A large, glassfibre-handled net with sprung arms is essential, especially if fishing in the dark. Small nets, in which you can squeeze a big carp without much difficulty during the day, become a handicap at night. A small torch taped to the top of the handle is also useful, but need only be used in emergencies or with an extra-large fish. Be careful though, and do not leave landing nets lying about on the ground. In the excite-ment of playing a carp, there is a good chance of standing on your net, especially in the dark, and then there is no way of landing the fish. A good idea is to rest landing nets on a spare rod rest.
I have two basic methods of setting my tackle up. The first involves sitting by the rods and concentrating on every movement, ready to strike at any bite. For this method the reel bale arm is engaged, and a small beta light ledger bobbin, with a drop of about 18in is used. For the second method, the bale arm is open and a coil of silver paper is used as an indicator while the line is attached to an audible bitealarm. This is the set-up I use at night or during periods of relaxation when long spells of waiting between bites are to be expected.
One of my favourite carp swims, which is not really one swim, but a number of different swims all crammed into a small area, exists where two large, open gravel pits are connected by a narrow, shallow channel. Carp are always in residence somewhere in the area, and it is a natural feeding area for the fish. If the area is undisturbed, carp continually travel through the channel, backwards and forwards. But because the channel is so shallow and narrow, fish only rarely feed in it, apart from at the ends, where it widens and deepens.
There are three swims that I have found to be real hotspots in this area. These are marked A, B and C on the map. The first one, on the east bank just to the right of the reedbed, is an excellent swim. I usually fish one bait on the gravel bar a little to the left, and one bait in deeper water, a bit to the right, across the pond up against the potamogeton beds on the far bank.
Carp tend to patrol along the potamogeton beds on the far side, but some of them move on to the gravel bar to feed. If you stand on the high bank behind the bar you may see carp feeding on the gravel bar, but no evidence of bubbling.
Bubbling does take place along the potamogeton beds, when fish are feeding on the bottom silt and mud. Binoculars help to spot these bubbles.