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UKcarp magazine 27 janUary 3rd 2012ironing out the snagsIt's hardly surprising that carp spend a lot of time in and around snaggy areas. After all, these offer protection from anglers and general bankside disturbance.From the day they hatch, fry seek out structures in which they can hide themselves away from the hordes of would-be predators, like perch and pike, which would only be all too pleased to engulf juvenile carp at the first opportunity.As they grow this ingrained behaviour stays with the fish, so it's easy to see that at times of stress, or when a lake is being pressured by a lot of anglers, the carp will retreat to the sanctuary of lily pads, submerged trees and bushes.Who knows? They may even be relaxing (if indeed carp do relax) in the knowledge that they won't be harassed by the 'monkey creatures' stamping around with lines and hooks!This scenario of fish retreating into snags is naturally exacerbated if there is an absence of other naturally safe areas - perhaps a spot at long range that can't be reached by rod and line, or somewhere with prolific weed.At some stage over the course of a season a fair proportion of the carp population may be in the snags, and to fish for them effectively we need to make absolutely certain that our tackle is up to the task AND that the spots we choose to cast to give us a fair chance of successfully landing the fish we hook.I remember vividly the first snaggy venue I fished. It was a real eye-opener as I quickly discovered the inadequacies of my fishing tackle. First the mainline would fail, so I upped the breaking strain until it was able to take the punishment.The next issue was my hooklinks, and again the same process of trial and error solved the problem of these breaking. That left hooks. Hooks are (and always will be, to my mind) the element of the terminal tackle subject to the greatest strain - from the moment the fish pricks itself and the tackle is immediately taken to full pressure before the hook has had a chance to fully embed itself. As a consequence the habitual snag angler will inevitably suffer the occasional hook-pull or, if inadequate hooks are used, they will straighten.Checking that your hook points are mint is vital. Everything about your set-up, from how you set the banksticks and rods through to your choice of hook, needs to be spot-on if you are to land your full complement of carp and avoid unnecessary losses of tackle. We owe it to the carp to do it right to start with.Most snag fishing will be done with a tight drag to stop the carp taking line (no room for freespool facilities here). In many cases this can even mean fishing totally locked up - in Summer or winter, hot or cold, you will always find carp near snags. Lewis Read takes a look at how to safely get to grips with the underwater obstacles No room for error casting here!

UKCARP MAGAZINE 18 OCTOBER 4TH 2011other words, the clutch is set so tight that there is no chance of a fish taking any line. Single banksticks help to keep set-ups rock solid, as buzzer bars naturally twist round when a fish is trying its hardest to pull the rod off the rests. Goalpost buzzer bars do the job even better, but they can be a pig to get into hard, gravelly ground. The rear rest should hold the rod butt firmly as well, and numerous excellent gripper-style stiff rubber backrests will do the job admirably.If you have the butt eye on the inside of the buzzer the fish will not be able to able to be pull the whole rod forward, which is important as this stops it making it into submerged snags. The only thing you need to ensure is that the legs of the butt ring do not interfere with the free rotation of your buzzer wheels if you use roller-type buzzers.If you are fishing to a snag along your own margin then the addition of a long bankstick in front of the buzzer will not only help stop the rod pulling sideways, but also reduce the amount of line the fish can take by simply bending the rod round. The bankstick reduces the arc of the rod and the potential sideways movement of the rod-tip, and stops pthe tip from potentially folding into any reeds or plants growing to the side.I guess that's the basics on the bank covered. Perhaps a word on bite indication would be appropriate too. The last thing you can do is hide the line away by fishing super-slack, as this would simply give the fish the leeway it needs to swim straight into the snags. Not good! Conversely, a tight line with a heavy bobbin may offer good bite indication but the fish may be put on edge by the presence of that tight line to the lead.As with most things in fishing there is normally a balance to be struck, and I find this is to use a small lightweight Bug bobbin-style indicator fished on a short drop (so that the bobbin can lift easily, giving you a few bleeps on the alarm). This offers good indication and allows my line in the vicinity of the hookbait to settle flush with the lakebed.I don't think being too pedantic about breaking strains and line types is helpful, but I will suggest that whatever line you choose, you do not drop below a 0.35mm (copolymer) line while snag fishing. Realistically, it would be safer to use a line between 0.38mm and 0.40mm.Any 0.35mm line worth its salt should break at 17lb-18Ib on the knot, and a 0.38mm line should break at just over 20Ib. This may seem excessive, but the line is not only put under tremendous pressure but the extra diameter is the best way to safeguard against it being cut off by underwater objects. Diameter is the only way to realistically improve your chances of avoiding the line cutting, short of using specialist snag leaders (that could potentially be dangerous Lock up clutches tight...use line of a suitable diameter to resist abrasion...be sure your hooklengths are tough...and, most importantly, choose hooks that are up to the job."It's vital that your rigs are 'safe' when snag fi shing and that the hooklink can separate from the leader"JUNGLE SWIMSSnags and secluded swims appeal to fish.