It is almost December as I write and the carping-bug won’t have waned among those who just can’t get enough of the species. I do far less carp-fishing than I used to, mainly because I now live where good waters are few and far between. But I’m not so out of touch as to forget the frustrations of convincingly presenting a bait at distance when the lake bed has developed that blanket of yucky, rotting, autumn weed; dropping your baited rig into this mush condemns it to obscurity and generally ruins both your presentation and the ability to fish with any sensitivity.

A fiendishly clever and little-known ruse was shown to me by its inventor, Geoff Maynard, some years ago which allows long, accurate casting and the delivery of your bait prominently on top of that slimy layer – easy for any passing carp to spot and pick-off. Of course, it works for floating baits too…

Take one standard Price’s candle and follow the simple steps shown here:

  • Cut 1.5” – 2” of the wax at the head of the candle making sure you don’t sever the wick.
  • Tie / bond / crimp the cleaned wick to a plastic large-eyed run-ring – a metal swivel will knock it off kilter.

  • Wrap just enough lead wire around the base of the candle to very slowly sink it (When testing, use a full bath-tub for best effect, initially)

Now, before anybody says it, I know it’s not hi-tec; it’s a real garden shed job. But who cares if it works…and it costs pennies. We must take our hats off, I think, to the designers and manufacturers of all those bits and pieces that make our sport so versatile but, it must be said, it’s largely taken away the joy of inventing small tackle items for ourselves. When our own creations succeed it’s SO satisfying and they’re a useful supplement to the superb range of carp-catching aids available to us nowadays.

 In use, the candle and your bait will come to rest on top of the khaki goo on the lake-bed. The running candle will cause less resistance than a heavy lead in these conditions, its buoyancy and weed-free position allowing the fish to move-off confidently and with little resistance to spook it.

This was a classic candle-capture: 20lb 4oz from a mucky-bottomed Essex lake in early winter.

Like any method, this has its limitations and it is not recommended for long range fishing and ‘white horse’ water, but it works well on most small to medium sized lakes when conditions are favourable. Don’t try tightening-up too much; just keep your eyes on your line or on the floater and strike when the line straightens.

An 11lb leather taken on the candle method from a farm pond in late autumn.


Cliff Hatton

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