They’ve fully woken from their winter slumbers and they are on the search for food. Spring has to be one of the most rewarding times of year and almost the most enjoyable. The birds sing their little hearts out and everything comes alive from the long, harsh winter. The carp are also often at their biggest weights. In this article we are going to reveal some edges that will hopefully catch you a few extra carp or two.
Suspending a bait in the upper layers of the water will often nick you a bite, particularly on deep, clear pits. The warmer thermoclines are often higher in the water and when those warm rays of sun beat down onto the surface, you will often find that the carp are higher up in the water.
Try fishing your rods at different depths to pinpoint the best feeding zone and then switch all three to that depth once you have located them. It’s all about trial and error. Both standard zigs and zig floats have their day, but the latter on waters of 20ft or deeper.
Vary your hook baits also. Try a pink on one, a black on the other and a yellow on the other. NS1 Minis are a great choice for this as they help to mimic the other small organisms in the water such as snails and flies. Being only 8mm in size, present them on a small, sharp hook. Add an extra dash of Northern Special Booster, one thing is for certain, the more potent they are, the better. You want your zig to stand out and entice an almost snatch like take, a bait that they can’t help but sample.
Now is the time to start trickling in some bait. That doesn’t mean piling it in here, there and everywhere, it means regularly baiting little and often, into likely looking areas that you know are being visited by the carp. Hone them onto the spots, building their confidence to visit the areas time and time again for food. Both the particle and boilie approaches work, with a mixture of hemp, crushed tigers, Pacific Tuna whole and chopped, with some corn being a firm favourite of ours. A matching food bait corkball over the top, or even a bright one may work, but the key is getting them to feed on a spot regularly.
This method is also particularly good on weedy waters. By regularly feeding spots it will keep them clean ‘polished’ which makes presenting a hook bait far easier than a weed covered one.
Always try and get out in a low pressure front as they have a big effect in spring/summer. Strong, choppy, warm wind from the south or west will encourage them to follow it. Quite often, natural larvae and items of food will drift on big pit winds, so get in the teeth of them wherever you can.
On calmer days, or areas that receive warm, early spring rays, will often hold fish as they bath and bask. You can often nick them out of the edge, or surface unawares, so don’t forget to have this gear in the motor.
New moons also seem to have a positive effect on the angling. There is no rhyme or reason for it, but new moons or days either side can often come up trumps, so try and get out!
Early Surface Feeders
The first warm rays in May can be the best times for surface fishing. They won’t have been fished for since the previous year on top which makes them often very, very willing and easy to fool, particularly if you get them feeding competitively.
Try using a mixture of surface baits and sizes – some 6mm and 11mm. This will prevent them from becoming preoccupied on one type or size. Dose the mixers up in an oil, something like Smoked Salmon to break a nice slick in the wind and encourage fish to the surface.
Try to match the offerings with something like a Duo Floater Hook Bait or a pop-up such as Odyssey XXX which is the same colour blend. Glue this to the back of the hook and ready for action.
Give It A Rake!
This is such an edge, and not one that many carp anglers employ. It is a known method for tench, but why people don’t use it for carp is beyond me. If you’re targeting a weedy lake, why not create your own hotspot with the use of a weed rake. Simply pinpoint an area that the carp frequent, clip up and continually cast the weed rake backwards and forwards to the spot, until it cleans. By feeding it regularly too, eventually it will become polished and you will have created yourself a little secret hotspot.