Know your stuff | Casting tips and hookbait ideas!

Question 1. What are ideal conditions for fishing a long whip to hand on rivers?

When fishing up to 7m of whip to hand there will be a lot of line between the float and tip. If the wind is coming from the wrong direction it can drag the float off line, regardless of how heavy it is – so there will be conditions when the whip simply won’t work. 

The ideal wind to fish long in should be blowing over your shoulder or slightly upstream – in neither case will it drag the line in the wrong direction. A back wind makes flicking the rig out much easier, while an upstream blow will actually hold the line back against the flow, keeping the float on line.


Question 2. How much additive should I douse hookbaits in at this time of year?

You can never add too much attraction when the water goes cold and clear. A single hookbait leaking out plenty of smell and colour can now outscore a plain bait, especially where carp are concerned. 

With that in mind, give your boilies, pellets, corn or meat an extra-long soaking to lock in as much flavour as you can – top carp anglers will soak boilies in pots of liquid for days on end to get the job done. A quick dip before you cast out often won’t be enough. One word of warning about the liquid you use, though.

Oil-based dips aren’t fully effective in cold water as the temperature will see the liquid struggle to break down and leak off. Use a water-based additive instead.

Question 3. How does the location of carp on small lakes change from the summer to winter?

Cast around with a lead or plumb up on the float to locate the deepest areas. Clearing water will force carp out into the lake. A soft lakebed will hold the most natural food.

A feature is always worth exploring – on commercials this could be a aerator, as this provides some cover over the heads of the carp but an overhanging tree or bed of rushes against an island is equally good. However, the water will be slightly shallower here and so you may be best off waiting for the day to warm up fully before making your cast.

The same applies to the margins. Provided that there is a minimum of 3ft of water in this spot and some cover from reeds or dying lily pads, a carp or two will mooch into this spot late in the day so you should never ignore what’s under your feet.

Question 4. When should I point my feeder rod up in the air?

By pointing the rod up in the air you’ll keep line off the surface and reduce drag from the current. This way the tip won’t be bent round anywhere near as much. Having the rod low to the ground is the norm on still waters, allowing you to tuck the tip out of harm’s way. So keep the rod low on lakes or slow-flowing rivers, only putting it up in the air on powerful rivers.

Keep you tip high on big powerful rivers. 

Keep you tip high on big powerful rivers. 

Question 5. When would you use a bait dropper?

A bait dropper is a metal bowl-shaped device with a lid swinging on a hinge and a weight attached to its base. You fill it with feed, close the lid, attach your hook and either cast it or lower it in, allowing the weight to hit the bottom, triggering the lid to open and distribute the contents. 

This makes for accuracy of feeding in deep or fast-flowing water. You may be the most accurate of anglers when throwing in feed by hand but once in 10ft of water, it will spread out as it sinks across a wide area. Thus is no good if you are trying to keep things tight, especially in winter. A dropper will put the feed in the same place each and every time.

A bait dropper is a very accurate feeding device.

A bait dropper is a very accurate feeding device.