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Getting an edge
By Jeff Vaughan

Canadian Carp ClubA few weeks back, during the crazy season, (mid June) I decided to go babysit a swim for a customer. We do this regularly and it entails getting to a swim at 4 am and fishing to say 6.30 or 7 am when the punter arrives.

This morning I decided to take the float rod, and a small rig wallet and nothing else. I was catching a few fish but not many ( I had 5 between 4.15 and 7 am) but the signs were that they were there in numbers, fish were topping, fizzing and….well after a while you just know. Of course I had none of my toys with me and my mind began to wander to what I would be doing if I had my full kit with me.

Some days I swear you could hair rig a turd and get a run, other days they can be finicky. The following is my personal take on those things that can give you the edge when things get tough.

Critically balanced baits: Well why not!! It is simple to do, I can’t see that it can do harm, so I balance my baits out with plastic corn, or pop ups virtually all the time. To name drop, it was Bob Nudd who recommended this to me, and if it is good enough for Bob…….

PVA: I always have PVA bags, string, mesh and rig foam with me. I probably do not use them as often as I should through laziness, but all can give an edge.

String: Before I lived here, and only visited on holiday I would never have dreamed of casting out without a six boilie stringer. Without doubt this works. The same is true of bags and mesh, the other morning (July 8th) was a good example. I had fished three nights on an Island as a little treat, I had done well but the last morning was dead. The boat was due to pick me up at 12 and by 10 am I had one fish. Out came the mesh with chopped boilies, and 3 minutes later I was into a fish. In the last two hours I had 5 and lost 4. Kind of wish I got it out earlier !!

Rig Foam. Very underutilized out here. Really we should all use it every cast. It pins the hair in place to prevent tangles, stops the hook point getting weeded and slows the rate of drop so the bait sits on top of weed.

Dips and Sprays: I cannot tell you how many times Colin and I have been sitting on a quite swim only for one or other of us to get out the Cherry spray and immediately get a fish. Last year I used it almost every time out, this year hardly at all WHY!!! Because I get lazy. I know beyond any shadow of doubt you get more fish if you spray. Particularly if you are using corn. Dips are quite new to me; I was not sold on these, but I am now.

Last year when Geezer was out, he lectured me on dips. The fishing was crap at the time, he did do better than almost everyone else, but really crap and moderately crap did not switch me on. This year, he ripped the place apart. Everyone was catching but he caught more fish and a bigger average size. He dips every cast, bait rig and lead. You can see the oil slick where his bomb hits the water. It defiantly makes a difference, I now use dips 75% of the time (the other 25% I am being lazy)

The Method: Without doubt the most deadly way to fish here, it is messy, more expensive, and a pain in the arse, but boy does it produce fish, IF it is fished properly.

Quiver Tips and Floats. These cannot be used at great distance or in fast water, but my experience says these methods will out fish the regular carp rig 9 out of 10 times. I have done separate sections on these so will not go through them here.

Switch Baits: Most of the time I am on an 18mm Mainline boilie, Opal, Pineapple or Frutella ( I have all mixed in a bucket and never look when I take one out as I figure God knows better than me what to choose.) This is almost always fished with plastic corn or with a small popup, snowman style. However I also always carry two flavours of Giant corn, one Cherry and the other whatever people have left behind. I also have probably 5 other boilie choices, just 25 or so baits in zip lock bags. I have 10 mm and 15 mm in fruit flavours, 18mm in fish meal, some pineapple dumbbells and some corn shaped boilies.

I will also at times stoop to using corn. So many times a change of bait has got me fish when it had previously been slow. Some days they seem to want small baits, like 2x 10mm or 1 x 15 sometimes very big baits like double Boilie or the Big Mac (two halves of boilie with giant corn in the middle) some days they will only take corn, and on these days the giant corn sorts out the better fish. If we are not catching, or feel we are catching too slow both Colin and I will be changing baits constantly. The easy way to do this is to use the speed link quick change widgets. It is not unusual to see me with 3 or 4 baited rigs hanging from my corn bucket ready for a fast change of bait.

Here are some great articles to get you started!

Casting   |   Feeding   |   Fish Location   |   Fishing the Method

Fishing With Corn   |   Flavouring Baits   |   Float Fishing for Carp

Float News   |   Getting an Edge   |   Hook Baits

Quiver Tipping for Carp   |   Spodding   |   Marker Floats and Feature Finding

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