Ian 'Chilly' Chillcott
Do you know in the past 20 years angling I have only ever come across one tethered carp and I fish a lot of waters, probably more than most, so that statistic would indicate we are getting it right most of the time. However, there is one statistic that frightens me a lot. On the vast majority of waters I have angled, at some point I will encounter a carp towing tackle. Thankfully, in today’s pressured environment, the carp don’t swim around for too long carrying their burden before someone’s lines get fouled and the offending tackle can be removed.
So where do I start with my take on tackling up safely? I believe that first up we should look at the line on our reels. Whilst I have no wish to tell you what lines you may need for different circumstances, you should know that some lines are made for specific purposes. For example, a line made with casting as its primary purpose is probably going to have some of the stretch taken out of it, invariably this makes it a little more buoyant and in most cases not as robust as normal nylon with a thicker diameter. So my advice is to make sure you main line is man enough for the purpose you intend it for.
When it comes to casting you always have the risk of cracking off so a leader can be beneficial when casting a long way. However, I actually don’t like to use long casting leaders, primarily because they put another knot in my set up, something else that may stop any rig components passing over them. Therefore if extreme distance is required I will use the Tapered Exocet main line which has a thick, shock leader built into the line so there are no knots! For the rest of my angling I tend to use the standard Exocet in 20lb which is a great all-rounder.
On venues where leaders are not allowed this tapered line is great as it has a thick leader section but with no knot!
The standard Exocet is a great all-rounder
For as long as I can remember I cannot recall a time when pulling a fish as if my life depended on it, ever landed a fish. When fishing in weed patience really is a virtue on a whole host of levels, but the playing of a carp is probably when it is most important. You will achieve very little, other than damaging the carp’s mouth and eventually retrieving an empty hook, if you do not take your time. Once a carp has weeded you up it will not wish to stay there for too long and is likely to move off to another weedbed. Take your time, try a tight line, then a slack line, pulling gently from different angles. Most successful of all, if you can do it, get above the fish. When you feel movement, then that is the time to increase the pressure a little. Once it starts to move, you have every chance of keeping it moving, but please, please don’t try and rip its head off when it’s stuck.
When fishing a weedy lake don’t try to pull the carp’s head off – patience is key!
Strong and reliable tackle will enable you to land fish after fish in safe manner.