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22 May 2017
by James Armstrong
The floater edges you need this summer
It's arrived: summer! So here's three floater fishing edges courtesy of CARPology regular James Armstrong

When the temperatures are soaring and the sun is beating down on the surface, there is nothing like creeping around the lakeside with a floater rod in hand, searching for the dark shapes on the surface. It can be an exhilarating, heart-pumping type of angling, and also very frustrating. The carp will often be cute when it comes to surface feeding. They will be cautious over certain shapes and sizes so you have to get it right. Sometimes they will just pick at small items: fluff, bugs and scum, while other times they will feed with gusto on every offering you introduce. The key is getting it right and there are a few things that I do to give me an edge on the surface and ultimately it is all down to getting them feeding confidently on a bait that they want to eat!

To really turn the carp on, try mixing two sizes of floating pellets together
By adding the bigger ones, it will ensure they feed on both and are more inclined to take your hookbait
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The food: A mixture of sizes

Pressured carp equals a mixed and favoured type of floater mix

As a youngster, for chub and carp fishing on the surface, I would simply grab a crusty loaf from the bakers, or nip to the shops for a bag of Pedigree Chum and head off to the lake. They were easy waters full of carp and it’s a tactic that does still work today.

However, if you want to start outwitting the trickier residents this won’t always cut it, as they’ve no doubt seen it all before,
even more so on pressured day tickets like Linear for instance!

This is where you want to be experimenting with a few different shapes and sizes. There’s no doubting that the smaller the floater the better and the happier they are to feed on them. Consequently, I always like to feed small floater pellets. This gets the fish feeding first of all. I mix the smaller pellets with some bigger (dog biscuit sized) floaters and introduce both sizes at the same time. If you just feed small ones, the carp will become preoccupied and it’s very hard to buy a bite if they’re only looking for the small ones. However, adding the bigger ones too will ensure that they feed on both and are far more inclined to taking your hookbait!

If you’re fishing for very surface-wary carp it can often pay to add some cat biscuits to the mix too. These are fish-shaped and will give the whole floater mix a different option.

Extra attraction: Oils, extracts and powders

How to make your food kick out food signals in the upper surface column

I never leave home without a bottle of either Salmon Oil or Slicking Booster liquid. The oil will leak attraction throughout the water column, quite often drawing fish to the surface from all around the pond. The beauty of oil is that it will also give off an almighty slick. This comes into its own when wind is ruffling the surface. By adding a healthy dosage of oil, you will notice that all of a sudden it calms the water you are fishing in, making things a whole lot easier to see.

I also like to add some food signals on the floaters so a healthy dosing of Liquid Tuna Extract goes on them. The Tuna Extract features whole chunks of tuna in various sizes and buoyancies. This means that little salty bits of fish will be hanging around in the layers of the water, along with the oil encouraging carp to investigate.

With the whole mix absolutely oozing appeal I go one step further and introduce some Green Lipped Mussel Powder. This stuff again helps leak out in the upper layers of the surface, pumping out salty, fishy, food signals all along the upper surface columns. It’s a deadly tactic!

Duo Floater Hookbaits are made from a pop-up mix allowing you to whittle them down
Geoff Kemp’s Mellow Brandy: a very nice hookbait soak
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The final bit: Special hookbaits

How to make your hookbait stand-out

I like to try and mimic the offerings that I am feeding and I do this by either trimming down a piece of cork to the same size as the Mixers or alternatively trim down an Odyssey XXX pop-up. I leave these soaking in either Talin, Salmon Oil or the wonderfully sweet and very tasty Geoff Kemp Mellow Brandy flavour. The hookbaits are then glued or Hair rigged tightly to the back of the hook’s shank.

Another option is to use the ready-prepared Duo Floater Hookbaits. Duo Floater Hookbaits are made from a unique pop-up mix that means you can easily trim your hookbaits to give them that added little personal appearance that can make all the difference!

Duo Floater Hookbaits are also highly effective for pulling fish down onto your baited area as their Omega-rich oils actively disperse up through the layers of the water carrying the other soluble food signals into the path of travelling fish. A product I haven’t tried, but definitely will this year!

How to create a mega floater mix

One which combines both liquid and powdered attraction

1. With the pellets mixed, add a good dose of Liquid Tuna Extract.
2. And follow this with an equal amount of Slicking Booster Liquid.
3. Give the whole lot a really good mix so all the pellets are coated.
4. Now add Full Fat Green Lipped Mussel Powder to the mix.
5. How good do they look?! They’re seriously boosted pellets!
6. And because of that, the carp really cannot resist them – get on ‘em!
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