Today’s topic is all about how to target big carp on smaller waters, such as farm lakes or park ponds.
Well stocked ponds may often have several big carp over 20 – and we’ll introduce you to some tips on catching these.
By using a variety of methods and tactics, you’ll not only improve your response to changing angling situations, but you’ll feel a great sense of achievement by landing the biggest carp in the lake.
There are plenty of these smaller day ticket carp lakes around the UK, and many anglers struggle to get going on them because they may use their ‘go to rigs’ or bait they swear by.
Seasoned anglers will tell you that bites come at the most unexpected of times, so taking steps to up the percentage can turn a dull session into a frantic one.
1. Fishing Times
Early morning may seem the most popular or frequent ‘bite time’, but those keen anglers who’ve trekked to a lake extra early may also leave early too.
The last couple of hours before the sun drops can be even better!
You see, carp can really turn it on at these times – I’ve seen it on so many small lakes where I’ve wondered around and pre-baited little margin areas and revisited to find carp ravaging the spot!
Maybe try fitting in an evening ticket on your local lake to see what I mean!
Quite an obvious entry on the list, but I still don’t see enough anglers targeting these spots!
Think about this for a second…
Many anglers throw in bait (especially sweetcorn) as they pack up their carp gear and go home.
Carp will revisit spots where they know bait is placed, and they will do these routinely.
Small waters that have overhanging trees or bushes are also great margin areas where there is plenty of shade.
But the most important point about fishing the margins?
It is these trees and bushes that produce natural baits from nuts and berries that fall in – all year round!
Therefore, carp will constantly visit these areas, even in winter.
If you avoid margins, or barely fish them – think twice and maybe whip out a lightweight stalking rod to see if your luck is in!
Surprisingly, bigger fish can be found right under your feet – and you wouldn’t even know it!
On a small, intimate venue, loud sounds can affect your fishing.
Bankside noise (such as from bite alarms or yourself as you walk around) can really spook carp.
The same goes with leads crashing in.
Try softly swinging out or lowering in your baits for a nice quiet approach that could really help you trigger an unexpected carp or two!
4. Unfishable Swims
Swims that aren’t fished from can often be goldmines.
Maybe they are too small, or there isn’t enough features around.
Perhaps there overgrown or awkward to land a carp from?
Either way, you should pay attention to these types of pegs.
Less angling pressure may mean carp like to visit these spaces because they can feel safe and less likely to be caught.
5. Lake Rules
Sometimes, lakes may ban certain baits.
This is where attractants and liquids can really get around this by selecting bait that other anglers may not be.
Mixing up your bait methods (PVA, stringers, powder rolling) is a great tip to catching more carp.
6. One Rod Only
Occasionally, you may find a lake has chosen to allow just a single rod.
Should you fish it?
It may put off carp anglers that like to fish with two at the very least.
This is where a one rod only lake can be yours for the taking.
Plus there is less competition when targeting the big fish!
By this we mean sitting way back from your rod, especially if you’ve targeting the margins or found an ideal stalking spot.
Your shadow, or unavoidable rustling, can spook a spot straight away.
Gently place your rod into the water, lowering it slowly and then back off a few metres.
This method (you may of seen it time and again on TV or the Internet) has landed massive carp!
A favourite of mine, but probably not the most popular, is selective floater fishing!
It can be an explosive way of catching carp of the surface, and is a devastating method in the warmer months.
Keep an eye out for fish breaking the surface as often you will see a large mouth indicating a big carp.
Freelining bread or dog biscuits are an ideal place to begin.
Just remember to test the water first by throwing a small handful out and watch to see if there is a reaction.
Before your lead even hits the water, you should certainly throw out some freebies and then take your time to watch for feeding signals.
Mix up where you place your baits too (see margins and floaters).
An under used method where you can take a bucket of pellets or boilies around these small lakes which help you to find the fish.
Once the carp have been located, you can approach using a lightweight setup to test out the area even further – these type of bites can also be explosive and very rewarding.
Taking the time to adapt some of these methods will no doubt help you catch significantly more carp.
You may even of discovered what route carp are patrolling which make it even easier on your next visit!