Carp fishing tips with Julian Cundiff

Carp fishing tips from Julian Cundiff
Carp fishing tips from Julian Cundiff (Image credit: Angler's Mail)

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Expert carp fishing tips from Julian Cundiff...

Although many anglers complain about weed in the summer months, give me that anytime rather than the gin clear conditions you get at this time of year.

With the weed dying back and carp not feeding as strongly water clarity can be a real problem on some waters and that can be significant when it comes to more cautious carp.

The clearer the water the more obvious the angler and his end tackle is and that puts them on edge. Don’t get me wrong – I am sure that carp always know they are being fished for, but the more coloured the water the less obvious things are and the better our chances are.

Having watched a number of anglers on a number of waters recently there are so many things that you can do wrong… and equally as many things you can do right!

Here’s a few from me that hopefully in the next month or two will put you on the right side of success…

Don’t spook ’em…

Once you are on the fish, or at least think you are, the first and most important point is not to scare them. I know it’s tempting to stand at the front of the swim staring at the water, but don’t.

Keep well back and consider your options. Is it possible to set up to the side? I try to set up behind the trees or bushes if I can. Keep low and don’t make any sudden movements. Often carp will come in very close even when you are there as long as you are still. Don’t bang about and keep voices low too.

When I am setting up I never have anyone with me as it’s my chance to think my way into the fishing and I don’t want someone else’s voice scaring MY carp….

Carp fishing tips from Julian Cundiff

Carp fishing tips from Julian Cundiff (Image credit: Angler's Mail)

Think before you cast…

With the gear assembled, think before you cast and bait. Unless I am on a bagging water I am fishing for a bite at a time and that means single hookbaits, little PVA bags and stringers. Whacking a lot of boiles or Spomb mix in is brave…and potentially stupid if I am being honest.

Your brain should be considering just two things: How can I attract them to pick up the hookbait? How can I avoid scaring them? One bite at a time, just like a good match angler.

Carp fishing tips from Julian Cundiff

Carp fishing tips from Julian Cundiff (Image credit: Angler's Mail)

Subtle end tackle wins bites…

End tackle-wise, accept that they will know they are being fished for but the more subtle and careful your end tackle choice is, the more likely they will trip up. I am a big fan of fluorocarbon but not everyone is and Nash D-Cam mono is a great compromise. The more line that is on the bottom the less obvious it is and the less spooky they will be.

When you cast out, let the line sink on a tight line and with the rod tip low. When it has sunk pay plenty of line out and don’t clip on the bobbin until the line has fully settled. This can take 45 seconds or more so be patient…Diffusion leaders are a must as they sink and literally disappear no matter what bottom they are laid over.

Use the lightest lead you can use which, for me, is a starting point of 2 ounces. Sharp hooks and the hair rig mean you don’t need huge leads to set the hook. If I am using a pop-up I fish it as close to the deck as possible with the eye of the Fang sometimes just off the lakebed. The mechanics work just as well and the spook factor is reduced. Keep your rods well back from the waters edge and if possible have the rod tips over land not water.

Carp fishing tips from Julian Cundiff

Carp fishing tips from Julian Cundiff (Image credit: Angler's Mail)

Keep it quiet…

Finally, having done all that hard work don’t undo it when you are fishing. Keep low at all times and observe the water from your chair or behind trees and bushes. If you are winding in, do it gently and don’t bounce the lead in. If you feel you need to recast, make sure you only do it as and when necessary. If possible on small waters I stand to the side of the swim to cast rather than standing out in the front of it.

This is all plainly obvious but often forgotten about in the hype of bait, rigs and tackle. It’s what very experienced anglers take for granted, I assure you. Don’t make those daft mistakes we all have done and you will benefit.

See you on the bank!


Angler's Mail

Running from 1964 until 2020, Angler's Mail was the UK's leading weekly magazine devoted to coarse fishing, telling readers everything they needed to know about which fish to catch, where to catch them, and what kit they needed to do it. Now, loads of the magazine's expert advice can be found on, as a helpful resource for angling newcomers and experts alike.