It's that time of year again when the carp are waking up and so are a lot of carp anglers, all looking forward to their new campaigns and hoping for a new P.B. Here are just a few tips to try and get your spring carp fishing off too a good start.
First of all, get your gear out and give it a good check over. Over the winter little critter's like mice, rats and other four legged friends have been looking for somewhere to make their nests and keep warm. Check that this wasn't in your luggage, sleeping bags but most importantly your landing net or retainer sling. The last thing you want is to get to the lake to find a big hole or hole's in your landing net or your retainer sling rendering them unusable. Also check your batteries in your alarms but one of the most important things, change that main line. I hear so many people saying they have lost fish because they feel the line has let them down because it's been on for two years. Don't risk it, change it!
Next, get down to your chosen venue and trickle a little bit of bait in. Try some in the shallows where the sun gets on it because the carp will definitely be seeking out the warmer water. Make sure when you visit the lake you've got your Polaroid sunglasses with you because the carp are going to be active now and up in the water layers so keep an eye out for the routes they are taking, flat spots and feeding carp ripping up the bottom or taking off the surface.
When carping in spring I like to hold back a bit on the bait, just a little and often but I always take enough just in case they want to get their heads down for a munch. Zigs can be devastating at this time of year or even a single pop up cast at showing fish. I've had great success with a single white pop up with a small pva stick hooked on filled with white breadcrumb. The breadcrumb makes a great visual on the bottom but also some of the lighter pieces float up attracting the carp down. I've even mixed blancmange powder with it, filling the water around my hook bait with a sweet aroma that has accounted for a lot of my fish caught in the spring. Also try mixing the blancmange powder in with your maggot's, sieve the maize flour and other bits out of the maggot's and replace it with blancmange, custard or even curry powder a few days before you go. The maggot's will feed on it which will sweeten them up and when the carp start feeding on them it releases all that sweetness into the water.
One of the main points about carp fishing in Spring, is to go as light as you can because fish can be showing over you one minute then somewhere else the next. When you set up your bivvy or Brolly, always put your bed were you can see a lot of the water and not just the part you are fishing in. Get up before dawn, sit quiet and listen for carp moving or feeding off the surface. Just as the sun starts to rise, keep your eyes pinned on the surface of the water for any shows, flat spots or carp cruising just under the surface. Keep a close eye on the margins and NEVER ignore them because fish will always visit them, just think of how many hookbaits are tossed into the edge and unwanted bait from other anglers. But please, always be mindful of other anglers on the water if you are moving around, not to spoil their fishing. Lastly, never forget the golden rule - 20 minutes in the right spot is far better then 24hrs in the wrong one!