Elliott Gray - Spring Tactics

Spring is without doubt, the best period to get out and catch them. Elliott breaks down his spring approach.

Spring is without doubt, the best season to be out carp fishing. From March, the days draw out and the carp will be waking up from their winter slumber. They’ll be getting around the lake, actively moving and showing themselves meaning that rule number one is getting your location right.

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Early spring carnage.

Location

I’ve always considered spring a very reactive style of angling. Travelling light and fishing off the barrow is how I’ll generally angle in the spring. Taking only the essentials and being prepared to move gives me the best chance of getting on fish. Getting up and watching during those first few hours of light is often when you’re likely to see them. Through the years, I’ve found the end of a northerly to be a really effective wind in the spring, and then when you get them big old weather fronts, quite often the back of the wind can be where you’ll find the carp. Other areas I’ll look are areas of shallower ground, such as bars, plateaus, islands or margins. South facing banks will receive the most sunlight, and it’s here that you’ll often find carp, as they look to sun themselves after a cold winter.

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Eyes on - Location is everything.

The Edges

It amazes me how many people think that margin fishing is a summer only thing - This is a mistake. I’ve had some of my best results fishing in the edge during the early spring. South facing snags and features are carp magnets, so keeping quiet and looking in these areas with the polaroid glasses can be mind blowing (I’ve found the Amber colours to be best during bright spring conditions) Quite often, you can find a large percentage of the stock sitting tightly together right in the edge. Often, it’s just a single rod and handful of bait that’s needed.

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Don't ignore the edges.

Upper Layers

The upper layers come into their own as the water temperatures begin to rise. The sun will be warming those upper layers up first and that’s when zigs come into their own. There is no better spring tactic than zig fishing and if you get it right, it can be devastating, quite literally taking waters apart. I’ve found that two thirds of the way up to be the most consistent depth in the spring, and often found the hours of darkness can be most effective, where I’ll use black and yellow foam on size a 8 Mixa or Wide Gape with 11lb Zig Line links.

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Zigs can be devastating.

Baiting

There’s no need to go mad with the baiting. The carp are still very much in winter mode and won’t be smashing the bait. If I am to bait, then bits and pieces or naturals will be my go to, or gentle spreads of boilie with the stick - Remember, it’s about fishing for opportunities and stealing quick bites.

Single Hookbaits

A great spring tactic. High attract hookbaits cast at showing fish can be a great spring tactic, which I favour fishing on conventional chod rigs. By using chods, you’re able to cast at shows, without needing to lead around and you know you’ll be presented. If the lakebed is particularly soft, I’ll adjust the top bead to sit further away from the lead (up to 6ft) but usually, it’ll be positioned a foot or so above my Heli Safe. When fishing with chod rigs, I’ll use the lightest lead I can get away with, using a Kamakura Choddy and Goo infused pop up.

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Single hookbaits - A great spring tactic.

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