Angling Times (UK) - - CONTENTS -


I’ll tell you any­thing when I’m fish­ing the same lake as you – but what I won’t tell you is the bait I’m us­ing. I’ve al­ways un­der­stood the huge im­por­tance of bait, which is why qual­ity has been such a cor­ner­stone of the Nash­bait recipes. The best food catches the big girls, but I also want to know where and when it is be­ing put in, and in what quan­ti­ties.

Bait ap­pli­ca­tion is such a cru­cial part of catch­ing the big­gest carp that I won’t share a bait or risk some­one else putting in too much or in the wrong place or at the wrong time – I need to have com­plete con­trol of the bait­ing pro­gramme.

When I fished Sil­ver End back in the early 1980s for the Essex Record I put a bait­ing cam­paign in place with a high pro­tein and liver recipe. I lost a carp and that was enough to put the doubts in my head that it was the one fish I was after. On the plus side, at least I knew there was a chance it had hap­pened be­cause it was only me us­ing the bait. To con­trol the odds, con­trol the bait.


If you fish like the rest you’ll catch like the rest, it’s as sim­ple as that. It’s one of my old­est say­ings and comes from decades of not just fish­ing some of the tough­est wa­ters my­self but also see­ing how so many other Nash an­glers go about their busi­ness.

You must find an edge on ev­ery water, which can take all sorts of dif­fer­ent forms. At Hare­field it was adopt­ing mas­sive beach fish­ing reels for the first time (now called Big Pits) so we could cast fur­ther with heav­ier line than the oth­ers, and com­bined with break-off leads it gave us the edge be­cause we landed so many more of the carp we hooked. We were also able to fish ar­eas other peo­ple couldn’t get to.

It can be the type of bait or the quan­tity you put in, or the rig, or us­ing zigs and floaters where other peo­ple are ig­nor­ing them, but you have to be do­ing some­thing dif­fer­ent to every­one else if you want your re­sults to be any dif­fer­ent.


I al­ways tell my­self that a carp has to feed at least once in 24 hours, so if I haven’t cre­ated a chance or caught a carp in that pe­riod of time I must be fish­ing like an id­iot. It’s most rel­e­vant to win­ter fish­ing and helps keep me try­ing my hard­est.

Sure, there may well be ex­treme con­di­tions where carp might not feed ev­ery 24 hours, but they are also a lot more ac­tive than we tend to be­lieve, and by be­ing that hard on my­self I am al­ways look­ing to try to make some­thing hap­pen, rather than just ac­cept­ing a suc­ces­sion of blank days and nights.

A 24-hour pe­riod be­hind rods should al­ways see some ac­tion – if not, you aren’t do­ing enough right.


A while back I felt that carp fish­ing had com­pletely lost the vi­tal con­nec­tion with the end tackle that we need to un­der­stand what is and isn’t go­ing on. The wind blows and there’s weed on the line so when you get a bleep what does it mean?

Noth­ing? Or maybe a carp shak­ing its head and bounc­ing the hook out? If you don’t know, then we’re back to guess­ing games and only ever fish­ing for takes where the spool spins. I can’t fish like that - I have to know what the prob­lems are.

If I’m on carp and they are do­ing me over at the rig, I want my alarms to reg­is­ter a near miss andto be sure what the alarm says is sig­nif­i­cant. With­out ef­fec­tive in­di­ca­tion I’ll be left guess­ing – maybe I came close or maybe I was in com­pletely the wrong area?

My de­sire to de­velop bite alarms came from this need to have mean­ing­ful in­di­ca­tion, and the speed sens­ing of the R3s is the big­gest step for­ward in in­di­ca­tion for the mod­ern carp an­gler. When it sounds, put sim­ply it means some­thing you need to know. To my mind they have changed our ex­pec­ta­tion of in­di­ca­tion sys­tems com­pletely.


There’s so much you can do to trip carp up, and of­ten it is a sim­ple case of chang­ing the bait­ing sit­u­a­tion. Back in the 1990s I was fish­ing for those re­ally tricky Warmwell carp. It was a typ­i­cal small water and those carp were ab­so­lutely clued up around rigs and bait.


What re­ally got around them was boilie crumb, but not just a lit­tle PVA bag of it... I mean ki­los of the stuff.

When I was do­ing slide shows at the time I of­ten made the point that the only round ball in the swim was the one on my rig. Ev­ery­where I fished, it was deadly. I’d put a bucket of boilie crumb out and the ac­tion would start. Top it up and it went off again.

These days we pro­duce Flake at Nash­bait. The ma­chin­ing pro­duces ir­reg­u­lar slices and cuts of a boilie along with the fine crumb that spreads amaz­ing at­trac­tion and per­me­ates the lakebed with the taste of your boilies. Flake is a mas­sive edge ev­ery­where, par­tic­u­larly over weed or silt, but it re­mains very un­der-used.


Are you one of the thou­sands of carpers who feels to­tally un­able to cast out with­out a PVA bag or stick on a rig these days? I’ve caught a lot of carp on PVA bags, and emp­tied wa­ters when the tac­tic was new and other peo­ple had yet to cot­ton on. To­day I think care­fully about PVA rather than use it all the time. For dif­fi­cult carp I’m sure PVA has blown be­cause it is used so much. There are sev­eral of the Nash Team who have also no­ticed they catch bet­ter on sin­gle hook­baits than when us­ing a bag or stick. Don’t be a slave to PVA and if need be, re­mind your­self how to fish con­fi­dently with­out a bag – you might be sur­prised that you ac­tu­ally catch more, and cer­tainly no less.


Don’t start me on slack lines… it’s one of my pet hates in the mod­ern carp scene. Be­cause I want to know ex­actly what is hap­pen­ing with my rig I like a good con­tact be­tween the bob­bin and the lead, and that means ten­sion be­tween the two. A swing arm in­di­ca­tor like the Slap Head with weight that keeps a con­tact be­tween the rods and rig is a bet­ter propo­si­tion than try­ing to slacken off. A slack line al­lows a carp to get away with an aw­ful lot at the rig end, mostly with­out you know­ing any­thing about it.

With my weighted Slap Head on a Strong Arm and an R3 there will al­ways be an in­di­ca­tion if a carp tight­ens the link to the lead. Slack­en­ing off is not an an­swer to con­ceal­ing your end tackle, it just crip­ples in­di­ca­tion. I fish with a di­rect con­tact to the lead but use back leads, Cling-On Lead­ers and Cling-On Tung­sten Putty to help con­ceal the tackle more ef­fec­tively.


So much of mod­ern carp an­gling re­volves around ses­sion fish­ing and com­fort. Of course, at Nash we sell bivvies, bed­chairs and all sorts of other tackle to make your time on the bank as com­fort­able as pos­si­ble but if you’re re­ally se­ri­ous about catch­ing the most fish then you have to stop think­ing about camp­ing and start think­ing about hunt­ing in­stead.

Find those carp, be pre­pared to move around, get all over the lake and be on their case as much as you can. It is all about max­i­mum mo­bil­ity, and those who em­brace the con­cept are far more ef­fec­tive an­glers in the time they have at their dis­posal than ha­bit­ual long ses­sion an­glers.

Strip your kit out, and go hunt­ing, rather than sit­ting back and wait­ing.

Alan Blair ready with the net as I bring in a fish.

has moved in­di­ca­tion Bite bounds. leaps and for­ward in

When it all comes to­gether the buzz is amaz­ing.

Hav­ing an edge will give more ac­tion like this.

Boilie crumb gave me a mas­sive edge at Warmwell.

With a Slap Head there will al­ways be some in­di­ca­tion.

Flake – end­less shapes and sizes.

Two in suc­ces­sion off the top.

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