There has been a lot written about tackle and all sorts of fishing tactics. Of course, the tackle is important to get big fish out of the water, but for me there are three main parts in carp fishing that decide between success and failure. These three main things are the key to success, and all the fishing leads back to three main parts, which can again be combined in three ways for each part. This is my 3×3 for catching carp.
Especially in the early days of a season, I try different tactics to get some fish. At my venues, I am allowed to fish three different rods, which gives me a lot of chance to try totally different tactics and be as diverse as possible. A lot of my fishing buddies always use the same rig, the same bait and the same tactic, no matter where they fish, how the weather is, or what time of the year it is. They mostly fish the same set tactic on each of their rods. To avoid this mono type of fishing, I play with three different components: Rig length, hookbait and feeding tactic.
These three components make my fishing a success. The tackle is very important to me as well, but these components really catch the fish, so the focus should definitely be on them. Each component as such can be very diverse, so there is a lot of room for change and to stand out from the crowd. Once I have found the best of each component, I try to combine them to get the perfect mix.
1. Rigs: In terms of my rigs, I mainly rely on one which I will probably never change. This is the so-called German Rig. It is very effective in any situation and nails any fish. I have caught all my big fish on it, and have further tuned it till I got my perfect rig. I have tried a lot of others, but lost some fish or didn’t even nail them.
Once you trust a rig, don’t change it. However, I do change the length of the rig. Even if I am fishing the same rig, I still adjust the length of the hooklink. This means that if I am fishing with three rods, I can choose three different rig lengths then decide which one is best for my current session. There is always one that brings the most fish! I mostly try rig lengths of 8cm, 15cm and 30cm; it’s not about changing the rig itself, but changing the length of it.
My experience has shown that early in the year, very short rigs work best. Once the fish get more active from June to October, the longer rigs are better, so I change them. If I am out for a longer session at one venue I can test the length, and once I have caught one or more fish on one of the rigs, I change the other two as well. When I began fishing, I always thought that the spot was the most important thing, but I now also know that the length of the rig matters. But what good is a perfect rig with the perfect length without the perfect bait?
2. Hookbaits: In terms of hookbaits, I try three different ones. The first one is always a small and very ordinary without too much flavour or colour. This is the bait that brought me the biggest fish during the last years. I always use a fish boilie, based on a fish mix with neutral ingredients. I would not use a boilie with too much flavour, just one that is neutral with no additional artificial flavour. This is it and nothing more. A single, very small boilie doesn’t look effective, but if you try it you will see that this will bring you a lot of fish.
On my second rod, I try a totally opposite bait that has eye-catching colours as well as very strong flavours. The best is an orange, pink or white fluoro pop-up in combination with a sinking bait. This bait is very conspicuous and the fish see and smell it from far away. It also draws in the curious fish which are not really willing to eat but are attracted by the colour and smell! It’s no secret that these kinds of baits catch fish, but I think they catch the smaller fish in a lake.
For my third rod, I go a bit old-fashioned, with particles and a natural hookbait. My favourite particles are tiger nuts. The carp just love these baits. They catch almost everywhere, and for me, placing my bait under overhanging trees is a real weapon and I have been very successful. The little tiger nuts are also good for avoiding bream and fish other than carp.
As you can see, the difference in my baits is huge, and I always try all of them, especially at the beginning of the season. Versatility is the key to success, like in the case of the length of my rig, so I try to choose three different baits for my three rods to test which is working best.
3. Feeding Tactics: This is always one of the most important aspects when it comes to carp fishing, because you will never catch a fish if it doesn’t find the way to your hookbait. This can be the case if you are feeding too many baits on your spots. If you feed too many baits, especially in spring or in low stock-lakes, they won’t come to your rig because they are already full. I have seen a lot of people come to the lake and straight away feed kilos of boilies and particles before starting to fish. This is what I absolutely dislike, and I really count on small portions of baits; it avoids overfeeding the fish and brings me takes faster, so I mostly feed very little.
I have three different tactics for my three different rods. The first is very simple. I feed a little bit of groundbait in a PVA bag, together with my hookbait. This is almost nothing when compared to the size of the lakes I fish, but the fish will find the bait when fishing at the right spot! This is the key to my fishing. I never bait with more than a kilo of baits per rod because I don’t see the benefit in it. Once you are on the fish, it is easier to get faster takes with only a little bait.
However, in the case of my second rod, I feed a bit more. It is mostly around 20-30 boilies that I crush or leave whole. On my third rod, I feed around a kilo mix of particles (mostly tiger nuts) and boilies. When I use this third tactic, I am trying to feed a very big area, meaning around 20-50sq.m. for only a kilo of bait.
You can see that I differentiate a little in both the amount and type of baits I use. Also, I mainly stick to three different styles of baiting.
Overall, I have the three most important components (rig length, hookbait, baiting) and vary all of them in three parts. This is the 3×3 combination of my carp-fishing success. I am free to change, combine and intensify one of these combinations, and always find the best situation for my fishing. Once I have caught some fish on one of the tactics, I change the remaining two rods to this method. This means I have three ways to use the same tactic in terms of rig, bait and feeding.
My experience has shown me that if a rod with a 3×3 combination is not working on a spot, it can come good by changing the three components. In practice, when I am on a trip of around four nights and am catching two or more fish on one rod, while the others are catching less, I change the other two to the same 3×3. This is rather simple but very effective. This procedure is started again and again at each session. The first night of a session is always to try out, and the second is always to focus on the best combination to get even more fish. I always catch more fish the longer I am on the bank, and the more I focus on the best 3×3.
So, I would always recommend combining these three components as much as you can, and find your way to a special venue to successfully catch carp. Once you have identified the perfect fit of your 3×3, stick with it for the next day to try to get as much success as you can.
I wish you all the best for your season and hope you find the right 3×3 for your fishing. If you want to follow my stories, I am on Facebook, Instagram or YouTube.