Nash Consultant Rich Wilby is an experienced carp catcher, running his own fishery, he also sees on a daily bases what’s working and possibly even more importantly what’s not
The Right conditions
My sunburnt ears, nettle stung arms, and the dozen mosquito bites on my legs were about all I had to show for my carp fishing antics last summer. It was a lot of effort for very little reward, some days it felt like I was sweating blood as I walked around the stinging nettle infested gravel pit or down to the river through the thick reed beds just to get some bait in.
Summer carp fishing can be incredibly frustrating at times. Most lakes are generally more busy than they are during the colder months, the weed growth is at its maximum and the carp can be lethargic at times just soaking up the sun. On my short day trips, on hot bright days I often find it very hard to make things happen even if I’m on fish. A nice cool day along with a fresh wind can be completely different though and in these conditions the fish are usually well up for some bait.
I have learnt from years of experience to try as hard as I can to get out at this time of the year when the weather conditions are spot on. In the spring and autumn carp will usually be catchable whatever the conditions. Some days will be better than others, but carp have a natural instinct to feed as the water temperature rises and again when it then starts to drop as we head into winter. The strange thing I’ve noticed since running my own fishery, is that when the sun is out and we have a mini heat wave this is when most anglers are rushing to get to the bank.
The Right Tactics
A couple of weeks back we had four very warm days in Norfolk and my lake produced well under average the amount of fish compared to the week before and also the week after. The bites that did come, bar a couple, were all between 4am and 8am during the coolest period of the day. I’m convinced that more fish would have been caught if the anglers on the lake had got on the zig-rigs, but no one tried a zig or even floater fishing for that matter. In hot conditions I rarely fish on the bottom during the day, unless I can stalk them in the shallows.
I think the best summer anglers I’ve met and fished alongside are always incredibly versatile and hard working. They will be floater fishing one minute, and if that doesn’t produce a quick bite they will then switch over to zigs, if that doesn’t work or if the conditions suddenly change they will again switch the rods back to fishing on the bottom. My own fishing experiences have shown me and observations on my own fishery have confirmed this too, a static angler in the summer will always struggle. The fish can move very quickly plus they can constantly be changing the depth they’re swimming or feeding in. In the late autumn or winter months, I tend to have a two fish rule, if I see two fish show in the same area, I will move on them if possible. At this time of the year this can go out of the window because the carp can be so much more active and as a consequence will not stay in one area for any amount of time.
In my experience you are far better off trying to anticipate and work out where the carp are going to head for and get the rods and bait out before they arrive. I study the weather forecast religiously before I head out on the bank to see if a fresh wind is coming or if the air pressure is falling or rising. This gives me a massive clue as to the area and depth the fish will be in. It is also an advantage to have a good knowledge of the water you’re targeting because carp will often use certain areas at specific times. On most waters some swims are better for a bite in the day and others will be more productive in the night.
On my fishery there are definitely better swims to be in for a 24-hour session than a 12-hour session at this time of the year. Some swims just seem to do far more bites in the hours of darkness than others. I have one small bay that is far too often ignored, even by some of the regular anglers. It is partly due to the fact that it doesn’t cover too much water and to be fair you don’t see many fish in there during the day. But at night they love to get in there and often when I walk round early in the morning the water is heavily coloured where the fish have been ripping up the bottom. I remember an old guy dropping in that swim last summer for a day session and banking a couple of 19lb mirrors on lob worms during the first hour of his stay. It was a good piece of angling and it goes to show how good natural baits can be in the summer. I’ve been doing very well on old school lumps of floating crust on a couple of little pits I fish. But you don’t see many anglers carrying worms, bread or even sweetcorn nowadays, which are all great in the peak of the hot season.
The Right stuff
Weed growth certainly makes it harder for anglers that have no confidence fishing in or near it. I have met people on my own water that have a proper phobia of weed, they just struggle to lead around and find the lighter areas or clear spots.
The more experience you have of fishing in weed the easier it becomes, the right tools are also important. Nash Weed Markers for example are ultra buoyant and allow you to easily identify the fishable spots. The new texture coated leads can give you an edge too. Mud clay and silkweed stick to them like glue which can help you identify small pockets of natural food.
Using solid bags, Chod rigs and Nash Bait’s Chain Reaction pellets will also allow you to present a bait just about anywhere.
River carp fishing is a great buzz for me and I do love it in the summer as the banks are always quiet and it’s a great place to spend an overnighter and escape the summer crowds. River carp also love bait so I always make the extra effort and make time for a little baiting campaign before I do my first night. In the past I’ve followed river carp for two miles or more, so I know how much they move up or down a stretch in an hour or so. Even on low stock stretches there is a good chance that a few fish will come past you at some stage and they don’t often refuse a nice bed of boilies. And if you have never hooked a river carp then you will be in for a shock because they really do live up to their hard, powerful fighting reputation and take off like a train.
More troubles with summer
The trouble with our short and often unpredictable British summers is its often hard for us to acclimatise to the conditions and the fish are no different. Plus every summer seems to be different, last year for example at my fishery the carp spawned in April but this year it was in June. I think for every good summers fishing there will also be a bad one and this is something that as anglers we have no control over. Because it’s these unpredictable conditions that will ultimately dictate what the fish want or do. Having said that, I do love being out and watching the carp cruising around and bubbling up. In the winter I have spent many days where I have not even seen a bubble, so it is lovely to watch fish and try and second guess their movements.
I was watching two good fish yesterday rooting around in the reeds after snails. They were feeding so hard I could stand right over the top of them without spooking them. This preoccupation on natural food can make things a little tricky, but it gives you a massive clue as to how the carp in the lake move and feed. I still see too many anglers not even looking in the margins, but you will always see fish working the edges of most lakes in the summer. Some days you just have to look harder than others. But the effort of spending extra time walking the banks and looking can bring massive rewards. A big scaley summer carp on the mat is hard to beat and well worth getting sun burnt, bitten and stung for.
Good Luck and enjoy!
Enter your postcode to
find your local dealer