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High Lodge Leisure Review: Great All Round Fishing

High lodge header

In the summer of 2021, I went for a 10-day break at High Lodge Leisure in Suffolk.

Disclaimer – I paid full price for the holiday and the review is my independent opinion in my stay.

About my trip

We had a week booked in one of the lodges around the lake. High Lodge had a cancellation so we stayed for 3 nights at one of the lodges nearer to the entrance and then moved over to around the lake.

My review will start with the fishing and then have some information about the lodges, the site and the area.

The Carp Fishing

All the lodges around the lakes have their own peg. Ours was on the left and 4 lodges down. The peg we had was great with a reed bed to the left, Lillies in front and a small bit of open water to the left. No one in the lodges to my left was fishing. One lodge two to the right was and another lodge across from us. There was not a lot of lines in the water during our trip. Most fish in the morning and then again in the evening.

The carp

I’d classify this as a match fishing carp lake. Most of the carp are in the 2lb to 4lb range, but there are absolutely loads of them! We did a lot of surface fishing and with some pre-baiting, the carp would come in on the sound of floating pellets going in. It was incredible to see them turn up over and over again.

I also had a rod with a bite alarm on and the runs were relentless. When we go back I’ll be going for a more swing tip and method feeder set up than the bite alarms – these were a little overkill. I caught them feeding boilies and sweet corn with trimmed wafters on the hook.

Both of my children (7 & 9) caught and landed their first carp, unaided, on the trip which was great to see. It was a quality family fishing session with loads of fish caught and lots of happy smiles all around.

High Lodge small mirror carp

Match fishing

As well as the carp there is a good stock of match fishing. My children had their float rods with them as well as the carp rods and the bites again were relentless. If you didn’t get a bite on the spots in a couple of minutes you could guarantee that your bait had come off. We fished corn on the hook and caught endless roach, of a decent size too. My 9-year-old was pulling half pound roach in all week!

The lodge

Due to a cancellation, we ended up booking 3 extra nights at the start of our stay in one of the other lodges that are not by the lake. These have a small pool of water in front of them and overlook the clubhouse and cafe more. There is a fishing lake off to the side of them that residents can fish on a day ticket. This is packed with small carp, koi and lots and lots of roach. Take some floaters in the summer and you’ll see the fish going absolutely wild for them. The challenge is stopping the roach from destroying your bait to get to the carp! I didn’t have any with me but I’d suggest dog biscuits would be the way to get around this.

Small carp - fishing in front of the lodge

For the rest of the time, we stayed in Jay lodge which had a hot tub to the side. The lodge was very nice and well kept inside. We had a nice terrace area to sit at the front and steps down to the grass to get to our peg. Behind the lodge was a large area of grass where we played some football, cricket and frisbee. This was a nice relaxing place to stay. Some days and evenings there were shooting events on site which was a little noisy at times but apart from that, it was a very quiet place to stay.

High Lodge - lodges at night

In the area

Whist staying we got out and about to visit some local places and pubs, here are some of the things we enjoyed during our visit.

2 Magpies Bakery

This is at the end of the drive and is a MUST visit unless you don’t like food! They have a range of bread and pastries as well as delicious cakes. We visited a few times and I can personally recommend the salted chocolate torte. I would probably go back to stay at High Lodge just so I could buy more bread and cakes here. They also have a baking school but this was fully booked by the time we found out.

Sutton Hoo

This is a National Trust site where they found ancient burial mounds. The story was recently made into a film for Netflix called the dig – It’s well worth watching before you go.

The Fox Inn -Darsham

This is just down the road from High Lodges in a quaint little village. It is an old-style traditional pub that serves very nice food. We liked it so much we went back again later in the week.

Kings Head – Yoxford

This is just a little further down the road than the Fox in but still only around 5 minutes. We had a very nice Sunday Lunch here although the pub was rather quiet.

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Luxury Lodges with private fishing pegs + glamping sites

Glaming pods & lodges header

I’m a big fan of Glamping and lodges for a short break with my family so I’ve compiled a list of all the places across the UK where you can stay right on the bank! Some have hot tubs you can chill in after a “hard day’s fishing”. 

These are mainly places with private pegs or swims where you can fish straight from your lodge! Some have fishing on site. Full details are on each listing. 

Please be aware – I have not visited all these places, unfortunately, the information comes from their own websites. Stock is what they report and not confirmed by me! Any I have visited will be noted in the information.

What Type of Break Are You Looking For?

Use the options to find the right place for you. Select below and then select by region or see my top 5 places in the UK. 

Top 5 Fishing Lodges

For my top 5 fishing lodges, I’ve considered the stock and size of the lakes. I’ve tried to find a good option for serious carpers, families, and luxury. I have stayed at Brayton Park Lodges and will be trying to visit more of the top 5 soon. 

Top 5 Fishing Lodges

NameLocationNo of LodgesLake SizeCarp Fishing?Couples?Families?Bedrooms?Hot Tub?Private Pegs?Luxury?PhotosInfoVisit

1 – Chichester Lakeside – Best for families

Chichester, SussexLodgesLotsLake size5 lakes, various sizesCarp fishing on siteCarp to 35lb – varies by lakeYesYesVarious up to 4Hot tubSelected lodgesAvailableSelected lodgesNo – Quality park lodgesChichester Lakeside lodgesInfo: A large holiday park with selected lodges around the lake. There are 7 lakes on the site, one for each day if you stay for a week! The carp vary in size in the lakes. Ivy lake and Copse lake have lodges along the bank that you can fish just down from – as long as you have a permit. This looks like a great place to go for a family lodge break holiday with lots of fishing and things to do on site. There’s also a lot to do in Sussex nearby.Visit Website

2 – High Lodges

SuffolkLodges12Lake size1 Acre (2 ponds)Carp fishing on siteMatch carp fishing 3-5LB average – Lots of them!YesYes1-2 BedroomsHot tubYes – selected lodgesAvailablePrivate pegs on all lakeside lodgesYes-listed as luxuryHigh Lodge leisure - lodges round the lakeHigh Lodge is highly recommended for families and for a value stay. I have personally stayed here and loved it! The carp fishing is good for families with loads of small carp to be caught as well as huge amounts of roach up to 1lb. There is also a second pool away from the lodges with some interesting koi in. In the summer months, the carp are crazy for floating pellets!Visit Website

3 – Blackthorn Fisheries – Best for serious carpers

Oswestry, Shropshire
5
Lake size
3.5 Acres
Carp fishing on site
Yes – to 44lb
YesNo1Not availableNoAvailableYesListed as luxury lodges.Specialist carp fishing - private lodge -Shropshire

Info: A serious carp lake! No under 12s on site. Slings, cradles, and nets all supplied by the fisheries. One of the best lodges with big carp that you will find! The fish were all stocked by VS fisheries and hand-picked for the lake.

 

Visit Website

4 – Brayton Park Lodges – Best for luxury

North Lake DistrictLodges20+Lake size8 AcresCarp fishing on siteYes- Runs waterYesYes1-3 BedroomsHot tubYesAvailablePrivate peg on 1 lodge onlyYes- Luxury wooden lodgesLodge view from behindI have personally stayed at Brayton Park and it is a fantastic place. The luxury lodges are superb and some have a lake view as well as views over to the north lakes mountains. All the lodges have hot tubs and a grassed area around them so are perfect for families. (Please check details before booking as new lodges are being built and information is subject to change).
All guests can fish the lake for a small daily chare. Only one of the lodges has access to a private decked peg. The carp are an average 6-8lb and are wild old English carp. In 3 half days fishing in April, we caught 16.
Visit Website

5 – Woodlakes Park

NorfolkLodges10+Lake size5 lakesCarp fishing on siteCarp to 40LBYesYes1-3 BedroomsHot tubNoAvailableYes- Selected lakeside lodges onlyNot listed as luxury lodgesWoodlakes Park Norfolk - great familiy fishing holidays in log cabinsWoodlakes has a selection of lakeside or parkside lodges. These are a more traditional wooden lodge. Cabin lake has the largest carp in. Selected lodges have a private swim, usually a wooden decked area by the lodge.Visit Website

6 – Tattershall Lakes – Best for families

LinconLodgesLarge lodge and camping parkLake sizeVarious lakes on siteCarp fishing on siteCarp and mixed coarse fishingYesYes1-3 BedroomsHot tubSelected lodges onlyNot availableFishing from the bank by the lodges (selected lodges only)Not listed as luxury lodgesTattershall Lakes fishing with a hot tubA large family holiday park with fishing at various lakes on site. There are lots of activities to do including water skiing and a swimming pool on site. Some lodges are at the water’s edge where you can fish right in front of the lodge. These are not private pegs for fishing.Visit Website

7 – Nuddock Wood

LinconshireLodges5Lake size8.6 AcresCarp fishing on siteCarp to 45lbYesYes1-2 BedroomsHot tubYesAvailablePrivate pegs on all lodgesYes- Luxury wooden lodgesNuddock Wood lodges private swimNuddock Wood Lake has 5 recently built luxury lodges. All the lodges have a private peg on the 8-acre specimen fishing lake where you will find carp to 45lb. The site is perfect for a peaceful break. All lodges have a hot tub.
There is aalso a small tackle shop on site.
Visit Website

Fishing Lodges by region

North West

Name: Chester Lakes – Great for social trips

Pod/ Lodge: BBQ pods alongside match waters only (not carp waters)

Number: 3

Lake size: Various

Reported Stock: Mixed coarse and carp, nothing big in these specific lakes, specimen carp fishing lakes are also on site.

Website: http://www.chesterlakes.co.uk/

Info: The BBQ pods are located around the pleasure lakes rather than the carp lakes. They sleep 4 on the wooden sides around the outside, camping mat required.

Photos –

Chester lakes - BBQ pods and pleasure fishing

North East

Name: Westfield Country Park, Hull

Pod/ Lodge: Scandinavian style log cabins around lake 1

Number: 4

Lake size: 1 acre

Reported stock: Carp to 17lb across the site. Good match lakes with an average depth of around 3 feet (Information has come from a local fisherman). 

Website: https://www.westfieldcountrypark.co.uk

Info: The site has 3 lakes in total with Scandi style cabins around the main lake.

Photos –

Westfield Country Park log cabins and carp fishing

Midlands

Name: Brookmeadow, Market Harborough

Pod/ Lodge: Log cabins, set back from the lakes

Number: 3

Lake size: 5 acres

Reported stock: Carp to 23lb, tench to 7lb, mixed coarse. On the site, there are some nice looking carp.

Website: brookmeadow.co.uk

Info: This looks to me to be more of a family place with the cabins well set back from the lake. You cannot fish directly from them but it’s not far a all to get the rods in. The stock looks decent and there is also a syndicate on the water which is £195 per year so shows a good level of fish.

Photo

Name: Mill Farm Leisure, Boston – For couples and not families

Pod/ Lodge: Lakeside lodges, with hot tubs!

Number: 5

Lake size: 0.6 Acres

Reported stock: Looks to be mainly coarse and small carp

Website: millfarmleisure.co.uk/lakeside-lodges/

Info: 5 Lakeside lodges all with a private terrace, with hot tub, directly on the lake. Fishing is from a private platform in front of the lodge. They all sleep 2 with a double bed only.

Photos

Name: Stretton Lakes, Oakham

Pod/ Lodge: Lodges/ Log cabins -with hot tubs!

Number: 7 cabins, 4 x 5* & 3 x 4*, some with direct lake access

Lake size: 6 match lakes on a  day ticket, lodge guests can book for free (rod license required)

Reported stock: Carp (mainly pasties) plus a range of match fish – looks a good spot for some family fishing rather than serious carping.

Website: www.strettonlakes.co.uk/

Info: Some nice looking lodges with fishing off the decking in front.

Photos –

Name: Eye Kettlby Lakes

Pod/ Lodge: Various lodges, sleeps 2-4

Number: 5+

Lake size: 1 acre – Kingfisher lakes for lodges.

Reported stock: Mixed coarse in the lodge lake. 11 other lakes on-site including a specimen carp lake.

Website: eyekettlebylakes.com/lodges-home/

Info: Larger fisheries with one coarse lake dedicated to lodging guests

Photos –

South East

Name: High Lodge Leisure, Suffolk

Pod/ Lodge: Lodges around a small carp/ match lake

Number: 14

Lake size: Just over 3/4 of an acre approximately. 

Reported stock: Lots of carp in the 3-6lb range, endless catches in the summer. Lots of good-sized roaches can be caught on the float.*

*I have personally stayed and fished here. You can find my full review here.

Website:/highlodge.co.uk

Info: A good number of lodges around a small lake. This is not a place for serious carpers but highly recommended for family holidays with some good action on the fishing. 

Photos –

High Lodge - lodges at night

Name: Wildmoor Waters/ Cherry Lakes

Pod/ Lodge: Luxury lodges on excellent carp fishing lakes (see details for which lakes to book for carp fishing)

Number: 6

Lake size: 5 different lakes to go at

Reported stock: Carp to 44lb in Cherry lake, carp to 32lb and heavier stocking in Cherry Spring and Cherry Mere.

Website: cherrylakes.co.uk

Info: Only a handful of lodges but one of few places where you can stay and still have a chance of catching 30s and 40s.

Photos –

Lake side lodge at cherry lakes

Name: Chigborough Farm

Pod/ Lodge: Various lodges and glamping, including some awesome floating lodges and pods!

Number: Lots

Lake size: 4 different lakes

Reported stock: Unknown, although the site does have a picture of a large catfish

Website: chigboroughfarm.co.uk

Info: See the website for more details, for a specific lodge or lake request it looks like it would be easier to ring them.

Photo – The raft lodge

Name: Olivemead Lakes, Chippenham

Pod/ Lodge: Lodges

Number: 3 with one more opening in 2021

Lake size: 3 arces

Reported stock: Taken from their website – 100 x 20+, 37 30s and 4 know 40s. Described as

Website:  olivemeadlake.co.uk/

Info: If you are looking for a specimen carp holiday/ glamping then the main lodge is the one to book. It has a swim directly on the lake, which looks an excellent spot

Photos –

The bungalow cabin at Olivemead lake

Name: Swanborough Lakes, Near Lewes

Pod/ Lodge: luxury lodges, these look stunning!

Number: 12 lodges, none with private fishing pegs. Fishing is available on site.

Lake size: 3 lakes on site for mixed abilities up to a full specimen lake for serious carpers.

Reported stock: Carp to mid-30s including some large grass carp. This is a day ticket water so other none lodge guests would be fishing with you. You can hire all the equipment and bait you need and get angling tuition on-site.

Website: swanboroughlakes.co.uk/

Info: These are part of the Hoseasons Autograph collection which are the top level of luxury lodges. They have options for 1 bed and 2 bedroom lodges with differing views. They all seem to have hot tubs to relax in while enjoying the views. 

South West

Name: Cofton Lakes, South devon

Pod/ Lodge: A choice of lodges, cottages, and a campsite.

Number: Various, although these are not by the lakes. 

Lake size: 5 lakes, on-site with good carp and coarse fishing. A permit to fish is required at £40 for the week or £8.40 per day. There are 71 pegs in total.  

Reported stock: Carp go to 30lb and the website show quality carp of this size. 

Website: coftonholidays.co.uk

Info: This looks like an excellent place for a family holiday in a luxury lodge. It is on a large site which has a lot of facilities on site including games room, swimming pool. There’s entertainment on site for children and a play area. 

Photos –

Luxury lodge with fishing 30lb carp stocked in the lake.

East of England

Name: WoodLakes Park, Norfolk

Pod/ Lodge: Hand crafted wooden lodges by the lake, 2 to 8 people

Number: Various, some with lake side views & fishing, some with woodland views.

Lake size: 5 lakes, various sizes up to 10 acres

Reported stock: Carp to 40 in cabin lake, pike to 26lb, good sizes of carp in some of the other lakes. Cabin lake would be the one to book for more serious carpers.

Website: woodlakespark.co.uk

Info: They describe themselves as “laid back lakes and lodges” which sounds perfect to me! This place looks absolutely perfect for a trip for couples or families. The lodges look excellent and there’s an on site restaurant you can go to, or get a take away from. They server everything from breakfast to pizzas, this is the perfect spot for a relaxing fishing holiday.

Photos –

Woodlakes Park Norfolk - great familiy fishing holidays in log cabins

Name: Homersfield Lake, Norfolk

Pod/ Lodge: 1 lodge on-site with large garden and lake access. This is not close enough to fish directly from the lodge.  Lodge sleeps 4 with 2 double bedrooms. 

Number: 1 lodge and 1 house

Lake size: 5 lakes, various sizes up to 10 acres

Reported stock: Carp to 60lb, the only way to fish this lake as a none member is via booking the lodge. There is also wels catfish to over 100lb. This is a serious carpers place! 

There is also roach to over 4lb. 

Website: homersfieldlake.com

Info: This is one of the very few places that have large catfish as well as large carp. The lodge looks excellent as do the surrounding gardens. The lodge can be booked without fishing as it is in a stunning location overlooking the lake. 

You can book a day fishing with ADTV presenter and well-known angler Phil Spinks while on-site (you will need to book in advance). 

Photos –

Kingfisher lodge - perfect for big carp and cats

North Wales

Name: Anglesea Lake Side Lodges (Coarse fishing not carp)

Pod/ Lodge: Luxury lodges that are part of the Autograph collection at Hoeseasons which is their highest classification. These are all nicely spread out and look to be a high standard of accommodation. 

Number: There appears to be 10 lodges in total on a 9 acre including the lake.

Lake size: 2 lakes, approximately half an acre and a third of an acre.

Reported Stock: Mixed coarse fishing for roach and perch. 

Website: hoseasons.co.uk/lodges/anglesey-lakeside-lodges/

Info: A relaxing time in a luxury lodge with some light coarse fishing from the bank sounds like a good break to me. We’re regular visitors to Anglesea, although we have never stayed at these lodges – yet. There are lots to do on the island and mainland for young families and Anglesea has some great beaches to visit in the summer- Rhosniger being my favourite of them all. 

This is a great place for a relaxing family break and is on our list of places to stay soon. 

Photos –

Anglsea lake side fishing lodges

Name: Bron Eifion Fishing Lakes and Lodges

Pod/ Lodge: Log cabins

Number: 9 in total by the lake

Lake size: Approximately 3 acres

Reported Stock: This is predominantly a coarse fishery but they do have carp to 20lb. I would expect to see match fishing going on mainly as it is also a day ticket water.

Website: broneifion.com

Info: This looks like a nice place for a relaxing break with some fishing. The lodges look adequate and there is fishing directly in front of some of them. 

This is more for casual fishing and would suit a family as some lodges have 3 bedrooms. If you’re looking for a little extra chill then book the Glaslyn lodge with 2 bedrooms and an outdoor hot tub!

Photos –

Bron Eifion lodges and fishing lake

South Wales

Name: Cefn Mably lakes, Cardiff

Pod/ Lodge: They have fishing pods on the lakes and log cabins, all cabins are for couples excluding the Pochard which sleeps 4. All log cabins have hot tubs!

Number: 9 pods around the lakes and 9 cabins.

Lake size: 7 lakes in total, lodge lake is the one to book for carp anglers!

Reported stock: Lodge lake has 7 known 30s with a lake record of 37lb, also 60 know 20s

Website: cefnmablylakes.co.uk

Info:

Photos –

One of the lodges

Fishing lodge on the lake with hot tub and specimen carp fishing

One of the pods

Pod on the lake

Name: Timber Hill, Pembrokeshire (No private fishing pegs)

Pod/ Lodge: Beautiful looking Canadian cedar lodges, up to 3 beds, some with stunning views. 

Number: 44 lodges

Lake size: The lake is a 10-minute walk from the lodges and is around an acre in size. 

Reported stock: Listed as excellent for coarse fishing and carp to 30lb. There is little information on the website about fishing to verify this. 

Website: timberhill.co.uk/lodges/

Info:

These look like nice lodges for a family break and we’d just about classify them as a fishing holiday. The 10 minutes down to the lake may not be quite what people are looking for and seems more of a bonus than an easy access water. 

Photos –

Timber Hill lodges- with fishing on site

Scotland

Lodges listings coming soon! 

Top 5 Glamping sites with fishing

I’ve selected my top 5 based on the carp fishing and the quality and range of glamping options. These vary from standard pods to yurt tents to bell tents. 

TOP 5 TABLE

Fishing and Glamping

I’m growing the glamping section of the site, here are a few site I have listed – 

Name: Stonebridge Fishing Lakes, Northallerton (Trout fishing)

Pod/ Lodge: Lakeside bell tents with glamping pods coming soon

Number: Unknown

Lake size: Unkown

Reported stock: Trout fishery

Website: stonebridgefishinglakes.co.uk

Info: Trout fishery with bell tents around the lakes

Photo –

East Midlands

Name: Bainside Coarse Fishery, Kirby on Bain

Pod/ Lodge: Basic glamping pods, sleeps 2.

Number: Unsure

Lake size: 1.75 acres

Reported stock: Carp to 20s, bream to 12s,  Grass carp to 20s (unverified).

Website: bainside.co.uk/

Info: Glamping pods for 2 with direct lake fishing. Looks like a good place for bagging up on fish rather than specimen carp fishing. Nice for getting back to nature in pleasant surroundings.

Photos –

Glamping pod at Bainside

Name: Springwood Fisheries, Derby

Pod/ Lodge: Pods

Number: Approximately 6 by the lake

Lake size:

Reported stock: Commins, Mirrors, Ghosties and slivers in the top lake.

Website: springwoodfisheries.com/

Info: Lodges are on the top lake that provides mixed coarse and match size carp fishing. The pods sleep 2 adults with 2 children on camp beds. They have a shower room & kitchenlle, campers seem to be on the opposite bank so not one if you are looking for privacy.

Photos –

Name: Henlow Bridge Lakes, Henlow

Pod/ Lodge: They have both glamping pods and lodges on site. None are directly on the main fishing lakes.

Number: Numerous

Lake size: 2 lakes, the largest (Jordan’s) is 4.5 acres

Reported stock: Carp to 25lb to 30lb (not verified with photos)

Website: henlowbridgelakes.co.uk

Info: A camping and glamping site with 2 day ticket fishing lakes and a small stretch of the River Hiz.

Photos –

Glamping pod with fishing nearby

Name: Lakeland Fisheries, Chelmsford

Pod/ Lodge: Luxury Yurts, some with hot tubs

Number: 3

Lake size: Three lakes, two pleasure lakes and one carp lake.

Reported stock: Looks a good mix of pleasure fishing from all lakes with the 5 acre Swan lake holding the larger carp, to 34lb. (No pictures seen to confirm)

Website: lakeland-yurts.co.uk

Info: Looks an idilic setting with 36 acres of country side and three lakes nestled in. The Yurts scream luxury and look a step up from the standard yurt glamping experience.

Photos –

Yurt tents on the lakes

South West

Name: Folly Foot fisheries, Sommerset

Pod/ Lodge: More a carp hut for 2 than actual glamping here.

Number: 6

Lake size: Aprrox 2.2 acres

Reported stock: Carp fishing only, sizes unknown

Website: follyfootfishery.co.uk

Info: The website is rather basic and the fishing photos section does not work. This is just a basic empty hut to replace a bivvy, with a wooden jetty in front to fish from.

Photos –

Lodge on the lake at folly foot fishery

Name: Rum Bridge, Sudbury

Pod/ Lodge: Pods & bell tents

Number: Various

Lake size: 3 lakes on-site, back lake looking the best for an experienced carper

Reported Stock: Back lake record is a 42lb carp, the road lake is 32lb & the moat lake has tench to 8lb and crucians to 3lb.

Website: rumbridgefisheries.co.uk

Info: This looks to be one of the best places on the list! Although the back lake looks a real challenge, I’d describe it as a serious carpers lake. Its base stock starts at 22lb so if you do hit one you can be sure it is a decent fish. The glamping pods are mixed from basic pods with just 2 beds and bell tents.

Photos – the current lake record

The pods

North Wales

Name: Lake of tranquillity, Mold

Pod/ Lodge: BBQ pods with sleeping area – very cool!

Number: Unsure, call to book

Lake size: 3 acre

Reported stock: Mixed carp and coarse fishing

Website: lakeoftranquility.com

Info: A BBQ pod, a little basic/ rustic.

Photos – None available.

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Winter carp fishing tips

Winter fishing tips
It’s cold, it may be snowing, but does that stop us catching carp? NO!Here are my top winter carp tips and tactics to get more fish on the bank this year. Read on to find out how to catch carp in winter.On this guide, you will find
  • Winter carp – Top 7 tips!

    1 – Use smaller baits

    As a general rule size down on the tackle and baits – especially the free offerings. There’s no need in winter to spod out a load of bait, try smaller baits – boilies of 10mm and 12mm work well even for the bigger carp. In winter I like a small strongly scented hook bait like these – Yellow caramel nut wafters. These are airball wafter and drop nicely through the water on the cast. The light pink colour works well for me at this time of year along with white baits.
  • These work well fished with just a couple of matching freebies and some boilie crumb in a PVA bag – I’d add a matching glug to improve the attraction. You can read my guide to the best small boilies here.

    2 – Find the rubbing spots!

    Every lake will have spots that the carp like to rub themselves against. These can be very hard to find – have a look at my Youtube video below where I show you a spot I’ve found underwater that has all the trademarks of a rubbing spot!Here you can see the type of spot I’m talking about on from my YouTube channel

    3 – Glug, Glug and more Glug

    I’ve mentioned this a couple of times already but a top tip is to make sure you keep glugging your baits on every cast and mix the flavours up. In winter you can’t just nail a load of spod mix in to attract the fish so adding extra attractants like boilie glug to your baits is essential.This is essential to getting the maximum attraction into the water. You need to avoid oils at this time of year too as they do not absorb into the water as well. Getting more scent into the water can help produce extra fish in your sessions.You can read my guide on boilie glug here.

    4 – Watch the water

    It’s tempting to download the latest game of thrones and just watch that on your tablet while fishing but watching the water can have good long term results. As soon as you see any sign of a carp then get some bait over in that direction.  A tough winter session can be very quickly changed by spotting a showing fish and either casting a hook bait to it or moving to that area of the lake. From the video above they may even show you where their rubbing spot is from this.

    5 – Start late

    On the colder days, the carp are more active in the later parts of the afternoon until a couple of hours after dark. It’s best not to rush off out to catch them at 7 am as you’ll be hitting the wrong time and freezing by the peak time. Again this goes back to planning your sessions to get more carp.

    6 – Keep going

    This is one of the best winter carp tips I can give. Keep the rods going in and out of the water to try and find the fish. They don’t move as much in the winter so take a view of your swim and keep moving your hook bait around to find some fish.You may even find a few holed up together and after a fish, it’s worth probing the same spot again. I’d say cast in every 30-45 minutes moving slowly around the swim looking for bites. A zig rig can work well in winter too, I personally only use these as a back up on really tough days but they can entice the odd fish out.

    7 – Zig it up!

    Some people seem obsessed with the idea that in the winter carp just sit on the bottom in the same place, but I don’t find that to be the care. Ignoring the zig rig is a big mistake in winter carp fishing in my opinion. It’s not the first method I’d try on arrival at a lake but is one I’ll use throughout the day. Get a glugged popup on and try and different levels in the water and see if it gets any bits.

    8 – Be prepared

    As the boy scouts motto goes you need to get yourself prepared for winter fishing. Whether it’s nice commercial water you are going to or a lake in the middle of nowhere make sure you get ready before you go. In the summer I’m all for chucking it all in the back of the car and sorting it when I get there, but not the winter.Preparation is the key to success and not freezing your you know what’s off!Make sure you have plenty of warm clothing, hot drinks and if you’re going for a winter night session a decent warm sleeping bag!That’s the end of my 7 best winter carp tips. Good luck if you’re our fishing and send me a tweet of what you catch to @casual_carper or find me on Instagram “@CasualCarper“.

    Winter carp bait tactics

    As well as my top 5 tips I’m sharing my favourites tactics for winter carp too. These are ways that I’ve caught in difficult sessions. I do find winter fishing tough and I’ve had a few blanks over the years but it’s best to persevere and not get downhearted by the odd blank!

    Tactic 1 – Salted Caramel and Nut Boilies, PVA string, matching glug

    As mentioned above this is all about keeping it small scale and these 15mm boilies on a PVA string do the trick perfectly. I’ll only string 2-3 extra boilies and then give them a good glug of flavouring. This really helps to enhance the bait and get those all-important bites.Here’s what you need –High-quality boilies – My range hereKorda total dissolve – PVA string hereMatching Glug, or alternative glug

    Tactic 2 – Dead maggots

    A massively overlooked tactic in winter in my opinion. Depending on the range I’ll either fish a clump of these on a size 12 hook or use a maggot ring. Pour boiling water over the maggots or freeze them overnight to kill them. If you’ve never fished this way to get ready for a smell sensation! (not in a good way!)

    Tactic 3 – Popup over PVA bag

    I’d again go for a popup of 12mm or 10mm in this and often use a white or light pink popup which is great visual bait. These are fished with a really small PVA bag of low oil pellets along with some glug again. If the bites are quiet this is the method I’ll turn to try and get some bites. You can mix this up and use a stick mix or some crumbed matching boilies in the bag along with some glug. All I’m looking for in the winter is a mouthful of bait for the carp, just enough to tempt them to take it.New for this season – I’ve been enjoying using bait sprays to give my hook baits an extra edge. It’s one that helps make the hook bait stand out more and can get you quicker bites in the summer. I’ll be testing it our more over the winter and will update you on how it goes. It is PVA friendly so you can spray your free offerings and bags in it.

    Tactic 4 – Small boilies, spod mix and maggots

    This is one that I’ve seen some good catches on Instagram (like my page – @CasualCarper) and is a good one for the winter – obviously, your bait could get obliterated in the summer on these tactics.  You scale down the bait to a 12mm boilie fished over a very small amount of bait including (or a mix of) spod mix, corn, pellets and maggots. You can then fish the small boilie on the hook with a corn stopper – or with a fake corn popup for a critical balance.Tips – A good tip for catching carp on this method I’d to use a popup over the bed of bait. Then add a small amount of tungsten putty and just let it popup about 1-2 inches rather than a full hook length worth.

    Tactic 5 – Ground bait

    In winter getting the smell of attractants into the water can be tricky, as you don’t want to pile in masses of bait. A good trick is to use a bread crumb ground bait mixed purely with liquid additives and not many if any, free offerings. The smell will do the job of attracting the carp to and an area where they find your hook bait. As its winter the smaller fish won’t pick off the ground bait like they would in the summer.

    Best winter rigs

    In winter everyone knows to scale down as mentioned above, smaller baits and smaller hooks work but being flexible with your rigs will really help you catch more carp too.

    Rig 1  – Micro chod mk2

    This one comes from renowned angler Adam Penning and was featured in Carpology recently. This is a rig I’m a big fan of in winter. The hinging of the hair keeps the bait presented nicely away from the lead core and works well with small popups and wafters. Here’s how the rig looks –Winter chod rigYou can read how to tie this rig here. This is one well worth checking out and playing around with to see how to get it set up to suit your fishing. I like to mix it up with a slightly longer hook link to sit it more prominently in the water depending on where I’m fishing and what the bottom is like.

    Rig 2 – Single maggot on the hook

    Whilst this isn’t specifically a different rig it just gives you another option. Take a hook link without a hair and a hook size or 10 or 12 and feed the maggot into the straight of the hook. Fish with a PVA bag of dead maggots on a standard ledger rig for great effect.In winter you won’t have the problem of smaller silverfish and perch taking the maggot-like you would in spring/ summer if you do try a maggot clip to use a bunch of maggots on a hair rig instead.
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Lake Bled Slovenia Carp Fishing Holidays

Lake Bled header

For me, Lake Bled in Slovenia is one of the ultimate destinations for big carp fishing in Europe. It’s an epic location with some massive carp in the lake. It’s 145 hectares so can be hard water to go at. It is on my list of places to visit for a fishing holiday.

Read on for information on carp fishing at the lake and ideas on where to stay.

Header image cc from faithcarptackle.com

Here is how the lake looks from the mountains above –

The epic carp fishing holiday - Lake Bled

The most iconic part of the lake is the island and church in the middle of it. This is an epic backdrop for your catch photos and it can be seen from all around the lake.

Carp fishing at lake bled

You can carp fish all year round at lake Bled although it is busier in the summer with tourists. You may want to find a quieter location during this time. It is believed that Autumn is the best time to fish the lake, mainly September and October. The weather dips in the winter, snow is rare, but you would need to be prepared for the cold. In the spring the weather is changeable and wet!

Lake Bled Carp Fishing Tickets

There are limited tickets to fish on the lake so you will need to book in early. The tickets have set rules and regulations.

Carp fishing is currently €57 for 1 day, you can fish 2 rods for that price. You cannot bait the lake outside of your permit. Children are allowed to fish with you and can have a float rod license. Under 15’s cannot fish for carp on the lake (Due to the size of the carp!) .

You can check availability and book your tickets here. (It’s in English and Slovenian)

Lake Bled Carp Fishing Rules

There are a lot of rules for fishing the lake. A lot of them are about keeping your pegs tidy and not making a mess. The lake is in a Solvenia national park so they expect you to respect the area. You can find the full rules here. (Again in England and Slovenian). You cannot take a cooker, stove or have an open flame for cooking so you will need to take your food with you for the day.

Lake Bled fishing holidays

There are a few local guides where you can book to fish. They will show you the best spots and help you during the trip. They can sort everything from all your bait and equipment down to your food and of course your fishing permits.

Here are some companies that offer this

Where to stay?

With Lake Bled being a popular holiday destination there is a good choice of places to stay, especially if you are hiring all the equipment that you need. The accommodation ranges from lake-side campsites through to luxury hotels. The lake itself is just over an hour from the nearest airport and can be driven to from the UK via the Channel Tunnel – although this is quite a road trip!

Range of accommodation in Bled –

  • Campsites: Check out Sava camping – an eco campsite on the shore of the lake
  • Hotels: See booking.com for availability
  • Villas and houses: There is a lot to choose from on Airbnb from cheap accommodation right through to high-end luxury houses with breathtaking views over the lakes and private swimming pools – stunning!

Hopefully, I’ll get a trip to Lake Bled booked in soon and try and catch some epic carp!

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Brayton Park Review: Wild carp fishing

Brayton lodges header

I have recently stayed at Brayton Park Lodges and we had a great time there (me, my wife, and our children ages 6 and 9). The setting is absolutely stunning with breathtaking views of the hills of the north lakes in a beautiful park-like setting. 

Disclaimer: I booked a week’s stay in the Easter holidays and paid in full, my review is based on my opinions on my stay, and have not been paid for this! 

What you will find on this review

Carp fishing at Brayton Park

We mainly booked these lodges as we were looking for a luxury lodge with a hot tub in the North Lakes for a holiday, the carp fishing was just a bonus extra. I struggled to find out much information on the lakes and the fish before we went other than the carp we around 10lb and there was a couple of bigger ones.

During the week we (me and my children) fished the lake for 4 half day sessions around what else we were doing during the trip. Here is one of 4 double takes we had! 

Double take of carp at Brayton Park

There is one lodge that is right on the lake with it’s own private peg. This was not the lodge we had booked so you have to take your gear to the bottom end of the lake as fishing is only from the tree-covered bank of the lake. This was a bit of a pain and we have now booked to go to the lakeside lodge with the private peg on our next trip to Brayton Park.

Here is the peg from the lakeside lodge – 

Private peg from the lakeside lodge

Whilst there I got chatting to 2 of the 3 members that fish the lake and found out a lot of information. I put it in bullet points here for easy reading!

  • The lake is 7 acres and was dug out by monks at a monetary around the 14th-16 century. At the first peg you get to, slightly to the right there are still steps in the water from that time (You can’t see them but can feel them with a lead).
  • The carp are on average 6-8lb, they are all wild commons that have bred in the lake. There is a couple in the 13lb – 14lb range.
  • There is a big lily bed that comes up in the summer making the first peg almost unfishable. I went in the spring and you could see it starting to come up.
  • The lake is very shallow in parts and some areas, even out in the middle, are around 2-3 feet deep. On the warm spring days, we could see the carp basking in these shallow areas and caught well from them.
  • The only fish in the lake are common carp and crucians, apart from an occasional natural hybrid there are no other fish or coarse fish at all.
  • In our best session, we had 11 carp in just under 3 hours from 2 rods. That morning they were going for it on one of the shallow spots!

What you need to take

Here’s a guide to what I took and would take again

  • Bank sticks or a pod are fine. (If you are in the lakeside lodge then you’ll need a pod as it’s a decked peg).
  • Solid bags with 14mm wafters worked well for me, another visitor was doing well on corn and a method feeder. 
  • I just used bags and no extra freebies as I was fishing at 12ish wraps with no spod. If you are there when it’s warmer I think boilies and a throwing stick would work well for bating up. (You can see my throwing stick tips here)
  • Shorter rods if you have them. I fished with 12-foot carp rods, with all the trees a 9 foot or 10-foot rod or swing tip would be better.
  • A decent side padded unhooking mat, I’m not sure if the fish are caught that often as even after letting them tire before landing they were still feisty on the mat! 
  • Usual tackle for that size fish.

Lodge Review

Our trip to Brayton Park was the first time we’ve been on a lodge break and we absolutely loved it! We had a 3-bed lodge with an outside hot tub that overlooked the lake, this was just down to luck to get that lodge. The other lodges around us were shielded by large mounds of grass and we had a large grassed area by the lodge to run around and play in too. 

Here is the lodge we had – 

Lodge overlooking the lake

since staying there we have stayed at 2 other lodge parks and Brayton Park is still our favourite. It is the most luxurious lodge we have stayed in and the best setting. The lodge was big compared to other sites and had everything you needed. The site was immaculate and had everything you needed. There are some shops in the local village including a Spar. 

There is a really nice relaxed vibe about the place. At the time we stayed you could have food from the restaurant delivered to your lodge, which we did 4 times in the week. the food was excellent and the desserts are well worth trying. At the time of our stay, some restrictions were still in place so we did not visit any other local restaurants or pubs.

The north lakes is a stunning area and we visited a few places nearby. The holiday was so chilled that we didn’t feel we needed to go anywhere and we were all happy to relax around the lodge and use the hot tub. 

We would all recommend the North Lakes lodges for a luxury relaxing break even if you don’t like fishing! We booked to go back before we’d left!

Want to see more lodges? See my full UK guide here!  

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Margin Fishing Tips

Carp fishing in the margins header

Margin fishing is an excellent way to catch carp and you can improve your chances greatly by learning to understand the margins better and the areas to target. Margin fishing is something I’ve been focusing on for years and I have been prolific in these areas. The important thing to remember is that not all margins are created equal, learning to understand them and find the betters spots will help you land more fish long term.

My top 7 margin tips

Here are my top 7 tips

1 – Find the clear hard spots

This is exactly the same as if you have a marker rod out in the middle. The margins are made up of a very similar consistency and depending on the lake you may find a lot more debris, twigs & breaking down leaves, in the margins. There will, however, be some very hard clear spots where the fish will have been feeding and keeping clear.

To find these spots I get a braded marker rod and add a 2.5oz lead and just bounce it around on the bottom going up and down the margin. I’m feeling for clear areas where the lead almost bounces on the bottom – these are the spots I want to find. Once I have found an area I’ll move the lead around and judge the size of the spot. If I think its a good spot I’ll get some bait on it at this point and carry on. Over time I’ll make up a picture of the margin on either side of me and where to target.

Once a spot has been identified I’ll try and drop my rod straight on it and walk my rod back to ensure I’m on the exact spot I’ve found. Once I have a rig on I like to drag it across the spot just to check for any debris and make sure the bait will present perfectly on it. If the spot is not that clear I sometimes use a boilie crumb mix on the spot a couple of times to see if the carp will feed and clear it.

Depending on where I’m fishing I like to have two or three margin spots that every time I’m at the lake I can drop some bait on and keep them feeding on the spots – as long as I’m not impacting anyone else who is fishing there. On a syndicate water, I’ll sometimes do this even when I don’t have time to fish if it’s a quiet lake. I continue this throughout the winter and have found winter spots that work really well even though they are shallow and close to the bank (You can see all my winter fishing tips here)

2 – Look for new reed growth

This is one more for the spring. Reeds are always a great spot to fish in the margins as the carp will often hunt them for food. Finding clear spots in front of them will usually result in a bite with the right bait on a spot.

In the spring I find these areas are particularly productive, this is just as the reeds are starting and may not have broken the surface of the water. Get a decent pair of polaroids on (Like these from Fortis) and find the reed or other plant growth.

Reeds make an excellent spot for margin fishing

3 – Washed out baits & small amounts

Most places you fish have bait being knocked in and dropped in the margins, but not in large amounts. Most places say to take unused home with you but a lot of it ends up in the water. To stop the carp from being wary, fish small amounts of bait – a small handful of boilies will do (8-12 boilies).

To wash them out place them in some water mixed with a matching glug for a couple of days first. This will take the colour out of them but leave the attraction in. This will make the bait look like it has been in the water for a long time and make the carp less wary. Fish a washed-out hook bait in with it for an amazing presentation.

4 – Get in the lake (If allowed)

If you are allowed in the lake in waders, get in and have a feel around with your feet. I’ve learned a vast amount about margins and features from walking around in waders. If you are not allowed in, in general, then make sure you are there for any work parties. Alternatively, especially on club waters, offer to tidy up the margins and remove the debris, this will give you a chance to clear the area you fish and find some spots at the same time – win-win!

Again, make sure you consider your own safety before getting in the lake. Check the depth with a landing net pole to make sure it is safe. It is always a good idea to have a mate on the bank in case you start sinking, get snagged, or drop into a deeper spot!

5 – Lay a trail

When you’ve found your spot then start thinking about where the carp will be coming in from. The basic idea is that it’s preferable having them coming from the other direction to your line. This does depend on a lot of factors and knowing how the fish move around the lake.

With margin fishing, I always think that the carp are more patrolling looking for food than going for big beds of bait. I like to lay a small trail of bait coming to my hook bait. I’ll go an extra 5 to 10 meters down the bank and drop the odd boilie in and build them up to the spot. This gets them taking bait without being spooked as they work their way around to your bait. It also increases the trail of scent for them to follow.

6 – Hand place your rigs

This is one of my ultimate fishing tips – as long as it is SAFE to do so – don’t go falling in a deep margin trying to be clever!

If you are really tight in the shallow then leaning over and placing your rig means you know it is presented absolutely perfectly. You can even hand place your free offering around it if it’s a really tight spot. If it is safe to do so have a feel around the spot for any debit or hook snags and clear them out first. Then place your rig exactly where you want it to be, you can try and find a lump or bump to hide your lead behind.

7 – If you see them, feed them!

I’m often at lakes when I spot fish near me feeding right under your feet. In these cases, I try to get them feeding before a rig goes anywhere near them. If they look to be feeding then there is already some food down there. I start off with just a couple of pellets or boilies and try and get them in as quietly as I can. If they take them or stay in the area I’ll add a couple more and build them up to get the carp feeding confidently. Once they’re taking the bait I’ll then very quietly and gently lower a rig in and sit back and wait for the run.

If there does not appear to be any fish in the margin try dropping a small amount of bait in and keep your eyes peeled for any signs of action!

I hope my tips were helpful. If you have any questions about this or carp fishing in general please get in touch on social media –

Insta: @casualcarper

Facebook: /casualcarper

Twitter: @Casual_Carper

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Best carp fishing boilies, wafters & popups

Best boilies header

Let’s all agree from the start, boilies are the ultimate carp bait. Fished correctly nothing catches more carp around the UK and Europe than boilies and related hook baits.

But with so many available how can you know which are the best boilies on the market?

Here’s my guide to my bait and how to best fish it, it’s broken down as follows (Scroll through to what you are looking for)

Guides 

  • Best small boilies (12mm and under)
  • Mid to large size (14mm+)
  • Best freezer boilies
  • Best popups
  • Best wafters
  • FAQs

Best boilie guide

Small boilies

As a day session angler, I’m really keen on smaller boilies and have used loads of different ones. Smaller boilies are a killer bait for winter carping. I always carry some 12mm boilies and hook baits on day sessions – they can be good for getting a bite if it’s a quiet day. My choice for the best small boilies is – Nash – Scopex Squid. These are awesome smelling bait that and the 12mms are nice and soft. They come with a full range of matching liquids and hook baits too.

Small boilies - Nash scopex squid 12mm

A bag will last me a few sessions in winter and I generally fish them in a solid bag or small bed of broken boilies. When fishing the bottom baits I’ll occasionally use them in a method or pellet feeder as a hook bait (See my guide to the best feeder pellets here). I always get great results at the lakes I fish with these boilies and they are my go-to small bait. You can mix it up and fish a 12mm snowman which can give you an edge on some waters.

Best full-size boilies

I’m saying full size for anything 14mm+ as I class anything under that as a small boilie. This section is basically what I think is the absolute ultimate must buy boilie.

And the winner is…

CC Moore live system boilies

CC Moore Live system

It’s fair to say CC Moores Live System boilies are my favourite boilie and these have accounted for some big carp around the world. They are a unique bait with an incredible smell and excellent consistency.

These are part of an incredible range of baits from CC Moore in this flavour with the stick mix being one of my favourite products to use. Here’s the full range –

  1. Shelf life boilies in various sizes (15mm – 18mm – 24mm)
  2. Matching Popups
  3. Balanced wafters
  4. Bag mix
  5. Base mix for rolling your own
  6. Freezer bait paste
  7. Hardened hook baits
  8. Airball popups
  9. Pellets
  10. Pre glugged hook baits
  11. Dumbell boilies

CC moore live system - the ultimate boilie range

The bag mix is fantastic for your PVA bags and it creates a good area of attraction around your bait to create a cloud of attraction.  There are not many others on the market that combine these flavours and the difference gives you a good edge on harder waters rather than fishing the same baits everyone else is using.

If you want the best bait to catch more carp then I’d say you cannot go wrong with these – in summer, winter, autumn or spring!

Best popups

I could have done a whole separate page on pop-ups with the amount of weird and wonderful baits there is on the market. I’ve tried fishing with the odd fluro mixed colour ones but just find they don’t work, well they didn’t for me anyway. Ones like this are not making the list!

What are the best popup boilies?

I’m sure someone out there loves these baits but it’s not me.

My favourite pop-ups are – CC Moore diary supreme pop-ups, washed-out pink colour. What I love about these are the colour and strength. The elite range can stay in the water for up to 24 hours and work really well with the matching glug. The 12mm is a great bait for the cooler months and is my preferred hook bait all winter. I’ll then switch to the larger sizes in the summer months.

The best popups in the UK

These can be fished effectively on their own or over a bed of bait and work best with an added glug or bait spray booster. The 12mm version make great baits for a snowman rigs over a size 18mm/ 20mm boilie. These are excellent as a hook bait in a solid bag. As soon as you open a pot of these you’ll see why I rate them so highly. They are good sweet-smelling bait that is visually attractive.

Best Cheap boilies

Important – when I say cheap I mean ways to find good value quality boilies, I do not mean the £3 a kilo crap off eBay!

1 – Starmer baits – Starmer baits have a good range of quality boilies but with a bit of searching you can find 5KG bags of their offcuts and overruns at a great price – Check for stock here.    With offcuts, you’ll never really know what you’re getting until they arrive and from experience, you’ll get some odd shapes and the occasional sausage in there. These are great boilies for feeding and mixing up how you fish. I’ve had some decent sessions on these.

2 – Premier baits – Randoms – Premier baits are one of my favourite frozen boilies manufacturers and for the best value freezer boilies you will not beat these at £17.50 per 5KG* (*Price correct at time of writing this blog, shipping is extra). These are again overruns from their mainline and are excellent boilies. Find them here.

Again you don’t know what you’re fishing with and will have a mix of boilies on the lake bed but at this price for the quality, you cannot go wrong. If available you’ll find them in the left-hand menu of the premier baits website.

Best freezer boilies

For big carp fishing and long sessions you simply cannot beat freezer baits. The quality of the baits are instantly noticeable and with a little prep and an air-dry bag (I use this one) then you’ll soon see the benefit of these baits.

1 – Premier Baits – Matrix Plus

What a bait the matrix is, I’ve caught loads of fish using these baits and were allowed I’ve some mates who take them to France every time they go. The Matrix plus is an advanced version of the original Matrix which is even more potent and took 2 years of testing before launch to make sure it was perfect.

The smallest amount you can buy is 5kg which comes in at a very reasonable £40 (Correct at time of writing and subject to change). Sizes go from 14mm up to 24mm and if you order 20kg or more then you’ll be able to split sizes. At a maximum, you can order 50KG for £290 which works out at just £5.80  a kilo – which is a great value.

FAQs

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Beginners method feeder fishing tips

Fishing with a method feeder blog

The method feeder is a popular type of open feeder than can be used for mixed coarse and small to mid-sized carp (if used correctly). There are various different types of method including the flat bottom method, banjo feeder and others. Here I’ll cover my top tips for method feeder beginners and give you an idea of how to use this method effectively.

First, let’s start with the most simple question

What is a method feeder?

A method feeder is an open feeder for pellets or ground bait where your bait sits on top of the feed. These are available as either an inline feeder or attached – called an elasticated feeder.

Top method feeder tips for beginners

Before we get into the different types of feeders you need to think about the type of water you’re going to fish and what you want to catch. As a rough guide, smaller feeders will be better suited to smaller lakes as casting distances are limited, as you would expect.

Recommended method feeder setup 1 – Preston innovation method feeder

This feeder is made by Preston Innovations and is by far my favourite feeder. It comes in two types – inline feeder (recommended) and elasticated – also know as a banjo feeder.

There’s also a separate mould to shape the pellets to present the bait perfectly. This is a really easy feeder to fish with a soaked pellet and small hook bait – 12mm boilies work perfectly along with 4mm pellets. As a method feeder for beginners here’s a step by step guide to fishing using this rig and all the components you’ll need.

What you’ll need (see below) – Method feeder in either 15g, 30g or 45g, pellets, short hair rig (Korum quick stop – short, size 10, 10LB break), plus usual terminal tackle you’d find in your box (rubbers, swivel etc).

Step by step guide

  1. Soak the pellets – You can do this at the bank but I prefer to soak them overnight depending on the pellets, just pop them in a tub covered in water and they end up as a nice sticky paste the next morning – perfect. If you’re using fin perfect stiki method pellets then you can do them on the bank in 10 minutes.
  2. Setup the inline feeder – Add the feeder onto the line, add a tail rubber and tie it to a swivel
  3. Add the hair – Loop the hair over the swivel, I use Korum quick stops as it means I can quickly change baits or add new baits after I catch.
  4. Setup the bait – Hair rig your boilie or pellet to the quick stop and place it in the bottom of the mould. Take some of the soaked pellets out and fill the mould with it – squash it down as much as you can but leave some out. Place the feeder over the top and press it out of the mould leaving you with a perfectly filled feeder with your bait sitting on the top. It’s a great idea at this point to add some liquid attraction over the feeder, especially if you are fishing for carp. I like to mix Beta Stim liquid with the water to soak the feeder with an extra attractant or pour an extra bit over the top (slowly) before casting out.
  5. Cast it out! – Then sit back and wait for the fish to bite!

Here’s what the finished article looks like

This is a 30g inline feeder with a 12 boilie on a 4″ size 10, 10lb break, Korum quick stop. This is done using slightly different pellets to add some variation to the rig – Skretting pellets. These are 8mm pellets that have been soaked overnight and are more a paste than the fin perfect pellets. As the video shows below they have a great effect under the water, rising out of the feeder and keeping the bait well presented.

Here’s what the rig looks like underwater (Filmed on a Water Wold HD underwater camera + carp bottom kit)

Some more tips

  • How far should I cast a method feeder? – Don’t try and give it all you’ve got in the cast! Get the right weight of feeder and a swift flick should be all that’s needed. Don’t settle for a “that will do cast”. It takes a little time to set the feeder up, if you cast short of your target don’t be tempted to leave it, reel it back in, refill, then recast.
  • Why do the pellets keep coming off my method feeder? – Getting the consistency right is key to success, too dry and it would hold in the feeder to wet and it won’t shape. As a general rule cover the pellets plus 1 CM if you’re soaking overnight. If you are struggling try using the fin perfect pellets mentioned above as the 2mm pellets are really easy to soak.
  • How often should I cast a method feeder? – You should be regularly casting your feeder out, this is not like bating a spot and waiting for the carp to come in. Every 30 minutes is a good guide but on some waters, you can cast as often as every 5-10 minutes to get more bait in and find the right spots.
  • Feathering – This is a technique of slowing the line down as it is about to hit the water. This means you are less likely to lose all your pellets on impact with the water. This takes some practice to finesse. (Here is a YouTube video showing you how it’s done – video here).
  • What size feeder should I use? For me the optimum feeder is 30g, I do not feel that I need anything heavier unless there is a strong wind or I am fishing on a steeper slope underwater.
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Carp Fishing Naturals Guide

carp fishing naturals

I hear a lot of people talking about naturals in carp fishing but I felt I knew very little about them. It is usually the case that I hear “It’s a tough water as they all feed on naturals”. So I set out with my Water Wolf underwater cameras to film at a lake I know that is full of naturals to record them and see what I could learn.

For this, I recorded around 60 hours of footage in various spots from weedy to clear to find what they were eating and where. What I found has caused me to rethink my whole baiting approach to these kinds of waters to better reflect what the carp are eating.

The Lake

The lake I filmed in is a small lake that is very weedy at most points. It is a private water that does not get fished very often, it is mainly used as a stock pond for the other lakes.  in the summer the blanket weed is so thick that other than a couple of margins it is almost unfishable. The lake is on a natural underwater spring which keeps it flooded with fresh clear water.

Whilst it is only a small lake the weed and the spring make it perfect for naturals and for the carp. The stock consists of two low twenties that have never seen the bank and one high twenty that I have had out on the surface previously.

The cameras

I filmed this across my Water Wolf cameras, in some cases the footage is very clear and in others it’s a little murky as you would expect at the bottom of a lake!

Here is what a learned from 60 hours of footage.

My tips for fishing lakes with lots of naturals

1 – Not every clear spot has lots of naturals!

This one surprised me a little as there were only three clear spots in the lake. This leads me to assume that they would all be feeding areas for the carp, but this wasn’t the case. In two of the spots, there was a decent amount of naturals in the water but not loads.

In the third spot, I found I can only describe it as looking like an underwater disco for worms and invertebrates. On this spot, there were numerous worms, bloodworms and lots of other invertebrates. It was incredible to watch the amount of movement in the water in this area. It was behind a weed bed and very close to an island. It looked to me to be the area that the spring water was coming through into the lake. The nutrient-rich water would attract the invertebrates and in turn, it would attract the carp.

As a comparison, the other clear spots were visited by the carp around once every hour or two and on some days not at all. The spot that was packed with naturals was visited almost every half an hour where the carp would have a quick munch and then move on.

Unfortunately, other than using an underwater camera there is no way of telling this! My advice would be to focus on the clear spots where you are catching more if you don’t have a camera but that’s pretty obvious anyway!

2 – Most natural food is dark coloured

Some baits are much better suited to waters where naturals are present. Personally, my go-to bait is a white popup or wafter on a lot of waters, I like how it stands out and the carp can’t miss it. After reviewing all the footage I’d say that could be the worst choice of bait on this type of water.

In general, the foods the carp are eating are brown coloured or red colour. The darker colours are more like the larvae and the mites and the red as the worms and there is one small red mite that swims around usual within a foot of the bottom. I have not seen anything white or yellow or a washed-out colour in my filming.

To work from this I have started to use darker hook baits in these types of lakes. This has been the same with baiting up areas, I have gone from yellow baits to much darker baits and I have glugged them in the matching dark boilie glug. I’ve been baiting up with crumbed down glugged boilies in PVA mesh as most invertebrae are small.

I’d recommend something they are used to like these bloodworm wafters from CC Moore (Get them here)

Bloodworm - perfect for lakes with lots of naturals

3 – Nothing is a uniform shape!

There is nothing natural about a round bait on the bottom. I’m not saying you won’t catch on them though, just that you may catch more fishing other shapes.

For these kinds of waters, I’m now fishing darker trimmed popup and balanced wafters to more mimics natural foods. This helps the bait blend in more with what they are used to seeing and feeding on. The movement seems to be key as a lot of what they are eating naturally is moving.

4 – Most things move slowly

In general, the food in the water moves at a slow pace and can take minutes to move a few centimetres. This is the case for most of the invertebrate that lives on the bottom. The mites that swim in the water move quicker and in a more flick like movement in general.

To better mimic this in a bait, as mentioned above, a hinge rig would be my go-to rig. It blends but sits up a little and the rig allows for some natural movement in the water.

5 – Do some pond dipping or raking

Grab a small net and have a dip around in the margin. The best option is to sweep under any overhanging grass or around any weeds near the margin. This will show you what is in the water at that lake and you may find there is an abundance of a particular species. You can then use this to mimic in your baiting setup.

Alternatively, if allowed, throw out a rake and pull some weed into the side. Then drop it in a clear tub of lake water and give it a shake around. This will show you what is living amongst the weeds. The carp will feed on a lot of what you find.

What do carp naturally eat? (UK)

Carp have a very varied diet and as you may know, they will try to eat almost anything they see. You can see on YouTube people catching them on random hook baits such as Haribo and boiled sweets.

Carp are omnivores and will eat a mix of invertebrates as well as some plants and algae.

Here’s a guide to some of the invertebrates that are naturally in a carp’s diet. Some of these are in the video above showing how they behave underwater. Some of these I haven’t caught on camera as they will vary lake by lake.

  • Bloodworm
  • Snails
  • Caddisfly larvae
  • Worms
  • Freshwater clams

Opportunist list

As well as the standard invertebrates there are a number of things carp will eat if they see them –

Dragon flys or damsel flys

Fruits or berries that land in the water

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Get the most out of your bait boat with my top tips

Bait boat tips

I’ve been using an Actor bait boat for a while now and I’ve got some tips for you that will help you get the most out of our boat. 

Top 6 Bait Boat Tips

Once you have selected and purchased your bait boat then you need to make sure you are getting the most out of it. Bait boats can be a really effective way of catching more fish when used to the maximum. Here are my top tips for your bait boat – 

1 - Get to the places casting can't reach!

If yo have a bait boat then use it to get to areas where others can’t! Check for branches in the water, but your boat should go under trees where you’d never be able to cast and where carp will never have been caught! 

By targeting theses areas you can maximise your catch rates fishing outside of where others can fish. 

Another option is to go right up to overhanging bushes and drop it as tight as you can get it. This just gets you close to the areas where the fish have not been caught. In theses areas bait will drop that has been over thrown and the carp will be used to feeding confidently in these areas. 

On a lake I regularly fish there is an solid gap between two overhanging bushes up a side margin where the fish confidently feed. Because of the bushes and surrounding trees it is impossible to cast to regardless of how good you think you are at casting. The boat can get in and drop bait and rigs on the hard spot. There is no underwater snags so you can turn the corner drop the bait and tighten up without snagging anything above the water. 

This is an area that regularly produces a fish which on tricker water can be the difference between a blank and a decent session. 

If you can cast to an area you want to fish then I find it’s quicker to just cast, use the bait boat where it is needed to get an extra edge. 

Get your bait boat in under the trees

2 - Use a bank stick for far margins

This carries on from the last tip really and is about accuracy. You can secure a bank stick to the front of your boat and get yourself to within 30cms of the bank.

One of the challenges of bait boats, without gps, is seeing how close you are to a margin in the distance. With a bank stick tapped on to the boat you can go until it hits the margin and then drop on the spot. This is an area that is castable but getting really tight to a far margin is difficult even when clipped up. 

This again gives you an edge over the wary carp and with a short bank stick you can keep hitting the same tight spots over and over on every session. 

3 - Use a cardboard flap!

If you are on a busy lake then a taped piece of cardboard over the hopper can be a bait saver. On some waters, where they are used to seeing them, the wildlife will come and try and eat from the boat while it’s on its way out! A quick bit of tape to cover the bait and you won’t have these issues. 

4 - Use a seperate line to save battery

This is more a tip for longer sessions and weeks away in France where charging is an issue. If you are running multiple trips to 3 spots over a 48-hour session then battery life can be an issue, even if you have a spare or a charge pack. 

To do this simply tie a spare rod to the boat out of the way and then when you have dropped reel it back into you. This is also good for boats that don’t have a GPS in the event that one of your rods goes whilst you are driving the boat back in. It will cut the battery use down by around 45% which is a good thing where needed. 

5 - Use small solid bags

Just because you are dropping from a bait boat does not mean that your rig will always land perfectly. From experience, it does most of the time if you are over a clear spot but sometimes you will find some debris in these areas too. 

Using a small solid bag just for your hook bait can help to add some extra attraction right by the hook as well as ensuring it all way lands right. It also helps with covering the lead when you tie the bags correctly.

6 - Control the line out

This is one especially for windy days and takes a little practice to get right. Rather than just letting the line pull you just lightly hold it and let put just how much it needs. This stops you from getting a massive bow in the line and means you can tighten up much quicker.

It can be tricky to do the first couple of time while driving the boat but is worth the effort to learn how to get it right. 

I hope this has been helpful to you! In the main I like bait boats and think they have their uses, getting the right approach with them is key.