12 July, 2018 |1 Comments
River Thames regular Steven Lloyd has been enjoying some fantastic success campaigning the waterway this summer. Steve has caught a number of fish over 20lb already this season and has had river specimens to 30lb in the past. Steve reveals the do’s and don’ts to river carping..
How do I find the carp?
When trying to find the carp it can be a long process as there is so much water to cover. What I tend to do is look for the spots where carp are likely to be found such as weir pools and areas with cover or shallow bars and even somewhere where people feed the birds on a regular basis. These are often places where the carp won’t be to far away from. Areas with large amounts of boats are also hotspots as they offer something interesting for the carp.
Should I pre-bait?
Yes pre-baiting is often essential. Once I have found the carp I will pre-bait at least three times a week as the carp will disappear if there is no food to encourage them to return.
Should I walk the banks?
Yes as a lot of the carp I have found on the river will be in the margins so by walking the banks you will often spot them. An example of this recently was when I fished two nights on the river and blanked. I was on the way back to the van and was walking back past a jetty which is used by the local rowing club and I found a group of 20 odd carp. I fished it straight away and it resulted in five carp landed in less than 24 hours – all being 20 pounders!! These days I have two – boats a cabin cruiser and a small inflatable vessel which I use to help me locate the carp. Carp aren’t frightened off by the boats so they are useful for carp spotting but not essential I must add.
Are carp in rivers always visible?
No most definitely not. Especially in faster water or weirs where the surface is broken. They are often so hard to spot unless it’s really shallow and the fish break the surface with their fins you may not spot them at all but don’t assume they arent there just because you can’t see them.
What kind off spots do you prefer to fish on the river?
In the summer months I will always look for a shallow gravel area around 5ft or less deep. The reason being is I can watch what is going on more easily. If I pre-bait I can see if the carp are munching on the bait or if they have moved from the area. But in the winter I will try to find a deep slack area of the river such as a wide bend or marina.
What are the best rigs to use on the river?
I tend to use basic rigs as the carp are not as ‘riggy’ as lake carp are. A long rig of 10 inches is ideal and I fish this with a heavy lead, say 4oz so I know the lead isnt being moved by the flow. River carp are powerful too so I wouldnt use anything smaller than a size 4 hook.
What’s the best bait to use as pre-bait?
I feed bollies and maize. The reason for the maize is to add bulk to the mix and it is also more visual than boilies and when mixed together the carp love them. At the start of the week when i’m fishing at the weekend, I will prepare my bait and glug it all with the Dynamite Garlic Liquid Carp Food which for me is a big edge as the stuff absolutely stinks and produces a nice cloud. I will feed two to five kilos per visit. On the day I will feed three or four more handfuls over the top.
Should I use a lead ejection system?
Yes I use an ejection system for all my river carping. The reason being is that if I’m using a 4 or 5oz lead like you often need in running water, I want to be dropping this when playing a fish as a lead this heavy could see you losing carp!
Do I use PVA?
I always use PVA with my river fishing. Normally when casting out I slide a bag over the rig just for piece off mind as you can’t be sure what’s on the bottom of the rivers these days and this will also help stop the hook blunting on the gravel too.
What sort off mainline do I use on the river?
Always use as strong a line as you can get away with. River carp fight like hell and the river can be snaggy in some areas 15lb fluorocarbon is what I tend to use in normal conditions.
What size leads do I need?
A min off 3oz but it all depends on the flow off the river. If you are using a lead which is to small you will no about it as once the rod is on the buzzer it will keep bleeping and you will see the line moving with the flow off the river. If this happens change up an by an oz or two.
Do I need a heavier rod than I use for fishing a lake?
I use two sets for my river work. I have a set of 10ft 3lb test curve for smaller tighter areas but if I have the space I will use my 12ft 3.75 test rods which are a bit beefier than your normal lake rods.
How should I feed my chosen spot?
If fishing beyond hand-feeding range I like to use a spod but make sure you know what sort of depth and flow you are casting into and account for this when casting out so you know your feed is landing in the right area. If the flow is flowing right to left, spod more to the right of where you wish to cast so the bait lands over your chosen area. If I am fishing closer in then I tend to use a catapult if you don’t have a boat.
What’s the ideal river carp hookbait and how should I prepare them?
I would air dry my baits and glug them using a re-hyrdation or concentrated dip liquid to make it harder for crayfish and other nuisance species from pulling it off the hook. By glugging my hookbaits and leaving them to soak for a long time the carp will find them more quickly due to the added attraction. I also like to add salt to the hookbaits especially after spawning time.