In his latest tips blog post, Dave Lane shares his years of carp fishing wisdom – How often do you consider line angles and concealment? It could make all the difference to your carp catches!
I think that line awareness is the single most alarming thing to carp, it has far more effect than rigs, leads, bait or any other aspect of our angling that we give carp credit for detecting.
I do not actually believe that a carp can even see a rig as it gets up close, its eyes are in the wrong place to start with and, from what I have seen in observation, most bait items are inspected by feel in the mouth. I think this is why a good rig, or one perfectly suited to the way carp are testing baits, will outscore other presentations. It’s just a case of being able to prick the fish, to get that initial hook hold, before they can eject the rig.
Line angles are something different, this is an early warning system that all is not as it should be. It doesn’t always mean that the carp will not feed, they just do so with the natural caution of an animal that knows it is being hunted, playing the percentages is how I like to think of it.
A free meal is on offer, they know something is dangerous and they feed carefully and methodically to avoid being hooked and, every now and again, they get it wrong.
Sometimes fish seem terrified of lines, particularly when they are in a spot where they seem to have not been expecting them to be.
One day I sat up a tree at Burghfield and watched as a group of fish came in contact with my lines, the result was instant and dramatic and, within seconds, there were no more carp to be seen anywhere.
I have been out in a boat at Wraysbury and actually watched two stockies feeding right up to, but not over, my line as it sat slightly proud of the bottom. They had decimated the bait on one side of the spot and completely left the bait on the other, unwilling to cross the line to achieve yet more free food.
It often amazes me how excited anglers get when they start receiving line bites, as if this is an indication of an imminent take.
To my mind a line bite is either yet another spooked carp or a fair sign that you are simply fishing too far out or badly presented between the rig and the rod tip.
I always try to keep all my line hard on the lake bed but, unfortunately, this is not always possible.
When you are fishing large lakes in adverse weather conditions for example, any slack line just gets dragged out into a big arc and, pretty soon, it rises up into the water anyway.
Fishing near to snags or in a situation whereby you cannot afford to give the carp an inch, this also calls for a tight line and, the worst of the lot, weed. It doesn’t matter how well you think you have sunk your line when fishing over weed, it will either already be on the top of it or, if it isn’t, it will be soon. Even the tiniest filaments of floating weed will accumulate and lift your line towards the surface and, quite often, the angle of line between the edge of the weed and the spot you are fishing is horrendous.
There are things that help, heavy lead core leaders, pinching blobs of putty a meter or so behind the rig, pole fishing leads on the line, flying back leads, they all go some way to alleviating the problem.
Myself I am a great fan of the captive back leads, I use them often to keep a tight line pinned down from the moment I set up the rod, once it’s down there and pinned it is harder, but not impossible, for the weed to lift it back up.
Attacking a swim from an unusual angle can be a brilliant way of disguising the fact that you are fishing that spot, particularly on pressured waters where the carp are actually checking it out before feeding, sometimes a different angle can also ensure a lower line lay, if you are casting over weed from the main swim but up against it from an alternative plot is a good example.
Gravel bars and plateaus work in the same way as weed, it is far better to actually drape your line over the bar on some occasions than have it exiting the bar halfway down and streaking through the water mid depth.
Fishing the close side of a bar will allow you to sink the line better so, if you want to fish the bottom of the bar at the back, why not cast from a swim on the far bank and have all your line in deep water leading up to the feature.
It’s not always possible on busy waters to actually fish from the wrong swim though, but the more thought you can out into concealing a line, the better your results are likely to be.