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“Catch and Release”

Hi Lawrence…

You have done a truly awesome job with your web site, excellent advice
and great tales of the UK carp experience too. I also appreciate the
homage to Tiny Bennett. In fact I found your site because I plan to
replace my old paper copy of The Art of Angling, which has finally
fallen apart completely! Growing up in Hamilton, carp were the only
fish we really ever encountered in Hamilton Harbour and Cootes
Paradise (now they are inundated with Gobies unfortunately). So Tiny's
carp passions were great inspiration for my brother and I, and the Art
of Angling was our bible. But Tiny had this clear and firm advice -
carp should never be put back, they must always be killed - because of
their general destruction of fishing habitat. As I am sure you know,
Hamilton also now has its carp gate to cut the population further. How
do you feel about carp release - considering your European experience
especially, where there are so few carp relative to angling pressure,
I wonder what your practice is. Do you always release, sometimes,
never? I must admit I rarely followed it myself!


HI Mark, thanks for your comments.
Funny thing, in the UK if you don't release your Carp you're considered to be some sort of savage, and even still advocacy groups want to band fishing altogether as they claim it to be cruel.
I personally release my Carp but not for any ethical reason other than that I'm told they just don't make great table fair. Many in Asia and Eastern Europe prise Carp but I think it's an acquired taste.
Tiny's comments about Carp destroying habitat is interesting for sure. Place Carp in a lake that's being loaded with nitrogen's and you have a disaster in the making. First off you get tons of weed growth which the Carp then up-root as they forage for food causing an oxygen depleted situation as the weeds decompose driving off the fish. There's a lake that's connected to the Ottawa River that this happens to each summer.
Carp on the St. Lawrence on the other hand create giant floating weed mats that Bass love to hang out under, so there you go. Are they bad? Not on there own, but they can add or take away from a situation just as any species. The thing to remember is that they have been with us now for 100 years and Bass fishing on Lake Ontario is just as good as it ever was.



Just wondering what advice you might give to a newbie. I've targeted and caught carp with fly gear on rivers for the past few years but today I broke down and purchased my first spinning setup for still water carp.

I bought a 12' D.A.M. carp rod and an Okuma Avenger 50 bait feeder series. I spooled it up with 12lb big game line.

I have noticed carp in a few of the lakes around me but I'm a little unsure of what to do next, can anybody help me with the next step?


Hi Robert,

Welcome to the wonderful world of carp fishing. I do not know where you live or what lake you are fishing, but probably it is full of big carp that have never seen a hook.

Basically firstly you must make the mental leap from HUNTER ( with fly and lure) to TRAPPER and get used to putting out a bed of bait and sitting on it with patience until a) the carp get used to eating non natural baits like corn or bolies and b) they take your bait.

Take a look at the pieces on my forum. They are based on fishing here in Long Sault, so you will get away with lighter tackle and smaller hooks where you are, but the concept and basic rigs are the same. Especially read the bits on location and feeding. In a lake you will be looking for depth changes, and in the main will catch most concentrating on the side with the prevailing wind in your face.

Have fun


Fishing Fast Currents

Hi Jeff
I need your experience and your fishing advices on a spot that is making me go crazy in the summer. 2 years ago i was fishing their for the first time with my wife for anything that bites.... i was so amazed by all the big Splashes that i kept hearing and saw so many huge fish crashing the water apart.

I made my homework and discovered that all what i was seeing were huge Carp.
So i then red some carp fishing tactics on the INTERNET and started fishing for them.
I spent days fishing not a single bites...(as these time i had bought some boilies from RoyalCarp, fish flavour, curucao, vanilla and tutti-frutti). The spot was not pre-baited at all, and when i was fishing i usually casted 20 free boilies near my hook baits at each cast. Don't forget that i didn't have any experience yet with carp fishing....so don't laugh at me.

After seeing that it was not working, i decided to make my own boilies really simple one (soy flour, corn meal, semolina, some vanilla flavor). The nextday i went fishing i got in 2 good carp (around 20 to 25 pound) the funny part is that i did not lend any one of them... i was so damn stressed out thati tended to bring them to fast and both my cheap hooks at these time broke on me.

Finally after fishing a couple of time i got some takes not more then 1 take in a day of around 4 hours sessions. I got maybe 10 carp their in a month period.

Last year i when to the same spot with all the knowledge of pre-baiting and stuff.... i put a lot of mais in the water prior of fishing and a couple of day's before. The carp just don't seem to bite a lot their.
Some days they are jumping all arround and not a single bite... i tried everything (different dip, different hook baits.....)

So now i am thinking of maybe using a zig rig this summer, let's say arround 1 or 2 foot from the floor.... ( I have an underwater camera and saw many carp patrolling the area arround 2 feet from the floor).

The swim their is gravel and has a same depth of arround 12 to 15 feet. There is no weed at all and carp seems to patrol constantly the area. I am sure that their are hundreds of carp down their... even a 40 pounder was caught last year but took out for BBQ.... i was really mad that day but could not do anything about it....

There is a fast water, but it is not always the case, 90% medium flow at sometimes when they open the valve the water is very fast (Impossible to pre-bait). I always used 2 to 4 oz lead. Most of my rigs were bolt rigs.
So if you go to this spot, to fish for one day, what would be your approach and your bank tactics.


Hi Tony

At first when I read your email I was smiling as it sounded like a classic holding area rather than a feeding area. I have several spots here where I have 100`s of fish and sometimes 1000`s in an area for weeks on end and catch very few. Carp will hold in an area for two reasons COMFORT ( good oxygen levels and perfect temperature) or for FEEDING. in a comfort zone you will catch a few but seldom a lot.

However, this sounds Exactly like my Power Dam swim which is one of my favourites.
Because the area is not fished or baited heavily with artificial baits the carp are not switched onto boilies or corn and feeding on naturals. The normal way to deal with this is to pre-bait as you have been doing. HOWEVER: Because of the heavy flow I suspect you are not putting down any kind of carpet on the bottom. Your baits are being washed away down stream, probably taking the carp with the baits. Obviously corn moves farther than boilies, but baits in a flow move more than you think.

On the Dam I have found an area with a huge back eddy. Like a big slow whirl pool so whilst I do not know exactly where my free baits are going I do know they are staying in a reasonably small area. i.e going round and round not washing straight down stream. Often on the Dam I am spodding 30 50 or even 70 yards upstream from where I am casting. The distance depending on how fast the water is moving, and every day is different. What I am trying to do is guess how far the baits are travelling before they sink enough to get caught in the eddy.

On your stretch of river there WILL be some natural spots where the water slows down. Best way to explain this is when you look at the water, watch the flow and see where you feel it is ending up. Most continues down steam, but there will be areas where the flow returns on itself or slows right down. These spots will be caused by deep holes on the bottom, ledges or curves/outcrops in the river bank. You need to get your baits into this area and concentrate on fishing there. These spots will be where any natural free floating baits will end up and be slower in terms of current so the carp can stay there with less effort.

It may also help you to put your bait in via stiff method type balls so they sink quickly. You can use the method on your rod as well but throwing or catapulting heavy balls laced with corn or broken boilies works well. Remember always bait upstream in a flow....how far upstream is for you to decide. Also do not make the mistake of making balls so stiff they do not break down. If making a stiff mix for this kind of condition I always throw a small ball in the margin where I can see it and make sure it is breaking down in between 3 and 10 minutes. Whilst I sometimes use cheaper stiffeners in my baits (like corn flour) when making a very stiff paste you must use proper PV1 type binders,

As for zigging; I doubt it will help much, it may work well but not as you think. I often fish floaters in fast water, not to fish up in the water but because the push of the water pushes them down close to the bottom where they wave around enticingly and get some bonus fish.

This year I have also bought out some heavy bait droppers for myself to try them on this kind of swim. I have no idea if they work but I will try. AlsoI have some "low water" spods. These sink and discharge bait , not on the surface but several feet down i.e. They are not as buoyant as my normal spods.

In all as I said this is a magnificent spot but hard to fish. Learn its secrets and it could be very special. You have highly oxygenated water and natural food sources.

Hope this helps