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by Angling Times |

Here is everything that you need to know about surface fishing for carp. we've got tips, rigs and bait choices for you to look at, to make sure that you're fully prepared for a surface fishing session on the bank. Here is every you need to know about catching carp off the top.

SluuRrp! There’s nothing quite like the sound of a carp taking floating baits off the top.

Fishing with floaters is one of the most exciting ways to catch. You can watch the fish up close and personal as, one by one, they suck down your biscuits or pellets.

And, now we’re enjoying this amazing summer weather, it’s the perfect time to give it a go!

There are three types of carp on the target list for the Catch22 Challenge – common, mirror and F1 – but it’s mirrors and commons you’re likely to catch on floaters.

For many anglers, stalking a big carp in the evening light, feeding it floaters, then watching it take a hookbait right in front of you is one of the best-ever ways to catch.

It can be incredibly frustrating, too, as you watch the fish take all the baits you’ve fed, only to leave the one with your hook in it!

So careful feeding, and edges that affect how your hookbaits work in the water, can be crucial.

Here are a few such tricks to help you tick mirror and common carp off your Catch22 Challenge list… have a great time doing it!



The key to success lies in the feeding. The way to get the best out of your swim is to feed freebies on a little-and-often basis.

It’s worth spending time (as much as half-an-hour if necessary) before casting a baited rig out to really build up the carp’s confidence.


Smaller hooks and low diameter lines will definitely get you more takes off the top. Try using a size 10 hook coupled with a purpose-designed floater fishing hooklink of pre-stretched mono. With this you get a very fine diameter for a given breaking strain.

Start with a hooklink 3ft-5ft long, and change as need be depending on how the fish are feeding – you might find a shorter hooklength actually gets you more hook-ups.


You need a float that doesn’t dive too far into the water on the cast, so it will have less chance of spooking fish when you cast among them.

Look for floats that have some ‘bolt-rig’ element to their design (flat ends or sides) so that when a carp picks up the hookbait it is immediately met with resistance and is hooked by the inertia of the float, rather than you having to strike.

Carry a range of sizes, as this will allow you to fish further out if the fish move.

Set it up by threading your mainline through the middle of the float and fix it in place with a small swivel. The swivel is used to attach your hooklength.


Ideally you want a bespoke floater line that has neutral buoyancy and doesn’t sink, otherwise your float will get dragged out of position, and when you strike or lift into a hooked fish you will have a load of slack line sunk in the water.

With the line on the surface and not sitting beneath the water the carp cannot come into contact with it, and so there is much less chance of them spooking.


You can use your normal carp rods for floater fishing but they can be a little heavy for this tactic, so it’s worth investing in a lighter, balanced set-up.

A lighter test curve rod of 1.75-2.75lb is ideal when matched to a 10,000 sized freespool reel. You can then fish for longer on the surface without getting arm ache, and it means you can fish with lighter breaking strain lines with no fear of them breaking.


If you sit in one swim all day you may be lucky to catch a couple of fish before they drift off elsewhere, but by following the pack you can catch a lot more!

Travel light, but always remember the essentials such as your landing net and unhooking mat.


1) Dog biscuits

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Rather than superglue dog biscuits (mixers) to the hook shank, hair-rig them instead. Use a bait band on the end of your hair and pull it through the drilled bait.

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2) Mix them up

Floating pellets and dog biscuits as loosefeed get the carp feeding with less caution and also give you more scope with your hookbait options.

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3) Pop-up boilies

A big, pop-up boilie remains buoyant for ages. So that the fish can suck it in, trim down the bait so it looks more like a mixer.

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4) Feed in a bag

Firing out baits at distance. can be tricky. Try putting them in a PVA bag so you can propel them out with a catapult.

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5) Bread

A piece of crust, or soft flake, stands out from the crowd. The hook can be hidden inside it, although bread does break down quite quickly once it gets wet.

Fake baits

6) Fake baits

Fake mixers and pellets are a great alternative to the real thing, and stay firmly on the hook. Also try fake bread, rig foam or small cubes of shaped cork.


Carp can become wary of floaters late in the season, so it can pay to make them a little different to keep the bites coming.

There are loads of flavourings on the tackle shop shelves for you to play around with.

Here’s how…

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  1. Take enough hookbaits for a session and place them in a large plastic bag. To flavour our baits we’re using Raspberry Plume Goo.
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  1. Squeeze some Goo on to the pellets. You don’t need much of this potent stuff for it to work well.
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  1. Goo flavours and colours the baits. Experimenting with different colours can be fun.
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  1. Fill the bag with air, seal, and shake the baits until they’re coated evenly with the flavouring.
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  1. Leave to dry and you’ll end up with lovely, flavour-packed floaters that the carp can’t resist!
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