Hey Cannonball.... No secret, Just corn on a hair rig. What made the difference for me was using a floating rig. Last year I was stubborn and just let the bait sit on the ground. Floating made all the difference IMO. Both days I had a few groups around me and I was the only one catching. I was also the only one using a "pop up".
Here is a question for all you seasoned carpers..... it may sound like an odd question .... why do you use those long rods? Is it so you can use light line as rainbow fisherman use noodle rods on the rivers? I am just using a standard heavy action 7 foot rod with no issues. Maybe a big girl would be an issue?