Living in Wiltshire, Rob is manager of Carp Team England and a BT Sport presenter. Sponsored by Fox and Dynamite, he believes that having a clear understanding of what is going on in the aquatic world is a massive, massive edge and his many years of scuba diving, combined with carp fishing at literally hundreds of venues, both at home and overseas, has given him a great insight into what is needed and when.
In the UK I’m not much of a heavy baiter at any time of year to be honest. That’s probably down to the fact that I tend to fish short sessions and spend my time hunting them down, as opposed to waiting for them to come to me. Sadly, because I’m very busy, single or even half-day sessions, or ‘quick overnighters’ are the norm. So I have to work on watercraft, getting it in the right place and making sure what I present to the carp will be eaten very, very quickly.
The absolute key at this time of year is to find where the carp are comfortable. The sun is coming out and the fish are starting to move. In the next few weeks the difference between the upper and lower layers of water, as far as temperature is concerned, will be massive. No amount of bait will pull them into the deep water when they can sit in the warmer bits.
I remember diving in spring at Bundy’s Pit a few years ago and the fish would not feed below a certain depth. The owner used to throw a bucket of maize in the same area every few days. I could see where it had been eaten in the shallows but left in the deep water. The cut off was 17 feet, and nothing below was eaten, but everything above it was.
The chances are they will be in the shallower water, or in the upper layers on your lake too. If they’re in the upper layers, a zig would be my starting point. This means no bait around it other than maybe one or two spods of slop just to put a smell in the area. If the location is right, I don’t need to hammer a lot of bait around it. The fish will be there. Clear water at this time of year means you can get away with single, black zig-aligners and they will be as good as almost anything.
On the deck, the place where I will put bait is in the shallows, the margins or, alternatively, if I can find the top of a bar in open water. I love sticks/bags and small scatterings of corn, which are all really easy to find and eat. A small stick of Dynamite’s Active Sweet and Nutty Stick mix, glugged with Sweet Tiger Nut liquid carp food, fished over corn, will be ideal. The liquids are just as important as the solids.
The simple fact is that where there is warmth, there will be fish, and if you get that right you don’t need to pile it in for a while yet. Just bear in mind that if you are fishing on the top of a bar it’s better to break round baits down so they can’t roll down and out of the way.
CAPTIONS 1 - Afternoon, short-session success from a local day-ticket. A little bag in the right place... job done! 2 - Black zig aligners are absolutely brilliant. Because carp have polarising lenses in their eyes, the colour really stands out...