Few carp fishermen realise that fish can switch their modes of feeding and you can exploit these and manipulate these to catch more fish! In fact you can make fish feed in the specific way you want by the form and size of baits you introduce as ground bait or chum making it ideal for far more natural and confident feeding leading to more bites.
It is well-known that jokers and blood worms have often been banned as baits from various fisheries because they impact upon the feeding behaviour of fish so much. Many species of fish and in particular the Cyprindae genus of fish, have many adaptations which help them switch between modes of feeding to exploit the higher profitabilities of one mode over another, depending on which forms of food are available and where they are located in the water or bottom sediment.
You may have watched koi or goldfish sucking algae off the sides of a pond. But carp can also feed by filtering tiny items from the water, while moving and even while stationary. The position and concentrations of natural foods like algae and crustaceans called zooplankton or daphnia fluctuate depending on sunlight angle and intensity, temperature and water mineral and oxygen concentrations among other time and seasonal variations. The successful use of very fine ground baits is one way to induce the filter feeding type of modes whilst on the way to the angler inducing feeding on larger food items such as boilies for instance.
Because carp gain their energy predominantly from amino acids and even their tissue lipids are composed of them primarily rather than from oils or carbohydrates, it makes great sense to leverage them in inducing filter feeding to get them in an excited state! In this way you can know the fish can truly positively assess your hook baits and free baits in advance of physically sampling them, by the particles and substances in solution and in suspension in the water columns coming from your baits. In doing filter feeding mode of feeding, carp will taste what they are filtering using taste buds in their pharyngeal cavity, and can feed like this while moving or stationary and on difficult pressured waters stationary filter feeding on bait substances in suspension etc is very common.
Filter feeding is very interesting because fish like carp can gain masses of nutrients to promote their growth in safe ways without eating your baits. But they can also derive nutrients from your baits in suspension and in solution as they leach out amino acids, nucleic acids, oils and slats for instance, without actually eating your baits. So it makes sense to drive fish into a feeding frenzy mode as far as possible by inciting this natural feeding mode.
It is natural for fish like bream, roach, carp, tench, barbel, and even bass and trout, to filter feed at times by capturing various sized food particles within their branchial sieves. However there this sieving can be adjusted in order to capture patches of fine particles or to capture larger single items and the characteristic speed of this feeding can vary between species. In the case of carp which are termed slow suction feeders, although they can suck up finer particles from one head length away from it at surprisingly high velocities indeed.
The chemical senses of carp are often mentioned in relation to bait, but the role of the carp lateral line is far less mentioned. The electrical sensitivity of this area in food detection is often severely over-looked by anglers seeking to improve their baits and it is so finely tuned it can detect the tiny movements of zooplankton. As carp are primarily filter feeders using slower suction motions compared to other fish, it makes sense to exploit this by using fine ground baits and smaller hook baits too!
Smaller food items can naturally be passed to the throat teeth in mouthfuls without any problem and of course the more energy efficient the food delivery system is the better. It can often be the case that small baits are the preferred choice of more experienced big fish anglers because they can see the benefits of smaller food items in regards how fish feed on such baits and also their more natural weight, size and movement in water when combined with a correctly balanced hook rig. I find boilies in the 6 to 8 millimetre size excellent for bigger more wary fish even with huge mouths!
If you exploit the various filter feeding modes of fish using various grades of ingredients both soluble and insoluble in your ground baits you can certainly induce far more intense and suitable feeding for hooking wary big carp. You might recall the fact that fish are lateral lines are tuned to feel the movements of live foods like maggots and sound is important in ground bait effectiveness, but smaller hook baits are well recommended in conjunction with this. With carp one thing is for sure and that is when you leverage their mode of feeding or preferably specifically induce particular modes of intense feeding, you can vastly improve your catches all year round and all you need to know is a bit more about effective bait use and ingredients manipulation…
By Tim Richardson.