Carp fishing

Spring Time Edge Dwellers 

Dave Healey shows you how he goes about catching commercial water carp now waters are warming and the fish are feeding more…

Words Dave Healey Pictures: Chris Ponsford

Today is all about big fish on a big lake. Have a read below and see how myself Dave Healey and Chris Ponsford went about catching some lovely Larford Carp!

A call earlier in the week to Chris confirmed a trip where I would go about some practice i wanted to put together for my up and coming Feedermasters qualifier match also doubled up as one of mine and Chris’s many social trips! 

Now, Larford has three lakes; the speci, match and arena. Today we chose the speci lake in search for the big units down the edge that often feature in matches as well as main quarry for specimen anglers alike. 

The fishery is owned and run by Phil Briscoe and can be accessed very quickly via the M5, Junction 7 in the Midlands and only a hour or so trundle for me from South Wales. 

Today we always had the big carp on our mind but, first we had a go for the skimmers whilst we awaited the witching hour where the big girls come down the edge later on. 

Both Chris and myself fished 12-16m lines on small cage and method feeders but, with a chilly -3 local over night this put stop to the renowned big bags of skimmers however we caught enough to keep us occupied till 3pm came around for the edge!

As you can see from the great images provided by Chris, today proved to be very eventful and worthy of the practice and great fun. 

With the Feedermasters being rod and line only with no bombs or loose feeding then the edges can be more challenging to snare the big wise fish compared to a pole approach. 

This for me is mainly due to a few factors that I have set out below however i believe there are a few ways to overcome. 

Firstly, the feeding….

It’s very easy in a general every method match or pleasure session to throw a hand full of bait at any point to keep that edge topped up. Now with a feeder only match this becomes more difficult to bait dump so I do two things. 

First I ensure the bait I’m putting down the edge is the right bait and will hold fish long enough to be able to see them routing around and feeding well. 

Today I have chosen to feed 4mm cubed meat, 4mm pellet and the ever trusted corn! This for me is top notch carp grub that doesn’t blow about to much when feeding fish have a go and boy did it work!! 

I use the biggest bait up feeder I can find and pack it so it barley binds in there enough to be under armed out and this is so because I want to be able to dump the bait out in the top layers and not allow the feeder to hit the deck. This creates a larger baited area that simulates as close as possible the ability of baiting up by hand. 


In the past I’ve had a go for the fish down the edge on the method and have gone in when they have been head down and tail up but, to no avail… 

Why is that? I kept quizzing myself and the only things I could put it down to was the fact that I was getting line bites off the fish leading them to spook out of the swim and secondly was the method feeder the correct way to present?

So on this trip, I looked to overcome this and good results put a tick in both boxes. 

How I went about reducing line bites and spooking the fish.. I’ve firstly used a shorter rod in an 8ft parabolic action feeder rod to ensure that I can get the angle of the line better going into the margin as I can get the tip closer in to the bank with ease. I have also added a cralluso 4g lead 3ft back from the feeder so I can pin the line down in the kill zone and ever so slightly tighten up to the 4g lead.(can only be done on venues that allow)  

Now my feeder choice after learning that the fish wasn’t coming to the method as its probably a trap they have seen to often has to be a fixed inline maggot feeder with 6″ hook length. This is as close as I can get to fishing a bomb in my opinion and it worked well!

I had varied baits like wafters, hard pellet and soft boilies but, there was one instant winner for me..meat! 8mm cubed and coloured with Sensas Power Juice Super Krill spray this was on a hair with a size 10 GM1 hook and often see a bite within 10 seconds where as the Method rod just wouldn’t go around! 

Myself and Chris had previously discussed these methods in the week and Chris had also adapted the approach and had a few from under his feet. 

I must say I really enjoyed this day out, ever learning a having fun and a fair few fish thrown in up to 20lb (the big unit of a mirror was camera shy and somehow ripped my net head after being unhooked and made the great escape!)

Hopefully the above will encourage you to to try the edge this spring/summer, where great fun can be had for little money. 

Grab yourself a little 8ft carp feeder and a 4000 bait runner and give it a go!