Former champion decathlete Dean Macey likes nothing more than to get down to his local lake for some early-spring carping. So here are some clever carp fishing tips to help him catch...
“My springtime mindset is all about small parcels of loosefeed, regularly fed all day, to keep the swim active.
“If you try to force the issue by feeding heavily at the start you might get one or two early fish but they don’t tend to settle at this time of year. Better to fish for one bite at a time, rather than try to empty the place from the off.
“If the swim is lifeless, I’ll add a bit more feed. Just a couple of catapults or small Spombs over the top will add fresh smell, make a noise and ring the dinner bell.”.
Zigs will catch!
“I never leave home without some gear for zig-rigging to fish from the bottom up. The fish are looking to feed after winter in preparation for spawning, so they tend to move quickly around the water, looking for easy meals.
“I look for ‘shows’ first – ideally fish crashing out rather than just lifting their heads and shoulders through the surface. This means they are moving around the water.
“Start at a two-thirds depth and offer your hookbait up or down to find the level at which fish are feeding.”
Use bait wisely
“Even if I’m zig-rigging, I’ll still put down a bed of loosefeed so I can fish a simple carp rig on the bottom later on.
“It’s easy to combine feed for zigging and bottom fishing. I use a Spod mix including hemp, 10mm Mainline Cell or New Grange boilies and enough liquidised bread and Mainline Cloud 9, mixed 50/50, until a thick porridge is formed.
“The Cloud 9 and liquidised bread form a cloud in the upper layers, great for zig fishing, while the hemp and boilies sink quickly, allowing me to fish effectively on the bottom with a second rod. The Cloud eventually sinks and forms a light covering on the deck.”
Feed & fish tight
“At this time of year, carp
tend to feed only in short spells, so make sure you are fishing effectively over your feed. I’ll use a Spomb to loosefeed, then place one rig right in the centre of the feed, and one on the edge.
“The bigger, more wary fish tend to hang off the bait which is why they are rarely caught.
“Just like a match angler when fishing the feeder, I’ll line up my swim with a permanent far-bank marker before tying line markers on to my mainline. These allow me to clip up so I’m able to hit the same spot, every cast.”
“If the lake has a silty bed, which many do, my bottom rig will consist of 15ins of coated braid to aid presentation. I’ll add a small PVA bag of pellets which slows the rig’s descent and helps it to settle gently on the soft bottom.
“I also fish a size 6 hook, tied KD style where the hair comes off the hook just under the eye.
“With a heavy hook and a light hookbait, the hook point is always looking to drop down and find a latching point – as proved by the five fish I’ve caught today. All were nailed in the bottom lip, an inch down the throat.”