9 August, 2023 |0 Comments
Adam Whittington: Post Spawn Carp Fishing
In his latest article, specialist carp angler Adam Whittington shares his words of wisdom on the subject of post spawn carp fishing…
Feed Them and They Will Come
The post spawning period is when my main approach is to fish over beds of bait in open water areas, hoping to intercept fish that are ‘grazing’ over this deeper water zone, searching out enough grub to restore the balance after losing all the weight during the late spring bonkathon that has the lilies a’rockin for a few weeks.
I love the method, despite it being the polar opposite to my early spring tactic of creeping around, nicking one here and there from the snaggiest of spots. Margin/snag fishing always has a place, irrespective of time of year and if someone put a gun to my head and demanded I catch a carp quickly, it would be my go to method.
If you have the determination and self-motivation, many waters will benefit from moving swims between “day” and “night” areas. My current water has some feature filled bays and corners that will almost always hold a carp or two during daylight, yet at night seem devoid of carp, perhaps as they drift out into richer feeding grounds.
This is probably for the best anyway, it’s hard enough sitting by locked up rods, scared to even take a pee, let alone trying to do a night in there. So when the wind’s in my sails, and I’m not slowed down by apathy, Kronenbourg or both, I will move between swims every day, keeping bait going in to the open water areas and grinding out the hard yards by the lilies and snags during the day.
It’s tiring stuff, but I only get 48-hours a week at the best of times, so don’t want to waste a second. Timing, as always, is critical and it has proved vital not to jump swims too early.
Once the house is down, barrow loaded and I’m wobbling off down the path like a sweaty Northern packhorse, I try very hard to never look back – the fear of seeing a ripe set of bubbles mocking me from a newly vacated spot is too much. It wouldn’t do me any good to turn round, should this terrible set of events unfurl, as nine times out of ten a cast at fish that are already there is the kiss of death.
After a day poised over the locked up rods like a nervous Heron, it’s a blessed relief to have the baits out in the void again. I can engage the baitrunners and generally fish with captive backleads at the tip and another, free running back lead down the bottom of the shelf.
I love the anticipation that comes from spying the first, subtle fizzes over the bait, which then increases to more urgent bubbling and, if all is well, then becomes a downwards plunge of the rod tip, an exquisite moment of silence as the slack is taken up, followed by a screaming take. If I ever get blasé about those moments, I’ll buy a stupid sweater, some ridiculous shoes, and take up golf.
Once spawning is out of the way I like to feed the carp, changing tactic from trying to steal bites, one at a time, over salt and tiny traps, to buying the bites by giving the fish an unavoidable banquet on each rod.
As standard summer fayre, I mix up a huge bucket of Frenzied Hempseed, Mixed Particles, Betaine and Robin Red pellets, plus five kilos of disced CompleX-T boilies, all soaked in the fabulous Shrimp Extract.
It works, I have faith in the attraction and will put all three rods on heavily baited spots right through until October.
Be warned though, Betaine pellets are brilliant but they turn everything a vivid shade of green. All the bait absorbs the colour, as do clothes and hands, leaving me looking like I’ve been on a successful date with Kermit’s sister.
I avoid pop-ups at this time and will generally go with a match-the-hatch wafter on each rod – I believe a confident angler is one who has three identical rigs and baits on.
You pick your very best rig, you pick your very best bait, and repeat three times. This leaves plenty of room left in the angler’s brain for figuring out all the good stuff, such as where to put those baits – or even answer some of life’s more meaningful questions, such as will my Johnson actually shrink if I fold my reel handles (the answer is no, if you’re considering the idea, it’s probably already fallen off).
My baiting campaign means outside my bivvy resembles a bucket equivalent of the New York skyline, with separate buckets for hemp, pellet and soaked boilies.
Mixing the bait too early can cause the seed to dry out and float, which does nothing but feed the birdlife.
Speaking of which, it’s worth giving gulls a mention at this point – my advice would be to never ignore them. When the carp are troughing, they are frequently over the spots circling and picking items from the surface.
You wouldn’t think there’d be enough in it for them to make up for the amount of energy expended as they wheel about over the baited areas, but there’s clearly something in it. Coots and Mallards will respond on occasion, but it’s the gulls that have that high vantage point and see the good stuff going on – like feathered drones.
For all the times that you curse them whilst floater fishing, let them repay you when fishing over beds of bait on the bottom.
At Frimley, our relationship with the local wildlife extends beyond feathered pirates – the mice are off the scale.
Hordes of them live amongst the silver birches, joyfully eating through overpriced bags in a direct line to reach the food within. They even managed to drill a brace of neat, round holes in the buttocks of the vet’s spanking new chesties.
The only effective deterrent is to feed them off with piles of bait around the swim. Yet this only exacerbate the problem, creating a new, super breed of rodents that hold us all to ransom by demanding food in exchange for not nibbling holes in your finest Cotswold Aquarius bags. A protection racket on a grand scale.
Until next time – Adam