Follow the carp hack guide to these four simple tactical tricks, which will help you get your spring campaign off to a flyer this month!
Hack 1) Drop the marker, ‘lead around’ instead
Rather than thrashing the water to foam with a marker float and 3oz lead – sending any nearby carp bolting for cover – tie a 2oz textured lead to the end of the braided line on your marker reel and have a few casts around fancied areas. When you get a ‘donk’ on landing, indicating a firm area, mark the distance (by walking the line out or using distance sticks), then clip up your main rods. Textured leads pick up fragments of the lakebed (such as silt or silkweed), helping you to build up a detailed picture of your swim.
Hack 2) Paste-wrap singles to create ‘hotspots’
Laying down big beds of boilies is a definite no-no so early in the season. The metabolism of carp in many lakes is yet to kick into full gear and, as well as being unwilling to get their heads down, the fish will also spook away from large quantities of bait – especially at venues where there is little competition for food. It’s better to tread softly and use just single hookbaits, and a great way of adding loads of attraction is to wrap your boilie in matching paste. This will dissolve, leaving a subtle, enticing cloud to draw the fish in.
Hack 3) Use low-feed, high-attract ‘salty’ bags
Being of such low food value, sweetcorn is an excellent ‘high-viz’ hookbait choice in spring, especially when paired with a little hemp as loosefeed. In line with the theme of keeping things subtle and inconspicuous early in the season, rather than spodding out loads of particles, try using small PVA bags of hemp and corn attached to your rigs as loosefeed. To stop the bags melting before they have been cast out, add salt to the water the hemp and corn are stored in. The saline solution will keep everything intact until it hits bottom, whereupon it will melt to leave a perfect pile.
Hack 4) Stalk margin ‘bubblers’ with lobworms
As the days lengthen and the water warms, carp will start moving away from their winter holding areas and venture into the corners and edges of the lake. They often give their presence away with subtle tail patterns and bubbles as they root amid the silt and dead reed and weedbeds. Much of their diet will be made up of ‘naturals’ at this stage – such as water snails, emerging larvae and any beetles and bugs that fall into the water from overhanging bushes and trees. Try walking around the lake looking for signs of these fish, before dropping a big juicy lobworm on their heads.