How to Catch the Biggest Carp in the Lake
It is the goal of many anglers to catch the biggest carp in the lake but is it possible to actively target big carp or even specific fish?
Whether you try catching big carp in small lakes or fish on a large gravel pit, with the following tips and advice you will improve your chances of landing that big carp you have always been after.
Choose a big venue
The first port of call has to be the venue you are going to fish and invest your time in.
Does the venue have a specific fish you want to catch?
Perhaps you are just targeting a fish say over 40 lbs. Whatever your goal is, make sure this is clear and something you are working towards. This approach will keep you motivated through the difficult times when you are not catching carp. You did not think this was going to be easy, did you?
Once you have a clear end goal you need to really do your research and find out as much information as possible. Big carp are creatures of habit and will often be in the same parts of the lake during specific periods. You need to find out this information from any means possible
- Speak to other anglers on the lake, really get to know everyone and help each other out
- Do your research on blogs and forums. You could even post some of your own questions and see what other anglers have to say. The carp community, in general, is a very friendly one and often people want to help out any way they can
Big carp rigs
I see this term used an awful lot and it may seem odd to many of you, which I totally understand and relate to.
Some rigs seem to be a common link when big carp are caught and to be more specific, the chod rig has proven time and time again to be deadly when fishing for big carp. This rig presents a pop-up boilie right in the face of the carp which could be the reason why it attracts so many of the bigger more greedy carp. The chod rig, of course, can land you any size fish but would be my choice for the best rig for catching big carp.
As a side note, check your venue does not ban lead core which is often a major part of this rig. You can always try the naked chod as an alternative approach but still get the benefits of this big carp rig.
Best carp tackle
When fishing for big carp I will always use at least 15 lbs mainline in clear lakes and increase this to 20 lbs in more heavy weedy lakes. If a carp does manage to find its way into the thick blanket weed you need that extra breaking strain to try and free the fish.
The last thing you want is to hook that big carp of a lifetime and not have the correct tackle to land the fish, give yourself the best chances by adjusting your setup for the conditions.
Pre-baiting for success
This tactic can be a devasting way to improve your catch rate and give you a massive edge over other anglers. Get yourself down to your chosen venue and try to pick an area that is not fished too heavily. The goal here is to try and get the carp feeding on an area that is not fished by other anglers and that you can get into when you decide to fish the lake.
If you can achieve this, you will have lots of carp that feel safe feeding from a given area and when you do put out a rod or two should able be to get a few decent bites. The big carp love to feed and so will be in the area if you have them feeding with pre-baiting.
This approach does come with its difficulties. It does require some effort to get down to the lake and pre-bait regularly, but the biggest issue is trying to do this without being seen. You don't really want to go to all the effort of pre-baiting only to find another angler has spotted you and decided to fish on this spot.
Feed the big carp
Carp can get through a serious amount of bait and the big carp are no exception, there is a reason they are bigger than the rest which is simply down to the fact they eat more! If you know the carp are feeding make sure you put out a decent amount of bait to keep them in your swim.
I would always try and use good quality boilies as the main component in my spod and have found in previous outings doing so has increased my catch rate. You can, of course, bulk you spod mixes out using particles, seeds, hemp etc but I find these are a lesser quality and does affect the fishing. I am a huge fan of Mainline boilies and use Cell on a regular basis, not the cheapest bait but you cannot beat the quality on offer from their products.
Improve your rigs
These big carp have been around for longer and have gained lots of experience over the years from being caught in many different ways in certain parts of the lake. Based on these experiences you have to really ensure your rigs are presented in the best possible manner.
Use rigs that are well camouflaged and you are extremely confident fishing with. A rig that is not sitting well or that stands out will be seen and spook these big carp from a mile away!
Know what you are fishing over and make sure your rigs are of the highest standard. If you are fishing on blanket weed, does the mainline stand out like a sore thumb? Is your hook link kicking up and not sitting correctly on the lake bed?
If you are serious about catching a big carp you must know and have the confidence you are fishing well otherwise you will have very little chance in catching one of these old warriors.
Size up your rigs
In order to avoid catching the smaller carp, you can increase the hook and hook bait to make it more difficult for smaller fish to pick up your rig. This will decrease your chances of catching carp in general but does mean when you do get a bite you will probably be playing a larger carp. So what is the best hook size for carp? I would look at using a size 4 hook and match this with an 18mm boilie. Whatever hook bait you fish with, just make sure it is a good size match against the hook.
If you are serious about catching a big carp or even a specific fish, you are going to have to invest plenty of time and effort. Have an end goal that you can focus on to keep you motivated and keep going.
You will most probably have sessions where you blank but stay committed and you will eventually have success if you implement the tips and tactics I have explained.
You will never forget that feeling when you see that big carp in your landing net and all of the time and effort invested will be worthwhile. Once you have this taste of success I guarantee you will be hooked, pun intended and you will be planning your next target carp.