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Best carp fishing boilies

Bag of boilies

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 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 – Covering shelf life and frozen

  • Small boilies (12mm and under)
  • Mid to large size (14mm+)
  • Popups

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 Casual Carper 12mm boilies come in two flavours with matching popups in 12mm.

For me it’s all about the 12mm white chocolate and orange popups!

White Choc 12 mm boilies - the best small carp bait

A pot will last me a few sessions and I generally fish them over a stiff bag or small bed of broken boilies. When fishing the bottom baits I’ll use them in a method or pellet feeder (See my guide to the best feeder pellets here). I always get great results at the lakes I fish with the boilies and they are my go to bait.

Tip – Due to the size I prefer to drill before you hair rig as this stops them splitting like they can do if you just push a needle through them. I think they’re best fished on a Korum quick stop size 10 hair.

My PB on these is a 13lb 7oz mirror with these, which is still the lake record where I fish.

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…

Casual Carper – Spiced Krill Boilies

best 15mm spiced krill boilies - available in 2.5kg 5kg with free UK delivery

It’s fair to say my Spiced Krill boilies are my favourite boilie and these have accounted for some big carp! These include UK 40s and some monsters from lakes in France too – Check out my Instagram account @casualcarper to see the latest catch report on these baits!

UK bait record on the top rated spiced krill boilies - a cracking UK 41lb mirror carp

I have these boilies available in my shop in 12mm, 15mm and 18mm. There’s a whole range of add on products you can get too –

  1. Matching Popups
  2. Balanced wafters
  3. Pastel wafters
  4. White popups
  5. Fluro popups
  6. Snowman heads
  7. Boilie glug (The best carp liquid IMO)

These boilies are a killer combination of liquid krill flavour with an added strong spice kick that is quickly released. These boilies can be fished all year what ever the conditions.

The bag mix is fantastic for your PVA bags and it create a good area of attraction around your bait to create a cloud or attraction.  There’s 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 are no 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 some one out their 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 is 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 bait around March and April. I’ll then switch to the larger sizes in the summer months.

CC moore best pop ups on the market

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.

Here they are under water and getting eaten by a nice carp!

Keep watching to see the carp.

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 off cuts and over runs at a great price – Check for stock here.    With off cuts you’ll never really know what your 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.

Starmer baits cheap off cut boilies2 – Premier baits – Randoms – Premier baits are one of my favourite frozen boilie manufactures 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 main line and are excellent boilies.

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 where 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 too 2 years of testing before launch to make sure it was perfect.

Matrix Plus my recommended freezer boilie, best for big carp.

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 great value.

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Water Wolf HD review

The Water Wolf HD is an under water camera designed do you can film your rigs and the fish under the water. I’ve been using one for my carp fishing for over a year now and have added some videos and a full review of the product here. If you have any questions about it then add a comment at the bottom of the page or send me a tweet to @casual_Carper.

I’d recommend buying one but read the review for the limitations of what you’ll see on the recordings. There is a lot to learn from using one, but don’t expect perfect videos of you catching monster carp!

Update – I now have 2 of these so I can do film on 2 rods at once! You can see the videos on my You tube channel here or on Instagram – search “Casual Carper“.

Water Wolf – Carp fishing review

First thing to point out from my experience of using this in UK lakes – Ignore the very sexy you tube videos on the product. Unless you fish a flat bottomed, gin clear lake that has an abundance of big carp you won’t get videos like that! But if you use this device for learning about the bottom conditions and how you’re rig looks then you’ll learn a great deal.

To fish with one you’ll need the camera and the bottom filming kit – I’ll show you how to set that up further down the page.

You can buy them here from Amazon with next day delivery

Here’s how a decent video of a carp taken in spring. (Carp comes up on 43 seconds)

How to setup the Water Wolf

To get started you need to get the top off to get it charged – its seriously tight the first time you do it! Put some strong mono line (not braid) through the hole at the top and pull, keep the pressure on and wiggle the line side to side and it will eventually come loose. Then plug the charger in and it will take a couple of hours to full charge – when the blue light goes off its done.

Next add the memory card, there’s only 1 way to add it so it click in place. Make sure the memory card is clear when you put it in as it can cause problems with the recording if not. To test add the memory card and turn the Water Wold on to start recording. If the red light flashes intermittently then its fine and recording. If it flashes for 9ish seconds and then goes off you’ll need to wipe the memory card completely and start again.

Setting up the bottom kit

There’s a video of this coming soon as its tricky to explain with out one.

What you’ll need

Water Wolf under water bottom filming kit

Lead core looped at each end (like this below from Gardner Tackle)

Your rig (For ideal recordings you’ll want to be around 5 inches from the device – this is why you won’t catch much with it on!)

Tips for using the Water Wolf for carp fishing

  1. Be prepared to have to use it a few times to get it right. Depending on the clarity of the water you may need to close/ further away from the camera. Sometimes on an uneven bottom you can end up with videos of nothing so its good to keep moving it about.
  2. Remember you won’t get sexy videos – use it for testing different rigs, baits and areas of the swim to see whats there.
  3. It’s best used in spring when the water is a little clearer.
  4. Have 2 memory cards – That way if you take a computer/ tablet with a card reader you can watch some of the footage whilst taking some on the other card.

Here’s a video I took last year of a pellet banjo feeder under water. (You can see the blog – beginners guide to fishing for carp on the method feeder here)

Recently I’ve been getting some better videos from the wolf by concentrating on waters where the water is clearer. Whilst I think I’ll get less bites with the Wolf on the bottom compared to a standard lead I’m still getting some good footage. As mentioned above you need to see this as a learning tool about how your baits are presented on the bottom rather than getting sexy videos of you catching 30s!

Here’s a recent video I took using a popup and losing a carp (keep watching to see the carp!

Things I’ve learned from using the Water Wolf

  1. With out rig foam my rig gets tangled around 1 in 7 casts – So now I’m not lazy and use rig foam every cast if I’m not using a feeder. (like this from Gardner Tackle)
  2. The quality of your popups really matter. I’ve found some cheaper ones act much more like a wafter.
  3. Using tungsten putty on the rig gives a much better presentation to get more bites (in my opinion). Especially when you just use it to sit your hook bait around 1 – 2 centimetres from the bottom.
  4. Roach often swim around with the carp looking for smaller bait they stir up. Not sure if this is lake specific, but when the roach come into camera there’s usually a carp around too.
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Beginners method feeder fishing tips

Screen Shot 2017-03-01 at 09.02.33

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’s various different types of method including the flat bottom method, banjo feeder and others. Here we’ll cover our top tips for method feeder beginners and give you an idea of how to use this method effectively.

First lets 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 in line feeder or attached – called a banjo 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.

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 – in line Banjo feeder – buy here (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 – 10mm boilies work perfectly along with 4mm pellets(see my best small boilies guide here). 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 (See my guide to the best carp method pellets here), 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 in line feeder – Add the feeder on to the line, add a rubber and tie to a swivel
  3. Add the hair – Loop the hair over the swivel, we use Korum quick stops as it means you can quickly change baits or add new baits after you 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 pellet 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.
  5. Cast it out! – Then sit back and wait for the fish to bite!

Here’s all the bits you’ll need from Amazon

method-feeder-tips-for-beginners-to-carp-fishing

Here’s what the finished article looks like – This is a 30g in line feeder with a ringers 10mm white shellfish 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.

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

Some more tips

  • Casting – 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 thats needed. Don’t settle for a “that will do cast”. It take 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, re fill, then re cast.
  • If the bait keeps coming off – 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 over night.
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Korum Quick Stops

Korum quick stop hair rigs are my favourite innovation of the last few years. They make fishing the method feeder a breeze as its simple to change baits and quickly put your bait back on after a catch. This is the top product on the market for this and I personally never go for a day session with out these hair rigs.

How to use quick stop hair rigs

This guide takes into account that you have them attached to your swivel/ rig already. (This is my way of using them and others may vary!)

  1. Drill your bait – The quick stops are rather soft so if you’re putting them through a boilie or pellet it needs a small hole through first. The maximum size bait I’d personally use would be a 10mm boilie or pellet on a hook size 10 rig. If you’re using sweetcorn I’d still push your needle through first to make a hole.
  2. Push the quick stop through – Simple as that, get your special Korum needle in the end of the quick stop and then push it through your bait. Pull the needle back out and then twist the top to secure the bait.
  3. Cast it out! – You’re done and as this is the casual carper site its time to “sit back and catch carp”.

Sizes available from Korum

Firstly there’s 2 lengths of hook links to consider, short = 4 inches and long = 15 inches. Unfortunately there isn’t currently a medium length option but we’d like to see one in time.

Hook size guide – all available in barbed or barbless (our preferred option)

  • Size 10, 10lb break strain – This is my choice of size in the 4″ version, perfect for carp fishing on the open method feeder and strong enough if they put up a fight. The biggest carp I’ve landed on one of these is 13lb 4oz so if you play the fish right you’ve got plenty of extra in them.
  • Size 12, 8lb break strain – This is decent for smaller carp waters, useful for mixed coarse and carp waters.
  • Size 14 – 7lb break strain – Again okay on waters with small carp but will struggle if you hit a double, if there’s fish that big in the water I’d go with a bigger size.
  • Size 16 – 6lb break strain – Perfect for feeder fishing at mixed coarse waters – I’m a fan of this size for a bit of summer tench fishing if I’m having a break from the carp.

Here’s some carp I’ve recently caught using these hair rigs-

recent-carp-caught-with-korum-quick-stops-on-a-method-feeder

Here’s the setups i used –

how-to-setup-korum-hair-rigs-on-2-different-feeder-types

The fist image is a pre soaked pellet mix with a 10 mm Ringers white shellfish boilie on the hair. Setup in a Preston innovations (same company as Korum) in line banjo feeder.

The second image is a flat bed inline method feeder with my special carp method mix with a 10mm boilie corn (yes boilies in the shape of corn) on the quick stop.

If you’ve got any questions about these rigs or anything carp related then drop me a message on twitter @casual_carper 

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Best method feeder pellets

Method feeder fishing with pellets is becoming more and more popular, especially with dat session carp anglers like myself. There’s a wide range of weird and wonderful feeders out there as well as more pellets then you’d ever need. I’ve fished with a good few of them to bring you my top 3 pellets, how to prepare them and how to use the feeder to its full potential. If you’re completely new to feeder fishing you can find my guide to method feeder fishing here.

Top 3 feeder pellets

These are my top rated pellets for fishing the banjo style feeder and using a mould – The best way to fish them.

Number 1 – Sonubaits fin perfect

Kicking it straight off with my number 1 pellet – The Sonubaits Andy Finlay method feeder pellet – 4mm. I’m being very specific about this as these are the exact ones I always carry. This range comes in 2mm & 6mm and there is also a feed pellet in the same size and packaging so make sure you get the right ones. (You can the exact ones here).

Best pellets for the method feeder

I prefer the 4mm as it just seems to work in the feeder better for carp and stay compact a little longer.

I fish these usually on a preston innovations round banjo or a Dura banjo. These are the easiest pellets to mix on the market, all you need is a bucket!

How to prepare fin perfect method pellets

  1. Pour the bag into a bucket
  2. Add 150ml of water and mix well
  3. Get them in the feeder and cast out – easy as that.

If you want to mix it up, as we all do sometime, add some flavouring to the water. I’ve used mainlines white chocolate in the past or you can use a bait spray or Korum goo once in the feeder.

What hook bait should you use?

This is a really debatable issue as some people swear if your feeding pellets you should be fishing pellets – I don’t agree (but do sometimes use pellets on the hook). My go to method is to use a light coloured small boilie and this works really well for me. The carp aren’t really going to miss a boilie sitting on the top of the pellets!

Number 2 – Skreting pellets

These are more of a standard pellet that you can usually find for sale in your local tackle store- They usually look like the store have bagged them up themselves. These can be bought in these bags or in bulk bags from larger suppliers.

These are a great pellet for fishing at long range and you can leave them in for a while longer if you use my method for soaking them.

Soaking pellets method

  1. Fill a tub 3/4 full of pellets, using either the 2mm or the 4 mm pellets – you add a flavouring at this if you wish – recommended.
  2. Fill the tub with water to around 1cm-2cm above the pellets.
  3. Leave over night and then get out on the bank.

These pellets will expand to almost be like a sticky paste but still pellets if you get it right. This means you can mould it a little in the feeder for a different presentation. It also last longer on the feeder. This is a video from my you tube channel showing how the pellets expand in the feeder. It really pushes the hook bait higher and higher in the water and the bed of pellets keeps expanding.

I’d skip towards the end as nothing really happens and I don’t catch anything in this video! It’s just always interesting to see what your bait does under water. This was filmed on my water wolf HD – review here, in April time in a lake with visibility of about 2-3 foot at this time of year. The bottom is mainly clay with weeds coming up in June time and dying off in August.

I find the pellet feeder best for when the weeds are lower and especially good for catch carp in volume up to about 10LB. I have caught bigger on these feeders but the average I catch is around the 6lb to 8lb mark.

Number 3 – Bag up baits spicy sausage and halibut

These make the list for the best method feeder pellets due to their flavour and mixed colours. These are a good bait to have on hand on lakes where the feeder is heavily fished. It just gives you a nice differentiator rather then the usual coarse pellets.

Bag up baits method pellet mix

These are prepared with a quick soak and can also be used as a loose feed. These are a micro pellet and can be fished with any banjo or pellet feeder. I’d say they have a casting range of about 20-30 meters but I personally stick to the margins and smaller waters with pellet feeders.

Hook baits for method feeder fishing

Now we’ve got the pellets sorted its time to think about the hook bait we should use for fishing this method. I know there’s a school of though that says if your feeding pellets you should use a pellet as your hook bait. I personally don’t subscribe to this view. Fishing a 4mm pellet on the and then a 8mm-10mm pellet makes no difference if its a boilie of a pellet on the hook in my opinion.

I always fish a boilie on the hook on these feeders and have had great success when fishing a white boilie as the hook bait. You can see my best small boilies guide here for some tips on exactly which baits to use.

If you have any questions about method feeder fishing drop me a tweet to @casual_carper or find me on Instagram – search “Casualcarper”.

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Snowman rig tips

The snowman rig is a hugely popular rig for big carp. It’s one I use regularly to mix it up when the bites are hard to get. But I’ve got some tips and tricks to get even more bites from this rig – plus videos of each of these variations underwater on our you tube channel. I’m so keen on fishing this reig I’ve added a pot of “snowman heads” to my range of baits. These are a mixed pot of 12mm popups, all in the same flavour but in 4 different colours – you can see them here.

What is a snowman rig?

A snow man rig is a 2 boilie setup with a standard boilie at the bottom and a smaller pop up at the top. It makes the presentation standup odd the bottom and looks just like a snowman, hence the name.

Here’s the idea of how they should look

What is a snowman rig for carp fishing

There is also a reverse snowman with the smaller popup on the bottom and the main boilie above. This does not look like a snowman but is quite an effective presentation when fished correctly. It really helps if you have some boilie extenders to hand to make the presentation better.

You can see our guide to the best carp boilies and popups here to help select the right bait.

Snowman rig fishing tips

1 – Practice!

This rig takes a little time to perfect. Where possible I’d alway put the rig in a clear margin so you can see how its set up. If it’s not balanced right the popup can pull the whole rig up and thats not the idea. In this case you can add some tungsten putty by the rig to hold it down, or use a different popup – preferred way.

2 – Snip them a bit

This is a tip I picked up from a carp mag a few years ago (I read a few so I can’t remember the exact one.). Snip the ends of each boilie to make a smother presentation rather than 2 balls on top of each other. This really sleeks up the presentation and can help you get more bites.

Snowman rig with trimmed down boilies

3 – Mix it up

You don’t have to stick to the standard rigs, sometimes its worth mixing up your snowman rigs to get a bite. Try different sized boilies and see how they sit in the water. I occasionally use what I call the “fat snowman” rig with is a 14mm dumbbell with a 10mm popup on as below. You’ll need to use a Boilie extender for some of these depending on your hair length.

Fat snowman rig ideaRig idea - the fat snowman

Or the “tall snowman” rig idea

Tall snowman rig idea

To test things before I go to the lake I also have an old fish tank with some gravel in filled with water. I’ll quickly add the bait to the hair rig at home and sit it in to see how it looks. This saves lots of precious time on the bank and means I can repeatedly test rigs and setups.

You can pick up old tanks on eBay really cheap and as long as you have the place to store them its a good way to test things out where you can see the rig/ bait.

Here’s some of the rigs filmed under water on my Water Wolf HD – see review here.

There’s loads more videos on my You Tube channel, just search “Casual Carper” to see them all.

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Winter carp fishing tips

It’s cold, it maybe snowing, but does that stop us catching carp? NO!

Here’s 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.

Other winter guides

Winter carp bait

Winter carp clothing

Winter carp – Top 7 tips!

Winter carp fishing tactics

1 – Be prepared

As the boy scouts motto goes you need to get yourself prepared for winter fishing. Whether its a nice commercial water you are going to or a lake in the middle of no where 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 whats off!

Make sure you have plenty of warm clothing, hot drinks and if your crazy enough for a winter night session a decent warm sleeping bag.

2 – 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 7am 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.

3 – 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.

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.

As mentioned above carp tend to hole up together so it could be leading you to the best spot on the lake. Once you’ve found the right spots in the swim then kick back and watch game of thrones!

5 – Smaller baits

I’ve got a full blog on the best winter baits here (link to follow). 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. These work well fished with just a couple of freebies in a PVA bag – I’d add a glug of something stinky just to improve the attraction.

6 – 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.

7 – 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 to the bait is essential.

Thats the end of my 7 best winter carp tips. Good luck if your our fishing and send me a tweet of what you catch to @casual_carper or find me on Instagram “Casual Carper

Winter carp 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 down hearted by the odd blank!

Tactic 1 – 12mm Dynamite boilies, pva string Crab and banana glug

As mentioned above this is all about keeping it small scale and these 12mm 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 the crab and banana flavouring. This really helps to enhance the bait and get those all important bites.

Best winter carp fishing tactic

You can get these bits here –

Complex-t boilies – 12mm here

Korda total dissolve – PVA braid here

Carp signal booster – Crab and banana here (There’s a good range of flavours to pick from so mix it up and try other ones)

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 over night to kill them. If you’ve never fished this way for get ready for a smell sensation! (not in a good way!)

Tactic 3 – Popup over pva bag of pellets

I’d again go for a popup of 12mm or 10mm in this and often use ringers white shellfish which are a great bait. These are fished with a really small PVA bag of low oil pellets along with some glug again. If them bites are quiet this is the method I’ll turn to to try and get some bites.

If your looking for an alternative to the glug then Korda goo works quite well for a bit of variety.

New for this season – Ive been enjoying using this bait spray (see below). It’s one that help 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 you 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 our page – Casual Carper) 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 10mm boilies 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 id 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 area where they’re 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 –

My favourite winter carp popup rig

You 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 setup 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 with out a hair and a hook size or 10 or 12 and feed the maggot onto 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 silver fish and perch taking the maggot like you would in spring/ summer.

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Best method feeder mix

Here’s my guide to the ultimate method mix for carp. This has been honed over the last few years and is flexible for changes when sticking to the planned core ingredients. This includes the SECRET INGREDIENT which will give you a compact mix in the cast making an open feeder more effective than ever!

Casual Carpers ultimate method mix

Here’s the base ingredients –

Carp method mix – Bait tech super method is my current base mix of choice – Buy it on Amazon here

1 tin of sweet corn (any size, what ever you prefer as a hook bait) – I just use a cheap super market tin.

1 tin of frenzied particles (or any tinned particles/ hemp) – 600g tin – buy it on Amazon here

A good squirt of liquid pineapple (again or similar) – Currently I’m using Mainline syrup.

Best carp mix for method feeder fishing

Carp paste powder (about a third of what you’ve used as method mix) – This by Bait tech will do the job and comes in natural fish meal or halibut.

Carp method mix secret ingredient

The Carp paste power is what makes it really sticky and compact together on the feeder and hold in the cast and on impact. I find with just a method feeder mix with any decent length cast the feeder tends to lose some on impact with the water.

Method

I usually make this the evening before I go fishing to give it over night to take on more flavour and compact down.

Start with the method ground bait and paste power in a large tub or bucket. Then add a tin of corn and the particles and give it a very good mix round. Then start adding the liquid sweetcorn until the mixture starts to stick together in the turn. One key thing of this mix is to not add any water – everything thats in it has a flavour for the carp.

I then put it in the tub to take it to the lake in and stack other tins of bait or bait boxed on it to flatten it down. When you arrive at the lake just give it a quick stir with a bank stick and off you go using it. The flattening down seems to get a better hold of it – this is not tested and just my opinion.

Then as the casual carper says – kick back and catch carp!

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Catch one carp!

As well as the 100lb match challenge I have another goal for summer 2016 and that is to catch one carp! This may sound odd but read on and I’ll explain how this challenge has come about.

If you’re familiar with the site you’ll know that I help out running a 3 lake complex with small lakes. When we first took them over we had the lakes netted and some carp moved between out lakes to give them a better balance. We planned to empty one of 6 carp and leave it empty until we decided what to do with it, and we thought we had. Then one day last summer we were walking past the lake when we spotted that familiar V across the water where a large (20+ we think) was cruising on the top.

I’ve seen this fish a number of times through the summer but not had the chance to catch it. The plan this year is to get it on the bank and see what size it is. I’ve added a picture of it below and you can see it swimming through the margins in the video on our you tube channel. Since this was written we’ve added 2 x 8lb VS carp to the lake and these should now be over 10b but the goal is still to catch the one big one in the lake.

After checking the lake a few times I think there is also another smaller carp (3-5lb) knocking around too.

The plan

I’m going with two different options to catch this carp

Surface fishing – Not renowned for catching bigger carp but from walking around the lakes I know that this fish likes to sit on top of the weed in a summers evening had has taken freebies off the top first. The main challenge with this is to catch the exact carp I’m after without a, the roach breaking up the bread and b, hitting one of the smaller carp – although I’d still be please with that!

Pre baiting – With no one fishing the lake in the last 2 years the fish are not used to seeing bait. So there will be a side plan of pre baiting the lake with boilies and particles over a period of 4-6 weeks and check back to see when its gone. Again this will be a case of put the bait out and hope to take the big one! There is a chance if I take one of the smaller ones I’ll need to start the pre bating again for a couple of weeks to build the fishes confidence back up.

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100LB match challenge

This summer sees me take on my biggest challenge yet – Catch over 100LB of carp in a 5 hour day session or match. This is a big ask from a water thats less than three quarters of an acre and is reasonably stocked but not heavily. Its a water I’ve been fishing for a few years and I took over running it a couple of years ago. Currently its only fished by 4 people and thats not regularly, it fishes quite well in general but the fish can spook easily as there not used to having much disturbance in the water.

I will be posting on twitter (@casual_carper) when I’m going for a session along with the results. I’m targeting May, June and September as the key months as I know the lake usually fishes well at these times.

100LB match – last seasons results

Last summer I had a number of day sessions on the lakes and here’s the best results. September fished particularly well as it was warmer than usual and I had a few 50LB matches but nothing massive.

Best result – 70lb 1oz – May 13th 2014

The fish

Fish weight method
Mirror 13lb 4oz method
Mirror 13lb 0oz Boilie
Common 7lb 6oz method
Common 2lb 8oz method
Mirror 1lb method
Mirror 4lb 4oz method
Common 4lb 5oz method
Tench 1lb 11oz method
Mirror 4lb 4oz method
Common 4lb 2oz method
Mirror 1lb method
Common 3lb 10oz method
Common 4lb 11oz method
Mirror 1lb method
Mirror 4lb 6oz method

This was a truly exceptional day and early on I though I may well break the 100lb barrier. The first three fish were landed in the first 35 minutes of the match with the lake record being broken with the first carp. It fished well until midday and then tailed off before picking up again with a strong finish. I was fishing against my usual fishing partner, Neil, who only manage 31lb from a peg at the other side of the island to me.

100lb Match rules

Maximum of 5 hours fishing

Maximum of 3 rods if fishing alone, 2 if anyone else is on the lake

Standard bait only

No moving from initial peg

No excessive baiting up or pre baiting

I’m trying to keep it all as standard as possible in my quest to achieve this. I’m fairly confident of at least getting close this season as the carp in the lake are all growing on nicely. This summer we’re expecting our average carp stock to be around 8-9lb (late summer) and the lake record should be closing in on 15-17lb with a couple of fast growers.