It surprises me just how many carp anglers don’t use the method more often when fishing for carp. Maybe it’s the thought that the method is associated with catching only the smaller fish, rather than the bigger carp. In fact, method fishing tactics can produce some huge carp in the right situations, and when using good method fishing tactics to outwit the biggest fish in the lake. I often use the method for many of my fishing sessions. If I have 3 rods out, I will commonly have at least one on the method as I fish for carp.
I find that a good method mix will give off huge amounts of attraction, but without the problem of over-feeding the carp in the swim. When using heavy particles or boilies, it can be hard to determine how much bait to put out without overdoing it and feeding the carp. The method helps to keep the carp in the swim for longer periods. I want the carp to be attracted into the swim, but still be hungry enough to try grabbing a mouthful of my hook bait every time I cast in. If they’re full up on heavy boilies they’ll be more inclined to move on.
There are a few fishing tactics I try when using the method to catch carp. When I have chosen my swim, I always like to start off by catapulting out 5-10 small method balls before I even get the rods out or the bivvy up. This will give the method mix a chance to start attracting the fish into the area, and search around for food items without any end tackle in the swim. I think carp will relax and feed more readily if they can freely mooch and bash the method balls around without finding any rigs or end tackle inside them. This tactic often gets the fish in a feeding frenzy and ready to pounce on a hook bait as soon as it enters the water.
Once they have had an hour or so of free method balls to play with, I like to place out a method rig with a hook bait on the outskirts of where the main balls have been placed. If carp have been feeding in a certain area, I don’t want to spoil it by splashing a huge method ball on top of them. I much prefer to let them come to the bait so they’ll be less suspicious when they approach it. They will treat it like all the other “rig free” balls they’ve encountered over the last hour.
Another tactic I often use is to place a rigged method ball out discretely when the fish are not around. To do this I simply fire out a few 18mm boilies seconds before casting the method out. This helps to move any fish away just for a moment before the big method ball hits the water. The boilies often move them because they haven’t been feeding on them like the method balls so they’ll initially move away as they drop through the water. This way I wont spook them, plus, the method and lines will also be settled on the bottom by the time the carp swim back into the area.
I often prefer to use a balanced hook bait on my method rig as it will fly into a carp’s mouth much easier. Remember, a method mix contains small, light particles and crumbs, therefore, carp may not need to suck hard at the bait when they disturb the method ball. I want to give the hook bait every chance to enter the mouth, and a light, buoyant bait will fly into its mouth even under the slightest suction pressure.
Method mixes for carp fishing are cheap baits to make up and very versatile, plus, they can help you to catch more carp if the correct mix is used to suit the fishing situation. There are numerous types of powdered mixes available with varying flavours, colours, attractants, and coarseness to suit different fishing styles.
There are different powder method mixes which will suit different situations. For instance, if you require a mix that will allow you to cast further distances, then you’ll need a very fine powder that sticks well to the method feeder. This is where you’ll want to use fine bread crumb, along with a 50/50 boilie base mix. Using a boilie base mix can also be a great idea because they include all the nutrients and attractants. I would also use juice from cooked particle when adding liquid as this contains sugars that make the mix sticky. A sticky method mix helps it to hold onto the method for longer periods in the water so it disguises the feeder inside from the fish.
If you wanted a coarse mix that will break down quickly, then you can use scalded pellets, and add more oils so it’s less sticky. Although, make sure the pellets are not high oil first, as adding even more oil may spoil the attraction of the method mix.
The best thing about using the method to catch carp is you can change the mix at any time to create a unique smell to attract carp, or if they seem to wise up to the first mix. I do this by adding different ingredients like:
I like to use hooklinks about 5-7 inches long. However, I will experiment with shorter or longer lengths if I struggle to get any takes. I mostly use supple braid for many links, and I feel a supple type is best as it can be sucked into the mouth easily. I have used a stiff type of link and caught on them, but I feel the stiffness could hinder the hook turning, and thus affect the hooking potential of the rig when it enters the mouth.
I prefer to use smallish hooks with small, or cut down boilies, or preferably small particle items that are present in the method mix. This means the carp wont think anything suspicious rather than if it seen a big, bright boilie that is totally different to all the method mix particles. Although, I never rule out using this method tactic as it can work in some angling situations.