Know your stuff | Where will carp be at this time of the year?

Question 1) How strong should i have my line for carp? 

A) The lighter the line you can use, the more bites you will get but you are right in saying that you can go too heavy – or, indeed, too light. So much depends on the size of fish in the lake and how many snags or hazards there are.

For instance, a swim with lots of reeds and lily pads that’s home to double-figure carp will need strong gear, while a lake with no obvious features and smaller
fish of around 2lb needs a gentler touch. It’s worth studying line diameters to ensure yours is fine enough – as a rule, the lower the number of the diameter, the finer it is, so a 0.10mm line will be lighter than 0.20mm.

For a typical commercial fishery swim where the carp are around 5lb apiece, pick a mainline of 6lb and a hooklength of 5lb breaking strain and you won’t go far wrong – but be prepared to step up substantially for big fish or in snaggy situations, when 8lb and 7lb lines will be much better.


Question 2) Is a paternoster or a running rig better for bream on the feeder?

A) The paternoster is a classic bream rig but is prone to tangling on the cast and retrieve. For that reason, more and more match anglers after bream on big lakes use a running rig, or one where the feeder runs inside a loop. That’s because bream bites today are much more positive than those trembling knocks on a quivertip that we used to get when fishing small hooks and baits. 

A braided mainline exaggerates the bite, and fishing with bigger hooks and larger baits such as corn, banded pellets or whole worms will give you a more positive indication. These baits produce a decent stamp of fish and will avoid smaller skimmers.

By having the feeder running on the mainline, the bite is transferred directly to the rod-tip without the fish feeling much resistance compared to a paternoster, where there’s the risk of the feeder being moved. A running rig is tangle-free and safe – if you suffer a mainline breakage when playing a fish, the feeder will be ditched.


Question 3) can I expect to catch carp shallow now it’s warmer?

A) On A warm spring day it’s likely that carp will feed up in the of water. The challenge is in finding exactly where they are. 

So start by setting your rig a foot off bottom and then loosefeed two or three pellets or maggots each time. Give this depth 15 or so minutes to see if you get any indications. Either you will get no bites, you’ll catch, or you’ll get knocks on the pole float or waggler that don’t result in hooked fish.

If you catch, then carry on at this depth but if the other two scenarios occur it’s time to come shallower. Slide the float up the line by 6ins, and fish and feed for another 10 or 15 minutes. Keep up this regime of shallowing up until you hook fish. All things being equal, you should have found the depth that the fish are feeding at when you do hook one.

Question 4) Do you always have to use big pellets for carp on commercial fisheries? 

A) At this time of year, there’s no need to fish with 8mm or 10mm hard pellets – a 4mm bait will look more natural and less suspicious in the water, especially to a carp whose appetite is not yet fully whetted. Take a selection of sizes and by all means begin with a big bait, but change around, depending on the response of the fish. 

Don’t forget expander pellets. These offer the carp something very different in terms of texture and weight than a hard pellet will. Again, begin with a big expander but be prepared to scale down if needed.