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Barbarpping for Carp Part 2 by Graham Elliott

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Barbarpping for Carp - Part 2 by Graham Elliott​

It’s a strange Spring. Very wet and very cold and the fish have not settled at all in the lake. The usual spawning movements have been absent with no fish showing in the shallows of the lake. I have tried to tempt a carp by Barbarpping, but am getting dismayed and frustrated by no signs of the tench even.

I have been on four visits so far, short sessions of just a few hours with the only sign being a tench rolling over my baited area but not a single touch on the rod tip.

It’s been difficult to say the least, partly because I have handicapped myself with the tackle and bait choice - by choice. I decided that if I was barbel fishing for carp It wouldn’t be right to fish standard carp set-ups. Therefore no fixed leads, boilies, marker floats, bite alarms or bivvies with a lager stocked fridge.

The lake and waters had seemed leaden, lifeless and quite frankly I was often wet and miserable, the feelings that could only be relieved by some action.

A chat to a couple of the Tench Specialist members during a visit to the Barbel Society Meeting in Swindon confirmed my thoughts that it was a very slow start to the season for tincas.


The Edge of the Lake

Five days of very hot weather and rising water temperatures found me back by the lake without my tackle. At last a bit of movement on the surface from the carp, and signs that they were thinking about spawning, with rushes on the near bank being moved about and the odd fish crashing on the surface. I am hoping that they will get it over with at last and then start to seriously feed.
At distance a few tench bubbles start to rise, I am tempted to return home, tackle up and have a try but remind myself that it’s a good carp that I want.

The temperature plummets again, and so does my enthusiasm. It will soon be the rivers opening time and still the fish remain unresponsive.

The temperature rises again and so do my spirits. I’m back to the lake with a smile on my face. It’s time to get serious.

I am fishing a pop- up grain of artificial corn topped with 3 artificial red maggots. A large pva bag of corn, mini pellets and maggots attached to the size 8 hook. The area I am fishing has been sprayed with maggots and mini pellet covering an area of five yards. The rods are my Harrison 1.75 Torrix and I am fishing from the tip without a baitrunner. The same way as I barbel fish.

I have just watched the rod-tip tap again for the fourth time, but still no serious pull around but amongst the occasional tench bubbles are some much larger ones and I can just spot a slight clouding of the water in the area.

Something’s not working. Three more taps without a hook up and I have only another hour left to fish. I wind in both rods and remove the corn that was popping the bait up by an inch and add 5 more maggots directly on the hook as well as the artificial ones on the hair.

Within ten minutes the rod has bent into a fish and it’s a real tussle to bring the tench into the waiting landing net. A good 8lber that was fat as butter. As I unhook it the other rod slides towards the lake and I contact another tench that fights equally as hard and joins the other fish in the waiting landing net.


At last some action, but its really time to think about what’s happening and why, the minor rig / bait change has led to some action so quickly.

I spend a sleepless night going through the events of the day and conclude that the tench were feeding very hard on the bottom and heads down simply ignored the more visible corn offering. I have caught many of the tench before on corn and red maggot combination, indeed the carp hooked before, and mainly lost have also been on corn and maggot bait, with one on mini boilies.

Two days later I am back on the lake, with a slightly different approach. Method mix is made into a light groundbait with maggots mixed in and balled out, leaving a clear cloud in the water and maggots and mix on the bottom.

I ask myself am I tench fishing or Barbarpping? Well rather than my standard stepped up float road and waggler approach it’s near enough for me to feel genuine…of sorts. A large bunch of maggots are hooked straight onto a size 8, pva bag filled with maggots added to the hook and both rods cast out.

Two hours pass, and at last a few signs of fish. A large carp cruises around the perimeter of the baited area, joined by three others equally as large and looking pretty agitated. They disappear soon afterwards. My fingers and legs cross and I start to feel as agitated as the carp.

Twenty minute later the left hand rod slowly bends around, and a lift of the rod reveals what feels like a bag of cement at the end of the line. Slowly the line peels of the reel, but a tight clutch and a firm hold gets the fish moving towards me. Another slow run of ten yards and the fish comes towards me grudgingly. It’s huge, a perfectly scaled common and I wait for the sudden rush towards the sunken tree. It doesn’t happen and the carp comes straight to the net!

I’m elated but also slightly perplexed until I see the fish. It’s full of spawn and looks quite frankly a bit dopey. I set the camera onto video and take a quick run of it whilst holding the fish that weighs an almighty 35lb 5oz!


I make a decision to strip the fish of most of its eggs and return it after about 30 minutes when it seems recovered. It wobbles off slowly and I wished it well, thanked it, thanked the lake and thanked the lady who lets me fish the lake. We drank a lot of wine.

I feel exhausted yet saddened that for me the adventure of trying to catch a bigger carp than my 34lb mirror has been achieved. I haven’t been back there since, although there is still the challenge of a double figure tench on the float to beat my 9lb 12oz one.

I am sure that for many of us, once we get over the excitement of that special fish that we seek, be it a double figure barbel, a 3lb perch or a 2lb roach, later captures, unless similar milestones, lack the passionate feelings we had as we chased the near impossible dream.


I don’t know if it was right to strip the fish. It felt right. I did it.

Graham Elliott.

Copyright retained by the Author. 2012
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