Carp angling coach, Mark Pitchers, reveals some common errors made by many of his tuition-day customers, and offers up a remedy for them all…


There’s no doubt that most anglers are in too much of a hurry to set up and get the rods out. It’s certainly the single biggest mistake that my tuition customers make, with watercraft still not a priority. I’m sure that anybody who has read magazine features or seen numerous films and DVDs will have heard how important it is to spend time looking before you spend any time fishing, however it amazes me how much it falls on deaf ears.

There’s a big difference between going fishing and going fishing for carp. Let me say that it’s entirely up to the individual why they go fishing, but for me it’s about catching carp and you can’t do that particularly well if you’re not set up anywhere near them. I had one guy come for a 24-hour tutorial and, after a couple of hours walking around the lake looking for where best to set up, we decided on a swim. He then turned to me and said: “So, is this when the tuition starts?” He’d completely missed the point that we’d spent all that time so as to actually increase his chances of a bite once the rods went out. We weren’t just going for a stroll; it was vital time spent looking.

Above: Put the effort in and find the fish first!

Lots of anglers will say that, because they only fish short sessions, they don’t have time to waste walking round the lake. I despair at this, as it is not time wasted, it’s time looking where best to fish. I think nothing, even on overnighters, of walking for an hour or two in search of carp and have regularly had to set up in the dark as a result. However, that effort has often resulted in me having a carp in the sling the next morning. 


Another regular mistake that I come across and one that I often do a lot of work on with my customers. Having done all the work looking for carp, it’s remarkably easy to waste that effort with poor casting. Poor technique can lead to two major problems, namely the need for too many casts in order to hit the spots, and also rig tangles. Constantly casting into the swim because your technique isn’t up to scratch and you can’t hit the spots will see the carp in the swim disappear in a hurry. So a bit of technique improvement is required. I see too many anglers stand in position for far too long, the lead swinging to and fro behind them and, more often than not, then going astray on the cast. Be confident, take the lead back and cast it out. Aiming the butt at the target, following through straight and pulling down with the left (or front) arm are all vital techniques, but I see anglers get them wrong a lot.

Feathering the line is also a vital skill, which to my horror I still see anglers omitting to do. If you don’t feather your cast the lead tends to crash down into the water. You know the type of cast as there are loads of bubbles that come bursting to the surface afterwards. This is a sure-fire carp scarer and a cast that has not been feathered will also, more often than not, result in tangled rigs. Think of it this way. If you wanted to place a rig in the margins would you drop it from a height and allow it to crash down into the water? No, you’d lower it in as gently as you could, so why should it be any different out in the pond?


Above: Getting your casting correct will make a massive difference to your catch rate.