River Carp

Fri 07 November 14


With a number of river carp under my belt I thought I would let you know how I began my search for these nomadic fish. Having just moved the Cambridge area I was determined to find out some good locations to begin targeting a number of different species. River carp were on the hit list and something I knew was not going to be easy.

As with all my fishing I did a serious amount of research, talking to local angling clubs, looking on line, speaking to tackle shops and actually getting out there a walking or in some cases running the banks! Through talking to local anglers I got the picture it had been a tough year with fewer carp showing themselves and locating pockets of carp being trickier than normal. In the back of my head the only thing I could hear was “challenge” and I love a challenge!

Due to the nature of my job I have been able to explore a huge amount of the river and drain system around the Anglian region which has helped no end. Even my run to work has enabled me to find a few spots where I have seen individual carp and in on case and group of twelve basking in the sun!!! As soon as fish had been located there was no time to mess about. I would be loading up the kit ASAP and heading to the area the fish had been spotted.
All of the locations I have stumbled across have been slow flowing areas, which have allowed for easy baiting and fantastic presentation of a hook bait.
When looking for areas that might hold carp on the river there is only one word for it ‘features’. Whether it be weirs, overhanging trees, inlets, sewage outlets, confluence of two channels, islands and the list goes on. These features are excellent areas that the carp can stop at on their journeys, patrolling the miles and miles of river available to them in search of food. My two most productive areas during my stint on the river were just downstream of weirs, fishing tight to overhanging trees. At both areas I had seen fish and had had instant results from acting immediately on the sightings!
I don’t think bait is massively important it is more the location, river carp are not as pressured as lake fish and won’t have seen too many rigs etc.

I was using for most of my fishing CC Moore’s XXX and the NEW Equinox. The Equinox is a spiced-fruit bait which has been performing very well during field testing. I have also been playing around with some pop ups produced by a good friend Tom Oliver who works for ‘For Life Experiences’ (and angling centre www.forlifeexp.com).
My set up was not far off from how I would fish a lake for carp due to the slow flows, however there were a few fundamental differences. Hook size was increased, rig material strength was increased and the length of shrink tub was also increased.
I was basically beefing things up as I was told river carp don’t take any S### and have a tendency to power off down the river after being nailed!

The Kit:

Rods – Greys Prodigy 3lb tc
Reels – Shimano Ultegra 5500 XTC
Line – Ultima Power Carp Ultra 14lb

End Tackle:

3ft – 35lb Leadcore
Gardner Lead Clips and Tail Rubbers
3oz Flat Coated Leads
20lb ESP Stripteaze Hooklink
Quick Link Swivels
Size 6 Gardner Mugga Hooks
Small Rig Rings
Medium Shrink Tubing
Rig Putty
Cork Sticks
Nut Drill
Anti Tangle Sleeves
Gardner Point Doctor
PVA Foam
PVA Mesh

On the completed rig I like to put an angled cut in the shrink tube creating a point. It at really helps to pull the hook into the fish’s mouth as pressure from the lead is applied. A standard straight cut does not have the same aggressive effect. Definitely worth having a play with.
The rig itself varies from 6 inches to 8 inches, this is purely down to the flow situation. The strong the flow the longer the rig. I find with faster flows a long rig ends up sitting better than a short one. However if there are low flows it is more or less like fishing a lake and a short rig is sufficient.

I apply putty just at the join where I have stripped back the coating on the braid. This balances the bait to sit it perfectly off the bottom. Always check your rigs in the shallows or bait tub filled with water. The second piece of putty makes a massive difference at pinning the whole rig down.

I attach a mesh PVA bag of 2 Equinox and 2 XXX crumbled boilies, the bag is squeezed gently into a square shape. I find this stops the bag rolling on the bottom making sure there are less chances of tangles etc. I also attach a couple of nuggets of foam around the hair and hook to stop the hair tangling on the cast and also stopping any chance of the hook getting snagged on debris.

All of this is then glugged in the matching glug to hook bait.

I have had to play around with corking my baits at the pop ups I have been using are too small to balance the bait. However they have been devastating to say the least. I have had a great deal of success on the Condensed Milk and Aniseed as well as the Blackcurrant and Peach, both of which are made by Tom Oliver. I should be getting some 15mm pop ups very soon and can’t wait.

I always hook the corked boilie through the end where the cork stick is visible, then the pop up with a slice removed is attached. The removal of a slice from the pop up makes it sit perfectly flush with the boilie. Not sure what the fish think but maybe it I have a mild case of OCD, but in my mind the presentation looks better! Also don’t forget to check your hooks and keep them as sharp as you possibly can. I am currently using the Gardner Point Doctor to keep my points super sharp.

One last point, if you have boat traffic don’t forget some decent back leads. They will stop you from losing a lot of tackle!!!!!
So the finished rig…..

And with the PVA and rig foam……

In water……

I am really looking forward to next August/September when I will have another hit on the rivers for the Carp. I now know the spots to return to and a couple of others that I would like to try. I am also going to be trying out a new prototype bait made by local bait company MAD BAITS whose bait is put some incredible fish on the bank of late.

All the best

Andy Loble


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