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Targeting Big Carp
When selecting a target fish there are usually a few key factors that I try to look for when choosing where to fish and what for, the first being the carp itself. I try to find something that stands out about the fish; its age, its looks, its size or sometimes the lake it lives in, for example a low fished, low stocked lake, an old park lake or a big windswept pit. I’m after something that makes that particular fish or group of fish a bit different.
For me it’s not all about chasing the biggest carp I can, I am just as happy to fish for a stunning mid-30lb carp as I am chasing a mighty 40-pounder. As long as the lake and the carp keeps me motivated, I’m happy.
Swim choice really can be so vital when targeting specific carp. Old carp can be creatures of habit, by looking back at their previous captures in some situations you are able to pin down a certain area to target at a certain time of year, which will massively swing the odds of you catching that particular carp in you favour.
The right tackle is paramount when it comes to targeting big carp – I use and stick to strong, reliable components as you never want to be in the situation where you have lost the carp of your dreams. For mainline I would use as strong a line as you can get away with to fish the range you need, I am currently using 18lb PB products control as the venue I am fishing is around 15 acres and very testing with lots of large weed beds.
I would drop down to the 11lb line if I had to fish at larger distances, if I drop right down to the 11lb line when fishing at range I would use strong leaders to take the force of the cast and to give the added strength to the area of line that is likely to get damaged.
If the venue allows I will always use Pb products 45lb silk ray leaders as to have the strength and reliability close to the rig is a massive advantage when playing strong, powerful carp in difficult conditions, I use this with the chod system Set up rotary-style.
Bait is a huge factor when targeting carp, it can play a major part in your angling and be one of the main reasons that you manage to finally make your target fish slip up. At certain times of the year, pre-baiting or consistently keeping bait going in the lake can really turn things in your favour, if you can manage to get a spot going. As long as you keep the bait going and in it can produce the goods consistently and you seem to find the bigger carp tend to slip up to this tactic.
When targeting big carp there are a couple approaches that I use; one being to sit it out in known big fish swims or areas that have produced the big fish in the past, even though this may mean you have to have accept you will not catch as many as you could but you feel in the best position to catch your target fish.
The other tactic I tend to use more often than not is to play the numbers game – by this I mean catch as many carp as I can. I personally feel that when you are catching you will always feel that bit closer to catching the ones you want, you know everything like your rig and bait is working, your confidence is high and also you are putting the percentages in your favour.
There will always be a time where you feel like you could catch most of the lakes stock twice over before catching the one you want, so in situations like that I would be inclined to use the sitting out tactic in an unfavoured area or an area that has produced the big ‘un in the past.
But if I am starting out on most lakes I will always try and catch as many as I can. By getting on the fish, moving swims and getting bites on lakes where 4-5 carp a year is a good season, if you can then catch that amount or much more your odds of catching the ones you want will increase drastically.
Mentality is a huge part of targeting big hard to catch carp, as you are generally fishing lower stocked lakes the bites can be few and far between. The important thing to remember is to stick to what you know that works, the worst thing to do when going through spells of inactivity is to start changing things as it is part and parcel of fishing the lower stocked venues.
It’s is not always going to happen every time you go and that just drives you to try harder the next time, having rigs and bait you are confident and sticking to them is very important – it’s all about putting them in the right place at the right time.
Thanks be lucky
The Pirate ☠️??
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