Tel’s Top Tips #5

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A typical Thames corker, lean and mean

With us already well into the river season I thought it was about time I did a tip or two on river carping. One question I’m often asked is, “Where should I start?”.

I know some of the larger rivers can seem a bit daunting at first, but the good thing is they’re normally very quiet with little in the way of angling pressure. The carp act quite naturally and so they’re often exactly where you’d expect them to be. I always start off by looking at an ariel image of my chosen stretch on Google Earth, as this is the easiest way of seeing where any good looking features are located, as well as sussing out the best places to park.

Then, once I’ve walked the stretch once or twice I simply pick and bait a couple of likely looking areas. Boatyards, entrances to marinas, islands, jetties, bridges and locks are all places that carp like to hang about. And when it comes to bait there’s no need to spend too much either. Vitalin, maple peas, peanuts, hemp, pigeon conditioner, corn and maize are all great feed baits for rivers, which won’t break the bank, and if you want to fish with boilies on the hair then just add a few to your mix.

Pre-baiting is nearly always worthwhile whatever type of venue you are fishing, but in flowing water it can really come into its own, pulling fish up from way downriver.

On most of the rivers I’ve fished I’ve generally found the top end of each section to be better in summer, and the bottom ends better in the winter. The top end is nearly always the most oxygenated, especially if there’s a weir-pool, and in warmer temperatures this is where your most likely to find fish. Look for the closest areas of cover immediately downstream from weirs, as well as around lock gates, as these are another great oxygenator, especially when theres plenty of boats passing through in the summer time.

Other areas that carp like to hold up in times of hot weather are places where the river narrows up, maybe where it splits into two each side of an island for example. I can think of a couple of different stretches of the Thames where the only barbel for miles happen to live in the narrower channels each side of the islands, and with good reason. The water either side of the islands isn’t so much more oxygen saturated like the weirs and locks, but it is more pacy, and to big fish such as carp or barbel which just want to hold their own in the flow, that still means more water passing through their gills.

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I’ve often found that the carp like to venture into areas which were either dry land or too shallow only a short while before…’

Another tip but one more specific to tidal rivers is to first, know your tides, and second, make sure to choose your spots based on depths. It’s little use baiting an area which looks lovely at high tide only to turn up to fish when it’s low. On the stretch of tidal Thames which I fish the water can easily come up ten feet or more on a high tide, and at these times I’ve often found that the carp like to venture into areas which were either dry land or too shallow only a short while before. It’s also been noticeable how areas which myself and friends have been getting plenty of action from on a low tide, often go quiet on a high tide.

Nowadays we move to spots with shallower ground on a high tide, which from the boat means lifting anchor, but from the bank it might just mean dropping the baits closer in beneath the tips. Carp just love to investigate new ground, even if they can only get up onto it for a couple of hours. When it’s tidal with a twice a day routine they’ve got plenty of time to take advantage, and they certainly seem to know when it’s coming.
Whatever type of river that I’m fishing, tidal or non tidal, once I’ve chosen a couple of likely looking spots, and I’ve baited each maybe two or three times over the course of a few days, I’ll then just drop in for an overnighter, or sometimes even a short morning or evening trip.

If there’s carp about then the action quite often comes straight away, and I can think of a few occasions where I’ve been lucky enough to have a couple in the landing net at the same time after both rods have gone literally within minutes of casting out. On the other hand, if nothing happens after a night then it’s not normally worth fishing a second in the same place, better to move onto your next baited spot and give that a try instead. Sometimes it’s just a process of elimination, if they aren’t in one area then there’s an even better chance they’l be in the next.

That’s several pointers in one there, and if you’ve never given river carping a try then the next few weeks really is the time to have a go. The carp have finally got spawning out of the way, and from now through until late autumn their main interest is bulking up before the colder weather arrives.

Be lucky,
Tel.

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Joe’s Super Strong Leader Knot!

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Joe with a Burghfield whacker

Underground big carp slayer Joe Forrester has given us the nod on an alternative leader knot for attaching leadcore to the mainline, here’s the lowdown from Joe:

I came across this knot by chance a few years ago. I was unhappy with the strength of a standard needle knot, when tying my leaders on to my rods I’d often have to tie numerous knots to get one that I was happy with. So I had a play round trying to make up my own knot and came up with this, although I’m sure someone has done it before, I’ve never seen or heard of it done this way. It’s essentially a grinner knot around the leadcore and is incredibly strong, I’ve tested on scales and it out performs the Needle knot and the ‘knotless Knot’ and is now all I ever use.

Take some E-S-P Leadcore and cut to your required length, I prefer my leaders to be about 4ft.

Fold the Leadcore about an inch from the end and make a break in the inner lead material

Pull out the inch of lead and you will be left with the hollow braided outer

Get a splicing needle and using the crook on the end slowly feed the needle up inside the leadcore towards the open end

You should now have the needle threaded through the empty leadcore

Using a lighter carefully blob the end of the leadcore, this will stop the braided material from fraying

Get your mainline and hook it into the crook on the needle

Pull the mainline through the leadcore exiting through the side of the leader

Form a large loop in your mainline

Take the tag end of mono and wrap it around the line and leadcore, like you would with a grinner knot

Repeat this 5 times, wrapping down towards the lead end

Moisten with a bit of saliva and slowly tighten the knot down

Carefully bed the knot down so it’s level with where the line exits the leadcore and pull tight

Trim the tag end off

Finished and ready to go

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Jo bags Red October!

redoctoberJo Green has been focusing on RK Leisure’s Wraysbury 1 of late and after initial success catching a few stockies, she was rewarded on her latest trip with one of the original Redmire commons — the mighty Red October! Well done Jo, here’s how it happened:

I had decided to go into one of the bays this session using just the 2 rods as there was no point in shutting myself off with a third rod. Casting to the far margin at a range of 62yards the traps were set.

I had no idea what was about to happen early friday morning but the memory will last forever, at 4.30am the left hand rod screamed off and battle commenced, I remember thinking it felt like a decent fish and he was hell bent on trying to get
around the corner, thankfully I managed to turn him and a short while later he was in the net, one cannot repeat what I said when I realised it was one of wraysbury’s jewels.

A phonecall to RK Leisure’s Jamie and Rupert for photo’s and they were on the scene in no time at all.

I’m still lost for words now and still can’t believe I caught such an awsome common of 39lb out of Wraysbury — an iconic fish from an iconic lake.

The set up used comprised ESP Leadcore Leader, Two Tone Choddy Silt hooklink, tied to a T-6 size 6.

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