FOLLOW THE CROWD AND YOU’LL BE AN AVERAGE CARPER... SO WORK THINGS OUT FOR YOURSELF
GUARD YOUR BAIT SECRETS
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.
DONT FOLLOW THE CROWD
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.
BE HARD ON YOURSELF
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.
TUNE IN TO INDICATION
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.
USE ‘KILLER CRUMB’
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.
“IF YOU FISH LIKE THE REST YOU’LL CATCH LIKE THE REST, IT’S AS SIMPLE AS THAT”
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.
DON’T BE A SLAVE TO PVA
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.
BE MASTER OF THE HUNT
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.