One of the joys of fishing is never knowing what you’re going to hook next. Even on commercial carp fisheries, this is true.
Aside from the big mirrors and commons you’ll find masses of F1s, barbel, skimmers, tench and roach. Target these correctly and you’ll have a brilliant day’s sport.
To catch them consistently, though, and to try and avoid the carp, you need a different approach. Light rigs fished through the water, small natural baits and regular feeding, plus trying to fish where the carp aren’t, are the keys. Once you get it right, the bites will be quick and you can start bagging.
Of course, a few carp will muscle in on the act, but when fishing this way they’re more of a bonus. With the right tackle set-up, you can land them easily too.
My favourite approach is to fish casters, loosefeeding them to create a column of bait through the water within which you can pick off fish at all depths.
Fish natural baits
For bait, use maggots or casters. Maggots will catch everything, but casters are a little more selective, and unbeatable for roach. Take a pint, but up that to three if there are lots of small fish.
Target close in
To catch quickly, fish in the deep water at the bottom of the near shelf, roughly 5m or 6m out. Feed by hand if the wind allows, starting with eight to 10 maggots or casters each time.
Try slim floats
Bites can come anywhere as the rig falls, so the set-up should match this. An F1 Slim-type float with strung-out No10 and No11 shot lets the bait fall slowly. Expect most bites as it settles.
It’s worth taking some groundbait if you’re likely to catch skimmers, but I’d use it only to kick the swim off with one ball, topping up when bites dictate. A sweet fishmeal mix is perfect.