Wednesday, 17 August 2016 09:53


Big-Carp Tactics


Once you’ve decided on a venue, JACK BROWN reveals a few ways in which you can copy his tactics and target larger specimens this year.

Accuracy is absolutely vital, both with the rods and, of course, baiting.

Make this year the one in which you set targets and catch a few bigger ones, possibly even a new PB. With the fish being more active and feeding a lot more positively now winter has passed, you can start to think about maybe upping the baiting levels, which falls perfectly into the style of fishing I like – fishing multiple rods on one tight spot and then baiting as accurately as possible with a good amount of bait. This is a proven big fish tactic and, if you give it a try, you might just surprise yourself.

Growing up in Bedfordshire, and knowing a few anglers who fished the Elstow Pits, where this style derived from, I already had an inkling of how effective this method could be, and I first started properly fishing this way on Christchurch, on the Linch Hill complex. This method works brilliantly on such waters as Linch, with its decent stock of fish, and big ones at that. It also seems to be most effective on lakes that are quite weedy, where firmer clean spots are generally harder to come by, which makes the area you are fishing stand out more, becoming more of an attraction to the fish.




Finding a presentable spot is very important and something I will happily take my time with. I rarely use a marker float when feature finding; I’ve found the best method is to use just a bare lead straight onto a braided main line. A stiff rod is also important; this helps give you feedback from the lake bed more effectively, and I tend to just use my spod rod for this. Ideally, I prefer to find quite small spots that are nice and clean. This can take a while and I will have plenty of repeat casts to check the size of the spot and so on. Once I have found a spot I will clip up via the line clip on the reel and use the ‘wraps’ technique with two bank sticks. This is quite a common method for marking your lines out and probably the most effective.

For those who don’t know, you place two bank sticks, (a few companies have actually manufactured some specifically for the job), a rod length (12 feet) apart, so four yards. Placing the lead at one end and going in a figure-of-eight motion around the sticks, you can count how many times it takes before hitting the line clip on the reel. If it’s between the sticks, for example, 15 turns and three feet, to be ultra-precise I tend to place a mark, either a peg or stick or suchlike, exactly in line with my rod tip when I hit the clip. The great thing about this is that you can now clip up your fishing rods, spod rod to the exact mark without leaving your swim, ideal on those real busy waters.

One thing I do take into account is the distance I clip my fishing rods up compared with my leading/spod rod. Because of the stretch in mono on my main line and the non-stretch in braid, you need to allow for this and also the depth of water you are fishing and the swing back you get when a lead hits the water. A general rule of thumb is to clip your fishing rods up at half the depth you are fishing past your spod/leading rod. For example, I have found a spot at 16 wraps in around 12 feet of water with my spod/leading rod. I will leave this at that distance, but my actual fishing rods will be clipped up six feet past this, so 16½ wraps. This seems to be pretty precise, at least when there isn’t a massive crosswind on the water!

Solid bags are NOT a small-fish tactic




Mentioning crosswinds, being ultra-precise when baiting is extremely important. If I can get away with it, I will try not to bait up in savage, windy conditions. Generally, depending on the weather conditions and the venue in question, I’d happily start off with putting out a full bucket of bait onto the spot – around five litres. A lot of people will think that’s loads of bait, but I’ve seen first-hand what a bucket of bait looks like on a spot from a boat and it really doesn’t look like much, especially when using really small food items. Remember too, it doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive bait.

Also, a shoal of large carp can demolish that amount of bait in no time. Once a bite has occurred the spot can then be topped up accordingly. Getting into some sort of rhythm when spodding will really help with the accuracy of your casts. Having everything to hand without moving too far will ensure you bait up more precisely, becoming almost second nature. 

Okey, it's not his biggest, but what a carp!


When fishing in this manner, having tight lines is a must. This allows for positive bite indication, prevents lines from tangling on takes and you can also see how close each rod is fishing to one another. Once I have cast out I like to hold my rod tips together on a tight line to ensure lines are not crossed over. I also like to fish with a fairly tight clutch. Bites are usually a few single bleeps with the bobbin rising slightly or a simple drop back, again with the bobbin only just dropping. Take notice of any beep or indication you receive; don’t be fooled into thinking you’re going to always get a full-blown run.




The spod mix I like to use is mainly made up of smaller food items. The main layer of my mix consists of hempseed and Response Pellets. Carp adore both of these and they really get the fish rooting around on the lake bed. A good helping of Coconut Milk Particle & Pellet Syrup is also added. This combined with the oil content in the hemp and Response pellets gives you a good indication if there are fish present and feeding.

Always, always, always check your rigs to see how they sink.


Oil slicks and flat spots will appear on the lake’s surface above your spot. To this I like to add a good helping of freshwater snails; these are a massive edge. Corn and, more recently, 10mm Cell boilies also go into the mix, not just to build the food content, but the Cell and the corn provide great hook-bait options. I’d happily fish a small bright hook bait, corn, or a balanced wafter over the top of this because having a balanced hook bait when fishing in this manner is very important.

The best way to ensure accuracy.





Shoals of fish will feed very competitively on a small tight spot, causing all sorts of disturbance, so having a rig and a hook bait that resets itself is very important. No one wants a rig that’s unfishable when you have a load of hungry carp in the zone.

My favourite rig when fishing this tight is probably a solid PVA bag. The terminal setup is quite simple: a small length of leadcore, no more than a couple of feet, and an inline lead of around 3oz, fished drop-off style, with a short length of supple braid whipped to a size 8 hook.

My favourite hook bait is a piece of plastic corn, usually yellow or pink. The size 8 hook and the plastic corn marry together lovely, creating a perfect balanced hook-bait setup. The Spod & PVA Pellet Mix from Mainline is my favoured mix to add to the bags. The pellets compacts down nice and tight, producing a solid bag that’s full of attraction, but more importantly very aerodynamic. Once dispersed onto the spot the balanced corn hook bait will ever so slightly protrude above the small mound of pellets; a really effective presentation in my eyes.

As I’ve mentioned, being as accurate as you possibly can when fishing like this is so important. Therefore, I wouldn’t use a solid bag if there were a hefty wind on the water. It could take ages to get three rods tight, especially at range, and I’m certain a standard lead setup is more ideal. This would be what I’d opt for; ideally the largest lead I could get away with to punch through the wind to hit the spot. This would be fished on a lead-clip setup with a fairly simple combi rig, something that won’t tangle on the cast and resets itself if you get done by a fish.

Be sure to check the buoyancy of your hook bait prior to casting. Ultimately you want a hook bait that sinks ever so slowly from the weight of the hook.

Keep your hook-bait options open





One thing that will regularly happen when fishing in this way is multiple takes in a short period of time. When fishing with three rods especially, if you receive a take don’t feel the need to rush getting that rod back out onto the spot. You have two other rods fishing and with the fish feeding in such a competitive manner, another take shortly after can be very likely. I can remember on quite a few occasions catching a fish and leaving it for 20 minutes or so before sorting the rod and catching another fish.

One from a trip to Wraysbury, home of some monsters


This can really be a devastating method. I’ve caught stacks of big fish this way too, to well over 40lb. It might take some time before you get your head around fishing in this manner, but the rewards are there to be had, so get out there and give it a try. Good luck!




Step-By-Step How Jack Attaches His Wafter

1. You just need a simple rig, a short length of mono line
and, of course, some wafters                                               


2. Pierce your wafter hook bait using a fine baiting needle
but then remove it


3. Next pass a fine, gated splicing needle through the hook bait.

4. Pass the mono through your rig ring, although Jack        
prefers a micro ring swivel.  

5. Use the gated needle to then pull the mono through the
hook bait, like so.

6. There's no knot involved here, just a blob the tag ends
down with a lighter                                           

7. Use the side of the lighter to push these melted tag ends 
tight to the bait

8. The bait is perfectly secure using this method.
It's also quick
 and simple to do!



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