CARP LEGEND ANSWERS YOUR QUESTIONS EVERY MONTH
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!