Over recent years, carp fishing in the UK has really taken off in popularity. But the first question that always seems to be asked from a newcomer is. 'What bait did you catch that on Mister?' Or, 'What rig did you use?'
From experience, those questions should be the last pieces of the puzzle. The most important question should be, 'Where are the fish?' The amount of times I see anglers arrive in the car park and head straight to their favourite swim, without so much as a quick recce lap around the lake really surprises me. What makes you think the fish will still be in the same area they were the last time you caught from there?
Time spent walking, looking, climbing trees, checking margins and generally watching the water for any signs of fish, can be invaluable. Many recommend asking other anglers if they've had any luck or seen anything. But you'll get the odd angler that'll keep it quiet or try and throw you off the scent. So it's always best to turn up with an open mind, rather than have a pre-determined plan in your head. Take your time to find the fish, and don't just set up in the swim closest to the car park, because it's the shortest walk!
Several years ago, I was fishing a water for the first time. I managed a decent result on my first few hours fishing. I later found out the name of this area I was concentrating on was called 'no carp corner'. I wonder if I'd have fished there if I'd have known that previously. I had two takes in the space of a couple of hours and landed both of them. It just goes to show, you can spend days in the wrong spot and blank, or a much shorter period of time in the right spot and really see some results. If I could sum this up in one word, it'd be LOCATION.
Many factors can influence where the fish could be, wind direction, sunlight, wind temperature, air pressure, angling pressure, watersports activity, snags or cover, and weed beds, just to name a few. It's worth keeping an eye on what the wind has been doing leading up to your trip. Doing this will enable you to know if you're fishing with a new wind, or a stale wind. The latter can sometimes have the opposite effect, and the fish may well be on the back of the wind. If you've been keeping an eye on the weather, you'll be able to turn up and know whether to start your search on the end of the wind, or the back of it.
Remember, worry about rigs and bait last, first concentrate on finding the fish.
Keeping on a similar theme, next time I'll write about the importance of staying mobile, and keeping kit down to a minimum. A tactic used by a friend of mine, to devasting effect.
Thanks for taking the time to stop by.
The harder I work, the luckier I become.