They say patience is a virtue, and I firmly believe that as with most types of fishing, big carp fishing requires a substantial amount of patience. There are times when a bait will lay untouched for hours, and even days before those wary big ones show any interest, especially if they have been caught before. So it goes without saying that the serious big carp angler needs to be seriously patient and not keep reeling the lines in after an hour or two to check the baits. Fortunately, our facet of fishing allows you to be more social, so time spent at the water’s edge with the family or friends does help to take the edge off a little. There is however something which I believe to be a lot more important than patience, and that is confidence. You need to be confident angler when targeting big carp. There is a long list of things that you need to be confident about to ensure that your time spent at the water produced your desired results, and perhaps a surprise or two.
To start with, how well do you know the water that you have selected as your next big carp venue? It will only take a photo or two of recent catches to help make up my mind if this is the water I want to spend a bit of time on. Those few pics have already confirmed what size carp the water is home to, which in turn will give me the belief and confidence that I need, to know that I should be able to bank something decent from it if I do my part. If possible, a bit of homework will be done on the carp’s preferred bait type and flavour, which again will give me the confidence in my bait selection with regards to using the more popular bait and flavour, and the confidence to trying something a little different which I believe might work. If possible a reconnaissance trip to the water will be arranged to have a look at the water level, and of course the visible features that not only look ‘carpy’, but it is possible for me to access if I will be able to cast to them, or do I need to take the boat along. If your chosen venue is one our many big waters, then take the boat along and do a bit of watercraft with the fish finder. If you are fortunate enough to own a fish finder with GPS or chart plotting, a variety of interesting features and structure can be saved. Fish location is by far the most important aspect of big carp fishing and put quite simply, if you can’t find them you won’t catch them! So buy identifying potential holding or patrolling areas for big carp, you should be confident that those areas will constantly produce the big ones you are after, and perhaps that dream lump. It also goes without saying that your watercraft will include the identification of vegetation and ground colour which will enable you to confidently select the right hook link and lead core colours that will blend in with the lakebed. The presence of submerged trees is not only a good holding area for big carp, but it will tell you that strong hooks and thick leaders will be the order of the day should you decide to target the snaggy parts of the water; Very challenging yet very rewarding.
Bait presentation is also of utmost importance and if you can’t get this right, those alarms are going to be silent for the duration of your stay. Even if you have the water’s preferred bait in the centre of a school of feeding carp and if the rig is tangled up, they’re not going to pick it up. This is where your confidence really comes into play. Once you latch that swinger or hanger onto your line whether you have casted or boated your line out, you need to be confident that the rig and bait are presented as perfectly as possible. Should you have even the slightest doubt in your mind, no matter how big a mission it may be, re-do that line immediately. So basically, after all the hard work of getting the lines out and you sit back in your chair to relax for a few minutes, you must be left with that incredible feeling of anticipation and confidence knowing that you have done everything right.
The big carp angler also needs to have confidence in his or her tackle. The rods need to strong enough to cast a bait into the horizon and turn a big fish away from a snaggy situation, yet the tip section must be soft enough to comfort sudden lunges when the fish sees you or the landing net. The reels must have the perfect line lay which will ensure smoother casting abilities, and it has to have a strong yet smooth drag system, which will enable you to give the fish the require line without having to turn the drag knob a hundred times. I’m sure that most of you have seen many European anglers fight big carp using the anti-reverse system on their reels, which does eliminate line twist and handles sudden lunges without too much effort, but I personally don’t think that method will work on one of our bigger waters where our carp are still very wild, and extremely powerful. The reels need to be spooled with strong hi abrasion resistant main line which must be well connected to a leader that has been carefully selected for the right conditions. Confidence in your knots are extremely important and they need to be checked properly, not only by pulling on them, but by giving them a jerk or two as well, to unsure they can handle the shock.
The confidence list goes on and on, but always remember that the more confidence you have in yourself and your equipment, the more you are going to enjoy your fishing, without worrying too much about what could go wrong, or what you should be doing differently.