Everyone has a different approach to carp fishing. For many, getting fish in the net, whether a large carp or small silver fish, is seen as a success.
In commercial fisheries across the UK, relatively small bodies of water are stocked full of a wide range of carp species and plenty other coarse fish.
These species usually include tench, bream, roach, rudd, perch, gudgeon and a few others.
If you don’t mind catching any coarse fish, no matter the size and type, these commercial fisheries are an excellent place to get fish in the net.
However, for many anglers, catching these fish can be a time waste and frustrating as they are intent on catching only the larger carp swimming below them.
If you’re ready to change your carp fishing approach in the hope of getting some of the larger carp in the net, then there are a few things you can change to give yourself the best chance.
In this post, I will focus on how to avoid small carp.
How to Avoid Small Carp?
Unfortunately, most of the time, there isn’t a definite approach that will avoid all of the smaller fish. You can use a few techniques and approaches that will at least avoid a few of them and increase your chances of hooking into something on the bigger side if they are swimming in your swim.
Using these approaches to only target the larger carp can reduce your chances of catching anything, but if these big fish are what you’re after, it may just be worth it.
Fish With Large Boilies
One of the most effective ways to try and weed out the smaller carp and nearly all of the “nuisance fish” is to use larger boilies as bait.
If you’re using large boilies, the small silverfish cannot fit the bait into their mouths, so you shouldn’t be bothered by any of them.
They may still try to pick away at the bait giving plenty of line bites, but this shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
However, this won’t reduce small carp entirely unless you use boilies as big as 22mm. It’s best to know how big the carp are in the water before throwing out a bait of this size.
There is one major issue with this approach. Since carp fishing is massively reliant on experimenting and finding what works in the conditions presented in front of you in terms of baits, rigs and baiting approach, you drastically reduce your chances of experimentation by only sticking to large boilies.
Usually, when your bait choice produces no fish, it can be wise to mix it up and try something new, like sweetcorn or pellets as a hook bait.
Sweetcorn will be picked up by nearly any species of fish swimming below you, so you won’t primarily be targeting the larger carp.
If the venue is full of smaller fish, some anglers swear by sticking out plenty of small freebies like sweetcorn, micropellets and even ground bait to occupy and feed all the small fish.
They then fish the edges of this patch of bait with one or two large-sized boilies as it is thought the larger carp usually sit back, plucking baits for the edges.
This could be worth a try.
There is a highly regarded method called the “baiting pyramid” that was tested and documented by Mike Wilson.
It is based on the idea that anglers can be selective and catch the bigger fish by taking advantage of “hierarchy” system believed to be present in feeding fish.
This is based on the system you may see at an African water hole.
During the day, many different species of animals will make their way to a watering hole. Each group will react to the situation depending on the other animals present.
For example, suppose a group of impalas are drinking at the watering hole and a group of lions turns up. In that case, the impala will naturally leave due to the lions being higher up the pecking order.
Mike has noticed this same behaviour in fish. If a shoal of smaller fish are feeding over a patch of bait and a shoal of larger fish arrives at the bait, the smaller fish will disperse.
He believes the longer he baits an area on large water, the more fish will find it, and of course, this means larger fish will come across it.
By baiting the swim consistently for months and not overfishing the swim, he was successful in consistently catching, on average, the larger fish in the water.
Of course, on commercial venues, it is almost impossible to consistently bait an area and be the only one fishing it for month.
However, the idea is an interesting one and can be beneficial if you are fishing a large body of that is relatively unfished, and you can guarantee you are the only one that is going to be baiting and fishing the swim.
Fish Specimen Venues
If you are an experienced carp angler fishing day ticket commercial waters, you may benefit from moving to a specimen venue.
Specimen carp relate to individual or generally much larger fish that anglers will happily spend weeks or months fishing for in the hope of catching just one monster fish.
These specimen lakes are generally less stocked than commercial venues, and the carp can grow to much larger sizes./
But, they are far harder to catch.
Another way to try and weed out the smaller carp is to go stalking. When the conditions are right, carp will often swim in the top few feet of water, where they are visible to anglers on the bank.
When you see this, you should be able to spot the larger carp and target them directly.
Stalking involves travelling light, usually with only a light rod and a pouch filled with bread.
This method is usually done with only a hook tied to your line and no other weight or rig. This does mean you won’t be able to cast very far with no weight on your line to pull line from your reel.
Once you have found some carp swimming on the surface in shallows around the margins, you can slowly move to the water’s edge and observe if they are feeding.
Usually, you would start by throwing in pieces of rolled-up bread to watch how they react to the bait and encourage them to feed.
If they begin feeding confidently, you can attach a piece of bread to your hook and cast to the larger fish you have spotted and want to catch.
Stalking is the most selective method of carp fishing, and if the conditions are right, you can pick out the larger fish and avoid any of the smaller carp swimming with them.
Avoiding catching smaller carp in a venue is not the easiest of tasks if the water is well stocked with varying sizes of fish.
However, if you intend to try to weed out the larger fish, then you can try some of the approaches I’ve discussed above.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below, and I’ll get back to you ASAP.