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  1. Over the last couple of weeks, since I rejoined this forum, I have spent some time reading the carp magazines and looking at Youtube to catch up with all the latest fashions in "proper carping". I will say right now I'm not a "proper carper" - I catch carp, and I generally do OK, but I am not trendy or cool. If I was a new carper, I would see everything written down, and how the same idea's are apprearing in different magazines and think that these were "right" and then go and do them - and so I would end up spending a lot more money and catching a lot less fish. a LOT less fish. Lots and lots and lots less. That's a real shame. Being a bitter old cynic, it's easy for any long term angler to weed out the crazy from the sensible, but if you're a new carper, then this is harder. How does a new carper without a lot of experience know what to filter out and what to listen to? Here's my suggestion: "Would I use this bait/rig/method to catch a still water chub?" Why this works. Carp are fairly easy to catch - lots of people catch lots of carp every day. Still water chub are among the hardest fish to catch of anything in the UK. Chub and Carp are almost identical - they are the same family, closely related species. They feed the same, spook the same way, eat the same foods, react the same way to their environment. They are close cousins in every respect. The only key difference is that they are more intelligent than carp. They have less of a competitive feeding instinct and so will not make as many stupid mistakes in the middle of a feeding frenzy. They are a little more rig shy and a little more sensitive to silly mistakes like making noise on the bank or flashes of light. So - if your rig/method/bait would catch a still water chub, then it will *DEFINATELY* catch a carp. If it wouldn't catch a still water chub, then it will not be very effective for carp. Remember that this isn't a "black and white" thing - fish in general are not geniuses - if they are crusing along and they come accross something that isn't horrifically scary, there is a good chance it will go in their mouths. When my wife is clothes shopping, she shops with her fingers - everything, including the things she KNOWS she won't buy, gets touched. Fish use their mouthes in the same way. So, now you're looking in a magazine and you see some new crazy rig. A hinged stiff KD ultra mega rig perhaps. You apply the simple test: "Would I try and catch a still water chub with this?". When you've picked yourself up off the floor from laughing, you can consign it to the "stupid" pile, and keep reading. Will you occasionally catch a chub with this rig? yes. Will you consistently and rapidly catch chub with it? no - absolutely not. Would you feel the need to spend £1.40 for a camouflaged square lead, rather than 40p for a torpedo lead to catch a chub? no. So, that suggests it's not worth the extra money for carp. More widely - would you bivvy up in the same swim for days to catch a still water chub? You *could* - but you'll catch more by chasing them down. That doesn't mean stalking - most of the time you'll be fishing at long distances - but you'll be regularly moving. Lets look at gear - would you expect a Big Pit style of reel to catch you a single extra chub over a regular, lower priced reel? No. Even if your fishing at 100 yards, you'll get exactly the same casting distance from a 40 sized shakespeare reel as you would from a Big Pit reel as long as you have good casting technique and a well loaded reel. So, will spending the extra money catch you more fish? Should you look at the magazines and think "I can't catch carp because I don't have big pits"? no. ( actually - the same caster MIGHT get a fraction extra distance from the 40 sized reel - perhaps 1 yard, if it's the same caster on the same rod - the bigger the reel spool, the *smaller* you need to have the 1st rod ring - if you have something like a 22mm butt ring, then thats sized for a 40-50 sized reel. You need something like an 18mm or even a 16mm ring for a Big Pit. This was proven over 60 years ago - and physics doesn't change) Does this work for everything? Nope. It's not infallible. For example, raking a swim is amazing for carp, and only helps a little for chub. Carp are a bit more dumb than chub, so if you're stalking, you can be a bit more heavy footed. chub are stealthier than carp, so there are other ways to find carp that don't work for cub, but all the "chub-y" ways work. There are a million and 1 ways to catch carp. There is no such thing as "right" and "wrong" - no matter what anyone tells you. It just comes down to budget and productivity - if you want to catch lots of fish, there are "better" and "worse" ways. If you're on a budget, there are places where it's "better" or "Worse" to spend your limited money. This is purely aimed as a guide if your starting out to try and allocate your time and money towards the "better" ways. Steve
  2. Nah - i think the second. everyone will have their own choice for MOST important. Mine is a bit controversial so I'll not pollute the topic. Hey - congratulations by the way on the super moderator-ship. Many years ago I was part of this board and I remember talking to you when you had 50 posts. Steve
  3. For the same price you could get these: https://www.sunglasses-shop.co.uk/cocoons/slim-line/black-c402c-polarized/42700.aspx?ref=googleshoppinguk&utm_medium=cse&utm_source=google&utm_campaign=Cocoons&utm_content=42700&gclid=CKHAtKON3cYCFYIewwodjL4DWg&gclsrc=aw.ds Better for muddy waters and more protection from un-polarised light: Although, if you were only fishing clear rivers, they may be a good bet. The absolutely key thing is that having SOME form of polariser is better than nothing - what ever you get, it will improve your fishing, Steve
  4. For the way that I fish for carp, Polarisers are in my Top 5 most important items list. However, when I was at the tackle shop yesterday I tried on some branded polarisers - fox and diawa I think, and they were just junk and people were actually buying them - and the WRONG colours. It just felt like people were wasting their money. So, I thought I would put a bit of a post up on them, and some reviews of what I've used. Why are they so awesome? There is never a point where I am fishing and NOT wearing polarisers. I where them when ever I am at the lake, even at night. Why? They protect your eyes from flying hooks - do not hook your eyes! You will see more fish - and so will catch more You can see mud swirls - much more common than seeing fish. This will also make you catch more fish At night, dawn and dusk, yellow lenses will let you see more, for longer. They will protect your eyes from glare - less headaches. You will get into the habit on looking INTO the water, not AT the water - and so you will catch more fish. In short - polarising glasses will catch you more fish. More than a fancy rod. More than a big pit reel. More than an fancy new secret bait. BUY POLARISERS!!! Styles: Polarisers work best when there is no non-polarised light entering your eye. So, the wrap around styles are the best. Always wear a peaked hat when your wearing the glasses as well - either a baseball carp or a full brimmed hat. If you wear glasses, clip-on lenses are a second choice. They are OK, but you can do better with put-overs - large wrap arounds that go right over your glasses. If you go with the clip-on route, get the largest physical size you can get to keep the most light out. Colours: If you can only afford a single pair of glasses, either get a yellow pair or a very light brown colour. Both of these colours will let you keep wearing them later into the night. They are also the best colours for showing up mud swirls, especially in muddy lakes where there is not a lot of contrast change. If you have swap-able lenses, or have a second pair, then a dark brown or black pair are nice to wear on very bright days. However, on really bright days, you're probably not going to be fishing for carp anyway. Don't spend your money on green or purple lenses. Green makes it very hard to see mud swirls, and purple are too dark for dawn and dusk. Light blue is good for clear water, but you have to pay a LOT of money for a good quality polarising lens which is blue, and they aren't the best for seeing mud swirls in muddy water like a commercial. Get a string I have lost three pairs of glasses by looking into lakes and over the sides of boats. Spend the extra £3 to get a string to go around your neck. Trust me on this Get a hard case. Scratched lenses dramatically reduce the effect of polarisers. keep your glasses in a hard case. You don't need a branded one - get something off ebay. Where to buy. Generally I have never found a good, reasonably priced pair of glasses in a coarse fishing shop. Fly anglers get a lot better set of offerings. Either go to a fly fishing shop, or buy online. Makes Costa Del Mer: These are the absolute premier make. Sadly, they are premier prices as well - you can spend £300 on a pair. Most of them are blue tinted which I don't especially like, but they are pretty much bomb-proof and it's ridiculous how much deeper into a lake you can see with a pair of Costa's as opposed to other makes. However, they are a LOT of money, especially for something breakable. I have had Costa's in the past, and now I don't wear them, but if I won the lottery, they would be one of the first purchases. Native: These are hard to find in the UK, but made in the same factory as Costa Del Mer. The lenses are very good, and about 1/2 the price. If you get the half frame designs, you can swap different coloured lenses in and out, and buy other colours pretty cheaply. I wear Native Hardtop's for all my fishing, and keep both yellow and dark brown lenses in my bag all the time SnowBee: Great quality lenses at a good price. Designed for the fly fishing guys and well priced for the quality and much more available in the UK. They also sell over-glasses for glasses wearers. They may not have the "sexiest" designs, but carp don't care about sexy. Cocoon: Easy to find in the UK. Good quality, good price. Kinda weird looking. I have a fairly square head, and they don't fit especially well on me, but these are what most of my friends wear. Maui Jim: These are what all the cool kids are wearing. In the US, they are the Chanel or Dior of the sunglasses world. I have tried a few on, and they don't seem especially good, and feel a bit cheap. If you want to win a bankside fishing show, then these are the lads for you, but personally I think they are a over-priced. Fishing brands: For example Fox, Korum, Diawa, Drennan. I generally haven't found a good pair. For something you are going to wear constantly, the frames always feel very weak and poor quality and generally not very tough. Most of them just don't polarise very well at all so you can't actually see very far into a lake, and get a lot of glare, and most of them are far to dark to be worn at dusk or dawn. Suggestions: If you are on a budget, I would strongly recommend NOT getting any of the fishing branded glasses, which retail around £20, but save a little longer and get a pair of Cocoons for around £35. They will last a lot longer and you'll see a lot more fish and mud swirls, and so catch more fish. The snowbee's are just as good and are a similar price- choose which you prefer and which fit well. You're going to wear the glasses for hundreds, perhaps thousands of hours. Spending the extra £15 to get a better fitting pair which see deeper is worth it over that sort of time period. If you have more money, then the Natives are a great investment, and being able to swap lenses is really nice. They really do "see better" than the cocoons/SnowBee's, but not hugely. They are a "nice to have", not a "must have". The Costa Del Mer's are the pinnacle of polarisers - but damn hard to justify unless money isn't a problem for you. Hope this is of use to someone. Steve
  5. For me, the key thing with floater fishing is to get enough interest. If I'm on a lake with plenty of swims free, I'll usually feed 4 or more swims. And I'm focusing on getting competition going. Initially I will feed each swim with a few large handfuls of floaters and then sit back and wait for a while. When you have carp in one or more swims, let the loose feed get taken up and then keep the fish feeding on a "little and often" basis - a few baits every thirty seconds or so. When you have a boil of fish in the swim, and they are competing against each other, then it's time for your bait. Got to agree with Salok - Avon rods are amazing for floater fishing - you usually don't need controllers etc as they are actually designed for casting small baits ( and medium baits, and large baits....) I don't bother messing about with dog biscuits on the hook - they're a menace. I use marshmallows. 1/2 a marshmallow on a size 4 hook. After you've dunked it in water, it weights about 3x SSG shot.
  6. Hmm.... Not a vast amount of the fishing we do would be considered "stalking" - i.e creeping around dropping baits in a margin on an active fishes nose. The average session, if we're after carp, would be getting to the lake, 15-30 minutes working out how the lake "works" - directions, sunshine, wind, tilt, bottom make up, etc etc, coming up with a plan of where the fish are likely to be, where they will likely move over the next few hours and planning a set of moves around the lake. Then tackle up and get into the first swim, Keep eyeballing the lake and be willing to move away from the original plan if we see anything different. In the course of a session, we might use 2 or 3 different methods and go from fishing at 5 foot in one swim to 50 yards in another. Its exactly the same as you'd approach a still water session if you're fishing for say chub or perch for example - rather than, say, and eel or pike session.
  7. Ah - I think I didn't explain well. I have been at a lake with some of these kids - 14, 15 and 16 years old, and they have caught, perhaps 5 or 6 decent fish (for the lake). However, they point to the "carp guy" in his bivvy who has caught no fish, or perhaps 1 fish, in the same period, and they think that he's doing it "properly" so, in some way, their fish don't count. Steve
  8. Here is my challenge though. I have kids, good kids, who feel that they CAN'T go fishing for carp because it won't be, in some way, "proper" carp fishing, as they don't have all the gear. They aren't making the mistakes as they're put off by not having the gear to fish "properly". Equally, when they get the gear, they aren't trying other methods because they see the static approach as the "best" approach, so won't deviate from it as thats what they see the likes of Danny Fairbrass and people on YouTube doing. Lets be clear - I am not in any way knocking people with all the gear - to each their own etc - I am just trying to understand the kids perception of the world. I.e. have they sub-consciously picked up "The static way is the best way of fishing, without it there's not a lot of point", or have they picked up "This is the most fun way of catching carp"? To do that, I'm asking you chaps what YOU think. Nothing wrong with the second one - the first is an issue though .
  9. Hello all. I have a feeling this may be a "light the blue touch paper" type question, but I'm going to ask it anyway as I genuinely want to know the answer. A "typical" carp fishing session - as seen in the magazines etc - involves multiple rods, bivvys, buzzers, camping etc - all the usual stuff. From my own experience, I have found a highly mobile approach gives me a significantly higher catch rate - on one syndicate I fish I think I am catching about 12x faster than the others who fish static, and on another I am comfortable I am catching at least 10x faster .... I.e. I am catching 10 fish in the time it takes others to catch one fish. This doen't mean "stalking" - well, not all the time, I will often fish at long range, it's just that I will go where the fish are, and as the fish move I'll (attempt) to follow them. In general, I'll mostly be trying to put my bait in front of a fish, whether it's at 1 yard or 100 yards. For almost all of my carp fishing I use a single rod, keep all my gear in a 25liter rucksack and in a typical session of say 4 or 5 hours I might fish in perhaps 8 or 10 swims at least. On a river, it might be 20 - 30 swims in the same sort of time. Lets be clear - I am in no way a top flight angler - no one is ever going to confuse me with Richard Walker - it's just that I like to catch fish and Mrs Steve has a nearly un-ending list of jobs for me, so I fish short sessions and want to catch as much as I can when I get to be at the lake or river. Those guys on the syndicates that I fish are likely to be better fishers than I am - the boost in numbers is purely because I'm playing the odds more than they are - I get my bait in front of a lot more fish in the same period of time. Similarly, I would expect most guys ( and girls ) on here to be much better fishers than me, even if there is a difference in catch rates. Obviously the "bivvy" approach to fishing DOES catch fish, but my sense is that it's not as effective. So, all of that extra gear costs a lot of money - bivvys, barrows, multiple rods, multiple reels etc. Those people who fish that way have decided that the investment is worth it to them - and what I'm trying to understand is WHY. Is it a wider thing - they enjoy the wider experience of camping, long sessions etc? Is it that, based on their own thinking, they believe it's the best way to catch fish? Is it something else - "tackle tartness"? (No bad reason, I do go in for it myself at times). Is it that, because it's in all the magazines, it's seen as the "right way" to fish? To try and defuse some possible anger - I personally do have a bivvy and all the gear for long sessions. I have the multiple rods, buzzers etc. I use them for eel fishing because eels have extreme neophobia, and won't go near anything "new" for long periods of time, so you need to settle in for long sessions. This specific question is about carp fishing and the gear, as opposed to fishing in general. My reason for asking is that some of the kids that I take out fishing want "all the gear" to be "proper carpers" but don't have the money for it, and I'm trying to explain to them the choices available to them.
  10. Use a 1cm piece of elastic band, or a float rubber. Does exactly the same job. I would suggest you increase the number of worms - there is very little that can't consume 2 worms - a 1lb roach and a 1/2lb perch will both easily get through them. If you're looking to specifically target big fish, consider using at least 4 large worms. Steve
  11. If you want the lead to actually stay fixed, then just used a breakaway lead like the sea fishing guys do. Very useful on occasion. I use then with CD rigs for eel fishing when the lead absolutely can't move. Steve
  12. Two methods that work for me - depending on fish size and twitchiness. Either use a Size 4, or maybe a size 2, large hook - I use the Raptor T-6, and hook directly. Use something like a fake maggot if you're using a barbless hook. If you're fishing more twitchy fish, I prefer something like a size 8 Super Specimen fishing on a hair. The Korum QuikStop widgets are fantastic for hair rigging worms - pass them straight through the saddle. Use a long hair, and use a good ball of worms - 4,5 or 6 worms. Snap the tails off each one. You are aiming for something like a golf ball sized bait. You're looking at a hair maybe 2" long. Hope this helps. Steve
  13. Wow.... This blew up. Apologies for not posting - I was hijacked with a weekend of jobs from Mrs Steve. I was kind of hoping to get the breakdowns of the two papers in first, but meh - I will add them later. Here's the key thing I would point out though - I have no dog in this fight. There was commentary on another thread that some of the papers published in this space are complex to read. I read a lot of papers for my professional life, and have a background of biology and chemistry, and I know how carp fishing works so I thought I would write them up. Being absolutely open, my main hope was that younger anglers would read it and realise that a lot of bait making is just an expensive fad and save themselves a bit of money. But. there are questions in the post so I'll try and answer them as best as I can. Please please please bear in mind - there are no wonder baits. I personally wouldn't - I am summarising some existing papers. Those papers also don't - they are targeted at flavour responses. They make no mention of biosynthisis because thats a totally different area of science. If you're in the mood to use sarcasm when, repeatedly, I pointed out that I was summarising others papers ( GOOD papers by the way - it was very good science ) then I would, in a similar tome of voice, point out to you that the bio- pathway for cysteine isn't going to be utilised by more than a very small number of carp - in commercials/fancy carp lakes, they will be consuming HMV baits and getting it directly, and in rivers they'll be eating fish and crustaceans. As for the 14% - more than 3,000 tests were run in very large tanks with both blind and seeing carp. the 14% figure was a note of what they put in their mouth, rather than feed. I.e. a carp by nature will suck in their mouth 14% of "stuff" they they pass during the day - weed, stones, silt, gravel, sticks etc as well as food items. If you watch carp, that feels about right - carp are speculative - they suck and blow all sorts of stuff. 14% is a neat baseline therefore. 14% of the time, rig foam will be sucked in. 14% of the time, artificial baits will be sucked in. Anything that gets rejected gets spat out - but thats OK - thats where the hair rig comes in. Yeah - they are good papers and pretty much all that I have come accross in this space. I don't think there is a perfect boilie - there is no perfect human food. different strokes for different folks.
  14. OK. I'll put my opinion in, but be warned - it will be thought of as wrong by pretty much everyone on here. Rods: Don't get two rods. Get one rod. Don't get a "carp rod" - get an Avon rod instead. I use a 1.75lb for pretty much all carp fishing. An Avon rod has a progressive action, so I can easily cast 3 or 4 AAA's 40+ vards, I can haul 20lb+ fish out of weeds, and when the fish goes crazy at the net, the rod just nods away.... no lost fish. Also, with that rod, you have a rod which will do for pretty much ANY specimin fishing apart from pike ( because of huge weights to cast) and cats and eels (who'll just buckle the rod - too strong) If you get 2 rods, then you'll be using two buzzers. And have 2x as much gear. And so be, at least, 2x less likely to move. The absolutely, honest to god, best way to catch carp is for the angler to go to the carp - not to wait for them to come to you. General carp fishing, for anything up to 24 hours, I just take a pocket full of bits, a bucket full of bait, 1x rod, 1x net and a unhooking net to sit on. I catch a lot more carp than most of my friends - but in absolutely no way because I am a better angler - but because my bait ends up in front of a lot more carp. The mobile approach doesn't work for all fishing, but for carp it is WAY more productive. Also cheaper. So - try fishing with one rod. Use the money that you don't spend for other stuff. Your rig is fine. 10 years ago it was the height of sophistication, and all sorts of hard core carpers were using it to catch huge fish. The fish haven't changed to the point where the rig ddoesn't work - just fashions have. But.... carp don't care about fashion.
  15. if your ever looking for specific chemicals always do a search for "<chemical name> data sheet" to get a breakdown. datasheets are regulated and are always correct here is piperine: http://www.sciencelab.com/msds.php?msdsId=9926579
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