When you’re fishing for these known big fish, do you literally sit in their known capture swims, even if there are fish showing elsewhere on the lake? Large carp obviously have areas where they spend a lot of time and seem to only get caught from those one or two spots, but do you think that they still travel around the lake but just don’t feed in other areas?
It is very easy to fall into the trap of fishing as others have done in the past; in fact I know I have done this on more than one occasion and sometimes suffered as a result.
For instance, if a fish is reputed to have a liking for tiger nuts instead of the usual boilie approach then every angler on the lake will, at some stage, use tigers, even if it just on one rod. Suddenly you have a scenario whereby thirty, forty or even fifty percent of the hook-baits on offer are tigers, and the chances of that fish getting caught on a tiger have just gone through the roof.
If nobody used tigers then it would have to get caught on something else, because it would get caught, they all do eventually.
The same situation arises with areas as it does with bait, those highlighted areas from previous captures tend to get more attention than the rest of the lake, more rod hours equals more chance of a result and more chance of perpetuating the myths surrounding one particular carp.
The other way of looking at it is that there is a reason and a truth behind the mythology, that one big carp really does only feed on the shallows, really doesn’t like boilies or does only gets caught on a full moon, but why?
Every carp must feed regularly to stay alive and it could be argued that the bigger fish need a greater amount of food to maintain their weight, so what happens the rest of the time, they feed elsewhere of course and on other things.
Certainly, I believe that a carp will use almost every part of the lake, regardless of where it is most often caught. Maybe, in the other areas it has regular food supply that does not include angler’s baits. There may be natural larders that it always visits on these sojourns away from its catchable areas. There may also be areas where a carp will go regularly with no intention of feeding whatsoever, in fact the big Common at Burghfield seems to have one of these. It is an area where it has been seen a lot but never seen to feed and certainly never on bait of any description, more like a safe area, or sunbathing spot.
To think that a carp only feeds in the spots where it is caught and at the times of year of previous captures is madness.
If it was as easy as to cast under Basil’s bush on a full moon with a yellow pop-up then that particular fish would get caught once a month, the swim would be booked in advance, the poor creature would not only be labelled a ‘mug’ but he would starve to death over the ensuing three and a half weeks.
There is always more to a situation than it first appears, if not carp fishing would be simply carp catching, and as boring as hell.
A carp is a living creature with free will and this is what makes our sport so much more interesting, challenging and ultimately rewarding than most other pursuits; the rules are constantly changing and nothing is totally impossible.
All information about a target fish is good information, it has been correlated over years by capable anglers taking notes about their own particular observations, and most of it will be true and valid. I think though, you need to add your own observations into the mix rather than blindly follow a script.
When I caught the Burghfield Common it went against all the preconceived ideas of where and how that fish would feed.
There was a folklore surrounding him that said it would never get caught in the open water areas of the lake and it would always be a loner or feed with a small band of select ‘friends’ but never with the bulk of the fish.
In fact the exact rumour was that “if you are catching carp then the next bite will never be the common”.
Well, I had it from the open water area as the second bite of a six fish catch so it’s a good job that I ignored the legend on that particular occasion.