‘For every top carper that will tell you ‘slack lines’ are best, you can normally find another that’ll say a ‘tight line’ is the only way to fish. Confused? Well the fact of the matter is there really is no right or wrong way when it comes to the amount of tension you reduce or add to your main line after casting out. Although there are some significant differences between the two styles of fishing, with some advantages each can hold over the other. To choose the most effective one, it’s best to first understand what each style has to offer to the fishing situation with which you’re faced’

Tight lines – Tight lines are great for increasing the sensitivity of the indication you receive from your presentation out in the lake back at the alarm on the bank. This is therefore a good method for long-range fishing, as well as situations when you want to add resistance to a take, Zig Rigs is a good example of this. The drawback is a tight main line will be mid-water and well off the bottom, where it can possibly spook fish away.

How to fish a tight line
1. Cast out into the lake and feel the lead down on a tight line to reduce any bow in the line and keep it straight.

2. With the rod set on the buzzer, slowly pull the line tight with one hand, while winding the spool with the other.

3. Tease the main line tight a little at a time until you can feel the resistance of the lead, being careful not to move it.

4. The bobbin or indicator can now be added and the alarm switched on. Only a fish can cause a few bleeps now!

Slack lines
Slack lines on the other hand, allow the main line to sink to the bottom, out of the way of the fish, perhaps increasing their confidence to stay in the swim. Exactly what you want when fishing for wary or pressured carp and when fishing at close quarters. On the downside, indication is reduced somewhat, so not the right method for say snag fishing when you want to draw hooked fish away from the hazard in an instant.

How to fish a slack line
Method 1: ‘Dipping the tip’
This is one of the most common ways of sinking your main line. Once you have cast out, simply dip your tip below the surface and tweak the line back gently using your hand between the reel and the butt ring. You will notice the line from the lead to the rod slowly creeping across the water towards each other, do this until they both meet and drop below the surface. Once this has been done, pop your rod on the rests and keep slackening your line off for around 20 minutes before you clip your hanger on. This ensures the line lowers through the water column towards the lakebed.

Method 2: ‘Tweaking it back’
This is the method that top carper Nigel Sharp uses to sink his main line. This takes a bit more time than the Dipping The Tip method but it can prove a lot more effective when there is weed between you and your spot. Once you have cast out, keep a hold of your rod with the tip above the water’s surface and gently tweak the line back using your hand between the butt ring and the reel, this will sink the line from the lead end back to your rod tip. This will ensure that the line sinks nicely around any weed that is situated between you and your spot. Make sure you tweak the line back carefully as you don’t want to move the lead and rig.