In carp fishing small things can make a big difference!


26-8Towards the end of April I had a week on one of the Angling Lines venues called Long Lake. I have written an article on the weeks fishing on the Angling Lines’ venue website. Now although I didn’t catch any massive fish I did catch a few. But the main thing that the week brought home to me was how little things can make all the difference in fishing.

On Long Lake you book a swim for the week. Each swim has its’ own ‘end of swim marker’s’ which show the angler the exact area of water he has in front of him and should stop anglers encroaching on each other’s water.

I had got swim number 4 which was pretty much in the centre of the lake but also by far the narrowest part of the lake.I set up the marker float and plumbed the depths etc. About 10 to 15 feet back from the ‘end of swim marker’ I had an area that sloped from (left to right ) 12 feet deep to 14 feet deep. Now with the weather predictions I would have thought this was perfect so I marked up 3 rods plus the spod rod to fish this area.

I started fishing on Sunday morning but by Monday lunchtime I had only caught 1 fish whereas Paul Cooper who was on swim number 3 had caught about a dozen fish. I needed to change something as my swim obviously wasn’t working for me. I reeled all the rods in and got the marker rod out again. The lake bed in swim no.4 resembled an ‘egg box’ with peaks and troughs all over the place. Just 15 foot back from my original mark I found an area of only about 12 feet wide which was between 10 ½ and 11 feet deep (I must have been more tired than I thought to miss this on Saturday). I remarked the rods and the spod to concentrate on this area. This new area produced 5 fish that first night. To cut a long story short this small area produced 23 fish for me over the next four days whilst the rest of the swim produced absolutely nothing. This just goes to show how such a small change can make a big difference. A very small change in depth and area made a massive difference. I am convinced if I hadn’t made this change I would have caught very little during the week. Its all too easy to sit there thinking your swim is dead when a ’small tweak’ to what you are doing could bring it to life.

I have encountered similar instances on other waters, where although there is no discernible change in the make up of the lake bed (silt or weed etc), a small change in location has made a big difference. I guess we just have to except that the carp are wild animals and a law unto themselves and as such will always have their own favourite places. Even in a relatively heavily stocked water such as Long Lake it doesn’t take much for your bait to be in the wrong place. This is something always worth bearing in mind when fishing a new water, be prepared to try a lot of new spots as quite often you may discover an underwater ‘hotspot’ that isn’t visually obvious.

Along with hemp and pellet I took Quest shelf lifes’ with me which included Rahja Spice 15mm and 20mm boilies and Special Crab 15mmboilies. This was another thing that became noticeable during the week, despite trying different set ups (pop-ups, double baits, snowmen etc.) the carp seemed to prefer a single 20mm Rahja Spice bottom bait to anything else. In fact all bar one of my fish fell to this presentation. Again it just shows how small things make a difference and how taking a variety of baits is always a good thing to do.

Pat Gillett


2 thoughts on “In carp fishing small things can make a big difference!

  1. Gareth says:

    Hi Pat,

    You are so right on how one area of a swim can produce virtually all you takes…
    I set up a few years ago on a lake up near Caen for a weekend.. I used a marker to find areas as was happy with my spots…

    After a few hours and no runs, I saw a fish lump out several times round to my right. This was a fair way from where I had place my baits as I had a superb gravel spit in front of me.
    Well after the fish showing on about five occasions in a short space of time I cast to it. This resulted in a 20lb mirror on the bank. So I repositioned two rods on this spot, and during the weekend had 22 carp from an area I had not even looked at during my initial feature finding session.

    The original spots produced just one carp all weekend. Like you if I hadn’t cast to that showing fish I’m convinced I’d have struggled to catch more than a fish or two.

    By the way as I caught steadily I never managed top get a marker out to discover why… I just figured that to do so would have ruined th swim… But it goes to show you need to be in tune and to find out where the fish feed…

    I wonder if the Belgian anglers know this… 😉


  2. Pat Gillett says:

    Hi Gareth,
    The thing that i found most ‘strange’ about the week was that the spot that produced all the takes was only about 15 feet back from my original spot. There was no noticeable change to the make-up of the lake bed. The only change was a slight change in depth (about 2 feet shallower). Until the last day of the week there were also no fish showing in this area.

    I did try the original spot again through the week to see if fish had just moved into the area but to no avail as the same small area kept producing.

    Has you say it is something that can happen quite often. The same thing happened on Cedar lake year when a small open water spot produced 20 odd fish while the other rods hardly did anything.

    I guess as anglers we have to be prepared to try and find these little ‘hotspots’ and to be prepared to admit we are wrong when our original choice of area (which seemed perfect to us) fails to produce.

    The preference of the carp to 20mm baits as opposed to anything else was also a bit odd (I could have understood this if the carp had been hammered on small baits, but this was not the case). Again this is something I have experienced on a few other occasions, not only with carp but also with barbel. Usually if you use something different to everybody else it pays off. That’s why I have found it pays to always carry a variety of baits with you and be prepared to ‘chop and change’ until you find the right combination.


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