10 Tips to Spring Success

  • Posted: 23rd May 2018
  • Author: Chris Donovan

Get off the deck!

A method that is spoken about a lot for targeting spring-time carp is zig fishing. When you get it right, zig fishing can be a deadly method this time of year. It is an underused tactic by many, as it is seen as too much hard work or too difficult when it comes to working out the best colours and depths, but putting in a little time and thought can change a spring session from blank one to one with multiple bites

As a good starting point is imagine the water in thirds. When the suns out and the daylight hours start to get longer, try fish in the middle or top third of the water. For example, this would be the top two feet of water and middle two feet of water in a 6ft-deep swim. When the weather’s moody or overcast, try the bottom third, or event 1ft zigs, which can be devastating if the carp are just hovering above a baited spot. An added edge all year round is to give your zig bait a soaking of the Sticky Sweet. This just adds extra attraction and pulling power to what is already a proven multiple bite tactic.

Zigs are a deadly method any time of year, but in spring they really come in their own

I never cast a zig out without coating it in the awesome Sticky Sweet

Baiting up without bait

Liquids have always played a big part in my fishing. Whether I add them to my solid bags or simply dunk my mesh bags or single hookbaits into something before casting, my confidence is much higher when I introduce a liquid to the mix. Spring fishing is all about making the most of your time and conditions when the lake is just starting to wake up. Too much bait and you can cut down your chances of a bite, or multiple bites, at this time of year. This is where the Hydro Wheat and Hydro Spod Syrups really come into their own.

These thick, active liquids are much more than just a supplementary attractor. They can be used solely on their own to create a thick bed of attraction that carries on working for you throughout the session. Seeping into the lakebed, the attraction can stay localised for hours and encourage the carp to tear up the area looking for food – food they won’t find, apart from your hookbait bang in the middle of that spot.

These liquids can be introduced by loading up your Mini or Midi Spomb and putting 3-4 out right on top of where your single hookbait is ready and waiting. This time of year, the new Pineapple and Tutti Hydro Spod Syrups really come into their own.

The new Pineapple and Tutti Hydro Spod Syrups

When Spombed out on their own, you can create a localised bed of attraction around your hookbait

Look for the mud

Generally, when spring arrives, the water is still very clear where the fish have not been very active and have stayed localised and semi-dormant. Although this can make finding them more difficult through the colder months, when spring breaks and the sun is around for longer hours, finding the carp just becomes a whole lot easier.

It goes without saying an active carp jumping clear of the surface is an obvious giveaway. Look a bit closer and you might just see areas of mud clouding up sometimes, backed up with plumes of fizzing, which could be a dead giveaway the carp are ready to start searching out their next meal.

Tart up your pop-ups

Single fluoro pop-ups are great; they scream quick bites and can be used in all manner of situations. Straight out of the tub they are ready go and will always have a chance.

For those looking to go to the next level, though, simply take a handful of pop-ups (any flavour will do, but the sweeter the better) and place in a pot. Add a small amount of Betastim liquid, giving the pop-ups a good coating, before adding the final magic ingredient: Fruit Sense +. Shake well for a couple of minutes and leave overnight. The Betastim will absorb into the pop-ups, taking some of the super-sweet attraction of the Fruit Sense + with it. The remaining Fruit Sense + powder will sit on the outside ready to dissolve into the water in and around your hookbait. It will only be a matter of time before a fish picks it up.

Tease them, don’t feed them

This next tip follows on from my idea of attracting but not overfeeding the carp and trying to maximise opportunities. A small mesh bag of 8mm Switch boilies fished in conjunction with a 12mm Switch pop-up or wafter over a small baited area offers nothing much more than a quick-bite response. When fishing this way, I would have one rod like this and another identical but the whole hooking arrangement (including mesh bag) would be glugged in the Switch Hydro Spod Syrup. Both are proven tactics I have very recently used to good effect!

The 8-millers dipped in Hydro Spod Syrup have produced many quick bites for me

Stay till the end

As well as increases in air and water temperatures, one of the other bonuses spring offers is the extra daylight hours. I believe above all else this is one of the biggest and most significant changes, as the longer daylight hours see an increase in life and make lake a lot more active. By extending any sessions you do, whether it’s staying into dark on a day session, or an extra hour or two on a morning following an overnighter, will definitely increase your chances of more bites!

Look beneath the surface

A good set of polarised glasses will help no end. Cutting straight through any glare on the surface, these will help spot carp quietly cruising under the surface and could tell you if it’s time to get the surface gear out, or cast a zig to a likely looking area! If budget allows, it’s worth having a couple of pairs of polarised glasses, as they are available with differing lens types and some colours suit some weather situations better than others.

Boost your potential

Along a similar line of some of my previous tip, I’m always looking for an edge. Intense Boosters are great for applying to your pots of pop-ups and hookbaits hours, days or even months before a session. These little tubs of intense flavour need don’t need to be added in huge quantities; instead you can drip feed your pop-ups over time to increase the power, attraction and lifespan once submerged. Give them a go!

A bit of Intense Booster goes a long way at this time of year

Set a timer

This one may sound a bit over the top, but it’s something I use, especially when fishing in competitions. It’s easy to get carried away during a session and before you know it half a day has slipped past. A timer can be used to alert you at certain intervals to encourage you to recast, and a recast can often result in a quick bite. In the colder months or early spring time, a fresh cast just five yards to the right or left of where you were fishing previously could be enough to get a response.

Casting regularly can often yield a bite when sitting on your hands wouldn’t


This may be another obvious one, but look for areas of the lake that see the sun for most of the day, and certainly areas that see the sun for the last few hours of the day, no matter what time of year. Areas between islands or quiet little corners can hold large numbers of fish if the conditions are right, even more so if these areas see very little wind. These prime areas can often be areas overlooked, as they are not seen as ‘carpy’-looking spots.

Look out for suntraps, even in the shallowest of water, as you’ll be surprised where you can find them at this time of year

An early-spring common caught on a Sticky Sweet-coated zig