Surface Fishing for Carp using many different types of floating baits, such as Tesco’s dried Chicken in Molasses or plain bread, plain or Cinnamon flavoured Bagel, soft hook-able dog biscuits like Bakers Soft Beef or soft chicken, egg-waffle, Marshmallow or Chum Mixer biscuits or similar plain squarish small dog biscuit (e.g ASDA's own brand) fished with a bait-band or gently soaked for a few minutes until they become softish and can be hooked through.
All give tremendous sport and a thrilling fight. Not easily obtained but worth seeking out is the Dried chicken covered with Molasses. In 2006 in an article in the Angling Magazine “Improve Your Coarse Fishing” Nine Oaks’ was selected as one of the UK’s Top 6 Fisheries for “Surface Fishing For Carp”!
The technique is to first get the Carp feeding confidently. This is achieved by throwing out a handful of dog biscuits and NOT fishing. Just be patient and wait until they’re all gone. Then throw out some more, and only start fishing when they are only two biscuits left. Strike when the Carp has sucked you’re bait down and be careful not to strike too early.
Throw in some more biscuits, but this time a little closer to you than before. By doing this you can gradually bring them towards us, as they get into a feeding frenzy gobbling our freebies and losing their caution. The closer to you they are the less line you have to lift off the water to strike, which helps making it easier to catch more Carp. But, you must keep giving them the freebie dog biscuits.
Also, keep the bottom three feet of your hook length (line from your hook) greased or coated in mucilin or use vaseline, fat off the ham or luncheon meat, grease by you nose, whatever so that it doesn’t “sag or sink” under the water and “spook” your quarry! *** This is most important ***
Bite indicators vary, from the simple bubble float, to a short length of feather quill, a fly-fisherman’s “pimp” (coloured fold-over sticky neoprene) or even a “kink” in the line and waiting for it to straighten - terrific fun. Surface fishing requires skill and patience and plenty of guile to get the fish feeding without "spooking" them. Important skills to learn and acquire.
Carp stalkers are encouraged to be considerate and courteous to our other anglers. One angler known as sausage man fishes the margins using a float road, pole float and fresh sausage as bait. The takes are extremely fast, so he holds the rod at all times. He misses many but he catches lots and many around 8-10lb about 12” from the bank.
That way when a fish bites the rod is immediately to hand, no stretching to a pod or down to the ground. By the time it takes to stretch or the rod the fish will have had your bait and spat the hook out.
Remember, a fishes reaction time is 10 times faster than yours. By the time you’ve spotted your float, indicator or what ever move, the Carp has had the hook and bait in his mouth, stripped it, found the hook and spat it out, and you’ve thought “oh, i’ve got a bite”! So, you have to be quick, no lazy fishing here.
Notice I haven’t mentioned boilies, not many angler’s fish them here and so they’re not really recognised as food. They do catch but not as often as the other baits. Oh, and don’t use big, heavy hooks like the raptor etc. bog standard, 10, 12’s and 14’s are about right for all the fish here, even the small Roach will take a bait on a size 10!
As we’re not heavily match fished they’re not particularly hook shy.
What will change your catch rate is the presentation of your bait, no long tails from your knots. I’ve always found that the grinner knot presents the bait superbly, is a strong, small and neat knot. If you don’t know how to tie it ask me and it would be a pleasure to show you how I tie grinner knots the easy way, my way.
Usually when angler’s are not catching it is usually they’re knots and how they tie them that are letting them down. Or that their hooks are not sharp or not “in-line” but sit at an angle to their line, so when they strike instead of the hook pulling in to the fish it pulls out or away from the fish. With a grinner knot the hook is in-line with the line and so moves accordingly. Once you’ve learnt to tie a grinner knot most anglers have usually hooked into a fish before bill has walked 10 yards away! Neat, clean presentation is everything!
During the summer months the best times are definitely early morning and from late afternoon (4pm which is when it seems that their dinner bell rings) and the Carp will be on the lookout for food.