Carp Clinic - Karl Haymer's Top Tips for Changing It Up!


Sometimes you just have to change your game plan and think a bit differently if you're consistently going to put fish on the bank in all conditions. Here, Karl Haymer shares his top 20 tips for changing things up and getting the edge!
  1. Karl and Steve checking out the new Matrix Cheeky MonkeysWeather Forecast – Keep a close watch on changing weather conditions to get the most from your planned sessions. By knowing what the weather will be beforehand, you can get an idea where in your planned venue the most carp will be hanging out….And what tactics to use to catch them.
  2. Supermarket Baits – The next time your missus drags you along for your weekly shopping spree, spend your time scouring the shelves for some cracking carp baits. It is amazing what you will find. The ‘healthy’ sections will be full of beans and pulses, which make for great particle baits. The foreign sections hold many exotic items that should be in every carp anglers armory.
  3. One rod is as good as 2 or 3 – Just because you are allowed to use multiple rods, doesn’t mean you have to. A single rod placed in the right position can be just as effective. In tight swims having several lines in the water can be a real cumbersome job, can spook fish and actually reduce your chances.
  4. Fill your spools correctly – An under-filled spool creates more friction on the cast, which results in your rig falling short. If filled to the lip the line will fly off the spool smoothly making those long range targets easier.
  5. Mark the spot – Hitting the same hotspot in some venues makes the difference between a nasty blanking session and a hauling session. Once you find the spot with your marker, cast a bare lead to it, clip your line in the spool line clip, and mark your line with a small piece of tape or pole elastic in front of the butt ring or rod tip, so you can clip up again when you need to recast. When you cast look or feel for the marker coming off your reel. Make sure you unclip your line from the spool clip before fishing as you could loose your rod!!
  6. Use your eyes – Don’t just sit back waiting for your alarms to scream into life. Keep a close eye on where your mainline enters the water, as any change in angle could result in a fish on the bank. Trust me, many fish are missed due to the alarm not sounding and the angler not even being aware of the fact there was a fish on the bait.
  7. Cast for success – When fishing with multiple rods a great tactic is to have a couple of rods fishing over a baited area, then to use a third (or second if only two rods are allowed) as a roving rod. This rod is recast regularly with a single hookbait or small PVA bag to different areas of your swim. It often results in a bonus fish that otherwise you may not have caught.
  8. Solid PVA bags in weeds – CARP LOVE WEEDS. Weeds afford fish security, and also natural food, getting a good presentation in weeds can be tricky though. The easiest and most effective way is to place your rig into a solid bag of goodies, which can then be cast directly into the weed, leaving you safe in the knowledge that your rig and hook was not caught up in a weed on its descent. From my own personal experience, I have taken many carp with this method and have no fear of fishing in weeds.
  9. High visibility hookbaits – In the colder months high visibility baits can make a difference. The bright color seems to attract carp during colder weather. I always fish a bright fluoro colored pop up during my winter fishing. 
  10. Don’t be afraid to go big – Don’t be afraid to use big baits, in smaller venues carp become weary of single hookbaits. Fishing 2 or 3 20mm boilies on a hair can fool even the wariest carp. 
  11. Shot on the hair – This alters the presentation of a pop up, pinch a small split shot actually on the hair, just under the bait. This will critically balance the bait, helping it to fly into the carps mouth. Of all the things I have changed in my fishing over the last few years, I believe this is the one thing that has helped me put more fish on the bank.
  12. Tipped baits – Give your baits a more visual attraction by tipping them with an artificial bait. A boilie tipped with a piece of artificial corn can make all the difference. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you need to use the same color as the boilie either, a contrasting color may seem strange to us to look at but it fools many carp week in and week out.
  13. Alternative particle baits – Hemp, corn and maize seem to be the mainstay of most carpers bait armory, but there are plenty of other particles to use. Try chick peas, kidney beans, lupins, Canadian peas, lima beans are among lots of available particles that you should try.
  14. Snowman baits – By offering a bottom bait and a pop up bait you create a critically balanced presentation, as the pop up negates the weight of the bottom bait. You can use matching flavored baits, but try it with different flavors….You may be surprised.
  15. Pellet mix – Use a variety of different type and sized pellets in your PVA bag mix, they breakdown and leak off attractants at differing speeds, keeping your swim ‘active’ for longer.P
  16. VA stringers – Few rigs these days are cast out without a PVA bag of some sort attached. Try something different, using PVA stringers offers a different presentation of your freebies. Very rarely will I personally fish a session with out using a stringer at range, it is responsible for a lot of my fish, fish that I would never have caught without using the stringer.
  17. Bait scoops – You cannot beat a bait scoop for baiting marginal swims with a minimal disturbance. They enable you to drop bait and even your rigs in marginal swims without the splashing of throwing it in by hand. Attach it to your longest landing net handle to reach that little bit further.
  18. PVA Foam – These small pieces of foam can make your fishing a lot easier in more ways than one. By putting one or two on your hook, not only do they protect your hook from catching on debris, but it helps your hookbait settle slowly on the bed of the lake or river. Put one or two in your PVA bag too, once the bag melts these will rise to the surface and give you a great marker for firing out a few freebies with a catapult or throwing stick.
  19. Backleads – On busy, or pressurized waters, carp quickly come to associate lines going through the water with danger. A back lead can solve this problem by keeping your lead pinned to the bottom and out of the way of passing carp. They also keep your lines away from boaters, who stray too close to you. There are a couple of versions available including flying backleads which are fixed on your line and are forced back up the line with the force of the cast. Another type is clipped on to the line after casting.

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  20. Paste wrapped baits – Mould paste around your hookbait, it will leak off attractants slowly as it breaks down. For extra appeal you can push other baits such as hempseed or small pellets into the paste.
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