The supermarket fish counter has a range of fish that can be used for dead baiting for pike. Fortunately, pike will eat almost anything fishy so there is a good choice of dead baits available regardless of what’s on offer. Here I’ll cover my top 3 dead baits for pike from the supermarket!
*Even though I’m the casual carper I do fish for pike & perch as well as carp. There are some underwater pike videos and tips that you’ll find on my YouTube channel here.
Top 3 pike dead baits from supermarkets
1 – Sprats! Best for short-range
Sprats are a small oily silverfish that make an awesome pike dead bait – Mainly because they look like a small roach. These are really cheap to buy from any supermarket fish counter and they usually come pre-packed for around £2 which will get you 15+ sprats. You can freeze them and then get them out when needed so you do not always have to have fresh fish out. I usually have a couple of packs in the freezer for whenever I am going.
They can be fish as bait on a standard running rig and they are also suitable for wobbling tactics.
I have rated them as the best for short-range fishing as they are a bit of a pain to hook and cast. Their skin is not as tough as, for example, mackerel and they can fly off if you give them a real launch. I find it best to hook them through the lip and then the by the tail and try and cast lightly if possible rather than flying them over a long distance.
Here is how they look underwater – These are some free offerings on a clear spot that I took while filming some pike – video on YouTube here)
If you are looking to add some attraction to the water sprats can be sliced open to let more oils out or chopped and mushed to really let a strong scent out in the water. Chop them up widthways and then mash them up. You only need to do this with 2 or 3 to get a great aroma around your spot.
2 – Mackerel fillet – Best for long-range
Mackerel in the supermarket comes in a variety of formats from the whole fish, to the whole body to the fillets. My choice from these is the fillets, they are really easy to use and I have no problems with casting them a decent distance. They have produced numbers of pike for me and are my go-to bait for casting. Again, I usually have a couple of packs of these in the freezer.
You can fish with them from frozen as they will defrost in the water but I prefer to defrost them in the fridge overnight before a session. When on the bank I trim them down to a triangle shape that is roughly 5cm bigger than my treble and cast that out. I find the triangle shape gets me more bites than others, I guess as it more represents a fish shape. If you are going for bigger pike then you can use bigger treble and match that size where needed.
You can buy them fresh from the fish counter or frozen in the freezer isle –
This means you can just grab how many you need before a session.
Here’s a recent catch on the mackerel fillets, not a big one but this day brought me 9 runs in 4 hours on the legered dead bait. I picked up the mackerel from Tesco on the way for this session. I have seen some pike forums a question mark over the quality of supermarket fish v that from the tackle shop. From my experience, there isn’t any different and I have no issues using supermarket baits.
3 – Sardines
Sardines are more of a backup bait for me. Again, like sprats theses are a softer bait and not suitable for constant casting and retrieving. They are also not the best for wobbling dead baits but do have some days when they will get me bites and nothing else will. Here we are looking to buy fresh fish from the fish counter and not the tinned versions!
Bait sprays are a great way to boost your hook baits. My spray is made to be an intense flavour to match the hook bait range and make the all-important hook bait stand out. They can also be used to boost any of your baits, from surface baits to spraying your PVA bags before casting.
Lighter in density than a glug, bait sprays won’t add too much weight to your popups or overbalance your wafters. They are a quality tool to have in your tackle box to help get more bites, especially on tricky waters. The spray helps to give an extra zing to your hook bait without effecting the rig.
How to use Bait Sprays
There are a few uses for bait sprays aside from the simple – spray before you cast. This is the most common usage for them and how I personally use them before every cast. This is especially important in winter fishing where you may be fishing singles – the more potent the hook bait the better.
I’m a fan of fishing solid bags and use the spray in the top of the bag once it’s filled. This gives another level of flavour to hit out as soon as the bag melts and can be used in conjunction with other liquids, such as glugs.
Bait sprays can be used to boost up hook baits or foam on a zig rig. They are an excellent way to add an extra zing if you are fishing foam on a zig rig.
Spraying hook baits
If you have the time to prepare then you can use my sprays as a soak for your hook baits if you need to keep the lightness of the popup. This is a different method to glugging them and increases the flavour without adding the weight that glug does.
In my experience, the best way to do this is to have a few in a pot, 1 layer of baits so you can spry them all. Give them a couple of sprays, then a shake and then a couple more sprays. Repeat this every couple of days for a week and you’ll have a really potent hook bait that has an extra level of scent. You can also mix up the scents by using a none matching spray – I often use my garlic, tiger nut and peanut spray on my pineapple wafters to give my hook bait a twist and make it stand out more.
My bait sprays can also be used on artificial baits such as fake corn or fake tiger nuts. These are usually unflavoured so using a bait spray can give you a real edge underwater.
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)
Best small boilies (12mm and under)
Mid to large size (14mm+)
Best freezer boilies
Best boilie guide
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 an awesome smelling bait that and the 12mms are nice and soft. They come with a full range of matching liquids and hook baits too.
A bag will last me a few sessions in winter and I generally fish them in a stiff 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 bait.
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
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 –
Shelf life boilies in various sizes (15mm – 18mm – 24mm)
Base mix for rolling your own
Freezer bait paste
Hardened hook baits
Pre glugged hookbaits
The bag mix is fantastic for your PVA bags and it creates a good area of attraction around your bait to create a cloud or 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!
I could have done a whole separate page on pop-ups with the amount of weird and wonderful baits there is 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!
I’m sure someone 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 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 preferredhook bait bait all winter. I’ll then switch to the larger sizes in the summer months.
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 on a solid bag.
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 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 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 too 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.
This is a really common question and there is no hard and fast rule. Below is a general guide to what I’d use personally – the best advice is to play around with the rigs and see how they look and what you catch on.
12mm – I’d usually use a size 10 or 12 hooks.
15mm – I’d usually us a 10 or an 8 size hook.
18mm – I’d usually use an 8, 6 or size 4 – but you can go to a 2 – this just isn’t something I’d personally do.
Spring/ Summer – The general guide would be to use higher oil and fishmeal baits in the warmer months – like my spiced krill flavour which catches loads in the summer. Autumn/ Winter – When it starts getting cooler higher oil boilies aren’t good for the fish as the oils take time to break down. Usually, carpers, including myself, move over to sweeter flavours. My top choice of boilie to use in winter is the Pineapple, Butyric and Black Pepper Oil wafters, fished over a few free offerings, pellets and all soaked in boilie glug.
For me, boilie glugs are an essential part of my carp fishing. I use them to boost spod mixes, particles and to glug hook baits. They’re an essential part of my awesome winter mix (crushed and crumbed boilies that are heavily glugged) and I hone the mix in the summer to keep the effectiveness but add more food sources and visual stimulants to it.
How to Glug boilies
Here’s how I glug my shelf life boilies for added attraction. This is something I do all year round to give them an added attraction. In the summer months, they will all get a light coat of glug and in the winter I’ll use a heavier coat or dip to boost boilies and hook baits. (scroll down for my dip tips).
This mix should be prepared roughly 24 to 48 hours before your trip. In the winter I have a bucket of crumbed boilies on the go for months and just keep topping it up when needed.
Step 1 – What you’ll need
Grab your boilies! The example below shows Pineapple boilies with a matching glug. This is a potent combination when mixed together and has bagged me loads of carp using this exact mix.
Shelf Life boilies
Matching boilie glug
A large mixing bowl and spatula
I’d recommend starting with 1kg of bait and seeing how you get on with the mix, you’ll want the bait to roughly half fill the bowl. You don’t need to use a matching glug if you’d prefer to mix it up you can vary it, or use 2 different flavours.
To give an extra edge in summer I often add around 10% of the boilies which have a different colour to make it more visual. For the mix the better quality the boilies the better. This is all about maximising the flavour from both the bait and the glug.
Step 2 – The base mix
To start with we’re looking to just get a nice coating on all the bait so start with a small amount of glug, around 50ml – roughly 10% of the bottle. Then mix them around the bowl using the spatula to make sure the liquid doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl too much. Lightly mix them around until you can see they all have the liquid coating the baits.
If you just want an extra boost to your boilies then you are done now. Put them in a tub or bag and leave them until you are ready to go to the bank, or read on for extra additives. If you are leaving them for a while give them a regular shake to keep the distribution of the glug around the baits.
Step 3 – Additives
If you want an extra boost there are a few other options available to you, that I like to use to mix it up at times.
Use boilie crumb in the mix – This is one of my favourite mixes. You need to use a smaller amount of boilies and a higher concentration of glug. For this, you need to get the boilies really well coated in the liquid and then leave them for around 24 hours. Then get some boilies in the grinder (I use this one from NGT – here)and grind them down to a fine crumb. Add this to your glugged boilies and the crumb will stick to the outside giving you a coated boilie that’s packed with attraction and will stand out against other people fishing with standard baits.
For the above mix a 1KG bag of boilies and split them roughly in 3. Break on third of the boilies in half, roughly break up another third of the boilies and then fine crumb the other third.
Take all the halved and roughly broken boilies and half of the crumb and heavily glug it so it’s sticky. Then leave it overnight.
The next day when you head to the bank add the rest of the crumb to absorb any of the extra liquid. This is a great mix for the winter months. For the warmer months reduce the amount of crumb if there are coarse fish in the lake.
Use additional liquids – You can easily add other liquids to the mix for variety and oils work very well in the summer months. I also do similar mixes and dips using the awesome Beta Stim Liquid which is a really good additive to get the carp feeding.
Add other feeding stimulates – Mix in a few other boilies from a different flavour and colour to visually stimulate the carp. As the weather gets towards spring start adding more boilies and possibly some sweet corn to the mix.
Mix with particles – If you are using a crumb and broken boilie mix then add in some particles for a feast of colours, flavours and attractants.
Glugged boilie crumb also makes an excellent addition to solid bags. Rather than filling them with pellet, you can crump your boilies down to almost powder and then fill your bags with them. Make sure you make around what you need is it does take a considerable amount of glug to soak into the crumb. This then creates a cloud of attraction around your hook bait to attract the fish in with.
How to make coated boilies
This is a way to use glug for a real edge to your fishing and it’s not a tactic that is used by many. To start with glug your boilies or hook baits for a couple of days and make sure to keep shaking them to get them fully covered in glug. Then drain the liquid off them and leave them for a couple of days in an airtight container.
When they have a sticky outer coat add some finely crumbed boilies to the mix and give them a good shake to get the boilies coated. Then leave them for a further couple of days for the crumb to stick up to the outside. This gives a very quick attraction to your baits as soon as they go in the water.
How to glug hook baits
I’m also a fan of adding glug too my hook baits such as popups and balanced wafters. You’ll need to take into account any liquids they take on will reduce their buoyancy.
To start with, take a pot of your hook baits and cover them in the glug.
I’d generally leave them like this for a few days and then drain the liquid off which overtime will leave them sticky with an added attraction. Again you can add a crumb coating at this point. If you are not fishing with them for long periods of time and don’t mind a loss of buoyancy then you can leave them in the liquid indefinitely. If you are doing this then it is advisable to give them a shake every now and again to keep re-coating them to avoid them drying out on top if they are out of the liquid.
This is what I do with my wafters to give them a real kick but allow them to stay light enough to fly up into the carps mouth when eaten.
How to use a boilie dip
Boilie dips are a great way to boost your baits just before the cast and my range of glugs can be used for just this. Take a smaller container, I usually use an old lid for single hook baits, and fill it with glug. the just drop your hook bait in before you cast for a quickly added boost to your hook bait. I usually have my next rig tied up and ready to go on the bank so just leave the bait in the dip until I’m ready to use it.
I really like this sweetcorn one from Ourons – See it here. In the summer it can work well fishing a trimmed yellow wafter alongside sweetcorn with the hook baits dipped like this.
Again you can do this with oils in the summer months or the beta stim liquid. These can also be used to add potent flavour to bread when you are surface fishing too.
How long do glugged boilies last?
If they are shelf-life boilies in a sealed container they should easily last a month or more, it’s best to just keep an eye on them. Store in a cool dry place out of direct sunlight. Give them a shake regularly to keep them covered in glug.
If they are hook baits in a sealed pot then they will last for months without a problem as long as you store them in a cool dry place out of direct sunlight (as you should even if they’re not glugged).
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 – Nash citrus wafters. These are an 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 freebies and some crumb in a PVA bag – I’d add a glug of something stinky just to improve the attraction.
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.
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.
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 whats 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!
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 flavouring. This really helps to enhance the bait and get those all-important bites.
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 of pellets
I’d again go for a popup of 12mm or 10mm in this and often use a white 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.
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 –
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 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.
Info: This looks a great place for staying while fishing. You’ll need to check out the lakes and properties with private pegs to find the better spots! This is a spot that has everything for family entertainment as well as fishing and a hot tub – what more could you ask for?
Name: Blackthorn Fisheries, Oswestry – Best for serious carpers & luxury accommodation
Note: This place is very popular if you are looking to go you need to book well in advance. Their website will show you the latest availability.
Pod/ Lodge: Lodges
Number: 4 lodges
Lake size: 3.5 acres
Reported stock: Lake record of 44lb – one of two 40s, 16 x 30, most over 25lb – Not a runs water! Stock from VS Fisheries. You can see some of the stock here.
Info: A serious carp lake! No under 12s on site. Slings, cradles and net 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.
Name: Chester Lakes – Great for social trips
Pod/ Lodge: BBQ pods alongside match waters only (not carp waters)
Lake size: Various
Reported Stock: Mixed coarse and carp, nothing big in these specific lakes, specimen carp fishing lakes are also on site.
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.
Name: Mill Farm Leisure, Boston – For couples and not families
Pod/ Lodge: Lakeside lodges, with hot tubs!
Lake size: 0.6 Acres
Reported stock: Looks to be mainly coarse and small carp
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.
Name: Henlow Bridge Lakes, Henlow
Pod/ Lodge: They have both glamping pods and lodges on site. None are directly on the main fishing lakes.
Lake size: 2 lakes, the largest (Jordan’s) is 4.5 acres
Reported stock: Carp to 25lb to 30lb (not verified with photos)
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. It’s 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.
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 5 margin tips
Here are my top 5 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 its 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 – 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 bing 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 fist. 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.
3 – 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 learnt 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 incase you start sinking, get snagged or drop into a deeper spot!
4 – 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 its 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 increase the trail of scent for them to follow.
5 – 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 its a really tight spot. If it is safe to do so have a feel around of 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.
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 –
I’m a big fan of using a throwing stick rather than a catapult and have a couple of sticks that I regularly use. I find them a great way to get bait out at both short and long distances and I like the spread of boilies they put out. They can be a tricky thing to use when you are first getting started but with some practice and a few tips, you can really hone the skill to be really accurate every throw.
I’ve recently added a short-range throwing stick to my collection. It’s a great addition as it makes getting your bait to a close margin or island really targetted. If you are fishing to overhanging trees with a bit of practice you can skim boilies under the tree too.
I’m going to start with a beginners guide to using a stick, if you want to get straight to the tips click here – Top 5 Tips.
How Do You Use A Throwing Stick?
Get the right size stick for your boilies
Start with 1 boilie a throw
Find a spot on the far bank to aim at as a guide each time
Hold the stick back so it is level with your shoulder (you should here the boilie roll back down to the bend)
Flick your wrist quickly to launch the boilie
Take some time to practice with 1 boilie at a time and see the different distances you can get on the throw. Once you have mastered it a little more then you don’t need to stop by your shoulder and can just launch boilie after boilie in quick succession.
Boilie lands short – If you launch it and pull the stick over too far then the boilie will sometimes land in front of you. In this case, stop the launch a little earlier trying to keep the stick straight as shown in the video.
Boilie goes high – This means you’ve stopped the throw too short, or not been quick enough in the snapback. You need to try and get the movement faster and more fluid to get it coming out at a better angle.
Top 5 Boilie Throwing Stick Tips
Here are my top 5 tips followed by some frequently asked questions
1 – Use the right stick
With throwing sticks it is not just a case of buying one and use it whatever the conditions or lake. Having the right stick for the peg you are fishing will really help you improve your usage of them. I have a couple of sticks that I always have with me for different size boilies and different lengths.
I have an 18mm long range stick and a 15mm short-range stick. The short-range stick will possibly get them further than a catapult but for me, it’s easier and more accurate. On a recent social session, at Ghorsty Hall lakes near Crewe, I was hitting around 44 meters with the stick with standard boilies and little effort. With a little more effort and wetting the stick, a range of around 50 meters would be about the limit.
On the larger longer-range sticks a range of 100 meters and above is achievable with the right bait and practice.
2 – Use the right bait
Getting the boilies right is essential when going for longer distances. At Casual Carper my boilies are made to be a good consistency for throwing sticks. If you find your boilies are splitting under the pressure when throwing long distances then it’s best to air dry them out overnight to make them a little harder. This will again aid you in getting more accurate over the longer distances.
3- Wet the tube
This is another trick that can help stop splitting and get some extra distance. By wetting the inside of the tube the bait slips down easier and has less pressure to fly out of the end. If you have not had a chance to air dry tour boilies and even with a wet tube they are splitting you can try wetting the boilies before you send them too.
4 – Send multiple boilies at once
Once you are used to the stick you can start getting more and more boilies in them. This is really effective if you are looking to create a good spread of boilies. Build up how many you use as the technique varies slightly with the more boilies you put in. As a general rule, you need to flick faster the more boilies you have in the stick.
** Don’t mix sizes or types of boilies in the stick – They will all go different distances and really reduce your accuracy.
Here’s my guide to stick sizes and how many you can send accurately.
Short-range stick – 6 seems to be about the optimum for keeping a decent distance on them. If you are using it on a shorter range than the maximum then 8-10 is possible but it does create a wider spread than it would be using a catapult from my experience.
Long-range stick – With a longer stick 10-12 seems to be around the optimum for maintaining distance and accuracy. This does depend on the size of the boilie too in the longer-range sticks.
5 – Create a pattern to fish
Firstly remember that this isn’t the same as spodding! You are not looking to feed a really tight area more create an arc of bait and position a hook bait at each end of the arc. for me, this is a good way to fish on a lake where there is a lot of spodding going on (as long as you have enough clear water to do it in). The stick makes less disturbance on the water and the arc and spread are designed to get the fish moving around the area picking up bait rather than getting their head down on one spot.
Here’s an example – you may want to keep the arc tighter and fish closer than shown below depending on your personal preference.
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.
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 (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.
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.
Setup the inline feeder – Add the feeder on to the line, add a tail rubber and tie to a swivel
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.
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. It’s a great idea at this point to add some liquid attract over the feeder, especially if your fishing for carp. I like to mix Beta Stim liquid with the water to soak the feeder with en extra attractant or pour an extra bit over the top (slowly) before casting out. You can get beta stim and other carp fishing liquids here.
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
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 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.
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 overnight. If you are struggling try using the fin perfect pellets mentioned above as the 2mm pellets are really easy to soak.
If you want to set up a carp blog/ vlog then here is everything you need to know!
Use the comments at the bottom of the page if you have any questions, or message me on Instagram @casualcarper or Facebook /casualcarper.
As an initial background, my day job alongside running Casual Carper is working in online marketing. I’ve set up numerous blogs, websites and Youtube channels for different companies and have a good knowledge of what is required.
I’ll cover options on how to set up both completely free as well as some recommended purchases if you do want to set it up a level from the start.
What is best a vlog or a blog?
In my opinion, this depends on the person that is producing it! If you are happy to be in front of the camera recording then a vlog would be the one for you, if you prefer to write and not film then a blog website would be the one to go for. If you have the time then you could set up both and run them alongside each other.
I’ll start things off with a Vlog/ Youtube channel – If you want to read about setting up a carp fishing blog/website click here.
How to set up a carp vlog
What you will need to get started
A google account (any Gmail email, android login or youtube login)
A phone with a decent or at least a reasonable camera
Editing software – You can find free apps for your phone to do this or online software that you can use.
OPTIONAL – A tripod! (I use this one – Tripod on amazon) You can find suitable ones cheaper than this but I find this one is easy to get stable on the uneven ground due to the adjustable legs.
Step by step guide
Step 1 – Register a YouTube account and set up a channel
It is important to think about what you want to call it t this point as it’s tricky to change the name once registered. Think about what you want from the channel, if you are looking for advertising, free stuff or sponsorship then its best to keep it friendly and professional. Here are some ideas
NAME Carp Blog
REGION Carp Blog
NAME Carp diary’s
Or you can go with popular phrases about carping
Clipped up blog
Park lake carping
Day ticket carper
Just check on youtube and Google that no one else is using that name already.
Step 2 – Set your channel up correctly
This is the first step in getting more viewers on your content because that’s what you’re after right? Having a good looking channel helps.
Make sure you write a description of what your channel is about.
You can also subscribe to other channels from your account which can help people see what content you are interested in. (You can subscribe to the Casual Carper channel here)
Step 3 – Make your first video
Take some time about this, there is no rush to just post anything.
Here is the process I use when planning out new videos (You’ll find lots of older ones on my channel where I haven’t followed this and it shows). It may be a good idea to check out other channels and see what videos are popular.
Start with an idea – What is the video about? What do you want to film and why. It helps to focus your first video on something you are comfortable with – a familiar lake, familiar tactics etc.
Storyboard your video – This does not need to be amazing – I just do a very rough sketch, just a guide to what clips you want to film and where they will go. Try and take some extra shots to fill in the gaps and make the video more interesting.
Plan your trip – Make sure you have everything you need
Film – Don’t worry if you need a few takes to get things right, do film more than you need and you can edit it down later.
Edit – Get all your videos and get them edited together so it flows nicely through the content. Trim out any bits that don’t seem right.
Some tips for your video
Do some voice-overs
You don’t need to film yourself talking the whole time. Film some silent sections or add some photos to your videos and talk over them in the editing. This will make it seem much more professional and easier to watch. No offence, but no one wants to watch you chatting in your bivvy for half an hour!
Select a good thumbnail
A custom thumbnail is a screen that shows up when you search on Youtube. You need to upload a few videos before you are allowed to add custom ones. Before this it has to be from a clip in your video – you have to pick from the ones they suggest so pic the one that looks the best – usually, one with a carp in it helps.
Add an end screen
Every video should have a 20-second end screen. This is where you can encourage viewers to subscribe to your channel or watch your other videos. Once you have more videos you can use this to promote your most popular content to viewers. (Build one free here https://snappa.com/templates/youtube-end-screen)
Write a decent title, write a description and add tags
The video description is one of the most important things for getting views. You can use it to appear in more search results and get more people to click on your video. If you are fishing a known lake then make sure you use the lake in the title too – people are always looking for videos from lakes they are going to. Here’s a simple example
Simon fishing session 25/2/20
Winter fishing session at Linear B2, fishing solid bags, see the full bag and rig setup and what I catch from peg 5.
The same goes with the description. You don’t need to write thousands of words but a couple of paragraphs about what the film is about will help boost the rankings further. YouTube needs to understand what your video is about and the title and description are key to that.
Tags are not a huge ranking signal on YouTube anymore but they do again just help to nudge YouTube into knowing what your video is about. There’s no need to overthink this, just add 5 natural ones “carp fishing flog” “day session” “Farlows lake” for example.
Add closed captions
This one is more of a pain! YouTube tries to understand what you are saying in your videos but its a bit hit and miss. By going through your video and adding the dictation it makes your video more accessible to any deaf users and this helps stretch your reach further (It also means people can have a sneaky watch at work and just read the transcript!
Use playlists to categorise your content
This is a tip from Ricardo who does some filming for the Casual Carper YouTube channel. You can see his channel here and find him on Instagram on @backonthebank_
Once you have a few videos uploaded playlist help to categorise your content for visitors. By getting people to select a playlist rather than just one video people will watch more videos and you’ll get more views. This can also help you raise your profile and get more subscribers in.
Channels to check out
Here are three channels to check out for inspiration!
Carl and Alex have one of the biggest non-brand related fishing channels on YouTube and have been around for over 5 years. They are full-time YouTubers and now have sponsorship from major tackle companies. Some of their videos have over 750,000 views and they produce all-round fishing videos, not just carp fishing. They also do some great challenge videos.
Ricardo has a relatively new YouTube channel but is an experienced video maker and this shows in his videos. Featuring drone footage from his sessions and quality recordings, this is a channel to check out and keep an eye on!
Danny’s is a coarse fishing blog with a bit of carp fishing. I really like how natural it is and this has helped him to grow the channel to over 6,000 subscribers and gain sponsorship from Korum and others. Danny’s blog is a great example of using playlists to categories your content.
If you want to get more in-depth about your videos then here’s some further reading that may help