The carp fishing calendar – Adam Penning

by angling-times |
Updated on

Adam Penning reveals his carp fishing calendar and what he will be doing as the seasons progress…


Probably the most daunting month of the entire calendar. Often brutally cold and always tricky to extract a carp from, January can indeed be testing. Almost every winter we get a big Atlantic storm at the start of the year and, if I could, I’d be eager to capitalise on this. Boilie crumb and maggots would be the bait choice.


This can be a good month, especially towards the third week. I think this is entirely rooted in light levels, which will be very much on the increase. Even if the weather stayed really cold throughout the entire spring, the carp would start to get more and more active simply due to the increased light. February sees the first of the big hatches and is often a time I start to consider zigs. This can be a real big-fish month.


This can be a tricky phase, despite the promise of spring not being far away. Again, it’s often a time to look at zigs and also for activity in thick reed beds. The carp will start to show about now, and any bite action tends to shift from being nocturnal through much of the preceding winter, to daytime activity. This is the month that the floater gear goes back into the van – early opportunities can easily be missed if you’re not prepared.


This is when things really start to happen! The biggest mistake people make when chasing big, old carp is to start piling in the bait. The main lesson I have learnt over the last 10 years or so is that singles, zigs, bags and light baiting techniques are far more likely to get a response from an old, fat carp that is bulging with spawn. ‘Find the carp and fish for a bite’ is the best advice at any time of year – particularly now.


The first hot weather - it is heaven for those who love stalking in the margins and floater fishing! I have now switched back to the Krill fishmeals. Always be on the lookout for the thick new, fresh weed beds - the carp adore them. Shallow ground with weed will be the place to look.


Perhaps a bit of prep for a push for a river carp on the Glorious 16th? Something I keep meaning to do again - maybe this year I will!


The carp will have spawned everywhere. Now is the time for salty particle mixes! Bite times will mostly be at first light. Hard workers will find rewards by stalking in the heat of the day.


A much better month than it was 25 years ago – a lot of our most coveted big fish make an appearance this month. It’s still often particle-dominated although rich, oily fishmeals really come into the game for the big girls.


The beginning of the autumn phase which can be the trickiest quarter of the season. The fish will have had a lot of pressure put upon them all year and by now, with natural food at a peak, they can afford to be choosy. The angler daring to be different will win!


Cooler nights and shorter days lead to much more nocturnal activity. Traps of hemp, caster, tiger and chopped krill are the order of the day. Big baiting for the mythical autumn feed-up is best avoided on super-pressured waters.


The first consistent frosts of the year often occur in early November and the leaves fall from the trees in abundance. Bites in daylight are rare and every night is spent walking, listening and looking for the carp to give themselves away. If the weather breaks and becomes consistently cool, the floater gear goes away now. If it’s unremittingly cold I am usually back on the Manilla by the end of this month.


This can still be a good big-fish month but there’s no doubt that things are getting harder! At this stage I will have made the move back on to boilie crumb and maggots. Location is all about nocturnal manoeuvres.

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