Other than your carp fishing rods, reels, buzzers and bivvy, there are several items of tackle that despite their relative insignificance I’d be hard pressed to fish without when I venture abroad on my carp fishing holiday in France. Some items it is worth stocking up on to avoid running out and others literally make the difference between fishing effectively and blanking.
Baiting up is an essential part of my fishing as I imagine it is for most carp anglers. To this end one item of tackle that effects hugely how I fish, how accurately I fish and thus my results is a decent catapult. I’ve been using Drennan & Fox Catapults for a long while now and I find the form, and shape of the cup perfect for accurately placing boilies and particles at up to 50 yards. I couldn’t really imagine not having a couple of these items in my bag. Elastics break regularly so you need to have a back up. While a baiting stick can suffice, if you need to bait effectively between 30 and 50 yards you can’t beat a good catapult.
2. Baiting needle & boilie drill
I carry a whole variety of these in duplicate, as they all serve purposes and are all essential at some point. I use short needles for simply putting a boilie on the hair to long ones for adding stringers or multiple baits to a rig. Secondly I’ll have a drill so I can put a hole in hard baits and pop ups. One of the problems I’ve found even with the stainless versions is that you can easily break off the hook. I therefore carry everything in at least duplicate. Without these items I can’t fish… so they are essential.
3. Marker float rod
How can any angler cast out without knowing over what he is fishing? I see so many anglers turn up at my lakes and not have a marker rod… This really amazes me!! Ok, if you see a fish crash out or it is obvious where they are you can cast without first plumbing. But if you are setting out for a week in a peg, you need to know what you have to fish to. Features can be obvious like islands or weed beds, but finding the exact limits of the later or gravel bars, silt beds or deep holes requires some investigation. The only practical way to do this from the bank is with a marker rod and float. Finally once you have found an areas you think merit a bait placed on it, you simply pop up the float and you have a perfect target to cast to and to bait up to.
4. Petzl head light
If you are planning on fishing nights you’ll need some form of light. Ok the old Kevin Maddocks style of fishing totally without lights, is not mine, I don’t though, advocate using halogen or petrol lamp, left to burn all night. Nowadays you have variety of discrete LED headlamps, the most robust and useful being the Petzl Tikka. I’ve used these for a number of years and they emit a nice diffused, yet nonetheless bright beam. The batteries last forever and the are sufficiently small and discrete to permit you to sleep with them on your head.
5. Swiss Army Knife or Leatherman Multi-tool
This item is not just limited to actual fishing, but can help you out in the camping, cooking and any number of essential tasks you’ll need to undertake while carp fishing. However, tying a rig or preparing your end tackle you’ll certainly need a set of sharp scissors, and or a knife. Once you have a fish in he bank you often need a pair of pliers to remove the hook. To this end I always carry both a Swiss army knife and a Leatherman Tool. Why both? Well the Leatherman as ‘almost’ perfect as it is… doesn’t have a corkscrew… I guess they don’t drink much wine in Oregon!!!
6. Spod Rod
A spod doesn’t necessarily mean you want to bait up at distance. While you can bait up well in excess of 100 yards with a Korda spod and a correct rod, I often like to use them as simple bait droppers and place a spod of bait in the margins or at short distances. A catapult can do a good job but it spreads the bait all over the swim. Often a spod of hemp or pellet right on the bait can be more advantages than a wide bed of food.
I carry string, tape bags and funnel netting in my bag. All have their own application and used in the right way these will all catch you so many fish. PVA is a brilliant invention. I’ll leave the various uses for another articles but suffice it to say, I have a whole choice that I carry with me and it will give me a perfect presentation for a whole host of fishing situations. The possibilities are endless!!!
8. Spare batteries
Ok how many items of tackle now work on batteries. Buzzers, cameras, electronic scales, headlamps, torches, etc… So you’ll need to be carrying a whole host of different sorts. Fortunately they are all common and can be bought in any service station, newsagent or supermarket Europe wide. Most common ones are PP3, AAA & AA.
Ok maybe not essential, but if you can accurately see where the fish are moving you can put a bait on them and maybe bag a carp to two that you didn’t think would come to your net. I’ve often woken to see movement as distance, and need confirmation that it is carp and that they look like they are feeding… Coypu, coots and Muscrats all do a great imitation of a carp, so an accurate identification can see you perhaps land an extra fish.
Then you have bubblers. If you can follow the direction a feeding fish is moving then you have a chance of placing a bait in its path and picking up a bonus fish. All this is helped by having a decent set of pocket bins you can use to spot activity.
Finally this one is for me because I can fish much more effectively if I have regular fixes of caffeine. So I always carry a stove. For years it was a Coleman, but this meant smelly unleaded fuel and blocked generators. Recently the gas stoves have improved immensely over the basic Campingaz ones from a few years back. Now Primus for instance do brilliant ones for reasonable price.
(11. First Aid Kit)
Since posting this, a reader also pointed out that a first aid kit is often overlooked but essential, and we absolutely agree. As Ian said ‘we worry so much of fish safety but not our own.’ Trakker do a decent one if you absolutely insist on keeping everything camo green!