In The Edge - Is An Edge - Myles Gibson

There’s an old saying that springs to mind when I talk about edge fishing and that is “the margin is the biggest feature in the pond”, this couldn’t be truer. Too many people overlook the margins of their venue and in doing so they will miss out. I like to capitalise on the opportunities that the margins offer and in this piece I want to show you how you can too.

Firstly, why are the edge spots so productive on some venues? As I mentioned before, they’re the biggest feature in the pond. We all like casting up against islands don’t we? Well, margin fishing is no different, except being a much easier cast of course. Carp are very inquisitive creatures and all the appeal of a lakes margin to the carp is all too often forgotten about.

The ideal situation is to have areas of appeal such snags, reeds and things like that present but that isn’t always necessary, your standard shelf is often enough. The obvious features will always attract carp and it’s no surprise that you find carp stacked up in these areas at certain times of the year. Areas such as reed beds offer a sense of security for the carp, along with boasting a vast expanse of food. It really is no surprise that the fish head to these areas.

On the bigger pits the winds will play a massive part in which areas the carp spend their time in. I have found that spots in the teeth of the warmer winds always seem to produce fish, and the same can be said for areas sheltered from the colder winds. The winds can get really strong on the big venues and as they surge across the venue they will carry a whole abundance of natural food for the carp, which soon learn to capitalise on this.

At the right times of year a good look around your venue with a pair of polarised sun glasses will often reveal the whereabouts of at least a small percentage of the lakes stock. Polarised glasses really are a necessity during one of these recce’ trips as they allow you to see past the glare on the waters surface. Beneath this glare is a whole new world that we otherwise wouldn’t be able to see into.

The height of a nearby tree is also a great way of optimising your view of the lake, especially the marginal areas. Climbing trees is a dangerous way to go about your fish finding and although it is a very effective way or doing so, it’s very important that you remember to be very careful when doing so. Never stand with two feet on the same branch and always hold on tight.

Aside from the obvious marginal features are the less obvious marginal features – these could consist of a whole manner of things. Carp can be attracted to the margins by all sorts of stuff, it could be a gravel spot, it could be an old bicycle wheel? The important thing to remember is that the carp in your venue will almost certainly use the edges of your venue on a day-to-day basis. It can take a lot of observation for you to finally spot carp in the edge but if you look hard enough and long enough then you’ll most probably see them somewhere.

Sometimes the signs of carp aren’t always so obvious, they might only be visiting at night for example, or visiting the bottom of the shelf, out of sight. It is in situations like this that use of a marker float and pre-baiting tactics will prevail. I have caught carp countless times from areas that weren’t visible from the bank. A bit of marker work lead to find the spot and steady baiting ensured that the carp had reason to visit the area.

The use of a marker rod is often seen as an ‘out in the pond’ technique, not everyone sees it as a margin tool. For me, a marker is equally as important when I’m edge fishing as it is when I’m targeting an area at 170 yards. A weed rake also forms an important part of my armoury, achieving the right line-lay is a priority of mine, and a rake helps me to do so. After locating my spot I will pop the float up and if there is weed between me and the spot then I will rake a nice channel. This channel in the weed only needs to be big enough to drop a line down into, out the way of the carp.

Pre-baiting an area is a massive part of the puzzle for me, it’s a tactic that I nearly always apply and I’m sure it has been the reason for much of my success. I like to ‘prime’ areas from scratch, starting with tiny spots and baiting them so that the carp open them up themselves. If the carp create the spot themselves then they are going to be a lot more confident feeding there than if it’s a naturally formed area.

When baiting my areas I like to use a large amount of seeds and a smaller amount of boilie to begin with. Gradually, as the spot starts to increase in size I will up the amount of large food items such as boilies and tigernuts. Particles can waft all over the place and when you’re trying to keep a spot quite small their dispersion can make it hard. To begin with there is nothing better to ensure that the carp are grubbing around enough to properly clean off a spot but with time larger baits can become better suited.

Rig wise I am a big fan of large drop-off leads and I will always favour this arrangement. I like to use leads between four and six ounces – there is just no way the carp can deal with that much pressure when it’s combined with a sharp hook. The impact as the carp tilt up and away from the spot will be almost instant and the hook is sure to be driven home. Fishing with the leadcore wrapped around the lead allows it to release as the carp bolts and pulls the swivel out of the plastic insert, this helps no end where lost fish are concerned.

To this lead arrangement I will attach a short hooklink, formed from a coated braid such as N-Trap. I like to use Wide Gapes for the majority of my fishing, they’re one of the best big carp hooks ever, super reliable and incorporating a beaked point. The beaked point is important to me when fishing over gravel bottoms, it’s peace of mind really, I like to know that my hook point is safe – it’s the most important part of the whole setup. I like to use PVA foam as further protection for that all-important hook point, it allows me to get rig in place without worrying myself.

I like to remove the lead wire from my leadcore when fishing in the edge too, this makes it really supple and once a few blobs of putty have been added it sinks like a brick to. I like to use putty as much as I can actually and I will always add a small piece to the rig and a few larger blobs to my Kontour fluorocarbon mainline – the ultimate in clear water disguise.

Waders have become a very important part of my margin fishing, they allow me to not only go looking for spots but I can also place my rigs by hand. Being able to wade out a lower a rig down in front of you enables you to achieve the ultimate in presentation. I am able to place my hookbait exactly where I want it, with pinpoint accuracy and this isn’t achievable any other way, except from a boat, which isn’t ideal lol

Once the rig is in place I will bait very lightly around the rig. I have always found carp to be a little on edge whilst feeding at close quarters and for this reason I keep the bait to a minimum. I want the carp to pick the hookbait up as quickly as possible and the less bait I introduce, the more likely this is to happen. I generally opt for between four and ten freebies, like half boilies or tigers. This technique has accounted for nearly all of my margin caught carp, I leave the heavy baiting for when I’m not at the lake, which fills the carp with confidence. Then it’s all down to the carp…

The margins are there to be exploited, it’s a simple process, it just takes a little thought. Get out there and give it a go.

Myles Gibson