Scott Sweetman’s Guide to Spring Fishing

To me, spring fishing is all about travelling light, staying mobile and reacting to anything you see. The classic ‘bright pop up to a show’ is how I like to operate in the spring and it’s accounted for many of my spring captures through the years.

No matter the time of year, location is paramount in my angling, with my limited time, I need to know I’m on fish and cannot afford to waste my one night a week in the wrong area. Therefore, if possible, I like to walk the lake regularly, often at first light, so I can get an idea of the zones they are feeding in. If time allows, I’ll usually get up a few hours early on the morning of my trip to walk the lake before work. I can usually gauge an idea of where I need to be, before heading off to work and then when I arrive later that day, I already know the area I want to be in.

That being said, I always keep an open mind and whenever I’m at the lake, I spend pretty much all of my time with eyes pinned to the water. One show can change everything, and I’ll not hesitate to move, no matter what time, no matter how much effort - I’m there to catch fish and the biggest advantage you can have in angling is being on them.

My approach throughout the year is always to be as stealthy as possible. Light leads play a big part in my angling, where I can, I’ll always us a 1.1oz lead. They literally ‘plop’ in with minimal disturbance and I can usually get rigs in without too much disruption. If you manage to get on fish, crashing 4oz leads amongst them is doing you no favours. People are often worried about the hooking abilities of a light lead, but I think with a razor-sharp Kamakura hook and slack line, there’s enough resistance that as soon as that hook goes in, its job done. There really is no need for a heavy lead in my opinion.

On the subject of stealth, I’m not afraid to just use one rod at times. If I feel multiple rods will spook them, I’ll often just make one cast if I feel there’s a quick bite on the cards. You can always put more rods out later, but at times, I’d rather not take an unnecessary risk.

As mentioned earlier, pop ups are a big part of my spring fishing. When casting to showing fish, I’m often unsure of what the lake bed will be like, and not wanting to lead around, I’m often casting my rigs out blind. With a hinge stiff or a chod rig, even with a soft drop, I’ll usually be fishing. If I had a bottom bait, I’ll always be paranoid about my presentation unless I had a really firm drop. White and pink are my favoured colours, which I fish alongside size 4 Kamakura Choddys, tied on small sections of stiff Mouthtrap, which I krimp to length.

Moving onto presentation, I use a Heli Safe for pretty much all my angling these days. With the bead slid a few inches up the leadcore, I know even if the lead dives into a soft bottom, my rig will be presented. And lastly, to help keep everything presented, I favour long rigs. For my hinge stiff, N Trap boom of 10 inches or more just gives me that piece of mind and I also feel the extra length of the rig just gives the fish that little bit more movement, so they can’t use the lead to eject the hook.

I travel as light as I can, with everything under my trusty brolly and as much loaded on the barrow as possible. Usually it’s just the brew kit and tackle pouch that come off the barrow, so I can quickly react to any shows.

Spring is such a good time to be out angling, the whole world is beginning to wake up and I just know through the next few months, those carp are going to get hungry and there’ll be chances to be had.