New year, new start

5 min read

Now is a great time to press the ‘reset’ button on your carp fishing mojo and make plans!

Rob Hughes suggests some resolutions many of us could make to keep the carp-angling fire burning brightly over the next 12 months...

2023 has been a great year - let’s hope for a repeat in ‘24!

THERE’S a Chinese proverb that says “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now”.

That’s true of many things, and now is a great time to plant that angling-based tree. Whether it’s pressing re-set before the end of the river season or revving up for a fresh campaign, New Year resolutions are a great time to ‘turn a page’.

2023 may have been a good or a bad year for us individually, but the opportunity to correct or capitalise is upon us with the changing of the calendar.


Mastering a new skill keeps the angling brain ticking. We may flirt with new rigs or try a different bait, but a lot of the time it is simply just that – a flirtation. We give something a spin and if it works… happy days. If it doesn’t, more or less instantly, then we shelve it and revert to form.

I have to say that I’m a devil for fishing Ronnie rigs and mesh bags. They work, incredibly well, but I probably reach for them too often. Have a think about what your easy fall-back option is, and determine to deviate a little in ’23.

Why not try a new presentation or two this year?

A prime example of a skill that really needs to be mastered is zig fishing. Many anglers, especially those of a certain age, simply don’t like or trust zigs. And that’s barking mad. The thought of slinging out a bit of flip flop mid-water seems alien, but practice shows it catches a serious amount of fish, and if you can’t do it, you’re missing out. Confidence in the tactic itself shouldn’t come into the equation. Enough people have caught enough fish to prove its merits beyond question.

It’s how you use it that makes the difference and the only way you can prove it to yourself is by giving it a proper go. Don’t just sling a chunk of foam out there, give it an hour and then bung the kit back in the bag!

Now is a great time to try zigs too, as the carp are just off the deck, meaning baits fished in the middle layers (eg 4ft-8ft in 12ft of water) are the way to go. Give it the same amount of time that you would usually give your boilies – you’ll catch at least as many as you will on the deck – and it’ll be a new weapon in your armoury.


I always find having a target helps to motivate me. Many sports are target-related, as people want to run a bit faster or score a couple more. It’s no different in fishing. Of course, angling is a peaceful and social pastime, and often ‘just being there’ is enough (as most blankers say!). The reality is that a capture, especially a dece