SUMMER READY - With Scott Lloyd

Summer is such a great time of year to be out fishing. The fish have spawned by now and while they are down in weight, they are searching out for food and are extremely active. It is often very demanding too, with the long and often hot days putting a real strain on the body, but effort does equal reward and I feel that I push myself to exhaustion to be successful.

Bait plays a huge part in my angling; with the fish being so up for food, I make sure I have everything I need and plenty of it too. Every year the fish repeat the same process, they go through a quiet period when they spawn and once they have got it over and done with and are settled, they go on the search for food. From my experience, the spring shows are over, where they boom out randomly cleaning themselves off. Conversely, in the summer they will become more concentrated in an area where they are clearly having a good feed-up.

I make sure to take plenty of bait with me too. I might not use all of it, but it is there if I need it. Boilies are expensive, but I generally take 10kg a week with me because they are the perfect summer feed. The carp have dropped a lot of weight and will be looking to try and build that back up and boilies are the best way of doing it.

I’ll also take a few buckets of particles. They are cheap, easy to prepare and are a great way of getting a lot of bait to the spots without costing the earth. Things like hemp and chopped tigers offer lots of small items, which will slow up the birdlife eating everything when you are not there too.

If I am fishing somewhere regularly, then I try and keep bait going in to a couple of areas in the lake. It is always best to try and pick areas that obviously the fish get in, but also neglected swims that anglers tend to overlook. There is no point trying to get something going in areas that are regularly fished.

Having baited areas around the lake gives you huge confidence to know that you have a nice spot to fish to, as well as them being baited, which gains the carps confidence to feed on them too.

Judging how much bait to put in can be tricky and does vary. The conditions play a huge part in it, so too does angling pressure and the stock of the lake. But I feel that the best way of judging it is by watching the carp. Let them tell you what to do. What I mean by that is watch their behaviour; are they fizzing, showing, or clouding up the water? If the fish look active and there seem to be lots present, then don’t be shy of giving them a bit of bait. For a long time now, I have generally fished traps, small parcels of bait and fished for a bite at a time. But in recent years I’ve had a lot of success putting out big hits of bait and it has really worked. The time must be right of course and making that judgment at the time is part of fishing.

I do speak to other lads on the lake, but I don’t make a conclusion purely based on what I am told. Too many people now do all their fishing on their phone, and it puts them at a massive disadvantage in my eyes. If the information going round is that yellow pop-ups with 15 baits over the top is the going method, I want to be doing something different to that. If people are saying that the fish are not showing on first light, they must be doing it in the hours of darkness. I would take it as the lake is fishing poorly, I want to make my own mind up on that.

All of my fishing is reactive and it’s purely based on using my eyes. Where the fish are feeding, that is where I need to be fishing. Tree climbing is a big part of my fishing and allows to me to be able to see if the fish are getting in the edge. It is often in the afternoon when the rods out in the pond are quiet, that is when the fish come up in the water or come into the shallow areas close in.

By keeping my eyes out, getting up trees and looking I can think of hundreds of occasions where it has nicked me an extra bite. I’ll often reel the rods in and go for a walk and more often than not, stumble across an opportunity to get a bite.

I’ll always carry my floater kit in the van, just in case there is an opportunity off the surface. Hardly anyone seems to fish for them off the top anymore, but when the conditions are right and they are up in the water, it is such a good way of getting bites.

I also carry a spare bucket of solid bag gear in the van too. This is for those close in opportunities. If the fish are clouding it up, fizzing in the edge and I can’t see the bottom, a solid bag lowered in guarantees great presentation and a small parcel of food on the lake bed around the hook bait. I have small bag of Krill Powder and some 2.3mm Bloodworm pellets and this makes a perfect little solid bag.

First light is a key time to be looking and that can be as early as 4am; it can be hard to get up, keep alert and watch the lake at that time, but my god it is worth it. Especially if you are fishing a lake where the other anglers are not getting up, you have a real advantage in seeing what the carp are doing. From my experience, that first light period is when most of the activity is happening, and I don’t want to miss it.

The weed is up by now and finding those clear areas is key. I’ll spend as long as I need to with the leading rod to search the spots out and once I do, I make a note of the wraps in my phone for next time. The clear spots in the weed are often firm and clean, sometimes gravel, which is why I will fish the hook baits on the bottom.

Noodle rigs are my go-to when fishing like this. The rig is so effective when fishing baits on the bottom, with the hook laying on the lake bed and the hook bait critically balanced. I will nearly always use a match the hatch bait too. I know the fish are feeding on the bait I am putting out and don’t want mine to stand out and arouse suspicion. This will either be a Krill or Manilla wafter, or a tiger nut with some cork in it to balance it out.

With the weed being up, the kit has to be up to scratch too. I have learnt this the hard way before, trying to scale everything down to get a bite, but if you go through all that effort to hook one, you need to be landing them. I don’t lose many fish nowadays and I am sure it is down to using kit that just works, tried and trusted and won’t let me down. I use size 4 Curve Point hooks, which are sharp, big and strong and I’ve caught loads of big fish on them. I use a 35lb Camstiff hook link, which again is bulletproof and won’t let me down. With the main line, I am a big braid user and wherever allowed, I’ll always use it. The SBX sinks brilliantly, is as strong as you are going to get and it is perfect when fishing a weedy lake. I use a strong fluorocarbon leader with large chunks of putty up the line to make sure everything is pinned down and out of sight too. It is kit that if I need to apply a lot of pressure during the fight, I know that everything will hold firm.

I have had some of my best results fishing in the summer months and I for one can’t wait to get stuck in to it this summer!

UK PB: 62lb 8oz
Occupation: Angler
Sponsors: Sticky Baits, Thinking Anglers, Fortis, Jag, Carp Particles UK
Instagram: @scottlloyd