Match scales have been groaning this week with several 300lb-plus bags of carp taken by competition anglers across the country.
But while a number of methods can be responsible for mega-hauls, right now there is one technique that stands head and shoulder above all the others... ‘dobbing’.
Cambridgeshire’s Decoy Lakes has once again shown the way, with a 395lb winning haul for ace ‘dobber’ Chris Barley, who took his haul from peg 29 on the famous Beastie Lake.
“Dobbing is a fantastic way of catching carp on the pole in warm weather with little wind” he said. “It’s a case of watching for fish and presenting a bait on the pole in the right way for them to take it without hesitation. You can see the fish, and you’re presenting your bait directly to them. It’s very accurate, and a often the fish won’t refuse it if you do it right.”
The matchman from Kettering, Northants, takes several baits with him for a dobbing match, his choice determined by the depth at which the fish are cruising near the surface.
“I’ll use either 6mm Dynamite Baits XL pellets, maggots, or casters,” he revealed. “Which one I choose on the day is determined by the height of the fish in the water.
“Sometimes they’re right at the surface, in which case I’ll use a slow-sinking bait such as a bunch of maggots. However, on other occasions they’re a few feet down and I’ll use fast-sinking baits such as pellets to get down to them.”
Chris believes that carefully observing the fish is crucial to success: “When watching the carp you will notice that some will swim rapidly, whereas others move more slowly,” he added.
“A fast-swimming carp needs to be stopped, and a good way to do this is to lay your rig in with a splash, and also to feed a couple of free offerings in its direction.
“On the other hand, if a fish is moving around slowly then a rig laid in delicately can be the best way to fool it. To be honest, though, there are no hard and fast rules; it’s always best to find out what’s working best on the day.”
While dobbing is often associated with being a method for open water, Chris reckons the deadly ruse can be used in all areas of the swim, and that it’s worth targeting fish wherever you can see them.
“It’s always helpful if you have shaded water, as it’s easier to spot the fish,” he said. “However, you’re not always in this position, so bringing some sunglasses will help cut through surface glare.”
Chris wasn’t the only angler to enjoy dobbing success recently, with a number of other matchmen amassing huge hauls.
Preston Innovations and Sonubaits ace Andy Power put 358lb 14oz on the scales at Viaduct Fishery’s Campbell Lake in Somerset, while Guru’s Pete Upperton put on a dobbing masterclass at Kent’s Monk Lakes to take an impressive 307lb 8oz.
Meanwhile, Catch More Media’s Jordan Holloway took a 300lb 5oz bag at Worcestershire’s Larford Lakes during a recent competition.