Every now and then the going gets tough you need to rethink your strategy or even just take a break and rest your swim. Sometimes when nothing else is working I return to one of my first loves, float fishing. Often improvising with what I can find in my tackle box; my set up is very simple.
On one occasion after rooting around in my bag I attached a small 4BB Crystal Waggler at both ends with float rubbers and tied on a short sinking braid hooklink with a size 8 hook. A chopped down 10mm Quest Baits Special Crab boilie and a Fruity Trifle Pimple Pop were fished snowman style on a short hair and the whole rig was fished overshotted with enough weight to sink the float.
Bites are extremely positive indicated by the float lifting as the fish takes the weight of the bait and shot. Often anglers have commented to me that fishing with a float for carp gives too many false bites and they don’t know when to strike. Heavily overshotting eliminates this and bites are difficult to miss as the float pops out of the water.
On one occasion I’d seen fish moving swiftly between two weed beds and I lightly baited both areas with chopped Special Crab boilies and Maximum Action Pellets to arouse their curiosity. This gave off a very visual cloud of tiny fragments of food rising and falling in the water column. The fish soon gave away their location with mud clouds spreading throughout the weed as they grubbed around on the bottom and then flanks and tails started to flash in the murky water.
Fishing only a couple of hours in the heat of the afternoon while I rested my main swim, I wasn’t sure whether the carp would oblige. I need not have worried, the first fish a 22lb mirror came very quickly. The float shot out of the water, lay flat and then zoomed away as the fish tore 25 yards of line off the reel. This one came quickly to the surface and wallowed there exhausted after its run, coming easily to the net.
Fishing such close range I did wonder if I had spooked the fish and if it was time for a move but decided to try another cast. This time a little further to the back of the potamogeton bed in nine feet of water with the float pulled up tight to the back of the weed. By this time the bailiff was sat behind me chatting as I concentrated on the float. Something he said distracted me and I finally broke concentration and turned to answer him. He shouted bite, but it was too late and the fish took the bait and buried its self in the weed and cut my hook link. How do they know when you are not looking?
The next day my mate Dean fished with me. We baited up two swims about an hour before fishing. At the first swim Dean was soon into a fish; a small one he said. Changing his mind about the size half way through the prolonged fight he landed an upper twenty scaly mirror. The commotion had cleared the swim so we moved to our second area. This was much shallower and I was fishing in only about 3ft of now very cloudy water. The first fish came quickly in the form of a 22lb mirror. I baited up the swim with a couple of handfuls of bait as we unhooked it and very quickly had a bait back in the swim. A 20 followed and then an upper double, amazing sport.
On my last cast of the afternoon a piece of weed drifted up to the float as I watched it trembling and giving of those tiny tell tale concentric rings of ripples. It slowly sank, under the weight of the leaf I thought, and held inches below the surface. I could see it in the cloudy water through my Polaroid’s. Dean whispered he’s got it, strike, but I was unsure and waited. Eventually after what seemed like an age the floated skidded to the right and disappeared. I struck and the rod hooped over, and the weed bed disintegrated and mud clouds appeared all around as the fish tried to make open water. Luckily I stopped it before it had a chance to get up a good head of steam and the light tackle held. Dean soon slipped the net under a 29lb mirror, the biggest carp I’ve ever caught on the float!
It just shows that you can get blinkered in your approach. It sometimes it pays to ring the changes and try a new method, even resurrect an old favourite or tune it up with the addition of some Pimple Pops and Maximum Action Pellets.