Think about it – the basic idea of providing wary carp with a new bait to stay ahead of their natural cautions is well proven but the ways to do it have not changed drastically over the decades. But here are innovative solutions that your carp will not have experienced before!
Many anglers use 2 different baits on a hair rig and mostly this is using a buoyant pop-up bait plus a sinking bait to balance it and negate the hook weight (this makes it more difficult for wary fish to detect your hook.) Maybe you have done very well as I have by using 2 or 3 different types of pop-up and sinking baits on single or multiple hair rigs!
Since the early eighties I have really liked using multiple baits but on more than one hair and this idea is becoming fashionable right now – but there are endless variations that would amaze you! The advantage many forms of multiple-hair types of rigs compared to many more standard hair rigs is that you can get your hook inside the mouth of the fish before it even realises it has a hook attached to baits because the hook is that much further in front of the baits – so goes into the mouth before the bait!
Most anglers are fishing with baits fairly tightly next to the hook or fishing baits that get sucked in followed by a hook behind. In both these situations wary carp can either hold baits in their lips and play with a rig to feel for a hook or take the bait in but reject it when they sense the hook for any reason.
Looking at the bigger picture, if you put a thousand anglers on a set of pressured carp lakes and do not even let them use hair rigs of any kind then carp will get caught. But if you say to them you are not allowed to use any currently fashionable or conventional rig at all but must invent your own new versions that may or may not have multiple hairs or multiple baits of literally any kind, then actually catches will improve massively because they fish will not know what has hit them!
The recipe for success is simply to by-pass any reference points that carp have come to associate with danger and in this case with hooks and conventional or standard baits and rig set-ups – so be different and reap the inevitable rewards! Personally whatever is fashionable in the magazines are things I would avoid or simply adapt in my own way so I am not replicating what thousands of my fellow anglers will be doing next weekend!
The fact is that most readymade boilies or pellets have very similar shapes whether round, barrel or pellet-shaped. When you fully appreciate that fish are practicing 24 hours a day at detecting hook baits shaped like this and you actually see the behaviours and feeding motions carp use to avoid getting hooked it basically makes you see how vital is to be different in order to not let carp use their tricks so easily. For instance, on so many so-called anti-eject rigs carp can be seen to actually pick a bait up, sit upright slowly, or spin, shake or do other tricks like lift up the rig or lead with a fin, then up-end and dump the hook and bait back down again. This kind of thing goes on all the time with heavy leads and semi-fixed rigs for instance.
I have never yet found a chemically sharpened hook as effective as a manually honed hook. The first 4 millimetres of a hook are the most important. The angle of the bend and shank and gap of the hook which is the distance between the hook shank and the hook point in effect both make a massive difference in your hooking ration both neither of these are important if your hook penetrates so far but then can be shaken loose – and all non-manually sharpened hooks have this problem.
In 10 years of tests using all kinds of new and old favourite chemically sharpened hooks patterns non has converted as effectively as hooks that have been manually sharpened. It amazes me how many well-known anglers still persist in using chemically-sharpened hooks with a short hook point – for me such hooks are completely useless whether they are specially-angled, have a long curved shank, an in-turned eye, micro-barb or wide gap or whatever.
The best guarantee to initially deep hooking wary fish upon very first contact with a fish is to choose hooks with a longer point that is as thin and as sharp as is possible and I have yet to find any pattern whatever that beats the effectiveness of exceptionally sharp manually honed hooks sharp well beyond their chemically sharpened state in the packet!
My conclusions after years of testing hooks against this manual method is that you might as well put on a rig without a hook on and let every fish pick up your bait then drop it and get away without giving you any indication at all. I know without any doubt whatsoever that so many anglers are missing out on fish due their hooks not being maximised that simply no-one would believe the numbers!
I might be going into areas beyond what so anglers might like to think about but I find that removing the coating from hooks also produces more fish. In part this probably means they do not reflect light under water so well – very few hooks do not reflect light very obviously no matter what colour their coating is. It is very likely also that as hooks with no coating actively rust under water this may actually be attractive or stimulatory to carp in some way and this treatment may also have impacts regarding the electrical field formed around rig swivels and hooks and leads etc that carp can detect – mineral rich natural water is an electrolyte after all!
Most anglers do not appear to fully appreciate that the modern style of sitting behind an array of rods waiting for a run or a few bleeps on alarms requires that a rig actually penetrates and self-hooks fish to the degree that the hook really does penetrate enough into flesh so it stays put long enough for either the fish to decide to move off and give you a run, or for you to strike at a bleep or 2 on your alarms (if you happen to be a sharper carper that is!)
Of all the things I spend time doing in connection with fishing I spend the most time on hook sharpening because after all the efforts involved in making sure everything else is as refined as possible the last 4 millimetres of hook point are ultimately the thing that decides just how many times you will actually properly hook the kinds of oldest biggest wariest of fish that are most skilled at shaking and slipping hooks out after making mistakes on hook baits! (Was that single bleep you had during that last feeding spell yet another lost fish you will never know had picked up your bait but got away with it?!)
More and more often on carp waters today the fish are getting increasingly larger numbers of anglers fishing for them more and more regularly. It is obvious that the result of this is that fish are getting more and more practice at avoiding hooks and slipping hooks – even when initially getting partially hooked.
Wary fish learn by simple association and with most magazine writers using plastic coated rigs or types of stiffer hook-links in short lengths of maybe 4 to 8 inches (and encouraging readers to copy them,) carp very soon learn how to get off such rigs when used so much even though it will appear that such rigs are very effective because a certain percentage of fish still move off and deepen the hook penetration for so fish get caught.
It is a fact that certain fish a far more adept at actually getting off hooks (when initially hooked) compared to other fish – and that some fish are far less skilled. Compared to other fish often the downfall of so-called mug fish is that they just are not as skilled at shaking or twisting off hooks when initially hooked unlike other fish and so they get landed far more frequently than lesser-caught big fish!
Some of the so-called big mug fish in carp waters may have unique genetically related nutritional deficiencies and unique eating requirements or sensitivities to certain substances (or have certain taste specifics.) They may very likely have angler-caused diseases such as vitamin E deficiency caused by consuming large quantities of high oil pellets that anglers today seem addicted to using as free offerings in huge volumes without thinking of the consequences on carp health!
Few anglers actually stop to think to add up the actual volume of high oil pellets and boilies that enter the food chain where numbers of anglers constantly introduce bait on pressured fisheries!
Sure some big fish are far more naturally feeding type fish but all this shows how each and every fish is an individual and treating them as such will definitely help you catch those big wary fish! Revealed in my unique readymade bait and homemade bait carp and catfish bait secrets ebooks is far more powerful information – look up my unique website (Baitbigfish) and see my biography for details of my ebooks deals right now!
By Tim Richardson.