Dave needs little introduction having been a very succesful big carp angler for many years. Sponsored by Ridgemonkey and Mainline, 45-year-old Dave’s PB weighed in at 50lb 12oz from Horton – the famous Roger the Dodger.
Coming out of winter the carp are on the lookout for food due to a number of reasons. Firstly, the longer daylight hours and the rise in temperature will naturally kickstart the carp’s metabolism, in turn making them more active. When it comes to what quantity of bait, I’m careful to not overfeed the carp in the spring. On most waters the carp haven’t seen much bait and even less angling pressure. The carp doesn’t have a stomach as such, it has a long intestine or a tract as it’s called and months of eating very little food through the winter will cause this intestine to shrink, much like someone who diets. So if you start piling in the bait, the carp will get full very quickly as they haven’t yet had time to adjust to the warmer conditions.
So there are a couple of ways in which I like to bait in the spring time. One way is to use no more than half a kilo of straight boilie over each rod, and the other, which has been a really good tactic in the last few seasons, is fishing crumb. When using crumb it will keep the carp in your swim grubbing about for a much longer period. I’m still using similar quantities but the crushed bait covers a lot more of the lake bed. I may add one of the Mainline syrups to this so I can maximise the entire depth of the water column, potentially making it attractive to carp at all levels. So, basically, you’re using the same amount of bait but much more efficiently without filling them up and ruining your chances of a bite.
The areas I find most productive during the spring are the open water areas but, it will depend on the type of water you’re fishing. For example, if you have some heavy snags you may notice the carp are around these a lot. Snags are a good carpholding feature at anytime of the year, but during the spring the fish will have a fair few unwanted parasites to contend with and snags are great for rubbing against and removing them. Essentially, the areas I choose to fish will almost definitely be based on where I’m seeing the carp show.
I like the bright coloured, high-attract baits in the spring because they do exactly what the name dictates. A bright colour is going to catch the eye of a hungry carp, that, coupled with the strong smell they emit, gives out all the right signals. If I opt to put bait in, then my go-to is always the Cell, as it’s so digestible and the flavours and attractors work well in any water temperature. So I know it is always working in my favour. Baiting will always be done when I leave a venue, but I’ll still be forceful with myself and restrict it to less than a kilo – at least until we see a higher water temperature and the carp have acclimatised to their changing surroundings.
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...