Basics - Specimen Carp angling - Eoropean Style by Gilbert Foxcroft [translated by J.Lessing]

1. Specimen Carpangling-Eoropean Style by Gilbert Foxcroft[translated by J.Lessing]

The purpose of this book is to bring a breath of fresh air into South African carp angling. With this,my friends and i are attempting to give a new dimension to carp angling.
Carp fishing ion South Africa is crrently experiencieng a similar excitement as Great Brittian did back in the seventies.There is a difference; The hair rig and boilies were just being discovered back then.In this instance we have the world at our feet.Technology in the carp industry has progressed so much that some people say we are around 26 years behind Europe.

For example,here you would still find people fishing with 16ft one piece rods and centrepins Where as the technology is so advanced now that you could take a 13ft two piece graphite rod with a 110g weight and cast 225m with it.This is but one example to prove how advanved equipment became.

Allow me to point out this:Anglers fishing for local clubs and competition anglers fish for quantity whether it be carp,muddies or barbel.The norm here is to catch as many fish as possible within a limited time period.This method of fishing totally differs from our style.Here we focus on catching large fish and not quantity. Though there is a vast difference,its by no means less worthy,500 000 anglers cant be wrong.

This way of angling does have its own trademarks.heres some differences.

Ultra light lines with low breaking strength are out. We fish with 6kg plus line strength.

Competition anglers are using two hook traces.We do it with only one hook.The biggest reason being the potensial damage that can occur during the fight.

This is some of the differences that you must bear in mind when comparing the two styles of fishing.

In the following chapters i will be explaining the european style of carp fishing, the equipment currently available as well as how it works.

I will also explain how to make your own boilies and i will be sharing effective proven recipes.I hope you will find the info interesting learn from it,so that one day your picture may be on the front page of a carp magazine.

Remember:This style of carp fishing is not complete without practicing fish care.Letting the fish go is much more exciting than catching it.

Should you ever meet Rudolf Straulie and ask him how they win their opponents,his would be this. Besides teamwork and practice,you must know your opponent.Its the same for a specimen carp angler.

Lets start with the definition of a carp angler.I define myself as a specimen carp angler,not because i make trophies out of them,but i practice good carp care and release it back into the water. a specimen carp angler try to catch the largest fish.With us its all about the big ones.

If you really want to catch big carp regularly then you need to know how it functions,What draws it closer,what is putting it off and what can you do to increase your success. Many carp anglers is forgetting just that.They are too caught up in their baits,mutis and how far they can cast.I propose forget all of that and just think CARP.

Although theres many detailed studies available,i think the next one will do. Specimen carp anglers are people with a good knowledge relating to all facetts of carp and not just bait and traces.


You will see what i have in mind.It is important to compare the carps organs in relation to your own.Learn the position of its bladder,liver and heart then always remember that when you hold a fish for a photo.

Handling of carp
People tend to hold carp in really awkward ways.Heres a few tips to do it right.
In order to hold a carp safely It is important to know the carps organs in relation to hands. This is important as you can damage vital organs which can lead to the fish death.Th above fig. Shows the vital organs such as the liver,heart and kidneys are just behind the pectoral fins.[where most people are holding it when posing for photos.] The gills are also a sensitive area where a lot of people are holding it.The gills are very delicate and has got membranes sensitve to infections.The area close to the heart is unprotected and it causes a lot of pressure if picked up at it fins.

Senses of the carp

SIGHTWith most animals,sight is its primary sense but with bottomfeedres like carp,sight is limited. There are no evidence that carp have good visibility in poor conditions.Most of South Africas water are merky,full of algea and wrotten plantmaterial.On a bright sunshine day in clear water,visibilty can be as good as 9 metres but in our typical watersonly about 10cm.In these conditions its not the blue part of the colour spectrum that comes through but the red colour. Although it looks to us that way,rember,its an animal so we cant know for sure.What we can tell you with certainty is that carp cant see when its dark. So when you have action at night,its not the colour of the bait.Maybe colour will have an influence during the day,but not at night.

This sense is one of the most important with relation to its survival.This is the mechanism that enables carp to further investigate something or to take flight.This sense of feel can be found on its four barbus around its mouth. They feel their environment for living organism and food by putting its head into it,whether its mud or grass etc.

Carp has two forms of hearing:
The inner ear thats connected to the bladder and its sensitive to medium and low frequencies.
Secondly its the lateral line,best visible on mirrorcarp.The lateral line is receptive for waves through vibrations and movements in close vacinity. Because sound is very well conducted in water its good to know then that noise,clapping and loud music may lead to a spoilt weekend.

Carp has a highly evolved sense of smell which can pick up traces of food over vast distances. However good a sense of smell,it totally different than that of a human.Just because you dont like the smell of a boilie,dont think carp approach it the same.You would be wrong. As long as the compilation of the boilie is acceptable for its smell,it will move in to investigate.

In the same way our sense of smell differs from carp,it is also applicable with our sense of taste.Same goes for our likes and dislikes.I,for example,cant stand the taste of hot spices where carp on yhe other hand loves Robin Red[mix of spices] .So long as the carp accepts the food it will eat its fill,unless it dislikes it ,then it will find something else.Knowledge of these five senses can determine your success .It is important that you take notice of these differences.

How does a carp feed
What may look to you as a unpractical trace,displays and works totally different for carp in their natural habitat.
Carp adapts its eating habits to fit its surroundings.Even fish with disabilities like a torn mouth,or trace left behind will continue to feed. However seemingly impossible a task it is to determine the exact feeding habits in different waters like dams,rivers and the likes,theres two that stand out. These two ways of feeding with boilies i have seen for myself in local dams.After 9 years of regular and constant fishing,i found they could determine differences between loose boilies and those on a trace.They definately get conditioned to the use of a cetain method you use to catch them.

The first and most common feeding habit is surely where carp inhales,creating a vacuum action,that allows for its food intake over distances of 250mm to 300mm.Although i have heard of instances where anglers surveyed carp taking food in over 100cm,i have yet to see it.Normally carp will approach and decide to take the food.

Firstly it creates a partial vacuum on the inside of its mouth.The mouth then suddenly opens and water,sediments and food rushes in. The mouth closes again and access water is pushed out through the gills,leaving the food behind .At this the carp will be hooked.Take note that its not always that simple.If your bait was not well presented on a hairrig the hook will not be set.One usually does not get more than one shot at either takes the bait or releases it.Carp can do this whilst being static or in motion.Its better when its in motion for the hook to set.

The second method of feeding that carp uses is where it puts its mouth over an item and pick it up.This usually happens in waters thats been fished hard and the big carp got wiser. In certain dams in England its been proved that some inhales others pick it up and instances where it makes use of both methods.The successfull carp angler will always bear this in mind when fishing . Others will never even think of this fact.Remember,you will only get a hook set when it feels the prick of the hook and moves away,setting the hook.

The effect of the seasons on carp.

If its your intension to fish throughout the year.its important to change your strategy from season to season.By using the same strategy throughout the year you decrease your chances of successfull angling in winter. Large quantities boilies may work very well during summer,but not at all in winter.and vice may have success during winter with a single boilie plus a Jy kan gereelde sukses behaal in die winter met net ‘n enkele boilie en vier of vyf los boilies op ‘few on a string,but during summer they will swim pass.Adapt to your season and dont stagnate.

Die water temperature in spring will still be low because of the winter,but as it rises so will the carps need to feed.After the long winter carp will start looking for food and this can be a very productive time for you,as long as you dont go overboard with the feed.The water temperature will determine how much you will catch this time of year,but defenitely stand a good chance.

Carp will feed more and more the moment the water reaches the right temperature.I found that during summer,at Klaserie,at night between 22h00 and 03h00 was the optimum time to catch. The water temperature was 22°C in the lowveld,so it will differ in the highveld areas. In Engeland the optimum water temperature is +28°F. At this optimum temperature the carp wants more and more protein feed.Use this time to do your feeding.

Like spring,autumn can also produce hot sessions because the water temperature stays consistant. During autumn you can expect most actions in day time,but hot evevnings may still occur.Adapt to your conditions and not your preferences.

Because carp is coldblooded,their bodytemperature will flactuate with the changes in water temperature .The water temperature then determines the carps ability to eat food.

Take note: Reduce the amount of feed and dont use bait thats high in oil.Now is the time to use edible protein feed.

Hopefully this gave you better insight into the world of carp.Carp have survived for ages and are masters in own right.Let us help them survive.Remember,the future of carp angling is in our hands.

Save it...And dont get disappointed if all went wrong.Ask and learn from experienced anglers.

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