With this entire craze for spodding, big PVA bags and the use of bait boats, I wouldn’t be surprised if many lakes in the UK have tons of bait rotting away on the bottom. It’s crazy that in carp fishing once someone stumbles onto a tactic that works well then everyone else seems to be doing the same thing. The problem with every Tom, Dick & Harry using similar tactics is that carp will eventually wise up to them and make fishing for carp even harder than it is now.
If there are many fishing over large beds of bait on your lake, then why not be different and try the single hook bait fishing tactic. Many carp fishermen seem to have forgotten about this little carp fishing strategy that can be great for catching numerous carp. Some may still believe they need to have free boilies out there with the rig in order to help attract the carp to the food source and to trigger feeding. I believe that on most pressured UK waters, the big carp may often spoke off this type of bait presentation because they have seen, or experienced the danger time and time again. Heavy baiting does obviously work, but more than likely it’ll catch the smaller fish of the group feeding. A well-known tactic to combat this is to place the carp rigs on the outer edges of the baited area but, even this has been used to destruction these days!
Single hook bait carp fishing will probably be one of the best ways to target the bigger carp in UK waters. Think about it, when an angler packs up after a heavily baited fishing session, there will often be boilies left out there in the swim. Over the following few hours or even days, it will reduce down as the smaller fish move in on the bait until there’s only a few scattered boilies left. Now the bigger carp may move in because there’s no tackle around, and no noise/vibrations from the angler. They also see other fish still mooching around and feeding, thus the big carp now see the food source as safe. As the bigger carp feed on these odd scattered baits they rarely get caught simply because no one is fishing any more. With the odd single boilie thought of as safe, the larger carp start to associate this pattern as an ideal and safe situation to feed. Now single hook baiting has become an effective tactic to catch the larger carp in the lake.
This type of process happens time and time again in all angling situations. It illustrates that if we want to become successful at carp fishing we must find new ways to present our bait in order to continue catching large carp in the UK.
One problem with using single hook baits is how to attract carp to the bait if we’re not throwing in free offerings.
This is where Frank Warwick’s single bait tactics come into play. He uses very bright boilies so that fish can see the food source from further away. If a carp passes over the bait and you’re fishing with a bright light coloured boilie on a dark silt bottom then there’s a great chance that fish will see the hook bait.
Another way is to use very strong scented bait to give attraction through smell. I like to use a glugged bait on the hook, but I also add those melting attractor capsules to the rig before casting out. I add a flavoured liquid attractor to the capsule using a syringe. These melt very slowly and leak out attraction over many hours. In the warmer weather I’ll usually add smelly oil so it slowly leaks out and upwards for maximum attraction. In the winter I often go for pineapple liquids as this flavour seems to work very well.
If the capsules and glugs are not working, I try to up the attraction level by mixing up some bread crumb with orange juice (Vitamin C source), and high smelling liquids, but I don’t add any food items. This gives very good attraction without feeding the carp or spooking them.
I always prefer to start with a bright coloured boilie, and as a pop-up to enable maximum high visibility for the carp. If there’s not much movement or if in colder season I will critically balance the carp rig. Sometimes I don’t even flavour the bait at first if carp are present. Some can spook off certain flavours, yet become attracted to non-smelling boilies as they tend to mimic a bait that has been on the bed for days, and therefore must be safe.
If there are fish in the swim but I get no takes, then I change it from a pop-up to bottom bait as pop-ups may be spooking the fish off feeding. I may even try a snowman rig as these are very effective when fishing is slow. If this doesn’t produce takes I’ll change to a darker colour but this time with a strong scent.
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