Carp Fishing In The Margins
Carp fishing in the margins is without a doubt my favorite. Nothing beats close encounter carp fishing where you can watch your quarry at close quarters. Every spring/summer I very much look forward to a few days of doing just this, with a rod and a bucket of bait (and net/mat of course) in the hope of catching a few decent carp.
This mobile carp fishing approach is not only more exciting but it can argued that it’s a better use of your time and actually more likely to catch you a carp. I have regularly out-fished myself and others by just walking the lake with one rod, instead of sitting behind motionless bite alarms.
After a while of observing your quarry you will notice just how easy carp can spit out your rig, even the one you thought was spot on for the situation. The hooklink may be too long, the bait too balanced or the pop up may be too high up. You can also watch how the carp in your lake feed, if you are targeting a specific carp then looking at how it feeds will be a massive boost in the chances of you catching it. Some carp stay glued to the lake bed and feed on the naturals under the silt, in this case a pop up would not be a good idea. Another carp may move very slowly and stay put when feeding, in this case you would want a very short hooklink.
Rig wise there are a lot of options when carp fishing in the margins. A lot of the time you will be able to lower your rig in and see it sitting on the lake bed. The baiting pattern also affects what rig you use; Usually the bait is in a small area and the carp are not moving much, for these reasons I prefer a short rig on an inline lead set up when margin fishing for carp.
The margins are a great place to position your rigs when fishing for carp, even when not on full-on stalker mode. A lot of people see the obvious features such as islands but overlook perhaps the biggest lake feature of all, the margins. The margins are a great feature and also rarely fished, this makes it a go to area. Couple this point with the fact that most people will throw their left over bait into the margins at the end of a session; this means the fish are getting regular free meals whilst not getting caught from the area, perfect.
What I like to do is walk around the lake and place a handful of bait on to five or so good looking margin spots. After a while of looking you should stumble across a few carp feeding on one of the spots that you pre-baited. After you’ve caught one then the fish will usually go onto one of the other four remaining spots that you baited earlier.
Another great advantage of margin carp fishing is that you can place your rig exactly where you want it. If casting (depending on your casting skills) it is unlikely you will get it perfect. When carp fishing in the margins you can simply lower your rig onto the lake bed, making sure it isn’t tangled and it is on a clear spot.
When you are margin carp fishing it is a wise method to use slack lines, so that the carp aren’t spooked. I like to leave the line to sink on a slack line for a few minutes before putting a bobbin on, this makes sure the line can sink properly. A lot of the time the rod is just resting on the floor, in this case I will leave the line slack from the moment the rig is in place (with a loose clutch). Some margins do have a few snags and in this case I wouldn’t recommend ultra slack lines.
Choice of gear is very important when stalking; it is worth taking a mobile approach. This means taking as little gear as possible and not the kitchen sink! I usually take: a landing mat, net, small rod and a light rucksack which contains the terminal tackle and bait. The rod I use is a ‘Chub Outkast Plus Stalker 9 foot’, a 12 foot rod is not needed and makes things a lot harder when carp fishing in the margins. A stalker rod also has a soft tip which means it will absorb all the lunges from the carp under the rod tip, which is better than trying to reel in a carp with a stiff broomstick-like rod. Clothing is also a piece of gear that shouldn’t be overlooked, when margin fishing you want to wear dull/drab colors so that you are less visible to the carp. When stalking/margin fishing make a conscious note of where the sun is; walking up towards the waters edge with the sun behind you will cause a great shadow on the water.
A great time of year for margin fishing is spring and summer, particularly the former. Don’t be surprised to find carp in the margins when it is still relatively cold, if the temperature has risen then the carp will venture into the margins as this water will be the warmest and thus more comfortable for them.
I hope this article has been of some help and that I have inspired you to try the margins next time you venture out for carp. Below are a few pieces of my favorite equipment when carp fishing in the margins.