Angling Times (UK) - - UNDERWATER SPECIAL -

Q When I ap­proach my swim, I al­ways do so with stealth in mind. I like to keep noise and gen­eral dis­tur­bance to a min­i­mum. My fish­ing bud­dies laugh at me and they make plenty of noise and still catch a few – am I be­ing over-cau­tious?

A First of all, you are not be­ing in the least over-cau­tious. While some of us might do some things out of habit that in re­al­ity might make lit­tle or no dif­fer­ence to the end re­sult, if prac­tis­ing them in­creases our con­fi­dence then that makes them worth­while.

Fur­ther­more, most of it is spec­u­la­tion and of­ten we don’t re­ally know whether a heavy foot­fall has spooked a carp that was feed­ing 0 yards out – but why take the risk? If we do ev­ery­thing as well as we can do it and al­ways look to min­imise the chance of any­thing work­ing against us then surely, in the long run, this has to be to our ad­van­tage?

Another con­sid­er­a­tion is the type of water you are fish­ing – if you are for­tu­nate to be angling on a lake that rarely sees much angling pres­sure or hu­man pres­ence then the carp will be ex­tremely tuned into de­tect­ing any­thing un­usual. This could be vibration, move­ment or sound; whereas on the busy venues that most of us fish, the carp are con­stantly ex­posed to noise and dis­tur­bance of one sort or another and there is no doubt that they do get used to this to a de­gree.

It’s worth point­ing out that carp be­hav­iour can be quite site-spe­cific, too. I re­call watch­ing some re­ally big fish close to the bank at the orig­i­nal Wrays­bury. The lake lies be­neath the su­per-busy flight­path at Heathrow Ter­mi­nal 5 and some­times the noise from the planes made con­ver­sa­tion

im­pos­si­ble. While us­ing the sit­u­a­tion to ex­per­i­ment, I found that if I shouted at the top of my voice, the carp would not re­act in any way - it was as if they were deaf!

Con­versely, if I made any sud­den move­ment with my arms, or tapped a boot on the ground, the fish would bolt away in­stantly.

I can think of plenty of other in­stances on

other venues where a raised voice has clearly spooked carp that were sit­ting in a snag. I don’t know what it was with the Wrays­bury fish, but per­haps be­cause they were con­stantly ex­posed to re­ally loud noise they be­came numb to it over a pe­riod of time.

Another in­stance that comes to mind is when I was down at Fry­ern­ing last sum­mer. It was a hot day, and look­ing out at a cou­ple of backs break­ing the sur­face it seemed per­fect for a floater op­por­tu­nity. The fish were cruis­ing about 60 yards out and so I went and fetched my bucket of oily floaters. Rather clum­sily and with­out think­ing, I pulled the lid off the bucket which gave that hor­ri­ble pla­s­ticky noise that I am sure many of you know well. I have to say I was shocked to see the fish re­act in­stantly to this – they boiled on the sur­face and de­parted the area at a rate of knots!

I can also re­call in­stances when a care­lessly placed foot has re­sulted in the snap­ping of a tiny twig and it has seen the carp flee the scene in­stantly. I be­lieve that all fish are ge­net­i­cally pro­grammed to be more aware and de­fen­sive when close to the bank and in

shal­low water. This sur­vival mech­a­nism is there to pro­tect them from preda­tors, par­tic­u­larly when they are young and small, but the in­stinct stays with them. I think part of this is why carp can, on oc­ca­sion, be so tricky in the edge – the en­tire level of aware­ness is made more acute.

It is al­ways worth bear­ing in mind that vibration and sound travel par­tic­u­larly well through water, and carp will be able to de­tect any­thing un­usual.

Whether or not you think be­ing noisy will be a dis­ad­van­tage to your fish­ing is up to you, but I can tell you that a carp which does not know it is be­ing fished for is much eas­ier to catch than one that does!

the fish up Watch­ing Wrays­bury close at stuff. fas­ci­nat­ing was

Even a snapped twig would have caused these feed­ing carp to bolt!

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