There are lots of sayings and clichés in carp fishing and one that I always hear is that you should never ignore the margins. We all hear it but how often do we act on it? Well, on a recent trip to Paradise Lake in Hungary I did just that and it totally changed the trip for me. One chance sighting, one spot earmarked and one hell of a result followed.
I was set up in a lovely swim with plenty of good features, at around 90 yards there was an island with overhanging bushes but there were some good looking spots in open water too with areas of hard and soft bottom and slight variations in depth. Plenty to go at – and indeed I did catch two or three carp in the first couple of nights. But it was when the owner suggested that I put another rod out that I started looking for something different and sure enough just down to my left there was a gap in the reeds that looked perfect. As I stood there wondering where to put the bait a carp rolled not two yards out in front of me! It was the sign I was looking for and so armed with a nine foot 3lb Dwarf and a little hinge-rigged 4G Squid pop up I set about lowering a hook bait from the rod tip just where I had seen the fish.
I was confident that the plan would work and indeed it wasn’t long before the margin rod produced a low 20 common. I wondered if the whole episode would spook fish from the area – but nothing could be further from the truth! In fact from early the following morning the margin rod started to become the main centre of attention. By about 10am I already banked a couple of fish on that rod when once again it burst in to life. All of the fish were fighting very hard and hooking them from the margins only prolonged that, but this felt a little different to the others and I just saw a large set of shoulders coming up to the net. It was a monster common of 55lb 12oz – the biggest carp from the lake this year and it had all been down to the simplest of tactics.
It was an amazing day with ten fish banked and most of them falling to the margin rod, but that was far from the end of the trip. The margin rod kept producing right the way through. A couple of evenings later I hooked what was the hardest fighter of the lot. This one literally kept stripping 40 or 50 yards of line from the spool. I had no idea what was on the other end until I saw a yellow glow down in the water. It was a stunning ghost mirror, certainly the biggest I’d ever caught and a really nice sight in the evening sun. At 41lb 6oz it was another special capture from what was becoming a special trip.
In the end I managed to catch fish every day of the week. Sure I did catch carp on all rods and the open water spots did produce, but the vast majority of action and all of the bigger fish came on that one little rod placed in the margins and I’m so pleased that I made the effort to put it there. There might be lots of sayings and clichés out there but maybe sometimes we should pay more attention to the one about the margins!