Size Matters

Jake’s favourite big-carp set up ready for action

Solar Tackle’s Jake Anderson shares a tactic that’s helped him up his big-carp catch rate.

How do you target the bigger carp in your venue? It’s a question so often asked and, while there isn’t a ‘silver bullet’ to ensure you only catch big ’uns (it might get boring if there were!), there are steps you can take to tip the odds in your favour.

Targeting specific areas at certain times of the year going on past captures of the lake’s A-Team, and embarking on a baiting campaign and working a specific area are two good options. On day-ticket waters, though, these tactics can be difficult to utilize. Up against constant angling pressure and an ever-changing army of other anglers, it’s often difficult to get any rhythm to your fishing. The beauty of day ticket waters is also that you can swap venues whenever you fancy, again putting paid to any rhythm.

However, one tactic that has helped me target the larger carp in many venues, which you can employ on any water, is a boilie-only approach. Perhaps “targeting the bigger carp” is the wrong phrase here, but using only boilies has definitely upped the percentage of larger carp that I catch on both syndicate and day-ticket lakes.

The baits – simple and very effective

Don’t shy away from weed – it’s a fantastic feature to target

21lb mirror – one of a five-carp catch from a busy venue, thanks to a boilie-only approach

A big part of success on many busy venues is going against the grain and doing something different. It’s been said before, and it’ll no doubt be said again, but how many anglers actively try to be different? Not many, and that’s why it works so well.

The boilie-only approach is still less common than particles, pellets, spod mixes, PVA bags, etc. Therefore, by using only boilies you’re automatically presenting the carp with something different from the norm. Add to this the track record of boilies often producing big carp and it’s a win-win situation. Furthermore, everyone wants to fish tight and accurate with small baited areas and/or PVA bags. Don’t get me wrong, that works and definitely has its place, but baiting big areas is again different, which is my preferred option with boilies, spreading them over an area with a catapult or throwing stick. With the plan of trying to stop carp in their tracks as they move around the lake, this baiting approach also gives me more chance of grabbing their attention and holding them in the area (they’re more likely to swim over the baits if they’re spread over a larger area). A spread of baits also means that the carp will have to move from one to the next, rather than sitting on one tight spot and gorging themselves, as they can on tight beds of smaller baits. This helps to make them more catchable. If they are moving as they feed then they are more likely to pick up the hookbait, move, impact the lead and hook themselves before having the chance to eject the setup.

Baiting an area by scattering boilies from a throwing stick gives more chance of passing carp finding it

My preferred setup for boilie fishing is a version of the hinged stiff rig. The hooking properties of this setup are fantastic, and it’s perfect for use with pop-ups, which are my preferred hookbaits. Where possible, I like to target features such as the edge of weedbeds, snags, overhanging trees, islands, etc. The lakebed in these areas is often littered with debris, so a pop-up helps to keep the hook clear and ensures that the hookbait is nice and visual. I usually opt for a high-attract pop-up because I want it to grab the carp’s attention and have it be one of the first baits they pick up. The bright colour also stands out well against a debris-ridden lakebed.

Because there is often a chance of debris on the bottom, I make the boom section from coated braid rather than the ‘traditional’ stiff material. This sits perfectly on clear lakebeds too, but sits far better over any debris than a stiff boom would, giving me more confidence to fish this setup around snags, weed and the like.

 Tying Jake’s Hinged Stiff Rig

  • STEP 1: Tie a D-rig using a size 8 or 6 Stronghold 101 hook and your chosen stiff-rig material
  • STEP 2: Tie the small eye of a ring swivel to the stiff material 1½in. below the eye of the hook
  • STEP 3: Using a figure-of-eight loop knot attach a length of coated braid to the large eye of the swivel
  • STEP 4: Put an aggressive curve in the stiff material by holding it under tension around a Solar Rig Cone
  • STEP 5: Using bait floss, tie a pop-up to the small Bait Holder Swivel and blob the tag with a lighter for extra security
  • STEP 6: Jake usually fishes this setup with a lead-clip system and an anti-tangle sleeve, which will suit almost every situation
  • STEP 7: The finished setup with a PVA foam nugget wrapped around the hook to ensure everything settles perfectly over any weed and debris on the lakebed

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