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Early season prep and tips for Spring fishing.

13/04/2022 - Tactics & Edges

Early season prep and tips for Spring fishing.
Hi all, I don’t know where the time goes these days. My last piece was a full 2 months ago, I was just
starting to bag a few carp from my winter water and expecting to be getting amongst a few cold-
water carp, then life just sort of took over again and got in the way of fishing. Sometimes though you
have to roll with the punches rather than try and force the issue, to be honest I would rather miss a
few sessions in January and February than April onwards.

So, work has been really busy, I have just opened up a new office, this took a few weeks of planning
and completing, which is the official start of me handing over the rains to my daughter, so I would
hope by this time next year I will be planning a lot more time on the bank and travelling abroad. My
wife’s health continues to improve after extensive Cancer treatment, so we have a number of
holidays to plan. As well as work, we also had a return of the fishing shows this year as well, I had
told Fenton I would be happy to attend a couple of shows and man the stands to help out. So, I
attended the Northern show with Fenton and Dan and The Big One along with Fenton, Dan and
Terry, a few others turned up over the weekend as well. Both the shows were well attended, and
everyone seemed cheerful, just as if they were glad to be out. It was really great talking about the
re-emergence of DT, meeting supporters old and new. A lot of anglers had heard of DT as well,
particularly some of the older anglers like me…a lot knew about the long-standing mixes and
flavours, such as Green Beast and Oily Chicken. I spent the days talking about flavours and gauging
reaction from folk about different aspects of bait and bait application to carp fishing. I was a bit
surprised at how many anglers still make their own bait as well. I learned some really great recipes
to go with the Green Beast as an additive to base mixes. After a day at the show, at night we would
have a few well-earned beers and discuss all things carpy. I bumped into a few anglers I had not seen
for years, always great to reminisce about the good old days! So, a couple of great shows, Fenton
took the DT Bait stand to all four UK shows which is no mean feat (he must have a stronger liver than
I have!).

With the shows done it was time to look at getting back to fishing. Though the big pit I fish is usually
slow to start I was itching to get out none the less. My first trip proved a bit of a trial weather wise,
and no carp were forthcoming, they definitely seemed to be staying out in the lake, well beyond
where I could cast to. On the second trip, I couldn’t get near to any of the spots I fancied and so I
stuck it out of the way in an unfancied area on a hunch, which didn’t work. It was nice to back out by
the water though, getting back into the swing of fishing a session and giving my casting arm a
workout. I have spent the last 2 months making some changes to my tackle, mainly in the choice of
rods. Having gone for Torrix TE specials, what a lovely casting tool they are, easy to use and very
direct, hitting the clip at 120 without too much effort now. I also changed my spod rod, so now I
have 2 spod rods, a medium distance rod and long-distance rod. The Long distance spod rod being
the Daiwa Basia TT, again hitting the clip at 120 without too much effort. I am thinking of getting
some lessons this spring to see if I can really improve on my casting, for when I need those bigger
distance’s, I am just trying to set something up with Terry Edmonds for a day out. There is no shame
in admitting you need help sometimes, better to pay for it rather than struggle on blindly, I’ll let you
know how this goes in due course.
As well as sorting tackle out in the quieter months I also tend to get sorted bait wise for the coming
season. I changed my freezers in January, opting for a much bigger Freezer. So, I can get well stocked
up, for here in the UK and fishing abroad. At the start of each year, I decide what bait I am going to
use and stick with that for the whole year. Once I have done that, I can then concentrate on the
fishing sessions themselves, I have never been one for chopping and changing, either the bait you
are using is good enough or it isn’t, taking out seasonal fluctuations such as real cold-water fishing,
or surface fishing in the summer. This year I am going to use the Pukka Fish Mix with Peach and Sour
Cream, I started using this in the Autumn and I was straight into catching with it. I feel it will be just
right for the big Pit this year. For my trips abroad I will use this along with a few handfuls of Supafruit
in each application. I have found when fishing abroad and baiting from a boat to always mix the
boilies, with 2 opposing types and colour of bait, this gives the option to fish different hookbaits over
this, many times the carp will show a distinct preference for one or the other, I’ll come back to this
after our French trip and let you know how it goes anyway.

By the time you read this we should hopefully be finally seeing some Spring weather, even it still
feels Baltic at the moment, the carp will be starting to have a mooch around the lakes and getting
into shallower areas, along with some of their summer haunts. I think it can pay to be a bit more
impatient at this time of year, whilst I might fish one rod over a lightly baited area, the others I will
keep moving around, not just at different areas, but different depths as well (Zigs). Highly flavoured
hookbaits of Wafters and pop-ups would be my choice and sometimes you have to drop them right
in front of a carp to get a bite. One of the best ways to do this is to recast every couple of hours and
apply some fresh attraction to the hookbait by use of a bait spray, this can be devastating, this
includes the Zig fishing as well. Keep them moving and re-apply some flavour each cast. There are so
many in the DT range, I have put a picture in of the one I use mostly. But a lot of the others are
equally effective. With regard to Zig fishing, if its sunny and still, fish just under the surface and
lower by 6-9 inches every so often, if its overcast and windy, start at midwater and drop to a couple
of feet from the hard deck, but keep trying different things and be active.

One of the other things I like to do is use liquid attractors with my baiting approach. So, whilst I
might not use much bait at this time of years, mainly chops and pellets, I will use a bait soak. The
DNA is great for this, if you look at the picture you can see the slick coming from the baited area, it
goes a long way, so you don’t need a lot. After the initial baiting up and the main slick has gone,
there will be a steady release from the DNA over a few hours, what I like to do, is put a few more
spods of bits in every three hours or so. Once I am clipped at the right range this is easy, even in the
dark. The DNA is also great for PVA bag work as well, again you only need a small amount.

When it’s still cold as it can be at this time of year, it is important to watch the water, in a 24-hour
period you may get only one sighting of carp to show where they are. I make a point of being up an
hour before first light to watch the water, it means still needing winter gear due to the cold, but you
can’t see the carp from your sleeping bag inside the bivvy, can you? If you see a show, stick a single
on it straight away, again the Bait Spray is ideal for this.
As I am putting the finishing touches to this article, I am getting ready for our first trip abroad this
year, we are heading for Central France, where the weather has been worse than here, hope it picks
up a bit by the time we get there! In this month’s article in Talking Carp, I have covered off some
important points in planning carp fishing trips abroad and essential items of equipment that can
help, I have been stockpiling my gear for a week or so now, it’s a good job I have a T6 to get it all
into! We are all really looking forward to the trip, I am starting to get excited now, just to be out for
a whole week with a great group of other anglers is going to be great, as well as chance of a real
lump in the net. I’ll let you know how I get on. Whatever you do, make sure you enjoy it, life is too
short not to...
Catch you next time.