CARPology 3 Issue Subscription (Worldwide) From £14.25
Subscribe
Share
Share
Pin
Features
28 Mar 2015
by CARPology
The thinking behind feeding times
Five of CARPology's favourites give their thoughts when it comes feeding times

1 Mat Woods

“I’ve experienced ‘known’ feeding times on a variety of venues, with the colder months providing much more specific windows of opportunity. On one venue my mate Colin and I used to move swims based around the times we had caught previously. Rather than waiting for one bite in one swim, we were roving from snag-to-snag at the times those snags had produced on other sessions. It really worked! You need to be fairly in tune with a venue, though. It’s not like you’re going to turn up and everybody’s going to tell you the score. It’s easy to ruin your chances by reeling in at the wrong time, so I don’t recast too often if I’m confident of where the baits are sitting.

“The window of opportunity can move week-by-week. At times you can set your watch by the fish, but if you aren’t fishing a venue regularly enough to predict what might be about to happen, don’t even try. Just get on with your own thing, because there are a million and one reasons why carp feed.”

2 Simon Crow

“Carp as a species are classed as diurnal feeders in that daylight hours trigger them to feed, mainly dawn and dusk. However, if you apply some angling pressure to them this goes all over the place and they will feed at any time, even in the night. On the more heavily fished waters feeding can be very defined, almost down to the exact minute on a day-to-day basis and seeing this happen is simply amazing because it leaves you scratching your head asking “why?” No-one can answer this question exactly, so the best thing anglers can do is make the most of any feeding times which are identified.

“As someone with very limited fishing time, I’m always trying to fish at the times when I think I have a good chance of getting a bite. Regularly I’ll get up early and make my way to the lake at ridiculous o’clock so that I can get my baits out before a known feeding time arrives. A good example was a couple of years ago when I fished the Northern Stillwater targeting Trigga and Trio, two very famous Yorkshire carp. I only had a day book which allowed me on the water from 5am till 10pm, but I quickly found out that a lot of carp were getting caught from 6am till 10am, so I narrowed my fishing down to mornings only, heading off to work straight after. In an evening I’d nip down to bait up and whatever the weather I’d be there for 5am the next day. The effort was worth it and I went on to bag both of my targets at 37lb 2oz and 39lb 10oz not long after.

“I’ve done exactly the same thing on several other waters, even arriving at midnight and getting the baits out for a couple of hours. Some will call me mad, but it’s all about increasing your chances when time is at a premium. It can be done by anyone too, it just depends how much you want something.”

3 Gary Bayes

“An hour either side of last light and first light have always been good to me, especially on weedy natural waters. My theory is the carp’s instinct is to cash in on natural foods such as shrimp, dragon fly larvae etc. that hide in the weed all day and then go out onto open water to hunt after dark. I believe this natural food builds up in eatable concentrations at the edge of the weed on the way out and the way in and the carp know it. As long as you get the bait positioned really close to the weed edge, literally within inches, takes are guarantied on some waters which is why it’s so important to plumb really accurately.

“I’ve cashed in on this by making ultra buoyant marker floats using 50 and 100ml bottles with sliding 20mm rings on the running link to find the weed edges, we since developed the Nash Weed Markers. Holes in the weedbeds that the carp open out are also evidence of the carp working this, there is always more naturals at the edge of weed, seeking cover and light, than there is in the thick of the weed. I love fishing weedy waters because the features are so easy and on an overnighter the best two feeding times are both covered.”

4 Jason Hayward

“I generally find (and no surprises here) that the period of the first 3hrs of daylight to be the best feeding time on most waters these days. I always like to have my baits (rigs, free offerings etc.) perfectly (and I mean PERFECTLY) in position from the previous evening if at all possible. Once I’m happy with them, I will not move them (recast etc.) unless absolutely necessary until I’m pretty certain the main feeding time has passed. This is usually about 3-4hrs after I know the feeding time has gone, because stubbornness and human arrogance prevents me from believing I’ve not had a take. It’s the classic fisherman’s excuse of ‘one more cast!’

“The water I fished last year had an unbelievably tight window of around the 10am time, save for maybe an hour-and-a-half either side of this. Out of about 50 takes I had for the year, minus the few I caught by stalking, floaters etc., around 90% of the takes came in this window. Curiously, when this pattern started to materialise early in the spring, I was sure the feeding time would start to get earlier and earlier in the day as the summer wore on, but it never did! The carp wanted to feed then and that was that, and I started to find the fishing a little predictable and boring if I’m honest. I would go to bed at night desperately willing the alarms to wake me from my sleep. It was a somewhat sobering thought to know that for the vast majority of the time I could have switched my bite alarms off at night and it would not have mattered! It wasn’t for trying different baits, swims, methods, etc. either.

“I’m sure most feeding times are influenced by temperature, oxygen levels and light factors, but when the feeding time has passed when fishing on ‘spots’ out in the lake etc., the carp can be coerced to feed on floaters, in the margins and elsewhere in the lake, which indicates to me that perhaps we are getting ‘done’ on the usual feeding areas far more than we think. This subject should be discussed further in The Rotary Letter.”

5 Ian Chillcott

“For me feeding times are anytime, but bite times can be very specific. And there is a world of difference between the two. Carp are opportunist feeders and will very often just nibble around the edges of a baited area, a bite in these circumstances can be very hard to come by. It is more often not until you have several carp feeding on your bait, creating competition, that a bite materialises.

“Atmospherics play a huge part in feeding, for example, they are rarely prepared to feed when the sun is blazing at midday in August. It may take until the early morning for the fish to get in the mood.

“Much will depend on how many carp you are fishing for, but I do like to keep my baited area topped up, even if I am getting no action on my buzzers. Even carp that aren’t feeding heavily will clear up a large amount of bait during the day. Knowing what the best time is for a bite is handy, but not always the route to success. Set up an hour before and you may get the bite you desire. More often than not though, you need to have set the traps a long time before and this gives the carp the encouragement and confidence to feed heavily. This is a huge subject, so I can only hope my meagre offering helps!”

Also Recommended
Why you should watch your bobbins
10/04/2017
Features
Why you should watch your bobbins
Ellis Brazier offers his thoughts on fishing for liners, and what those lifts and drops on the bobbin actually mean
10/04/2017
Features
How to find the fish this spring
10/04/2017
Features
How to find the fish this spring
One of the key elements to spring success - get this bit right and you’re laughing
10/04/2017
Features
What matters more? Hook size or pattern?
07/04/2017
Features
What matters more? Hook size or pattern?
We ask our team of experts...
07/04/2017
Features
Do you know your Simmos from your Leneys?
05/09/2017
Features
Do you know your Simmos from your Leneys?
Here's your guide to understanding each strain of carp you'll find here in the UK courtesy of fish expert, James Anderson
05/09/2017
Features
Do slack lines cost anglers fish?
07/04/2017
Features
Do slack lines cost anglers fish?
We ask Terry Hearn...
07/04/2017
Features
How to take the perfect self-take
06/04/2017
Features
How to take the perfect self-take
Follow these simple steps to take the perfect self-take every time
06/04/2017
Features
5 essentials for early spring fishing
04/04/2017
Features
5 essentials for early spring fishing
We ask four experts what their top five items are
04/04/2017
Features
Does light scare off fish?
04/04/2017
Features
Does light scare off fish?
Does light scare fish? I once heard if you shone a torch into the water you could see the carp but it doesn’t spook them. Is that correct? Wiliam Reeves, via email
04/04/2017
Features
Dial scales or digital scales? What's best?
04/04/2017
Features
Dial scales or digital scales? What's best?
We ask Terry Hearn for his thoughts...
04/04/2017
Features
Operation Freedom: Part 9
03/04/2017
Features
Operation Freedom: Part 9
Alex, Patricia and Norman the pigeon, head in the direction of Italy: the land of beautiful weather, wonderful food and huge carp
03/04/2017
Features
How to make less noise when spodding bait out
17/07/2017
Features
How to make less noise when spodding bait out
And more importantly, make life a lot easier when it comes to reeling it back in
17/07/2017
Features
How to improve your line lay
30/03/2017
Features
How to improve your line lay
Bin those ‘I could have caught more’ thoughts thanks to Steve Hall’s advice
30/03/2017
Features