The Washing Line Method for Carp!

Author: Team CCM
Categories: Tactics

The Washing Line Method

The ‘Washing Line’ method is a tactic that is quote often overlooked, but when used effectively, can be seriously impressive when it comes to tripping up wary feeding carp. In the past twelve months, I have used the method on a number of different venues, when I have felt it could offer a potential benefit over conventional fishing (line submerged), in order to get me more bites. The ‘Washing Line’ can be a little fiddly and require some effort in preparation, but I certainly feel that when used correctly, this method can give you a real edge, certainly on those heavily pressured venues where they have seen it all. This feature outlines the main fundamentals when it comes to using this tactic and the key elements to ensure that it is used to great success.

So, let’s begin by looking at when in particular I would choose to adopt the ‘washing line’ approach.  This tactic is geared around allowing you to fish a margin spot, without the need to have your line crossing the swim or area through the water from the rod tip. Instead, the line is suspended from the water, before being attached to a bank stick close to the spot you are fishing, with your mainline running slack to the spot for ultimate concealment. This unique tactic is especially effective when targeting pressured bays or sloping margins, where in a normal fishing circumstance, your mainline would be cutting through the swim and potentially ruining your chances of a bite by fish spooking off your line. 

This method also allows you to effectively fish two or three different marginal spots from one single place, without a single line entering the water from the rod end. This is perfect when fishing pressured bays, as the carp can simply drift in and out freely without the risk of coming into contact with your mainline. 

Not all marginal spots are accessible either, in some cases, you may be open to a prime opportunity in the edge where fish have been feeding, only to find it neigh on impossible to get a rod into position with bushes and dense reeds present. In this situation, you can simply cast the lead across and place a storm stick in situ, eliminating the need to fish from the bank right next to the chosen spot. 

So now we have looked at a few situations I would adopt this approach in, let’s talk through the method behind making it work, as initially it can be quite complicated to get your head around. 

Firstly, you will want to have a good look around and determine the marginal spot you want to fish. Do not worry about it being too overgrown or a peg where you simply cannot setup in, as you will be fishing the spot from an entirely different peg which is fishable.

Once you have determined the spot you want to fish, it is best to get the know the lakebed you are fishing over and the depth you will be fishing in, so that you can determine the type of rig and lead arrangement you will be using. I simply do this by taking one of my fishing rods around to the spot and having a brief lead around, determining the depth and marginal makeup. 

When you have done this, you can simply choose a well-positioned swim where you will angle from and then you can go about getting a rod in place. First of all, cast a bare lead with no hooklink on over to the bank you will be fishing. 

Once you have done this, place the rod down on the rest with the spool set loose and walk around to where the lead has landed. Make sure you carry the items needed to get the washing line up and running, including a bank stick, rig and bait ready to set the trap.

When you get around to the spot, place the bank stick in the ground firmly on the bank close to the spot. You now need to look for your bare lead, so look for your line which you cast over and follow it down until you find the lead. 

Set up the finished rig; I like to use a solid PVA bag arrangement for this, as I feel it offers the perfect trap for a small spot at close quarters. All I do is simply loop to loop the rig onto the bare lead and place into a Fox Rapide Load PVA system, which is super quick and easy to use. Once the solid bag is formed you are then ready to get the rig in position.

Holding the line in one hand, use the other hand to swing the rig into place, much like you would do if you were underarm casting a lead into the lake. At this point, it is important to have enough slack line present so that you are able to keep hold of the line with the opposite hand while the bag goes out to the spot. I form a ring in my hand using my fingers to allow the line to pass through freely, ensuring that there is no resistance when swinging the solid bag into place. 

Ensuring that the line is slack down to the rig, place the line into the bobbin head on the bank stick, so that the clip on the bobbin locks the mainline in place. 

Introduce a few free offerings around the rig before heading back round to where the rod is positioned. 

Once you get back round to the rod, carefully tighten up the mainline until it becomes free of the water and in direct contact with the bobbin head. At this point, be careful not to apply too much pressure, as you run the risk of the line coming free from the bobbin. Your line should be travelling directly from the rod tip to where the bank stick is placed, with all of the mainline suspended out of the water.

To finish the set- up, clip on a heavy weighted bobbin and sit back for those drop back bites you typically get when fishing this method.

There are a number of different rigs you can use with this method and the choice is entirely up to you, but I prefer to fish with short links tucked with a solid PVA bag for ultimate concealment and hooking properties. A solid bag also ensures that you are presented when fishing over any light debris or weed that may be close in and, if you are quick about it, you can carefully tweak the bag into position if it didn’t go exactly right when swinging it in place. 

One great aspect about this underused method is that you do not need any specialist tackle, you can simply use your normal rod and reel set- ups that you would do when fishing out in the pond. Like I have previously mentioned, you can fish if you so wish all three rods on this method, but equally, if you are given the option, one rod could be fished washing line and for example, the remaining two rods fished out onto open water spots, giving you the best of both worlds.

You will also want to ensure that you have a heavy, sinking mainline in order to keep the rig end leading from the storm pole pinned to the lakebed. I use the 23lb Fox Exocet, a line I can rely on in terms of strength and sinking properties. 

One important point to make is when to avoid fishing the washing line and when you may need to make slight adjustments to the approach. Firstly, I would advise that using this tactic close to snags is a no go, as once the line has been freed from the bobbin head on the take, the fish have a length of slack line to play with and potentially kite into snags close by. Spots that are free from nearby snags, where the fish will bolt out into open water from the bank are the safest and most efficient when it comes to landing fish. 

The tactic can be used within reason up to most distances, as far as you can cast basically, but if you are to use it at longer range you will need to bear a couple of things in mind. Firstly, you will have to position the rod at a higher angle, to ensure the line stays above the water to where the bank stick is positioned. Secondly, you will need to ensure that the technique you use to grip the line in place at the bank stick end can withstand the line being under more pressure and any type of strong wind interference. 

Overall, this is a fantastic method at tripping up those wide marginal feeders and having mastered it, will certainly add an invaluable technique to your carp fishing armoury that will no doubt provide a real edge in certain situations. 

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