Matt’s tips for making sure they don’t drop off!
When angling for small/medium sized carp in an open water environment, the quality of the hook hold is not a major issue.
On trickier estate type venues such as Beausoleil that contain large carp and catfish, the quality of hook hold is vital. For my own angling I wanted the hook holds to be super strong and cause minimum damage to the fish. There is nothing worse than losing a fish or seeing damage to a carp’s mouth.
For that reason I went with a large strong wide gaped, short shank, beaked point hook such as Korda’s size 4 wide gape X. I’ve used long shanks in the past with success but have also suffered hook pulls and seen how they can tear and cut as they slide to their final position. Beaked pointed hooks tend to go in cleanly and stay there. The other advantage you get with a beaked point is that they can tolerate being fished over a hard gravel bar, as they are less susceptible to point damage. This goes against the current UK carping fashion for small curved hooks. These are fine when angling for fish of 10-20lb in open water but have little chance successfully landing 40lb carp or 90lb catfish that are heading for the horizon.
Going in and staying in
Large strong hooks are only the beginning, you also need them to be ultra sharp so that they can penetrate fully and stay in (see article: how to create your own ultra sharp hooks).
To further enhance my chances, I fish with the clutch quite tight so that it pulls the hook fully home before I’ve even picked up the rod. When I say tight I mean tight enough so that when pulled from the rod tip the rod won’t come off the rests, but not so tight that no line can be taken. I don’t bother with snag ears but I do use individual bank sticks and point each directly at the bait. I also use butt grips which clamp the rod securely in place.
Talking of bank sticks your best choices are short 9” and 12” adjustable sticks of solid construction. Unless it’s very dry, the banks at Beausoleil are usually soft enough to drive these in by hand but I’m never afraid of giving them a whack if I need to. My favourite weapon of choice is a medium sized log which is always easy to find. Bank stick thwacking on public waters is very much an angling no-no but at Beausoleil it makes good sense if you’re going to be in a swim for a few nights.