Snags and carp go to­gether like peaches and cream, but ex­tract­ing them from these ar­eas can be a night­mare. Dy­na­mite Baits’ Ross Ry­der guides you through this all too com­mon carp fish­ing dilemma

Improve Your Coarse Fishing (UK) - - Carp Q & A - Words Ross Ry­der Pho­tog­ra­phy Mark Parker

SNAGS mean the world to carp, pro­vid­ing the food and sanc­tu­ary that en­sures they’re al­ways nearby. The beauty of a typ­i­cal snag is that the fish know they are free to swim around between the twisted un­der­wa­ter jun­gle of branches, roots and un­der­growth with­out the chance of be­ing caught. As a re­sult, a quick recce around your lo­cal gravel pit or lake will quickly re­veal a few fish sit­ting in any snaggy ar­eas. Find­ing the fish is the easy part, it’s en­tic­ing them out where the skill comes in.

Fish­able and un­fish­able snags

All snags are dif­fer­ent. Some you can fish and some you shouldn’t go any­where near. For me, snags are very much like ice­bergs. What you see on the top very of­ten be­lies what lies be­neath. To fish a snaggy swim ef­fec­tively, you need to know ex­actly where the branches and roots be­gin and end. Fish safety should al­ways come first and just be­cause you can see carp in a snag doesn’t mean you should al­ways fish for them. Ask your­self: “Can I ef­fec­tively get a hooked fish out of there or am I more likely to lose it, pos­si­bly dam­ag­ing or, even worse, teth­er­ing it to end tackle in the process?” To fish a snag, the first stage is to get around the back of it and have a look into the wa­ter to see where the branches go. If this isn’t pos­si­ble, I will cast a bare lead – the light­est avail­able for min­i­mum dis­tur­bance – then gen­tly pull the rod back to feel where the lead hooks up and where there are clear spots. To inch closer to the snag, let a lit­tle line off the reel and then clip up. Re­trieve the line and cast again. You’ll be able to creep closer and closer to the snag by re­peat­ing this process. This ‘lead­ing around’, will pro­vide you with some un­der­stand­ing of where the snag starts and ends. The lead shouldn’t jam, as there is no hook­length at­tached. By us­ing a safety clip, if the lead does lock up the safety clip will eject it, en­abling you to eas­ily re­trieve your main­line.

Snag tackle

Snag fish­ing doesn’t give you a green light to go off-grid re­gard­ing the tackle you use. Over the years I have seen some hor­ren­dous set-ups. Be sen­si­ble, but be carp-safe too. I use 15lb mono main­line which is strong enough to take a bit of ‘teddy’ from the snag, but light enough that if I do lose a fish, they have a good chance of rid­ding them­selves of the line as well. At the ter­mi­nal end I have a lead­core leader with a quick re­lease safety clip. These have no ser­ra­tions so re­gard­less of how far you push the tail rub­ber on to the clip, the lead will still eject in­cred­i­bly eas­ily. This is one of the most im­por­tant parts of snag fish­ing. The same as fish­ing in weed, once you dump the lead, the carp is so much more con­trol­lable. My hook­link com­prises 8in of 15lb semi-stiff fluoro­car­bon, tied Ger­man Rig-style. I like a softer fluoro­car­bon hook­link be­cause it set­tles over the con­tours on the lakebed bet­ter than a stiff va­ri­ety. The Ger­man is my go-to rig as it en­ables me to use any size of hook­bait as there is no hair. The hook­bait is tied to the size 11 ring swivel that is threaded on to the size 4 curved hook’s shank. It’s a rig that works well with small or large boilies, dou­ble fake corn, other par­ti­cles or even tiger nuts. It’s a true go-any­where rig!

Bait­ing up

If the fish aren’t al­ready in the snags, they won’t be far away. There­fore there is no need to bait heav­ily. The other rea­son is that be­cause you need to fish bow-string tight lines, locked up clutches and heavy bob­bins so you get im­me­di­ate in­di­ca­tion of a bite, you will send the fish into a frenzy if you do feed loads. The ef­fect of this is that the fish will be dart­ing around the swim and are more likely to come into con­tact with the main­line which can spook them. Feed­ing only a dozen boilies en­ables me to tar­get one fish at a time. Also, the carp will tend to gen­tly drift between baits, leisurely pick­ing them up, so they are less likely to re­alise they are be­ing fished for.

The fi­nal rea­son is that af­ter a bite, if you cast back to the same spot it is a bonus like a hole in one in golf. You’re more than likely to need two or more casts to get the rig in the per­fect spot and if there are lots of carp in the area feed­ing on your heav­ily-baited spot, you will very quickly spook them, ru­in­ing any chances for the rest of the ses­sion. Bait wise, I use 15mm Dy­na­mite Baits’ Com­pleX-T or Tiger Nut (if the wa­ter has a big head of bream). Ini­tially, I feed no more than a dozen boilies around the rig, but I will scat­ter a few up and down the snag to en­tice the fish close by to start feed­ing. It also gives them more con­fi­dence when they en­counter a pile of feed around the rig. Snag fish­ing is very easy on the wal­let. The other day, I had two 20lb-plus fish, caught us­ing less than 20 baits! As long as you use a lit­tle com­mon sense re­gard­ing the area you tar­get, you lock the reel’s clutch so they can’t take line, lose the lead on the take and don’t feed too much, snag fish­ing is as easy as it gets.

Stealthily creep­ing into the snags will quickly re­veal if carp are present

Ross feeds just a dozen boilies at a time rather than in­tro­duc­ing large beds of bait

Don’t cast straight to the snag. It is bet­ter to work your way up us­ing a num­ber of casts

A Food Bait Tiger Nut Pop-up is Ross’ hook­bait of choice

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