We have covered various issues on the subject of boilies and specimen carp fishing over the last couple of articles or so and have hopefully given many anglers an insight into, as well as the knowledge, to enable them to go and try to catch some of the bigger Carp in our waters.
There are still many aspects of Specimen Carp Angling which have not been covered, some has been deliberately been excluded due to the fact that many people still kill the fish they catch, and this knowledge I am afraid should be in the hands of responsible people who have respect for the sport. There is nothing quite as disheartening to see big fish, which have been killed due to information you have provided.
In this article I want just to re-cap on some of the main aspects and try to drive home some of the principles and ethics behind Specimen Carp Angling.
This piece on bait presentation sent in by Simon Crowe, follows on from the feature finding issue in the previous article and finalises which baits to use in the areas you discovered with your marker float.
Most baits can be used on the hook directly from the bag without any further preparation. In these cases, they should be applied to the hair in the way outlined in previous articles. We would look to use this form of presentation in the following occasions: -
When the lakebed is firm enough to make the hook bait apparent to the carp;
When the fish have been pre-conditioned that popped up hook baits are dangerous (i.e. when a natural form of presentation would be the best line of attack).
Bottom baits can be used on their own as singles or in multiple numbers. It is worth noting that the more baits which you use on a hair or hook, will be less efficient at hooking than one with fewer baits - especially when using multiples of large boilies like 18 or 22mm. Nevertheless, the more baits on a hook can be selective towards the bigger fish so it is important not to neglect this method on occasions.
For most hookbait hair presentations, it is possible to attach them with the use of a standard carp fishing needle, but for some of the smaller baits, you will need to sew them onto a hair with a dressmakers needle. This is easy enough to do, but a bit fiddly if you have to keep up with constant fish action. The best way to carry this out is to sew a bunch on to the hair and then, instead of tying a loop in the end for a hair stop, simply attach the end to the shank or bend of the hook, so that the hair is in a loop via a good knot.
Bottom baits probably cover approximately 90% of our fishing, and the reason for this is because we prefer our hookbaits and rigs to be as natural looking as possible. Generally, we present the bottom baits on a tight hair, and this method has accounted for a massive number of our carp over the years.
Somes reasons to use a pop-up could be:-
Debris on the lake bed;
When fishing over smelly black silt;
To make the hookbait stand out from the free offerings;
Alternatively, to present the bait in front of mid-water cruising fish.
Shotting and weighting the pop up
For obvious reasons, all pop ups will need to be anchored to the lakebed in some form or another - unless you wish to fish on the surface that is. It is possible to intercept cruising fish in mid-water by fishing a pop up directly off the lead. Whilst this can be a very effective method, on most occasions pop ups are used to fish only a few inches off the bottom. To anchor the pop up in these instances we normally opt for a simple shot, which can be purchased from most outlets. We prefer to opt for the size, which sinks the pop up in as few shots as possible, and we very rarely choose to overweight it (i.e. make it sink faster than the freebies). The only time we may over shot the pop up is during windy conditions and shallow water when the bait could fly all over the place (or rivers when the flow is strong).
Critically balanced baits are a fantastic method to use for fishing over very light silt or to try to trick the fish into sucking the hookbait further down into the throat. They are made by making a popped up bait sink ever so slowly. The speed which the bait will sink can be modified to suit the situation you are fishing, but do bear in mind that the hookbait will soak up water the longer it is submerged in the water.
The critically balanced theory can be applied to baits which are popped up several inches off the bottom, or only a few, or even to make them sit on the bottom itself. These could be used to trick the fish into thinking that the hookbait is similar to the freebies, but its light nature would make it fly back far into the fishes mouth (i.e. it would be lighter than the freebies so it would catch the fish off guard) and hopefully cause it to panic and bolt.
To close I would just like to reiterate again, take care of the fish, handle them correctly and release them unharmed. Many clubs are now following this catch and release principle on their own waters, not always from a fish care point of view but from a practical one, how long can a water sustain the removal of fish which can take as long as 25 years or more to grow.
The protection of all aspects of fishing should be every anglers responsibility and unless some of the influential people, such as national anglers, clubs and tackle shop owners who sell their catch from deep freezes, start to take care of the resource which we all enjoy pursuing, the photo's of big fish seen over the last few months will be a thing of the past.
I have passed on knowledge that will enable anglers to catch bigger fish, do not abuse that information, because in the end, it is all anglers who will suffer.