By Martyn Davies
In this piece I want to give you some simple tips to think about regarding your carp care whilst out on the bank this summer.
Tip 1: Dip Your Nets, Mats, Slings!
Most fisheries nowadays will have some form of tank onsite so upon your arrival make sure you dip your nets, mats and slings. I thoroughly recommend you do so as a minimum at the start of your session or better still at the end of your session too!
Doing this will disinfect and deter the spread of any nasty diseases between venues as our kit can become a breeding ground for killer viruses such as KHV so we need to ensure we all do our bit for the safety of the fish we love to catch.
Tip 2: Be Prepared!
In the heat of the day the last thing you want to be doing is keeping the carp captive for too long whilst you faff around sorting 101 things, so by this I mean your carp care kit, weigh scales, forceps, camera, tripod etc. so ensuring everything is to hand in the general area of your unhooking mat will make it comfortable for you and but more importantly your capture.
Not only that, being organised will allow you to deal with the fish with minimal fuss but also allowing you to get that rod straight back out for the chance of another bite!
Tip 3: Keep Them Cool!
Now it’s always worth remembering to have some form of water bucket next to your mat and the reason for this is to keep your catch as wet and comfortable as possible whilst you unhook and lift for your pictures.
Now if your bucket has been filled too early into your session and sat in the direct sunlight for the best part of the day I can assure you this water will certainly be a lot warmer than when you would have originally filled it so I recommend leaving your bucket empty and filling it just before you move your catch from the margins to the mat. This will ensure the water is at its coolest and will not be uncomfortable or a shock when giving your catch that refreshing splash of water!
Tip 4: Unhooking Mats/Slings
As with your bucket of water, your mat and sling can actually become much much hotter if left in direct sunlight, so I recommend keeping them in a shaded area or if this is not possible its worth flipping your mat upside down with your retainer/sling underneath. A scorching hot mat coupled with a bucket of hot water will certainly be uncomfortable for us to touch let alone lowering your catch onto. With your mat as cool as possible and water fresh from the lake unhooking your prize will be a much more pleasurable experience.
Just before you begin to move your catch give your mat and sling a good watering down, again this is all about making the Carps time on the bank safe and comfortable so a good bucket or two worth’s of water will certainly do the trick!
As I mentioned in Tip 2 the time your catch spends on the bank needs to be minimal so once you are ready to release it is paramount that you spend a few minutes with the fish lowered in the water whilst they regain the energy to swim off. I find lowering and supporting the fish to remain upright whilst holding onto the wrist of its tail is a great way to know when it’s ready to kick away from you and swim back to the murky depths.
Sometimes this can take longer depending on various circumstances so until you feel it want to kick and swim off just be patient, summer can be a fatiguing time of year.
Tip 5: Spawning
Through the course of the summer months Carp can spawn several times which can often be very aggressive as they look to release and fertilise eggs up against features such as reeds, snags, lillies etc.
Spawning is a very exhausting exercise so at this time of year, it is paramount at the first signs of fish grouping up, chasing or thrashing up against such features that you stop fishing and allow them to continue with their business without any angling pressure.
Fishing towards, near or just in general for spawning fish is not acceptable angling and can increase stress if a fish is caught or even foul hooked which can ultimately lead to death. At the first signs of spawning activity I would recommend you inform the bailiff or owner at the venue in which they will take the necessary action. Not all Carp spawn at the same time so it would certainly be worth giving them 2/3 weeks breathing space as once spawning has finished, Carp do tend to take some downtime before they start to replenish and get back into a feeding frame of mind so as much as we want to be out on the bank the action can be slow or even non-existent as they recover so take the time out to re-charge yourself, enjoy a beer or BBQ.
The fish aren’t going anywhere!
Tip 6: Look After Them!
As you can imagine spawning activity alone can lead to various types of wounds so now is a good of a time as any to make sure you have some form of treatment to be able to administer to various parts of the body.
Personally, I opt for the Propolis type liquid treatment as any broken skin on a Carps body can been dabbed with a towel, Propolis applied and then sealed with a slight splash of water. Propolis forms a natural wax type barrier which aids recovery and allows any sores or cuts to heal underneath. This product can obviously be used all year round but from previous experience having a bottle of treatment really does come into its own this time of year. A rule I always stick to is that I want any Carp I catch to go back and swim off to fight another day in better condition than when I caught it.
Tip 7: Look After Yourself!
Now my last tip is just as important as all the above, make sure you take the time to look after yourself! We can all easily get lost in the moment, forgetting to apply sun cream, taking a moment to eat, staying hydrated and taking shelter from those blistering rays! The less of these we do the chances of us falling ill are increased and having sunburn, feeling sick, sunstroke, headaches and quite possibly diarrhoea are not fun at the best of times let alone when on out on the bank so…
- Smother yourself in suncream
- Wear a hat and glasses
- Stay cool, stick to shaded areas where possible
- Stay hydrated and refuel
- Take time to recharge your batteries
- Be safe not sorry
Enjoy your summer and COME ON ENGLAND!!!! ITS COMING HOME!