Fancy doing a bit of carp stalking? It’s quick, easy and lots of fun, but what tackle items will you need to get in amongst the fish? This handy Anglers' Net guide to stalking tackle offers some helpful tips and suggestions.
With all of today’s high-tech equipment available for carp fishing, it’s no wonder anglers need a wheelbarrow to carry it all to the bankside – but does it really need to be like this? Do you actually need every piece of tackle bar the proverbial kitchen sink to catch a big carp? In a word; NO!
Many newcomers I speak to think they need to spend thousands of pounds on tackle in order to catch carp. Ironic really, as completely the opposite is usually the case. I may be a bit of a traditionalist at heart, but I don’t go out of my way to make catching big carp any harder than it already is! So a great tactic to get amongst the fish quickly is stalking, which requires very little tackle and allows me to cover large areas of water quite quickly in order that I can find the fish and angle for them in the limited time I have available. Common sense, when you think about it. The main advantage with stalking is that you are travelling extremely light, which allows you to cover vast areas of water with ease and what’s more, it doesn’t cost the earth to get out there fishing!
The first essential bit of stalking kit would be some waders, preferably chest waders and my advice would be to spend a few pennies and go for those made from neoprene. I’ve gone through countless pairs of PVC waders over the years as they tear really easily, whereas neoprene waders are much more durable both in and out of the water. It may be the case that you don’t end up getting in the water at all during your session, but a good pair of neoprene chest waders will mean you can sit about on the banks without the need for chairs, brollies and suchlike (whatever the conditions may be!). Of course, when you are in the water, they are invaluable. I find the key to successful stalking is in being able to place a bait with the minimum amount of disturbance, and waders allow me to crawl through bushes on hands and knees, step into the margins, or wade right out in to the lake to place a bait; whatever is required to get that bait right under a carp's nose without spooking it. Of course, you can go stalking without them, but your options when placing baits and playing fish may be limited.
Just as important is a good pair of polarised glasses, as they help to reduce surface glare which allows you to see beneath the surface; not just to spot the fish, but also to view likely feeding areas where the carp will be visiting on a regular basis. I tend to wear large wrap around polarised glasses combined with a long peaked cap, which together help cut out peripheral light from above and around the sides of the glasses. This helps to concentrate the effect of the polarised filter, enabling you to see even deeper beneath the surface.
Tackle is pretty basic, just a few odds and ends really. You can buy purpose built stalking rods which are usually shorter that a standard carp rod allowing you more manoeuvrability in confined spaces My preference of late has been a 9ft stalking rod which being shorter in length is great for getting into confined spaces. I then have a small shoulder bag containing a small tackle pouch with a few leads, two or three hooklink materials, hooks, baiting needle, scissors, forceps, and a few general bits and bobs. I also have a mini rig wallet with a few rigs pre-made, which allows me to change approach in a matter of seconds. That’s about it on the tackle front, other than a set of scales, weigh sling, and unhooking mat. Oh, and of course a camera to ensure you get a snap shot of your new personal best!
The beauty of this kind of set up is that it only takes a second to grab your kit and be out of the door, so you can maximise any available time and get yourself on the bank at the drop of a hat.
In terms of tackle, waders are first on the list. I find a bootfoot design is always best. There are plenty to choose from, but as long as you go for neoprene of 4mm thickness or just over, you’ll be just fine. These Ron Thompson Classic Pro Chest Waders are a good example; durable and robust, they are perfect for treading the banks in search of a few fish. Priced at £69.99; full details - CLICK HERE.
Next up, you’ll need some polarized glasses. You can spend hundreds of pounds on these but bear in mind they should be looked at as a tool, not a fashion accessory, so they may well end up getting scratched or left lying about from time to time, so unless you are made of money, there’s no need to spend a fortune. These TFGear Hot Turtle Polarised Glasses are perfect for the job, and at just £7.99, they’re not going to break the bank! Full details – CLICK HERE.
As for rods, it’s impossible to give just one option that would suit, so my best advice would be to take a look on eBay and do a search for Stalking Rods. As outlined above, my personal choice would be for something around the 9ft mark, and you can’t go wrong with any offerings from Greys, Wychwood or Sonik.
To finish off, you want a lightweight bag to chuck all your odds and ends in. Again, there are countless offerings to choose from, but my advice would be to go for something that’s not got too many little compartments. When stalking, you often need to move quickly from swim to swim to get ahead of moving fish, so you need to be able to just chuck everything in at once and go, so either get a decent sized bait bucket, or a bag such as the Korum Bait and Bits Bag, which has a decent sized insulated main compartment, carry handle and shoulder strap, with just a couple of pockets ideal for camera and scales, etc. Priced at £14.99; full details – CLICK HERE.
Other essentials would be a quality waterproof shell jacket, and some decent socks suitable for use with waders, but I’ve already covered both of those in the Jacket and Footwear guides so you can check those out there. For any other tackle items don’t forget to check out the Anglers Net Fishing Tackle & Bait Finder.
All prices and offers correct at time of publishing.