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SURFACE FISHING FOR CARP – Floater Rota Roadtrip


For me floater fishing is definitely the most exciting type of fishing you can do It’s quite simiar to stalking where you can place a bait to them and get them feeding and this is all visual it’s not guesswork it is all quantifiable with your own eyes How can you not love it it’s the absolute nuts I like floater fishing why? It is really good why do you like it? It’s exciting isnt it That will do (laughing) Done! just end it on that I was quite lucky that I was introduced to surface fishing at a young age from the days of a simple bit of bread or some mixers from the supermarket on my bike with my rod and a rucksack full of mixers so from quite a young age I got to learn how effective it can be Floater fishing is something you can do on your own but it’s better to do it with someone else or as part of a team you can share the baiting and also maximise your chances by fishing multiple rods The idea of the whole floater fishing trip came from Alan because no one else is that crazy to want to fish three different venues miles apart in two days Of course I was absolutely buzzing to get out the office with the boys carp fishing can be quite competitive at times and the whole point about floater rota is that it’s not it’s a team effort and everyone enjoys the sucess That coupled with the weather which we got spot on for a change It’s just gone 5am and although i’m shattered and brought a pillow with me to do some sleeping I can’t I’m buzzing 48 hours a load of riser pellet bags full of energy lets go catch some carp I’ve never been to Thorpe Lea before but I’ve heard a lot about this place I wanted to go there the boys knew it had form so that was the first choice of venue Thorpe Lea is a productive day ticket water it’s well stocked it fishes well on the bottom but at this time of year floater fishing and zig fishing is the most productive method Thorpe Lea is definitely a well stocked venue and when we arrived in the swim we could already see backs breaking the surface and disturbances so I got the impression there was already a few fish out there the boys cracked straight on immediately the spod rods were out and there were spombs flying out depositing riser pellets and floaters and it wasnt long before the fish were up feeding We have barrowed round to the other side of the lake these three swims give us access to the main body of water where from past experience we know the fish like to hold up theres plenty of fish out there I’m going to get a bit of bait glugged up get the spomb rod out and start feeding them I took a step back and watched all this unfolding and thought I would try something a bit different just to see how they reacted to it and I went about preparing a sloppy spod mix The wise man says let Mikey do the spombing and I will get the first cast in when they start feeding Edge proper edge It’s going to be a team effort today we are all going to be spombing whoever has got a free hand if they start taking yes! It’s absolutely going off at the minute theres bites everywhere fish everywhere floaters everywhere Floater Rota! After my first couple of fish things were really getting going now it seemed every time I turned round one of us would be into a fish Whether it would be me, Alan, Oli or Mike We really got them troughing and for the next two hours it was hectic it was proper floater rota fishing Things have really started kicking off the fish are really on the munch now swimming around hoovering up the riser pellet and floaters and we are getting a few bites aren’t we wilson Yes it’s kicking off mate Well we had better get back to the action They are troughing! Other rod Alan! And we are hauling! It’s well and truly kicking off now I’ve managed to get some more bait out and they have turned up in numbers Well who is top rod? Wilson Obviously! Crazy few hours all caught some lovely fish time to get on the road Next destination The cameramen were very disapointed in all of us as they really wanted to photograph and film the fish but all we wanted to do was put the rod back out there What a lovely way to end things I could not help myself and I had one last cast That’s me done now I’m going to get my rods packed away get on the move and head off to the next venue We’ve had a sudden change of plan we are going to Horseshoe Lake Gloustershire home of the scalies! Next up we were supposed to go to Bluebell but Oli pointed out it would be a lot more logical to go to Horseshoe first because it was closer to Thorpe Lea so a couple of phone calls to Miles at the Carp Society and we arranged to pop up there that afternoon arriving at around 3pm Another reason for chosing Horseshoe as well was because two weeks prior we hosted the junior carp camp and I wasn’t able to go but I saw some of the incredible fish that were caught and I wanted to go back and have a go myelf This particular time it was very difficult but we still managed to catch some fish The dream was to catch an original Horseshoe scaly it’s an incredible lake at this time of year when the weather is nice the fish tend to push into summer bay It’s approximately five to six feet deep and you can ususally have some great floater action It was very busy in fact summer bay was stiched up and of course with the water being shallow that’s where the majority of the fish were Again working as a team we split up and did everything we could to keep those fish up and feeding Getting those fish up and feeding confidently is what will give you a great floater fishing session and that’s not easy You could potentially feed to much and over feed the fish before getting the hookbait in position You could not feed enough and the fish drift off and lose interest its very importamt that you always get your feeding bang on I will always start my session off using the Riser Pellet there are a deadly edge and they do bring the fish up and get them feeding and along with that you have to be concious of the wind and not losing the fish on the drift keeping the fish in your area of water by regulating the feed accordingly If you can master that all the rest usually falls into place I think that the hardest thing is to be patient and to know when to cast in and when not to cast It can often be quite tough if the fish are quite cute you can spend a lot of time walking and fishing for no reward but you just have to stick at it sometimes it’s like a switch is flicked and fish become catchable Mikey did really well he managed to find a few in the corner of summer bay between a few anglers He got a few fish feeding and managed to nick a small one really good angling It’s certainly not been handed to us on a plate we tuned up full of energy and positivity but the lake is busy and the fish we found were very lethargic Held up tight in the weedbeds Fair play to Mike he got on it went for a mission and found some fish which are more receptive Big up there we go Yes Alan! Me and Oli struggled I walked and walked but I could not get on the fish However on one of several laps I found Oli in a little corner of summmer bay he had managed to squeeze in between two other anglers and got some fish going He said come and have a cast here but I let him crack on I just helped him by baiting up and eventually I landed a fish for him a lovely linear which weeded him up several times but we got it in and we were underway at Horseshoe As the afternoon wore on it just got harder and harder to the point where we were exausted we had so little sleep and had fished really hard I think we all felt like giving up but non of us can do that so off we went in different directions and we covered the entire lake searching for opportunities but they didn’t seem to present themselves We were all sat in a swim Tom had a few fish infront of him towards the entrance of summer bay It didnt take seconds me and Alan were both in the vans drove down there Dan following with the camera and it was last chance saloon really I looked at Mikey and said this is it if we don’t catch one now we are not going to catch another carp from here We had a little crack and as Alan does he nicked one a nice 20lb common absolutely stunning Horseshoe carp and it made the trip worthwhile It’s been a really difficult afternoon we came here buzzing and full of expectation but it hasn’t really gone to plan but it’s still been enjoyable but very hard graft To land this would make it even more rewarding We’ve had to work for that one sometimes you’ve got to What a great way to end our first days floater fishing I love Horseshoe I love floater fishing even more Ready for some food and chill out for the evening We tried to keep the fish feeding through into dark but they didn’t seem to be receptive to it although it can be a great tactic on some venues keeping the fish feeding into the hours of darkness as that’s the time when they are not used to being hooked Then we plotted up for the night, got our bedchairs out and had a nice takeaway I first started using overdepth zigs a good few years ago now and I qickly became aware of hw devistating they are theres two main reasons for this one it allows you to free up your hands eyes and brain to concentrait on the feeding and it allows you to fish multiple rods which could result in more carp on the bank My setup is pretty simple I will always chose to fish with a fixed zig if I can Rod choice I personally like the 3lb scopes a lot of people say that is a bit heavy for floater fishing In my opinion it’s not if you’ve got a big fish burried in the weed you really need the backbone of a 3lb scope to extract it So yeah, rod choice 3lb scope Fixed zigs constructed of weed lead clips so I can drop the lead on the take coming out of that I will fish with a Zig Link which will completely eliminate tangles on the cast and then I will have my Zig Flo hooklink To that I will attach my hookbait I will always opt to use an immitation bait of some description whether it be a mixer or riser pellet imitation and I will finish that off with a knot but also a peice of ZIg Aligna Tube it really does help aid hooking Normally when I go floater fishing I will have two rods set up one will be for freelining and one with a Bolt Machine for fishing at various ranges with a medium Bolt Machine you can cast anywhere from under the rod tip to 80 yards so its a really versatile method of fishing One of the main advantages when you are fishing at that range is that you dont always have to strike sometimes the fish will hook themselves against the Bolt Machine Another major advantage of the Bolt Machine is that if you are recasting all day it is really anti tangle with some other controller floats the line twists or it will tangle round the float but with a Bolt Machine you can pretty much fish all day tangle free Setting up a Bolt Machine is very simple thread it onto the mainline and seat it on the swivel which provides the bolt effect but it will come off like a semi fixed lead if it gets snagged or if you line breaks Onto that you tie your hooklink depending on the fish size and how clear the water is you might go for anything between 6 to 12lb For length that varies depending on how clear the water is and how spooky the carp are and how they are feeding for instance somewhere like Horton where the water is very clear I will use 10-12ft but somewhere like Thorpe Lea where the fish are more competative you can get away with a 6ft hooklink and I will use the smallest hook I can get away with which is usually a size 10 Fang Uni Bait choice I like a popup which matches by freebies so something like a Scopex Squid popup perfetly matches the mixers So we were all up at first light and in the vans and despite not getting much sleep we headed over to Bluebell and we got there for about 8am Other than Oli none of us had visited or fished the venue before but we knew what it contained I was quite excited on the journey up I was tired too but I was excited because I had heard a lot about Bluebell I had never been there for myself I also knew that after failing at Horseshoe I had to make up for it so I was telling myself I had to be on it today and catch some fish Before getting any gear out the motors we decided to split up and try to track these carp down So we walked the whole complex the big lakes and the small ones first one we walked round was Bluebell lake and we instantly found fish It was quite busy with anglers but we found some fish We then went for a look at the big lake which is 20 acres which is called Marrrrrrlan Marsden? Marten? Martian? No! Mallard! Mallard and whats the other one? Why do they name them so complicated? Its just Bird names Are they? Sandmartin is a bird and Mallard is a bird Mallard and Sandmartin We then went to look around the big lake which is 20 acres in size…. do I have to name them? We looked around the biggest of the lakes which is called Marrrrrrten Whats it called?! (laughing) Marlin? Mallard! They were on the sunny banks anywhere where there is some rushes and reeds just basking in the sun and very quickly we ran back to the motors grabbed our gear and set off to try and catch some My first stop was Sandmartin lake where we found a group of fish down a margin they were very cautious but we did get the odd fish feeding Wilson and Alan went over to Sandmartin where they had found some fish in the edge and Tom and I went to Bluebell lake where we had also found some fish in the edge It wasn’t long before one took the hookbait and I was into a big battle great fight in clear water I got in the lake myself because it kept going up a margin and eventually I got a lovely mirror in the net I was off the mark having caught one from Bluebell mega result been here not even been fishing half an hour and one really interesting point there is no one floater fishing Theres a lot of people on the lakes and it didn’t lok like any of then were floater fishing and it just shows that with a good look round with a pair of glasses and some motivation you can find them and get bites hopefully theres going to be a few more of these today Luckily for us the two anglers who were fishing the point were just packing up as we arrived so I jumped in there straight away and after a couple of spombs of mixersand low and behold they started taking straight away Oli was down the bank so I rung him and said unless it’s going off with you I suggest you come up here theres lots of fish and they are feeding I tried to get a few fish feeding down on the wind but they were not interested so I ended up with Tom in the top section of the lake where there were more fish which seemed to be more keen to feed One of the good things about floater fishing is that you can be selective it can be like stalking you can identify individual fish and chose who to cast at and you can pull the bait away from smaller fish you can be quite selective After a couple of spombs they were taking the odd mixer a fish approached from the right direction and nailed it it was a really good common the type of fish we came to Bluebell to catch First cast on Bluebell again on a trimmed down Scopex Squid popup which really closely matches the freebies so no hesitation he saw it turned and grabbed it Then I went on to have 4 in the end It was action and I was loving it the sun was out I was in my element I had my trousers rolled up to my knees in water and it was proper floater fishing The boys did ok over on Sandmartin ad bagged a couple as well but it was a really hot day and it was quite tough fishing It wasn’t long before I was on Bluebell myself and quickly caught myself a beautiful little common It took a lot longer than it should have done I missed a couple but eventually this little common slipped up That will do it took a bit longer than I hoped but it’s a fish from Bluebell Just like at Horseshoe it got harder and harder the fish became more difficult to find everything seemed to be quite lethargic and not interested in feeding and the same applied to us we were shattered We went to Thorpe Lea Horseshoe and Bluebell and there wasnt one other angler surface fishing so that was 48 hours on the bank and I didn’t see one other angler surface fishing and on every lake we went to there were fish on the top We had all caught carp and had them to just under 30lb which shows it’s not just a small fish method All in all it was a brilliant two days fishing you are always on your feet your always active and for me the buzz of seeing the fish getting them feeding and watching them take your hookbait is just one that cant be beaten

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