Surface Fishing For Carp !

Surface Fishing For Carp !

One of my favorite ways of fishing for carp is to catch them "off the top". This means to catch carp using floating baits on the surface film of the water.


The types of baits you can use are endless but of course they must float. Breakfast serials such as sugar puffs ect , work quite well but have the disadvantage of being light so you cant catapult them very far ( especially on a windy day !) The most popular bait and probably one of the best is bread. This is a good option when there are no small fish around as they will peck the bread off the hook in no time at all. Sometimes stealth is needed to get a large carp so if you are always recasting to replace the bread this will spook the fish. Another option is "floater cake" . This is a boilie mix with baking soda added to make a sponge like cake. By adjusting the consistency you can make it quite hard but will still be buoyant. By far the best type of bait to use are various pet foods (purina , pedigree chum ect ) Before buying a large sack check the size of the pellets and that they do float.


The problem with these types of baits is they are rock hard so how do you put them on the hook. What you need is a knife and some superglue (carp anglers friend !) . You cut a groove in the dog buscuit just deep enough so the shank of the hook will lie in it then superglue the hook to the buscuit. It takes about five minutes to dry but will stay on for at least 30 mins in the water. Some friends of mine have had a lot of success replacing the dog buscuit on the hook with a piece of cork or balsa wood cut to shape. Even with the weight of the hook and bait this is still not enough to cast very far so you have to add weight to the line in the form of a controller. This is a weighted float (bobber) which lets the line run along the top of the water.

At long range this can act as an indicator when its difficult to see the bait Its best to have the controller set at least five foot (1.5 metres) from the hook to avoid spooking the fish . Sometimes the fish might even be out of the controllers casting range so we can add a lead to the line and fish a sliding controller set-up as follows

If carp in a water have been caught on the standard floater setups quite a bit they can become wary of the line attached to the hook lying across the water.In this case we can use the "Beachcaster set-up" as follows

As you can see from the diagram no line touches the water so its very difficult for the carp to spot the hookbait from the free offerings. In the UK some waters have banned this method as it is too good !


The best way to approach floater fishing is to build the fishes confidence by not casting in too soon. You must keep introducing free offerings till you get the fish feeding confidently that they wont mind you casting a controller out. Also this encourages other carp to join in .Its not easy to hold back and wait while the fish are feeding but this means that you can try and select a bigger carp. For if you hook a carp in amongst feeding fish there is a great explosion as all the fish are scared off . It may take a while to get the fishes confidence back so you dont want to waste the chance on a smaller fish. Sometimes it may seem that some people are lucky in the size of fish they catch. With this technique you can be more selective about the size of fish you catch . I tend to pull the bait away from the mouth of a fish if i think its a smaller one. This tends to spook the fish (but only a little if you do it slowly !).This is why you need to get the fish confident so you are always in control of the situation. With floater fishing it is best to watch the bait rather than the controller as you will be able to strike quicker. At range if you cant see the bait always try and wait for the line to move before you strike as you dont want to spook the fish for no reason . You may get a lot of swirling around the hookbait if the fish are not very confident . You must have nerves of steel and the patience of a saint to avoid striking before you get a "real" take. That moment of excitement is well worth waiting for !

Tackle Needed

The sort of tackle needed for floater fishing depends on the situation but i would tend to go for a 11-12ft through action rod of about 2 pound test curve. You need a rod that will cushion the initial take from the fish . The first run can be stunning in its speed and power.The line size depends on surrounding conditions. If there are lots of trees and snags in the water nearby, you may need to bully the fish away from these so 12-15 breaking strain would be about right Try to use a line with lots of stretch as this will adsorb a lot of the power of the fish. If conditions allow use a lighter breaking strain , especially for the hooklength as this is less likely to turn the carp away. Hook size and pattern are important , dont go any larger than a size six , as anything else will be too heavy for your floating buscuit plus the carp may be able to see and feel it and spit the bait out. The pattern i use are Drennan Super specialist size six or eight . Dont be frightened to use small hooks as they have a smaller gape and are really strong. None of the fish on my web page were caught with anything larger than a size six .You can use a standard reel as long as it has a good drag (clutch). The Controller can be made out of pike floats or you can use a bubble float half filled with water to add casting weight without sinking.

Floater Fishing Conclusions

Floater fishing for carp in the UK is very strange in that some waters are "floater waters" and others are not . This means that at some waters the carp are not very responsive to floating baits where others they get caught all the time. I believe its possible to catch carp off the top at most waters but at some its very hard to be consistent. Some anglers in the UK use floater fishing method to exception of all others.There is no doubt that floater fishing is one of the most exciting ways of catching carp . There is nothing like the excitement of watching a big carp approach your bait . Floater fishing can be considered as another method that can be used when the situation arises. Floater fishing can turn a bad day into a good day.


Please visit our sponsor today, click the banner below!
Click for a special Ad Club offer

Below are our link exchange banners not our sponsors

This website and all images © Copyright 1998, Carp Fishing Network
Designed in conjunction with CLICK HERE to visit
the fishing web site specialists Internet Consultants-The fishing website specialists