Sunday 4 September 2016

Floater Fishing for Carp – Free Lining

You can’t beat floater fishing for carp for excitement, it beats sitting behind the delkims any day and I must admit I just don’t get to do enough of it. This summer I decided to rectify that and I’ve been doing some afternoon and evening sessions on a well stocked local carp water but things haven’t exactly gone to plan.

Floater fishing for carp, click below to watch the video of this session.

The carp in the lake love mixers but they’ve been hammered on them over the years. The first time I took a bucket of mixers down to the lake I got the carp feeding with ease and I must admit to being a little bit too cocky when I first cast out my Drennan Surface Controller. I thought I was in for a very easy time but within a minute of the controller going out the carp had stopped taking mixers. To say I was puzzled by this would be an understatement, I had the carp fishing equivalent of a 2 yard tap in and I missed!.

It was obvious these fish had been caught many times before on the surface, they weren’t shy though and they’d come right into the bank to take mixers off the top as long as there was no controller in the swim. This made them vulnerable to a free lined mixer so after blanking on my first session I went back to basics, a size 10 ESP Big T Hook and 8lb Drennan Double Strength Mono for the tackle and an Enterprise Imitation Dog Biscuit for bait. My 6ft length of double strength was greased with a line floatant called Silicone Mucilin so it wouldn't sink and this was my complete setup, a hook on the end of my line, it couldn't be any more simple.

I quickly found some fish on my return and they obliged me very quickly when I fired in some chum mixers, usually I like to build the carp’s confidence and get them competing for biscuits but I couldn’t resist a cheeky quick cast to see if I could get a fish in the net quickly. I managed to get my free lined dog biscuit out about 3 rod lengths and it landed right in the middle of some feeding fish. The bait wasn’t in the water long when a carp came for it but these fish are masters of mouthing baits and not getting hooked and I missed my first chance. The fish had approached my fake mixer from the side and felt the line when it mouthed the bait, an occupational hazard when surface fishing for carp. (Watch the video above!). I decided to trim the imitation mixer so it didn't sit so high in the water, I'd had a few chances and clearly something was wrong so I whittled the mixer down so it sat a bit lower in the water and this seemed to work better.

Feeding them up, a carp surfaces confidently and gulps down a chum mixer

I put the rod down after missing that quick chance and I concentrated on feeding them up and getting them competing for the baits, it took quite a while before I was ready to introduce the Imitation Dog Biscuit again and when I did I got the same result, a mouthed bait and a missed chance. Things went on like this for a while until one suicidal mirror turned up and chased everything, eventually this fish came face to face with my trimmed down bait and took it without hesitation, finally after several missed chances I was in. I had the clutch set on my Shimano Bait Runner so my 8lb hooklength was never going to break and my new Korum Twin Tip rod impressed me greatly, it had a lovely through action and was perfect for floater fishing with light lines. I’d actually bought these rods for my barbel fishing but they double up really well as floater rods.

The fish gave a great account of itself making a couple of long runs then plodding round a lot under the rod tip but eventually I won the day and I slipped the Landing Net under a lovely fully scaled mirror that weighed 15lb 6oz, well worth the few hours of frustration I'd had to catch it.

Lovely fully scaled mirror taken off the top on an Enterprise Imitation Dog Biscuit

With a mid double fully scaled in the bag I put the rod down and just concentrated on feeding them up again. You need to be patient when surface fishing for carp and it pays to take your time, the longer you leave it the more confident the carp get. Once again, despite the bird life, I had the carp at the stage where I could introduce a hook bait again. It took a while but eventually I managed to hook up another carp, this one was clearly smaller than the mid double I’d hooked before but it still gave a good scrap under the rod tip. As well as being smaller it was quite plain compared to the stunner I’d landed earlier and it weighed 8lb 6oz. (The 8lb 6oz is on the end of the accompanying video above).

After blanking with the Drennan Surface Controller I was happy that switching to free lining was the way to go, the fish didn’t seem to spook as much although some carp would still back off if the mixer landed right on their heads. It took a few hours for me to earn these two fish, I had to be patient and endure the resident ducks who had more than one free meal at my expense, it was worth the effort to get a couple of fish on the bank though. I like the close quarter fishing too, it’s quite difficult to get a free lined Enterprise Imitation Dog Biscuit out into the lake so my hook ups are generally within two or three rod lengths of the bank, exciting stuff indeed, perhaps I should try fly fishing for carp next time?.

Until next time, tight lines and be lucky.


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