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A March carp, at last

After getting some great advice from a very generous and much more experienced carp angler, I have managed to winkle a carp out of its watery lair.

It was a fish of about 10lbs and while it was not a big’n it certainly was special to me. I had pre-baited a new swim the night before with a generous helping of boiled maize and hemp. When I arrived, I was excited to see carp bubbling around the baited area. I very quietly set up all my bits and pieces away from the bank behind some thorny bushes. It’s hard to tell just how much fish can see or hear us, but I try to keep away from the water as much as possible. As Izaak Walton once quoted from the bible, “Study to be quiet”. I had tied up rigs, a few PVA “sticks” and threaded the line through my rod’s guides the night before so it wasn’t long before I had a few rigs in the water. After just 30 minutes I had a fish on. A little while after recasting my second rod to a showing fish, I was on again, but unfortunately the hook pulled.

This first fish was a real confidence boost. There have been so many tweaks to my baiting strategy and tackle over the winter and this session tells me that at the very least, I’m not doing something that is putting the fish completely off. In some ways, it served like a sanity check. I’m using PVA more this season. PVA has a bit of overhead vs. using something like a “packbait” or the method, but I’m getting more and more comfortable with it. I used what people call “the salt trick” to make a combination of sweet corn and hemp PVA friendly. I won’t bore you with what exactly that is as there are many articles online about it. I also have a dry mix of bread and other goodies with me that can be put into PVA bags or mixed with water to create a balls of groundbait.

A bucket of corn and hemp and PVA bag

Pre-baiting is something I’m starting to realize is huge edge. It requires some prep work, extra driving and sometimes doesn’t pay off. Regardless it makes a lot of sense. Now you may be thinking, “DUH! What a moron…” and rightly so. However, last year I mainly fished small places were I knew exactly where the fish were. If they weren’t under the tree, they’d be over here, etc. I could stop in for a couple hours and get the fish’s attention by feeding them little and often. Stepping up to a larger pond or lake means that the fish could be just about anywhere and your task is to give them a reason to visit you. That is where pre-baiting comes into the picture. By dropping bait days before actually fishing, you give yourself much better chance of encountering feeding carp. It’s something I will continue to do throughout the season.

With renewed confidence, I am looking forward to what the next few months will bring. Peace out!