Don’t ignore the surface

IMG 20200705 125735 1
A variety of floating baits will keep them guessing.

I managed to grab a few hours between being rushed off my feet. Luckily one of my club lakes is literally on my doorstep, in fact I can see it from the bedroom window.

IMG 20200702 204936

But don’t be fooled by how picturesque the lake is, its not an easy lake. A blank is more often the outcome than bagging up.

It’s a very silty but shallow lake, sounds horrible right?


With it being shallow and silty it is very easy to find the fish. Carp cruising on the top or big patches of silt being kicked up.

With the wind pushing straight down to the entrance of the lake, I knew straight away that peg 14 (a snaggy bay at the back of one of the islands) would be where the fish will push to.

IMG 20200518 202600
The snaggy peg 14

Upon arrival, sure enough on the edge of the over hanging trees there was Carp cruising about. I have found that if the water is rather calm I will find them on the other side of the Island, a slight chop on the top and they push into the snaggy bays.

So now I have found the Carp I am left with two problems to solve.

The first being, I’m fishing to overhanging trees that are too far to freeline but also I won’t be able to cast a controller past the fish to avoid spooking them.

The second problem is no matter what you do here you wont get the pac man effect. The will not compete for baits. They just pick them as and when they want.

IMG 20200711 172823 1
4 inches of balsa, 3ft of surface fluorocarbon and a size 8 wide gape hook.

To overcome the first problem, it actually has to be one of my favourite but very underused ways of catching of the top.

A 4 inch section of balsa and float rubbers. Set the rig up and leave the balsa soaking in the margins for five minutes, this will give you enough casting weight. What I like about using balsa over controller floats is you can cast right on top of showing/feeding fish and the don’t spook.

The second and probably the most difficult issue is as most of you will know, the key to surface fishing is little and often. You keep introducing bait until they start competing for it. That is when you would cast in. It’s a waiting game. But not here, they won’t compete for it. They will take off the top but my approach purely depends on how quick they do. If they take fairly quickly then a dog biscuit or floating pellet would be my hook bait. If they are not really interested then I can depend on bread being the answer.

After seeing cruising fish ignore the dog biscuits drifting about in front of over hanging trees, this told me that bread will be the answer.

Surely enough after just ten minutes a big mouth appeared just behind my bait, then the bread just disappeared in one big mouthful.

IMG 20200711 173904
First one of the session.

I kept putting a small amount of dog biscuits going out throughout the session just to try and keep them there. And it did pay off, five minutes after returning the first fish my bread had gone again.

IMG 20200711 164246
A very welcome second carp.

And it continued, ten minutes later and fish number three.

Unfortunately I didn’t have someone around to take a photo of the third fish and didn’t want to waste time trying a self take, so a cradle shot was the quickest option so I could get her returned back to the water.

IMG 20200711 162043 BURST020

At this point it went quiet. I decided not to cast back out. I continued to slowly introduce bait back into the swim on the hope that they return.

It’s now a waiting game.

The wait only lasted ten minutes until I heard a loud “slurp” come from under the trees.

It was time to cast back out, allowing my bread to slowly drift in front of the trees in hope of another lake resident to be lured out.

Minutes later a big eruption on the surface and a violent take. It was like a steam train, pulling line of and the clutch screaming.

Straight away I knew it was a smaller fish due to the energetic fight. A shapely common was soon in the net.

After this fish I decided it was time to pack up. I like to keep everything clean and organised so taking my time I was finally packed away.

I know there is always the “one last cast” and just as I picked up my bag a bigger carp rolled right on top of where I was fishing.

So I quickly got my net out, cradle was ready to go in seconds. Rod back out and just a slice of bread left.

As mentioned before, the joys of using balsa as a controller float it allowed me to cast right on top of the showing fish.

What I wasn’t ready for was the instant take as soon as the bread hit the water.

The end result being the largest Carp of the session.

If there is an opportunity then don’t waste it, it definitely paid off unpacking again.

But this definitely was the last one of a short but manic session.

Give the balsa a try, it’s available in lengths from most hardware stores and very cheap. It’s also great for making your own floats.

Anyway I’ve gone on long enough, it’s time to go back out fishing.

I also did a little video on this session please click the link below and hit subscribe.

Tight lines and wet nets.

By Peter Baker

Opportunist angler who makes the most out of every session regardless how long it is.
I believe that effort equals rewards.

Leave a Reply