I’ve written a lot on fish location in the past, winter hotspots and the like but I thought I might elaborate further on rigs and baits.

Now, reed beds always hold carp come rain or shine because they act as a natural shot-stopper for all passing debris, or as the carp like to call it, food. They also provide cover, thus making the fish feel less vulnerable.
Therefore when everyone else is struggling for a bite whilst fishing where the carp are supposed to be feeding, reeds invariably offer a chance.

The trouble with reeds, and this is a little known fact, is that they are made of the exact same stuff that samurai swords are constructed of. They laugh in the face of the line manufacturers best efforts.

It is a problem that most ‘glossy page’ readers seem convinced that ultra low diameter lines with an invisibility factor are needed to hook carp. It is a misconception that is right up there with the world being flat, another silly myth I can disprove. (Oh, apparently that’s been done already.)

I went through a spell of using invisible lines and got thoroughly disgruntled at the amount of ‘liners’ I had. Because most of my fishing is done under the rod tips I could watch the reactions of the fish and whether in the margins or in the middle of a lake I think the results would be identical.

With a visible line fish would be wary, knowing there was a hook about somewhere close but the lure of the bait would prove too great and they would swim around the obvious line as they cautiously inspected all the baits on offer trying to work out the safe ones. With the invisible lines, fish would bump into them and spook off, sometimes returning to do the same again, sometimes not. Carp are naturally jittery, especially on pressurized waters, and brushing against something unexpectedly can be all that’s needed for them to give it the big tail surge goodbye.

With reed bed angling, a strong bit of string is a must. I regularly use 17lbs. breaking strain, though have been known to go as high as 25lbs. before now with no deceleration in bites.

Another thing a lot of people do is to back-lead to hide their line, perfect in a snag free environment but close to those razor like reeds leads to far too much slack line; a recipe for disaster. It may only be a couple of feet of line difference but it can be the straw that breaks the camels back, or tethers the fish. Now that we have established that strong, abrasive resistant line is vital we’ll move onto rigs: rule one – DON’T BOLT-RIG!!!!


If you have a huge lump of piscine pleasure wedged into a corner of Stanley knife blades, the last thing you need is them bolting into them. After disclosing that they’ll be no smut in this article I realize I’m risking the few remaining diehard readers out there but… a float is often the answer. There, I’ve said it!

The thing with reeds is, they all run vertically, carp know this and accept it. Lines however tend to run diagonally. Carp also know this but aren’t so accommodating.
Using a float alters the angle of the dangle so the ‘rope’
advocated earlier becomes part of the landscape, sort of invisible if you like! Clever stuff eh?

I know all of this may seem extreme lengths to go to. It will leave you looking like a noddy and often reed bed swims aren’t big enough to house your average two man deluxe bivvy home, but you must bear in mind I’m talking extreme situations here; like, when you really want to catch a fish.

I almost forgot to mention about the bait in such situations. Usually any high value protein enriched ensemble will work or alternatively a surgically enhanced, genetically modified, free fishmeal, or perhaps a birdseed derivative, encompassing a nutritionally balanced base mix.

If all else fails try a bit of bread.

Seriously though, carp will find anything edible ‘safe’ in a ‘safe’ environment. Concentrate on getting the presentation correct and the means of landing your prize possible.
I’ve said before and I’ll say again, catching carp ain't rocket science, give ‘em something they like where they want it and they’ll struggle to refuse.

As an aside, I’m not fishing this weekend because this bird I met last weekend has invited me back to her place as her parents are away for a week and she has the house to herself and… Oops… Sorry!