Ben Hamilton Interview // Part Two - Text Only

Q. You have been co-running Thinking Anglers for a number of years now; is coming up with new products your passion?

Yeah, who wouldn’t want to do it and work within something that you love. The main thing is to come up with new ideas, products that were not on the market before. Things like the Elasticated Tip Tops, Hook Ring Swivels and the Tungskin. Little things like the banksticks to the front of rucksacks and so on.There are lots of good companies out there that make great gear and we don’t look to copy them. We want to do out own thing and bring some cool and innovative gear to the market. I am very fortunate to work with a phenomenal team of anglers that are very gifted in what they do. It is nice to get feedback from them and because we are friends, we can give each other honest opinions on stuff. Now that we are involved with Sticky, we are hoping to push everything forward. We have loads of projects planned and I can’t wait to get running with it all.

Q. Have you had to change anything when you fish certain lakes?

I have found a rig and arrangement that just works wherever I go to be honest. I fish strong tackle, big hooks, strong 25lb Tungskin hooklinks and large hooks. I will always use a flat inline lead, to grip the bottom nicely and prevent it from rolling down the shelf. I would always use a balanced bait too; something like a corked tiger or a Krill Wafter. One of the things I have learned is to never bait too heavily either. The amount of times I have watched a couple of big fish come in and feed for ten minutes, before a couple of smaller ones then join in and grab the hookbait. I now fish with just a small amount of bait, which helps me get quicker bites. I don’t need to feed them loads to gain their confidence; I have done that with the weeks of prep work.

Q. During your first interview with CARPology (2004), they asked if you played around with rigs much. Your answer was:

“I’ve got a couple of tasty old reliable, like the Hinged Stiff Link Rig, as it does seem to nail ’em. This year I have started using a lot more braided hooklinks. I did just use nylon and I do still like nylon, but I just find I get a much better movement on the bottom with braid, it acts a bit more natural. The good thing about the nylon is once it’s in the fish’s mouth, it does tend to pull the hook home, because of the stiffness.”

Q. When anglers say ‘carp are pigs they will eat anything’, would you agree?

Naturally, they will eat all sorts. But for me, good food means everything. It is just like us, we like nice food and so do they. Liquids in particular have played a huge part in my fishing, as well as all the seeds and boilies.
I base a lot of my foods around the liquids and with the mix I use, there is so much attraction coming off it. All the seeds will take on the natural oils from the Krill Clusters and all that salty flavour of the Pure Krill liquid. I only have to tip some in the edge to see what it is all doing for me and I am so confident that fish adore it. I know they do, so it is just down to me to put it in the right place.
I would always choose quality over quantity that is for sure. Having good bait, especially when fishing for bigger fish, is just so important. With quality, your confidence levels increase dramatically. Being sure in what you are doing is working, makes you fish better.

Q. Does your approach – and by ‘approach’ I mean the bait and the way you bait, the rigs you use and the spots you seek out – Change much from venue to venue?

Not really because it is always the same. I like to find where the carp like to chill out and hold up in. I think look to create an area around that. I am always looking for the carp and then create the spot. Being a short session angler, I do pick the swims that are quiet and left alone. I don’t go for the busy swims like the ‘point’ for example. With bait, I just stick to what I know works. I have to use the best bait available and I know that the fish will eat that bait. I never have to worry about it and that is so important. I just keep track on when I have baited and when I need to do it again. A good bait put on the fish regularly is something that will work on any lake.


The fish from Dinton were very special to me. It was around the time my little girl was just born and I was down to one work night a week. That was a similar time to when I caught Arfur and I remember ringing my Mrs and telling her I had caught him. She gave me her congratulations bless her, before reminding me that I could come and give her and extra hand now I had done it. I wasn’t taking the mick, but I am sure people who are reading this that have children can relate to it, even one night can be too much when they are young. They are all just as special as the other, so I couldn’t really pick one to be honest. It has all been pretty good fun, so I can’t really pick and moment.

Q. What’s the longest run of blank Sessions you’ve ever had and how did you keep yourself focused?

It was on the circuit type of waters like the Car Park. You couldn’t keep on top of what you wanted to do because of the volume of anglers. I couldn’t prep areas in the way I would like and that was hard. I think as long as you have a target in your head, you can always keep going. I really wanted to catch those carp and that is what drove me on to finally do it. In the last few years on the tricky, but quieter lakes have been much easier.

Q. What has been the hardest lake that you have ever fished?

They have all been hard in their own way, but I would probably have to say the Car Park, just due to the amount of angling pressure it had. Dinton was tough when it was weedy. They seemed so catchable with no weed, but once it came up, the lake went rock hard. Sheepwalk was hard because those fish were so wild. You would have to get in and rake the spots off of all the mouldy bait. But yeah, I would say the Car Park because you can’t fish how you want to fish, just because of the volume of anglers there on a regular basis.

Q. So have your rigs, and your thought process when it comes to rigs, changed much in the 13 years that have since past?

I still use the Amnesia D for my open water fishing and the braid for the edge work. For the last 6-years I have used the Tungskin and it is so perfect. It sinks well and that supple inner is great for the end near the hook. So yes, I guess 13 years on I’m still of that opinion, the only thing that has changed is the development of certain hooklinks. With the hinge, because of the more supple braids, I sometimes use a softer section as boom for more weedy areas. That is the only difference really, other than that I still think the same as what I did back then.

Q. You’ve fished with some of the best carp anglers in the country, but who really stands out and why – what makes them that little bit more special than the rest of us?

The likes of Simon Bater and Oz Holness have that hunter instinct in them. They will move on to anything and are constantly thinking. I know lots of really good anglers, these two are very good friends and I know how they work and they do it so well. There are loads of very good anglers out there. The likes of Terry Hearn of course is so consistent. You can understand why they catch so many fish when you speak to them. Their passion, enthusiasm and drive have never dipped in all those years and that is why they catch so many. You have all the underground guys too, Steve Alcott, Tom Banks and John Holt. Most people reading this wont have even heard of them, but my word can they catch carp. I have never fished with any of them, but their catch rate on some of the hardest lakes around is staggering. There are loads out there, but the ones that fish the type of lakes that I do and the angling that I believe in. I am trying not to offend anyone, as I know loads of them and then there are people that I don’t know but they catch so many carp. Dave Lane and Darrel Peck still consistently catch too. Boy, I have gone off on one and named quite a few there!

Q. What about unknown whackers, such as The Black Mirror, do they exist now?

I am sure there are some giants out there somewhere. Lakes like the reserves, trout fisheries and so on. Look at Sonning, since the eye it hasn’t been fished heavily. It is 300 acres of water and anything could turn up one day. There are loads of places that have potential, which is exciting to think really. There are loads of pits down here that never get fished, but could quite easily hold a big carp in it.


Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day

Oz Holness gives his insight into the type of carp angling that 'puts fire in the belly' - sharing his mindset and processes that make life outside easy.

Small Water Baiting

Adam Raveney ditches the spod rod on small venues, in favour of a super simple, forgotten method!

Highlands To Lowlands

Kieran Hopkinson spans the tremendous highs & lows of his move to the Netherlands - with some special fish along the way.

A Chilled Approach by Uli Zeller

Making the most of cold water opportunities is top priority to German Team member Uli Zeller, who has developed a mindful strategy for cold-water success.

Line Up with Lewis Read

Lewis Read explains the importance of a quality mainline and provides his top tips for maintaining its performance and longevity.

Tracking A Paw Print

Kieran Hopkinson relives his journey of tracking down Scotland’s largest, and most elusive mirror carp.

Land Of The Linears

Chris Beasley relives a memorable saga of when he caught a spree of linears, including the king of them all.

Thinking Caps – September

In this latest instalment of Thinking Caps, we ask Jonny Fletcher, Mitch Hammonds and Lewis Read how their autumn approach differs from other seasons.

Evolution Of D-Rig Hookbaits

Scotty K gives an in-depth talk on how he's experimented with D-rig hookbaits over the years - alongside a step by step on how he presents his pop-ups.

Thinking Caps – August

In this latest instalment of Thinking Caps, we ask Myles Gibson, Oz Holness and Scotty K what rigs would they use if they were limited to only two for the

Going the Extra Yard

Myles Gibson breaks down the most important aspects of his setup for fishing at long range, including a step by step to his leader knot.

Big Pit Life

We sit down with Mitch Hammonds to ask the questions about big pit fishing and get the lowdown on his tactics, when going the distance.

Approaching Small Venues

Scott Lloyd delves into the tactics and techniques he likes to use on small, intimate waters, as featured in his popular Insights film.

Thinking Caps – July

In this latest instalment of Thinking Caps, we ask James Timberlake, Lewis Read and Scott Lloyd for their insight on fishing weedy lakes.

Big Carp Mindset

Myles Gibson reveals his favoured tactics and a few golden tips bound to get your mind ticking in the direction of big carp angling.

Thinking Caps – June

In this latest instalment of Thinking Caps, we ask Adam Raveney, Marcus Clark and Oz Holness for their insight on fishing during the warmer months.

Travelling Light

Oz Holness explains how to efficiently prepare for a session out on the bank, whether it be long or short.

Thinking Caps – May

In this latest instalment of Thinking Caps, we ask Tom Gibson, Roy Alofs and Steve Metcalfe for their insight on taking your photography to the next level.

A Meeting with Olly

Oz Holness relays the tale of what he described as the best welcome back to angling he could have wished for, post lockdown!

Low Rider Rig

John Cash explains how to tie his go-to rig, the 'Low Rider', that works seamlessly with both wafter and pop-up hookbaits.

The Long And Short Of It

Lewis Read delves deep into the world of rigs, talking specifically about how to get the best out of hooklinks and different sizes for specific situations.

Thinking Caps – April

In this latest instalment of Thinking Caps, we ask Jimmy Hibbard and Lewis Read for their insight on rig concealment.

Kickers & Extensions

Lewis Read looks in-depth at a functionality of kickers and extensions. He gives his step-by-step to creating a perfect Line Aligner rig.

Spring Fishing with Oz Holness

Spring is a time we all look forward to as carp anglers and from experience, planning can help you make the best of what can be a prolific time of

Under Pressure

Ian Mclaughlan discusses his findings on how air pressure affects carp’s behaviour.

Thinking Caps – February

We ask Gaz Fareham, Scotty K & Simon Kenny a series of questions about their approach to new waters and what tactics they would tend to use.

Winning In Winter

With limited rod hours and coming off the back of an injury, Jonny Fletcher had to rethink his options if he was to make the most his winter campaign.

300 Thirties and Counting

We talk to Steve Renyard following his capture of 300 UK thirties and delve into his never 'quit attitude' to angling that stems from his past.

Thinking Caps – January

We ask Lewis Read, Marcus Clark & Myles Gibson a series of questions relating to the moon phases and how they play a role in their angling.

Leadcore Leaders

Oz Holness explains how to set up a leadcore leader safely and the benefits of using this long standing favorite of many anglers.

The Subtle Spinner

Oz Holness talks about one of the most popular pop-up presentations of the modern era, the 'Spinner Rig' and how you can create this effective rig.

Scotty K’s Cork Ball Pop-Ups

Scotty K teaches you how to roll perfect homemade hookbaits consistently, explaining why he uses them and also preparing you for fishing trips ahead.

Thinking Caps – December

We ask Marcus Howarth, Oz Holness & James Timberlake an array of questions about their winter fishing months and how it differs from warmer weather.

Autumn/Winter Transition

Oz Holness reveals how to approach the change of seasons from autumn to winter with various tips and an all important set-up called the 'Easy winter rig'.

Overnight Life

Steve Lyas talks through how he makes the most out of his overnight sessions between work and family life.

Circuit To Solitude

We speak to Josh Flack about his time on the famous Yateley Match Lake and the circuit waters in Reading, before finding a little slice of heaven.

Two’s A Crowd

Chris Beasley recalls his last two seasons on the famous Dinton Pastures’ White Swan, where he landed two incredibly special scaly characters.

Targeting The Silt

Gaz Fareham highlights how effective targeting silty areas can be, especially in the autumn; with tips and the perfect rig to combat these areas.

Think Link D-Rig

Oz Holness gives you the perfect rig for fishing clean spots, the Think Link D-Rig. When used with a wafter, this rig is a sure fire way to secure a

Big Pit Hinge Rig

Featured on episode 7 of TA|INSIGHTS, Mitch Hammonds teaches you how to make his Big Pit Hinge Rig with valuable tips to help increase the chance of a bite.

Keep It Simple

Nick Helleur guides you through his Simple Rig set-up and shows you how, 'keeping it simple', can miraculously increase your chances of a bite.

Two Forties In Two Weeks

Guy Turnbull relays the epic, intrepidus tale of two incredible forty-pounders he was lucky to land just two weeks apart.

The Balanced Rig

Follow Jake Wildbore's perfect 'Balanced Rig' guide that will serve a multitude of different lakebeds; supplying you with consistent catches.

Long Range Tactics

Long range fishing can be frustrating, but Sam Pryor's tactics & set up makes it all the more easier to fish those hard or gravel bottoms.


The Multi Rig is one of Oz's favourite rigs for the winter period and he explains how he tackles a big lake when the temperature drops.

Gaz’s Autumn Rig

There is one rig that Gaz comes back to time and time again, the 'Autumn Rig'. It's quick to tie and super reliable in the most demanding circumstances.

Scott Lloyd’s Hinge Rig

The Hinge Rig is without a doubt Scott Lloyd's favourite rig; if your spot isn't clean, this rig ensures you are presented correctly 100% of the time.

In The Edge Rig – Ben Hamilton

Follow Ben Hamilton's guide on how to create an In The Edge Rig, helping you catch your carp with ease, just from the edge using a well crafted rig set-up.

The Claw Rig – Myles Gibson

Prolific big-fish-angler Myles Gibson runs us through his go-to rig that has seen him catch an obscene amount of big fish in recent years.

Liam Duncan Interview Part Two

Take a look at part two of our Liam Duncan interview where we gain insight into the methods and techniques used to achieve the ultimate success.

The Mobile Approach

Oz Holness explains how stripping back the gear to a bare minimum will allow you to stay fresh and mobile, which will put more carp on the bank

The Spinner Rig

Marcus Howarth explains the effectiveness of using a Spinner Rig on a variety of lakebeds; even the riggiest of carp will fall for this simple step by step.

Big Boilies for Big Carp

We speak to Oz Holness who gives us an insight into how he singles out the bigger carp by feeding bigger baits in a particular way

Liam Duncan Interview Part One

Liam Duncan usually goes quietly about his business, but here he allows us to probe into some of his ventures such as his time spent on St Ives

Spring Prep by Gareth Fareham

Gareth Fareham gives us an in depth look at his preparation and yearly rituals to get the most of those first rays of Spring when the carp finally wake up

Ben Hamilton Interview Part One

Dan Wildbore delves into the mind of Ben Hamilton and discovers the methods of the man behind Thinking Anglers and how preparation is key to his success