Coldwater Bread Tactics - Commercial Carp in Spring

Whenever I’m heading to a new venue or one that I haven’t fished for years, especially if I’m competing in a future match then I will always head out beforehand for at least a walk round, if not a few hours practicing.  

First impressions

Just that initial glimpse of the lake will tell me loads as if the water is gin clear then I know that the fish are probably shoaled up tightly together, not moving or feeding much and that a stand out target bait will probably be best such as bread, especially if its carp dominated. The clarity of the water also tells me that if I’m not pegged on the fish then I will probably end up scratching around for a few silvers. Clear water also means in most cases that carp will be under or very close to any cover such as overhanging trees and bushes so straight away I get a good idea of the water even before wetting a line.

Logical swim choice

Today I find myself in such a situation, a lake I’ve only fished twice in the past and that was in the summer and one that I have a match on the following week.  A quick look at the lake and as expected its gin clear and there are no signs of fish but two thirds of the way down the lake there are lots of bushes on the far bank so this is where I’m going to set up. 

Leading around

First job is to get a rough idea of the topography of the lake so all I do is set up a light feeder rod, attach a small bomb and have a cast around. The time the lead takes to hit bottom gives me a rough idea of depth and by dragging this slowly across the bottom reveals not only what the bottom of the lake is made up off but also if there are any snags to avoid. This only takes a few minutes but it reveals so much and is worth doing on any new venue before fishing.

coldwater bread tactics 3
coldwater bread pole

If you can find some cover the fish won’t be far away.

pole dobbing 2

First line of attack the pole and a bit of dobbing.


Xitan ex-s top kits 1 piece top kits, great when you need to try different approaches.

What’s going to work?

Although I have maggot, expander pellet, corn and caster as bait, first out of the bag is going to be bread as knowing this venue is carp dominated a bit of dobbing on the pole shouldn’t go unnoticed if there are any carp around. I’m also going to set up a feeder rod and will try both the straight bomb and a small cage feeder filled with liquidised bread as I need to work out what works best. Presenting the hook bait on the pole couldn’t be easier and using a small punch I press out a few 4mm discs at a time and pass the hook through one. On the feeder I will be placing two or three of the punched bread discs onto a hair and securing these with a Quick Stop.

Instant action

First tactic to try is dobbing half way across to the far bank cover which is the deepest part of the swim. I’m using my trusted Sphere Zero-G F1+ Pole teamed up with Xitan 2ex-s 1 piece Top Kits loaded with no10 Stretch 7 Elastic. The float for dobbing needs to be light with a slim body and mine today is a 4×12 which is shotted with no12 shots placed at equal intervals between float and hook. This gives a natural fall of the bait and as each tiny shot settles it registers on the float producing a very positive but delicate rig. At the business end I m using a light size 16 hook attached to 0.12mm Cenex Hybrid Power Mono and the mainline is the same but in a 0.14mm diameter.  I’m not expecting too much action as I’ve not seen any fish top whilst setting up so when the float sails away seconds after settling and the elastic extends from the pole top I’m taken back somewhat. Lifting and dropping as well as trying different lines in the swim produces a couple more quick carp before this tactic dries up, I’m guessing they have spooked in the clear water. Can I get them back by introducing some liquidised bread, no, as all this does is attracts small silvers.

stretch 7 elastic

No 10 Stretch 7 Elastic, my choice today. 

cenex hybrid power mono

Cenex Hybrid Power Mono, reliable line.  

split shot

Strung out micro shot creates a natural drop of the hookbait.  

"The trend today seems to be a couple of fish from each area."

Time to switch

Time to head over to the far bank with a straight bomb and once again this tactics produces straight away. I’m using is a Sphere 10ft Bomb Rod which is great as being two piece it can be carried ready made up which saves time on the bank. I’ve teamed this up with a Black Magic MSF 340 Reel loaded with 0.19mm (6.6lb) Black Magic Gold mono and the rig itself consists of a 10g bomb attached to a small Quick Change Swivel coming to rest against a Connected Bead. Attached to this is the hook length created from Hybrid Power 0.14mm Mono which has a size 16 hook tied knotless knot style leaving a short hair that has a Quick Stop attached to it. Unfortunately as with the pole line after a couple of carp this dries up so time to attach a small feeder and introduce some crumb. A couple more carp follow before the feed attracts some decent skimmers showing at least I know that if I’m not on carp in the match I can at least attract the silvers and hopefully build a half decent weight of these.  

Alternating the lines

For the next few hours I hold back on introducing any feed and simply alternate between dobbing on the pole and casting a straight bomb at different spots along the far bank features. The trend today seems to catch a couple of carp on either tactic before it dries up and a tactical switch is needed to keep them coming, so the practice session has revealed loads for the coming match and at least I now know how to approach it on the day in a positive manner.

Colin Sheppard

liquidised bread feed

Feed for the feeder, fine liquidised bread.

sieving liquidised bread

Pass this through a fine riddle to remove any lumps.

bread discs

Discs on the hair will pop up straight off the bomb/feeder.

Colin’s Tackle

Sphere Zero-G F1+ Pole

Xitan 2ex-s 1 Piece Top Kit

No 10 Stretch 7 Hollow Elastic

0.14mm Cenex Hybrid Power Mono 

0.12mm Cenex Hybrid Power Mono

Light Size 16 Barbless Hook

4×14 Slim Bodied Pole Float

Sphere 10ft Bomb Rod

Black Magic MSF 320 Reel

Black Magic Gold 0.19mm (6.6lb) Mono

10g Bomb

Small Quick Change Swivel

Connector Bead

0.14mm Cenex Hybrid Power Mono 

Light Size 16 Barbless Hook

Quick Stop

spring bread carp

Instant action on the dobbing rig.  


Proper weight makers if the carp don’t turn up.  

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