As anglers it's one of the times of year we most look forward to, with spring approaching upon us. Daffodils are springing up and snowdrops coming into bloom, can only mean one thing. Carp will be coming out of there hibernation holes with the water temperatures rising, day light hours increasing, and the carp will start to look for food sources ready to for fill their appetites after a long winter of being led for days if not weeks on end. Although carp do still feed in short window periods on the big low stocked waters throughout the colder months, there metabolisms slow right down, meaning none or hardly any energy is used through the winter months. Which of course can make there catch-ability nearly nonexistent, unless you have kept bait going in on spots from early Autumn to keep them actively visiting the area. So, if you haven't, now is the time!
Hopefully with all the snow and frosts behind us now it’s well and truly the time to start finding and priming your selected areas. I like to start looking for areas mid-February/very early March, seeking out those silty gully's, natural food collecting channels and looking for light weed as that is where the carp will start looking for what they need to replenish its self, and where the natural insect life lies in the underwater world.
I tend to avoid any big gravel patches or plateaus due to these being over fished or with very little for the carp to feed on. These big clear areas are normally clear for a reason, all the natural food has been eaten, with all the good stuff like weed and silt being torn away from years of hard feeding fish, leaving nothing for the carp to graze on, although a great place to sun themselves. Gravel plateau's and clearings definitely have a place in carp fishing, but it is picking the right moment to present a bait on these, be it the type of venue, depth or conditions which all play a massive part in that aspect of fishing.
Once I have found my chosen areas, I regularly bait these up every other day from the bank or boat, continuously checking them for left over bait, silt being cleared, or everything being mopped up. This then determines how much I will feed each time. There is no point putting more bait out if the day before's bait is still there. I like to go with a good food source bait, not too many high-level liquid attractors, just good natural ingredients to clear the fish’s digestive system out, to keep them hungry and giving them what they really need.
Baits with mineral ingredients are my choice, with it being made up of several salty ingredients which is perfect for this time of year when the carp are actively seeking minerals for their bodies to digest. They really do look for it this time of year, due to the make-up of a fresh water fish they need this in their diets, especially at the moment with lots going on in their bodies, preparing for creating healthy spawn and to lay their eggs in the months to come. So, picking the right bait is paramount. Roughly I introduce two to three kilos of boilies each baiting up session onto the spot to make sure there is a constant food supply for them, a bit like a larder as such, so they know it’s always available, ready to feed on, naturally and freely without any danger barriers.
Now as much as you want to angle, the longer you sit on your hands and leave the area without rigs or lines on it the easier the carp will become to catch, as the more confident they will feed and use the area for a free meal. I would try and leave if for a month before doing your first session and putting lines through the swim, so you would be looking at around the couple of weeks of April when your spots are ready primed, and the fish will almost be waiting for you down to all the hard work you have put it. In the meantime, this give you plenty of time to tie new rigs ups, go through your kit, change alarm batteries, spool up with new line ready for the exciting times ahead.
These tactics will work on all venues, but they really come into their own on low stock or big pits, the more effort and preparation you put into your campaign the more you will get out of it. It can be quite tiring at times when you have done a long day at work or have family commitments to then try to carry on and get to the lake but keep focused on the end results, keep that bait going in and you will be surprised how quickly you will catch the ones you want with some other stunners along the way. You often hear anglers mention about a bait has stopped working (blowing) on a water but in my opinion a good bait doesn't blow and will continue to produce fish throughout your time on your chosen venue. Carry on with this baiting strategy as the season change and you will reap the rewards and success you are looking for.
Best of luck for this coming season.