This month, Adam Penning takes the hot seat to talk about one area of carp angling that is often overlooked or not executed in the right way, yet if the time is taken to do it right, it can yield you a bumper session. We’re not talking a snapshot review, this is the first of a two-part article in which Adam delves into the nitty gritty of exactly how he tackles fishing a tight spot for those ever elusive big carp.
Over to you Adam …
Many waters are very weedy and this can require accurate fishing into small clearings. Accurate casting and baiting is also a great technique to have in your armoury because it is one of the best ways of building your catch and having what is known as a multiple hit.
Being able to get your rig exactly back onto the spot that you just caught from is absolutely paramount; to be successful at carp fishing you need to be able to exactly replicate what you did to get that first bite. This is how we get the second fish, the third fish and so on. Don’t ever fall into the trap of thinking about the first bite and not thinking beyond that – a good carp angler needs to be like a good snooker player; think beyond that first result and ask yourself how you are going to create a session not to be forgotten!
Fishing like this requires diligence, patience and an eye for detail; there is no room for chuck it and chance it here. Distance across water is very hard to accurately measure with the naked eye. For this reason we need a rod clipped up to the range we are fishing and then we need to wrap it out around marker poles – it’s a really simple process so bear with me and I will walk you through how I do it.
I carry a Spomb rod and the reel fitted to it is loaded with braid. This is typically 20lb Whiplash with 65b Whiplash leader. At the end of the line is a rubber sleeve, a quick change link and a lead of around 3ozs. Once I have ascertained the area the carp are active in (this is THE most important part – you MUST locate your carp first!), I cast the lead to the zone and feel for it hitting the bottom. This is done by trapping the line before the lead hits the water, then holding the rod up high, keep a tight line and wait for the sensation as the lead hits the bottom. If the line is kept tight then you should always be able to feel the lead hit the bottom unless the water is very shallow, or if you have landed in very thick weed.
It is absolutely imperative that you know where you have cast because if you find something of interest, then you MUST be able to cast back there or the whole exercise is futile. A line clip will control the distance you cast but you must be able to use aspects of the skyline to control your radial accuracy.
Don’t ever use something at water level because you will not be able to see it at night and this is super important for recasting after a bite. I break the skyline down into tiny parts: peaks, slopes, troughs, spikes; anything that is clearly discernible, and mentally note what the bottom is like when the lead lands in line with that particular feature. Doing this properly negates the need for a marker float. The only time I ever need a marker float is if depth is vitally important to me. An example of this might be if I cannot feel the lead touch down because the water is too shallow. In this scenario I would be concerned over what depth I was fishing in (especially if there are swans about), and for these few occasions, a float is essential.
For 90% of my fishing a bare lead, a horizon and a line clip are all I need to thoroughly locate a good spot. Depth is really of little interest – if I can feel the lead down then it is deep enough to catch a carp, and having already located the fish, all I am doing it looking for a smooth, presentable piece of bottom close to where I’ve seen them.
Assuming the lead has landed with something of a ‘donk’, I then gently sweep the lead, slowly along the bottom. This is the key part – if the lead slides freely towards me then that part of the lakebed is clean enough to present a rig on. If the tip jags and jerks as I draw the lead towards me then the bottom is too dirty to fish on. I’m really not too bothered if it is clay, sand, gravel or silt, as long as the lead travels easily and it’s in the zone where I have seen fish, then that is enough for me to present a rig on. Next I will raise the rod to 45 degrees (because this is the position I will finish every cast) and then clip the line on the reel. All I now need to do is execute a couple of casts left and right of the spot to ensure it is clear enough for more than one rod because invariably I will put two or even all three, where I have seen the carp. Why would I want to put them anywhere else?!
In Part 2, I will be looking at how to properly use marker poles and also how to clip up your Spomb and fishing rods – should they all be clipped up the same or differently? All will be revealed!