FISH FOR A RIVER CARP
RE you fed up with chock-a-block lakes and fishing for the same ‘known’ fish? Maybe it’s time for something a bit different – and river carping may well be the answer, says Berkshire specialist Jack Pells!
It can be wild, exciting and unpredictable – first you’ll need to find the fish and then tackle them with strong rigs. It can seem daunting, trying locate carp in miles and miles of water, but it’s not as tricky as it seems. Look out for features such as boats, where food is often thrown overboard, the usual overhanging trees, deep margins and weir pools.
Often the fish can show themselves in areas you wouldn’t expect. Some people will tell you that you need to prebait, as carp will otherwise move up and down a stretch, stopping and then moving on. You need to bait up an area where the fish feel at ease.
River carp are often built like torpedoes and are no pushover in the fight. It’s essential to use strong tackle – don’t be surprised if you end up walking a few yards after your quarry!
Start off with 2lb 8oz test curve carp rods, and 15lb mainline down to a 20lb braided hooklink. Don’t go below a size 6 hook. As these fish are less pressured than their stillwater cousins, they don’t tend to be ‘riggy’ so you can get away with presenting strong, crude rigs without fear of them sussing you out. This is handy, as rivers can often be snag city!
Don’t be put off by the colder weather either – winter can be a great time to target river carp.
Stillwater carp can hold up somewhere comfortable in the cold and survive easily without using up any energy, so they don’t need to feed heavily. Their cousins living in flowing water don’t have that luxury. They need to keep moving which means, of course, that they need to keep feeding. In the summer, the same areas will still attract the fish but by climbing
trees and looking down from bridges you can often see them giving away their location as they cruise around on the surface
Keep your tackle to a minimum so you are able to rove through as many likely-looking areas as possible. Roving for the carp is a method that can lead to multiple catches and a roller-coaster ride.
The long blanking spells and the need to fill an area in with bait are avoided by using big, highluy visible baits dropped in the right spot. Boilies are a good starting point, but try not to be blinkered by using just the one bait.
Sometimes a big lump of bread crust can be all it takes to get a bite. If you can get a bait to the fish without being too obvious they can be reasonably quick to bite – provided, of course, that you’re on them!
Specialist Jack Pells – seen here with a fine river carp – recommends keeping things simple for success.
Use strong hooks, size 6 minimum Use 15lb main line and braided hooklinks.Boilies are a top river carp bait Meat is a good change bait
Use two rods to explore your swim.