There’s something rewarding about stalking out a carp, that game of cat and mouse. The best carp stalkers are the ones with stealth, the ability to keep watch, and earn how the carp are feeding and behaving in the edge. For me, stalking is all about targeting them at close quarters, lowering a rig into position, and catching them out on that perfectly laid trap. It can be exhilarating stuff as the clutch starts ticking. Stalking can also be a great method for singling out specimens because you can watch the fish and their movements. Consequently, if you’re targeting one particular carp in your lake or just looking to create a chance that you might not have originally encountered, margin fishing could be the answer.
Keeping mobile and light
To make stalking easier, you need it to be hassle free so lighten your load. Mobility is key and so taking as little gear as possible just makes you more inclined to keep on your feet. A small rucksack or bucket with your essentials and bait, one short stalking rod and reel, net and mat is all you need.
Areas to stalk in
Lily pads, overhanging bushes and snags all hold carp so make sure you take a look when you wander around your chosen water. Look on the end of a warm wind, quiet corner or sheltered bay, as this may well be where the carp are lurking.
Polaroids & Vantage Points
These are essential in stalking because they ensure that you can survey the swim with the glare of the water eliminated. Without polarising sunglasses you are really giving yourself a disadvantage.
If you can, climb a nearby tree to gain a bird’s eye view of the lake. This, in conjunction with a good pair of Polaroid’s will help to eliminate the surface glare even more and give you an insight into the world beneath the surface. I’ve spotted no end of big fish that have led to their captures by viewing them from the branches of a tree. It also helps you to understand your quarry’s feeding habits and characteristics. All carp feed differently and you may be able to pick up on the smallest detail such as how close it feeds to the bottom, its reaction towards a certain material or the way it feeds over gravel etc. All this will stack the odds in your favour.
How & What To Feed
I bait up several spots when stalking, priming them for later in the day. It’s a way of prebaiting. My mix is very simple; boilie chops, pellets and hemp are all perfect for marginal carp. I have also done well on corn and chopped tigers.
Where you can, try and introduce the bait on a little-and-often basis. There are many tools such as bait droppers, baiting poles and catapults to help you bait tightly. By introducing bait regularly the carp will continue to return to the spot willingly and hopefully slip up when you eventually ambush them.
In the margins, you will generally be fishing a harder spot. As a result, I like to use a nice big lead – 3-4oz in conjunction with an ultra sharp hook. I fish the lead on an inline setup, drop off style, straight on the line with a few blobs of putty to keep it pinned. This is normally to a short, fluorocarbon hook length, again with putty on it to pin it down.
Hook bait wise, I will whitlle down a boilie or wafter to match the boilie chops that I am introducing. I very rarely use pop-ups when stalking as they are just a little too blatant.
The best carp stalkers are the ones with stealth, the ability to keep watch, and earn how the carp are feeding and behaving in the edge
Jimmy began his angling on the river Ouse with his father fishing for roach. His passion grew quickly and soon developed a love for big-fish across the globe!
James | 21st August 2020