Prevent foul hooking carp when margin fishing

We've all done it at some time - foul hooked a carp in the fin or flank when pole fishing tight to the margins or an island. It's almost inevitable that the feeding carp will, at some time, swim into our lines and become foul-hooked.

Not only is this unsporting, but playing a foul-hooked carp is twice as hard as normal, putting your pole, elastic, hook and line under incredible pressure that often ends in disaster.

Although we cannot guarantee that this technique will prevent carp becoming foul-hooked, it will certainly decrease the chance of that happening. And in turn it will increase your confidence too.

Here's how it's done and how to tie it...

The key tackle requirements are a strong hook (eyed or spade end, it doesn't matter), strong mainline and a short dibber pole float. Then you'll need a handful of No8 shot to dot the float down to the bulbous sight tip.

When we say strong mainline, choose a high-tech line of around 0.18mm to 0.22mm diameter (between 6-10lb). That will be strong enough to cope with the rigors of this style of fishing.

All your shot should be placed together, in a line, below mid-depth.

You'll also need strong pole elastic. A grade 18 will be spot on, but you may get away with a 16 if the fish aren't enormous.

Finally, to fish this technique effectively you will need to use as short a line between pole tip and float. The reason for this is simple. You're going to have to push your rig as close to the margins or island as is possible. Having a short length of line above the float will help you do this effectively.

Plumb the depth carefully as your bait should just rest on the bottom an inch or two. Now you're ready to take the swim on, feed it and start catching.

The trick to the effectiveness of this rig is really very simple. If your rig is presented as close as possible to the margins it'll be positioned just out of the way of the feeding carp. Also, when a carp does pick up your bait and you strike, there's a very high likelihood that the carp will swim directly away from the margins and into open water, where you'll be able to gain control of it quickly. Obviously there's no way the carp can swim forwards, because of the island or the bank.

Take a look at the diagrams below and you'll see why it's important to fish as close as possible to the feature.