What Does It Mean to Be Good at Carp Fishing?

by | Carp, Essentials |

First off, I think we need to analyse and break down what it means to be “good” at something, in particular carp fishing. Only then can we truly understand what this simple statement means and what it means to various different people.

We humans are a competitive species and over time have become accustomed to measuring our success against other like minded and similarly-abled individuals. I don’t think a direct comparison with somebody who is potentially more or less skilled than you are makes for a good way of judging how good you are at something.

There are many factors that should be considered when attempting to measure or quantify one’s competency in a specific task, and these specific points will differ from person to person. Let’s face it, if you’re reading this, chances are you would be wowed by any big carp – but the sport is so much deeper than that. If we had to choose one single measure to establish how good one is as a carp angler, what should we use? I think one of the simplest and fairest measurements would be to look at the time spent on the bank versus fish caught, right?

Well maybe not, as it would be unfair and biased to base one’s ability on this factor alone. Instead, we must take a range of different factors into consideration before we are able to fully understand what good actually means when it comes to carp angling.

For example, catching a 40 lb carp from a Syndicate, where the average fish weighs 35 lb, is a great result. We should not forget that landing an 18.2 kg carp is no easy feat. However, that result is easily trumped by a 40 lb fish taken from a difficult, open access park lake. Again, a magnificent result in all aspects of the word. But even this result can again be trumped by a never before caught 40 lb carp caught from a big wild 800-hectare dam.

Effort Equals Reward

The ability to overcome obstacles is a key trait to have as a carp angler and probably just as important as time spent on the bank versus fish caught. There are a number of great anglers all across the world that are renowned for catching not only big carp but catching carp anywhere they go.

However, these are not the only good anglers out there. Consider an angler that is fishing an intricate park lake with a low head of stock, a lake bed that is full of naturals with a lot of weed and silt. For this type of carper, just being able to catch one of the lakes residents is a massive achievement in itself. Conversely, think of a feeder angler fishing on his local runs water that is hell bent on catching 10 carp in a day session who then goes out and bags 20. These are examples of great results and both of the anglers that I mentioned would be considered good.

Landing this beast sure took a bit of effort!

“Chris mate, never forget that effort equals reward”

What I am really trying to get across, is that you get out of carp fishing what you put in and only you can be satisfied with your results based on your goals and ambitions. I regularly think of a fishery owner friend of mine who passed away last year. He used to say to me “Chris mate, never forget that effort equals reward”. This statement resonates within me not only when it comes to carp fishing, but my everyday life as well. If you dream of greatness, then you need to put in the required effort and in exchange for your hard work and effort you will ALWAYS reap the rewards.

In my opinion the single most important secret in carp fishing, before location, before baiting and even before presenting a rig, is effort. Once you realise just how important effort is, you will from then on appreciate every capture that little bit more.

Knowing all along in the back of your mind that you went where others wouldn’t, you tried what others wouldn’t even dream of and you did what others couldn’t. By putting in vast amounts of effort into something, it only makes things easier for you long-term, in the short term you may still find it difficult to read the lake. But once you become part of the lake and learn the habits of the carp, the wind and the general weather the closer you will be to becoming a better and a “good carp angler”.

If we look back at the pioneers of carp fishing and why they had the results they did, it will become quite obvious fairly quickly that these men weren’t afraid to try something totally different or new. By doing so, they were able to set many of the current trends we see today in carp fishing. These were also men who would do whatever it took to catch a carp. Whether that was spending hours, days, months and even years watching and learning carp and how they behave in their special underwater world. These were the real Mccoys of carp fishing.

How important is it to locate carp

Location is the obvious topic to follow, as you need to be able to find them before you can feed them, and then once you have fed them you can then devise a plan to catch them. A simple procedure but one that cannot be carried out effectively if not completed in that specific order.

You have already upped your chances of a bite tenfold

There is no point sitting up in a swim for 12 hours fishing straight out in front of you, waiting for a bite when there are no carp in your swim. Not only is it a total waste of time but your chances of getting a bite are virtually zero. Whereas if you can find one or two carp in an area or better yet a group of carp, then you have already upped your chances of a bite tenfold. This is without even presenting a bait and rig.

Location, location, location

As much as carp are illusive and at times difficult to catch, they do not win the prize for the smartest animal in the animal kingdom and can be easily tricked by taking advantage of few natural habits that carp have in the wild. Obviously, carp don’t have any hands so any potential food source they encounter has to be tested through use of the lips and mouth… Great news for us, not so great news for Mr Carp..

Locating carp is by no means an easy feat but can be made easier by the use of fishing aids such as: Echo sounders, underwater cameras, watercraft, polarised sun glasses, climbing trees and the use of drones. Keeping a firm eye and ear at dawn and dusk is a must, as these are the ideal times to be on the lookout for showing carp.

Technology has helped a lot in locating carp but nothing beats being at the water’s edge, keeping your eyes on the water and listening for the sounds that carp produce. On a lot of lakes, carp show themselves either by swirls, boshing and turning on the surface. On the other hand, there are just as many lakes where the carp are extremely shy and don’t show at all. This is where you need to really refine yourself and your fishing aids and rely on visual signs, in particular cloudy or mudded up water, cleaned out areas in the margins on the lake bed, weed beds, etc.

Check out our in depth guide for locating carp here.

Always observing…

There are many other points in carp fishing that one would need to focus on and perfect before being able to be classed as a good angler. But as a start these are a basic set of guidelines any carp angler should follow and perfect. Put in layman’s terms this the foundation of carp fishing. Get this right and you will have plenty of success, but get this wrong and you may find yourself battling to save the blank on every session.

Until next time, tight lines.