There are plenty of anglers that just can’t get along with pole fishing and they’ll never cash in their rod and reel.
Many in this category regularly rely on the feeder to get their fix but we’ve reached a time of year where it just isn’t as effective as it was a few months ago.
While it is still deadly up against islands and in shallow water, it can be a long wait in between bites when chucking into deeper water because many of the fish are sitting off the bottom.
The answer to the problem is simple – switch to the waggler! This style enables you to explore the entire water column and Dan Hull wouldn’t be without it.
“When the water is cold the fish are likely to be close to the bottom but now that is has warmed up they could be sat at any depth,” explained the Dynamite Baits and Middy-backed angler.
“The beauty of the waggler is that it enables you to make subtle tweaks that can put you in touch with fish in an instant.”
But there’s much more to it than just chucking out a waggler and merely hoping for the best as Dan revealed…
Discreet or blatant?
There are lots of elements that will determine how many carp you catch. Arguably the most important of the lot is the type of float you use.
Modern waggler fishing on commercials is widely associated with using a float that causes a commotion when it hits the surface. This noise draws in fish that link it with the sound of food breaking the surface.
That isn’t always the case though, and analysing the form of the venue and the conditions is a must before make your choice.
“If you are on a venue that is in top form and you are fishing in really warm conditions then a chunky pellet waggler that makes a lot of commotion will work well.
“Alternatively, if anglers have struggled of late then it pays to use a more traditional, lighter waggler that will enter the water more discreetly. This is because fish that are cagier and not actively looking for bait are more likely to spook away from any disturbance rather than being attracted to it.”
Setting a routine
Whatever type of waggler you use, you can’t afford to be lazy. When presenting a hookbait up in the water, the carp will smell a rat and ignore it if it’s sat motionless for long periods.
Casting every 30-60 seconds keeps the hookbait falling through the water column and a similar routine is also required when it comes to feeding.
“I only feed five pellets each time I pick up the catapult but I’m doing this every 30 seconds,” said Dan.
“I feed just before I cast out and then if I don’t get a bite within 20 seconds I twitch the float and ping a few more over the top. If that still doesn’t work I repeat the whole process.”
The only exception to this rule is when he suspects the fish are still in the peg but have wised up to the routine. In this scenario, he makes a couple of casts without catapulting any bait. This forces any carp that wants to feed to take the hookbait.
Dan starts the session fishing at 2ft deep. Failure to catch at that depth indicates the fish are sat below his hookbait and he adjusts the rig to fish a foot deeper. On the flip side, he shallows up in six-inch increments if he is missing bites or foul-hooking fish.
Picking your bait
Pellets are the only bait that Dan feeds when fishing the waggler for carp at this time of year.
The size he uses is dependent on the distance he is casting.
“I use the smallest pellet I can get away with to reach the spot where I think the fish are. More often than not 6mm pellets do the trick but if I need to go further and can’t reach the area with them, I step up to heavier 8mm pellets that can be catapulted the required distance.”
In most situations Dan matches his hookbait to what he is feeding. From time to time, however, it can pay to hook something completely different to fool any bigger, wily carp. A Dynamite Baits Washter is his change bait because they sink at a slower rate than pellets, giving fish that aren’t actively feeding and sat just under the surface the chance to engulf it.
Working the peg
Feeding the same spot is an area to work off but every cast doesn’t need to go in the same hole!
“It’s inevitable that the odd pellet will fly away from the target and I am convinced that the bigger carp that are caught less often sit back and feed on these.
“With this in mind, casting a few feet away from where you feed can produce the goods from time to time. I’ve lost count of the number of times the bites have dried up and then a chuck to a random spot produces a proper lump!”
Put in the effort then there’s very few tactics that can offer the excitement of summer waggler sport.