River Carp Fishing

I’ve fished for carp in lakes for just about as long as I can remember. Some sessions have brought me great memories and some fantastic fish to over 40lb. In recent years though I’ve been intrigued by river carp fishing. The fact that nobody can be sure of what’s swimming around in front of you! Fish with no names that might have travelled miles. This heightened sense of mystery has become quite addictive. My 2019 season has started well, and I’ve been lucky to get amongst some stunners from the River Lea.

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Tench Fishing in Hertfordshire

It’s fair to say that I’m at a bit of a loss when the rivers close mid-March. Through the winter, I will have been on the river consistently chasing Perch and Chub, and suddenly all that is taken away. Having said that, I’m all for the closed season. It’s good to give them a rest, and besides, I can’t imagine life without June 16th! So, without a river, it’s the Tench that saves the day! Late March is a great time to be out on the bank. The early signs of spring are starting to appear, and everything is starting to come to life. Early spring is a classic time of year to fish for Tench and this article is about my Tench Fishing in Hertfordshire in March / April 2019.

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Reflecting on summer 2018 – fishing in Hertfordshire and Essex

I am a year round angler and always have been. I love seeing the seasons change on the bank. After a long winter fishing in fairly miserable conditions it’s so nice when the shoots of spring arrive. I really love the sunshine so by the time summer arrives I’m quite desperate! It’s now September and this article sees me reflect on the summer of 2018 fishing in Hertfordshire and Essex.

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First day of the season fishing the river lea

Oh my god it’s been a looonnnng closed season! It seemed like forever before 16th June came round! The first day of the river season has become so special to me. I used to be a puddle chucker but for the last 5 years or so I’ve fallen in love with the river. Sure I still fish lakes but like many I am particularly fond of my local river, which in my case sees me fishing the River Lea. The last couple of years I’ve tried to do ‘the treble’ on the first day – that is to catch three decent specimens of three different species. Last year I managed it with a specimen Perch, a Barbel and finishing with a stunning Carp on the river in Ware. It’s always a huge challenge and typically involves me in various swims on completely different sections of the river using a range of tactics. Here’s how my opening day went on June 16th 2018 fishing the River Lea.

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Fryerning carp lake – red letter day

So we’ve all probably had red letter days when carp fishing, and we can all agree that they don’t come along often enough! Here I recount of one such event that happened on a 12 hour overnight session on Fryerning Carp Lake – the Main Lake in May 2018.

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Surface fishing for carp

In the warmer months one of the most affective methods is surface fishing for carp. As the water warms up carp spend much of their time in the upper layers, so presenting a bait on or near the surface can get fantastic results. For me surface fishing comes in several forms. There are various methods and approaches that you can take when catching fish off the top. Within this article write about my approach.

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Carp fishing on the River Lea

I love my carp fishing on the River Lea. There’s a certain mystery when it comes to fishing for river carp. Unlike a lake you really don’t know the stock. Fish can swim for miles which can make it tricky at times but also means that you never know what you might catch. Once you’ve read this article you might be interested in a more recent piece covering my river carp fishing on the Lea in 2019. Click here to read that article.

Most of my carp fishing is done in spring, summer and autumn. Obviously on the river we have to wait until the 16th June before we can fish. There’s something really special about 16th June and last year I had a great first day, which included a stunning carp.

The carp in the River Lea are quite nomadic. Whilst a few areas hold resident fish, I generally find myself walking reasonable distances in order to find them on any given day. They tend to pop up in various locations and are not too hard to find with some decent walking boots and a pair of polaroids.

carp river lea
Above: The River Lea around Hertfordshire, plenty of carp if you look properly.

The river has plenty of weed, which the carp love. The banks can sometimes be wild and slightly overgrown. It’s not unusual for me to take clippers and a few gardening tools in order to trim back bushes and create gaps where I can fish effectively.

river lea in hertfordshire
Above: Wild banks and overgrown bushes. Often you can find carp right in the edge.

The fish tend to patrol up and down the river on warm, sunny days. My time is usually very limited and my sessions are frequently less than an hour or so. I’ve not got time to sit behind buzzers and so I find the fish and basically try and stalk them.

River Lea Carp
Above: Probably one of the nicest looking carp I’ve had from the river.

No flashy baits or techniques are needed. I mainly fish with bread, which they struggle to resist. I use this because that’s what they are fed all the time by people intending to feed the birds. I also sometimes feed mixers but general a crust of bread placed in just the right spot will do the trick. It’s all about timing. Often the bait is in the water for less than a minute.

carp fishing river lea lee
Above: Jungle warefare. A lovely dark common. I sat in a bush and watched it take the bait less than a foot away!

I’ve had a lot of success creeping up on these creatures. I sit behind reeds or sit in a bush! They simply don’t know I’m there – until all hell breaks loose! It’s the most exciting way of fishing for carp in my opinion. I’ve stalked loads of carp this way, including some very big specimens!

carp fishing river lea leeAbove: An absolute torpedo!

There’s a lot of stunning commons which are built to fight! Not overweight, boilie guzzlers like their stillwater counterparts. Hook one of these are you know about it! Not all my fish have been taken stalking or off the top. I’ve had some really nice commons fishing on the deck. Setting little traps with pellet and corn. A number of times I’ve had takes within minutes of the bait being in the water. That’s probably because I move around a lot. If I’ve not had a take within 45minutes I’m on my toes!

river lea carp

Above: An absolutely awesome looking, dark old common carp of 17lb 10oz from the River Lea.

Do not underestimate the power of these fish. You need very strong tackle, thick line and strong hooks. There’s plenty of snags and weed so you can’t mess about. When it comes to fishing for river carp (on the Lea or anywhere else) keep you rigs simple and strong!

river carp fishingAbove: Like a bar of gold.

I’ve started to question the size of the fish in this local stretch. I have an office on the river and so I tend to pop here for an hour before or after work. I think I’m probably going to have to go further up river if I want to catch bigger fish. Maybe I’ll stretch my legs and head up there next year. For now I’m having fun catching these corkers.

carp fishing on the river lea
Above: Not massive but great fun. Almost ‘bonus fish’ taken before work. Some have even been caught in my lunch hour!

If you want a challenge and something a bit different then why not try carp fishing on your local river. It’s a very different prospect to your local club lake, day ticket or syndicate. The fish are not as pressured, there’s always loads of swims free and it brings back some of the mystery in carp fishing.

river lea lee carp fishing

Above: Another dark, mid double common taken when poking around boats and barges.

If you’ve enjoyed reading this then you might like to read my latest article on fishing for carp on the Lea – River Carp Fishing

River Lea Carp

The river contains loads of carp and they’re all characters. They fight like crazy and provide great, affordable, fun sport – so get out there!

Near disaster strikes – wrong rods at Lavers Syndicate

It was late August and I decided to pay a visit to the Lavers Syndicate in Essex. It’s got some great looking carp and it had been very kind to me on a couple of short visits in June. This was going to be my first full night on the lake and I was very much looking forward to it!

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Hello again – the Roundtail Common, Fryerning

It’s July and I’ve been enjoying myself catching carp at the Fryerning Essex. I’ve been travelling light and moving around all the lakes picking off fish including some good ones too. I’d had a number of decent fish doing this and even managed to bag the Valley Lake record at 41lb 3oz. I had turned up at the lakes at around 5pm and was planning to do the night but then pack everything up in the morning apart from a stalking rod and a few bits and go for a wander.

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