A Summer’s Carping
Over the last few seasons I’ve been concentrating on the rivers and fishing mostly for barbel. But at the start of 2015 and a productive session on my own venue where I banked a few fish including a nice 40lb plus mirror, I started to get the carp bug again.
Things really kicked off in the late Spring, when I popped in to see a mate who was fishing a local AAPPMA gravel pit not far from my home. He’s had a few very good fish and while we were sharing a beer one of his rods was away and I was soon photographing a lovely mid forty. This made up my mind and I sent off for my night ticket immediately.
The lake presented a few challenges….The main one being that it was completely choked with weed
For a Summer’s Carping I started out with a few day sessions as I was busy with my own venue in the early part of the season but right from the first day I got amongst the carp, in fact my first fish was a cracking 35lb common.
The lake presented a few challenges which seemed to put off most of the local anglers by June. The main one being that it was completely choked with weed. Virtually every variety was present but notably milfoil and hornwort. There were a few holes to be found after a fair amount of leading around, but some swims were totally clogged up.
My first challenge, then was to present a bait in a less dense area and have the hook sitting right. My choice here was solid PVA bags. I’ve been a fan of these for a long time now, and prefer then to mesh by far. The next was to make sure that my lead was ejected on the take. I had messed around with a chod rig the first day but due to the fixed lead it had resulted in several hook pulls..Not good!!
Wet my Method mix with salt water !! Brilliant
I’ve mentioned before in previous articles that I am a fan of Method feeders too. Naturally and inline type feeder was out of the question and you don’t want a drop off feeder. My Method mix (Bait Tech Envy & Super Method, with pellets and crushed boilies) had been really successful on both my own venue and elsewhere and I wanted to continue using it.. I started off mixing it with oil to add some kind of moisture, a bit like a stick mix, but I want not happy with it, even though it caught a few fish.
Then I came across a Korda video about using salt water with sweet corn in mesh bags and it clicked. Wet my Method mix with salt water !! Brilliant. (See my previous article on this)
After a few test to find the right concentration of salt to water, I started to use this technique. Immediately it showed advantages, as it cast well.. the balls in the bags being tightly packed. It sank fast into the holes I was casting too, lead first, and left my pop up wafting over the ground bait. Almost perfect presentation where ever I cast it. A few spombs of hemp and maples spread around and my traps seemed spot on.
Initially, due to the supposed population of catfish I didn’t use boilies, relying on tigers and plastic. But after a couple of sessions, having seen no sign at all of cats, I tried a pink Quest Baits Rahja pop and immediately it proved better and I had more takes on it than tigers.
Over the last few sessions I have switched all rods over to Rahja Spice boilies, the pink pop ups have been especialy productive.
The next challenge in the thick weed was landing the fish. Most of the locals gave up after a few losses but I was sure I could get the fish in without risking them. Firstly I upped my main line to 25lb and tied up some multi-rigs with size 2 ESP Kurv hooks. This presentation really nails the fish and hook pulls were now rare. The larger size hook gets a good hold, does not tear the mouth tissue and allows me to maintain pressure and get the fish over the weed beds.
Most of the locals gave up after a few losses
So that has been my approach. The lake is a venue I had not fished for over 15 years and having done a night a week since July I have now notched up over 50 carp including a number of good thirties, both commons and mirrors. A real lump has yet to grace my net, but as the Autumn is still young I am confident I can bag one soon.
As the winter starts to arrive the weed will die back and offer different areas of the lake which remained unfishable this summer. The biggest is rumoured to be over 50lb so that one would be nice.
My last session was my most successful to date with 16 runs for 12 fish banked the biggest two of 35lb & 33lb.
As much as I loved the last few seasons after barbel, I’ve really enjoyed my summer this year and have had some lovely carp.