Although we are heading towards the autumn ‘big feed’, after a summer of sustained angling pressure, carp are very aware of terminal tackle and its potential danger. Are you doing your best to conceal your end tackle? Adam runs through the key points.
In most situations a tight line will provide maximum bite indication but if the fish can detect it, this will be counterproductive and may even dissuade the fish from visiting your baited spots. If you favour ultra-slack lines, it’s important to ensure that your rigs are ultra-effective, otherwise the fish may be picking up your hook baits, ejecting them and getting away with it with little or no indication being transmitted to the bank. Personally I favour a semi slack set up, to do this I cast out, allow my line to sink completely, tighten up slightly and then attach the correct size bobbin so the line stays nailed to the bottom. In my experience this is far less likely to spook the fish and I’ll still receive an indication when fish are feeding on the baited trap. A lightweight back lead won’t have a negative effective on bite indication, this too can help to keep everything super stealthy.
Thinking about what carp can actually see, the solid colour rig components that are available these days usually come in weed, silt and gravel colour options. These have been designed to allow the angler to match the most common lakebed situations likely to be encountered. The better researched colours do work to a degree but the trouble is, even if you can get them to blend in the margins, when you cast further out in the lake, it’s difficult to be sure how they will really look. This is why I favour the Diffusion range, these components are colour and light reactive. It’s difficult to emphasise just how effective they are, drop a leader or tubing onto dark weed or silt and it’s almost impossible to spot, move the same presentation onto lighter coloured fresh weed growth or gravel and it immediately lightens and again just melts away. If your water has a multi-coloured bottom which most do, this is the gear to use. As we’ve already touched on, I also believe what a carp can feel can be equally important, I’ve sometimes watched carp brush up against main line or terminal tackle that’s not completely nailed to the lakebed and it definitely puts them on their guard. Most rig tubing and leaders are relatively supple and will mould themselves to the smallish humps and bumps found on the bottom, but when fishing over larger undulations or clumps of weed for example, it’s inevitable that all or part of your presentation will be will be horribly exposed. This can be particularly problematic when fishing with lead core. In recent times, in my opinion, lead core has been made virtually redundant by the new Cling-On Leader. This stuff performs pretty much the same job as lead core but it’s just so supple. My own experiments have shown that if you fish it with a semi slack line, it sinks like a brick, moulds itself to the bottom and just vanishes. I’m sure carp will find it impossible to detect. I particularly like the three colour options available, they look so natural, it might sound strange, but even if you can spot Cling-On on the bottom, somehow it just looks like it belongs there.
Textured lead coatings also provide an edge and are well worth looking at. As well as matching the bottom well, the rough coating also seems to attract and trap small water born particles and silt which creates a kind of self-camouflaging effect. If I drop a Nash lead in the margins, initially I can just about see it. But unless the water is absolutely gin clear with no suspended particles, within a few minutes it changes and just melts away into the lakebed.
HOOK LINK MATERIALS
We are getting close to the sharp end now and any mistakes made with hook link choice will undo any advantages gained so far. The new Combilink coated braid seems to be the number one choice for many anglers at the moment, when you are on the bank angling for a bite, all kinds of presentations can be quickly tied up and fine-tuned. The new Armourlink uncoated braid also seems very popular. I’ve probably tried them all over the years but I keep coming back to my ever reliable fluorocarbon/supple braid combination. I tend to fish them longer than most anglers with lengths of anything from 12 inches to 18 being commonly used. The stiff fluoro boom section tends to kick the hook bait away from the lead and the supple section allows the hook to turn effectively and take hold. A lot of my fishing is based around quick overnight sessions between work, fishing my baited spots accurately is also vitally important. Even in the dark I can recast these rigs several times until they are bang on the spot, knowing they will be tangle free and sitting perfectly on the bottom.
HOOKS AND SWIVELS
Choosing hooks and swivels with a drab none shiny coating will stack a few additional percentage points in our favour. Some hooks I’ve tested really shine and stand out horribly on the bottom, whereas the Nash hooks are difficult to see. I can’t say for sure that a shiny hook will spook carp, but it can’t do any harm to fish with a low viz one can it? Applying Cling-On putty and Liquid Tungsten to line, leaders and hook links will also ensure everything sinks nicely. The new Liquid Tungsten is so versatile! As well as the obvious uses I’ve also been applying it to my hooks to fine tune the turning effect and improving hook holds when needed. It’s also worth remembering that hi-viz tea shirts should be avoided and bankside noise and vibration should also be kept to a minimum, that might seem like an obvious one but it’s surprising how many anglers are oblivious to it! Keep thinking and good luck!