It has been shown by scientists that chilids (the perch-like fish,) establish a life-long feeding, mating and territorial pecking-order, by actually observing the fights and competitive feeding activities of their peers. This is ‘mirrored’ in carp, and it is especially interesting for us, in big carp; so why not truly exploit this natural behaviour and achieve some exceptional catches!
To specifically target those biggest carp, you can really leverage bait and baiting techniques. You can induce a competitive escalation of bait excited fish activity in your swim, right up through the ranks of the more numerous smaller fish and in fact affect the feeding behaviour of the very biggest wariest carp.
I call it the accelerated bait triangle effect. You can get these biggest fish charged-up into a highly stimulated state of behaviour. Where the big fish want to feed, and are perhaps wary of the bait, but where their natural top pecking-order status and greed often take over in a peak of competitive feeding. This can be induced by gradually baiting-up your swim, and can be achieved both over the long and short-term and even in very short sessions.
Often the biggest fish in this stimulated state will take great mouthfuls of bait and then charge out of the swim, and then return, barge their way through lesser fish grabbing a mouthful of bait at a time and charge back out again.
It is no coincidence that some of my most consistent hits of biggest fish in competitive hard-fished waters, come when using very big poly vinyl alcohol (PVA) bags filled with bait (or by similar delivery techniques,) often while using very highly digestible and soluble ingredients.
These water soluble bags are attached to your hook or rig and cast into the swim as you are fishing. They are brilliant for delivering free feed of all kinds into your swim but critically actually locating and pulling fish very powerfully to your hook bait itself.
I believe these bags are frequently, pretty much eaten whole by these bigger fish. I have even had a big bag taken on the drop by a mid-thirty pound fish and this certainly demonstrates competitive feeding and greed!
I always aim to establish a competitive pecking order situation using effective ground baits or chum. The aim here is definitely not to feed up fish, but pull them into the swim in a feed stimulated state and hold them there using the steadily dissolving free bait, releasing feeding triggers and attractors and all kinds of irresistible ‘food’ messages into the water column and currents.
Fishing over whole baits like whole boilies, particle baits etc is great for many situations, however on those hard fished, pressured waters I find fishing over what I would call dissolved bait sediment, (or even purely dissolved bait,) seems to put the bigger fish more at ease and be able to really lose their feeding caution.
A similar effect is achieved using mass free baiting of tiny seeds where you are achieving a kind of temporary pre-occupied artificial feeding frenzy. I guess we all know about hemp, crushed tiger nuts, mixes of different sized pellets breaking down at different rates, etc.
Many very successful big fish anglers swear by using big PVA bags. I feel it is a combination of reasons why they can be so effective. I think much of it has to do with confusing the reference points of the big warier carp. Where usually they could inspect every pellet or boilie individually before confidently chucking it to the back of it’s mouth, with a big bag you can mix so many different bait sizes, weights, shapes, colours, flavours, densities, attractors and so on into a very concentrated area.
I will even go so far as to pre-bait my swim while fishing. I will get to know the estimated feeding times and durations and prepare for them while not spooking the fish with water disturbance. By casting out numerous PVA bags into the swim. These soluble bags are all filled with identical bait and attractor mixtures as the hook bait or paste.
Any one of these concentrated baited spots could disguise where a hook lies waiting to trip a fish up! Considering that each time a fish samples a baited spot, it multiplies its chances of getting hooked; it pays you to really confuse them by baiting like this!
Maybe your are crafty like me and force the carp to eat multiple baits on the hook at once! I still do not know many anglers taking advantage of ‘multiple hairs’ on their hooks. With these I use very small multiple baits of different buoyancies and densities. Certain rigs really do hook bigger carp more frequently, when used in the right ways along with PVA bags and intensive targeted free baiting.
These days there are various videos and DVD’s showing footage of big carp underwater. Some carp appear to be feeding in an undisturbed environment and are feeding naturally and confidently. While other situations more often show where carp in a fishing water are feeding on feed bait in a baited swim, with fish suddenly rushing in and out of the swim as they feed or attempt to feed.
These fish might at first seem to be spooking out of the swim, scared. But I feel that this is in fact the ‘natural pecking-order’ in action, in an artificially created competitive feeding fishing lake situation.
At such times amazing catches are possible. Once you get used to creating this type of fishing approach and creating this feeding behaviour, big fish catches can become far more regular and that’s kind of nice!