natural baits 1

Catch Loads of Carp on Natural Baits

Catch Loads of Carp on Natural Baits

Although paste fishing on commercial fisheries for carp has really taken off and on its day is difficult to beat there are times when fishing natural baits, such as maggots, worms and corn can score highly as well. 

Speed fishing

One of the advantages of using natural baits is that more often than not, the bait stays on the hook after a capture meaning that an angler can put together a run of fish very quickly, as opposed to having to change bait and carefully ship this into position.  

Venue choice

Today I have come to Greenridge Farm Fishery near Romsey in Hampshire, a venue which is popular with match anglers, one where I compete on a regular basis and where match weights can exceed 400lb! Its predominantly small carp between 3-5lb that feature here so, as well as a brilliant paste venue, it’s also one where due to the lack of nuisance fish, baits such as maggot and worm can be used effectively. 

Edge activity

My standard approach on a match day would be to start long whilst feeding an edge line down each side and a two-plus-one line straight out. The reason for starting long is that after all the commotion of anglers setting up the fish tend to back off, so starting long can produce a few fish from the off, and often these can be the bigger fish that can weigh over 10lb. This long line isn’t one to spend too much time on though as these fish love food and it won’t be long before the margin lines start to show signs of fish activity. 

What lies below?

First job, and very important is to plumb up each of my four lines so I’m fishing hard on the bottom, around two inches over depth, and so that I can adjust this depth and make small changes throughout the match I mark the position of the float tip against my pole using a Tipex pen. When pole fishing I like to use a heavy plummet, it just gives me a more accurate feel for not just depth but also the makeup of what I’m fishing over, be it hard ground or deep silt.  

natural baits 2
natural baits 3
natural baits 4
natural baits 5

Almost identical

The rigs I use for all lines are almost identical as the depth doesn’t vary much and are made up of Preston 4×14 edge floats, Cenex 0.18mm Hybrid Power Mono to a 0.16mm six-inch hook length and a Sphere size 12 or 14 barbless Beast hook. The float is shotted with a bulk just above the hook length and I tend to leave plenty of tip showing so that I can distinguish between line bites and proper bites. These are teamed up with a Sphere Zero-G F1+ pole and 1.6mm Hybrid red elastic which has a rating of between 10 and 12. 

Practice makes perfect

Everything so far will sound very simple, which it is, however the difficult part is how to  get the best out of the swim and this comes down to feeding. Generally I will start three lines using groundbait, and the one that seems to work for me is Champion’s Method Formula Fish. I mix this up on the damp side using a whisk as I don’t want it to be too active, proffering it to hit the bottom and create a carpet of feed. Each of these lines will see a big pot full of groundbait introduced at the start but not before adding a few dead maggots to the pot, as I want my loose feed to be on top of the carpet of bait when it lies on the bottom. The forth line will be fed more cautiously with just a small pot of micros and if I have to go down on this line my hookbait will probably double corn. Once the fish arrive in the swim, which should be after around twenty minutes, it’s all about getting into a routine. This may be taking two fish from a line before feeding and moving to another, often the best plan, to having one of those red-letter days when you just continue to catch on the same line and absolutely smash the venue to bits. Knowing what routine and when to feed and switch all comes down to practice, the more you fish, the sooner you will know what is best. 

Reds are best

As for hook bait you really can’t beat dead red maggots and I place between five and twelve on the hook or if this isn’t producing as quickly as I would like double worm, basically one big red worm pinched in half and placed on the hook. A good baiting and catching plan would be to feed a big pot of groundbait, plus a pinch or dead reds, take a couple of fish, feed again, switch line and repeat. Obviously this means using a lot of bait and three kilo of groundbait would be about right for a five hour match. As previously mentioned the good thing about using natural baits is that if you miss a bite you can simply lower the rig back down as the bait won’t have come of unlike paste fishing. 

Carp carnage

Today’s practice session has been unlike match conditions as the far bank line just hasn’t produced. The two-plus-one line produced a good run of smaller carp, but then it started to fizz as the carp started to rip into the silt, not ideal, and if I picked this peg out of the hat in future would feed on a more sparingly fashion. Having continuously fed the left hand margin with a pot full of groundbait every ten minutes has seen it come good as once I made the switch it’s been carp carnage all the way. 

Colin Sheppard

Colin’s Tackle

Sphere Zero-G  F1+ Pole

Hybrid 1.6mm 10-12 Rating Elastic

Cenex 0.18mm & 0.16mm Hybrid Power Mono

Sphere Size 14 & 12 Beast Barbless Hooks

4 x 14 Inline Edge Pole Float

 

Colin’s Bait

Red worm

Dead Red Maggot

Sweetcorn

Micro Pellets

Champion’s Feeder 

natural baits 6
hybrid elastic
sphere beast

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ck bomb rod 1

Carp King Bomb Rod

Carp King Bomb Rod

If you are looking for a really versatile bomb and light feeder rod that won’t break the bank then check out the brilliant value CK Bomb rod. This 10 footer is rated up to 40 grams, making it perfect for bomb fishing and light Method feeders. The sort of fishing we all do on Commercial Fisheries right through the year. 

As you can see, the anti-lock action is brilliant for playing carp. Line breakages are a thing of the past, as the rod just bends and bends! You might think that it would be sloppy though, damaging casting accuracy, but nothing could be further from the truth. Sure, this isn’t a top-of-the-range, super-light rod, but then it doesn’t have the price tag either! 

I like to use this rod for bomb fishing up to around 40 metres, or for dropping a Pellet Cone or small Method Feeder on a sixpence every time. It is supplied with two tips, of 1oz and 2oz rating, making it perfect for both summer and winter fishing. 

It can double-up as a nice skimmer rod too with the lighter tip fitted. 

The rod has some lovely features for the price. The rings are low-friction and braid-friendly, with a skeletal design with no liners to break. The screw down reel seat holds the reel securely, and the combination of cork and EVA handle is nice and comfortable. 

If you are new to Commercial fishing, or looking for a really nice tool on a tight budget then check out the CK range, you won’t be disappointed! 

ck bomb rod 2

The CK Bomb rod has a flawless action.

CK rod tip

Two tips of 1oz and 2oz are supplied with the CK Bomb Rod.

CK ROD Rings

Low friction Skeletal rings are standard on the CK rod range.

CK Rod handle

Simple, comfortable, and secure, that’s the handle on the CK rods.

ck rod handle

There are some nice little touches on the CK rods, like this embossed logo on the handle.

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Mick Fordham big carp

How to Tackle Deep Margins

How to Tackle Deep Margins

Most carp dominated commercials are very similar in topography with an average depth of around 4ft and very shallow margins. Fishing tight to the far bank, maybe to an island or down the edge is generally one of the best areas with eighteen inches and a relatively flat bottom being what we all are looking for, however there are exceptions where the margins are deep, maybe upwards of six feet just inches from the marginal vegetation and if you treat these in the same way as a shallow margin, well it’s a recipe for disaster!

Exception to the rule

One such venue is Willow Pool near Basingstoke in Hampshire; it’s a small deep water run by Adventure Angling Society and is one of very few fisheries that still contain true wild carp. Being an irrigation resource the water level can fluctuate dramatically, especially in the summer when the farmer needs to water the crops and even in these conditions it’s rare to find less than four-feet of water tight to the nearby rushes! 

deep margin pole fishing

Irrigation reservoirs often have deep margins.

Cenex Hybrid mono

Cenex Hybrid Power is such a versatile line.

Heavy particles

Feeding is so, so important when fishing deep margins and if you feed baits such as live/dead maggot, casters and groundbait all that will happen is as it descends through the water it will spread, depositing items all over the place along with the fish. On these venues it’s much better to feed heavier particle baits such as 4mm and 6mm pellets, corn as well as paste as these will fall far quicker, create a tighter feeding zone that can be accurately targeted throughout the session. 

Plumbing up, so important

Before feeding it’s really important to take your time plumbing up and its best to use a heavy plummet as this will transmit so much more through the pole, telling me what the bottom is made up off as well as if there are any obstacles such as reed roots lying around. Once I’ve found dead depth, as well as an even area really tight to the marginal rushes, I always add an inch as I want to know that my pellet is always lying in the feeding zone. I will always plumb up on both sides of the swim as this allows me to take a fish or two from one side before feeding and switching position.

Stand out bait

Having found a couple of marginal spots it’s time to get some feed in and I always start with half a big pot of 4mm pellets which are dampened down to add weight plus a nice scattering of bright visual corn. If the margin was deeper, say six feet plus then I would be feeding bigger 6mm pellets. Hopefully after leaving this to draw a few fish in for ten minutes bites should come almost straight away but if not then I will add more bait, not as much, say quarter of a pot and continue to do this until one or both lines start to produce. Having laid the table it’s time to drop in over the top and I like to use a big stand out bait, usually an 8mm pellet or double corn. If everything goes to plan it should be a case of taking a couple of carp from one spot, feeding more 4mm pellets and corn before switching sides and repeating the process. One small but very important tip is when positioning the rig within the swim instead of swinging the hookbait alongside the marginal cover its best to drop the bait and float in open water then drag the float into the rushes as this will allow your hookbait to fall unhindered through the swim coming to rest on the deck. 

commercial carp baits

Pellets and corn are my main baits, but I always have some paste as a change bait too.

"take your time plumbing up and use a heavy plummet"

pole float
bulk shotting

Getting it down

Rig wise I like to keep things nice and simple and use a .4g pellet shaped handmade float which has a nice visual 2mm bristle and leave plenty showing so that I can watch and hit those positive bites. The float is attached to 0.20mm Cenex Hybrid Power Mono and positioned around six inches from the pole tip so I can hit those bites fast and hard. Below the float and positioned just above the four-inch hook length, which is made from 0.19mm Cenex Fluoro Carbon Hook Line, is a spread bulk of seven No8 shot which gets the hookbait down to the bottom quickly. As for hook it’s a size 14 barbless eyed Sphere Beast which has a short hair extending from it which contains a small micro band which is really versatile as it retains different pellet sizes and corn firmly.

As expected the short evening session has once again been action packed with plenty of wild carp to around 6lb plus a few of the recent stockies gracing my net, proof that even in such hot temperatures and with a vast amount of the carp sunning themselves that by thinking about what and how you feed, keeping the rig nice and simple will still produce the goods. 

Mick Fordham

Mick’s Tackle

Zero-G F1+ Pole

Hybrid 2.2mm Elastic

.4g pellet shaped float

Sphere size 14 Beast barbless Hook

0.20mm Cenex Hybrid Power Mono

0.19mm Cenex Fluoro Carbon Hook Line

Micro Bait Band

Spread bulk of seven No 8 shot

 

Mick’s Bait

4mm/6mm/8mm Pellets

Corn

hair rigged pellet
sphere beast hooks
netting big carp

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mugging commercial carp 1

Mugging Commercial Carp

Mugging Commercial Carp

Mugging carp has become a very popular tactic during big matches on venues dominated by carp and is especially good on those still hot days when the carp are cruising around in the warmer upper layers. These carp aren’t really interested in feeding and the mugging tactic involves simply swinging out and dropping a bait right next to a fish and then hoping that its natural instinct see’s it grabbing the bait.

Lucky draw

Practicing this method really does help, as it tunes you into where and how to drop the bait in a split second and today I’ve come to Coleman’s Cottage, a typical carp dominated venue where mugging has really taken off. The carp here are mainly in the 3lb – 6lb bracket but there are bigger to over 15lb and its these that tend to hang around in the upper layers or right down the edge and underneath the fishing platforms. Obviously mugging only works if you’re lucky to draw a peg where the carp are cruising around and if you can pick a few of these out then they really do help bump your weight up. 

Intercepting lumps

Mugging is a really active method and if you’re on the fish and they are responding then you will certainly know it come the end of the session. Constantly flicking a bait, adding sections to fish at different distances, changing rigs, bait and depth is the order of the day as well as hooking, playing and landing hopefully numerous hard fighting carp. A word of warning though, being too aggressive and waving a pole around without care and attention can on occasions spook the fish so if there are some lumps cruising around it can pay to sit back with your pole resting on the rollers, buy your time then intercept one of these as it swims past. 

mugging commercial carp 2

Rig choice

A quick look from the car park at Wood Lake and there are plenty of carp cruising around so that’s where I’m going to set up. My kit consists of a Sphere Zero-G PT+ pole and I’m using a long No 4 section which gives the pole a bit of whip plus the long top kits, that come as standard with this pole, which makes the task of flicking over a rig that much easier. I’m using 4ft of Cenex 0.20mm Hybrid Power Mono attached to Xitan 2.3mm Microbore Elastic for my heavier rig which consists of a .3g dibber float shotted simply with 4No8 positioned directly under the float, a six inch hook length of 0.18mm Hybrid Power along with a size 16 Sphere Beast hook which has a pellet band attached to it. The lighter rig almost identical apart from the float is a .2g dibber and the elastic is the new Hybrid 2mm white, which has a 14-16 rating, a great all-round soft elastic for targeting medium sized carp.

mugging carp rigs
hybrid mono
sphere beast hooks 11
hybrid elastic range

Cheap or expensive?

Bait for the session is simply pellets but it’s worth having a mixture as on some days a certain size, even colour can make all the difference. Mugging doesn’t involve any feeding; however it is worth pinging half a dozen every few minutes to a certain line, similar to fishing the pellet waggler, as if there are no cruisers then a few flicks of the rig in this area can produce a few extra fish. It’s also worth feeding the margins as these can be very productive especially late in the day as well as nicking the odd lump as it appears. Casters have become a very popular bait with this method as they give a far slower drop in front of a carps face than pellet due to their natural buoyancy, however the drawback is the cost and for a big match you may go through a gallon! Pellet is far cheaper, but the fall through the water is quicker and if you don’t get a bite within ten seconds you need to flick again so there are advantages and disadvantages for both baits. 

Instant action

As expected it doesn’t take long for a flicked pellet in front of a carp to see the float disappearing and the elastic stretching as the first mugged carp falls to this deadly method. Keeping the pole low and using the pulla kit gets the fish under control quickly and when it’s close in just lift the pole, get its head up and quickly push the landing net underneath. Four hours in and I’ve lost count of the number of carp that have been caught, no real monsters, the best maybe 7lb but the average size is far bigger than the hoards of F1’s that you would catch down on the deck and come the end of a match these bigger fish will make all the difference. It was the lighter .2g rig and a 6mm red pellet that was the most successful today, the heavier float seemed to spook the fish so worth noting and using the lightest float you can get away with and consistently switching bait.

Mugging is a devastating method on its day and one that all match anglers need to master if they want to be consistent on commercial carp venues.

Alex Reynolds

"As expected, it doesn't take long to get the elastic stretching."

Alex’s Tackle

Sphere Zero-G PT+ 

Microbore/Hybrid Elastic

Long No 4 Section/Long Top Kit

0.20/0.18mm Cenex Hybrid Power Mono

.2g/.3g Dibber Float

Sphere Beast size 16 Hook

Pellet Band

 

Alex’s Bait

4mm/6mm red/natural pellets 

big carp in net

Keep up to date with all our latest match news here.

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CK CARP WAGGLER 1

CK Carp Waggler Rod

CK Carp Waggler Rods

With summer here there is no more fun way of catching carp than on the Pellet Waggler, and if you are new and want to get into this great tactic then why not check out the brilliant value Browning CK Carp Waggler rod?

 

This 11ft two-piece rod is ideal for catching hard-fighting fish like carp. It also comes in useful if you want to catch barbel and chub on the float in rivers too.

 

The blank has an anti-lock design, as Jim Hall recently demonstrated as we put the rod through its paces at Messingham Sands. This action makes playing carp dead-easy, just let the rod do the work!

 

The CK rod range are real gems, with quality fittings and rings throughout. The Screw reel fittings hold reels really securely, and the split cork / EVA handle is very comfortable to hold all day long.

 

However you plan to catch carp from your local commercial fishery there is a CK rod for you. Best of all, they won’t break the bank either!

CK CARP WAGGLER 2

The CK Carp Waggler has the perfect balance of power and finesse for punching to Pellet Wagglers.

CK CARP WAGGLER 3

The CK Carp Waggler rod handles powerful carp in its stride, thanks to the anti-lock blank.

CK CARP WAGGLER 4
CK CARP WAGGLER 6
CK CARP WAGGLER 5
CK CARP WAGGLER 7

Keep up to date with all our latest match news here.

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Mugging Carp web

New Video - Mugging Crafty Carp

Just in time for the warm weather, Alex Reynolds takes a look at a brilliant summer tactic – Mugging carp off the surface. Alex looks at the tackle and tactics you are going to need to get to grips with this useful tactic that can make the most of those days when the carp are ghosting around just under the surface.

 

Hit the play button below to watch now, or find the video (and many others) on the Browning YouTube channel.


Shallow Fishing - Tips & Tricks 2022

Jim Hall visits the prolific Lindholme Lakes and spends the day on the famous Bonsai lake in search and carp and F1’s shallow.

 

Jim looks at the rigs and tactics you need for shallow fishing, including the Jigga rig.

 

Hit the play button below to watch the video now, or head over to the Browning YouTube channel to watch this and hundreds more tactical videos.


BD430 REEL COVER

Great Value Float Fishing Combo!

Tim Bruce takes a look at this brilliant value float fishing combo from Browning.

 

Find out more about the Black Magic FD430 here – https://tackle-box.eu/en/p/0342020

A great quality and durable front drag reel with all the advanced features needed when targeting quality fish. The ultra smooth and strong gear set is reliable when the pressure is on – these reels won’t let you down. These reels look good with a classy, subdued finish that matches our Black Magic range.

 

Find out more about the CFW Waggler Rod here – https://tackle-box.eu/en/p/12202390

CFX is the latest Browning rod range to carry the famous Black Magic® name. The new high-modulus carbon blanks are incredibly slim, but also tough and durable to give many years reliable service. The rods perform well beyond their price and are true “do anything” rods. The range includes float, feeder and bomb rods. The CFX Match rods are perfect general purpose float rods with the classic “waggler rod” action through the top and middle sections. Available in 2 lengths to cover all needs – lakes and rivers – small floats or large – plus a special “power match” version for fishing with heavy floats or bigger fish.


commercial silvers worms 1

Worms - The Key to Unlocking Commercial Silvers

Worms - The Key to Unlocking Commercial Silvers

One of my favourite baits, especially in spring when the water is beginning to warm up is worm as it’s a bait that almost every fish will readily eat and on those occasions when all else fails will often get a response.

It’s not all about carp

Today I’ve come to a typical commercial fishery, Frant Lakes on the Kent/Surrey boarder, a complex of eight lakes, where most anglers target the large numbers of carp. However these lakes aren’t just about carp as they also contain a good head of slivers namely bream, roach and perch which have been caught to over 4lb.

Recipe for success

Bait for today’s session is going to be worm fished over regularly introduced helpings of chopped worm, casters and maggots. This has in the past been a recipe for success with bags of perch exceeding 30lb, many being over 2lb along with the occasional three.

Wash those worms

At the start of the session I simply feed a line down each edge along with one around ten metres out where the lake drops off into slightly deeper water. If the perch don’t show on the longer line then normally by alternating the inside line will produce. Each line is kicked off with a big Pole Cup full of chopped worms, maggots and casters and then every fifteen minutes or so these will be topped up with the same mix using a small Mini Cup. A little tip is to place a few big handfuls of worms in a fine mesh landing net and wash of all the soil they come in as this isn’t something I want to be depositing in my swim and if you lose feed here all that will happen is the carp will respond to this and potentially ruin a good perch swim.

commercial silvers worms 2

Bait consists of worms, casters, red maggots and pinkies.    

commercial silvers 3

Large Pole Cups kick start each line and the Mini Cups top them up.

commercial silvers 4

You just can’t beat the head of a worm as bait.

Plan B

The session hasn’t gone to plan as starting on the Waterfall Lake in perfect overcast perch conditions all I’ve been able to catch has been skimmers and after forcing the feeding a bit too aggressively dragged in the carp resulting in at least six doubles. Time to move and after three hours on the previous lake I’m now set up on the Car Park Lake which is much deeper, the only problem is high pressure has drifted in and the earlier overcast skies have disappeared leaving a bright blue sky and an ever growing chilly north east wind. 

Spread bulk or olivette

The pole I’m using today is my trusted Sphere Zero-G F1+, a fantastic all-rounder that will not just cope with bagging big weights of carp but is equally as good when things need to be fined down for silvers. Top-kits are the Sphere two-piece ones, all with pulla systems and Xitan Microbore Lime Green 1.30mm elastic running through which has a of 3-5 rating. The rigs I’m using are all very similar created from Cenex Hybrid Power 0.14mm and 0.12mm Mono and wire stem rugby ball shaped floats which combat any tow. The only difference being on the Waterfall Lake the rigs were cocked using a spread bulk of shot along with two No10 droppers down to a size 16 Sphere Beast barbless hook as opposed to an olivette bulk and two droppers on the deeper Car Park Lake.

sphere f1 plus pole

he Sphere Zero-G F1+ a great all-rounder.

carp

A nice gate crasher, but I don’t want to catch too many of these as they can scare off the perch.

sphere beast hooks

Beast hooks will deal with anything but still regain some finesse.

Against the odds

Amazingly, even in such bright conditions the move has paid off as after around thirty minutes the leak of from the chopped worm and all their amino acids have drawn in some fish, not perch but skimmers, odd bream and roach. These have all come on my two longer ten metre lines in around nine feet of water, one being worm head hookbait fished over chopped worm, casters and maggots the other, that did produce a few fish for a while, being corn fished over groundbait, always worth a try as a backup line when skimmers and bream are around. The odd occasion I did try the inside marginal lines produced, yes you’ve guessed it, more double figured carp so these have been neglected relatively quickly as carp aren’t what I was looking for.  

It’s been a frustrating but rewarding day as I really was looking for a bag of big perch but for some reason they just didn’t show, yet making the effort to move not just swim but lake has made the session so worthwhile as around 30lb of silvers have graced my net. Just a shame those perch didn’t show! 

John Pantrey

roach and bream

John’s Tackle

Sphere Zero-G F1+ 

Sphere 2-piece top kits

Xitan Microbore Lime Green 1.30mm elastic 

Cenex 0.14mm and 0.12mm Hydro Power Mono 

Sphere Beast Barbless size 16 Hook 

John’s Bait

Worms

Maggots 

Casters

Corn

Groundbait

microbore elastic

Keep up to date with all our latest match news here.

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CFX WGGLER ROD 1

Black Magic CFX Waggler

Black Magic CFX Waggler

The Black Magic CFX range of rods are amazing and offers the modern day angler with everything they require including outstanding quality, performance and affordability.

I particularly like the 2 piece CFX Waggler as at 11ft I can carry this rod made up and ready to go saving me valuable time when I get to my swim. At less than fifty pound, yes less than fifty pound some might question its reliability, quality and performance but let’s face it Browning have been developing rods for many years, they know all there is to know so when you decide on purchasing one you can be assured that it’s not going to let you down and give you years of satisfaction.

Featuring a high-modulus carbon blank this ultra slim rod is not just tough and durable but amazingly light at just 202g which means you can use it effortlessly all day. This rod performs way above its price tag and if you weren’t aware you’d be fouled in thinking it was a top of the range rod! At 11’ and being two-piece it will appeal to the modern day general angler as well as it can be transported ready made up. Offering a fully parabolic action it has plenty of power in the middle reaches but is still soft enough to minimise hook pulls making it ideal for the pellet waggler or more conventional waggler fishing for bigger fish like carp. 

And it’s amazing value for money doesn’t just end there as not only does it look like the real deal it boasts a full cork handle, SIC guides throughout and is Epoxy coated! 

If you are looking for a real value for money quality rod/reel combination then why not team this rod up with a Black Magic FD reel, you won’t be disappointed!

Tim Bruce

CFX WGGLER ROD 2
CFX WGGLER ROD 3
CFX WGGLER ROD 4
CFX WGGLER ROD 5

Keep up to date with all our latest match news here.

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