This page contains more questions we received from visitors. Most are on the subject of how to approach an angling situation when fishing for carp.
Is there a general rule to help locate carp in a lake?
Ideally you need to watch the water and learn where the fish patrol. This can be time consuming and someone could already be fishing in the best areas. So as a general rule, the more angling pressure a carp experiences on a lake, the more likely they are to seek sanctuary. This could mean they hide in marginal snags, lilly pads or massive weed beds. Therefore, you need to target these area if you are new to a very popular water. You can train carp to come out of the snags and weed beds by baiting near the features, but do not put bait into the snags as they would have no reason to come out and pick up your hookbait!
Is there one good tactic I can use on a day ticket water?
Maybe a light baiting approach could pay off well on a day ticket water, especially if everyone else seems to be spodding heavily. Remember, a light baiting tactic can be employed and if that doesn't seem to work then you can try baiting heavily afterwards. It would be much worse if you bait heavy first and then realise it spokes fish away.
You could try single hook baits and attach a stringer of 3-4 free boilies. A trickle feeding method can help catch out some of the bigger carp as they see regular food items dropping down through the water. This will hopefully attempt any passing carp into your area and around your hookbait. It also means there's less water disturbance as you're encouraging fish onto your rig rather than splashing a heavy lead when casting out to their location.
For another great light bait tactic try using a small PVA stick mix attached to the hook. the mix can contain some highly scented attractants to attract the carp onto your rig.
Should I fish for carp on the known "feeding" spots at my popular water?
It really depends on whether you want to catch a carp on that day or target a particular big carp. If you know that carp are regularly caught on these popular spots and you really don't want to blank, then fish those areas. However, if you are prepared to take a risk and try to catch the bigger fish or wish to target a specific carp, then you may want to find a new area where you believe the target fish resides.
You could attempt to create your own feeding spots by regularly baiting an area for a few weeks. A tactic I have used in the past is to regularly bait up a quiet area where not many anglers visit. I do this after fishing in a different area so I don't waste time at the lake. Eventually, if I see signs of fish after a week or two, I will prepare to fish the area and hopefully catch some of the lake's original carp.
Do bait boats give an advantage over spodding?
On some waters, yes. The use of a bait boat can help place out bait with the minimum of water disturbance. If you're fishing a water where the carp spook easily, then this can be an advantage. If fishing for very hungry carp then spodding may help encourage them onto your bait as they will know that spodding means food. If most anglers spod and they catch well, then the spodding may be more advantageous over using a bait boat.
Usually if a bait boat is allowed then many anglers will use them. The problem is that most will do the same baiting tactic. They pile the boat full of bait and drop it onto a specific feature. If carp see the same or similar baiting patterns, then over time they will associate this presentation with danger. The tactic then becomes less effective. If you experience this, then maybe try to use the boat to create a different baiting pattern. Maybe use less bait but spread it out more around the swim. I sometimes drop one hopper load, then move a few feet further before dropping the second hopper of bait. You could also try spodding baits and just use the boat to place the rigs onto a good feature near the free offerings. Try experimenting with various bait boat presentations until you reveal one that works best.
If I bait a margin spot, how can I tell if carp have visited the area?
Firstly, you could look for signs of fish presence, such as bubbling up of the water surface or bubbles popping out of the surface. If the area is covered around trees, the margins can become covered in debris so you'll find that dragging a lead through feels like it's catching these leafy, dense items. After baiting for a few days, if the lead starts to pull through smoothly, then there's a sign that carp have been feeding on the bottom.