To Infinity And Beyond – Simon Crow On Carp Fishing Gadgets!

There are lots of gadgets in carp fishing today which divide opinion, but I’m one of those anglers who embraces change, making use of the latest products if I think they are going to help me catch a few more fish.

I’m a short session angler whose time is very precious so I don’t see the point in making hard work of something if there’s a new tool which will make life easier.

Bite alarms

Bite alarm

It might seem hard to believe, but many years ago bite indicators were frowned upon by lots of anglers

When I was a lad I remember the older guys looking at my bite alarms and giving them a right slating. Now buzzers are viewed as an essential part of the carper’s kit, and there are upwards of a dozen companies making more than one model each.

Bite alarms now range from the very basic type which clip onto the line, to ones which operate with digital technology. We can now get different coloured LEDs on our alarms, vibration modes to assist deaf anglers, high and low pitch tones, as well as remote boxes which sound when we’re several yards away.

Bait boats

Bait boat

Bait boats aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but they will certainly help you catch more fish

If I had a pound for every time I’ve heard someone slag off bait boats, I’d be a rich man. One of the best excuses I hear from the moaners is that anglers use them to put baits in unsafe areas. Well the same could be said about line in trees and carp towing cracked off rigs because someone has just gone for the ‘big chuck’!

Who’s right and who’s wrong? My advice is to embrace them both. Casting allows us to use our judgement to ‘feel down’ a lead to the lake bed, while bait boating gets rigs quietly into position without excessive casting.

Echo sounders

Echo sounder

Echo sounders are brilliant for checking the depth but not so good at finding the fish

Echo sounders get a bit of stick because, apparently, they take away the skill of watercraft. I know where the detractors are coming from with this one because the day we’re told where our target fish is swimming is the day we become trappers not anglers.

But today’s echo sounders aren’t even very good at deciphering whether an echo is a snag or a fish, let alone capable of picking out individual carp, so we’re a long way off them being a substitute for traditional watercraft skills.

I use echo sounders for depth finding and looking for clear spots, mainly because they reduce the amount of casting (aka carp spooking) needed. They’re also great when I’m on a big water where boats are allowed and even the best casters in the world won’t get beyond the margins.

Underwater cameras

Underwater camera

Life below the marker float, what a great way of checking your baited spot

This moves me onto the underwater camera, a piece of kit which is fast becoming a common sight at venues where the water is nice and clear. You can attach them to bait boats or normal boats and even floats like FishSpy which then send the image back to your smartphone.

Using them for finding fish is a hassle, so their main advantage lies in helping you check out the bottom, especially once you’ve cast out and want to know that your hookbait is sitting right.

I really rate the cameras on floats although their cost needs to come down a bit before they turn into ‘must have’ items. Just the thought of cracking off with £150 on the end is enough to stop many an angler from becoming a convert. (Editors note: FishSpy underwater camera’s are now £129.95)

Droning on


A bird’s-eye view without climbing a tree
Image: Shutterstock

Last but not least we come to the latest craze – drones. Yes folks, believe it or not, carp anglers are starting to use drones with cameras to help them find fish, as well as to identify features. Climbing trees to get a good view is a thing of the past as nothing quite compares to getting a proper bird’s-eye view.

You can even leave your drone hovering in the air while you cast out, keeping an eye on your phone screen to check that the cast has landed ‘spot on’. A decent drone with a camera and smartphone app will cost about £500 and believe me it’s worth every penny, unless that is, you end up dumping it in the lake when the connection cuts out!

So there you have it, a look at a few of the latest carpy gadgets on the market. You can take or leave them – fishing will always be a sport which leaves the choice entirely up to you.

Simon Crow

Thank you to Simon Crow for permission to use these images.

TF Gear Airflo Inflatable Bivvy Latest Videos

Inflatable carp fishing bivvies are well established on the continent and are now making inroads in the UK market. These bivvies offer unparalleled ease of erection and also perform extremely well in high winds, where conventional pole bivvies are at increased risk of being damaged.

The new Airflo bivvy from TF Gear is an affordable inflatable fishing shelter that is proving to be a popular and best selling item of tackle at Fishtec. Both the 1 and 2 man versions are extremely roomy, with a built in groundsheet to help keep the insects out. They pack down very quickly into a short length bag, making them handy for fitting in any sized car boot.

1 Man: £279.99
2 Man: £329.99

The videos below demonstrate the Airflo bivvy in action:

Definitive proof that the Airflo bivvy can be inflated in under 60 seconds.

Airflo bivvy air poles are rock solid and tough; they cannot be over inflated or burst as the demo shows below. They are also highly puncture resistant and repairable.

A shorter length bag than a normal bivvy makes for ultra easy transportation to and from your swim.

For the full low-down on the blow up TF Gear Airflo bivvy, the video review below by Hassan Khan of Carpology magazine is an essential watch.

For full product specification click here.

Waders – A Carp Fishing Essential

My friend Paul Forward and I have a little saying ‘sensible use of waders’ and it always brings a smile as it was a caption used on a photograph in a magazine photograph of him many years ago, and Paul practically lives in waders.

I too am a great advocate of rubber leg wear and I have many sets of various types. In fact, I currently have a set of wellington type boots, a pair of thigh waders and some of the new TF Gear Hardcore chest waders all in a pile in the back of my truck and I rarely leave home without all three.

Waders are a carp fishing essentail

Waders are a carp fishing essential.

Our sport is a wet one but there is really no need to suffer it by getting ourselves wet and many opportunities and circumstances will require that we get into the water to one degree or another.

Using waders to hand place baits into the margins is a method that has caught me countless fish over the years, scuffing my feet along the bottom to locate cleaned off gravel spots or little depressions in the lake bed.

Baiting up by hand in the margins

Baiting up by hand in the margins.

There have also been many occasions where I could not actually fish the areas I wanted without wading out with long bank sticks and having the rods out in the lake due to the lack of actual swims.

The safe retaining of fish is another area where chest waders are a ‘must have’ item as you often cannot just sack a fish in a shallow margin and a bit of depth needs to be found slightly further out into the lake.

Even on the bank a set of chest waders can be a huge advantage, particularly when dealing with a lively fish in cold and wet conditions for photography. A decent, flexible set of chest waders perform like a set of waterproofs and keep all your clothes nice and dry and warm, allowing you to return to bed in comfort rather than dripping wet.

I mentioned ‘flexible’ because there are, obviously, different types and grades of rubber used in waders and it is important to choose correctly.

TF Gear Hardcore waders are flexible and comfortable to wear

TF Gear Hardcore waders are flexible and comfortable to wear.

A thick or stiff set of waders will be uncomfortable and eventually crack whereas a nice soft and flexible pair like the premium TF Gear Hardcore waders, will be far more comfortable and allow you to wear them for longer periods of time.

10 Great Reasons To Watch Fishing TV!!

If you’ve been watching the latest fishing series to hit the screens in the UK, Carp Wars, you’ll know that TF Gear’s pro angler Dave Lane has been putting in a strong performance!

What you may not know is that the programme was made by a new video on demand service seeking to shake up the world of fishing television in the same way that Netflix is challenging traditional TV channels – Fishing TV.  The service is available as an app for smartphone, tablet and SmartTV, as well as being available on a variety of other set-top boxes and devices, including Amazon Fire TV Sticks.

Fed up with the mediocre, lowest-common denominator programmes on TV, they not only make their own excellent shows and films, but also scour the planet for the very best fishing content available to mankind. There are channels dedicated to every major style of fishing, but in this ‘top 10’ we’ve chosen from The Carp Channel, Coarse and Match Fishing, and Predators.

Carp Wars

Carp Wars

As mentioned above, Carp Wars is one of the shows that Fishing TV have created and produced themselves, and it acts as a brilliant example of the way these guys think about fishing and how to present it on TV.

The concept is straightforward: five of the UK’s best carp anglers and one ‘unknown’ lock horns in a series of one-on-one carp fishing matches, held over 24 hours. After 15 matches the top two anglers go through to a grand final, held over 48 hours at the Etang le Fays fishery in France. Each match is one half hour episode, and with the likes of Ian Russell, Dave Lane and Ian Chillcott taking part it really is a who’s who of the carp fishing world. The series has been airing on Sky Sports, but every episode broadcast so far is available to stream from Fishing TV.

If you like this you’ll also like: Chilly on Carp 1 & 2

Carp Up Close
Join Tom ‘The Machine’ Maker as he embarks on a quest to bag himself a 40lb carp. With narration by Nick Hancock, this sixty minute documentary style film contains some great big fish action and features, among other fish, a huge UK-caught catfish.

If you like this you’ll also like: Year of the Compulsive Angler

The Tuition with Iain Macmillan
In this feature length film professional carp fishing tutor Iain Macmillan offers practical advice and answers to the most common questions that he get asked by his clients. He covers everything from spooling a reel to fish care and plenty in between. Filmed at a private lake and with lots of fish in the net over the course of the film, this is a great watch for anyone hoping to improve their carp fishing.

If you like this you’ll also like: Carp Coach – Ian Russell

Improve your Coarse Fishing with Kev Green
The title says it all, really. The sadly departed Kev Green shares hints and tips to improve your success rate when coarse fishing in this 10-part series. He looks at a range of target species and tactics, and employs the help of a few friends along the way. In Kev’s own words “The series is all about helping people catch more and bigger fish on venues they can identify with. We are targeting many different species in many different ways”

If you like this you’ll also like: Duncan Charman’s Monthly Thoughts

Fishing with Des Taylor
Des is one of the best known angling journalists working at them moment. In this 10-part series he travels the UK to target some of our most popular species, including predators from the Thames, lake pike and, crucian carp and even grayling.

If you like this you’ll also like: Club Class

Fish of My Dreams
British angler Stu Walker has been dreaming of catching one particular fish, and it isn’t one you can find in your local lake. He’s been desperate to catch an ‘Indian Salmon’ or Golden Mahseer, to give it its proper name. And you can only find them if you’re prepared to go to… yes, India. Stu and his crew head to the Himalayas, to a roaring mountain river near the boarder with Nepal, trekking for hours, camping under the stars and risking attracting the attentions of the local leopards, all for a shot at a trophy mahseer.

If you like this you’ll also like: Welcome to Africa

The Truth about Feeder Fishing
England International match fisherman Alex Bones shares the secrets of feeder fishing, from bombs to PVA, cones to cages. He enlists the help of some of his fishing buddies – the likes of Alan Scotthorne and Darren Cox. Shhhh… the secret is out!

If you like this you’ll also like: The Truth about Pole Fishing

Hunky Dory
If predator fishing is your game then you’re sure to love Hunky Dory, a half hour examination of the strange breed of anglers who are prepared to endure sub-zero temperatures for the chance of catching a musky, the pike’s north American cousin.

If you like this you’ll also like: Musky Country

Dean Macey’s Fishing Adventures
Dean Macey is best known as an Olympic decathlete, but since hanging up the his running shoes he’s been able to focus on his other passion in life: fishing. In this 8 part series he travels the UK and the rest of the world in search of new fishing experiences, whether that’s hunting monster cats in the Mekong, Arapaima in Thailand or barbell on the River Wye.

If you like this you’ll also like: The FishingTV Show

Pike Secrets 1
Want to catch more pike? Then these films are for you. Over two hours expert angler Gordon P Henricksen covers all the things you need to know to improve your pike fishing, including examinations of different lures and baits, underwater footage and hints on how to use pike behaviour to your advantage.

If you like this you’ll also like: Lair of the Water Wolf

How to watch Fishing TV:

Fishtec in conjunction with Fishing TV are giving away a FREE Fishing TV gift card with every order over £20 this month!

The card is worth £5 and will have 20 tokens pre-loaded on it with a unique code – enough to watch plenty of fishing shows.

To get one, simply place an order for over £20 and claim the card in your basket as a free gift.

Fishing TV Gift card – Free with all orders over £20

How to fit a new rod tip eye

We are sure most carp and specialist anglers have broken either a rod tip or damaged a tip eye during their fishing career!

In this blog we look at how to fix a broken rod tip ring quickly and effectively.

What do you need?

1. Hot melt glue (available from any DIY shop)
2. A lighter.
3. Pair of forceps or pliers.
4. New rod tip ring.
5. Sandpaper or Stanley knife.

Step 1.
Separate the damaged tip eye from the rod blank by heating it with a lighter for about 4-5 seconds. This will allow the old glue to release. Once heated up, use the pliers or forceps to pull off the old eye.

Heating a rod tip eye to soften the glue

Heating a rod tip eye to soften the glue.

Once heated pull the old eye off with forceps

Once heated pull the old eye off with forceps.

Step 2.
Get the rod blank prepared for the new eye by sanding the tip section to smooth off any excess glue or graphite shards. This can also be done carefully with a stanley blade.

Step 3.
Use your lighter to melt the end of the glue stick for a few seconds.

Heating up hot melt glue

Heating up hot melt glue.

Step 4.
Apply a small amount of hot melt glue to the prepared tip section.

Step 5.
Slide the new eye into position. Ensure to line it up with the other eyes quickly before the glue hardens. Peel off any excess glue and you are good to hit the bank again!

Once coated in glue slide the new tip eye back on.

Once coated in glue slide the new tip eye on.

Maggot Myth Busting

Now that winter is here a lot of carp anglers turn their attention to maggot fishing, and why not, after all they have a brilliant track record for catching carp.

dl-maggotsOne things does worry me, however, and I don’t think I am alone in saying this, in fact I know I am not.

Somewhere along the line a few people have caught over huge amounts of maggots and, somehow, this had led to the belief that more is better. Quite literally, the more you can afford to shovel into the lake then the more carp you will catch but this is not only false, it is also very dangerous.

Winter carp will only eat a small amount of food, no matter what type is may be and yes, they may find maggots attractive but they are still very unlikely to gorge themselves on them as they just do not need that much sustenance at this time of year.

What happens to the left-over bait, the uneaten maggots that are out there on the bottom of lake?

This is the part that worries me, particularly because most people’s answers to this question will be the same.

Are you also thinking that most of them will either crawl away or the silver fish will eat them?

If so, then you are in the majority but, I am afraid to tell you, probably very wrong indeed.

Unless you have a huge head of silver fish in the lake (in which case maggot fishing is not viable anyway) and you have fairly shallow lake, then the silvers will not be eating much at all.

They are usually shoaled up in and around the weed in shallower and more sheltered area and not down in the deeps on the large open areas you are probably targeting.

As for crawling away, well they just don’t go anywhere, that is a total myth as they are too busy drowning to worry about re-location and, even if they did then that doesn’t alleviate the problem of them still being in the lake.

The uneaten maggots will eventually die and rot on the bottom and huge quantities of rotting bait cannot be a good thing for the oxygen levels or the toxicology of the lake.

I know of plenty of lakes that have now banned maggot fishing for just these reasons and others that limit their use to prevent the problems arising.

Obviously, this problem is not unique to maggots and bait of all sorts can be over applied and end up rotting on the lake bed. A lot of the better-quality boilies will actually float after a short while and often, on pressured lakes, the gulls can be seen to pick them off in the windward edge.

Not all baits will, however, and let’s face it, who wants to be fishing on top of a pile of somebody else’s old bait, no matter what it may be.

The solution, take a look before you start and after you finish, gauge if you need to top up your spots or if it worth pre-baiting before you leave and see what is already out there before you start.

On a recent trip to a Northants syndicate water I spent forty-eight hours fishing a swim that I knew held carp, as I had seen them rolling at first light. I carefully spodded out a gallon of maggots over two rods and sat back to await events.

After two nights with no action whatsoever I decided to break out the FishSpy camera float and see exactly what was going on, I had another gallon of bait in the truck and I was considering baiting up before I left in readiness fir the following week but the lack of action made me hesitant.

I simply wrapped up the spod rod with the FishSpy on to the exact distance that I had been fishing and launched it out onto the spots.

What I saw amazed me, every single maggot, as far as I could tell, was still laying there perfectly presented on the bottom and the fish obviously hadn’t fed at all, despite being in the area.

Maggots everywhere on the bottom.

Maggots everywhere on the bottom – as revealed by the FishSpy camera.

This made me realise that maggots are not the wonder bait we think they are and the fish still have to be hungry to feed, in fact I wished I’d just fished with single boilie hook-baits to be honest.

The one thing I didn’t do was pre-bait before I left and I wonder just what did happen to that first gallon, did they ever get eaten?

The New Inflatable TF Gear Airflo Bivvy!!

A new product has literally just hit the shelves – the radical new TF Gear Airflo Bivvy. We feel this bivvy will revolutionise the carp fishing bivvy world, and become a best seller as a result.

The new inflatable bivvy from TF Gear!!!

The new inflatable bivvy from TF Gear!!!

What’s it about?

It’s a pump up bivvy that uses inflatable ‘air poles’ instead of conventional polesIt takes about a minute to inflate and even comes supplied with the pump. Other than the ‘pram’ hood peak support no poles are needed whatsoever. This means the bivvy is super lightweight to transport plus extremely easy and quick to erect. It also packs down into a very small bag compared to ‘normal’ bivvies – great if space is limited in your car. Quality T pegs, a nice carry bag and an integrated groundsheet complete a really decent package.

In the video below, Allan Crawford-Plane demonstrates pumping up the Airflo bivvy:

As soon as they arrived, we simply had to test these bivvies outside the Fishtec shop. Inflation of the bivvy took no time at all – definitely within the minute mark. We found they were rock solid and very stable with no danger of the bivvy bowing inwards in high wind.

The material of this single skin bivvy is very tough and looks highly puncture resistant.The built in premium groundsheet is heavy duty and easy to clean. There are several door configurations, including a mozzie net and a separate clear window that you can velcro into place if needed. To pack down it was simply a case of loosening one valve and rolling it back up – so easy and quick for the end of your session.

There are two sizes available and both are very generous in terms of interior space and specification – size chart below.

TF Gear Airflow Bivvy dimensions

TF Gear Airflow Bivvy dimensions.

How much?

At just £279.99 for the one man, and £329.99 for the two man they represent superb value for money. We feel these are going to be a huge seller for 2017 –  NOW IN STOCK!!!

For full details of the TF Gear Airflow bivvy click here.

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.