Simon Kenny's tips for spring success!

Spring has arrived and the carp are starting to wake up, even though it may not feel like it from the temperatures over the past week or two!

It can be a fantastic time of the year for catching fish, especially as the bigger ones often start to put in an appearance, and for some anglers, such as Simon Kenny, it is their favourite time of the year. Here he reveals his tips for success at this time of the year, and which helped him to a fantastic run of big fish at Essex’s Manor Farm syndicate at this time last year, culminating in the Bream Common at 42lb 2oz!

Simon revealed: “Spring is a fantastic time of year to be an angler, the countryside is starting to come out of its winter slumber, and under the surface of the water similar things are happening and as the water temperature starts to rise our quarry will be on the prowl!

“April and May are without a doubt my favourite time of year to target big carp, and as they start to wake up they can lower their guard and a well-oiled approach could help you to be very successful at this time of the year.”

“Last spring I started on the Manor and it was very cold for my first two trips and nothing happened, but then on my third session I moved onto some showing fish early one morning and within ten minutes of getting the rods out I bagged a 37lb 10oz mirror – my first fish from the water and my first Essex carp!

“The following week there was a strong, warm south-westerly blowing and I set up right on the end of it, positioning my baits along a reed bed that it was smashing into. I was using chods with yellow hookbaits over a light scattering of freebies and landed a 37lb 8oz mirror plus the Bream Common.”

“Being mobile is a big edge at any time of the year, but none more so that during the spring, so try to thin your gear down as much as possible, as the lighter and more compact it is, the more you’ll be inclined to move.

“If you’re starting a campaign on a new water then it is important to suss out the topography of the lake before you start, and Google Earth can sometimes be useful for showing the shallower areas.

“But by far the best way is to get out with a marker rod and map it out yourself, using distance sticks, but only if you aren’t interfering with other anglers fishing the water at the time. This knowledge can be invaluable as you can move onto showing fish and get your rods out onto features without having to cast around a lot and risk and spooking them.”

“Location is the most important aspect of carp fishing as you can’t catch them if they aren’t in front of you!

“The best tool we have to aid with location is our eyes and visible signs such as showing fish and fizzing are an easy giveaway, but you need to be careful as other species can also produce fizzing. Always make sure you are watching the water at first light and dusk as these are normally the times the fish show themselves the most.

“A good starting point can be to fish on the end of a warm wind or the back of a cold one, as carp are cold-blooded and will often seek out the warmer water – some of my best spring catches have come from the tops of shallow bars and island margins on sunny days!

“This is where your preparation learning the layout of the lake comes in, as you can move onto any fish you spot and quickly wrap the rods up to a known feature and get them out with as little disturbance as possible.

“Bars are a particular favourite of mine as carp use them almost like roads to navigate the lake, and a bait placed on top of one can intercept a patrolling fish on a warm day, and I’d then look to drop my baits into deeper water at night. Areas with shelter such as snags can also be excellent as the carp start to wake up, especially if they get plenty of sunlight.”

Rigs and baits
“The chod rig has accounted for most of my big carp captures in recent years and it suits my mobile approach, plus it is very reliable and rarely lets me down.

“Don’t be afraid of using blatant bright pop-ups, and if casting singles at showing fish ones fished higher off the bottom can work well. Never overlook zig rigs either at this time of the year as they can be devastating. Don’t leave home without hi-vis attractor type baits, as these are fantastic at this time of the year, either fished on their own or other a bed of bait.

“At the start of spring when the water temperature is still quite cold I would fish for a bite at a time and use singles or small amounts of freebies, then if you catch you can add more and build up the swim from there. Towards the end of spring the fish should be well on the feed and that is when you can use larger beds of bait.”