1 July, 2017 |5 Comments
In this high-pressured modern world, many of us are not always in the privileged position of being able to ‘session fish’ every time we visit the bank.
Having a young family and a full-time job, generally I’m lucky to get 12-hours fishing a week, so when I do get chance to ‘wet a line’, I look to adopt an approach that will help me maximise bites.
To illustrate this, I fished the day on the Middle Pool, at the prolific Baden Hall fishery. The Middle Pool is a classic ‘runs water’ and even though there are a few lumps in its depths, it’s more about getting your string pulled. They might not all be big, but they all count!
The first thing is the mind set you need to adopt.
Knowing Baden Hall’s waters very well, it is easy to fall into the trap of deciding where you’re going to fish before you even see the lake.
Location is paramount to success, regardless of what you fish for. It is one of those things that anglers discussed 10-years ago and will still be talking about in 30-years’ time. Simply put, you can’t catch what isn’t there. Even though it sounds a bit mad, considering the limited time frame have, I will gladly spend the first six hours walking the banks, looking for signs of fish.
Even though half the day is gone, I can still catch a lot of fish in six hours. There’s an old saying in angling that it is always better to spend two hours in the right place, than two days in the wrong one!
Today’s location turned out to be relatively straightforward. With a cold easterly wind hammering down the lake, I spotted a far bank area, close to the middle of the lake, which was sheltered and calm. Keeping my eyes peeled for a couple of minutes, a double-figure carp soon broke the surface. The way I see it is even though only one has ‘shown’, you can pretty much guarantee there will be a few others with it. This is often when a lot of day-ticket anglers ‘blow’ their chances, by going in too Gung-ho.
Before my rods come out of the holdall, I look to prime the area with my loosefeed. Even though it’s only a 20-yard cast, rather than reaching for a catapult, as many would, I prefer a throwing stick. The problem with catapults is they are too accurate.
For short, quick-hit fishing, I’m looking to prime a slightly larger area than I would if I were fishing a longer (24-48 hour) session. Rather than piling in 5kg of boilies right from the off, I prefer to adopt more of a match anglers’ approach – feeding little and often. My initial feed will be around 60 to 70, CompleX-T 10mm boilies and White Chocolate & Coconut Cream, roughly mixed 50:50.
I also find that feeding smaller baits, over an area the size of two large groundsheets allows me to sneak the loose-feed in without the fish spooking. Plus, having a spread of loose-feed forces the carp to move from bait to bait. By having to pick up individual items, they’re more likely to ‘slip up’ and take my hookbait without realising.
To further increase the chances of my hookbait being one of the first things they pick up, I employ two simple tricks.
The first is baiting both rods with contrasting baits. The left-hand rod was baited with a 10mm Source Fluro pop-up, while two grains of hair-rigged fake corn completed the right-hand rig.
To pep-up them up even further, I add a small PVA mesh bag of 2mm and 4mm Dynamite Carp Pellets to the fake corn rig and a small PVA stick of Marine Halibut Stick Mix to my pop-up presentation. The small PVA bags ensure the hook point is protected when casting across to the far bank foliage as well as adding extra attraction and pulling power to the hookbait itself.
To prove the point, within five-minutes of casting, I had my first run. A fin-perfect low-double common.
This is again where the ‘match angler mentality’ comes into play. It is extremely rare that the first bait they pick up will be the hookbait, so you have to assume quite a few baits will have already been eaten. So, as soon as the fish is landed, it is time to top-up.
Throwing out a further 60 mixed baits, again covering an area the size of two large groundsheets, 10-minutes later the right-hand rod was away, and another ‘scrappy’ little common graced my landing net.
Topping up again, the swim then went quiet for an hour or so. But, rather than rest on my laurels, I recast one rod to a slightly different part of the baited swim, just in case the fish had backed off, while every 30-minutes I lose fed another 30 baits.
On prolific waters like this one, if the fish do spook, they won’t go 100-yards away, more likely they’ll back off 10 to 20-yards. To increase my chances during this quite period, I will keep one rod on the baited spot, while the other I swap to a zig rig. I can then regularly cast this single hookbait around, searching for more fish.
Considering today’s cold wind, it is unlikely the carp will be cruising just below the surface. Therefore, I kick-off with four-foot hook link cast into a six-foot deep swim, 20-yards to the left of my main area.
Every 20-minutes, I reduce the hooklink in one-foot increments, then after an hour, I will return to the original length, before casting to a new area.
On runs waters like this one, there’s no need to leave your rigs out for hours on end. It’s all about working the water in front of you, to get the most from the day. Even if this means upping sticks and moving to a new swim altogether to follow showing or spooked fish.
This is not something I needed to do on this occasion, as a couple of hours later I had a further two fish in quick succession from my main baited spot.
In the past though, I have landed 23 carp in eight-hours, but I had to fish five different swims to do it.
For me, quick hit carping isn’t about always catching big fish, it’s about getting a hit of fish. By maximising your approach, feeding a wide area and moving onto fish if they back off, you will triple your chances of success.
My simple mantra is, the more you work, the more you’ll catch.