Tom Maker explains how keeping it simple but effective with his go-to mix will keep the bites coming in the colder months
Floater Fishing Essentials by Joe Atkinson - Text Only
Floater expert Joe Atkinson gives his essential tips to get the most out of a short session, surface fishing using The Krill Floaters
Wind direction plays a massive part in surface fishing and it’s something I see being overlooked far too often. Wherever possible you want to try have the wind coming directly over your head, I’ll explain why. When feeding freebies the job becomes far easier, you can trickle them into your margin and let them drift out. This does two things, it creates less disturbance and it also covers a must vaster area of water. In return hopefully resulting in more carp coming up to feed. Another advantage is the fact you’ll have direct contact to your hookbait, this is paramount when striking as you want to make the take to hook up ratio as high as possible. Also, your hookbait behaves naturally like your freebies, rather than getting whipped across the surface due to a bow in your line. The fish will ignore it like the plague if its acting in such a way.
For me, striking is absolutely crucial. Don’t get me wrong carp will hook themselves. There’s many surface floats out there now that have a bolt affect, which obviously helps a great deal. But this also comes down to their feeding habits, some could hang themselves 9/10 times and others 0/100. I don’t like to let them have a chance to get away with it, so as soon as my hookbait gets taken I’ll strike. Of course your not going to hook every single fish but I guarantee, you’ll have a better hook up ratio by doing so.
Hookbaits need to be played around with for a couple of reasons. Firstly, buoyancy can be a major factor, after time your freebies take on water and in turn become far less buoyant. Almost to the stage of neutral buoyancy, so making sure your hook bait isn’t too buoyant is a must for any regular success. Or when fishing for more clued up carp, they will suss it out every time.
Hookbait colour is something to bare in mind as well, you need to be able to pick it out amongst all your freebies. A slight change of colour is all that’s needed but will aid you massively. For me I tend to use a Manilla pop up trimmed down, being that bit lighter than my freebies makes it easy to pick out.
Mixing up your Freebies
Mixing up your freebies is a big edge, it’s the same as fishing with a spod mix. The fish don’t become preoccupied on one certain thing, therefore not knowing what they are being caught on. This also means that you can chop and change hook bait colours and sizes. When the fish are taking with confidence they are just taking silhouettes and with your loose feed all being different, your hook bait is never the odd one out.
Over casting makes a massive difference, not only does it not spook the carp, it enables you to manoeuvre your hook bait into feeding fish with minimal disturbance. Multiple casts or even just one missed placed cast into feeding carp can be enough to kill any chance being fulfilled. Don’t be lazy and just use a big controller because that’s what you’ve got on, if the fish are in close change your presentation to suit. Wherever possible I’ll always free-line, multiple casts can be made with the fish being unaware of your presence, unfortunately this approach can’t always be taken though.
Having a second rod to hand is something I wouldn’t go without these days. Feeding spells on some venues can be extremely short so making the most of them is paramount. It’s always when you don’t want it to happen something unfortunate does, whether this be a knot in your hook link, needing a new hook bait etc… Every minute counts, being able to pick up that second rod and getting straight back out fishing again has caught me a lot of bonus fish. Having a second rod out there fishing can also put extra fish on the bank that you wouldn’t normally pick up. There’s a time and a place for this but if you have a number of fish competing, multiple takes can be a regular occurrence.
Oil plays a big part in my surface fishing, Cap Oil in particular, this has two purposes. Obviously the first being added attraction, oil leaking off through the water columns will get the carps attention. Also making the freebies far more attractive when being taken. Secondly you can take the surface ripple off the water by introducing a small amount of oil. Whether this be by dosing your freebies right up or putting some into a spomb or in your margin to drift out. By getting rid of the surface ripple it makes the job in hand far easier, everything becomes more visible. Your freebies, hook baits and the feeding carp, it’s a win win situation.