Alexander Kobler

Twelve months of carp fishing: May

Zwölf Monate Karpfenangeln: der Mai

The beautiful month of May is here! After the long winter months and the early and unstable spring months of March and April, the ‘real’ spring is now coming to life and you should soak up this short time of the year, when everything is still fresh and green and yet it is already pleasantly warm.

For us carp anglers in particular, the window of time in which we can still catch the carp thick and round is getting smaller and smaller. When exactly carp spawn depends on many factors. The most important are the water temperature and the water level. The water level can even be just as important as the water temperature in waters that have strong water level fluctuations - such as rivers or reservoirs. Once bushes and trees, meadows and riverside plants are flooded, there is often no stopping them. Even when the water temperature is below 18 degrees Celsius. If the water temperature rises above 20 degrees Celsius, it usually doesn't take long for the carp to spawn in calm weather, either during the day or at night.

Of course, not all carp spawn at the same time and the older mothers usually take longer than the young wild ones, but the spawning of some often changes the behaviour of most. Because while some are spawning, others don't eat much but are often already near the spawning areas, watch the spectacle briefly and get a good feel for the hormones.

Why have I gone on so long about spawning? Because the imminent spawning of the carp (in southern countries such as Spain, however, they are already finished in May) must definitely be taken into account when fishing if you want to get the best out of your fishing. And as long as carp have not yet spawned, they do not eat huge amounts, at least not the fat ladies. You can only reach the younger wild ones with more food. So although the water is already much warmer in May than in April, you should still not make the mistake of feeding too much. Much more important than food in May is the location, guessing or observing where the carp are, that's what counts now.

I prefer to feed sparingly but attractively, with food that is fresh and wholesome. Milkers - and these can also be big guys - which are sometimes in no way inferior to roach in terms of weight - are also already in the spawning areas and already react to the colour yellow (because of the similarity to the colour of roe?) and can therefore also be caught very well with yellow pop-ups. In general, the motto is the same as it was at the beginning of spring: find the carp and lure them to the hookbait with some food instead of trying to get them to a certain place with food. They simply don't eat enough yet. At least that's my experience.

In any case, it is very bad if several anglers are already feeding a lot on a body of water in spring. This doesn't make you catch more fish, but reduces your chances of an early catch. Of course, if you're fishing a body of water on your own, this doesn't have such a negative effect.

And how do you catch carp that have already spawned? Definitely not with food! The motto now is to feed very sparingly or not at all, preferably only with a hookbait. The best bite is on pop-ups, but it is mainly milkers that can still be tricked by this. The fat ladies are then usually no longer interested in anything. But apart from that: My opinion is that you should simply leave the carp alone during these few days of the year. But everyone has to decide for themselves.

The considerations I made above about carp fishing in May naturally do not apply equally to all types of water and all climatic zones. I have mainly focussed here on the quarry ponds mainly fished in Germany with normal stocks and naturally available food sources. In shallower and wind-protected ponds, everything can happen two or three weeks earlier; in waters with little natural food and a dense population, carp actually feed all year round and really turn on the heat in April.

It is therefore not possible to generalise the above considerations between all water types, but rivers and canals, dredging lakes and reservoirs behave similarly in relation to the different countries and climatic regions. For what is May in Germany is April in the south of France and May in Germany becomes June in the south of France. But more about that in the next part: Carp fishing in June.

I wish you lots of fun on the water,

Alexander Kobler

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