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Spring Fishing For Carp In The Margins

Over the years I have found that carp are often slowly waking up and searching out the warmer layers of water. When trying to locate them, do not ignore the margins; Not only is this a highly effective method at this time of year, but also it is an extremely fun way to catch them. Especially if you can see them feeding over your spot which can happen regularly!

In some cases you will find the whole stock of a lake stacked up in a certain margin area, depending on the make up of the lake, which can only mean one thing – you’ve got a very good chance of catching one!


Spend as much time as possible walking around your chosen lake with polarized sunglasses on. You’re looking for any signs of feeding fish and in some cases you will see clear spots in the margins that almost glow like a bar of gold. If you struggle to see any signs of feeding fish, head to the marginal snags like over hanging tree’s, sunken pads or reed beds. They will all be very likely spots to hold carp especially if it is a south facing margin!

Rigs & Bait 

My favourite bait for this type of fishing consists of boilie chops, boilie crumb and a small amount of pellet. I always make sure the boilie chops are washed out before I go fishing by soaking them the night before I go. Add all that bait together with a couple of heavy liquids in the mix with my secret ingredient… rock salt! And this will really get them grubbing. You don’t need to over do it at this time of year, they’re not mega hungry but will certainly get there heads down for a feed in the right places.

I keep my rigs very simple. On a clear spot I will use a 6inch Slip-D Rig with a 4oz drop off inline lead. This combined with a 1.5m length of heavy leader material will ensure everything is pinned out of the way. Being stealthy and concentrating on rig concealment is very important when fishing clear spots in the margin, as often the water can be gin clear the this time of year and the carp are easily spooked.

For my hook bait I will often use a Snow Man presentation with a really bright 12mm topper. If they are being really shy I may switch to trimmed down match the hatch wafter but I always start with something bright in the Spring. The good thing is in some cases you will be able to watch carp graze over your spot in the margin, especially if you can get up a tree! So you will soon get a feel for what they do or don’t want put in front of them.

Fish Into Dark

A massive edge I have found, which I see many people ignoring, is setting marginal traps in the margin as we head into darkness. Most people I see end up with rigs out in the middle of the pond in the darker hours. The truth is, I’ve found the margins to be even more productive during the first few hours of darkness than any other time of the day, especially if your lake is quite deep. I think they gain confidence feeding in the margins in darkness before they head back out into the pond later on.

Pre Bait

My final tip for fishing for carp in the margins during the spring, which probably applies all year round, is pre-baiting. This is a massive edge if you can do it, which I realise is not always possible. I would always bait my local syndicate at least a couple of weeks before I fish, maybe 3 times a week if I could which is more than enough. Each time I would use about a kilo of bait depending on how heavily stocked it is. Pre-bait does not have to be boilies as this can be expensive, have a look at cheaper particle like hemp, corn or pigeon conditioner and use the boilie when you are actually in session fishing.

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