QUESTION 1: HOW DO I PLAY CARP ON THE POLE
Success with landing carp on the pole is all down to balanced tackle and well-tied knots. Go for a main line of 0.17mm minimum and a hooklength of 0.15mm, with strong size 18-14 hooks and No12 hollow elastic.
In terms of stopping a carp, it is not a good idea to try this as soon as it sets off. Chances are your pole will break due to the excess force put on it. Match your line to elastic strength and let both of these stop and subdue the fish. As a guide, for 8lb line a solid elastic of No 14 or 16 should work well.
To land carp safely, with minimum of fuss, follow our guidelines here.
QUESTION 2: GROUNDBAIT OR PINKIES FOR FEED?
You need to take into account a few things, namely depth, flow, water colour and the species that you are after. For instance, rudd much prefer loosefeed while skimmers and hybrids love groundbait. Deep moving water responds to crumb but shallow slow-moving water is not ideal for groundbait. Should you go down the groundbait route, make the mix slightly overwetted so that it forms a small ball the size of a walnut easily and so it can also carry a few loose items.
Consider the groundbaits being used because a light mix will be of no use – go for slightly sticky groundbaits designed to catch bottom-feeding species. Loosefeeding on the other hand is relatively simple, working on the tried and tested little and often principle. Pinkies are great feed for small fish but if the stamp of fish you are catching is good, change to casters as feed and on the hook for bigger specimens.
QUESTION 3: DO I HAIR RIG CORN?
Are you fishing the feeder or the pole? On the tip, hair-rigging works far better as a carp will have time to suck the bait in and hooking normally gives the fish the maximum chance to eject the bait but with a hair-rig it is often too late for the fish to spit the hook out!
Hair-rigging can work on the pole but corn is commonly hooked in the normal way as you are not relying on the fish hooking itself as happens when fishing the feeder. You need to strike hard and pull the hook through the bait.