1. Ian Poole
"Know the lake's topography"
“I think one of the biggest edges for anyone at this time of the year is to ensure that you’re up to speed on the topography of your chosen venue. In particular, being aware of exactly where the shallowest water can be located is absolutely essential. Once the sun is on their backs, the carp will know exactly where to go to find the most comfortable water and if you know where they are heading, you can try and stay one step ahead, targeting them with whatever tactics are suitable for the day in question. Along with this, I’ve always got gear with me to attack the fish at whatever level I think they might be located, from the bottom to the surface and everywhere in-between.”
2. Iain Macmillan
"Use your eyes and ears"
“There are actually two edges for this time of year,” begins experienced carper, Iain Macmillan, “and that’s your eyes and ears. The simple thing is, if you’re not on fish then you won’t catch them, and I know you all hear it time and time again, but how many times (myself included) do we see signs of carp and you don’t respond to them?
“Spring is the time in my opinion that the carp are at their most vulnerable, they will be showing and cleaning themselves off and a single bait or a Zig will normally give you the desired results, but only if you chuck it in the correct place, which again falls back into the location point I’m making. Both of the above edges are totally FREE too, try staying up after dark or even set your alarm for ‘stupid o’clock’ in the night, you’ll be very surprised just how active they can be once nightfall is upon us. So keep your eyes and ears open and don’t be afraid to move at the drop of a hat and again stay active and aware of what’s occurring on the pond.”
3. Simon Crow
"Be willing to travel"
“Mine would most definitely be my willingness to travel to the lake for only a few hours of fishing. More specifically I’ll go when I know the fish are about to feed, by getting to know the feeding times on the water and then ensuring I’m there an hour or so before to get the rods in position. I’ll then stay for a few hours, sometimes travelling as much as 100 miles round trip just to get the rods out for a few hours. Last spring I did it regularly on Emmotland, the lake I was targeting, and came away with some fabulous fish.
I got myself into the habit of getting up at 4am to get to the lake for first light when I knew there was a good feeding time, then packing up at 9.30am and shooting off to work. It obviously helps if you have a job with flexi-hours but you have to have a lot of desire to back it up too, as it takes a lot of effort.”
4. Kev Hewitt
“May is a fantastic time of year for carp fishing, the water temperatures have warmed significantly and carp can often
be seen cruising around on a hot day. My biggest edge at this time of year is my eagerness to pursue a floater-caught carp. I always carry a rod made up ready-to-go and spend many hours floater fishing during the hotter days. Every fish caught on a floater is a bonus when rods on the deck will only result in motionless bobbins during the day. Over the last three years, I have put a lot of effort into floater fishing and have been fortunate enough to catch a number thirties and even two forties off the top, all fish that wouldn’t be in my album if I had sat it out with rigs on the deck.”
5. Shaun Harrison
“I guess the easy answer is thirty-plus-years of fishing for carp at this time of the year, but I guess that helps no one. Carp start to cover a lot of ground this time of the year always looking like they are on a mission rather than browsing and feeding heavily. Spawn and milt will be building up inside of them so I find holding back from using a lot of bait has worked best for me coming out of the colder months. I also keep at least one rod roving around the swim with a very obvious bright pop-up on. It works year in and year out for me even on the most difficult of waters, where a take on a bright ‘in-your-face-bait’ later in the year can often become difficult to tempt.”
6. Rob Hughes
"Get on the zigs"
“Use your eyes and your zigs,” states underwater carping veteran, Rob Hughes. “They’ve started moving now and a lot of the time you don’t know whether they are on the top or the bottom. However, they’re probably in the middle so Zigs are the way forward unless the water is horribly coloured. Keep your eyes open for signs of fish and be prepared to move on them, as they may be in the most unlikely of places. Finally, look out for birds, specifically seagulls, as anything swooping over the water will spook carp in the upper layers giving the game away and scream at you to put a Zig on them.”