GO LONG TO START When targeting big commercial carp, for me you can’t beat the pole. And my first line of attack at this time of year will almost always be a long-pole approach on the bottom, between 14 to 16 metres out. This puts me a good distance away from the bank, where the carp will be happier to feed early on, and is usually a banker for some early bites. The way you feed this line is crucial in spring and although we’re targeting bigger fish that doesn’t mean piling in loads of bait. This can have an adverse effect on what you’re trying to achieve, bringing in a quantity of fish but not the quality we’re after. Big commercial carp are clever fish and have seen it time and again; in my experience feeding for one bite at a time is a far better approach, especially early in the season. Baitwise Bait-Tech Scopex Corn is a real favourite of mine in spring, firstly because of the visual factor in the still relatively clear water conditions of this time of year, and secondly, as the water is still cool a lot of nuisance species will generally leave it alone. This gives me the confidence that the feed will be there until a carp moves in, making it easier to assess how to feed as the session evolves. In order to keep my options open, I always like feed two lines at this distance, one at the 10 o’clock position from my peg and another at two o’clock. One of these is fed with corn only, the other with corn and soaked 4mm pellets. Depending on the conditions I will occasionally feed the second line with just pellets, as on some days this will hold the fish for longer. 01 02 03 01 02 03 LONG LINE 6M LINE MARGIN At 14 to 16 metres Tony develops two swims, one with just corn, the other with corn and pellet, to see which the carp respond best to on the day. Don’t be tempted to feed too much. At five to six metres Tony feeds just meat by hand – the key here is to keep a steady trickle going in before you fish the line, which can be the most productive of all three areas. For real ‘lumps’ the margin rules. Tony primes a swim down the edge with a fairly dry groundbait mix that isn’t compacted, just potted in to form a cloud and a bed for the carp to get their heads down on, usually later in a session.