Carpfishing from a boat on big natural lakes
Experiencing the highest sense of freedom amongst an untouched natural environment is what drives me to put all the effort into fishing for carp from a boat on big natural lakes.
Thousands of acres make moving without coming across other anglers really easy.
Conditions can be rough, strong and changing winds can cost you a lot of sleep and if they turn into storms, it can turn quickly into a dangerous nightmare. Preparation is the key!
While fishing for carp from a boat you need to understand the ecosystem as a whole. What month does natural food grow in what places? Does the direction of the wind have an influence? When and where do they like to spawn? Are there holding and feeding areas? It takes a lot of time and passion to answer all of these questions, but that really is the challenge and you should never stop asking new questions and finding answers.
This process will lead you to achieve a bigger understanding which leads you to be a better fisherman. At the end of the day, that is what we are all after.
Chapter 1 – The boat
It starts again by asking questions. The most important ones for me are: Do you fish alone or in a team? and: How many days do you want to spend on an average session? The more people and the longer your sessions are, the bigger the boat needs to be.
As an example:
Let’s say most of the time you fish with a friend for the weekend:
I would recommend a cabin boat that starts around 19 feet in length. Remember! You are chasing for carp that probably haven´t seen a hook before, you are not on vacation. Space is limited and every extra foot costs you more money. The bigger the boat, the bigger the engine, the bigger the anchors, the bigger the berth, … . For making this whole experience afford- and doable you may get a little bit out of your comfort zone. Always be aware of the situation and risks you put yourself into.
You need to trust your gear to feel safe in a stormy night, your boat almost becomes a team-member! So before buying cheap, ask yourself if you would rely on a 90-year-old fishing buddy in the eye of a storm. That comparison may be a bit lousy, but I think you get my point there.
Chapter 2 – The lake
The chosen lake Neusiedl with approximately 150km2 of open water and a pretty much unknown carp population, just because of its size, is a challenge for itself. Reeds up to 5km around almost the whole lake doesn’t attract a lot of carp anglers. If you want to fish serious for carp there, you need a boat. You can only travel with electric engines there, so you need a reliable engine and enough batteries onboard. We use a 12V engine with 80lbs thrust and two 240A AGM batteries. I would recommend you plan with batteries that last at least twice the time you usually need to travel.
The lakebed has no structure at all, the “depth” varies at the moment between 0,7m and 1,4m. All of the western part (where we are) is muddy and the eastern part of the lake exhibits hard clay. Because of that rather unusual characteristics for a lake, it follows its own rules.
Water temperature can rise up to 10 degrees within a day, while the wind is pushing from west to east, currents beneath the surface can get really strong in the opposite direction. Constant wind colours the water grey, so the visibility is very low.
Chapter 3 – Location
Big natural lakes keep their secrets good, so finding carp within days can be pretty much a challenge. A good indicator always was and will be the appearance of natural food.
An old weigh sling can help you searching. If you drop the sling into the water at your chosen area, water insects like gammarus will attach to it usually within an hour. You can also spread 2-3 slings over night and check them the days after. If there are no insects, check for other food sources or choose another area.
Another possibility is a ground tester, which can tell you a lot about what is going on beneath the surface! At lake Neusiedl I simply use my feet.
Probably the oldest but for me still the best option is going for a swim/dive. Grab a diving mask and take a look. Use all of your senses. You may can feel baits left with your feet or if they are gone before baiting up.
Chapter 4 – Pre-baiting
Be aware of how big the population of whitefish, catfish, crabs, birds, or every other species that warmly welcomes your baits are and consider that every time you are baiting up your chosen area. The choices at the bait market for carp are almost endless, so there are the right options for every lake.
At this point I have to mention that many conversations with friends, locals and especially with our team leader Andreas helped me a lot by finding the right tactics. Thank you very much for your time and shared knowledge!
Feeding regularly is very important for me, eventhough I am pretty sure that baiting up on a daily basis isn’t necessary. Putting fresh and high-quality baits in every 2-3 days is totally fine. Baiting up our spot takes around 2 hours, depending on the wind, so feeding every day is simply not possible. Not just because of the time spent, also for the costs for baits and for heavy winds.
A good amount of well-cooked and sometimes even flavoured particles is for me the choice number one to get a place going. When it comes to boilies, you can`t do anything wrong at the beginning, except of not using a few handfuls of big baits, at least 24mm in size. All the species above mentioned usually are the first at the buffet, that`s exactly what I am after! I want that area to be busy, noisy, muddy, and chaotic. That is what calls the carp into action.
When you finally hook your first carp you can skip cooking and baiting particles and use boilies only. Use a good mix of flavours and sizes, so the chosen area will at least won’t be frequented by whitefish that often.
So how much do we use for baiting up once? First, there is a very big whitefish population which feeds up on the particles, but the individuals usually don’t grow big enough to swallow a 15mm boilie. That is not bad at all, because they will always cause trouble and noise under water and increase the food envy of the carp.
To ensure that there is still bait for the carp left, we use around 15kg of cooked particles (maize, tigernuts, wheat, buckwheat, hemp, …) and 2-3kg boilies (We use: Blue Mussel, BNB, White Scopex, Promino, Yellow Pineapple and S-Prococo).
Our chosen area is around 130mx60m. If you hook a carp at one end, the group at the other end won`t recognize anything.
Chapter 5 – Conclusion
This is our first real season at lake Neusiedl, and after baiting up since early April I blanked for a few nights and short-sessions after work. We knew that it takes some time for the carp to respond, but to be honest, we did start questioning ourselves, our angling skills and this whole challenge we were in. Spending so much time and effort for one thing cause big emotions as you all know!
A few days ago, I managed to get two runs during the night and I can present you very proud my first two catches from the lake Neusiedl. Now words won`t describe my feelings during that moment, I just can tell you that I felt incredibly relieved and happy at the same time. Between the two runs I did not sleep a second, I only enjoyed the first success. At the end it all went well, and this end is only the beginning of this year’s season for us!
If you got curious now and want to see and learn more about that type of angling feel free to follow and contact us via our Instagram accounts: www.instagram.com/___saaki__ and www.instagram.com/danielscarpfishing
Text: Stefan Wiesinger, fieldtester based in Austria
Photos: Stefan Wiesinger