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I looked around but couldn't find anything on Freelining . Tactics, presentations, methods. So how do you guys do it??

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I freeline either bread or mulberries. Right now I am using mulberries. Fish them under a tree that is dropping berries. Impale with a small hook and cast out. Deadly.

With bread, I will toss in bread as chum. Once the carp start rising to eat the pieces of bread, I will start fishing. Instead of the bread, I will freeline a small piece of bagel.....much more durable.

In both cases uses a small, lightweight hook. I like a #8 when freelining.

Goos luck!

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I assume that "freelining" simply describes fishing with no added weight, using only a hook bait, which might be fished anywhere in the water column (top, bottom, or suspended somewhere in between).

When I first began carp fishing many years ago :Old: , I "freelined" almost exclusively -- probably because I didn't know a better way to fish. :rolleyes:

We caught lots of mid-sized carp fishing close in, by chumming with shelled corn (aka "deer corn" or maize), and baiting 1 or 2 hooks with one kernel each, and casting that rig as far as possible with a Zebco 33. We also caught some really big river carp by freelining large doughballs that were at least 1" in diameter (those big baits provided the casting weight we needed for our baitcasters).

After spending countless hours on these forums and having now been "better educated" as a carper, these days I've gotten away from freelining. But thinking back, I don't really know why I stopped. :unsure: It should be just as effective today as it used to be.

Edited by needmotime2fish

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Far and away my favorite technique...10lb mono, size one or two hook, take a half of a slice of Wonderbread or similar, ditch the crust, fold, fold again, wrap it around the hook and line and mold to suit leaving the hook point well exposed so it resembles a sort of pointed broccoli shape..pasted at the shank, fluffy at the point. Have a dozen casts in a ''swim", strike off the bread after each cast, do this a half dozen times then move on if indolent. Try again at most likely looking areas, return to original "swim" ..repeat...if nothing is forthcoming go home and prepare a fabulous curry.

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This article may be of interest:

Freelining Bread by Scott Osmond

Secrets Of A Freelining Junkie

I have been asked on many occasions about how I go about doing my favorite carp method, freelining. This is a very vague "technique", encompassing many facets. The term means any form of fishing which there is no weight besides the bait. Most of the time, it is done with the bait directly on the hook. While it can be (and is usually) a very deadly technique, due to the sensitivity of the presentation, it also has it limits as to when/where/how you can do it properly. Let's look at these:

Close quarters: Finding locations where the carp are within the margins, i.e. close to shore (within about 20yds), is key. Most of the time I am freelining, it is in rivers where current breaks dictate the carp being in close proximity of the shore……within reach of a freelined bait. In lakes and ponds, finding ambush points where carp will travel close to shore is key. With the lack of current, the fish can roam much larger areas, most of where they do will be out of range of your freelining. Finding weed edges, points, and other structure where carp can be found within range can make all the difference. Weather: While ledgering with 2+oz of weight negates this issue, weather (especially wind) can wreak havoc on your freelining. Being able to keep your bait still and natural while being able to detect subtle bites, can be very difficult in the wind.

Current: Let's face it, if you've got a small bait with no weight, current can easily move your bait past where the fish are. Learning how to position your bait in the current, as well as in current breaks, is crucial.

OK, I am often asked why on Earth I freeline so much, when it can be so much easier to simply cast out with traditional Euro rigs. Well, first, I grew up fishing this way. Having confidence in your method of fishing can make all the difference. Second, it is also, IMO, THE most sensitive way of presenting a bait, therefore, usually the most natural. Third, it keeps me in the action, as most places I have to detect bites from line watching. This keeps me focused on fishing, from watching/learning the water, to keeping my reaction quick.

Picture this, your usual swim has been heavily pressured, resulting in slower action and timid fish. You've tried messing with your end rigs, tinkering with hairs, leads, leaders, bait, etc. Still, the fish are feeding skittish, and your catches suffer. Then you get a natural looking piece of bait on a small hook, with no lead, and (usually) fairly light line amongst the chum. Fish that are used to seeing big leads, unnatural rigs and bait, now see nothing but a blob of bait sitting just like the rest of the chum. What do you think will happen? Many times have I fished next to others that stay with the usual array of Euro rigs while I fish freelined bread, and out caught them in situations like this.

TACKLE I use: Generally speaking, much of my boyhood freelining took place in small, cramped areas; under trees, under bridges/walls, etc. My tackle reflects this. I used to use 6-7' rods, with spinning reels (good drag), and 10-14lb line. While I still use the same sized (but better) spinning reels (like Stradics (4000-5000 size), I tend to use 8-9', Salmon-Steelhead rods which I find perfect for this kind of situation. I like to use 10lb line in places which allow me to, as it seems most versatile. Almost any good retailer here in the USA (like Cabelas and Bass Pro) will sell an assortment of Rods like these. Thing to look for is they have to have both Steelhead AND Salmon listed, as regular Steelhead rods will be too light.

Float anglers typically state that float fishing is THE most sensitive way of angling for carp. While it is very sensitive, how can you get more sensitive than nothing on the line whatsoever?? The trick comes in line watching, as float anglers would watch their favorite waggler. In any situation, line movement will tell you all that a float could, but it is harder to see the very subtle movements incorporated in slight takes.

While a float is central to sending out bite information, meaning you watch one location, freelining requires watching every length of your line for possible movements against wind, current, debris, etc. This can be much more difficult for someone not used to doing it. Many times I've fished next to someone where they ask me "How did you see that bite?", even if, to me, the subtle line movement was obvious. It comes with practice, but watching line move slightly against current, wind, etc in any unnatural manner should induce a strike from you. The more "swings and misses" you have, the faster you'll learn what to watch for. Then there are many times the line will just rip out…

How/what to bait? The easiest and most versatile bait to use when freelining is bread, the starchier the better. Since it can be used anywhere in the water column (bottom, suspended, and surface), and carp absolutely love it, let's talk about this.

Not much prebait is needed, typically, when using bread, as the starches and clouding propertied of hand ground bread can put carp into frenzy. Most places I do freeline, I'll use about 2 slices of bread, grind it up in my hands, and throw it in the general vicinity of where the fish are. The ground up bread will cloud up the water, have suspending fine particles, and have solid stuff to find on the bottom.

Having the bread blob on the hook (usually size 4-6) enough to stay on the hook during the flip out, but not so hard and round as to look/feel unnatural to the fish is key. Imagine how the ground up chunks look on the bottom, this is how you want your hook bait to look. Trick I like to use is called "Ghetto" pack, which was named by Domm as we fished the Homeless swim in Boston one day. What you do is mold your hookbait on the hook as normal, then grind up another half slice much the same as you chummed with. You take this and lightly pack it into your hookbait so it stays on during the cast, but crumbles off upon impact with the surface. It'll explode off the hookbait, creating that cloud that puts the fish into frenzy. When fishing like this, and the fish are really "on", it's not unusual to go through 2-3 giant loaves of bread in a few hours, so pack accordingly!

Surface fishing is a completely different animal. Many places that have people feeding ducks, will also have carp feeding on the surface. This is, by far, THE most exciting way of fishing in my book! Many anglers have written about letting the fish become used to the surface offerings for a long time before actually fishing. I do not agree. Since surface carping is a "stalking" method, ie picking out the fish you want from sight, you need to be ready as soon as the first carp starts feeding on the surface. Bait the hook by folding, gently, a half slice around your hook 2 times in half (quarters), keeping your hook in the center. Gently pinch the middle of the bread where your hook is, but leaving enough "fluff" around the edges to keep the hook bait floating. Once you see fish on the surface feeding, pick out the fish you'd like, do not just blindly cast into the group if possible. You may only have one chance at the biggest fish in the school. Once you see the one you want, wait until that fish is pointing away from the rest of the school and gently flip the bait about 3' past it in the direction it is pointing. If a smaller/different carp gets to the bait quicker, pull the bait away without hooking the fish, as you will blow your chance at the fish you want by letting the other fish take the bait and hooking it. There is nothing like the feeling of watching the fish you want slowly engulf your hookbait….

Tips to get the most out of any school of surface fish (this can also apply to bottom fishing at times). First, unless it is a fish that you absolutely need to land, once you set the hook on a fish in the school, open the bail. Let the fish swim slowly, with as little alarm away from the rest of the fish before you close the bail and fight it. With no weight on the line, generally the hook will stay. Keep the fish as far as possible from the rest of the fish while fighting the hooked one, and you usually will have opportunities for more captures from the school. If you hook the first fish that bites, you will spook the school and the fish you have on will usually be the only one you'll hook from the school! Second, have a plan of action thought out as to where you'll land any hooked fish to avoid scaring all the others away! Third, watch how naturally the surface hookbait is acting in regards to the freebies. If it is even a little breezy out, it can be tough to keep your hookbait floating naturally, and believe me, the fish (especially big ones) will notice this and avoid it! Anytime a breeze makes a bow in your line, your bait will float unnaturally toward you. Simply pick up the slack with your rod tip, and flip the extra line back upwind. I know fly anglers do this all the time, and they have a term for it, but I just call it "slacking". Once your slack line is upwind, the bait will start to float naturally until the bow makes it's way downwind again. If possible, try surface fishing directly upwind of the fish, for the above reasons.

Freelining is definitely my favorite method of carp fishing, as I always feel part of the action. I am blessed with having many waters near me that enable me to effectively freeline. This is one technique that I feel all carp anglers should master, it could be just the ticket for those lock jawed carp near you!

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Yes, thanks for the article. Most informative. Have a place picked out to experiment with freelining. Will be looking for old bread on the clearance rack at the grocery.

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I sometimes use a fly rod which is basically free-lining in a sence.

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guss, that was my thinking, too. I'm thinking of tossing bread balls to attract attention and using a fly made of white carpet yarn to imitate a piece of bread. I use the yarn for flies- wings, parachutes, bodies. It floats like a cork- impossible to waterlog!

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sounds like a good flie to use when they are eating cottonwood seeds.

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Great read. This guy is phenomenal ! Has he done any other How to articles?

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I had pretty good success freelining a single piece of flavored maize over a bed of plain maize this season. Seemed to work well when fish were rig shy

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Jake,

Yes, that works real well on spooky, rig shy fish. Want to try something even better...try freelining sweet corn. Three kernels on a hook does the trick.

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I have been using my bass fishing set up with 20# braid on it and can cast a decent distance. The rod is very light it makes for a great fight when you hook into a mid teen fish.

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I freeline bread and dough nearly exclusively in my carp angling sessions. Most of the time it is sight fishing either day or night. After "losing" a few pieces of bread from casting out to them or "feeding the ducks" extant or not...I will then pitch, lob or side arm cast a piece - usually with crust on it and the hook hidden well to the perimeter of any floating offerings. Stealth is the game day or night. All but a hand full of the dozens of grassies I've caught were sight fished.

For a really long cast, I will dip my bait in the water for one second and immediately cast it. Wind is the enemy to freelining...or your friend if everything is down wind. One big bonus for me is unlimited free bread. There is a bakery attached to my office that I get it from. The sourdough works best and the center section makes a great dough bait by squishing the air out and running the hook through it.

I fish 20# braid, any rod I own, GLoomis steelhead rods do the job nicely since I use them for my annual Alaska trips. with bait caster reels I simply peel off 10 yards of line and pendulum swing pitch the bread out then release the line pinched in my free hand. Dough casts like a small weight so no problems.

Works for me. Caught this one Wednesday night on a 6'3" Japanese slow jigging rod with an Abu Garcia Inshore LP baitcaster and 20 # braid.

27" - 13 # Common

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I freeline bread and dough nearly exclusively in my carp angling sessions. ( no corn nor chumming in this state) Most of the time it is sight fishing either day or night. After "losing" a few pieces of bread from casting out to them or "feeding the ducks" extant or not...I will then pitch, lob or side arm cast a piece - usually with crust on it and the hook hidden well to the perimeter of any floating offerings. Stealth is the game day or night. All but a hand full of the dozens of grassies I've caught were sight fished.

For a really long cast, I will dip my bait in the water for one second and immediately cast it. Wind is the enemy to freelining...or your friend if everything is down wind. One big bonus for me is unlimited free bread. There is a bakery attached to my office that I get it from. The sourdough works best and the center section makes a great dough bait by squishing the air out and running the hook through it.

I fish 20# braid, any rod I own, GLoomis steelhead rods do the job nicely since I use them for my annual Alaska trips. with bait caster reels I simply peel off 10 yards of line and pendulum swing pitch the bread out then release the line pinched in my free hand. Dough casts like a small weight so no problems.

Works for me.

Caught this one Wednesday night on a 6'3" Japanese slow jigging rod with an Abu Garcia Inshore LP baitcaster and 20 # braid.

Oh - it was 27" and 13# even...

post-3642-0-20136700-1444406416_thumb.jp

Edited by fishhead

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