Carp fishing sensation Scott Lloyd has given us his top ten essential tips to carp fishing. Take a look below to see what you can add to your next session.
Not only is having a well-padded unhooking mat an absolute essential for fish care, but the right one can be handy for transporting kit around the lake. I’m always on my toes and if I see an opportunity of a quick bite I want to be round there and on it. The Thinking Anglers mat is superb for protecting the fish, it folds on itself, and has buckles and straps. So I can transport a couple of rods, a net, some tackle and bait, all folded inside.
These have been a revelation for me in recent years. If the carp are within 30 yards of the bank, I can normally find them, but if they’re further out, the only clue to their presence can be a few small bubbles or a slight surface disturbance.
Sometimes you can’t be sure whether it’s a fish or just a bug going across the surface, but the binoculars will let you know just what’s going on, instantly. I use the Fortis ones and their range and clarity is incredible.
Strong, reliable hooks
Perhaps the most vital piece of kit in your entire armoury – strong, sharp, reliable hooks. The Thinking Anglers ones tick the boxes, and the chod patterns, in particular, could pull a car in! I know it’s all the rage, but I don’t tend to sharpen my hooks either, as any tinkering could potentially damage the point or weaken the hook.
Safe to say, if you have any doubt about the hooks you use, give something else a go
Fluoro leaders and putty
Having watched carp freak out countless times when they come into contact with mainline, I try to keep everything pinned down, particularly the 6ft or so above the rig. Fluorocarbon mainline helps massively, but with mono or braid, I’ll use a fluoro leader. To be extra sure, I add a few blobs of tungsten putty along the leader too, as well as putty or a tungsten dropper bead on my coated braid hooklinks.
I carry three spools each of braid, mono and fluorocarbon. Each one suits different fishing situations. I use braid the majority of the time, as it allows me to fish accurately and helps land carp in weedy situations.
However, not all lakes allow braid, which is why I carry the other two.
If I’m fishing close in, or with naked chods, then I use the fluorocarbon. If I need to fish a little bit further out, then I would use the mono, as it casts far better.
If you need to move in the night, make rigs or simply deal with a fish, the last thing you want to be doing is shining the light on your iPhone. A good quality, reliable head torch is vital. I take a spare, as well as plenty of extra batteries.
Cap and glasses
If I left these at home, I’d go to the nearest shop to buy some more – they’re that important!
The polarised glasses take off the surface glare and the cap shields my eyes. Both stay on my head at all times until it gets dark!
A good mix of baits
I like to carry a wide selection of hookbait colours, smells and buoyancies – bright pop-ups and wafters in both fruit and fish flavours, ‘match the hatch’
pop-ups, and some bottom baits – typically plenty of Krill boilies in both 12mm and 16mm.
I take particles too, especially in summer, typically hemp, maples and crushed and whole tiger nuts.
I also stash ‘extras’ in the van, such as pellets, powders, liquids and floating baits. These won’t go off, and ensure I can cover every eventuality!
Carp in busy day-ticket waters soon learn to deal with standard set-ups, and most anglers use leads in the 2oz-3oz range. Having watched countless fish feed in the edge over the years, I know they find big leads much harder to deal with. I use anything from 5oz upwards.
Big leads also hold the bottom better, helping to counteract the effects of undertow or drifting weed.
Not only are waders great for going into the lake and placing rigs, but they are also great for getting out in the water to allow you to get a better view of the lake.
On a lot of the places I fish, the swim gives you a narrow view and you are limited to what you can see.
With the waders, I get to go out on the shallow margins and look up and down the lake for carp.
They are also great for handling and dealing with carp, which makes them an essential in my book!