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The sun is shining and that can only mean one thing for me, I grab a short rod, some mixers and get out there surface fishing for carp. We’ve just come out of Lockdown due to Covid-19 which means that every man and his dog wants to go out fishing! All my usual lakes were business and so I fancied somewhere different, and so I headed for Chigborough Fisheries in Essex. You can view my Chigborough Carp Fishing video below.

You can view a full video of this session and my approach to Carp Fishing on the Surface on my YouTube channel – please click here and subscribe to follow more of my angling adventures.

Back to Chigborough, I’ve never been there before it’s a day ticket lake that you can book it online. I’ve decided to fish the main lake and I’ve come and completely blind, never fished it before. I’ve arrived at the lake around 10.30am. I didn’t want to arrive really early because I’m surface fishing and so I wanted the sun to be fairly high in the sky and for things to have warmed up nicely.

fishing chigborough
I have a good look around the lake before I start fishing

I get the minimum amount of stuff from the car and have a really good look around the lake. Lots of anglers are in the main body of the lake, reclining in the sunshine behind two rods on the deck. That’s not really my style, particularly in these conditions. I’ve got one rod, one reel, a tiny amount of stuff and just a few hours to try and get a result. Eventually I find some fish, right up the other end of the lake from the car park. I put in a few mixers and sure enough within 20minutes or so they start to respond. It was time to set up the rod.

My surface rig is kept simple. The first thing I do is tie up my hooklength. I take about 3ft of Korda Kruiser Control in 12lb breaking strain. There’s a fair amount of weed about so stepping up to 12lb seems the sensible option. I tie a small loop at one end, to hold on the trimmed down pop up.

Korda Cruiser Control hooklength for surface fishing.

I actually add the pop up before then threading on a size 10 Korum Power Hook. I tie this on knotless knot fashion.

Korum Power hook
Size 10 Korum Power Hook – small but very strong.

I tie the knot so that the pop up is very close to the hook.

Pop up boilie
It’s important that the pop up is just touching the bend of the hook.

That’s the hooklength sorted. I now simply take my Nash Bolt Machine and thread this onto the 12lb mainline and then tie on a size 8 swivel with a 5-turn Grinner Knot.

Nash Bolt Machine
The Nash Bolt Machine, an excellent surface fishing controller

I then just tie on the hooklength to the swivel and we’re ready to go. My hooklength is purposefully quite short, at around 2.5ft or so. I think short hooklengths facilitate the bolt effect of the controller, making the fish virtually hook itself. If the fish were being a bit cagey then I would lengthen this but I can see that they’re now chomping down the mixers without caution.

I cast passed the feeding fish and slowly draw it back overt them. Within 5 minutes the water erupts as a strong fighting carp power away from me across the lake towards the reeds on the far bank!

Surface Fishing for Carp
Korum Opportunist Rod well bend in!

An unbelievable scrap from what’s obviously a decent fish. There’s a lot of weed in the swim and so I’m glad that I stepped up the hooklength to 12lb b/s. I would typically use 10lb but in some situations you need to push this up slightly. I gently pulled a mass of weed over the net cord and I could see the dark, bronze flanks of a nice common amongst it!

Chigbourgh Carp Fishing
A stunning surface caught common carp from Chigbourgh.

After a few snaps with the camera, I slipped the fish back. What an amazing first fish for the venue. These Chigborugh commons had been on my radar for a while and it was nice to finally meet one! Unbelievably the controller wasn’t out there for more than 5 minutes before another strong fighting carp grabbed the hookbait! 

Carp Fishing
Another nice carp is brought towards the net.

The weed is heavy but the tackle is coping really well, as another long, dark carp is lifted up for the camera. This time an absolutely stunning mirror carp. This session is already turning into a great one!

Chigborough Carp Fishing
What a stunning fish. A Chiborough carp, this time a lovely, dark mirror.

It’s so important in minimise the amount for gear that you’re taking. This enables you to wonder around the lake with ease, looking for those fish. Location is the most important factor of any fishing session. So you need to make sure that you’re completely mobile.

I was using a Korum Opportunist Rod, 10ft 2.25lb which in my opinion is the perfect rod for floater fishing. This was coupled with a Korum Axis 4000 reel giving me a really nice balanced set up.

Minimum Gear
Minimum gear, only take what you need – no more!

The fish are still having it! It’s important to continually feed the swim. I’m doing this as soon as a fish is in the net and whist taking the photos. If I stop then it’s likely that the fish will simply drift away. I prefer to use a throwing stick for this. I’m fed up of breaking catapult elastics!

Carp Fishing Throwing Stick
Nash compact throwing stick

The bites kept coming as long as I continually topped up the swim. These fish were feeding without a care in the world and the Bolt Machine was doing a great job of hooking every fish on the take!

Carp Fishing Chigbourgh
Another dark hard fighting common

On a session like this it’s important to be prepared. A lot of my prep is done at home, which is essential on these short sessions. About 8kg of mixers had been spilt into several bags. What I couldn’t carry was left in the boot of the car. I could always pop back to the car and grab them if I needed to.

Surface Fishing for Carp
Mixers, bagged up at home

Several other carp graced my net. If you’ve not fished Chigborough then give it a go. The commons in this lake are magnificent creatures. I will never get bored of catching fish like these.

Surface Fishing for Carp
The Opportunist Rod in action again.
Carp Fishing in Essex
The stunning commons kept coming!

Slowly the fish started to ease up a bit. They weren’t taking as confidently and I had to start working for each bite. It felt like my Chigborough Carp Fishing session was coming to an end. 

Nick Marsh Fishing
Bent into a carp which was the only one to slip the hook all day.

It was late afternoon and it felt like it was time to call it a day. We’d had a bunch of fish and it had been an amazing little session. I slowly packed up and made my way back to the car park.

Carp Fishing
Time to go home

I hope you enjoyed this article. A video of the session is on my YouTube channel. I definitely look forward to returning to Chigborough and would definitely recommend it if you fancy some epic carp action in Essex.

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