Fishing in the margins

Fishing in the margins is my preferred tactic. When fishing any new lake or river, I will always check out the margins first. These are the main reasons why I prefer close range margin fishing.

Most of my favourite sessions have been while fishing in clear margins. The excitement you feel as a big old carp starts feeding on your carefully prepared baited area is seldom matched in fishing.

Margin fishing



If you have never caught a big fish from close in to the water edge then you really are missing out. This method of fishing will not be suited to all waters but its surprising how many lakes will produce margin carp.

When approaching any new water, look at the margins, is there anything unusual about them? Are there deviations, snags, reedbeds? Any feature will attract nosy carp. Reed beds provide cover and sanctuary as do snags. Recognising areas of interest will make a big difference when you actually begin fishing.

I usually carry a single rod when exploring new water. Tied to the end of the line will be single 3 ounce flat lead. I will walk around the lake and periodically drop the lead into any likely looking spot. What I am essentially looking for are deviations in the depth and the nature of the bottom. A hard clonk as the lead hits bottom may indicate a gravel patch, slowly dragging the lead along will confirm it as the rod top knocks as the lead bumps over the stones. This will be an attractive place for the rig, as will a clean smooth hard clay bottom. Close to overhanging bushes is another good spot, try to imagine where the fish will feel secure and put a bait there. Clean spots are often clean due to fish visiting them.

One area I would avoid a silty area with debris in the form of leaves, twigs etc. I have never caught carp from these areas.


Rigs don't need to be anything special, just your favourite, slight modification may be needed if the water you are fishing has particularly clear water. In this situation you will need to marry the colour of the lead to that of the bottom. A simple bottom bait rig is all thats needed.


Hemp and boilie combination

For me the number one choice for fishing in the margin has to be the hemp and boilie combination. There are exceptions to this, in the winter I will swap the hemp for sweetcorn. Sweetcorn is better in the colder month because its highly visible and wont fill the carp up.

How to make my square boilies

When bites are a little slow in coming try changing things a little. I have had great success by using cubed boilie. I like to make the boilies from scratch using a good base mix. You can purchase a dry base mix from tackle shops ready prepared. To make my cubed boilies...

Add liquid flavourings to 6 eggs and whisk
Mix thoroughly
Add dry boilie base mix slowly until a firm paste is achieved
Roll out flat 10mm then cut into squares
Boil boilies (30 seconds for soft baits, 2 minutes for hard)
Leave to cool on a dry, clean tea towel.