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Throwing Stick Tips

Top 5 throwing stick tips

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?

  1. Get the right size stick for your boilies
  2. Start with 1 boilie a throw
  3. Find a spot on the far bank to aim at as a guide each time
  4. Hold the stick back so it is level with your shoulder (you should here the boilie roll back down to the bend)
  5. 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.

Common issues

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.

Short range throwing stick distances

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.

Feeding with a throwing stick

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Beginners method feeder fishing tips

Fishing with a method feeder blog

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

First, let’s start with the most simple question

What is a method feeder?

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

Top method feeder tips for beginners

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

Recommended method feeder setup 1 – Preston innovation method feeder.

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

There’s also a separate mould to shape the pellets to present the bait perfectly. This is a really easy feeder to fish with a soaked pellet and small hook bait – 12mm boilies work perfectly along with 4mm pellets (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, short hair rig (Korum quick stop – short, size 10, 10LB break), plus usual terminal tackle you’d find in your box (rubbers, swivel etc).

Step by step guide

  1. Soak the pellets – You can do this at the bank but I prefer to soak them overnight depending on the pellets, just pop them in a tub covered in water and they end up as a nice sticky paste the next morning – perfect. If you’re using fin perfect stiki method pellets then you can do them on the bank in 10 minutes.
  2. Setup the inline feeder – Add the feeder on to the line, add a tail rubber and tie to a swivel
  3. Add the hair – Loop the hair over the swivel, I use Korum quick stops as it means I can quickly change baits or add new baits after I catch.
  4. Setup the bait – Hair rig your boilie or pellet to the quick stop and place it in the bottom of the mould. Take some of the soaked 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.
  5. Cast it out! – Then sit back and wait for the fish to bite!

Here’s what the finished article looks like

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

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

Some more tips

  • 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.
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How To Setup a Carp Blog

How to start a fishing blog vlog or youtube channel

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

  1. A google account (any Gmail email, android login or youtube login)
  2. A phone with a decent or at least a reasonable camera
  3. Editing software – You can find free apps for your phone to do this or online software that you can use.
  4. 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

Here> https://www.youtube.com/create_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
  • Full-zip carping
  • 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.

Add links to your social media pages.

Create a channel art header (Free here: https://snappa.com/create/youtube-channel-art)

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

Poor title

Simon fishing session 25/2/20

Decent title

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 & Alex fishing (Channel here)

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.

Back on the bank (Channel here)

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 angling blog (Channel here)

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.

Other resources

If you want to get more in-depth about your videos then here’s some further reading that may help

YouTube SEO –

Full guide to ranking your videos: https://backlinko.com/how-to-rank-youtube-videos

Brian Dean (Banklinko) is an internet marketing expert who will help you get the absolute maximum from each of your videos.

Video editing

7 beginners mistakes to avoid: https://www.techsmith.com/blog/common-video-editing-mistakes/

8 pro editing tips: https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/8-tips-editing-videos-like-pro/

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Resting your swim: The ultimate guide

Swim resting carp fishing

Resting your swim is an excellent way to get more fish on the bank by fishing less. In my opinion, it is one of the most underrated tricks in carp fishing and is especially suited to commercial waters and longer sessions. You can do this as one of two ways, either resting the whole swim or resting part of the swim. The whole swim method works best with the past sim technique a good side option for getting a fish out from a different spot later in your session. Here I’ll cover tips on both.

Resting your whole swim

This mean sitting in your swim with no rods in and it can be tough to stay disciplined enough to get the full effect. Here you put your bait in and wait a set amount of time before putting your rods in. It can be very tempting to cast in at the first sign of a carp on your spots but the idea is to get a few in the swim and feeding confidently before casting in. Despite what you may think catching one from your spot will not spook the rest.

Imagine turning up at a lake like Linear and arriving for a 48-hour session on a peg that had been rested and baited up for you. This is what you are aiming for. By taking your time you can almost draw the fish into your peg while all the other pegs are pressured.

Resting your whole swim tips

1 – Keep the bait going in 

Make sure they have some bait to eat without spodding every 5 minutes. A good way to do this is to get your spodded bait out early if you want to spod at all, and then top up regularly using a throwing stick. This keeps a good stream of bait going in without creating too much disturbance. Personally I’d set up two baited areas in my swim, one would be an area that is well baited from a spod or spomb, and one that has purely high leakage boilies going in. The little and often baiting technique is again a rare one to see on popular commercial waters. From what I’ve seen underwater filming and watching other underwater films the carp are more likely to keep visiting a spot to pick up bits of bait rather than steaming through heavily baited spots.

2 – Set a time and stick to it

I’ve spoken to a number of carpers about this and most find the temptation gets too much for them. After a few hours of resting the rods go in and it becomes almost a normal session. I find it is best to set a time in your mind that you are going to put the rods in and stick to it.

3 – Soak your hook baits so they match

If you’re feeding food source boilies and fishing them it may be beneficial to soak your hook baits for a while so they blend in with the bait that is still on the bottom. The theory here is that if there are some baits on the bottom after 24 hours they will look significantly more soaked and washed out than newer bait going in. This may just help to edge out a wise old carp out of the lake.

4 – Keep the disturbance to a minimum

As mentioned above if you are spodding then I would advise only doing this at the start of your session and not constantly throughout it. The carp are well aware of the usual noises and by leaving the rods out and keep ing it quiet it can help to draw more fish into your swim. Get your rods ready and clipped up to go at the start of the session so as soon as it is rods in time you can cast them in with the minimum disturbance on the bank and in the water.

All in all, this is an excellent technique to getting more out of your session even if it feels a little weird sitting in a swim with your rods out!

Here is a video of one of my top team members Riccardo (Insta: @backonthebank_) resting his swim for 24 hours of a 72-hour session at Farlows-

Resting part of your swim tips

This is not my chosen method as it still means having line pressure in the water at all times. The size of your swim will dictate how effective you can be with this. Again it takes discipline to be successful.

Here is an example of how to keep half your swim clear of rods –

Resting an area of your swim

On most waters you would find people fishing out in the middle and keeping an area baited in the margin can produce results. This would work best using a little and often strategy with a throwing stick popping boilies in at a regular rate. Depending on the length of your session you could leave it a while knowing your rods were on another spot and us it as a spot for the last few days. Alternatively, keep your eye on it on a shorter session and put a rod on it when you see some carp activity in the area.

The advantage of doing this on a margin spot, depending on the size of the margin, is you can usually get your rod in quietly if its a shorter cast or an option to drop in and walk back with your rod. Keeping the disturbance to a minimum really helps this technique work at its best. If in the example you were in peg 8 then I would be keeping as quiet as I could on the bank to not add any disturbance coming from my peg.

I hope these tips will help you in resting your swim and catching more carp! If you have any questions please feel free to get in touch in the following ways:

Insta: @casualcarper

Facebook: /casualcarper

Twitter: @casual_carper

YouTube: Casual Carper Channel

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Fish Spy Review

Fish spy review and tips

I’m a big fan of gadgets and when I saw the fish spy I thought this would be another one for the collection. I picked mine up just over a year ago and have used it a few times since. For comparison I also have a couple of Water Wolfs and a Deeper Chirp, you’ll find reviews of these on the site too. Firstly I will talk you through the setup, then some tips and then my opinions. If you are thinking of buying one, have a read of my review further down the page here to see if it the right thing for you.

How to set up a Fish Spy

The setup is the same as setting up a marker float, which in effect it is. Here is how it should look, taken from the Fish Spy website.

Fish Spy set up rig

If you have a marker float setup or rod ready you can just switch your standard float to the fish spy and then you are ready to connect.

Connecting your Fish Spy

All fish spy’s come with a unique number that you need to have to connect the device to your phone or tablet. This is its own WIFI signal. The number you need is in the paperwork, or if you cannot find that then connect your Fish Spy to a computer via the USB connection and it will show the name. It is usually fish spy-XXX where the XXX is your unique number. You have to do this via “add WIFI network” and make sure you add the correct name, there isn’t a password requirement on the connection. Once it is connected once you do not need to reconnect, it will automatically connect when the fish spy is on.

Turning the fish spy on

There are 3 positions to you fish spy, these are unlocked, locked and redirecting. When unlocked you can plug the device into charge or get your footage. The top of the float will be loose when unlocked. For transporting the locked position holds everything in place and waterproof. If the battery has died you can use it as a standard market float in this setting. Then the next setting is for recording, turn it to this and the recording will start. Connect your phone to the fish spy WIFI and open the app. Cast it out and off you go!

Fish Spy Tips

Here are my top tips for getting the most from your fish spy!

1 – Take your time!

As with all new devices, it takes some time to get the best footage from it. Don’t expect to attach it and then launch it as far as you can and get amazing footage. Due to its weight, it flies differently than a streamlined marker float and can be more affected by wind. I would advise taking it to clear water and having a practice with it before you start using it fully.

2 – Let it go down to the bottom

From my experience, unless the water is phenomenally clear or shallow, you don’t get a great stream from the surface. It is better used to target clear spots and then pull the spy down in the water and watch the footage back when it’s on the bank. This will give you a much better view of your clear spot and makes much better use of the device. you can then watch the data back on the app once you have retrieved the spy. NOTE – You need to turn on record on the app or you’ll only get the live footage.

3 – Consider buying something else!

In my opinion, this isn’t the best gadget on the market, but at its current pricing, it’s decent tool for the money.

If you have a large budget consider the newer version that combines the Fish Spy camera with a sonar feature finder. I’ve not had a chance to have a look at one of these yet and with the limitations of the Fish Spy above the water, I’m not sure that I will as I already have a Deeper Pro Chirp.

4 – Use it at the end of your session as well as the start

If you are using it to find spots and features and recording what the bottom looks like then use it at the end of the session. Send it back down to record what the bottom looks like now – how much of your bait is left? Is there anything specific that the carp have eaten or left that you can learn from. This will help you to identify how good the spots you are fishing over and working on your baiting patterns and mixes for your next session.

Fish Spy Review

This review is based on my personal opinions on the Fish Spy. I bought the Fish Spy myself and have not been paid, or been in contact with Fish Spy about this.

In my opinion, the Fish Spy is one of those things that sounds like a good idea but in practice isn’t a major advantage if you do not use it correctly. If you are already handy with a marker float and feeling the bottom then I would possibly stick to that. Whilst it is handy to look at what you are fishing over and this is the best option for the price.

I have a Water wolf HD camera (see review here) which I much prefer. It has a range of other recording options including looking at your rigs and I use these all the time in the winter when the water is clearer. If I want to see the bottom on a spot I can clip up and cast it to my spot and then just take the memory card out and look at it on my phone. I appreciate you can get the images off the fish spy on to your phone from the app, for me it is just that the Water Wolf is more versatile.

In some cases, I did find the Fish Spy struggle with the range and was a pain to reconnect when it had been underwater at distance. On some occasions, I had to reel in to reconnect it and then cast it back out. I do think the sonar and camera version will not have as many issues as it sits on the surface more like the deeper rather than going underwater as much. Although, this could again lead to issues if the water is not perfectly clear.

Overall I would give it 6 out of 10! For the £60 price tag it now has it’s okay, but the price it was first retailing at no chance!

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Carp Fishing Naturals Guide

carp fishing naturals

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

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

The Lake

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

Whilst it is only a small lake the weed and the spring make it perfect for naturals and for the carp. The stock consists of what looks like two low twenties that have never seen the bank and one high twenty that I have had out on the surface previously. It is loosely used as a stock pool, but one that can be fished.

The cameras

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

My tips for fishing lakes with lots of naturals

1 – Not every clear spot has lots of naturals!

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

In the third spot, I found I can only describe it as looking like an underwater disco for worms and invertebrate. On this spot, there were numerous worms, bloodworm and lots of other invertebrates.

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

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

2 – Most natural food is dark coloured

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

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

To work from this I have started to use darker hook baits, like my yeast extract popups as they are a closer reflection on what is already in their diet. This has been the same with baiting up areas, I have gone from the yellow pineapple & butyric range to the yeast boilie which is my darkest and I have glugged them in the matching dark boilie glug. I’ve been baiting up with crumbed down glugged boilies in PVA mesh as most in vertebra are small.

3 – Nothing is a uniform shape!

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

For this kind of waters I’m now fishing darker trimmed popup and balanced wafters to more mimics natural foods. This helps the bait blend in more with what they are used to seeing and feeding on.

4 – Most things move slowly

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

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

5 – Do some pond dipping or raking

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

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

You can see my YouTube video of what I find here>

VIDEO COMING SOON (in final editing)

What do carp naturally eat? (UK)

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

Carp are omnivores and will eat a mix of inveterbrate as well as some plants and algea.

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

Genreal diet list

Bloodworm

Snails

Caddisfly larvae

Worms

Fresh water clams

Opportunist list

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

Dragon flys or damsel flys

Fruits or berries that land in the water

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How to approach a new carp lake

new carp lake tips

If you are going to be fishing a new carp water in the UK or planning a carp fishing holiday in France, then there are some fundamental principles to follow that will increase your chances of putting fish on the bank.

Do your research

Probably the best research you can do before starting your fishing campaign is to visit the water you are intending on fishing. If possible, try to be at the lake for first light or dusk as this will maximise your chances of seeing carp show. Spend as much time as you are able to at the water and make a note of any signs of fish activity. When you do see signs of activity or a ‘show’ then also make a note of the time, as well as weather conditions as this can be valuable information.

If you are not able to get to the lake before you are due to start your campaign, which is almost always the case with carp fishing holiday venues, don’t worry, there is still plenty of useful research you can do. Social media platforms and the internet have revolutionised how information is shared between anglers.

For better or for worse, depending on your view, it is here to stay and it is a valuable tool. You’ll find most lakes or angling clubs have a social media presence, which usually has useful information such as catch reports. Make a note of the dates of the captures and screenshot the catch photos on your phone. When you visit the lake try to match up the photos with the area of the lake to gage an idea of the swims the fish may have been caught from.

This is helpful information to know when you are starting out on a new lake. However, always remember that fish are mobile and their behaviour and location will change depending on the time of year and the weather conditions. Do not assume that the areas you have identified from previous catch reports will always be the most productive areas to fish.

Fish location

Locating where the carp are, is the biggest factor in increasing your chances of success. An angler who knows the carp patrol routes and preferred feeding spots has a huge advantage over an angler that does not.

When you first arrive at the lake, rather than opt for the nearest swim to the car park or the most comfortable looking swim if you are on a week-long session, walk a lap of the lake and carefully scan the water for signs of carp. If there are any trees that look easy to climb then these will give you an excellent vantage point.

As you walk the lake if you come across any marginal spots that look like they may be an area that the carp visit, then scatter a handful of bait in. A good option is to use boilies that have been pre-gluged and mixed in your bait bucket. As you do a second lap of the lake look for any oily slicks coming up to the surface, feeding bubbles or general water disturbance which indicate the presence of carp.

If you can’t find the carp or see any signs as to where they may be, a good option is set up in a central area that will give you good visibility of both sides the lake. Fishing in the middle of the lake means that will never be too far from the fish, but also means that you have really good water coverage and can move when you do see signs of where the carp are.

Feature Finding

When you have decided which swim you are going to fish, the next task is usually to flick a lead out to see what the lake topography is like. If however, you have found a swim and there are fish feeding and you don’t want to spook them, you may want to cast out a PVA bag or a rig such as the chod rig which will give you effective presentation over most lake beds.

When you start feature finding it’s really important that you make a note in your phone or in a note pad of where the feature is and the number of wraps from the bank. Firstly, if you catch a fish on the spot then you want to be able to get the rod out to the same spot again with the least amount of commotion.

Secondly and this is particularly useful for long campaigns, by keeping a record of lake features and depths you will start to build up a picture of the lake. When the temperatures drop and the fish show themselves less, having this knowledge will help you to make an educated guess as to where the fish may be.

Pre Baiting

Pre baiting can make a huge difference between success and failure, especially when it is a new lake that you are not familiar with. Offering the fish ‘free bait’ with no lines in the water will build up the carp’s confidence as they start to feed more freely. If you keep baiting the same areas carp will start to visit these spots regularly, as they come to associate them with food.

On club waters and syndicates where you are permitted to pre bait, it can give you a serious edge especially if you are able to visit the lake in between sessions.

On holiday venues it is of course generally not possible to pre bait. It is also very tempting to cast out soon after your arrival. You will have been planning the trip for months and spent a fair amount of money on the trip, so naturally, you want to maximise your time fishing. However, maximising fishing time does not always equate to maximising the number of fish caught. Some holiday venues see pressure all year round so you need to set yourself out from the crowd.

For these types of lakes, pre-baiting and resting the swim can pay huge dividends if you are brave enough to do it. Bait up your swim, but try to resist the urge to cast your lines out for the first 24 hours. On pressured lakes, the carp will naturally migrate to areas of the lake without any lines. By giving them a free meal and building up their confidence when feeding, the carp will lower their guard making them easier to snare when you do wet your lines.

If you can resist fishing when you first arrive at the lake, then another option is to rest the swim for a few hours during the middle of the day. On pressured lakes where the fish often see the same tactics every week of the year, these small changes to your approach can make the difference.

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Best method feeder pellets

pellet feeder tips

Method feeder fishing with pellets is becoming more and more popular, especially with day 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).

Fin perfect method pellets

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 sometimes, add some flavouring to the water. I’ve used Beta Stim in the past or you can use a bait spray.

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 has 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, or a mix of water and beta stim liquid.
  3. Leave overnight 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 lasts longer on the feeder. This is a video from my youtube 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 underwater. 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 than the usual coarse pellets.


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 thought 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 an 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

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 my youtube channel. I’m so keen on fishing this rig 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 different colours – you can see them here.

What is a snowman rig?

A snowman 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

 

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 always 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 that’s 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.

 

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 12mm popup on as below. You’ll need to use a Boilie extender for some of these depending on your hair length.

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.

I’ve also been playing around with a carp fishing wafter snowman. This plays differently in the water due to the added buoyancy of the wafter. I carve a small opening in the bottom of the wafter ad add some putty once the hair is in. This helps keep it upright but get is moving up and down in the water more than a standard snowman.

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 are some of the rigs filmed underwater on my Water Wolf HD – see review here.

There are loads more videos on my YouTube channel, just search “Casual Carper” to see them all.

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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 are 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 – This does not need to be the flavoured variety or anything specific, a standard tin will do.

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 my Pineapple, Butyric and Black Pepper range boilie Glug.

Pineapple Butyric and black pepper glug

Carp paste powder (about a third of what you’ve used as method mix) – This by Ringers will do the job or any powered paste. This is my 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 overnight 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. Make sure all the liquid from these goes into the mix as well.

Then start adding the pineapple glug until the mixture starts to stick together in the turn. One key thing of this mix is to not add any water – everything that’s 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.

In this setup to match the Pineapple, I will use one of my trusty 15mm carp wafters and I will trim it down to around the size of a large piece of corn. I like how the wafter sits on top of the mix and will be moving around with the fish stirring it up.

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