With the summer months now upon us now is the time to grab your surface fishing gear and snare one of the top!
For me there’s nothing as exhilarating as watching those greedy carp slurp down your hookbait and take flight as that hook goes home, whether this be fishing at range with the aid of a controller or surface float, or just simply tempting a carp from its lair at close quarters using a big piece of crusty bread cast amongst the lilies!
For some ,surface or floater fishing can be a little daunting and are easily put off by the concepts of it and it is rarely seen as a default method and often only tried or used as a last resort and can be soon rubbished by those that fail to catch on their first opportunity using surface tactics.
However be patient, be persistent and soon you’ll be banking those bonus fish using a deadly tactic when all others have failed.
So where do you start?
To begin with and to gain your confidence and ultimately to become adept at what you are trying to achieve, try to find a relatively small high stocked water where you can easily get the fish competing for your bait and put a few fish on the bank. There’s no point in targeting a large windswept gravel pit with only a handful of fish on your first outing ,take things one step at a time and try not to run before you can walk.
As with any element of fishing the same principles apply. Watercraft is always going to be key so look to where you may find the fish, snags and Lilly beds, but because we are dealing with the prospect of fish being on the surface and upper layers of the water, look for shallow areas of the lake where the water warms quickest, look for insect hatches as grubs and larvae burst through the surface film and look to scum-lines along the margins where the wind has collected not only debris but also helped serve up a banquet of both seed heads, insects and all manner of Carpy treats!
So what tackle do I need?
To begin with the choice of rod will be determined by what distance you aim to fish at and ultimately the environment you wish to present a bait.
If you’re fishing a close quarters then you need a rod powerful enough to absorb the initial lunge of a fish at close range along with a line to match. However if you aim to present a bait at range and in open water then you will require something with a little finesse, a through action rod giving you enough power to send out that controller, a little power in reserve but be supple enough to pick that line off the surface and set that hook and yet still be able to play a fighting fish accordingly.
Surface fishing finesse is a balancing act, whilst we aim to present a bait as delicately as possible as undoubtedly what ever we lay on that surface will be silouted against the sky line and will send out warning signs to any would be temp-tee, in my opinion there is no point in hooking a fish if there’s little chance of landing it. Yes smaller hooks and pre-stretched lines may result in more takes, but what they do lack is that margin for error, whether it be the high abrasion resistance and higher diameter in the case of a line or that extra anchorage a bigger hook over a smaller hook may provide when you have no option but to apply a bit of pressure.
Like I said this is a balancing act and it is a case of risk assessing your swim or water, as there’s no point in hooking a fish on a lower diameter line and small hook if you can’t stop it from reaching the sanctuary of that snag or weed bed, or vice versa, no point in going too heavy in a snag free environment and open water situation where you can give the fish a little room to move.
How do I get the Bait out there?
Using controller or surface floats will not only act as a visual aid but can also enable you to fish at greater range.
Not only this but in the case of some modern day designs they will actually aid you in hooking the fish by way of providing a bolt effect ,therefore providing resistance in the water and helping to
self hook the fish.
This topic is vast and is deserving of a more in-depth look, you will see what I mean, walk into any angling shop or view any online site and the range of controllers is vast, coming in a multitude of weird and wonderful, shapes and colours.
I’m sure you’ll find you own but for now I’ll just touch on my favourite.
After much experimenting my favourite surface controller is the “bubble” float and comes in a variety of sizes.
Usually these floats comprise of a clear plastic shell, similar to the size of an egg in which you fill the cavity of the float with water before plugging the same with one or usually two rubber stops.
Once sealed ,with the water now adding weight the float itself can be cast at distance and acts as a surface bolt rig.
What I like about the bubble float is the fact that owing to its clear body and water filled cavity they are less obvious to the fish and less likely to spook them. Not only this but the simplicity of the design and the fact that they are usually fished inline, their anti tangle properties are second to none, and by feathering the cast as they land the hook link will be thrown outwards providing you with the perfect presentation. The rest is down to Mr carp
Finally, again a topic which is deserving of its own comprehensive look in,is surface baits.
As with bottom baits there are hundreds if not more out there with new ones coming onto the market everyday.
Whilst we have our old favourites such as dog biscuits and ye olde faithful crusty bread there are now floater specific boilies, pellets, foams, even bugs and grubs each will work on their day but to begin with keep things simple .
So why not give surface fishing a go, be persistent and patient at first,dont give up and soon you’ll have added another string to your bow and be banking a surface caught summer whacker!!