netting big f1 carp

F1’s Down the Edge

If you love catching big F1’s then you need to get yourself down to Lake 6 on the Orchard Farm Fishery complex in Kent. It been a while since I last fished here but what a return it’s been, as the fish have just got bigger and seem to be more plentiful than ever. This is a great venue to look at one of my favourite tactics – catching F1’s down the edge.

F1’s will move to the feed

Arriving early and knowing that the wind was forecasted to pick up to gale force as the day progressed along with the chance of the odd heavy showers I decided to head to the road bank with the wind of my back for some respite and enjoy the warmth of the sunshine for most of the day. These pegs have always been some of the best on this venue and with few other anglers around and knowing that these F1’s really do move to the feed knew it was the right choice.  

As close to perfection as it gets

Tackle for the session consists of the fantastic EXO Sphere Zero-G F1+ rigged up with a pulla kit and Xitan Microbore 2.3mm blue pole elastic which has a 9-13 rating. If you’re looking for a pole that’s incredibly light and stiff then you need to check this one out, it really is as close to perfection as it gets. You don’t need a complex rig for F1’s down the edge, keeping things really simple and making sure all the components are robust and reliable, capable of withstanding big hits if you’re on the fish is much better than going delicate. My rig today consists of a 0.35g float placed on Cenex Classic 0.16mm line with four number 8 soft shot to cock it. These are positioned together just above a four-inch hook length which is once again Cenex Classic in a 0.12mm diameter and onto this I’ve tied a size 16 Sphere CPF LS barbless hook.

hooking two maggots

F1’s love maggots, especially in the winter, and they are my first choice of bait for both feed and hookbait.

maggots in pole pot

Use a small pot to feed maggots on a little and often basis.

margin f1 pole fishing

When you hook a fish guide it away from the margins.

Make the most of the margin

A quick plumb along the margins reveals a nice area at just 5 metres in 2ft 11inches of water which has plenty of cover and offers some shade from the sun. Believe me, being able to fish down the edge here and catch is a real treat as during a match these fish tend to move away from the margins into open water and numerous lines need to be feed and rotated in order to get the best from a swim. Today with minimal disturbance from other anglers I know that these fish will move close in, all I need to do is keep a few maggots constantly falling through the water and once they arrive it should be a really enjoyable and action packed session. The best bait by far for F1’s is maggots, they absolutely adore them and even in the height of summer when pellet does come into play, maggots will still be difficult to beat. Feeding on a little-and-often basis is the key here and I’m simply going to feed a dozen maggots through a small feed pot every put in. If I start to foul hook fish then I will reduce the amount of maggots and if this fails try up in the water but hopefully this won’t happen. 

Low to the water

First put in and after tipping the freebies in and slowly lowering the rig over the top the float sails away. Using a short line from pole tip to float means all that’s required is a slight lift before the elastic begins to extend and I’m into my first F1. Weighing around 2lb 8oz, it’s   the average size here now but they have been caught to nearly 8lb! Hooking and playing a fish is another area that makes so much difference in building a big weight. As soon as I hook a fish I keep the pole low to the water and draw the fish away from the feeding zone and into open water. When the pole is straight out in front it’s simply a case of shipping it back on the rear rollers whilst all the time keeping the tip close to the water. When the fish is close in its time to unship the top sections and then, and then only lift the pole vertically. What will happen next is the F1 will come up in the water and splash on the surface before bolting away and if your quick you should be able to net them first time on most occasions. 

Cenex classic mono

Cenex Classic Mono is incredibly reliable and has a very accurate diameter.

Xitan microbore elastic

The blue Xitan Microbore Elastic is just right for winter F1 rigs.

f1 carp winter pole rigs

Use simple, robust rigs with a sensitive tip for winter margin fishing for F1’s.

bulk pole rig shot

I use a bulk of four no.8 shot on my winter F1 rigs.

sphere CPF LS hooks

The Sphere CPF LS barbless hook is my choice for maggot fishing.

"The fishing today can only be described as incredible."

Incredible fishing

The fishing today can only be described as incredible as nearly every put in has produced an F1’s, it must be black with them in my swim, and it’s easy to see why you need over 200lb on occasions to frame here. As predicted the weather does take a turn for the worse with the wind increasing around lunchtime and at one stage I had to make a dash to the car when a storm front blew over. Fortunately this soon passed and the sun came out once again, drying everything out and in the meantime letting me get my fill with more F1’s and with well over 150lb of fish already netted I’ll be heading home a very contented angler.


Tight lines!


Garry Cooper

margin fishing with sphere pole

Look for a flat bottom and some cover along the margins for the perfect spot to fish.

sphere camo top kit

On bright days look for any shade as the F1’s will fed more confidently here.

netting big carp on pole

Big fish can be landed easily when the slow down in the winter.

Garry’s Tackle for F1’s down the edge

EXO Sphere Zero-G F1+ 

Xitan Microbore Blue Pole Elastic

Cenex 0.16mm & 0.12mm Classic Mono 

Sphere CPF LS Size 16 Barbless Hook

0.35g Pole Float

Small Mini Cup

Size 8 Soft Shot

Garry’s bait for F1’s down the edge

Red maggots

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winter f1 catch