Angling Adventures Martin Bowler reveals his ‘one rod’ approach for carp
Less is more, as I proved on this lovely lake
THERE is an obsession in carp angling to use every rod available.
But while three or four rods do allow you to search out extra spots, more lines in the water don’t always equal more carp.
Maybe fishing for a variety of species helps me to feel more at home with one rod, and I certainly don’t have a mental block about fishing like this for carp. It focuses your mind and possibly improves how you fish, while a reduction in disturbance definitely makes the fish less aware of your presence. With wily carp this can be more important than any bait or rig.
So on my latest adventure, when all but one of the buzzers stayed in their cases, it was a conscious decision to fish just the one rod.
It was still the middle of the night when I set out – this is actually my favourite time to travel. There’s only the odd car or lorry with which to share our wonderful road network, and the cats eyes flicked by at some pace.
My trip drew to a close as the nearby newsagents opened, and by then I no longer needed torchlight to see. On opening the gate a cat dived into the bushes and an angler loading his car after a quick overnighter before work greeted me. It was a relief to get the miles over and done with – I prefer to watch for signs of carp than the tail lights of traffic.
For once the first heads of carp to rise from the placid surface, leaving ripples in their wake, didn’t tempt me. These were, I knew, playing on the surface over very deep water, and given the temperature I knew the margins would be the place to win a bite.
Either end of the pit offered a corner and an undisturbed margin on the far bank, so I only had to decide to turn right or left out of the car park. I chose (or rather guessed) left, and began the five-minute walk with all the paraphernalia deemed necessary for catching carp.
From my selected pitch I did what I always do and took stock of the situation. It’s amazing how eagerness to fish can blind you into making a mistake, and once made it can sometimes prove terminal for the rest of the trip.
I was certain the undisturbed margin to my left offered the best chance of a bite, but what of the other rod I had at my disposal? Deep water in front of me didn’t inspire any confidence and the margin to my right wasn’t far enough away from the next swim
down to produce.
In my opinion the benefit of having a second line in the water didn’t outweigh the negatives of extra disturbance and the prospect of my productive area being cut off.
Far better to focus all my efforts and attention on a single spot and leave the other rod in the
sling. Then, as if to tempt me into changing my mind, a carp rose up to the wrist of its tail before falling back into the pit with an almighty splash, sending ripples far and wide. It was a magnificent sight in the growing sunlight that bathed the water in shards of gold, but I turned my back and got on with the task in hand.
“A carp rose up to the wrist of its tail then fell back with an almighty splash”
I teamed a Terry Hearn carp rod with some incredibly robust 15lb E-S-P Syncro XT line. This was connected to a leadcore leader, safety clip and swivel. The rig didn’t have to be fancy, merely discreet, so I opted to use a bottom bait due to the clean substrate I would be fishing over.
My hooklength was 8ins of 20lb Brown Tungsten Loaded with a size 5 Cryogen Gripper knotless knotted to it to create a hair for a 16mm Sticky Krill boilie that sat directly off the bend of the hook.
To hold this position and create an acute angle from hooklength to hook were two pieces of shrink tubing – all incredibly simple and very easy to construct.
Before casting the rig out I took time to walk along the bank and examine the area it would be landing in. The shelf was very steep, so the lead would have to almost clip the bank if I wanted it to land in less than 10ft of water. Any further out and the only bites I would get would be from tench, which I knew from previous experience were willing to feed in deeper water.
Research over, it was time to ring the dinner gong so out went a kilo of 12mm and 16mm Krill boilies. I took care that these landed in a spot most likely to produce a carp.
Before casting I had one final component to add to the rig – that a nugget of dissolving foam. This was proof against tangles, highly unlikely anyway but necessary for my peace of mind.
Rather than squeeze it directly around the hook I prefer to shroud the foam in PVA mesh and nick the hook through this. Not only is it guaranteed to come away from the rig quickly, but no white residue is left behind on the hook shank.
Happy with my preparations, I
made the cast and held the lead on a taut line on impact with the water in order to check the depth. I concluded it was 8ft and happily set the bobbin, confident that a bite would be forthcoming.
Time to set up camp, but before all the legs on the bedchair could be unfolded the alarm shrilled out. I swung round to see the rod tip bending as a carp decided that shaking the hook free was no longer possible.
First to fall for my plan was a mirror carp over 20lb, and it wasn’t to be the last. A fresh kilo of bait was enough to provoke another slip-up within the hour. Slowly the size of the fish grew
to a best of 31lb, a rather plain looking mirror.
The same could not be said of the carp that came at the end of day one – it was the closest I have come to a full leather in a long time and weighed over 36lb.
Many anglers would have said it was a leather, but a single scale on the wrist of the tail made me question it. Never mind, I was as pleased as Punch!
Day two wasn’t so intense but a 30lb common gave me an impressive trio of carp, more than enough reward for my efforts. Would I have caught more with extra rods? Certainly not, I’m convinced of that.
Three buzzers, but only one in use today. Feed was 12mm and 16mm Krill boilies.
Best fish of day one, a rather plain 31lb mirror.
The lake at dawn was a beautiful sight.
My leadcore leaders ready made-up.
The lake had its fair share of lily pads.