Broth­ers Carl & Alex, two of the big­gest angling stars on YouTube, reac­quaint them­selves with the Method be­fore pre­sent­ing arms at a Vic­to­rian mil­i­tary moat in Portsmouth for a salvo of big carp

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Carl and Alex demon­strate how fun and ef­fec­tive us­ing sim­ple freel­in­ing tac­tics for carp can be

Bream, tench and carp

Alex – Va­ri­ety is the key when it comes to angling. I love tar­get­ing carp one week, perch the next, bar­bel the week after, and so on. When I get bored of one species I can move on to an­other and that’s what keeps angling ex­cit­ing for me. When we first started fish­ing 10 years ago, the only type of fish­ing Carl and I did was float fish­ing, but we soon pro­gressed to other tech­niques such as freel­in­ing and feeder fish­ing. In fact, we used to love Method feeder fish­ing for bream, tench and carp. The ex­cite­ment when the tip went around was epic – I just loved it. But since the carp bug kicked in we haven’t done a great deal of Method feeder fish­ing, al­though when we got an in­vite to a beau­ti­ful 13-acre estate lake where tench, bream and carp thrived, we had to give the Method feeder a go once again! Tack­led up with my Acolyte feeder rod, a bag of ground­bait and a tub of corn I was ready for a day’s quiv­er­tip­ping. We ar­rived on a very mild morn­ing and it was soon ob­vi­ous where the carp were, with bow waves and stirred up lakebed in the shal­lows. I had a feel­ing the tench may be in this area, es­pe­cially as the week pre­vi­ous had been very warm. I got my kit set up, ground­bait mixed

and clipped-up my reel at 30 yards in 4ft of wa­ter. After five casts I hadn’t re­ceived a bite, but it’s im­por­tant not to give up too quick as at any time the shoal of fish could move over your bait and start feast­ing. I kept at it, re­cast­ing the feeder reg­u­larly and, sure enough, I started get­ting line bites, then the tip prop­erly went round. A short bat­tle fol­lowed with the cul­prit be­ing a bream of about 4lb-5lb. If I had caught it while carp fish­ing I would have slipped it straight back, but as I was tar­get­ing them prop­erly, I popped it in the net to see if I could land any more for a brace shot! Sure enough, the shoal of bream moved in and the next five casts all came in with sim­i­lar-sized bream. I got my brace shot then de­cided to move else­where as it seemed that all I had in my swim were bream, and now I wanted a tench. I chose to set up near the dam wall and, al­though I hadn’t seen any fish here, the wind was push­ing to­wards that end and if the tench weren’t in the shal­lows, they might be here. Once again, I clipped-up the feeder, this time to a spot where the wa­ter was 6ft-7ft. First cast re­sulted in an­other bream, sec­ond cast, an­other bream, third cast, fi­nally a tench and fourth cast, a great big 20lb carp that took me for a walk on the 4lb hook­link! The day con­tin­ued well, con­sis­tently get­ting bites and I was once again re­minded how en­joy­able it is watch­ing the tip hoop round with a fish on the end. I got what I came for, a real mixed bag in­clud­ing some very beau­ti­ful fish.

Stalk­ing carp in Spring

Alex – This time of year is by far our favourite! Now is the time to grab a loaf of bread, find some carp and catch them us­ing the most ex­cit­ing method of freel­in­ing. Firstly, I should ex­plain ex­actly how we go about freel­in­ing for carp. Hook size is de­pen­dent on not only the bait you are us­ing, but also the size of fish be­ing tar­get­ing and we use any­thing from a size 4 to a size 10. For ex­am­ple, we would use a size 4 when fish­ing with a large piece of bread crust and go as small as a size 10 when freel­in­ing with just a few mag­gots. It’s about match­ing your hook size to the hook­bait. We have found wide gape hooks give the best hookholds when freel­in­ing. Line is also re­ally im­por­tant be­cause you hardly have any weight to cast so you need to use the low­est di­am­e­ter line you can get away with. Too thick and you can’t cast very far and too thin and it might break when a big fish gets

into weed. Carl and I have set­tled on us­ing the Nash Zig Flo which is very sup­ple and be­haves very nat­u­rally once in the wa­ter. We use this in 8lb, 10lb and 12lb strengths. The only other line we use is 15lb D-Cam and we use this when the con­di­tions are ex­tremely snaggy or weedy. We choose what strength line to use once we know how snaggy the wa­ter is or how big the fish are. One thing to men­tion is not to use too low di­am­e­ter lines such as thin braid for freel­in­ing be­cause this of­ten gets wrapped around the fish and can lift scales. Mov­ing on to the rod and reel com­bi­na­tion, most of our freel­in­ing is with a 9ft, 1.75lb Scope com­bined with a small light­weight reel such as the Daiwa SS1300. We’ll of­ten change this for a 6ft rod in tight swims or beef it up to a 3lb test curve rod in snaggy swims. The main thing to con­sider when choos­ing kit for freel­in­ing is to find a rod and reel which is light enough to hold for hours on end with­out get­ting tired. And that’s about it! Get your­self a loaf of soft white bread and off you go! Over the last cou­ple of weeks we have spent many warm evenings stalk­ing carp from a num­ber of lo­cal ponds. In par­tic­u­lar, we dis­cov­ered a tiny pool thick with lily pads and sur­rounded by trees. After spot­ting a few very dark shapes sat in the gaps in the pads we fished it for a few hours one af­ter­noon and, by cast­ing out a small piece of crust into a hole in the pads, we man­aged to catch a cou­ple. They were small fish but very spe­cial ones to be liv­ing in such a beau­ti­ful se­cluded pool.

“Find some carp and catch them us­ing the ex­cit­ing method of freel­in­ing”

Fish­ing the mil­i­tary moat

Alex – Fort Rowner Moat, set just a stone’s throw away from the busy streets of Portsmouth, yet deep into a mil­i­tary base, is home to large carp, cru­cians and tench. I heard about the place from my friend Stu Har­ris, who had been show­ing me some pho­tos of the beau­ti­ful carp in­clud­ing some pre­his­tori­clook­ing cru­cians. He asked me if I wanted a ses­sion there and, ob­vi­ously, I said yes! I met Stu at a nearby Tesco and fol­lowed him the last part of the jour­ney where we en­tered the mil­i­tary base and parked up right next to the moat. First im­pres­sions left me speech­less. One bank was tree-lined, while the other was a ver­ti­cal 1850s Vic­to­rian brick wall. With patches of lily pads and plenty of fresh weed growth it was a beau­ti­ful piece of wa­ter. As we walked round the first cor­ner I was shocked to see two carp sat in the pads. Stu turned to me and both of us thought the same thing. Quick, grab a rod! I ran back to the car, and grabbed a freel­in­ing rod and the re­main­der of my poppy seed roll which I had for lunch. I got back to where we had seen the carp but, typ­i­cally, they had moved off. At least now I had a rod ready in case I saw an­other. Sure enough, round the next cor­ner was an­other set of pads and an­other carp, I got a lit­tle over-ex­cited and messed up my cast, with the bread land­ing too close to the fish and spook­ing it straight away! It’s some­times hard to keep calm when stalk­ing carp. A lit­tle fur­ther along the bank was a large patch of bub­bles and silt be­ing churned up. I reck­oned it was bream after Stu had told me there are plenty of slabs in the moat, but no more that 30 sec­onds after cast­ing on the bub­bles my line whizzed across the sur­face. I set the hook and a good, chunky mir­ror rose up to the sur­face then bolted into the nearby weed! I slowly pumped it in and bun­dled it into the net. I had a huge grin on my face and was amazed how quick the ac­tion had been! We man­aged to get some pho­tos of this beau­ti­ful carp in front of the old fort walls and then re­turned it to the clear wa­ter. We had a quick bite to eat and drink be­fore

“It’s some­times hard to keep calm when stalk­ing carp”

hav­ing an­other walk round, and this time I spot­ted a dark com­mon near an over­hang­ing tree with its mouth just touch­ing the sur­face scum. I hooked on a piece of crust and cast well past the fish then slowly twitched it back un­til it was on the fish’s nose. It quickly clocked the bread and started slurp­ing. The bread went, I struck and an­other epic bat­tle fol­lowed. Al­though this one wasn’t even half the size of the mir­ror, it was a stun­ning, dark-coloured com­mon that I was so pleased to catch. I’m so glad I caught those fish early on be­cause for the fol­low­ing two days both Stu and I re­ally strug­gled. We ended the ses­sion with one small tench for Stu, one more awe­some mir­ror and un­for­tu­nately none of the in­cred­i­ble golden cru­cians which I re­ally went there for. We both felt it was maybe still a lit­tle early on in the year for them as we couldn’t get them feed­ing hard on our loose feed. Or maybe we’re just bad an­glers! I left Fort Rowner Moat on the Sun­day, both ex­tremely happy but at the same time I knew I had some un­fin­ished busi­ness. Bring on the cru­cians this sum­mer, if Stu lets me come back.

Five good bream in five casts on the Method The Method de­liv­ered carp, bream and tench

After a raft of bream Alex even­tu­ally con­nected with this tench

A spe­cial fish from a se­cluded wa­ter Freel­in­ing bread for carp is a magic way of fish­ing Small carp were a delight to catch from a beau­ti­ful small pond

What I thought was a bream turned out to be a chunky mir­ror Mighty mir­rors grace the mil­i­tary moat This dark com­mon gave a good ac­count of it­self

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