I think most long term carp anglers would agree, carp in small waters can be the hardest to catch. I’ll explain why I believe this to be true. In large waters the fish can swim well out of the way of the angler, and hide up. On small waters they cannot do this, instead they swim around their home inspecting everything. On large waters its not so easy to find the fish, but carp will mostly follow a new wind, so can often be predictable. You don’t have the “finding fish” problem with small venues, they are almost always on show, in the summer anyway. But they are always on guard, always looking at what’s new, and suspicious of everything, even wildlife, like ducks and gulls can spook them. Maybe that why floater fishing catches a lot of small water fish, its often quick fishing when the fish have little time to inspect a bait?
What I find classically odd is with all this known, anglers will still not approach the water with any care, especially if they are staying for any length of time, like a weekend. I’ve watch fish at Five lake’s psychically swim from one end of the lake to the other when someone arrives, they do wander back eventually, but its time lost I think. Immediately that car door slams, they know something is not right. Its why every trip I make, I’m closing that car door quietly, and having a slow walk around the whole lake, but staying well back from the edge. Its how I caught my fish from the place, casting a piece of bread crust to a fish in the weed, that was unaware I’d arrived.
With having a week off the fishing due to the extreme heatwave, its given me plenty of time to think about what I’m doing and not doing at Five lake’s to catch those weary fish. I mentioned the lake is an old one, and surrounded in old, overhanging trees, so the water has leaves and branches on the lake bed in abundance. So this makes presentation difficult, not knowing if your hook bait is fishing well. I did try raking a few swims, trying to remove the chod but that was maybe not wise, as mentioned before, the fish know things are different after a good clearing. So it brought me round to thinking about solid bags?
Solid bags would allow me to fish with my favourite lead set up, inline. I can fish for one fish at a time, something else I prefer to do, rather than over bait. And finally, I can fish a small bait maybe a cut down pop-up that fishes like a wafter. In the bag can be boilie crumb, 2 mm 4 mm pellet, and a dusting of groundbait, just one good mouthful for a big hungry carp. Maybe too, it’s not been overdone in the margins, as a tactic. A 3.oz inline lead, short 4” soft braid hook-link, size 6 wide gape hook (barbless) and an equivalent 12 mm cut down pop-up. I’m also changing my reel line to fluorocarbon 20lb. This set up will allow me to cast my bag and bait, almost anywhere, and know its fishing even over chod, that’s a massive plus to the confidence.
One final thing is, when fishing a single boilie I’ll go back to old school nylon in 25 lb, fished on the basic complicated rig, invented by Steve Renyard quite some years ago.
I’ve found a place on the lake that gets a bit less pressure. I’m going to bait it up over the coming weeks with a few baits each trip, maybe 50/60 each visit. But I’ll try and get this within a few meters square. Nothing crazy, but I’ll leave the fish alone for a few weeks, and just keep something going in twice a week. I’m also trying a little trick I was shown when living in France, thats dropping one bait in the margins every meter as I walk around. This way, the fish will have to drop down to pick up the 18 mm baits, and then move on after each mouthful. It will allow me to use a nice long stiff nylon or fluorocarbon rig as above. Keep well everyone.