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11 Aug 2017
by CARPology
10 steps to combating the summer blues
Is your head starting to pop with minimum summer success? Well, here’s 10 top tips to cure the problem!

01 Kick start your bait

A time-served tip this one, but still as good today as it ever has been and that’s scalding pellets with boiling water. It’s easy to do on the bank, providing that you have your tea-making kit with you and has two major benefits. Firstly, it speeds up the breakdown process of the pellets and you’ll see them ‘slicking up’ and releasing their oils as soon as you introduce them to the lake. Secondly, add a little more boiling water and leave the pellets for a little longer and they’ll quickly turn into a paste, which is great for moulding around a hookbait, lead or Method feeder, or for balling up and catapulting out like groundbait.

02: Float/ledgering - it's deadly

Float fishing is overlooked by most when targeting bigger carp, but you’re massively missing out if you don’t carry a few Loc-Slide floats with you. They’re easy to set-up, as they slide onto your line and lock themselves in place once out in the water, and are extremely handy for certain situations, such as fishing holes in the weed. They are also a far more delicate means of bite indication when fishing close in and are the perfect tool for altering your line angles on pressured waters – and you should never underestimate the difference your line angles can make on really tricky waters. Further still, they give you the ideal marker for baiting up to, a marker that remains in position and so allows you to bait up little and often with great accuracy.

03 Add flavour to your imitation baits

The vast majority of imitation baits (sweetcorn, maize, pellets etc.) are made from super-absorbent materials which take on attractors, so storing them in a liquid attractant really does add to their attraction.

04 Chat to other anglers

Always keep an eye on what those around you are doing, without being an obvious pest! Get involved in occasional socials in a swim and always offer another angler a cuppa and a chat when the opportunity arises. We all learn from each other in the long run and, generally, if you give a little then you’ll find you’ll get a little, often vital, information back in return.

Whether it be the particular habits of a certain target fish that then allows you to formulate a focused approach, an insight into a certain bait or edge that somebody’s been doing well on, or any other information that you can use to boost your catch-rate, often just befriending another angler or stopping for a quick chat can unearth it.

It’s a similar story with having ‘mates’ on a lake you’re targeting where you can feed each other information of what’s been happening on each other’s sessions, which then allows you to get to grips with a lake far quicker because you have far more information at your disposal.

05 Keep mobile, keep catching

Keep your tackle to a minimum. It’s a simple tip but we’re all guilty of taking too much gear with us and that often hampers our ability to fish to full potential. Usually it’s a case of having too much gear to be able to move quickly enough to take advantage of a situation that might arise. Make a conscious effort to cut back on the gear you take as much as possible, and remember to reassess your kit regularly, as you’ll be amazed at how quickly it’ll build up again.

The more regularly you are fishing a water the easier this process is, and to some extent you’ll start to trim your kit down to the stuff you definitely need without even realising it. Knowing a venue often allows you to have a good idea of how you’ll be fishing on any given session, and thus able to leave unnecessary items behind. The balancing act is that you definitely don’t want to be left without the necessary bits to take advantage of a situation that might arise, and so bits that you may only need on occasion can be left in the car so that they’re not weighing you down, but are easily at hand. It’s an idea not to leave gear left in the car on show though, otherwise it may not be there by the end of the trip.

06 Watch the wildlife

Always keep an eye on the birdlife when you’re fishing. You can sometimes pick-up quite a few clues as to carps’ whereabouts from watching the behaviour of coots and tufties. Many a bonus fish can be caught after moving a rod, moving swims or changing tactics in some cases due to watching our feathered friends. The usual scenario is when said bird resurfaces over your baited area in a bit of a panic, the hope being that it’s been spooked by a big carp down there – sit tight and get ready.

Another scenario is when the birds are continually picking up the freebies and you’re praying that the next dive won’t result in the alarm bleeping. If so, maybe a move is on the cards.

07 Mark your main line

Whenever you find a nice spot that you intend on fishing that session, or are fishing a baited area, mark your lines so that you can easily get the rigs back on ‘on the money’, even in the hours of darkness. Having cast out so that the rig lands exactly where you want, place your main line in the clip on your reel and tie a simple Marker Knot with power gum, pole elastic or marked braid on the line just above the clip. You can now remove the line from the clip while waiting for a bite and then by placing the line just behind this marker in the clip prior to each cast you can ensure that the rig will land where intended every time.

08 Go super sharp

Pressured carp equals wary carp and that means you have to try even hard to outwit them. Your biggest edge? An insanely sharp hook. If you’ve got the knack and the patience, then sharpening your own with a file is great. If not, opt for the sharpest hook you can find.

09 Add a PVA foam nugget

Attach a nugget of PVA foam to your hook before every cast. Whilst its main job is to prevent the rig from tangling on the cast, the foam does have a few other advantages. It protects the all-important hook point from damage while positioning a rig on a spot and once it comes off the rig and rises to the surface, will give you a very temporary marker to bait up to. You can alter how long the foam takes to dissolve and come free of the rig by altering how much you compress the foam. Use it straight out of the bag and it’ll come free far quicker than if you squeeze the nugget.

10 Bait other areas

Even when you’ve found spots that you’re happy to fish for the duration of a session, always look to bait a couple of other areas too. These are often margin spots alongside overhanging trees, reeds and even the margins along quiet sections of bankside that you can keep an eye on easily and drop a rod onto if you see any feeding activity. Often these little spots can lead to a bonus capture or two and they also give you a Plan B, should fishing the other spots not go entirely to plan.

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