Firstly, it's important to mention that our fishery has been operating for 20 years now. Despite being categorized as a runs lake, I disagree with that notion. We have proven ourselves as a reliable water where fish are caught 2 to 4 times a year, continuously growing and becoming more cunning.
We warmly welcome newcomers, but it's crucial to understand that we cannot guarantee catches. If you browse through our Facebook page, you'll see many impressive catch reports. However, some anglers who are unfamiliar with the lakes may face more challenges.
Witnessing the capture of a 50 lbs carp is truly remarkable, but it's worth noting that some anglers spend up to 10 years before achieving such a feat.
Our rigs and tips page is designed to assist especially those who are relatively new to carp fishing.
By following these suggestions and acquiring knowledge about safe handling, you'll be able to increase your carp catch rate. The information we provide is based on our own practices and experiences, but it is by no means exhaustive. We acknowledge that there are multiple ways to fish for carp.
No one is ever too old to learn, and as carp fishing continues to evolve, fishing methods also change. A prime example of this is the lead clip, which we have readily embraced due to its evident safety advantages.
Often, simplicity proves to be the best approach. A reliable, sharp hook, a quality coated hooklink, and a decent fishing line are the essential ingredients for success.
I prefer to categorize the techniques I employ as "damage limitation methods." It's an acknowledgment that when fishing for carp, some level of harm is inevitable. However, by carefully considering the methods and equipment we choose, we can significantly reduce the impact on the carp and minimize any potential damage.
Finally, we have an excellent innovation called the tube lead clip that prioritizes the safety of carp. In our shop, we offer three recommended brands of this clip.
Ensuring carp safety is always a top concern for us, and over the past few years, we have been endorsing the Korda lead clip with the cut-back leg feature, which allows the lead to detach in case of getting snagged. Paired with a 28-inch rig tube (preventing scale and fin damage), this system has been moderately effective. However, three issues have arisen. Firstly, if the swivel is not securely pushed into the clip until a distinct click is heard, both the clip and tubing can slide up the line during fish play, causing damage. Secondly, the rig tube occasionally slips out of the tail rubber, failing to provide adequate protection for the carp. And thirdly, if the angler forgets to trim the leg of the clip, the tail rubber can detach when the lead is shed on a snag, resulting in exposed line tearing off carp scales.
This new design addresses these problems by securely clamping the rig tube inside the lead clip using a specially designed insert (refer to the pictures). It allows for easy lead release in snag situations without requiring the leg to be cut back, and ensures a firm grip on the tube, providing effective protection for the carp's body. Additionally, in serious snags, the entire setup can still detach completely.
Please note that while fishing here, we only permit the use of tube lead clips. These clips easily release the leads if snagged, which is highly beneficial for the carp's safety. However, it's important to be aware that you may lose more leads compared to poorly designed clips that do not release as easily. We have a wide stock of lead clips and flat swivel leads available, priced at 2 Euros each. You are also welcome to bring some of your own. We also provide tube, clips, swivels, and tail rubbers.
This thoughtfully developed system will undoubtedly benefit carp populations worldwide, and we believe it represents the safest option to date.
Rig tubing serves multiple purposes beyond preventing tangles during casting—it also plays a crucial role in safeguarding the fish's scales and fins. We strongly recommend using a minimum length of 28 inches to ensure optimal protection. This prevents scales from being ripped off while playing the fish and avoids the line cutting through the fins under high tension. It is disheartening to see carp with missing scales and bleeding, as depicted in various issues of carp talk.
To thread the rig tube effectively, one method is to insert one end of the tubing into a tail rubber and attach it to a lead clip with the lead in place. By holding the opposite end of the rig tube and allowing the lead to hang down, the tubing will straighten out. Then, simply feed the line down the tube until it emerges from the other end.
For those who find it challenging to thread the line through such a long tube, there is a simple solution available: a diamond eye pole threader. This tool consists of a flexible wire with a diamond-shaped eye at the end, similar to a sewing needle threader. Insert the wire through the rig tubing, place the line into the eye, and pull it through the tubing. It's as simple as that!
Please note that the tubing should have a minimum inside diameter of 1mm, as it will not pass through the thinner 0.75mm diameter tubing. Applying a few blobs of heavy metal putty on the tubing can help keep everything securely anchored to the lakebed if that is your preferred fishing method.
It is important to emphasize that there should be no knots or stops on the line after the rig tubing. In the event of line breakage, the line must be able to run freely through the tube, ensuring the fish's safety.
Choosing the right hook is crucial, and it should meet the criteria of being strong and ultra-sharp. Personally, I prefer the Korda wide gape barbed hook in size 4 or 6.
You might wonder why we do not allow barbless hooks. Well, we did permit them for a while, and some carp caught and landed had only a small hole where the hook easily slipped out. At first glance, this might seem beneficial for carp welfare, minimizing damage. However, the story doesn't end there. We observed that some carp lost during the fight experienced severe mouth damage. Intrigued by this, I conducted experiments using different hooks and even some fish from the local market. The results were eye-opening. You can easily replicate these experiments yourself using a carrot—yes, a carrot. Simply insert a barbless hook into the carrot and, gripping the shank, pull it out. You'll notice that it releases quite easily. Now try the same with a barbed hook, and you'll encounter more resistance and a distinct click as it releases.
"So," you might ask, "does the barb cause more damage when removing the hook from a carp's mouth?" Yes, it does, but the additional damage is limited to a small area if the hook removal is done carefully. However, if you insert a barbless hook into the carrot again and, while pulling it out, simulate the line pulling as if playing a fish, you'll notice that the point acts like a scalpel, cutting through the flesh and creating a large gash. If you compare the profile of a barbless hook point to that of a scalpel blade, you'll find they share the same shape. Surgeons use scalpels for cutting flesh because they are the sharpest tools available. So, for every carp lost while using barbless hooks, there is the potential for causing significant damage that anglers are blissfully unaware of and never witness. The mouth damage you see in the pictures of carp was, without a doubt, caused by barbless hooks. Crushed barbs work similarly to barbless hooks. Therefore, it becomes clear that, despite initial beliefs, barbless hooks are not safer. Most modern strong hooks have a small barb, making them the best choice.
Having a sharp hook is vital to convert more takes into successfully landed fish. I always perform a simple test: I lightly pull the hook point across my thumbnail, and if it easily scratches or cuts, it is sharp enough.
Please ensure you have forceps readily available to assist with hook removal.
There is a wide variety of hook link materials available in the market today, ranging from excellent to poor quality. Let's begin with what I consider the worst for causing damage to carp, something we would never fish with or allow on our lakes. The culprit is pure braid hooklinks like Merlin and Edge 2000, among others. While they may feel good when handled, once they are pulled tight, they can cut through like cheese wires.
We have witnessed countless carp with sliced mouths and large cut marks across their cheeks after being played on such materials. You can even conduct an experiment yourself: pull a piece of braid tightly between your hands and then pull it against your top lip. You'll feel how it tends to cut into your skin. Now, try the same with a piece of covered braid like Korda Hybrid Soft or Camo Skin, and you'll immediately notice the difference. Due to the covering, it doesn't have the same cutting effect. However, if you use a high-quality hooklink material but peel back too much of the covering, you'll be back to square one. In the picture below, you can see a simple rig with Camo Skin and a tiny hinge. This hinge is created by gently breaking back the coating with your fingernails, providing a supple and natural movement when a carp sucks in your bait. Personally, I no longer peel back any coating and prefer using a Korda Wide Gape size 4 and Korda Hybrid Soft without stripping it back all the way from the swivel to the hook, and it works exceptionally well. Many anglers strip back around 2 to 4 inches or more of the covering, but it is not necessary, and exposed braid can still cut through a carp's mouth. I avoid peeling back any coating these days.
The length of the hooklink you should use depends on various factors, including the lakebed type and other considerations. However, my personal preference is around 10 to 12 inches for most situations and approximately 18 inches when fishing in the silty middle of the lake.
Stiff rig hooklinks are also effective, and Korda Hybrid is an excellent material for creating a stiff hinged rig that is very fish-friendly.
The knotless knot is a fantastic choice and is very simple to tie. The key point is to ensure that you thread the hooklink back through the correct side of the eye on the hook. The length of the hair for bait should be adjusted based on the size of the bait you're using. Leave approximately a 3 to 20 mm gap between the bait and the hook, depending on the type of bait and setup you have.
The Palomar knot is a strong knot to use with swivels.
The tucked blood knot is a tried and true favorite known for its strength.
Most modern reels feature high-quality clutches and drag mechanisms. Manufacturers invest significant time and resources into designing clutches and drags that are easy to set and adjust even while playing a fish. It's important to set the clutch/drag before casting out. How? Apply tension to the line so that it allows powerful fish to take line but not enough to cause it to snap. When playing a fish, be mindful of the sudden power surges that large carp often exhibit, especially when they are close to the net.
If the clutch/drag is set too tight, the line can unexpectedly break. It's always advisable to have the clutch/drag set slightly softer rather than too tight. Another aspect to consider is back winding. Over the years, we have witnessed more anglers losing fish due to improper back winding than those who correctly set and use the clutch/drag. It's worth pondering why one would invest a significant amount of money on top-quality reels and not utilize the part that is finely designed to help you successfully land fish.
Caring for the welfare of carp requires both toughness and delicacy. During the late winter and spring, as carp's eggs develop before spawning, they are enclosed in a thin membrane resembling tissue paper. This delicate membrane is easily damaged when a carp is caught and brought to the bank. Unfortunately, if the membrane is harmed, the carp typically succumbs to its injuries 12 to 14 days later, often going unnoticed by the angler who caught it. Therefore, it is essential to handle the fish with forethought and consider the series of events following a capture.
Some anglers may prefer to quickly net the carp, applying excessive force to bring it in. However, this practice is not recommended since it can make the fish more difficult to handle once on the mat. It is far better to play the carp and let it tire itself out, enjoying the thrill of the battle. On the other hand, overplaying the fish until it becomes completely exhausted is also detrimental. Once the carp is in the landing net, allow it approximately 30 seconds to regain some energy before lifting it out of the water.
If it's a hot day, consider wetting and cooling the unhooking mat. To ensure the carp's safety, begin by breaking down the net—remove the landing net from the spreader block. Before lifting the fish, ensure that its pectoral fins are close to its body to prevent them from breaking. Carefully roll up the net and, using both hands, lift the carp onto the unhooking mat positioned near the water. Unroll the landing net and, with the aid of forceps, remove the hook from the fish's mouth. Apply a small amount of antiseptic solution to the wound to aid the healing process. Slide the landing net under the carp, starting from the head end to avoid catching on any fins. To provide some moisture, pour a little water over the carp from a prepared bucket.
It's advisable to keep your weighing sling on top of the unhooking mat in anticipation of your catch. Gently lift the carp again, ensuring its pectoral fins are close to its body, and weigh it over the unhooking mat. Afterward, place it back down on the mat. Once again, wet the carp with water from the bucket. Now, it's time for the photo. Make sure your camera is set up and within reach; this is not the moment to search for it or look for batteries. Choose one side of the carp for your gallery pictures. Since the fish has been out of water for a few minutes, the sooner it returns, the better for its well-being, as every moment out of water limits its ability to breathe. Most people typically use one or possibly two pictures of each carp for their photo album, so focusing on one side allows you to spend extra time composing a great shot. This choice may depend on whether you are left or right-handed. Assuming you are right-handed, the following approach can be employed: (after removing your watch) kneel in front of the unhooking mat, turn the carp around so that its back and dorsal fin face towards you. Slide one hand under the carp's body, reaching toward its uppermost pectoral fin, and place the other hand beneath its body, near the anal fin. Lift the fish while keeping your right knee on the floor and raising your left knee, which can be used to rest your elbow and support the fish's weight. This method ensures control over the carp; if it starts to thrash, you can instantly lay it back down and regain control. By positioning its head higher than its tail, you will be ready for a great photo. If someone is available to take the pictures, make sure they know how to operate your camera before reaching this point. Ask them to ensure that both you and your prize are fully visible in the viewfinder. If using a digital camera, quickly verify that a good picture has been captured. It is best if the photographer takes the picture from a kneeling position rather than standing.
Gently place the carp back onto the weighing sling, checking its pectoral fins once more, and lift it back to the water while still in the sling. Never stand up while holding a carp, and avoid attempting to carry it back to the water in your arms. Many carp have perished due to sudden thrashing during such circumstances. Once the fish is in the water, hold it briefly to ensure everything is fine. When it has regained enough energy to swim away, release it. Remember to avoid letting the carp thrash around, as the delicate internal tissues and membrane mentioned earlier can be easily damaged. If the carp starts to thrash, try covering its eyes with the wet landing net and gently apply your bodyweight to calm it down. Also, never position a carp on its belly, as most of its organs are located in the lower part of its body. Subjecting these organs to the full weight of the fish unsupported is similar to someone standing on your chest while you lie down. It is vital to return all fish to the water as swiftly as possible. If you require assistance for any reason, keep the fish in the water within the landing net while waiting.