PUT YOUR FAITH IN A FLOATING CARP BAIT
Launch a surface attack for explosive summer sport
N hot and sultry days when big carp seem reluctant to do anything other than drift about just below the surface, there is only one rig to reach for – the controller rig.
Of course, it is possible to present floating baits to carp using simple freelining tactics, but such an approach restricts how far you can cast.
Incorporating a controller float into the rig means any surfacefeeding carp within 50 yards is within range… in theory at least! This can be attached in a number of ways, but one of the simplest is to thread a rubber float stop up the line, followed by your surface controller, then a rubber bead, and finally a swivel. To the other end of the swivel you then need to tie your hooklink, which should be at least 4ft long, preferably closer to 6ft, and made from 8lb-10lb mono. Do not use fluorocarbon, as that will sink, and for this rig to work efficiently it’s important that the hooklink floats. Many carpers do this by rubbing the hooklink with Mucilin or some other form of grease to help it float.
To complete the set-up, a rig Whether you choose to use a ‘mixer’ dog biscuit, a pop-up boilie or a fake bait, it should be hairrigged tight to the back of a strong, sharp size 10-12 hook, preferably with a wide gape. Hooks not up to the task will straighten out, leading to lost fish. boom should be pushed over the swivel at the top of the hooklink to help prevent tangles, with a size 10 or 12 hair-rigged to the other end.
All that remains is to mount a hookbait on to the hair, the most popular offering being good oldfashioned Chum mixers. These are cheap to use and they catapult out quite well as loosefeed, but alternative hookbaits include pop-up boilies, fake mixers and large floating pellets. It’s vital that the carp are competing for your loosefed baits before you cast out a baited rig. Once they begin fighting for the free offerings among themselves, they drop their guard and are far easier to catch. Patience is key with this tactic! The simplest and safest way to attach a controller float is to trap it between a rubber float stop and the buffer bead housing the hooklink swivel. A rubber rig sleeve or boom should be pushed over the other end of the swivel to keep tangles to a minimum.
Fishing for carp ‘off the top’ can be an incredibly exciting summer method, provided you get a few of the basics right. First, as with so many forms of fishing, this tactic relies on building the carp’s confidence before you introduce a baited rig. This means catapulting out freebies and getting the fish feeding and competing for the loosefeed. The longer you leave it, the quicker you’ll get a bite once the baited rig is introduced.
Once the time has come to cast out, it’s important to overcast any feeding carp by five yards or so, and then draw the rig back into the hot area. Failure to do so could result in the carp being spooked and your chances ruined. You can freeline for carp with floating baits, but using a controller helps you to cast the distance required to the feeding fish, and gives a visible indication of when the hookbait has been taken. As soon as the orange tip dives under, strike!