I have been on several unsuccesful carp fishing trips when the temperatures are relatively high (20 degrees plus). I can see the carp patrolling around on the surface but not much action in the way of takes.
I tend to fish on the bottom but feel I should be switching my tactics and trying surface fishing?
Any advice would be appreciated!
I used to do the same thing, continue to fish on the bottom and had very little success. As you said, the carp are all on the surface and certainly not feeding on the bottom. This of course could change when the temperatures drop in the evening, overnight or first thing in the morning. But during the day I would recommend zig rigs or even better adjustable zig rigs. They allow you to fish a floating hook baits in varying depths of water.
You can buy adjustable zig rig kits that basically allow you change the depth you are fishing simply by letting out or reeling in line. I tend to use a fairly light leader between an inline float and the hook bait, something like 6 lbs would do if the water is clear and maybe jump up to 10 lbs if the lake contains lots of weed. I use a basic knotless knot and a piece of yellow foam. You can buy cheap packs of multi coloured foam and I found yellow and black worked well. I was really surpised that a simple piece of foam could lure a carp but I guess it mimicks food the carp like.
The key is to adjust the floating bait until you are fishing in the right depth of water. I would let the line out until the bait just broke the surface of the water and then wind down half a turn, that way you can track which depth you are fishing at and once you find the sweet spot you can easily get back to the same depth simply by remembering how many turns you made. I have had lots of fish with this method and it is a very exciting way of fishing.
Hope this helps you out
In these types of conditions I would normally adopt to fish on the bottom from early evening to late morning. At these times the temperatures will drop and the carp should move into the lower layers of the water to feed. I have had many carp at dawn and so make sure you have your rods out first thing in the morning. During the day I would try my luck at surface fishing. You can use pop up boilies or any floating bait really on a simple hair rig. I will always have a surface rod setup ready to go, you may spot a carp patrolling around your swim and you need to act fast if you want to catch it. I have also had success using zigs. I will set various different lengths of line and attach this to a float and an inline lead. Once you find the correct depth you should get takes pretty quickly and it can be a very devastating method. I use small pop up boilies, I find white works well. I do sometimes find the whole zig rig setup can be a bit awkward to cast out but you should give this method a shot, it is too good to pass up.