Saturday, 24 July 2021
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Korda Carp Fishing Masterclass 5: Back to Basics | Neil Spooner | Free DVD 2018

Over the last few years you would have been watching the Masterclass DVD and you’d have seen lots of sections based around some really epic trips across Europe, as well as some highly detailed technical sections across the UK Now when we do the shows and things, one of the things that we are asked most of all is what about a beginner’s section? There’s a lot of you out there that are either just getting back into carp fishing, have just started, or just want to know how to get the basics right

That’s exactly what we’re here to do today I’ve actually brought my cousin along with me He was the person that first got me into fishing over 20 years ago when we were catching whatever came along on the canal that runs through Malden, but now he’s come back into the sport, wants to give carp fishing a go, so it’s my turn to help him out So for the next little while, join us We’re going to show you the basics

How to get them right and hopefully how to put a few more carp on the bank We’ve come to Peterborough on an Embryo water known as Pump House Neither of us have fished here before, so what better way to put my tactics into practice than testing them out myself So first things first Before getting the gear out of the car we need to locate the fish and get to grips with the setting of our chosen venue for the next couple of days

When locating carp, the most important piece of equipment you’ll need is a good set of polarised sunglasses Before today you’ve never had a set of polarised glasses before, had you? No, just normal sunnies Yeah, which are good for stopping the sun hurting your eyes, but for sort of seeing what’s going on in the lake they do nothing What a pair of polarised do is actually take the glare off of the water and allow you to see a bit deeper So to give you a bit of an example, probably two rod lengths out, what can you see at the minute without your glasses on? Darkness, a bit of weed, literally on the top

Yeah, right, now put your glasses on and literally two rod lengths out, you can just see a faint bit of cloud that’s come off the bottom which you wouldn’t, or obviously couldn’t see, and that is a sure sign that a carp has been feeding on something and it’s dropped down, stirred up the bottom and it’s having a bit of a root around But without them you wouldn’t know that But that on certain days can be the difference between you seeing something to fish on, or just going blind and definitely the difference between getting a bite and not So polarised sunglasses I’ve never used in the past Using them for the first time today was immense, really

It’s kind of hard to explain, but it’s just being able to see the weeds that are in front of you that we wouldn’t normally see but then going a bit further than that and actually seeing what the fish are doing underneath the water and across the water as well After doing a full lap of the lake and seeing some promising areas that look like they could hold carp, we didn’t see anything to actually confirm this, whereas on the other side, it’s been a different story This could be a really good starting point, mate There’s certainly a lot more activity All the activity we’ve seen is this end

The other end looks wicked If you were to turn up and going by what the weatherman was saying, a nice warm wind blowing down to a snaggy margin, that might be where you would head, but ultimately this is where we’ve seen the fish It’s always nice to be able to see as much of the lake as possible when you’re on a new lake for the first time – So we can move if needed – You’ve got it, mate

So we’re literally here, we can see the whole lake and if they do start moving, we’re travelling light, we’re only doing days, we can up sticks, get down there within probably ten minutes and start again – Go and get some kit – Let’s do it Come on How long till you get your first bite, that’s the question

Now whether you’ve been fishing for 30 seconds, 30 minutes, 30 days, 30 weeks, 30 years, the first thing you do when you get to the lake should pretty much always be the same, and that is have a good look around, see if you can find the thing you actually want to catch And AJ, to be fair, he was on the lookout for carp That’s one of the best things to look out for, things jumping out of the water and luckily he saw a couple over in one of the corners so we’ve chosen a swim based on that, where we can get as close to them as possible because let’s face it, if there’s no carp in front of you, you ain’t catching squat At least this way we could get a bite very, very quickly Right, I’ll do everything, shall I? Well done, mate

Being relatively new to carp fishing, AJ first needs to put line on his reels We’re going to be using Touchdown which is a very low stretch monofilament that’s strong, supple and incredibly reliable What I do is place it into a bucket of water and allow it to soak for about 15 minutes This allows the line to absorb water which helps it go onto the reel much tighter Next we thread the line through the butt eye and tie it onto the spool using a grinner knot, ensuring it’s pulled down as tight as possible before trimming off the tag end

You then begin to wind in, ensuring that the line is held under tension between your thumb and forefinger Keep winding at a steady pace, making sure that the spool of line is spinning upright in the bucket and not over-running itself which could cause tangles Part way into this process stop winding, allow the line to go slack near the butt eye and if the line starts to twist up around it, then simply lie the spooler line in the bucket on its side and continue Stop winding when the line is level with the lip of the spool on the reel Having a correctly loaded reel will reduce friction when the line is coming off the spool during the cast, helping it to go further

AJ’s been carp fishing for a little while but he freely admitted that he had heard about feeling the donk or feeling the lead down and he didn’t know how to do it, so had never done it before and it is quite simply one of the most important things you can learn as a carp angler because until you know what you’re fishing on, you’ve got no idea really if your rig’s presented or not Just before the lead hits the surface of the water, trap the line with your finger and as you sort of hold it back you get the rod to that sort of position and you can actually feel the lead pulling the rod down through the water and when it hits the bottom, you feel the tip, you’ll feel it donk, you’ll feel that lead hitting the bottom After that you just pull the lead, you can feel it sliding along, it’s actually, it is still pulling up to weed I found a spot myself, had a good lead around, found a nice clean area of clay and showed Adrian that when you pulled it back through, the lead moved nice and smoothly which indicates it’s a clay or sandy type bottom and you know that you can present a bottom bait rig nice and effectively Once I’d found the spot and clipped it up, I handed the rod to Adrian and explained that he had to hit the clip whilst the lead was still about 6-10ft above the water, cushion the lead down and then slowly hold the rod and allow himself to almost be pulled down as the lead is going through the water and watching the tip and you can see it, and thankfully he did after a few casts, you can notice it and feel it when you get that all-important donk

Now remember, slow pull across Right, then you’ve got to try and whip it up, keep the rod up and reel high, reel high, reel, keep it like that, keep it like that Look at that! Straight away Ooh, he’s got the cast, he’s got the rod up, he’s feeling it down, he’s got the donk! Finally managing to feel that lead down, it makes so much difference You know that the lead’s solid on the ground, you know that if your bait’s laying away from the lead, bait in the water that’s actually going to catch you more fish ultimately

Right, mate, I know it feels like a long time coming, I know we’ve covered a lot already, but finally you’re ready to get your first rod out Excited? Very much – Going to do it the first time? – Yeah, no pressure Go on, then I’m going to stand back here and watch If it is wrong I will make you redo it

Okay Even though there was a small PVA bag attached to the rig, I wanted AJ to catapult out a few additional pouches of the Cell to act as an additional attractor to get the carp in the area and sniffing around But we’re not quite ready to sit back and relax just yet Right, mate I’ve let you set your rod out, I’ve let you put it on your bite alarm as you would if you were fishing currently

Now there’s a couple of, not massive changes, but certainly in this situation there’s changes I would make to that To start with, what we saw over there, we saw a couple of fish really close in, didn’t we? And there’s nothing that would make me think they wouldn’t come around close in here as well And at the moment I feel that with over half of your rod sort of sticking out over the water, that could spook them I’m not saying it would do, but it could do And secondly, you’re fishing a really, really tight line

We’re not fishing very far out, you might be 30 yards out, and at the moment you’ve got a really tight line going all the way to the lead which means you’ve got a line cutting through your swim It’s not particularly deep, we think about 5ft deep, and at the moment you’ve got a big line running right through the middle So what we’re going to do, I’m going to show you how to slacken off and I’m going to just help you move, just move everything back a little bit Other than that, the way you’ve got it pointed almost directly at the spot is brilliant for indication A straight line is always the quickest way to get any form of indication on your rod

Like I say, we’re just going to bring it back, slacken off a bit and hopefully watch that Stow fall off when you get a bite Cool, let’s do it It might seem like I’m being picky, but these little tweaks really can increase your chances of catching The right-hand rod he did all himself He found an area, he’s clipped up to it, he’s clipped on his rig and his PVA bag, absolutely nailed it

There you go That’s away, that’s away Take your time, take your time, take your time AJ, let go of the line, mate, that’s it Make sure your clutch is loose enough to let that take line off the front

Absolute disaster AJ’s had his first bite of the day Unfortunately he’s suffered a hook pull Carp are incredibly powerful creatures and if you’ve not got your clutch set absolutely perfectly, that’s what happens, they can’t take enough line and you just end up pulling the hook out of its mouth Take your time

Now this is the bit, AJ I know you’ve obviously caught quite a few carp but when a fish gets this close in, there is virtually zero stretch in the line So it’s now making sure that your clutch is set nice and loose If he does want to go, he can quite easily take the line, because otherwise if it’s too tight, well, you know what can happen, it could pull the hook straight out of its mouth But it sounds like you’ve got it absolutely bob on at the minute

Chuck the landing net my way, please – No, mate – Okay, thank you No problem Steep learning curve

Imagine if he was fishing on his own The landing net should be in the right position already, shouldn’t it, AJ? It should Just take your time It’s only just behind you, we’ve all been there Literally I’d be guilty if you lost it, but I’m still going to make you do it

– Especially now – It’s a lovely looking carp, isn’t it? That’s it, mate As long as you keep a tight line you can play it off the clutch There you go That is a banger, AJ

Wait until it’s properly over the net before you engulf it, all right? Another common mistake It gets this close, you see people throwing the net out in desperation and what you can end up doing is just knocking the fish off the hook Wait until it’s over the net cord, on its way to the spreader block, and then just engulf the whole thing Rod come in, carry on slowly over your back, put your left hand on your landing net, keep the rod, keep it, keep it, keep it, lift Yes! Get in there! Yes! Well done, mate! That is a banger, that That is an absolute banger So with the fish safely in the net and not going anywhere, it’s time to get both rods back on the money Then all we do, don’t even worry about putting your bobbin on just yet

Then we’ll keep an eye on it Your line’s gradually going to sink What will happen, where it’s sinking, your line will naturally become tight again because it’s going down We already know that spot’s a bit deeper, so if your line gets really tight, just simply pay off a little bit more line, and follow that process until your line is almost hanging straight down from the tip You then know that it’s laying flat across the bottom, it’s all the way from here to your spot, nothing to spook the fish

So fish can just ride straight over the top without getting caught up Exactly, without getting scared Buzzing My heart’s pounding So, yeah, can’t wait to get it out of the sling and in my arms

Before removing the fish from the water, we always transfer it into the Trakker retention sling The sling floats which makes the process much easier than one that doesn’t When getting into carp fishing, carp care should be a far higher priority than an expensive pod or a two-man bivvy, for example Throughout this process you must make sure that the carp’s fins are laying flat against its body, as failure to do so could cause irreparable damage to the fish The scales have already been zeroed using the wet sling, so the fish is going to be weighed correctly

If you don’t zero the scales, your fish could appear significantly heavier than it actually is 20lb 12oz, mate Well done What a first fish Let’s have one of them

It’s just over the magic 20lb barrier, lovely big scales all over it and what a brilliant way to start his session – How are you feeling, mate? – Ecstatic, and worn out Quality Is that your second ever 20-pounder? – Yes – Wicked

What a carp, mate Propolis Carp Liquid has been designed to aid fast healing Although a carp scale will grow back in a matter of weeks, if you notice damage like you can see here, it should always be treated Once you have located a spot, it’s important that you know exactly where you were fishing The last thing you want to do, get your rod all sorted, have a bite and think where did I have it from? There’s a few simple rules to make it really, really simple

First and foremost, once you’ve found the area, have a look at the horizon and look for something that’s the highest point, the lowest point and work out exactly what you’re in line with So if you are fishing at night, you will still see it because it will still be silhouetted in the night sky, but even in the day you know exactly what you’re aiming at Then secondly, using distance sticks you can mark out by counting the wraps, exactly how many rod lengths you’re fishing Once you’ve had the fish, you want to get it back out there, it’s a case of redoing it, lining the clip, clip on your bag, whatever it may be, straight back on the spot again Hitting the clip and landing the baited rig in exactly the same spot got AJ another quick bite

This is the key to multiple takes in one day Many people think we’ve got a bait and a rig they cannot use and that is our secret Well, there are no secrets, accurate fishing is the edge Once again we slip the fish into the sling before it comes out of the net to protect it as much as possible when it’s lifted out of the water We never lift it in the net as this is the easiest way to break a fin, pull off a scale or damage its mouth

The first day ended with two fish landed, which just goes to show that these basic tips can get the rod bending, but tomorrow’s another day and we still have lots to cover Huge patches of bubbles like this directly over the spot are a great indicator that carp are feeding More uniform sets of bubbles can often be gas escaping from the lake bed, but big moving patches like these ones are almost definitely carp As I was playing it, it crossed over the second rod and my immediate fear was that it was going to tangle with the second rod, but thankfully Neil mentioned that where we had it on a slack line, it meant that it could quite nicely play over the line and meant that I could pull it back without it interfering with the other rod It’s now in the net, so we’ve got another one to weigh and have some photos with

Nice common So since recasting the right-hand rod, we’ve seen two fish show We’ve had a liner already, so we’re going to leave it where it is and see how the day pans out on that rod Because AJ is fishing on a firm clay lake bed, we’re using a simple lead clip set-up and I’m going to show you how to set it up Now first and foremost, before you thread the tubing onto your main line, take a sharp pair of scissors and cut your main line to a point because that will just ensure that the threading process is even easier

We’re going to put a short length of rig tubing on A length of about 10” is absolutely perfect Next up, you take your tail rubber and you thread the thin end onto your main line first and that’s followed by the lead clip and exactly the same, thin end first Once that’s done, we’re choosing to use ready-tied rigs today to keep it really simple It’s a Krank set-up, just utilising a seven turn knotless knot to a size 4 or a size 6, we’re sort of chopping around between the two, and that’s tied using Kamo hook link, a loop at the end, which is in turn tied to a size 8 swivel

Once you’ve tied your main line to that swivel using a five turn grinner knot, you then pull it inside the lead clip and you know you’ve got it right because you’ll hear a loud audible click as it goes in Once that’s done, you can slide your lead into place onto the lead clip, then make sure that you just moisten the top of the lead clip with some saliva, put the tail rubber on top of that and then followed by the rig tubing, which all plugs up nicely Now whilst this is an incredibly simple setup, don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s just for beginners Anglers the likes of Darrell Peck, Myles Gibson, that’s their go-to method A lead clip and a bit of tubing is what they use first and foremost

It will work everywhere It’s really easy to get caught up in the amount of different hook baits you can buy from a tackle shop, but here we’re keeping it uber, uber simple All we’re using is a Mainline 15mm bottom bait with a few different coloured tippers on the top, and what we’ve done, to again make it even easier, Mainline do some Cell-flavoured 10mm pink and white pop-ups You’re getting two colours in the same pot I’ve actually separated the two colours, I’ve put some Almond Goo on the pink ones to give them some extra attraction

On the white one, gone with Buttercorn Goo as well for exactly the same reason Now again there are over 20 flavours of Goo in the range You can buy whichever ones you want and have a play with, but by far the Almond one is one of the biggest sellers, it’s one of the most productive and the Buttercorn being one of the newest ones in the range has already proved itself as a firm favourite for a lot of people And finally we’ve just gone with some flavoured corn Again, loads to choose from but the yellow IB-flavoured pop-up one is by far the biggest seller, that’s a lot down to the flavour, the colour

It mimics a bit of sweetcorn and it just adds that little bit of brightness on the bottom – perfect Once we’ve got the chosen hook bait all set up on the rig, we’re then tying up some really small PVA bags, just to make sure that it remains tangle-free during the cast and to give the hook bait that added boost of attraction once on the bottom And as soon as that hits the bottom and AJ has felt the donk down, that’s when he’s putting the rod on the floor and he’s catapulting some matching Cell freebies in 15mm all the way around it – absolutely perfect, but most importantly, nice and simple We haven’t had a bite for about an hour now, so it’s going a bit quiet I must decide what to do, whether to reel in and recast again, but the right-hand rod we moved slightly when we recast from the last fish, rather than the 8

5 wraps, we went 975 because we saw more fish showing a bit further along the bank and it’s just gone off again Yes! 185 Straight after returning this lovely common, AJ is in again on the left-hand rod

Yes! So with the left-hand rod we haven’t had a bite all morning and usually I wouldn’t change bait, I’d normally keep on the same bait, but Neil advised to change from the pop-up that we were using, over to sweetcorn, so we did that to give it a bit of a different colour and now we’ve just pulled out this lovely mirror Ecstatic, it’s fantastic The change to the IB corn really made a difference and was keeping AJ well and truly busy on the left-hand rod IB corn again Yes! Right, mate, I’ve just noticed that you’re getting your rod ready to go out, which I like to see, however, what I don’t like to see is the fact you’ve got a bit of coily line going on there

Can you see that? – Yeah – Now basically what happens, when you’re playing your fish using the clutch, when the fish is taking line off the Bite n Run System in the initial part of the fight, all of that is adding twists to the line Now to be fair, it might not have any impact, but it could weaken it and you’ve also got to be checking for damaged line all the time You’ve had a few fish that have brought you in through weed, so it’s worth, when you reel in, just feeding the line between your fingers and just if you feel any slight dinks, it’s worth investigating just to make sure it’s not damaged Because it’s monofilament and when there’s nothing wrong with it, it’s incredibly strong

As soon as it’s got a little dink out of it, it can snap like cotton, so you’ve got to keep on top of it and keep looking after it But what we’re going to do, before you do that we’re going to cut your rig off, take the tubing and tail rubber, lead clip, take it all off, take off probably two rod lengths worth of line and it will be as good as new Just rethread it all and get it back out there – Sounds good – I’ll leave it with you

Thank you With the rod sorted and back on the spot, it was time to take some photographs of this lovely common Amazing I’ve got a sneaking feeling it could be another 20 In my opinion, one of the biggest game-changers in recent years of carp fishing is a set of distance sticks

To be able to get your rig back out in the exact position you’ve just had a carp from in my opinion makes such a difference to turning a one or two-fish trip into a five or six-fish trip It’s simply a case of remembering where you clipped up in the first place, by putting your lead next to the stick, marking it around, counting the wraps As long as you remember that number, remember your horizon marker, you can get it back there every time Now I’m not going to lie to you, we make a set They are very expensive because in our opinion they do exactly what they’re meant to do, but give you a load of added extras as well

Being able to screw it into any ground is a massive advancement Having the grooves in the sides so that the line can actually sit into them to stop it from pinging off is a great help as well There’s none of this big birds’ nest coming off and making you have to cut loads of line off and get rid of it But do you know what, you haven’t got to use them You’re better off using something – we’re actually using just a couple of very bog standard banksticks – as long as you mark them out exactly the same and you’re careful when you wrap them out, they will still do the same job

We’re not saying you have to use the expensive Korda ones, but by using something, you will help yourself get more fish on the bank More fish on the bank is exactly what happened with AJ yet again in on the left-hand rod – this time a lovely scaly mirror What are those? What are you doing? Yes Carp fishing equipment in the last ten years really has come on in leaps and bounds If you go back ten years, maybe 15 years and you bought a cheap carp rod, that’s exactly what you’d get, a cheap carp rod

The same goes for reels You spend less money years ago, you got a lesser performance However, the tackle that you can get today, which is reasonably priced, will still deliver you a high performance that some higher-priced stuff years ago would have given you On this session, AJ’s opted to use the Daiwa Mission rods in 35lb test curve

They’re forgiving enough when playing fish of any size, but if he turns up to a lake and he’s got to cast into a headwind, the rod’s suitable If he’s just flicking rods 50 yards down the margin, the rod’s suitable It will literally do everything that you need it to do and it’s not going to break the bank It’s a stylish sleek rod that looks the part when it’s sat on the rests and it’s delivering the performance that you need it to And similarly with the reel, he’s using a Daiwa Emblem 25 Bite n Run reel, which gives him the free spool mechanism when he needs it, but as soon as he picks up into the fish and starts to wind, it engages the front spool

Now me personally, I actually prefer a backwind facility, which the reel still offers, but Adrian’s used to using the clutch when playing a fish so it’s perfect for him as well Once again, it looks the part on the rests, it’s not too big, it’s not too small, it perfectly sits in the middle and maybe in years to come when he wants to fish extreme range he might have to upgrade, but until then it’s doing everything that he needs it to With the session drawing to a close there was still time left for one more beautiful mirror Over the last couple of days, AJ has learnt so much that he can add to his carp fishing armoury The best thing and the reason that’s happened is because he’s had such a great willingness to learn

For me, the standout highlight if I was to pinpoint one thing, it’s probably got to be the donk Throughout this session, I felt every weight go down I know that the rig is in perfect presentation and that’s been shown We’ve caught all day long and it’s been immense, so that for me has to be the highlight of this whole session As always, whenever we learn something new or learn to do something different, there’s always a few things that really stand out

Now for me, watching him over the last two days and he was a little bit nervous of holding fish of over 20lb, to now, doing everything on his own from transferring it safely into a weigh sling, checking all the fins are always flat, taking it onto the mat, making sure his water’s ready He had his Carp Care kit ready at all times He absolutely nailed it And even being able to teach somebody to do that, it’s been great for me as well and great to see the smile on his face with the wicked carp he’s caught For me the biggest memory I will take away from this session is when we were weighing in the last fish, the crew all mentioned how much I had improved as an angler

Now for me that is fantastic It proves that what Neil has taught me, I have managed to put that in place within the few hours that we’ve managed to be fishing I’ve learnt so much, we’ve caught fish I’ve had a fantastic time and I’ve got lots to go away with There’s a saying in fishing that a few of you might not have heard and it goes a little something like this

Any time you visit a lake, take only memories leave only footprints, and kill only time Be lucky

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