Many anglers mistakenly think that all they need to succeed is a bag of readymade baits and a few thousand pounds worth of new gear. But did it ever strike them that actually the most well known anglers of the last 50 years certainly did not always use readymade baits or the latest most fashionable carp gear – because such things are only relatively new innovations! Read on now for genuinely new edges and tips you will not find in any magazines!
Carp fishing arguably got more popular in the early eighties when many more individuals and companies saw that carp fishing could become a big business. In the nineties when carp magazines became more of a force of influence other than the voice of experienced anglers on the bank, the commercialisation of carp fishing really got moving. Unfortunately many of the carp magazines appear to be more interested in making money and selling products than offering readers open-minded opinions free of commercial bias but it appears that running magazines requires guaranteed regular advertising revenues in order to survive. I must admit I preferred the days when guys wrote books and articles that were not blatant promotional vehicles for companys products!
All this has gradually happened at a steadily growing rate of change that has seen once peaceful lakes today resemble bivvy cities. The enormous commercialisation of carp fishing has been going on for some years but I consider the real start of the cult of carp fishing explosion was around the early nineties when the magazines popularity really began to grow and influence anglers mindsets.
Cliff Fox founder of Fox International now one of the biggest tackle companies was running a different kind of engineering business before he really got a name for mainstream carp fishing tackle and if I remember correctly he was into providing things like custom-made shelving for businesses and so on. However it seems he always had an urge to design fishing-related items and I know he liked using gadgets such as 2 way radios such as when he fished certain lakes in Essex. Even in his much earlier days he was selling things like his old-fashioned style of metal bait dropper for instance.
I noticed a distinct change in his tackle preferences when he joined the Savay syndicate when long-range tactics were essential and his rods and reels suddenly resembled pretty much in the early nineties what have become the normal for most carp anglers today. In the eighties one of my fellow syndicate members designed a zero-friction style of bite indicator and this was field-tested on the water. I was one of the lucky few to use these brand new swinger indicators before they became a world-wide phenomenon and initially we really mainly used them to find fish by refining their setting to most easily indicate line bites which was something that monkey-climber-type bite indicators were less effective at doing.
I invented a rear rod butt clip by using the plasticised rubber of an old style heavy duty hose pipe and it is no coincidence that Fox brought out the foam rubber and metal adjustable rear rod rest ideal for clamping your rod solidly in position when fishing in snags and hit and holding and so on. In the early days on the syndicate I used to tie my rod butts to my rear rests using a simple thick string loop that when passed from one side of the rest to the other the rod formed an angle that meant the string stayed in place until manually lifted off by hand immediately when a run occurred. You might think that stretchy or elastic type rigs are new but we were using such rigs and indicators for that matter back in the early eighties or before that time.
It amazes me how many anglers now use the plastic coated braids and other materials of hook links, where once very few anglers thought of including hinges and loops in their rigs. Of course stiffness in a rig is an advantage in hooking fish and loops can help prevent hooked fish slipping of hooks for instance. The old Amnesia type rigs are still in use and the memory of certain materials makes them ideal for producing curved springy type rigs perfectly angled for maximum penetration. I still really like using multi-stranded hook links and I remember having to buy my first batch by mail order in the very early days when Kryston was far from the multi-million pound turnover business it is today.
Believe it or not the original multi-strand product I used was 60 pound strength – and I initially trialled it as hook link material at that strength in the maximum thickness – and caught very good fish in the upper twenty pound bracket on this material right from the first cast! The fact is that multi-strand totally flattens and spreads out when compressed by carp lips when carp are testing for lines connected to baits and this is just on of the many unusual advantages of this material.
Inevitably I obviously split my 60-pound hook link material into 3 lengths to make the material go much further as it was quite expensive and using it at 20-pound strength and thickness was ideal. I found it best to make thumb knots in it about every 2 inches, leaving the last 3 inches able to spread out next to the hook. Use with PVA products this hook link material is I believe as good as invisible as is possible when presented correctly with practice – unlike so many hook links that will never disappear, flatten out or absorb light to a sufficient degree to be totally natural!
Many lines and plastic hook links even reflect light – like the vast majority of hooks; this is madness considering how acute the short-range eyesight of carp has been proven to be! Some of those so-called expert names in magazines have even written articles on rigs that included silver hooks – talk about misguiding the masses!
Of course in the eighties we used PVA tubes, PVA string and spodding and method type ground baits although the cult status of such products was yet to come about probably because those of us who used such edges then mainly kept quiet about them – but there are plenty of other secret edges yet to be exposed in the magazines or elsewhere!
I will finish with a tip about bait. Years ago we used to make liquid bait soaks by boiling down the whispered-about potent additive Belachan fermented shrimp block and adding all kinds of weird and wonderful substances, some of which are still under wraps today. One impact that Belachan in solid or in solution has is highly significant enhancement properties within baits of all kinds. Belachan has a significantly high mineral content that is highly attractive in its own right and this obviously enhances the amino acids, various acids and other compounds that Belachan offers that are so stimulatory to fish.
Today many bait companies offer Belachan in liquid form, often at inflated prices – so why not make your own homemade bait edges instead – in far more naturally concentrated forms? I do not recommend you use the enhancer MSG (monosodium glutamate) because it over-hydrates brain cells at the brain receptor site causing bleeding on the brain – please pass this on! Other very good enhancing liquids include L030 and liquid yeast – these examples and more are very rich in natural glutamate! These will certainly multiply your catch rate if you fully maximise them and impregnate your baits with them to a far greater degree than almost all readymade baits available today!
In fact I have found it easily possible to make homemade baits packed with liquid nutritional attraction that have proven to last functionally intact in water for at least 21 and more hours, that contain no egg binder and have no need of cooking whatsoever! The competitive advantages of these homemade baits are huge (all it takes is to keep an ever open mind and a willingness to think for yourself instead being hypnotised into becoming a mindless consumer!)
Such unusual baits contain far higher levels of liquid foods and natural enhancers, and natural feeding stimulators and attractors and as such are far more potent to fish than any readymade boiled, steamed or heated boilies or pellets. If you fish maggot-dominated lakes such as the Sandhurst Lake why follow the herd? Sure when so many maggots are entering the water carp receptors can get adapted to becoming very much more sensitised to their excretions but guess what – it does not mean you have to stop using boilies at all unlike anglers such as Ian Chillcott and Gareth Fareham might imply! No disrespect intended to them but to be frank I do not regard them as scientific experts on bait or fish – so why swallow every word they say? They are good anglers because they are willing to be adaptable – but you too can be equally if not even more adaptable and successful! (Note too that many great anglers do not publicise themselves at all!)
Think about it; exploiting liquidised maggots as the liquid protein and ammonia source in your boilies, pellets and ground baits is going to really make a difference if you use very soluble bait designs. With the right information these are totally unique baits you can easily make at home for yourself – to keep ahead of your fish and competing anglers! (For further information on making, adapting, designing and boosting your baits see my bait secrets ebooks website Baitbigfish right now – and improve your catches for life!)
By Tim Richardson.