Polesafe Double Pole Sock

Polesafe Double Pole Sock

This is one of those accessories that you don’t realise just how much you use it, as it has just become a part of how I fish. The two sections are really useful as it means when I am double shipping the sections aren’t banging against each other and potentially becoming chipped. The soft material is also very good and dries quickly on rainy days. 

If you want to protect expensive pole sections and fish better too, then a double pole sock is a ‘must-have’ for me. 

John Whincup

polesafe pole sock 2

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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


Micro Pellets

Champion’s Feeder 

natural baits 6
hybrid elastic
sphere beast

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Silverlite Plus Pole

Are you looking for a great value all-round pole, ideal for taming big carp, but with the finesse for catching silver long too? Then check out this video from the legendary Bob Nudd on the Browning Silverlite Plus Pole.


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Ethan big carp

Big Carp on Paste

Big Carp on Paste

There are loads of venues were catching numbers of small carp can be enjoyed, but what really gets me excited is being able to head to a natural water were big carp, and I mean the possibility of landing a twenty, can be hooked and successfully landed on the pole, and Nyewood Ponds in West Sussex is one such venue.

No weaknesses

Targeting carp of this size means that the tackle used has to be up to the job and mine consists of the Sphere Zero-G Power Partner pole, ideal when extra strength is required and perfect for margin fishing for proper lumps. This has to be teamed up with suitable elastic and my choice is the 2.50mm Green Stretch 7 Hollow which has a rating of 12+. The rig itself cannot have any weaknesses, hence the reason for using Cenex 0.20mm Hybrid Power Mono straight through to a size 10 Sphere Beast barbless eyed hook. The float I use for fishing is a Mike Nolan .3g slim paste and a very important point here is that I use no shot down the line, simply allowing the big lump of paste to shot the float. Once plumed up the float will obviously cock at different positions depending on the lump of paste used, but don’t worry about having plenty of tip showing as you will be able to see everything that’s happening below the surface and when a proper bite comes along the float will simply disappear in the blink of an eye. Another advantage of using no shot is that when the paste falls off the float will rise in the water, even laying flat on the surface!

Boils and tails

Having full confidence that my tackle will land anything hooked it’s simply a case of presenting a bait where the big carp are, and that’s right down the margin, close to any bank side vegetation. It still amazes me how a big carp can almost without any disturbance enter a really shallow swim but they do, however once they start feeding they usually give themselves away with the surface boiling or even poking their tails out of the water! 

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paste 1
paste 2

The right consistency

As for bait, it has to be something big as this venue is home of loads of skimmers and roach and this is where the paste approach really does pick out the biggest fish. I like to initially mix my paste up on the firm side and prefer a groundbait paste, especially when I’m expecting instant bites, as it can be used really wet. If I were to have to wait for bites then I would use a pellet based paste as it creates a firmer hookbait. To get the correct consistency I simply add the same amount of lake water to groundbait and today I’m using Sonubaits Supercrush Green. I add the groundbait to the water, mix well and then leave for ten minutes which allows the particles to absorb all the moisture. Once the ten minutes is up, I will knead a little, before making into three of four balls. These are placed on my side tray and each one, as the day progresses, will be placed into a bait box in which water is added to create the desired wet consist, one where the paste will cling to the hook for a few minutes. Word of warning, if you add water to all the paste at one time and add too much, making it too wet, then it’s really difficult, almost impossible to get this into a smooth firmer paste that will stick to the hook, hence the reason for splitting into more than one ball! Once the swim has been activated, and on this venue I introduce a big pot full of corn and 6mm pellets from a height to create some noise, I simply place my hookbait into a mini cup and lower carefully into position.

Instant alterations

Fortunately the depth of this venue doesn’t change much so the great thing here is that I can alternate three lines using the same top kit and rig. All I do is after plumbing the first line is position the float up against the pole section and using a Tipex marker, mark the pole, simply repeating the process for the other two lines. This means that if a big carp gives itself away whilst I’m fishing a different line I can quickly move the float to the correct depth and offer a big ball of paste literally within seconds!

sphere beast hooks
hybrid power mono

The session

A typical morning session on this lake could see a dozen or more double figured carp being landed and last week I dropped the net under two nineteen pounders within minutes! Today however is completely different as its absolutely scorching and many of the bigger fish are cruising around on the surface, yet by altering the lines and feeding throughout the session I’ve kept the fish coming. Most have been in the 5-7lb bracket but I have been able to tempt one of the bigger commons in the lake which goes to show with balanced tackle, the right bait and fishing right down the edge those clever big fish just won’t go unnoticed.


Ethan Etherington

Ethan’s Tackle

Sphere Power Partner Pole

Stretch 7 Green 2.50mm Elastic

Cenex 0.20mm Hybrid Power Mono

Float .3g Mike Nolan 

Sphere size 10 barbless Beast  


Ethan’s Bait

Sonubaits Supercrush Green Groundbait Paste


6mm Pellets

power partner pole

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pole fishing perch 1

Thames Perch on the Pole

Thames Perch on the Pole

I always look forward to a couple of hours fishing on the mighty river Thames before heading off to the office whether it be a spot of feeder fishing for bream, running a stick float through for roach or like today, pole fishing for perch.

Perfect venue

The free fishing stretch near Walton Bridge in Surrey is a brilliant venue as it has a free car park right on the river bank, so no long walks, just arrive, unload, set up and start fishing. This stretch is deep, around 10ft at 10m and the reason for targeting perch, and hopefully a few roach, is there’s hardly any flow due to the dry, hot summer. 

Rise and fall

I’ve dropped into a swim opposite the café, literally just twenty steps from where I’ve parked. It’s a typical swim with cabbages close in and deep water on the other side. There are a few fish dimpling which is encouraging, probably roach and dace plus the odd predator chasing these. First job is to plumb up and as expected it’s not far of ten feet at just nine metres. As I will be edging the float through the swim slowly, I’ve decided to fish a couple of inches over depth. This will allow me to hold the float back on occasions allowing the bait to rise and fall in the water, a good tactic, especially for perch. 

perch bait
worm pole rig
worm pole rig 2

Hazardous feeding

Although my main hookbait choice is worm, I’ve also brought along some casters which can be deadly on their day plus some red maggots just in case it proves really tough, yet usually the bleak mean these don’t get a look in! Although there is very little flow, loose feeding can be a bit hazardous in such deep water as it’s difficult to gauge just where they end up, it also attracts the bleak so I’m going to introduce three balls of Champions Feeder Black Roach groundbait, which I mixed up on arrival, laced with chopped worm and casters. This is introduced accurately, straight out using a big pole cup and will hit the bottom around a foot further down, an area that I can fish over the top and hopefully concentrate some fish to feed on. If the flow is faster I tend to use a bait dropper which might be ‘old school’ but it tells me exactly where the feed has been deposited! During the session I’m also to ping a few casters over the float which will hopefully attract some silver fish in feeding as well as dragging a few better perch from downstream and if the fishing is really productive the odd ball of groundbait will be fed. 

Straight forward

As for the rig its really straight forward, a 1g pear shaped Tangi pole float which is cocked with a single olivette positioned around eighteen inches above the hook plus two small dropper shot equally spread on the hook length. The pole I’m using is the Sphere Zero-G PT+, 1.9mm Microbore pink elastic which has a 7-9 rating, mainline is 0.16mm Cenex Hybrid Power Mono, hook length is the same but in a 0.10mm diameter and at the business end is a size 18 Sphere Match micro barbed hook which might be switched to a size 16 if the bigger perch turn up. 

Early start

The fishing always seems to be best in the mornings here, probably due to this stretch being extremely popular with kayaks and canoes, so if you’re planning a trip make sure you arrive early! First drop in with a red maggot and as expected a bleak hits the bait so its straight over to a single caster and it’s not long before the elastic stretches out as a half decent perch hits the net. A few more follow but the bleak are still problematic so it’s time to try double caster which produces a bite but soon after hooking a small perch a pike grabs it. As expected the swim slows up after the first hour so it’s time to try a worm and that seems to bring the swim back to life but its noticeable that as the clock ticks the fish get smaller, probably due to the water being gin clear, the light levels rising, that pike being in my swim as well as the boat traffic increasing. 

Angling fix

Having just a couple of hours at my disposal in the morning its might seem a lot of effort for such a small window of opportunity but it’s a great way to start the day as I miss the motorway traffic, get my angling fix and it keeps me in touch with the river as come the autumn when the roach move in or the bream turn up I will be ready and waiting.  

Justin Watkins

perch catch
perch catch 2

Justin’s Tackle

Sphere Zero-G Pt+ Pole

Microbore Pink Elastic

Cenex 0.16mm & 0.10mm Hybrid Power Mono

Sphere 18 Match Hook

1g Tangi Pole Float

0.9g Olivette plus two No8 dropper shot

Justin’s Bait

Red worm


Red Maggot

Champion’s Feeder Black Roach Groundbait

cenex line
sphere match hooks

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duo bush 1

Duo Bush System

Duo Bush System

When buying a Browning pole you will find that they all come with a Duo Bush as standard. This simple but innovative bush allows you to switch between using two diameter elastics using the same top kit, which means the need for less top kits and no cutting back.

If you don’t have a Browning pole don’t worry as these are supplied in packs of two, in three different size options meaning that you can still benefit from this simple solution. Once fitted (the packaging comes with a measuring guide) the Duo bush allows for a fine diameter elastic to be used, yet simply by removing this and leaving the white bush mean that a heavier, larger diameter elastic can be used.  

Made from aero quality black PTFE these bushes are purposely short and have a very thin walled to give the largest possible hole size and to reduce friction, they also make top kits look very smart.

Available in three sizes –

Standard 4.5/3.9mm

Large 5.5/4.5mm

Extra Large 6.5/5.5mm 

Mick Fordham

duo bush system 2

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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


hair rigged pellet
sphere beast hooks
netting big carp

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Hybrid Elastic

Jim Hall takes a look at the brilliant new Hybrid Elastic – the ultimate latest elastic.

With the stretch characteristics of hollow, but with the fine diameter of a solid, this elastic is a major step forward in pole fishing. Find it at your local Browning stockists now.


Hit the play button below to watch now.

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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

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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.