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.
Myles Gibson reveals his favoured tactics and a few golden tips bound to get your mind ticking in the direction of big carp angling
When it comes to choosing venues or specific carp to fish for, there must be certain elements that get ticked in order for me to pursue a target. You could put the most beautiful venue in front of me, with some of the best-looking carp in the country, but if it’s heaving with anglers, it wouldn’t interest me. I want my fishing to be all about me versus the carp, and that’s something very hard to find in this day and age.
In my Insights chapter, you join me on a syndicate which suits me down to the ground. It’s home to some very special fish that are notoriously difficult to catch, which poses a big challenge. Not only that, but the venue is also fairly quiet during the times when I choose to fish it, adding to my personal enjoyment. To target carp like these, it requires a certain mindset and a very committed attitude towards your angling. In this piece, I am going to summarise the key details that have led me to some incredible captures, some of which you could possibly filter into your own fishing.
SPOTS WITHIN SPOTS
SPOTS WITHIN SPOTS
I have been lucky enough to have access to a boat on a number of waters I have fished over the course of the last few years. It’s something so few anglers get to try but offers a completely different perspective. Being able to drift over your spots is without doubt the best element. I would say it cuts feature finding down a hell of a lot, but I often find myself being so precise that it can take longer than traditional leading up methods!
It’s often written about these days, and I have no doubt in my mind having seen it myself, there are spots within your spots. The big clear areas amongst the weed may seem like the perfect places to fish, but exactly where you put your rig and bait can be the difference between catching one or two fish and a dozen! Using the boat these areas are easy to identify, as they tend to glow a little more, almost like an aura about them. They don’t always have to be gravel either, I have fished silty spots before with great success. It is certainly worth finding the perfect area before you apply any bait or rigs to the spot.
KNOW YOUR WEED
KNOW YOUR WEED
Most clear lakes will have some degree of weed growth in them and as a rule, carp love the stuff, but there are a few types to look out for. Generally, I don’t fish in the weed unless I have to. Instead, I much prefer using a subtler presentation close by on a clear area. During the filming, I was seeking out the fresh onion weed, which is without doubt my favourite weed to fish close to. The carp love the stuff, it rarely smells putrid like a lot of weed can do and it is relatively easy to get the fish out of if they end up going through it on the bite. The only weed I really avoid is really heavy Canadian pond weed as it is very difficult to get the fish out of and I avoid any dying or old weed. I always smell any weed I get back on the lead or on the prodding stick in the boat, if it smells fresh and is lusciously green, it’s certainly game on.
Pre-baiting is one of the biggest edges in angling. Growing up as a kid I often read bream anglers pre-baiting on the large natural venues, making them far easier to catch. Carp are no different, and if you can condition them into eating on your spots while you aren’t there, then they are more likely to fall for a baited rig. I very rarely, if ever, bait just one spot. I prefer to spread my bait around several spots in different swims as you never know which area the fish want to be naturally or if another angler might be fishing in the same swim. By baiting multiple spots, you keep your options open and don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
The bait I use is like a carp’s pick ‘n’ mix; particles like hemp, pigeon conditioner and tiger nuts make up the bulk, while a little more sustenance comes in the form of Sticky’s Bloodworm pellets and Krill Active boilies. In the past, I have baited with just boilies, which is perfectly fine, as is baiting with just particles if you are on a tight budget; I just like throwing everything into it!
One of the added benefits of using lots of small particles is that the birds are much less of a problem. A kilo of 16mm boilies is easy pickings for a couple of well-versed tufties, but the same amount of my mix takes a hell of a lot longer to clear. This ensures there’s always bait on my spots, despite the heavy bird presence.
THE BUSINESS END
THE BUSINESS END
I pay masses of attention to my rigs; they are such a vital part of angling and yet so many people seem very lackadaisical with them. My rig of choice for the clear areas that I prefer to fish is the Claw rig. Over the years, I have used a lot of different rigs and multiple different variations of this particular presentation, before getting it to the point it is now. I tend to fish it relatively short, 5 to 7 inches with either a TA Curve Point or OE hook. I save the Curve Point for open water use, while the OE has a thicker wire gauge for hit and hold tactics. I tend to use 35lb Tungskin, as it is just so hardy, and attach it neatly to a lead clip with a very big lead attached. I always use a big lead, but the boat allows me to use them as heavy as 8oz, just to make sure my rigs are never dragged out of position in rough weather.
The most important part of the rig is actually the balanced hookbait you use with it, whether that be a Mulbz or a tiger nut, the buoyancy is key. I always want the rig sat over in the claw position, hence its name. Some commercially made wafters can achieve the desired effect, but I find the buoyancy of pop-ups and corked-out tiger nuts more consistent. The rig should sink slowly and settle with the point facing downwards and the shank lifted off the bottom for the perfect presentation. Through a lot of blood, sweat and tears, I have found the hooking potential of a clawed hook position as opposed to a flat hook is vastly different, I would never use anything else for fishing clean spots.