something to fill their stockings.

Not sure where to start? We’re here to help! We’ve searched high and low for the pick of this years carp fishing gear to tick off that Christmas wish list.

From high-tech to low-cost, we’ve dug out ten top treats to keep the angler in your life happy on Christmas morning.

1. FishSpy underwater camera

FishSpy view of riverbed

Image source: FishSpy
See the lake bed like you’ve never seen it before

Top of any angler’s Christmas list has to be the FishSpy. This neat little camera, hidden inside a specially designed marker float, means you can catch all the action above and below water in real time.

Designed to help you map out your swim, you’ll also be able to watch your own ‘Catch of the Day’, streamed in all its live glory to your comfy perch on the bank.

More than just a great techy tool, the camera records to a built in SD card, meaning you’ll be able to thrill the whole family come Boxing Day with your very own highlights reel.

2. FishSpy screen stick

Image source: FishSpy The best way to catch every moment

Image source: FishSpy
The best way to catch every moment

The camera’s running, but with only two hands, your favourite fisherman really needs some way to watch it while he’s fishing.

The great thing about this relatively low-tech accessory is that it’s a simple, well executed idea. It holds a phone or tablet securely, easily relaying FishSpy footage to the busy angler.

It holds lots of different-sized devices, and can be used for far more than just the underwater camera feed.

Will they want to catch the match while out on the bank, or maybe even FaceTime the family?

Your festive fisherman could also stick it in front of your bivvy for a mini-cinema experience, so they won’t miss out on their favourite Christmas movies.

3. Bait boat

Bait boat

Image source: Anglinglines
Simply messing about with boats

If you’re really looking to splash out on your beloved carper this Christmas, a bait boat could be the way to go,

There is some debate over the need for such a pricey gadget, when there are other methods for presenting bait.

Paul Cooper, who runs a fishing syndicate on a small lake, pondered the pros and cons on Angling Lines:

“If you approach a water that has constant pressure from baitboats, then surely wouldn’t it be a better method to spread your bait, instead of small dumps of goodies with a hook bait sitting in the middle. On the other hand, baitboats can reach places where you haven’t got a chance of casting to.”

As the price decreases, these little gadgets will become ever more popular, and for an angler looking to build their confidence in baiting this could be the perfect gift.

4. Bite Alarm

Delkim bite alarm on river bank

Image source: Delkim
Time to treat someone to a new bite alarm

An anglers’ staple, yet always progressing, could it be time for a new set of bite alarms?

With new alarms coming up with features such as silent or vibrator systems, and anti-theft alarms, there are plenty to choose from.

Over at Catfish and Carp, they have come up with their ‘ultimate bite alarm’ review, but there are still some things you should be looking for, no matter what the alarm.

Key things to check are battery or charging systems, and receiver compatibility – important if they want to be leaving their rods for a little while.

5. Sandwich Toaster

Ridgemonkey toastie maker

Image source: Fishtec
Not just for toasties

Everyone needs a snack by the riverbank, and a toastie maker can help warm the parts that a cold sandwich just wouldn’t reach.

But it’s not just for sandwiches. Plenty of anglers have experimented with cuisine from breakfast to dinner, and with recipes from Mexican quesadillas to Chinese stir fry’s.

Eager to show off their kit, the guys at Ridgemonkey have come up with a quick tutorial for a full English.

Now who’ll be the first to rustle up a tasty Christmas treat?

6. Carp barrow

Carp barrow and dog

Image source: Fishtec Facebook
Space for all your carping needs

Essential for anyone heading that little bit further into the wild. A fishing barrow is also a great idea for getting all your new Christmas kit out to your favourite swim.

Things to look out for include good wide wheels – or a three-wheeler to avoid lifting, and mud feet for the legs.

Worried your favourite angler’s got too much to cram on there? Richard Ballard of Nash TV has perfected the art of loading a barrow – it’s all about keeping the weight balanced around the wheel.

7. Carryall

Carryall bag

Image source: Fishtec
For those who want to travel light

If your Christmas carper carries a bit less kit, a carryall provides a smaller alternative to a hefty carp barrow.

There is a great range of light, multipurpose carryalls, allowing you to pack a tackle box and other bits of gear. Some versions even includes a freezer pocket, perfect for frozen bait or storing a few snacks.

8. Bivvy Light

Image source: Fishtec
Light up your life, and your bivvy

As the winter nights draw in towards Christmas, every angler will need something to help him tidy his tackle box.

If you’re looking for that special light, gear reviewer Paul at Pike Pikers TV is full of enthusiasm for the Ridgemonkey Bivvy-LIte Duo. He’s especially enthusiastic about the fact it can provide ten hours of light from just a four hour charge.

Another top feature of the Ridgemonkey design is its four lighting modes, including full and half beam red lights to be less intrusive and help preserve battery.

9. TF Gear Carp fishing onesie

The angler in your life doesn’t have to feel left out when everyone else is dressed in Christmas onesies. The TF Gear Carp fishing onesie offers them a warm snug Christmas, whether it’s on the bank in the bivvy or on the sofa with a mince pie.

10. Powerpack

Ridgemonkey powerpack

Image source: Fishtec
Keep things powered up while on the bank

Carp anglers need to know when it’s time to come home for the Christmas dinner- this product from Ridgemonkey sets a new standard and ensures that there is no excuse for an uncharged phone.  This charger will provide 20+ charges for a smart phone and power other gadgets too.

Gift Vouchers

Image source: Fishtec If in doubt there's always gift vouchers!

Image source: Fishtec
If in doubt there’s always gift vouchers!

While there should be something here for every taste, it’s important to remember tech can be very specific. It’s always good to dig out as much information from a gift’s intended recipient as possible.

If in doubt, you can always play it safe and get them some gift vouchers. That way, they can pick up exactly what they want.

And whatever you decide to get, make sure you share your top gift ideas on our Facebook page.

Checking a baited spot with a FishSpy camera

In this new video, our in-house expert carp angler Dave Lane uses a FishSpy camera to check if a baited spot has been visited after a fruitless session.

Watch it here:

The implications of bait checking with a FishSpy camera are simply huge.

  • Save yourself a packet in the cost of bait over a year.
  • Save time by avoiding areas where fish are clearly not feeding.
  • Maximise your chances of a carp taking your hook bait with just the right amount of bait being present in the swim.
  • Check how successful your pre-baiting is, by seeing if those spots have been visited.
  • By using boiles of differing colours, shape and flavours it is now possible to determine a selection preference by checking baited spots.

FishSpy camera’s are now just £129.95 – what’s your carp fishing worth to you?

Carp And Specialist Fishing Leads

Carp and specialist fishing leads come in many different styles and shapes, with each one made in a particular way for a reason. This blog guide takes a closer look at some commonly found fishing lead types – know your leads, improve your fishing!

Carp and specialist leads

A selection of carp and specialist leads

1. Swivel pear

Korda’s classic pear lead is probably the best selling lead in the UK. It’s shape means it is good for distance, and it’s condensed mass means it performs well when thrown into or across a wind. This shape can also easily plug into silt, which gives an advantage of increasing resistance and therefore your carp hook-up rate. A downside is the round shape can roll about on a hard bottom.

2. Square pear

A square pear is a condensed weight lead, designed for improving hooking ratios. The square sides mean it does not roll around therefore reducing tangles and keeps steady in position. It also casts well from short to medium range.

3. Swivel distance

This nose heavy lead is the ultimate extreme distance caster. Very stable in flight, and capable of traveling straight so you can hit your spot with accuracy, swivel distance pears are popular for good reason. On the down side, the shape means the lighter tapered end gets picked up first which potentially makes hooks ups less reliable.

4. Big grippa

Grippa style leads are designed to stay firm in place on the bottom, making them exceptional leads for flowing water – perfect for barbel or chub. The shape is not the best for long casting, but on a river distance is seldom a concern. On stillwater grippas are perfect for fishing on slopes and gravel bars where you need your rig to stay in position.

5. Flatliner pear

The flatliner pear is a condensed shape designed to be used as a semi-fixed or running rig weight. Best used as a part of a bolt rig at short the medium range, it has great hooking potential as it holds to the lake bed. Great for margin slopes and sand bars where you need your rig to stay put.

6. Ball lead

The most condensed form of lead weight possible, the ball weight is considered a good hooker because however the fish picks it up the weight distribution is the same. Now out of fashion somewhat – the square pear offers the same advantages but does not roll about.

7. Flat swivel pear

A fairly good caster due to it being nose heavy. A good shape for anchoring in flowing water and on underwater bars and gradients, this type of lead is a good all-rounder especially for hard bottomed waters.

8. Inline square pear

A great lead for a semi-fixed bolt rig. One of the best for getting a hook set when carp fishing. Not so great for distance. We have also used it as a river lead for barbel, and as an inline pike lead when float fishing – the square sides make it less prone to rolling around in even a strong flow.

So which ones should I take with me?

Good question – our answer is to take them all! A decent selection of leads in your lead pouch will enable you to fine tune your approach according to the conditions. It is the little things that can sometimes make the difference – a lead isn’t just a lead.

Carry a decent selection of lead weights for all eventualities!

Carry a decent selection of lead weights for all eventualities!

Celebrity Carp of the UK

Man holding large fish

Image source: Bluebell Lakes
“The People’s Fish” RIP.

There are some amazing carp in British waters. There are carp that are famous for their size, others their age. Some even have a celebrity following.

Some are just plain elusive. But that doesn’t stop anglers from trying to net them. It just makes the chase more fun.

British anglers have long respected impressive fish. There’s been Benson (aka “The People’s Fish”), who died in 2009. Colne Mere carp Black Mirror departed in 2010. Two Tone last caught weighing in at 67 lb 14 oz, died at the grand old age of 45. He was mourned with a ceremony attended by no fewer than 50 anglers. Carp, we salute you.

But as the old guard take their place in history, younger carp commandeer the waters. Here, we give you some of Britain’s more recent celebrity carp.

The Fat Lady

Dave Lane holding giant carp

Image source: Ireland Fishing Diaries
Dave Lane caught the Fat Lady when she weighed 52 lbs.

The grande dame of British waterways is known as “The Fat Lady”. But, alas, she sings no more. She passed back in 2011 of natural causes.

It’s said that this particular carp was over 30 years old, giving her a good ten years on the carp’s average life span. During that time she was caught more than 200 times and was an obsession for many anglers.

The Fat Lady held the title of Britain’s biggest living freshwater carp for a year. This title was previously held Two Tone. At the end of her life, she weighed in at 61lb 6oz, meaning she left some pretty big waves in her wake.

The Parrot

Image source: Advanced Carp Fishing Magazine
Dean Fletcher and the 68lb 10z monster carp.

The Fat Lady’s title was taken over by Berkshire carp, the Parrot. Don’t let the diminutive name fool you. The Parrot is a behemoth of a fish, so-named for the shape of its mouth.

When Dean Fletcher – an avid angler who had pursued it for almost a decade – finally caught the giant mirror carp in Cranwells Lake in January this year, he couldn’t believe his luck. Or its weight.

Some of his friends had caught The Parrot back in the early noughties when it weighed around 30lbs. But when Dean reeled it in, The Parrot weighed 68lb 1oz, which smashed Two Tone’s previous heavyweight record. His reaction? “Blimey.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. That is, until September 2016 when Big Rig rolled into town.

Big Rig

Tom Doherty holding large carp

Image source: Facebook
Tom Doherty and Big Rig in Shropshire.

Anglers can get quite particular about what to call the latest megacarp. The name, “Marriage Wrecker”, comes up with alarming frequency whenever a new monster carp surfaces, showing just how addictive carping can be.

But Big Rig definitely lives up to the name. Landed by Tom Doherty at the Avenue Fishery in Shropshire, Big Rig weighed a whopping 69lb 13oz. That’s right. Another British record has been born. And Tom smashed his own personal best, which before September stood at 44lb.

But not everyone’s as pleased with the catch. In fact, Tom’s received death threats. Some passionate critics believe that the record should only go to a ”naturally” grown carp and Big Rig was artificially “farmed” or imported from outside the UK, so should not count.

Big Rig is indeed the result of RH Fisheries boss Rob Hales’ quest to “grow” Britain’s biggest fish. Big Rig went from 39lb to 69lb 13oz in just three years. It looks like Rob’s quest has been achieved!

Update: Big Rig came out again at the end of October – at 71lb 4oz to Robby Harrison. It seems this fish is getting bigger at a phenomenal rate.

Black Eye

Mark Holmes and Black Eye carp

Image source: The Session
Mark Holmes and Black Eye at Chad Lakes.

Chad Lakes’ Black Eye is another giant carp that’s gone up to the big lake in the sky. Blogger and angler Mark Holmes’ advice?  “Big Carp are not immortal so go and get them.”

Wise words, indeed. Mark’s pursuit of Big Carp took him to Chad Lakes in Gloucestershire where he was lucky enough to catch Black Eye:

When I cradled this fella at 52lb 6oz caught float fishing I couldn’t stop grinning for a week.

He had 43 carp catches in a lake which only had 28 carp in it, before he was able to land Black Eye. Mark eventually lured him in with a float-fished prawn.

Nostell Fish

Simon Crow with Nostrell Fish

Image source: Simon Crow Carp Fishing
Simon Crow with the Nostell Fish, the “finest carp in Yorkshire.”

But not all celebrity carp are renowned for sheer size. Some carp achieve notoriety for the effort it takes to catch them. The chase. The single-minded pursuit.

Angling author Simon Crow has caught 50-pounders in six different countries (England, France, South Africa, Austria, Hungary and Romania). He knows his big fish. He even caught Black Eye back in the day. But in his words, Yorkshire’s Nostell Fish was, after two seasons in search of it, the pinnacle of his big carp fishing:

The effort I put into catching the Nostell Fish was like no other carp I have ever fished for.

The Nostell Fish, considered by many to the “finest carp in Yorkshire”, went into his net at 43lb 6oz. Not a mammoth, but a monumental experience for the angler. Simon said

I stood staring at it for several minutes, trying to convince myself that it was definitely that fish. The feeling of elation was incredible.

It’s that feeling that keeps us coming back to the bank time and again.

Have you ever had an encounter with one of Britain’s celebrity carp? Or, which monster are you currently pursuing? We want to know about it! Head over to our Facebook page and share your tales of carp, past and present.

Swim Mapping with FishSpy – The Dave Lane way

In this new post for the Fishtec blog, Dave Lane looks at an alternative way of using a FishSpy camera to rapidly map out your swim.

Just recently I have discovered a new and interesting way of using the FishSpy camera for mapping out a swim, a method that will give you a quick and easy overview of what is in front of you.

The marker rod need set be set up in a slightly different way to the usual, recommended, FishSpy method.

First thread the lightest lead that will achieve the distance you require (I was using two ounces for sixty yards).

Next slide on a large rubber bead and then firmly attach a size 8 swivel.

To the other end of the swivel you will need to tie a meter long length of a strong and tangle free braid (I used a 35lb coated hook-link material so avoid twisting around the mainline on the cast).

Then you attach the FishSpy (without the foamy) to the end of this hook-link material or preferred braid.

Attach your FishSpy without the foamy

Attach your FishSpy without the foamy.

Before casting you will need to enable the device and set it to record.

You then pick an obvious marker on the far bank and cast, clipping up the spool of your reel to ensure you hit the same distance each time.

The lead should be retrieved at a slow spinning speed along the bottom, stopping briefly every five or ten turns as you do so.

Because the float is being dragged behind the lead on the 1m link it will be held in a flat position a couple of feet above the lake bed and actually film vertically rather than horizontally, thus giving you a forward facing picture and a wider sweep of the entire lake bed.

The lead will also kick up a trail, showing you roughly the softness of the bottom as you go.

Once the float is fully retrieved you can replay the footage and view the lake bed in your swim.

You may need to disable the ‘Screen Rotation’ on your device and turn the device upside down to view the footage up the right way.

The breaks at five or ten turns of the reel will show up as pauses in momentum of the footage and, should you notice a feature worth further investigation, you can work out where it was by replicating the amount of breaks back from the clip.

You can then let the float up and check the area before casting to the float.

Please note, the clips below have no breaks in the retrieve and is a constant retrieve.

You can alter the speed of the retrieve to suit your requirements.

We would like to point out using your FishSpy without a boom or foamy is entirely at the owners own risk. We also recommend the addition of a weak link at the lead, just in case a snag is encountered.

Autumn Carp Fishing – By Dave Lane

Dave Lane simply loves autumn carp fishing! In this article you will find valuable insights into Autumn carp fishing tactics. Read on to find out how to improve your catches this autumn.

A big Autumnal leather carp

A big Autumnal leather carp.

I love the autumn, after all what’s not to love about it, particularly when it comes hard on the heels of the sort of summer we have just had.

Hot summers are the thing of dreams in this country but, when we eventually get one, we remember all too quickly just how rubbish they can be from a carp angling perspective. The autumn however, now that is another matter altogether.

When everything is suddenly drenched in dew every morning and the low pressure systems start to outweigh the highs, we know we are on the cusp.

Way before the leaves start to fall you can smell it in the air, and it smells like carp!

Autumn is nature’s grand finale, the fanfare to herald the end of summer and the approach of winter. The colours of nature are awesome during the autumn, how a leaf can turn so red or a whole line of trees appear as if they are on fire is beyond me but I never tire of looking at it. I think we are all guilty of spending more time photographing sunsets and amazing scenery than we do fish during this period of the year.

I love this shot with the golden leaves and nice forty pound mirror

I love this shot with the golden leaves and nice forty pound mirror.

Traditionally we look at it as the big feed up before winter but, in reality, it is just a culmination of perfect conditions for feeding carp. The natural food is not as abundant, the big fly hatches of summer have gone, the clouds of daphnia and algae have cleared and anglers bait must seem like the perfect alternative, an easy meal.

It always used to be September that was the magic month for me, particularly the second and third weeks. Quite why this was I do not know but I have had so many big fish in Septembers past that it cannot just be coincidence.

Nowadays, however, the seasons seem to have shifted a little and September can often be as hot as mid-summer.

I think it is more relevant to the type of summer we have had and the level of change as the seasons start to shift.

I often find during autumn that the fish, although not exactly pugged up for winter, are still a lot slower to change areas and spend a lot of time in certain spots. Whether this is because of the location of the remainder of the natural food or just that the shallower and marginal areas play less of a part in their daily habits I am not sure. The result though, is that once found they can be targeted a lot easier and deep water marks, with the correct baiting, can turn up fish week after week and give you a chance to really get things going.

Another phenomenon that I have seen time and time again in the autumn is the way the bigger fish in any lake will all get caught in quick succession, almost as if they all need to visit the bank one last time before winter. How many times have you been on a lake and somebody puts together a last burst of captures culminating in the biggest carp in the pond and then, as if a switch has been thrown, it’s straight back into to scratching time for the rest of the winter. Maybe they just feed so hard that they make mistakes a lot more readily as I can’t believe they actually want to get caught, but sometimes it does seem that way.

If you are staying on the same venue throughout the autumn and winter then this is the time to start to get a bait going, something that you can use with confidence right through the remainder of the year. Because the carp will eat such large quantities of bait throughout the autumn this will ensure that, come the winter, the small amounts of bait you give them are recognised as something they readily accept.

Personally I tend to change my venues in the winter so I often miss out on the opportunity to get a bait (and baited area) well established for the winter and I have to make it up as I go along.

A big thirty common caught at the end of september over a bed of bait

A big thirty common caught at the end of September over a bed of bait.

The reason for this is that I like to stay on those harder and lesser stocked waters throughout the autumn and hope to hit that one big payday when the fish throw all caution to the wind, eat everything in sight, and hopefully my hook-baits are included in that.

I do like to get onto my winter water before the frosts though, to at least give myself a shout of learning a bit about the carp’s behaviour before everything is shrouded in winter again.

Results throughout the winter can only really be measured against what is happening around you, not only on the lake you are fishing but surrounding lakes as well. If you are trickling the odd fish out while everyone else struggles then that, to me, is a successful winter, even if you are not setting the world alight with your captures.

So, with a chance of a big hit on the cards and winter not too far away, what bait to use?

For me the choice is easy as autumn spells boilie time, there is nothing better than a big bed of top quality boilies to keep a shoal of hungry carp interested. It offers a far more substantial form of protein for them and, as far as I am concerned, it’s a lot easier to deliver than a bucket of hemp or tigers. I also find it makes rig choice a lot less important as it’s so easy once you have fish shovelling back great big 18mm boilies, just a simple bottom bait rig or a matched pop-up will nail them every time.

I do love my boilie fishing, I know a lot of people put faith in little PVA bags full of crumbs, bits of plastic for hook-baits or single chod style presentations but I really don’t think you can beat a few kilos of goodness out in the swim, something for the carp to really get their heads down on. It lowers their cautionary level and, during the autumn, I really wouldn’t consider a different approach, even on waters that do not respond so well to it during the summer.

A cracking looking 34 mirror on the boilies in Autumn

A cracking looking 34 mirror on the boilies in Autumn.

I think the only place I’ve ever struggled for a bite on boilies as the temperatures drop was during my time fishing around the Oxfordshire venues, particularly Lynch Hill. Those waters seem like a law unto themselves and the fiddlier it all gets with rigs and baits then the more bites you seem to get, maybe it is a result of the extreme pressure they are under for almost every single minute of the year.

I think the one exception to the boilie rule though, but not until slightly later in the year, have to be maggots.

For me this is a newer method, although I know others have been at it for years. I really had my eyes opened to the effect maggots can have on a water during the latter part of autumn and the early stages of winter.

It seems like a follow on to the big feed ups on proper bait though and I think you can miss out by turning onto them too early in the year, not only that, they are hard work to fish effectively and also bloody expensive.

I am also not sure what would happen to a lake if nobody actually started on them, which may sound weird but hear me out here.

On Monks the fish would happily eat boilies throughout the autumn, great big quantities of them at times but, once the first person started with the maggots then it all seemed to change. As soon as the fish started seeing huge quantities of spodded maggot it was as if the boilies got forgotten and you had to be on the ‘germs’ to keep up.

This creates a situation where everyone is suddenly putting one or two gallons of maggots into the lake every couple of days, sometimes a lot more. Maggot fishing can often just be a matter of who can put the most out, or at least that how it may seem sometimes. I am not overly convinced that it’s the best method for the lake though, after all they can’t all get eaten and then what happens to huge beds of rotting, ammonia filled maggots?

I know I have turned up at Monks in the past and cast out a marker only to retrieve a lump of weed still full of somebody else’s old maggots so I know they don’t all disappear. Also, as the weather gets even colder the small fish don’t seem interested at all in the crawling variety of food; in fact they almost seem to disappear, particularly from the deep water where the carp often are.

On my last winter there, however, the maggot boys were not out in force as they had been during previous years and I persevered with the boilies and had some unbelievable results but I wonder if that would have been the case if someone next door was pumping gallons of maggot in?

This coming winter I may well be going back to the Quarry in Essex, scene of last year’s capture of my new PB January carp of forty six pounds but, before then, we have a whole autumn to look forward to, and I cannot wait.

Inside the mind of Dave Lane – Q & A Interview

Exclusive question and answer interview with carp fishing legend Dave Lane for the Fishtec blog! An insight into carp captures, Laney’s formative years and of course barbecuing…
Q. In terms of getting into angling, where and when did it all begin for you?

DL: My earliest memory of angling was a bit of fluff chucking on a river on the South Coast.

My Great aunt was trying to teach me the basics, even though there were no trout in there and, to be fair, probably no fish whatsoever.

After that my Dad, used to take me fishing for Perch at a little lake in Sussex and, occasionally, down to the South Coast where we learnt to beach fish together; although most of his time was spent in the nearby pub I think. He used to ‘pop-out’ for sandwiches and be gone a very long time.

I remember one weekend we turned up at Worthing beach and there was a competition on so we couldn’t fish unless we entered. Just for ease and to save the drive to another beach my Dad paid the entrance fee and I won my section with single sole of about 2lb.

I won £4 and a new reel for that fish and I was as proud as punch.

My carp fishing began at about the same time really, which would have been the mid-seventies I guess.

Me and my mates used to fish for wildies with floating crust and float fished bread flake.

I remember my first ever carp was also on a session with my Dad and he had rigged up a string of building site lamps and a generator so that we could do our first night on the bank.

I had a big old lump of crust cast into the middle of a set of lily pads and, at some stage in the morning, the old Intrepid reel started to spin and I eventually battled a huge common carp of two and a half pounds into the knotted string net.

I muddled along for a few years, inventing different bits of tackle and the most amazing rigs as I went; I even dabbled in bait a little and had a very successful ‘Special’ made from sausage meat and ‘Layers Mash’ chicken feed.

I have no idea what year ‘Carp Fever’ was first published but that book, along with George Sharman’s ‘Carp and the Carp Angler’ taught me a lot and pretty much changed my whole thinking and, I suppose, set me on the path I still follow today.

Dave Lane with 'Colin' the Carp.

Dave Lane with ‘Colin’ the Carp.

Q. You recently captured Colin on St Ives – your eighth 50lb plus UK fish from as many venues! It must be one hell of a buzz when all the hard work paid off for you. Over the years, out of these eight captures which one would you say has given you the most satisfaction?

DL: This is a question I get asked a lot and I find it almost impossible to pin down one specific fish as best of the bunch.

A lot of these huge carp have come as the result of an all-out assault which has created so many memories and formed large chapters of my life.

To pick one would do a disservice to the others but, if I had to choose for some mad reason then I suppose the Black Mirror would probably take the title.

I had around seven years of sporadic fishing on the Mere and the sheer level of heartache, pain, discomfort and grief that I endured before that most iconic of carp lay beaten in my net would have to make this the standout capture of my life.

Laney with the Black Mirror.

Laney with the Black Mirror.

Q. What would you say has been the biggest change in the Carp angling scene over your career so far?

DL: Unfortunately, as I read this question, the first thing that popped into my mind was a negative.

I think that the ‘good old days’ were exactly that, good because they were so much more fun and that is mainly down to the element of seriousness that seems to have invaded our sport.

Back ‘in the day’ we just fished for fun and every capture instigated a party to celebrate it, every trip was an adventure and we all seemed to be a closer and crazier bunch back then.

If I look back on some of the mad nights we had on the bank it seems as if we were re-living (or extending) our childhoods, nobody seemed to care about the example we were setting because the lack of social media and ‘reporting’ from the bank meant that we were truly alone in the wilderness; misbehaving and generally having a rare old time, I do miss those days.

In saying that, however, anyone that knows me on a personal level will probably be saying “so what’s changed then” as I do still like to have a laugh and a joke and I enjoy my angling immensely.

Q. What would you say your trademark style of carp angling is?

DL: My trademark style of angling would probably be termed ‘manic’ as I am the most impatient angler on the planet and I cannot sit still for five minutes.

I always think that the grass is greener around the next corner and the carp will be feeding like mad in the next bay or at the other end of the lake.

I move far too much, I walk for miles when there is no reason to and I am never actually one hundred percent satisfied with anything.

Just the other day I walked the banks of a huge lake for eleven hours before deciding on a swim and I was packed up and moved out again just after first light the following morning!

Q. What is your favourite venue of all time, and why?

DL: This is almost as hard to answer as the favourite fish question.

All of the big lakes would have to be in the mix here, Sonning, Wraysbury, Burghfield, Brogborough; they all hold a special place in my heart.

I love the larger type of pits and the special relationship that they have with me, the interaction of such a large piece of land and water and the mystery and intrigue that exudes from them.

Again though, if I was forced to pick one, then I suppose I would choose Wraysbury as it was the first of the massive lakes I fished and we made a lasting impact on each other.

Together with a couple of mates we dug and cut swims and paths, we named most of the swims that still hold those titles today, we caught those elusive Wraysbury carp and we celebrated around huge bonfires in the evenings.

I lived out a significant portion of my life on those hallowed banks and I will never forget my time spent there, it was a truly amazing lake.

Dave Lane with Mary - The Wraysbury legend.

Dave Lane with Mary – The Wraysbury legend.

Q. If you had to stop carp fishing tomorrow, and target another species, what would it be?

DL: Well it certainly wouldn’t be trout, I have never understood why anyone would want to fish for a species that are so stupid that you need to invent a million rules to make them harder to catch; a tub of maggots or worms and you could bag every fish in the lake in no time at all!

Wild salmon must be quite a buzz I suppose; I have never tried that and the idea does appeal to me.

Pike fishing I have done to quite an extend in my youth and I used to love the thrill of the unknown as the line peeled off the spool into a still and mist enshrouded morning.

Tench were always my passion although the lack of individuality would probably bore me nowadays.

Sailfish; I have tried a bit of that and it was amazing, never again could I say that a carp can truly fight, at least not in any way comparable to a big sail.

Big Perch would probably be my final choice, however, as I just love the ancient and predatory look of them; a truly English species that would take me right back to where I started.

Dave Lane once dabbled in pike angling - in 1974 it was OK to eat them!

Laney once dabbled in pike angling – in 1974 it was OK to eat them!

Q. What item of tackle would you never be without?

DL: Can I say a rod, or actually a hook, as I could make a rod out of a willow branch and have done a few times in the past.

I used to catch roach from the cut behind Harefield on a piece of branch and old discarded line and hooks we found in the trees, mind you we did have to scrounge a pocket full of maggots of the float anglers first.

Seriously though, I have no idea whatsoever as every piece of tackle plays an important part and without just one it all starts to fall apart.

I don’t really have keep-sake type items as I have to test tackle as part of my job and I have swapped everything so many times that I no longer have any items of personal importance.

Q. What is your no.1 BBQ cookery tip?

DL: Don’t cook too early, everyone is always in a mad rush to get the food on the coals and it just destroys it, turning it to charcoal on the outside and barely even warming up the bit in the middle.

A barbeque is often just perfect as the last cremated sausage gets consumed.

Wait until the coals are grey and just starting to lose their heat, that’s when to add the food.

If you find you have nothing much to do while you are waiting, I always find a nice chilled Old Speckled Hen helps to pass the time of day.

Q. What is the best piece of advice you can give to anybody looking to specifically target a big carp from a venue?

DL: Set out to catch them all, it’s the best way to get the one you want as big carp are often aggressive feeders and they will not want to miss out if everything else is feeding.

Create a situation, either with bait or location, where you can catch regularly and that one big one will always come along in the end.

Remember to catch up with the Dave Lane video diaries here!

10 Carp Fishing Sunset Shots

Dave Lane - Sunset fishing.

Dave Lane – Sunset fishing.

We recently posted up a sunset image image taken by Dave Lane from the banks of a carp lake (see image above). It proved so popular that we soon had lots of our facebook page followers posting their own awe inspiring fishing sunset shots. The images were so good we decided to pick out our top 10 from the Fishtec Coarse facebook page and share them here. Enjoy….

John Radford -Sunset shot.

John Radford -Sunset shot.

Jay Jack-Daniel Allen Archipelago Lakes... France... heaven..

Jay Jack-Daniel Allen – Archipelago Lakes, France. Heaven…

Graham Moore Chequertree fishery, Bethersden Kent.

Graham Moore Chequertree fishery, Bethersden Kent.

Barry Blenkey - lovely lake shot.

Barry Blenkey – lovely lake shot.

Armo Armzee - superb 'rods at the ready' shot

Armo Armzee – superb ‘rods at the ready’ pic.

Stuart Waters - rods all set at dusk

Stuart Waters – rods all set at dusk.

Stephen Godwin Horcott Lakes

Stephen Godwin – Horcott Lakes.

Dan Hayward - What an amazing sunset!

Dan Hayward – What an amazing sunset!

Trevor Edwards

Trevor Edwards.

Tony Jennings - Monks lake Steeplehurst

Tony Jennings – Monks lake Steeplehurst.