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Spring Tips

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Last Updated: 2nd March 2016

The end of winter is the ideal period to reflect the happenings from the previous year and the ideal time to make plans for the coming season.

It’s time to make your ‘fishing-planning’ on basis of disposable time, lakes you want to target at home or abroad and what time of year each lake fishes best.

Hard-core fishing through the winter isn’t my cup off tea anymore; a lack of time and getting older/wiser is probably the cause. On the other hand, this ‘winter stop’ gets the fire burning to commence the new season as an eager beaver.  Winter is a period to charge the batteries and dream of what hopefully will come and get out there the minute spring is up on us, as it’s a great time to catch carp.

To that end, here are 10 of my top edges that will help you kick off your spring season in style…


1:  Before loading up for your first session, recover your gear from its winter slumber in the fishing shed. Every piece off kit needs checked and, if needed, a bit of maintenance applied. Broken or worn items need replaced, rods should be cleaned and checked, reels oiled, lines checked/replaced and the tackle box needs organized and shortages topped up. Preparation is the key.


2: Try to target the shallower areas on your lake. These will warm up faster then the rest of the lake and the carp are prepared for it. After a period off inactivity, the carp need the first warm rays of sun to help build up their condition, and they know that the shallows is where they need to be. The south-facing banks receive the most amount of warmth, so the water temperature should be a bit higher on this side off the lake too.


3: Keep an eye on the surface, even with binoculars. Sometimes a small ripple is all you need to see to give away the carps’ location. If a carp gives away his presence, move swim or cast a bait towards it.  It’s better to fish 2 hours in the right swim, than sit for 24 hours in the wrong one. Location is crucial, so it pays to be mobile.


4: Take care to know exactly where you’re placing your rigs. The lakebeds can be littered with debris, dead weed and dead leaves following the autumn and winter. Old weed beds can hide natural food and are always a good bet, but take care to fish around them to ensure your presentation is correct. Waterfowl will betray weed beds as they dive relentlessly on the same spots looking for food in the form of mussels, fresh weed etc. Of course, these areas are also natural hiding places for carp all year round.


5: Use high-attract baits, and spring is the perfect time for a hi-attract, single hook bait. Use small, brightly coloured and over-flavoured baits, or use boilie-soaks to boost your favourite baits. In the early part of the spring you have to entice the carp to pick up your hook bait as they aren’t really interested in feeding yet. The carps’ digestion works at a full 100% when the water temperature is around the 16 degree mark, which it won’t be up to yet.


6: If you want to bait up a swim then use small amounts and opt for a bait with an open structure, like a bird food mix. The open structure helps the flavours to leak out easier in the cold water, and they are easier to digest. A flavour made on an alchol base, or an ester-based flavour, leaks better in the cold temperatures than a synthetic one.


7: After the winter the carp are in need of minerals, and so adding salt to small PVA bags or sticks is a great edge. I would stick with small PVA bags rather than spodding, as I want to present a small mouthful, in which the hook bait is presented so that it’s all sucked up at the same time.


8: Carp feed slowly in cold temperatures so they are more difficult to hook. My way around this is to use light/thin hook-link materials in combination with a longshank hook pattern. Keep you rig short so the longshank hook turns really quickly and results in a fast hooking.


9: I’m a big fan of the chod-rig in combination with a fluoro pop-up. The main advantage are that it casts further than any other type off rig and doesn’t ever tangle, which is perfect when you may need to cast at a showing fish at any moment.


10: Try using a zig-rig. Despite their publicity, a lot of people don’t have confidence in using them, but once you’ve landed a few carp on them you start to ‘believe’.  Sometimes it is a real killer, but it doesn’t work on every lake. Try using a zig-rig in combination with Solar’s Up & Down mix.  Check the underwater footage at http://www.solartackle.co.uk/videos-articles/on-the-bank-videos?article=819


Be lucky!

Wesley Lagaert