Employed as a roofer, 29-year-old Greg is sponsored by Mainline and Ridgemonkey. Most of his carp fishing has been done in and around his home county of Essex, although in recent times he has been succesfully visiting waters the Colne Valley, resulting in a new PB of 54lb 6oz – the awesome Roids from Kingsmead Island Lake.
The answer to this question varies quite a lot, depending on the type of water you’re fishing in the spring. I’ll base this on my own personal fishing on the lower-stocked, big fish waters as opposed to those containing plenty of carp. Obviously, some waters fish in the winter and respond well to a lot of bait throughout the colder months, whilst others seem to shut up shop during the same period and seem devoid of life all the way through. I’m about to talk about the latter!
In the early spring you will start to see signs of fish waking up from their winter slumbers and start to move around a lot more. You’ll find them visiting snags a lot more and you’ll see they’re a lot more visible from up trees as they use the upper layers when moving around. More importantly though, you’ll see them showing a lot more as they try to rid themselves of parasites like leeches that have attached themselves as they’ve been sitting in a less active state, during the previous couple of months.
My first approach in the early spring would be to find them and fish to them with single hookbaits, usually pop-ups. The joy with early spring is that the bottom is fairly clean so, if you see a show, you can normally make one cast to it and get a good drop. I’m a heavy-baiter usually but not at this time of the year. If I’m baiting an area it will be with a lot less than normal, until they’re fully active and feeding harder.
I’m a year-round boilie user and, like many people I know, I choose Mainline’s Cell for this as it’s just as good in the warmer months as it is in the colder months. It is therefore perfect for my style of angling. I do bait areas in the early spring but not too heavily. I’m aiming more for the one bite trick that early in the season. Merely a handful of bait on the edge of some snags, just enough to draw the fish out, is plenty. If I do want to get a spot going and use a bit more boilie, then this will definitely be in an area out in open water where I have previously seen a few regular shows. The worst thing you can do is to heavily bait the snags where you see the fish. The fish are there for a reason and that’s for cover and sanctuary – you don’t need to get them there with the bait, as they are already! A small trap to draw their attention is plenty enough. The open water areas are definitely the heavier baiting areas for me, but I would tend to do this later in the spring. Single pop-ups cast on to showing fish is by far my most effective tactic and that style of angling has accounted for many spring carp on the waters I’ve fished.
CAPTIONS 1 - A single hookbait victim from a couple of seasons ago 2 - My year-round ammunition 3 - The good ol’ Ronnie rig will be getting cast around a big pit early on in this coming season 2