Surface fishing for carp

Maverick

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Allthough not allowed on a lot of waters, I got the opportunity to do this for a couple of hours yesterday afternoon. sun was out, it went really hot and the carp were moving around on the top.

Started firing chum mixers in one at a time until the carp started to slurp them up. Then cast well past them and slowly drew the float in amongst the free offerings.

Only two days earlier the fish had been crashing about in the edge busy spawning and you couldn't get a bite for love nor money. Now they were just mulling around on the top very lethargic after their mammoth shagging session and it wasn't an easy day.

The morning had resulted in just 2 fish on the method feeder, everyone was struggling for a bite and I tried the pellet waggler but couldn't get any interest at all so decided to try on the surface where I could see the fish.

Only managed to snare two carp off the top which were very welcome on such a hard day. Did get the feeling I should have had a couple more at least tho.

Had a few takes where the float and line straightened out and there was a huge swirl as the fish managed to escape without hooking itself.

I was using an E.S.P. controller float and had a small tub of mixers that I had drilled so I could pull a bait band thru them. These were attached to a hair on a size 10 Korda Mixa hook.

As always in this type of fishing the aim is to make the hook bait appear as natural as the free offerings. I'm not convinced I acheived this totally and got the feeling the carp were seeing the hook and shying away from my hookbait.

Any tips or advice on how I can better present the hookbait would be greatly appreciated.
 

tipitinmick

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Allthough not allowed on a lot of waters, I got the opportunity to do this for a couple of hours yesterday afternoon. sun was out, it went really hot and the carp were moving around on the top.

Started firing chum mixers in one at a time until the carp started to slurp them up. Then cast well past them and slowly drew the float in amongst the free offerings.

Only two days earlier the fish had been crashing about in the edge busy spawning and you couldn't get a bite for love nor money. Now they were just mulling around on the top very lethargic after their mammoth shagging session and it wasn't an easy day.

The morning had resulted in just 2 fish on the method feeder, everyone was struggling for a bite and I tried the pellet waggler but couldn't get any interest at all so decided to try on the surface where I could see the fish.

Only managed to snare two carp off the top which were very welcome on such a hard day. Did get the feeling I should have had a couple more at least tho.

Had a few takes where the float and line straightened out and there was a huge swirl as the fish managed to escape without hooking itself.

I was using an E.S.P. controller float and had a small tub of mixers that I had drilled so I could pull a bait band thru them. These were attached to a hair on a size 10 Korda Mixa hook.

As always in this type of fishing the aim is to make the hook bait appear as natural as the free offerings. I'm not convinced I acheived this totally and got the feeling the carp were seeing the hook and shying away from my hookbait.

Any tips or advice on how I can better present the hookbait would be greatly appreciated.
The most frustrating type of fishing I’ve ever tried. Along with trying to hook Mullet while on holiday it’s enough I’ve any hair left. Often you see carp come to take your free offerings but will they take your hook bait ? Grrrrrrr. Good question. It will be interesting to hear how others trick these wary carp. 👍
 

Chervil

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Even if using Chum Mixer to attract fish, I have always found the best bait on the hook is a piece of bread pinched around it, the only problem being, it doesn't last long.
 

ukzero1

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Try coming down on the hook size a little, a size 12 should do it. Also use a hook that's not shiny, the sun glinting off the hook could be spooking them. I use a dark or mid brown marker pen for that job.
 

Markywhizz

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Well fished Mav getting two off the top. I too would like some advice on the subject. My main carp venue doesn’t allow free floating baits but I’ve often wondered whether it would be worth putting one out on a hook anyway in an area here I can see fish. Would I be wasting my time?
 

ukzero1

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Well fished Mav getting two off the top. I too would like some advice on the subject. My main carp venue doesn’t allow free floating baits but I’ve often wondered whether it would be worth putting one out on a hook anyway in an area here I can see fish. Would I be wasting my time?
There's a little trick you could try if floating baits aren't allowed mate, and that's a zig-rig with a pop-up bait. The trick is to set the zig up so that the bait is just under the surface.

For those that can use floating baits but can't get the distance when free-lining.. Just use a PVA bag/sock, place the bait in it with a couple of 'freebies', then add a few pebbles for weight. Cast to where you want it and the PVA will melt allowing the floating bait to be released and et viola, floating baits at a distance when free-lining.
 

squimp

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There’s no right answer, some days one thing works, the next day something else...

A few suggestions:

grease the entire hooklink so that it floats
grease all the hooklink except the last 6” before the hook
try 2 mixers on a double hair - one each end of the hook
try different baits/baiting strategies:
feed small floating pellets and fish a bigger one on the hook
feed very few loose baits and cast in early, or feed for ages (up to an hour) and then cast in when the fish are really confident
try different ways to apply free bait eg catapult vs spomb/spod/PVA bag.
if the free baits are spread further apart the fish have to move further each time - which might help you hook them....
use any surface weed to your advantage. Do the same with the wind.
try a cut down popup on the hook
try a cork ball on the hook, then vary how you attach it. It can make a difference (this applies to all baits)
try supergluing a mixer/pellet etc to the hookshank
different brands of dog biscuit vary in size/buoyancy and change from year to year. Chum mixers used to be the best, not so now.
flavour (and soften) your dog biscuits -makes them different
or coat hard pellets/mixers in oil (or similar)
use some imagination - other floating baits are available. Google ‘floater cake’ - we used to cook our own....
alter the length of the hooklink, sometimes shorter is better
use a bigger controller - better bolt effect
try a short hooklink and a slow sinking bait (test and adjust the buoyancy before you cast out)
do something similar with a zig set just under the surface
if you can get the fish feeding close in try freelining
watch the fish really carefully - they tend to ‘patrol’ so you can anticipate where they might go and then set a trap for them. Decent sunglasses and a hat required.

Bear in mind that on busy waters floating baits can cause issues for other anglers.
 

robert d

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Allthough not allowed on a lot of waters, I got the opportunity to do this for a couple of hours yesterday afternoon. sun was out, it went really hot and the carp were moving around on the top.

Started firing chum mixers in one at a time until the carp started to slurp them up. Then cast well past them and slowly drew the float in amongst the free offerings.

Only two days earlier the fish had been crashing about in the edge busy spawning and you couldn't get a bite for love nor money. Now they were just mulling around on the top very lethargic after their mammoth shagging session and it wasn't an easy day.

The morning had resulted in just 2 fish on the method feeder, everyone was struggling for a bite and I tried the pellet waggler but couldn't get any interest at all so decided to try on the surface where I could see the fish.

Only managed to snare two carp off the top which were very welcome on such a hard day. Did get the feeling I should have had a couple more at least tho.

Had a few takes where the float and line straightened out and there was a huge swirl as the fish managed to escape without hooking itself.

I was using an E.S.P. controller float and had a small tub of mixers that I had drilled so I could pull a bait band thru them. These were attached to a hair on a size 10 Korda Mixa hook.

As always in this type of fishing the aim is to make the hook bait appear as natural as the free offerings. I'm not convinced I acheived this totally and got the feeling the carp were seeing the hook and shying away from my hookbait.

Any tips or advice on how I can better present the hookbait would be greatly appreciated.
The best ive seen where allowed was a whole slice of bread rolled up over a big hook and tied with a half hitch knot ,line wrapped around the bread 🍞 a few times crust removed . The fellow i saw use it used to use a stick as a float and cast it to reeds ,lilies ect but it worked in open water to . The fellow who taught him has sadly passed on ,he used to catch massive weights at Wycombe lakes using that method ,i think 300lb ish . I have also caught big weights using crusty cobs ,tare off a decent bit and using a biggish band and 3ft distance between float and hook , stale cobs a day or two old banded and a few pellets fired over to attract them on some days . The first method is brilliant for munsters in the weeds ,lilies with strong line and a strong rod 💪, the second method i used a controller bubble float filled with water or a heavy ish float depending on distance .
 

OldTaff

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I find supergluing a mixer onto the hookshand is a fab method of presentation and strike to fish ratio - also used to soak my mixers overnight in strawberry syrup which was messy but wonderful.
 

Zerkalo

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I've only ever fished one place where Carp would confidently take floaters, and that was a wild underfished lake, everywhere else they seem to become spooky quick and so if you can get a few feeding down the edge you can trick them by just dangling a bait with no line on the surface. Bit of a silly way of doing it maybe but worth it if you can get a couple down the edge.
 

JayD

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My favourite way of fishing for chub and carp, no float, or controller, just a lump of crust dunked in the water to add weight, it's surprising how far you can cast it. One of the main things I've found, is as Squimp mentions, make sure that the last few inches of line, sinks. Just get a bowl of water, and put a piece of line, or even a human hair on the surface, and look at the 'shadow' it casts on the bottom of the bowl, it looks massive in comparison to it's actual size.
On occasions I've added a small twig held on a couple of float rubbers, just to stabilise the crust, or give a bit of weight to a dog biscuit. If the fish are a bit spooky, then sitting on the down wind end of a water, preferable under cover, (an Umbrella will do), with your bait hanging clear of the water. A few freebies to drift towards you and hopefully bring the fish with them, then gently lower the bait onto the water, and wait for the fireworks!
I'll add that this is on rivers and clear stillwaters.

John.
 

crusty

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I have about 4 or 5 feet between the controller and hook, and I always grease it otherwise the line will sink and draw the bait to the float.
I nearly always use a crust on the hook even if feeding mixers, the only problem being it will only stand up to one cast.

The best tip I ever had was when you see those big rubber lips come up and slurp the bait, always say "God save the King" before striking.

Ian
 

DFL

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Doesn't always work but if you can get them competing for freebies for a good length of time before you drop a line in, they often drop their guard and will take a hook and bait more confidently.

My biggest issue is with the ducks and coots that more often than not bring a premature end to a session. When I can remember to do so, I take a loaf of sloppy mashed bread and leave it further down the lake and leave it on the bank to act as a decoy which occasionally works.
 
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