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Secrets Of Carp Fishing Boilies That Consistently Produce Bigger Fish Catches! - by Tim F. Richardson

The average carp angler thinks and fishes like an average carp angler! Many anglers follow bait fashions and tackle trends and seem to forget that all this is pretty irrelevant compared to the power of really understanding the deeper secrets of the carp themselves that provide genuine short-cuts to success! Read on now to discover much more to improve your catches!Thinking like carp is an obvious solution to the limited approach that so many average carp anglers have which leads them to fish in copycat stereotypical ways that can actually limit their success! I realise that using the fish as the starting point to your fishing may seem obvious but just how much thought and study does the average carp angler do to improve his catches beyond getting the latest readymade bait someone has recommended in a magazine or on the bank? Fishing for carp is similar to playing a musical instrument. The more you understand the underlying secrets of how it is designed and why this is, and the more you know about how it works in different contexts and situations, the more you will be able to use it and exploit its basic nature – and play it! You are really aiming to exploit and use everything about carp to make them easier to catch and our thinking and choices about bait is a vital part of the formula for success.Carp feed much like trout in many ways. But carp are very much filter-feeding and particulate feeding fish while trout definitely appear more like carnivorous hunters, although both fish can opportunistically feed upon other fish such as roach fry.Carp are of course well known for feeding on the bottom of rivers and lakes, but it is becoming increasingly clear to more carp anglers that carp feed off the bottom far more than might be imagined. This is often in part a result of angling pressure and changing free-baiting methods where the use of ground baiting using bait rockets and spods is very popular. Often carp will exploit the feed on the drop as they know from experience that it is baits lying on the bottom that are the most potentially dangerous. However, as many as 30 years ago I was catching fish using pop-up baits in the mid-layers and upper layers of water and I did this after reading that carp filter feed on plankton concentrations in the spring and early summer at night so I figured I would exploit this behaviour. Incidentally, it also worked extremely successfully because no-one else I knew often fished at night like this. In the late eighties I had an enlightening experience using water-soluble PVA tubes from Rod Hutchinson. On one occasion I was using homemade milk protein and fish and marine meal boilies that were quite buoyant. Upon casting out a rig with a bag of small boilies inside an attached PVA tube, I hooked a 25 pound mirror that actually took the bait on the drop. Such experiences all help you form a picture of carp behaviours and make you realise that carp are always adapting much faster than you might think. I have fished a local farm lake within walking distance from my house which contains probably about 75 small carp. After hooking good numbers of these fish in just a few short 3 to 5 hour visits, these carp have altered their locations and feeding behaviours to an incredible degree and this is only due to my few visits. The even more amazing this is I have only hooked about half the fish in the lake but all have changed their habits now! It just shows how study of the fish themselves is absolutely essential. I say this because our fishing baits, tackle and activities etc can either work for us, or actually condition carp against us! The more you know how fish behave naturally, the more you can infer when carp are not acting or feeding naturally. Such things can be exploited so the fish begin to behave in ways you want them to and bait formats and designs and thinking and approaches regarding free baiting are a massive art of your potential success!Carp and trout have much in common in terms of energy requirements which means they seek out the most energy-efficient foods. This in fish terms basically means sources of proteins as well as other nutrition, but protein especially. In fact trout have a higher daily need for protein than carp, and their metabolic rates differ, being higher than carp. This is why feeds for salmonids such as salmon and trout pellets contain more digestible protein and oils than carp actually require.Now I find this point very much over-looked by far too many carp anglers, but such salmonids pellets and halibut type pellets are as popular free feeds as sweetcorn, if not more so today. Pellets specifically designed for carp are the most suitable free bait for carp and mass use of feeds for other species leads to imbalances in carp health and diseases that can easily shorten life-expectancies (and who really wants that?!)On most carp waters the fish are consistently consuming enormous amounts of all these free baits without getting hooked. Because so many anglers go fishing now it seems that lots of fish are getting caught. But as in any field of endeavour you will find that the best 20 percent of anglers are more enormously more successful. These guys catch the great majority of the bigger more wary fish. Meanwhile, week after week average anglers are catching relatively few bigger fish (if any at all on some waters.) This leaves them highly frustrated despite them trying all the latest fashionable baits, rigs, tackle and methods in the popular carp magazines! So how can an average angler improve his catches?! Well I previously mentioned that carp are like trout in certain types of feeding behaviours that have evolved to ensure the highest possibility that their daily essential need for basic energy and nutrition are met. In saying this you might have noticed that certain observations have been made. In most cases, the biggest problem the average angler has is he is stuck in a rut of thinking like an angler. This makes it very much more difficult for him to spot and fish-create catching opportunities and turn failure into success. I know it sounds very glib to say that unconsciously top anglers are thinking like the fish they aim to catch but it is true.The alignment of thinking means you become more and more tuned in to the actual state of the fish at any given time, such as in different weather conditions in different areas and spots in lakes and rivers at different times of the day and night. Things like light intensity and ambient light at night, moon phases, dissolved oxygen saturation, relative concentrations of natural food at different depths and thermal layering in the water, the detection of fishing lines and free baits and rigs etc all influence behaviours of Mr Carp.Carp fishing is more than a learned skill as it is most certainly an art form.Experienced trout anglers know all about how the behaviours of trout can change through the day and they will adjust their approach, their baits and fishing approaches, fishing depths and swims etc accordingly. Any carp angler who has the benefit of an general course fishing and match fishing background has many advantages over anglers who went straight into carp fishing because they will be able to appreciate so much more of the complex web of life and all its interrelated activities unseen underwater. Just for example, a former trout fisherman (and now a carp angler) may choose to fish just under the line of a wind lane in certain conditions where adults will be emerging and where carp will be very likely feeding. Thinking deeper about natural life and things going on all the time right in front of you reaps big rewards. Even the simple example of the observation of carp feeding ravenously on hatching caddis flies is a good lesson in carp behaviour and location!Of course knowledge of aquatic insects and hatching in trout fishing is a very important area. You are fishing with artificial flies mimicking the real thing, so choosing models that most suitably approximate natural food is very likely to fool fish into striking at them. All such knowledge can be refined over time, for example, a friend of mine who lived and trout fished in Canada for years once told me he got bored with it because ultimately he could catch all the fish he wanted on any of a select set of just 5 flies! Obviously he put in the hours to develop his skills and did all the thinking and the related refined fishing practice necessary to gather all the real experience needed to know which flies out of so many would produce the most fish most of the time - and which ones tended to catch the bigger fish too! Average anglers are just that because they usually have some kind of restraint that prevents them from further achievement. In carp fishing this is probably most often the result of them having a limited mindset about the fish themselves and a more blinkered perception of the natural world when on the bank and this will most likely manifest as a limited pretty stereotypical fishing approach. There are other reasons to limited success and having the time available to dedicate to fishing is one of the most constricting. Natural talent and ability to develop the skills that provide natural competitive edges over other anglers are other factors. Being an angler who is sponsored with free bait is a huge advantage too but I assure you that even when fishing your own cheap homemade baits you can compete and even out-fish such anglers. (Anyway many bait-sponsored anglers are less gifted than you might think and simply leverage whatever edges they can get to greater effect than many average anglers.)In the much more heavily angling-pressured competitive environments of many big fish carp waters today other factors matter that give certain anglers huge advantages over others, but lets us focus on things we can change ourselves to improve results!When anglers being fishing, at least when I began over 30 years ago, we got the most information available about the fish habits and locations and the tackle and skills and baits needed to catch them. It seemed to me rather formulaic and as one of those beginners who read Mr Crabtree cartoons as a boy, I still get flash-back of those cartoons and even quotes from them crossing my mind when discerning spots to fish in swims and when playing unseen big fish. The unconscious mind certainly plays a big part in fishing as all your experiences are brought to bear in any given fishing situation.At the age of about 8 I was very lucky in that I had a lake containing carp within walking distance near my home that I could walk around and observe. And from 1977 while at secondary school at dinner times, I could spend my time walking around a lake in Essex called Aquatels, (now connected with Solar.) It seems funny now that I have helped inspire someone to form his own bait company to produce and sell successful carp baits to anglers fishing that lake today when I remember hooking fish just on homemade boilies or even bread there all the years when it was still a council run water. (All the best to you Simon - founder of Essex Carp Baits!) I just mentioned this new bait company because it struck me that the team of people involved with it include anglers who have at least three decades of carp fishing experience and in the case of Martin Gibbinson, 40 years experience. Coming from Essex originally myself I seem to have fished many lakes and pits that the Gibbinson brothers have fished at. I seem to remember Ricky Gibbinson fished Shotgate where I fished for 10 years and Priory Park was one of my original carp waters besides places like Lake Meadows Billericay, Aquatels, Hainault Park, South Weald and others.I am now located down in southern Kent where there are even more waters to explore including a nearby big pit where apparently Jim Gibbinson fished for its big bream and it now contains some big carp. One thing you might have noticed about these guys at least from some of their articles, or books of Jim Gibbinson, is the measured ways in which they develop their thinking, tactics, methods, rigs and baiting approaches and so on. Years ago carp were considered an incredible challenge to the sanity of most anglers, but the scientific measurable approach to carp fishing has dramatically made it accessible to the masses and made it into the enormously commercialised cult sport it is today. But despite all the advancements in carp fishing it is still up to the individual angler to develop their own skills and thinking that creates the kinds of catches that they aspire to. It might not have crossed your mind but the vast majority of high protein natural carp food items contain high water densities. Which baits in particular have very high success rates for big wary fish? The answer of course is balanced pop-up baits and critically-balanced baits that approximate a neutral kind of density so they hover in water and negate the weight of the hook. Of course some angler fish using extra heavy boilies as hook baits and will over-weight their hooks and rigs to make carp suck up the bait much harder to get the hook further back in the mouth to increase hooking potential of rigs with hooks being in the mouth that bit longer too.The simple example of covering boilies with a paste so they have a softer feel and are more soluble so releasing more attraction than protein-coagulated conventional boilies shows how changing the feel and other characteristics of something familiar leads to improved catches. Carp use danger reference points that we anglers ourselves provide them and these become apparent to them by the repeated use of bait and tackle they have through experience become cautious of added to an instinctive caution of anything foreign situated within their environment.For instance many carp are wary of relatively hard baits such as popular readymade baits that are universally used straight from the packet. This makes a very good case for making your own unique baits or at the very least for adapting and changing conventional boilies to remove danger reference points as much as possible. Washing out baits prior to fishing is a well-proven edge for wary fish that are highly cautious of fresh baits for instance. Fishing a nutritional non-flavoured homemade bait on the edge of a bed of flavoured readymade baits is another very obvious edge too.In testing I found that fishing readymade baits on the surface was extremely enlightening. Very often I experienced warier fish actually eye-balling the baits up close and often just taking baits in the corner of their mouth between the lips and pressure-testing them before popping them out again. In such instances following such observations it made good sense to remove familiar bait characteristics to make it more likely the carp would make a mistake. Just cutting baits so they became an odd ribbed shape and soaking them in an unusual natural subtle solution instead really improved results! (Just a few examples are maggot juice, soluble fish protein in solution and liquid mussel extract.) Of course everything you see going on with buoyant baits on the surface is most likely going on with your baits on the bottom too so ringing the changes is essential! It is still the case that most carp anglers are using round boilies. But on pressured carp waters today if you want to provide carp with a bait format that they have had years to develop skills to avoid then conventional round shaped are the bait to choose. There is nothing wrong with round boilies and they get eaten of course, but in terms of making things easier to catch carp a little thought in terms of carp feeding behaviours is all that is required to improve results. For instance, round boilies tend to follow more a straight line when in the mouth than other shapes such as odd-shaped or square ones. Round baits can be rejected and spat out of the mouth very easily compared to other shapes. Just the act of trimming baits so they resemble some form of natural food item can easily give you a big edge!Boilies often work on a rig much more effectively with a live bait like a worm or maggots. Again, how many anglers do this to get around the familiarity carp have with dealing just with conventional round boilies on a rig? It sounds so obvious and such ideas are often called alternative in magazines but to me alternative thinking approaches really need to be your prime approaches for wary fish because most hard-fished carp waters are now packed with wary fish! Adapting or altering your bait format is one angle of approach but your bait design itself is an edge of incredible potential power and genuinely deserves far more attention in regards to exploiting essential carp needs and vital senses to catch many more fish! (For more information on bait secrets, bait-making, bait design and readymade baits boosting and adaptations see my unique website Baitbigfish for more free articles and my uniquely-proven ebooks right now!)By Tim Richardson.

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