A Beginner’s Guide to Night Fishing for Carp

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You’re unlikely to see the full potential of any carp water until you have night fished it.
Image courtesy of Dom Garnett.

Are you ready to tackle carp after dark? The small hours can be the best time of all to trick a wary specimen. We asked Dom Garnett to share some sound advice and practical tips for staying comfortable and catching carp at night.

Establish your pitch

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Ready for the night: traps set and everything in position.
Image courtesy of Dom Garnett.

Even the most welcoming looking swim can become a dark, mysterious place at night. Get to know your swim by day before you go overnight. Have a cast around and take particular note of any snags. Arrive in good time if you can, so you are completely comfortable in the spot before nightfall.

Bivvies and home comforts

Look after your back with a high quality carp fishing bedchair.
Featured product: TF Gear Dave Lane Hardcore Bedchair from Fishtec

To night fish regularly with any success, you need to get tooled up for nights on the bank. You can night fish under just a brolly in the summer, but if you’re serious, get a decent bivvy (you can get a good one these days from around £100) and your essentials in order. Do your back a favour and get a good quality bed chair too.

Accuracy is key

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Solid PVA bags give confidence for a clear presentation.
Image courtesy of Dom Garnett.

If you can, cast out and get your baits exactly where you want them before nightfall. If you’re leaving a rig out for many hours, you want to be absolutely confident you are weed free and presentation is spot on. Solid PVA bags are excellent for a clean delivery every time.

Big baits & simple rigs

If you have your heart set on a big carp, you really don’t want to be disturbed by smaller fish. Bait up with a man-sized, tough bait to avoid the attentions of other species. Tying new rigs or tinkering with your gear is a nightmare at night, even by head torch. Do yourself a favour by sticking to what you know and having a supply of spares ready to go.

Keep warm

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Keep warm and comfortable with a decent sleeping bag and thick socks.
Featured product: The Trakker Big Snooze Plus Sleeping Bag from Fishtec

Even in the summer, it can get really cold in the early hours of the night. It is imperative you keep warm! Pack a decent sleeping bag and a thick extra pair of socks. If you are a real softie, or like winter fishing, a hot water bottle is a rare pleasure on a cold night.

Food and drink

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A stove is a wise investment to keep you warm and fed.
Featured product: The TF Gear Thermo Lite-Stove from Fishtec

Another great way to keep your body heat levels up is to prepare hot food and drinks. Keep it simple with tins of soup, bacon, bread and tea or coffee. A well-maintained gas stove is a useful piece of kit for day or night.

Winning margins

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If you’re quiet, carp like this common will come really close in at night.
Image courtesy of Dom Garnett.

Don’t feel like you need to heave your bait out miles after dark. Even on pressured waters, carp come much closer to the bank at night. I’d always have one rod close in.

Line management

How many rods and lines should you put out at night? Don’t always assume more is the best policy. Three can be used (if you have the right license!) on big waters, but for tighter swims and channels, stick with just two. You’ll also want to sink each of your lines out of the way, so backleads are a great idea.

Light sources

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A good-quality head torch is invaluable when excitement strikes!
Featured product: The Ridgemonkey Headtorch from Fishtec

Always carry at least two light sources when night fishing. A quality head torch is a must- and I keep mine in the same place always, to be grabbed at a moment’s notice. I also keep a hand torch and small lantern. I wouldn’t be unduly worried about light when making a bite to eat or baiting up, but I do try to keep light disturbance to a minimum.

Ready for landing

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A lovely mirror carp, landed in the early hours.
Image courtesy of Dom Garnett.

With a bit of luck, you’ll get that sudden run in the early hours and bank a big fish. But first you must be ready. Have your net within reach and an unhooking mat nicely spread out with tools and scales to hand. Have a camera and self-take set up ready and a means to briefly retain the fish if you must.

Things can be chaotic in the excitement of a big catch, so keep your wits about you and watch where you put things down! Night fishing is all about this sudden excitement though, and the mysterious time when angling dreams really can come true. In fact, it’s probably fair to say you’ll never see the full potential of any carp water until you have night fished it.

Fishing in France -The Beausoleil Carp & Catfish Experience

Well it was that time of year again and a carp fishing holiday to France was just around the corner; with a just week to go it was time to double check the carp tackle and get everything ready for the trip to France, including checking essentials like a GB magnet for the car, alcohol tester, headlight deflectors and hi-viz vest – all these are a legal requirement when traveling to France, so make sure you bring them!

The week had just flown by and the car was packed to the brim with all the fishing gear needed. Our route was via Portsmouth to Caen, with a 125-mile drive to our destination, a lake called Beausoleil, near a small town of Le Pertre which was in the Mayenne region of France.

Beausoleil Lake in the stunning French countryside.

Beausoleil Lake in the stunning French countryside.

After a long journey through lovely French countryside, myself and fishing pal Bo’ arrived at the lake. We were met by the owners Matt and Ren who welcomed us to the venue and showed us into the house.

The house at Beausoleil lake

The house at Beausoleil lake.

After Ren’s quick tour of the accommodation,  Matt took us on a visit round the lake. We started from points A, B and C and worked our way around the water. It was a really helpful tour, as Matt talked us through each swim and all their features. It’s always good to keep your eyes peeled on the walk around a new venue and make notes of what you see as this can lead to banked fish. On the tour I spotted a few feeding fish about forty yards in front of the dam end of the lake. When we walked over the bridge to the island we spooked a lot of big carp that were in the shallows, in front of the home swim and another mental note was made!

Beausoleil Lake Map

Beausoleil Lake Map.

We headed back to the house to be faced with the task of unloading the car and putting everything ready for the start on Sunday morning as we had decided to just chill out with some food and a few beers for the first night followed by a few games of pool as there was a cracking table on site.

Sunday morning was here and we got some breakfast and a coffee before going to the swims to set up for the week, Bo had decided to fish from the big double swim so I had decided to fish from point B and this also gave me the option of putting a rod in point A and C if I wanted too.

Bo's Large double swim

Bo’s Large double swim.

So we got on with the set up and made sure everything was ready for the week, I had put one rod out and moved it around a few times just to try and pick up an early fish from a random spot, until I had sorted the main areas I wanted to fish.

Bo’s rods were out and he was waiting for his first take – he didn’t have to wait long as his middle rod which was placed on a hard spot in the middle of the lake took off, and he was in. I think this rod had only been out about forty minutes and he was playing a lump, it was a catfish and it was giving him a good battle. He did have a dedicated catfish rod but as you have guessed, it never goes to plan and it was on his TF Gear 2.75 test curve carp rod!

He played the cat for about thirty minutes and couldn’t believe his eye’s as the fish just came up like a submarine and he managed to slip the net under her, he was over the moon as his PB cat before this one was about 13lb. I was on my way round to help him weigh the fish, which was 74lb – 6oz and it was now time for some pictures of the beast before slipping her back in to the lake. This was a good start and hopefully plenty more to come.

Bo's 74lb-6oz catfish

Bo’s 74lb-6oz catfish.

I finally got back to my swim and finished getting everything set up, before casting out I decided to have a quick chuck around with the FishSpy underwater camera and found some really good areas despite the murky water. The first area I found was a nice clear gravel spot tight to the island under an over hang which was for my middle rod, the second spot I found was for the catfish rod and this was a soft silty area on the far bank to the left of catfish corner for my left rod, the third spot was in the shallows to my right where I didn’t need to do any marker work. This rod was going to fish a chod rig, as I had already seen fish crashing in this area so I knew where the bait was going.

I started to bait up these spots, beginning with the island and decided to use a mix of the two boilies I had with me cranberry and trigga blue in sizes 16mm, 18mm and 20mm, I also used some particles which were mixed seeds and maize. Then I moved on to the catfish spot, which was baited up with mixed pellets from halibut to shrimp and krill in sizes 12mm to 22mm I also added in some of the boilies as well. The last one will be the shallow bay to my right and all I would do to start with was scatter about eighty of the two types of boilies over a large area just to keep the carp there and keep them confident and feeding; the areas were now ready and all they needed now were the rigs.

My first rod out was the chod rig with a very buoyant 20mm cranberry pop up which had been in the dip for around three weeks.

Next up was the island spot and I used a running rig system which I will explain about a bit later on, hook length was a ten inch Korda N-Trap semi stiff 30lb link in gravel with a Korda krank size 4 hook, I had taken back about two inches of the coating at the hook end to allow the bait to move freely. Bait used on this one was the Trigga Blue bottom bait in 18mm and this was taken out in the bait boat along with a mix of boilies, mixed seed and maize as I wanted this one tight to the island under the overhang of a tree.

Then finally the catfish rod, again with a running rig system and I used ten inches of Kryston Ton-up with a Cox & Rawle Chinu size 1/0 hook, attached to this were four boilies 2x 20mm cranberry and 2x 20mm trigga blue. I also put this out with the bait boat with a mix of pellets and boilies, I also used the TF Gear long handled baiting spoon to spread some more of the same baits over a larger area to try and attract the catfish in.

The running rig set up was a cog system but with a twist as I had the cog flat distance three ounce lead with the cog attachment number 4 which is for the three ounce flat pear lead. First of all, put the tubing on which is a metre of Nash cling on tungsten tubing and then the lead, followed by the Korda run rig rubber and then tied on a Korda cog system no.4 which I would then attach a hooklength to. The twist was that it was a running rig cog system which works like a dream, but for this lake you had to lightly push the swivel into the rubber on the lead other wise these fish would use the lead to dump the hook and get away without you even knowing about it. With the lead pushed in lightly it meant that the first shake from the fish dropped the lead and then straight to free running and the fish wouldn’t know what to do so bolted every time.

My swim - ready for action.

My swim – ready for action.

All the rods set and ready for a take, so it was time to sit back relax and take in all the surroundings. A few hours passed and at 9.20pm on the Sunday I had a screaming take on the right hand rod as the line just peeled of the spool, I lifted the rod and I was into a hard fighting fish, the fight went on for about fifteen or twenty minutes and the carp finally surfaced, I managed to slip the net under her and she was mine. I looked into the net and couldn’t believe my eye as I knew I had a new PB, after weighing the fish I was ecstatic as my first fish banked weighed in at 37lb-02oz and now it was time for some pictures before I slipped her back to the depths of the lake, then put the rod back out for another fish.

37lb 2oz

Simon with cracking 37lb 2oz mirror.

Time for a brew as all the excitement was over for now, I thought I would pass some time by tying a couple of new rigs and nodded off in the chair. I was woken by another screaming take again on the right hand rod at 12.40am early hours of Monday morning, I was into another hard fighting fish but unfortunately a few minutes into the fight and the hook pulled, I was gutted so checked everything on the rig and all seemed fine, so before putting the rod back out I sharpened the hook again and put a fresh bait on. I also spread another eighty baits back in the area before bedding down for the night.

Monday morning was here and I was woken at 7.15am by another one toner, again the line was just ripping off the spool and I scrambled out of the sleeping bag lifted the rod, once again was into yet another hard fighting fish, after about fifteen minutes I had the fish in front of me and it was just moving from left to right keeping deep but after another five minutes the carp surfaced took a gulp of air and was ready for netting. I looked at another lump but not quite as big as the first one but still a thirty as she went 32lb-14oz, all the fish so far had fallen to the chod rig with a 20mm cranberry pop up and I was over the moon because I had three takes in the first night so was looking forward to an awesome week.

32lb 14oz - nice wake up call at 7.15am!!

32lb 14oz – nice wake up call at 7.15am!!

It’s been a lovely sunny day and I’ve seen a few fish moving but nothing on the bank, evening was here and the rods are out so time to sit back and wait for a bite. It was about 10pm and I had a few beeps on the catfish rod so thought I would take a closer look and nothing happened again, so I went back to the bivvy. Another forty minutes passed by and the alarm started beeping again and line slowly started coming off the spool this time so I lifted into the fish and the rod doubled over, I was into a large catfish which started to move very quickly to my right but I only had the catfish on for about ten minutes and the hook pulled, I was gutted and couldn’t work out why the hook wasn’t set properly, so could only put the rod back out to try and get another take from a cat.

Essential fish care gear.

Essential fish care gear.

Nothing else happened that night, Tuesday morning arrived so it was time to wind the rods in and go for some breakfast then to the supermarket to get some supplies for the rest of the week. We got back for about mid day and put the rods out for a few hours before going to sort food for the evening, the rods had been out for a couple of hours or so and the right hand rod took off again – I was into yet another fish with a right battle on my hands. The fish was trying to get to the oxygen pump that was in the lake but I managed to stop the fish from getting to it, the fish was now in front of me just moving from left to right again just holding bottom and I couldn’t get the fish to the surface, the fish then started to move hard to the right so I put some side strain on and the hook pulled. This was the second hook pull on the chod rig so it was time to think of something else because I didn’t want this to happen again!

Before I put the rod back out it was time to sort a new rig out and I decided to use the cog running rig with a hinge stiff link for my hook length, the hinged stiff link was made up from a six-inch section of Korda N-trap semi stiff in 30lb and a three to four inch chod link with a size four chod hook, I used some putty on the ring below the swivel of the chod link to keep the boilie from lifting to far off the lakebed as I only wanted it three to four inches off. All ready to go back out but it was time for the evening meal and a few beers then back to it.

I was back at the swim after food and had put all the rods out for the night, with all traps ready to try and trip up another fish it was time to make some more hinged stiff rigs for back up and then chill out for a bit before bedding down for the night. Wednesday was here and everything was really quiet through the night, not even a single beep from the alarms so time to change the baits on each rod and get them back out for a few hours before breakfast. Whilst sitting and watching the lake the fish looked like they were starting to get ready for spawning as the water temperature was about right, also some movement about thirty to forty foot out in front of the island caught my attention, it was the tail of a catfish popping out of the water and the fish must have been feeding so I made a note of this one so I could put a bait there later in the day. Time had come for breakfast so I headed over to the house to meet Bo and we got started with it, we chilled out for a few hours at the house to rest the swims as it’s good to keep the rods out of the water from time to time, especially on a pressured venue.

Tranquility in the French countryside.

Tranquility in the French countryside – perfect place to chill.

Later that afternoon after resuming fishing I was just about to get up off my chair and wind the rods in for evening grub when my alarms started beeping and swinger slowly started moving up. This was the rod I put out for the catfish I had seen this morning-  the line started pulling off the reel so I lifted in to it, the rod doubled over I felt a head shake from the fish and it just turned and made off with about eighty yards of line across the lake.

There was no stopping this fish as it was not happy at all, it made about four to five unstoppable runs and at one point tried getting behind the island but with a lot of side strain and Bo getting out in the boat to slap the surface of the water with an oar, I managed to turn the fish.  This battle went on for about forty minutes and the fish still had lots to give, we tried netting the fish a couple of times but the fish was keeping her tail down which made it really awkward to do. In the end Bo gave up with the net, and simply grabbed the bottom of her mouth and held on tight! I got the mat sorted and we both pulled the fish up onto the mat. This was another big cat but I wasn’t sure if it was a new PB for me, after weighing the fish she went 73lb–12oz just slightly smaller than Bo’s cat and as I had guessed not a new PB for me this time but still a lump of a fish, I was really happy with the result! After some pictures of her and also getting wet for some water shots, she went back to the depths to fight another day.

73lb 12oz catfish water shot

73lb 12oz catfish – water shot.

That evening I changed two rods around and put the catfish rod in the middle of the lake and took the one off the island to put half way between my swim and catfish corner, about twelve foot off the bank as I had seen a carp top there when I got back to the swim. With all the rods set just as the light had gone it was time to just sit back and wait for another take.

There was no action until I was woken by a screaming run early hours of Thursday morning about 4am, I lifted the rod into a fish which fought hard from the off. The fight went on for about twenty-five minutes; the fish surfaced so I took my chance and netted the carp. I weighed the fish which went 28lb on the nose, not the biggest fish of the trip but a stunning looking specimen, one which Matt had named Dark Night.

Dark Knight at 28lb

Dark Knight at 28lb.

Nothing happened through Thursday at all, but I was woken early hours of Friday morning at about 3.15am to a screaming alarm, the right rod was off again. This fish didn’t seem to be fighting very hard to start with but five minutes into the battle the fish soon woke up eventually the carp was in the net; I had bagged myself another thirty going 33lb on the nose. This fish was taken on the new rig I had tied to replace the chod rig, the fish was nailed in the bottom lip so I was well happy with that. After a few pictures I put the carp back and had a quick cuppa with Bo before going back to bed for a few hours.

33lb cracker at 3.15am

33lb cracker at 3.15am.

Well Friday passed and Saturday morning came around too quickly with no more fish for Bo or myself. It was finally time to tackle the rods down and get the car packed ready for the journey home to the UK, Matt and Ren turned up about 9.30am, we sat down with them to go through all the pictures we had and chatted over a cuppa before we had to say our good byes.

All I can say is what an awesome venue with quality fish which is well looked after and what a lovely couple to be the hosts, you really couldn’t ask for anything more. This will definitely be one venue I will be visiting in the near future and one I would recommend to others.

For information on carp fishing Beausoleil visit their website here.

Bo, Ren, Matt and Myself - what a trip!

Bo, Ren, Matt and Myself – what a trip!

How Dave Lane uses a FishSpy camera to confirm bottom features

As part of his series on using the new FishSpy underwater camera, expert UK carp angler Dave Lane reveals how he uses his camera as a confirmation tool.

Image: Carp-Talk

Image: Carp-Talk

Personally I often like to use the FishSpy camera as a confirmation tool rather than a general feature finder, like a standard marker float or, in my case, just a heavy lead on a braided mainline.

After casting around the swim and identifying a likely area, I would then clip up the braid onto the spool and retrieve before attaching the FishSpy and re-casting to the clip using the same back marker, as in a tree, bush or pylon.

This way I can keep disturbance to a minimum and reduce the risk of losing the FishSpy on a snag or to a crack off due to repeated and unnecessary casting. Using this process recently, I found what felt like a gravel bar running through an otherwise quite weedy area.

On closer inspection, using the camera float, I discovered that it was actually a sand bar dotted with occasional stones and each stone was completely surrounded by a ring of attached zebra mussels; thousands of the things.

Zebra Mussels in their thousands

Zebra Mussels in their thousands.

Obviously this could be an area where the carp would feed of the natural food but, more importantly, the camera had identified a potential hazard.

Had I been planning to fish the gully at the back of the bar then my line would have been running across a multitude of extremely sharp crustaceans and potentially cut through, or been trapped, if I had hooked a carp.

Simply adding a strong snag leader would alleviate the problem but, if not for the footage, I would not have known this until it was too late.

In the video below Dave Lane uses a FishSpy camera on a winter gravel pit venue, and reveals the true nature of the bottom for the very first time:

Where Has Fishing Etiquette Gone?

Where Has Fishing Etiquette Gone?

Over the years that I have been fishing, I have seen some funny phases. When I first started, it was very secretive, but other angers would have the decency to talk to you and be very polite. They would ask you to leave the swim before they baited up or cast out again. Even to the point of casting in the wrong area until you had gone. Back in those days (what a line!) no one would set up anywhere near you and if so, they would have the decency to ask if they could do this.

Then came the stage that anglers would not talk to each other at all! They would just hide in their bivvies’ or just point blank ignore you. This then moved on to the set up anywhere and cast anywhere brigade.

Reserve you swim - acceptable or not?

Reserve your swim with a bucket – acceptable or not?

Anglers have now started to reserve swims, which I can see the point of this a little. 30 years ago, there were very few anglers and you could spend all day looking around with not even the hint of another angler.

Nowadays, you pull in most lake car parks and you can be followed in by several more cars. Getting back to the point, I have seen buckets put in swims for 2 to 3 hours. This I think is NOT acceptable in this day and age. Having found the person who owned the bucket and made inquiries r.e the bucket, I was told his mate was down later and wanted to fish near him (was he scared of the dark!?) he arrived 4 hours later. I have even seen a row of buckets & a chair once (is it beating the Germans to the sun lounger’s syndrome?).
I have also been told by a person who set up next to me on an empty lake that he fished this swim every Thursday night (even if the fish are topping round the corner?).

Some of the modern day angling behavior has been borne by the past and I can understand this to a point.  I found that it’s very hard to get a swim on some of the circuit waters, due to the volume of anglers. What I do on these lakes which have a secure car park, is to have a walk around with my bucket and place in the most likely swim (based on past trips in the weeks before). I then carry on with my wheelbarrow until I find a better one then go back and collect the bucket. This process only takes about an hour or less. Now, if you have the luxury that you have the place to yourself the ‘worlds your oyster’. What I have found as I moved onto the rivers to get away from this, it’s a pleasure to fish again and other anglers are very courteous to each other (and helpful).

Catch more fish – away from the crowds.

This post is all about thinking of other anglers before you set up. Most lakes I fish, anglers leave one swim apart and do not fish opposite to each other. This is just an unwritten rule and it works well. On the syndicate that I am a member of on the river Avon, people will not fish within a 3/4 of a mile. It’s so peaceful.

The odds of catch are greater when you are in your own area and away from the crowds. I don’t really understand why there is a need for any of this. It is very easy to be polite and courteous to other, it only takes a minute.

My point in this blog is to think of other angler’s (and also yourself) enjoy the peace and tranquility of fishing.

That’s all for now.

Tightlines
Richard

 

Using The FishSpy Underwater Camera To Check Baited Areas

The revolutionary FishSpy underwater camera is already proving it’s worth to carp anglers up and down the country, despite the wettest and windiest winter on record! Here Dave Lane explains how he uses FishSpy to check baited areas.

One extremely handy use for FishSpy is to check baited areas; whether this is pre-baited spots or just the actual areas you are fishing before topping up the swim.

FishSpy screen shots showing uneaten bait on a variety of lake beds.

Uneaten bait can be a problem on heavily fished waters and nobody would actually chose to fish over it so, checking a swim out before you start a session has obvious benefits.

After catching a fish, however, there has been no way to know how much of your loose feed has been eaten and, in my experience in the past when using boats, I have learnt that this varies dramatically.

Sometimes, particularly if you are using a pop-up, it can be the hook-bait that goes first and the rest of the feed barely gets touched. On other waters, and in different circumstances, the fish can take everything and leave the hook-bait until last or even return later and take it when it is being fished as a single bait.

On one occasion this summer, during testing, I caught a thirty five pound mirror from a spot I had baited with two spombs full of whole and chopped boilies. The fish came during the early morning feeding spell and was my only bite of the day.

Later, when the bite time had passed I considered re setting the trap for the following day and applying a further two spombs of bait to the area. Using the FishSpy camera I checked the area first and found that most of the bait was still present.

This told me that I had either hooked a solitary feeding fish or that the other fish had spooked off as I got the bite, leaving the remaining bait untouched.

I could see no point in applying yet more bait and simply recast on top of the existing feed, hoping that the fish would return at some stage.

Had every scrap of bait been gone and the bottom of the lake visibly disturbed then I would have increased the baiting levels, hoping to create a situation where I received more than just one fish the following day.

In the video below Dave uses FishSpy to investigate his swim after a missed bite at 4.30 am, and discovers a spomb full of bait.

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 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.

I had always relied heavilly on guesswork but the FishSpy has changed all of that. I can now see exactly what is on the lake bed and fish far more effectively because of it.

Tightlines, Dave Lane.

For more information visit www.fishspy.com

Fishtec offer 6 or 9 month interest free finance packages on FishSpy camera bundles – own a FishSpy for as little as £37.50 per month! Click here for full details.

Carp Prebaiting Tips

Catching specimen carp can be a difficult task even in the best of conditions. Here Richard Handel discusses early spring and late winter carp fishing pre-baiting strategies. Getting this just right can often be the difference between success and failure. Read on to find out how to approach pre-baiting in the correct way.

Carefull pre-baiting can be the road to success.

Careful pre-baiting can be the road to success.

In Spring time or just before, when the water temperatures have started to rise, it’s a good time to start a pre-baiting plan with your choice of carp baits. Personally I use Bait-Tech Poloni boilies, or Mainline baits New Grange to get the fish on the move and in the my net. I find it best to use a mix of 18mm & 15mm boilies.

Swim Choice

When selecting areas to pre-bait, I would try to pick  between 4 to 6 swims to bait up, which don’t get fished very much.

Example 1: This spot is under your feet, 4ft deep and is a nice warm spot for the carp to hold up in.

My swim choice would be very secluded and tiny, for these reasons anglers don’t fish them. Make sure there is no access to cast in to these areas, other than from my chosen swims.

Example 2: Back of an island where the sun will warm up the water.

 

Example 3: A perfect warm bay area.


Example 4: Under this tree you will find 4ft of clear lake bed.

In clear water areas check to see if your bait is being cleared up.

With the water starting to clear up, it will help you see if the bait you have been putting out has been cleaned up by fish. be-mindful of the bird life, as they help themselves to.

I would give it a couple of weeks before you start fish these swims. If you can, plan to bait up 1-2kg per week of your chosen bait. These will be split over the 4 to 6 swims, until the lake temperature warms up a bit more. It’s best to take regular water temperatures readings with a thermometer, whenever you walk round the lake to get an idea of what is happening.

Ground and water thermometer.

                                         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As Spring starts to get going, I reduce the number of swims, down to one. On busy waters it is best to keep 2 swims going. Please try and bait up responsibly and avoid upsetting other anglers. If permitted, by lack of other anglers’ presence. I try and bait up in my lunch hour during the week.  As it best to avoid other anglers on the water, if I can help it, as I don’t wish for them see what I am up to.

Pick a swim that no one fishes.

A secluded swim by some lily pads.

A uncommonly visited inaccessible swim by an over hanging tree.


I  also do the same in the Autumn time, just before the Winter sets in. Unless, you are able to get in the best swim all Winter, I have found the best option is to take note of the most popular swim and the hot spots and try to pick a spot near these, that does not get fished a lot. This will give you the upper hand in the Winter, as the hot swim with be filled up with other bait and other anglers. Hopefully, you have created your own area that no one is aware of.

Hope this helps.

Richard

6 Toasty Tips For Winter Fishing

Keep warm in winter - Dave Lane with a winter carp.

Keep warm in winter – Dave Lane with a winter carp.

Now’s a great time to get into some big winter carp. And for sea anglers, winter is the season for decent cod. You’ve got the know-how, the patience and the tactics. We’ve got the lowdown on what to wear to keep you warm, dry and comfortable while you fish.

If the thought of braving frosty temperatures leaves you cold, look no further than our handy guide to keeping warm by the water.

Layer up

staying warm

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What’s under your coat matters

It’s not exactly your clothes that keep you warm, but the insulating air those clothes trap within and between their fibres. This is why the best way to retain your body heat is to wear plenty of layers of clothing.

Top angling blogger Leon Bartropp is a firm believer in layering up:

“There is nothing worse than being cold when you are out in the elements fishing. I’ve found through trial and error over the years that a three layer system will keep you as warm as toast.”

Base
Your base layer combines two functions. One is to keep your core warm, the other is to draw moisture away from your skin, stopping cooling perspiration from drawing heat from your body. Worn next to the skin, merino wool is a great natural insulator or for those who find wool a bit itchy, you won’t go wrong with a quality two piece microfleece.
Mid
Wear a thick wool jumper or fleece as your mid layer and for your bottom half, we suggest you go for a pair of TF Gear Hardcore Waterproof Trousers. They’re super-warm, and constructed so that if you get your feet wet, the water won’t seep up your legs.
Top
An extremely knowledgeable winter cod angler, Glen Kilpatrick who writes for Whitby Sea Anglers is also keen on layering for warmth:

“The best clothing for rock fishing is light breathable layers worn underneath a pair of studded chest waders and a waterproof jacket or smock.”

A waterproof jacket is certainly one option, or alternatively, a flotation suit will do exactly what the name suggests, keeping you afloat should the worst happen. And because it’s 100% water and wind proof, your under layers can do their job, keeping you toasty while you reel in the fish.

Keep your head warm

warm hat man

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Warm head – happy angler. Beard optional

The “fact” that you lose most of your body heat through your head is actually totally wrong. The claim stems from a 1970 US military handbook that stated that without a hat, you lose 40 – 45% of your body heat through your head. The statistic originated from some vaguely scientific studies conducted in the 1950s but is manifestly untrue.

In fact left uncovered, you’ll probably lose something in the order of 10% of your body heat through your head. But anyone who’s ever experienced a case of ‘icecream head’ – the agonising pain caused by the cold wind rifling through your sodden hair – will know the value of a wooly hat!

Hands

yan tan gloves by gemma garner

Image source: Gemma Garner
Go fingerless

Fingerless gloves are ideal for keeping your hands warm without getting in the way of reeling, casting and baiting up.

For added warmth, invest in a pair of hand warmers. They have changed the way that blogger, Gurn from the Intrepid Piscator fishes:

“The petrol fuelled models by Zippo and Peacock are excellent. I use two, one for each side pocket. They keep the fingertips and the core of your body warm. I cannot emphasise enough how much these items have enhanced my angling.”

Happy feet

warm socks

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Numb toes are a no-no. Just make sure you wear your boots, too!

Keep your feet toasty with a good quality pair of Gore-Tex lined boots and a pair of thermal socks. Take the Intrepid Piscator’s advice and you won’t go wrong:

“If your feet are cold then so are you, and once they’re cold they are nigh impossible to warm up again. Good thermal, waterproof footwear is essential”

The good news is, we have the ultimate antidote for cold feet. Our battery-heated fleece socks warm up in one minute flat and are ideal for wearing with your fishing boots.

Gimme shelter

igloo

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The ultimate winter fishing bivvy!

Being comfortable will help you catch more fish, says angling blogger, Ian Brooke. And that’s particularly true during the winter months. Ian’s advice is to invest in a quality clothing to keep you warm and dry because despite the weather,

“Carp look fantastic in their winter colours and are usually at good weights. They are harder to catch but then it was never meant to be easy.”

But a coat will only get you so far. Investing in a bivvy that’ll stand up to the worst the elements can throw at it means you can get out of the weather, keeping you fishing for longer and in worse conditions.

Writing in his series of posts on winter carp fishing, Ian recommends making sure your bivvy has a substantial groundsheet. He says it’s “essential to keep warmth in and damp out.” And he adds, “I also like to have a piece of carpet with me to use as added insulation.”

Fuel up

flask of tea

Tea. Best drink of the day.

Hot comforting food and drinks are a must when you’re angling – and never more so than in the winter. As Ian Brooke points out, “…a cup of tea is an amazing morale booster”.
Take a large insulated flask filled with tea, coffee or soup. If you are planning a longer session and don’t want to carry excessive weight, pack a compact stove and stay fuelled with dried packet mixes or reheated meals.
Biscuits and chocolate bars will also boost your energy levels.

So what are you waiting for? Switch that fire off, stop making excuses and get out there! In Gurn’s words, “There’s no such thing as too cold….just the wrong clothing!”
Got a few tips of your own to share? Let us know how you keep warm when fishing during the winter on our Facebook page.

3 Cracking Carp Fishing Holiday Destinations

mirror carp

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Take your holidays where the great fishing is!

If you were to jet off with your fishing tackle in tow, where would you head for the ultimate carp fishing holiday?

When we put the question to you, we were expecting you to plump for exotic foreign shores. But according to our Big Fishing survey, you don’t want to travel that far. In fact your top three carp fishing destinations are all in Europe. So where are your dream carp fishing hotspots?

1. The River Ebro, Spain

river ebro

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Spain’s beautiful River Ebro

Although best known for it’s giant catfish, the Ebro River in Spain is also a favourite carp fishing holiday destination. Think 300 days of sunshine each year, shoals of massive virgin common carp and a current carp record that stands at 78 lbs. Why wouldn’t you want to fish the Ebro?

With carp so plentiful, you’re in with a good chance of multiple catches – and because many of these fish have never before been caught – the fight alone is worth cost of the flight to Spain.

Expect carp averaging between 20 and 30lbs but prepare for a 40, 50 or 60lb plus beauty. And in the unlikely event you get tired of reeling in carp, you’re also likely to come across catfish, zander, perch, black bass, barbel and rudd too.

Where to head

At over 577 miles long, the Ebro is the second longest river in the Iberian peninsula, and it offers a multitude of carp fishing opportunities. You could take a road trip or base yourself in one of the market towns that dot the river banks. The small town of Flix is a popular choice for anglers as is the historic town of Caspe, known for its top quality carp and catfish angling.

carping ebro

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Great carping on the Ebro!

Why not take advantage of the expertise offered by one of the many guided fishing operators working in the area? With over a decade in business under their belt, Catfish Capers know a thing or two about fishing for carp and catfish on the Ebro. Based in Caspe they specialise in providing dream fishing holidays for anyone from beginners right through to seasoned pros.

2. DreamLakes, France

dreamlakes

Image source: fishigquestions.co.uk
The peaceful tree-lined surroundings of DreamLakes

Set in the countryside of France’s Champagne region, DreamLakes is your second choice carp fishing destination. A complex of five mature and peaceful fishing lakes, the resort is within easy reach of the channel ports. Located just outside the town of Orconte, south of Calais, it’ll only take you about four hours to drive from the ferry or Eurostar terminal to the lakes. Cue a road trip to experience some of the best specimen carp on the continent.

The lakes total 40 acres and are home to numerous large carp, including common carp, mirror carp and grass carp. Well stocked with 30 and 40lb carp, as well as bigger fish nearer the 50lb and even 60lb mark, it’s surely the proximity to the UK and the quality of fish that makes DreamLakes so popular with or readers.

Where to head

Each lake offers something different. DreamLake 1 is all about specimen carp fishing with regular catches weighing well into the 50lb range. But there are bigger fish there too, if you’ve got the skill and patience to outwit the really big carp that live there. The DreamLakes record for common carp caught in DreamLake 1 stands at 70lb 20z.

dreamlakes common carp

47lb common carp from DreamLakes

Alternatively, DreamLake 4, which opened in 2000 was originally stocked with over 200 carp and more have been added since, making it a great beginner lake. More experienced anglers will love it too and many have broken their personal best fishing this lake.

DreamLakes is the brian child of British angler, Zenon Bojko, who runs the complex with his family. There are two holiday options from which to choose: the package holiday or a self-drive package. The package holiday includes transport for you and your kit and the self-drive package has the option to pre-book fishing tackle.

Make the journey to France a worthwhile one by taking advantage of the on-site bailiffs’ experience, as well as reading up on the top tips and tactics for each of the lakes before you go.

3. Anglers Paradise, England

carping at anglers paradise

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There’s something in the water at Anglers Paradise

Anglers Paradise in Devon takes third spot on the podium which just goes to show that you don’t have to travel far to experience top quality carp fishing.

More than 30 lakes make up Anglers Paradise, 12 of which are exclusive to residents staying on site. These 12 lakes house carp nearing 40lb, as well as golden orfe, tench and wels catfish. Why not try your luck at the Specimen Carp Lake? It contains just 33 carp, eight of which weigh in the 30lb region. Interested? To whet your appetite further, just take a look at what other anglers have been catching at Anglers Paradise recently.

With so many lakes to choose from you’ll find something to suit all angling abilities. There’s a beginners’ lake stocked with over 1,000 carp mostly between 4 and 8 lbs. The fish here tend to be more obliging making the lake ideal for newbies or those of you who like the challenge of using lighter gear. Or you could choose to fish the Main Carp Lake. It’s the ‘Jewel in the Estate’, a beautifully matured 4 acre lake, ideally suited to those of you who’re are willing to be patient for the bigger fish or who like to fish at night

mirror carp anglers paradise

Image source: thepassionatepiscator
A mirror carp caught on the Mystery Lake at Anglers Paradise

Anglers Paradise is one of the largest angling resorts in Europe, with anglers travelling from all over the world to enjoy the carp fishing available there. It’s an ideal place to bring non-angling guests too as they are well catered leaving you to spend the day fishing!

Alternatively, if this winter’s rain and flooding has you dreaming of giant exotic fish species in sunny climes, Gillhams Fishing Resorts in Thailand was a close contender in fourth place. See you there!

Which of these lakes have you visited? We’d love to hear your carp fishing holiday recommendations.

Fishing for Carp – Testing out the new TF Gear white edition reels

Fishtec sales advisor Jordon Hill visited cefn mably fishery a few days ago to try out an early Christmas gift from his misses; a pair of the stunning TF Gear force 8 White Edition tournament big pits! Torn between these and the DL blacks, it looks like Jordan made a good choice- they certainly look the part on the rods, but did they perform?

F8 White Edition reels: looking smart on the rod pod.

Teamed up with his Delta NT carp rods, and fully loaded with the new Nash NXT camo mono, as well as looking like the sharpest angler on the bank (tackle tart!), Jordon reported extra smooth casting, awesome cranking power and a balanced, totally smooth retrieve. Distance casting was achieved with complete ease, with Jordan declaring that ”the line just threw off them!”

19lb of hard fighting Cefn Mably common.

To top it off, after a day being plagued by nuisance skimmer bream, and getting a hook pull, Jordon was finally able to put the drag to test against something decent – a feisty 19lb common. ”Silky smooth, and responsive this drag is one of the best i’ve ever used”. His set up was a Korda PVA bag,  KD rig, 2 oz lead, and mainline pineapple/banana pop ups. Top angling!

The stunning TF Gear Force 8 white edition: get one on your Christmas list now!

 

Carp Fishing On Crowsheath Fishery Essex

Gareth Morris, our resident sea fishing sales adviser at Fishtec tries his hand at fishing a commercial carp venue in Essex for a few days. Take a read to see how he gets on with his first attempt at landing some hard fighting carp.

I visit some family members each year in the South east of England. This occasion I had decided to combine the trip with some carp fishing, having never really done any serious carping or any overnighters before. I had heard my destination, Essex, is basically the birth place of modern carp fishing- where Team Korda began their epic journey, as well as Nash and Mainline Baits. I packed the car up with the carp fishing tackle and began the long drive from Brecon in South Wales, to fish a fantastic well established Essex fishery called Crowsheath.

Crowsheath Fishery Essex

Rods out on Crowsheath Fishery Essex.

Crowsheath has been established for many years and is actually within the Essex greenbelt making it very peaceful, you can’t even hear a car go past and the only view you have is pleasant greenery and the only sound you will hear is the birds and bank side wildlife. Nick who is the onsite bailiff and owner of Crowsheath is a great character, who constantly strives to improve the fishery.  As well as the main carp lake that is situated here there is also the ”cat canal” which boasts some of the biggest catfish in the UK, with some knocking over the scales at 100lb+ and also including the unique ”mandarin” breed. There is also a predator lake on site with pike to  the high 20’s, and a new match lake is in the pipeline.

We arrived at the fishery with very high expectations of that dream big double figure carp, our hopes were somewhat dampened by the news from other anglers that had been there all weekend. Nothing was coming out, and even if it was something it wasn’t what they wanted… Myself and my brother in law Sean moved quickly to get settled into our bivvys and pre-baited our swims ready, and got the rods out onto the pods- eagerly awaiting that first run to the alarms. My chosen set up was a TF Gear Compact 10ft 2.5lb matched up with DL Speendrunner 6000 reels, with 12lb TF Gear Nantec Gunsmoke Mono Line. This set up is perfect for the size of carp we were looking to encounter this week.

 

TF Gear Lok Down bivvy - home for the next few days

A TF Gear Lok Down bivvy – home for the next few days.

The baits that I had selected were the Mainline Frozen Cell 15mm boilies– a perfect all round bait used all over the country with great results. I used a Korda DF size 10 Barbless rig, with PVA bags fully loaded with mainline Cell Stick Mix and hempseed. It wasn’t until the next morning we had the first run, but here she is, a nice little common to start off the day.

 

8lb 6 oz Nice little common carp

8lb 6 oz Nice little common carp.

After a nice start the weather was soon on the change from ideal cloudy and mild fishing conditions to heavy rain and extreme winds! The lake soon turned choppy and it felt like I was sea fishing on the South Wales sea coast and not on a lake. Everything just switched off. A few hours later watching the rods and with a break in the weather it seemed the perfect opportunity to try a bit of stalking a few other swims closer to the main island on the lake. With my brother In-law pulling another 8lb carp out from there earlier that morning. As the sun was staring to come out the fish were on the rise, but they were not interested in the bait, even if you dropped it in front of their nose. We tried the new Korda Ready Tied Zig Rigs, but absolutely nothing was happening.

The next day things picked up somewhat, after a night of heavy rain and wind.  The Lok down bivvy thankfully kept me bone dry all night, and at 4.30 am the alarm was screaming once again. After tripping over the bivvy door and stumbling over the bait bucket I was quickly into the second carp of the trip. Again not the biggest but a nice welcome after such a horrid night!

Another mint condition common carp - 12lb in weight.

Another mint condition common carp – 12lb in weight.

The weather had really picked up and this was out perfect opportunity to rove around the lake before other anglers had arrived later that day. Moving up a few swims with the rods in hand I wasn’t long before the carp were jumping out the reeds. After carefully putting the two rods in just before the reeds it was time to sit back, relax and wait. Less than 30 minutes of the rig being in the spot the rod almost got pulled off the deck. This fish was a proper rod bending, drag running carp! Having picked up the net to safely get the carp it darted into the reeds near the deck and bolted, this is when I knew it was over, he got off the hook. Gutted wasn’t the word that was used. It had a lovely dark colouration to it and it felt a really nice fish.

A welcome 10lb carp

A very welcome fish.

After relocating back to our swims it was back to the drawing board. I got out out the spod rod and baiting up a large area not far off the reed beds, and placed the rods over it. It wasn’t long before I had a run, It was a double figure carp but only tipping over at 10lb 10oz. Things were going well for Sean too, with several nice double figure carp to 12lb also gracing his net. We didn’t have long left to fish, and the rods where still out and fully loaded, whilst we packed up to make our way home, but I was still hopeful of latching into a bigger carp before time ran out. The bivvy and kit were packed away, with the rods of course being the last thing you bring in. Looking at the reel closely as I was just about pick up the rod, I saw the line twitch… and suddenly the TF Gear Magrunner alarm screamed off with the spool releasing line at a rate of knots! The hard fighting  carp was welcomed to the net after a strong fight.. After letting her settle down in the net it was weighing time. Sean announced it was another PB, 15oz 2lb! Not the 20 I was after but it was a very welcome fish after a difficult fishing session with challenging bankside weather.

15lb 2 oz Common Carp

15lb 2 oz Common Carp.

We were very happy to leave the fishery with ten nice Carp landed between us – no giants but it had been great fun on balanced fishing tackle. Being an experianced sea fisherman  this is the very first time I have been proper carp fishing- and what a buzz it was! I had well and truly caught the carp fishing bug, and hope to return to Crowsheath next year. Many thanks to the bailiffs Nick, Darren, Connor and Jason for a very memorable trip, and advice given over the few days.

For more information and catch reports please go www.crowsheathfishery.com and follow them on their face Facebook page. If you are in the area, pop in and have ago. There is a good head of carp at this venue and it’s worth every moment!