Angling Notes by Roger Fleming

WHAT’S a good bait for big carp?

Well I’ll let you into a secret: small pike deadbaits, or even a live bait, a bait I wouldn’t use personally.

A couple of years ago I was fishing for pike on a lake when I had a good run. On striking I called out to my angling friend to give me a hand to land it as I had a big fish on and I was on a high bank.

To my surprise when it surfaced it was a large carp which weighed in at 24 pounds and caught on a small roach deadbait.

An acquaintance of mine, a few weeks earlier at the same lake, had landed a carp over 20 pounds, and that was on a lamprey deadbait, of all things.

When I was coarse fishing a few weeks ago with a size 10 hook for anything that came along, I hooked a small perch which took the hook right down.

After some difficulty extracting the hook I dropped the perch into the lake. As it was swimming about on the surface a huge carp came up and swallowed it whole!

An angling friend of mine said there is a lake where, if one fished deadbaits for pike, it’s difficult to get the bait down to the bottom as large carp would take the deadbait on the drop.

Are the carp changing their diets or have they always taken live and dead fish?

So far, I’ve not done much good pike fishing, either on lakes or the rivers. I only had a jack of about three pounds when trotting a smelt under a float along the far bank at Bures above the bridge.

I have been told, though, that a large fish over 20lb has been caught from the Stour at Sudbury and an angler in one of the clubs I belong to has had a couple of doubles from the same river in that area.

There’s a day-ticket lake that I’ve fished with a friend recently, not far from Assington, where we’ve both had numerous quality tench to four pounds and bream to five pounds along with large perch. It’s not usual to catch tench from lakes in November. All were caught on worm under a float while feeding small pellets, maggots and small cubes of luncheon meat.

Although the day-tickets are not inexpensive, I’ve worked out that with the price of fuel, I’d be spending far more on return trips to club lakes at distance, that in some cases have resulted in blanks or very small fish, while this venue in my experience always produces large specimen fish.

This will be the last Angling Notes of 2011, so I wish you all a Happy Christmas. Let’s hope any fishy gifts you get will be of use to you.

I usually go out on Boxing Day, which is tradition for many anglers, though last Christmas period the weather was so bad I didn’t manage to get out.