27 September, 2018 |10 Comments
How to tie the perfect solid PVA bag for carp fishing.
Top carper Pete Castle reveals the advantages of fishing with PVA including a step by step guide on how to tie a solid PVA bag for perfect presentation.
“The use of a solid PVA bag for carp fishing has certainly been around for a long time, but it does have a tendency to fall in and out of favour for more fashionable methods. However, I’m going to explain why solid bags can be effective and why they should always be kept in your armoury and not be overlooked. So, with this in mind, here ‘s my seven observations on how to get the best from solid bag fishing” says Pete…
Why fish with a solid PVA bag?
Centralisation of hookbait: One of the main reasons that I like using solid bags is that it is one of the only methods that centralises the hookbait. That is, when the bag breaks down, the hookbait is sitting in the centre of the free offerings, which are also in the bag. You might not think that this is not important but think about it for a moment. When you use other PVA methods your hookbait is always offset to the free offerings. Coarse anglers often use specifically-designed Method feeders to help get around this problem, as they can see the advantages of the hookbait being central.
What rigs to use in a solid PVA bag?
I always use a soft braided rig in solid bags, as this enables me to wrap the rig up without damaging the hooklink material. Anything else tends to get kinked and damaged in the bag. I also tend to use short rigs with quite big hooks for my solid bag rigs (size 4) and I use these at such a size to create weight near the hookbait. I tend to use things like 10mm pop-ups or dumbells for hookbaits and these are ideally balanced against the large hook to create a wafter effect. When you look at this arrangement in the margins you can see the hookbait just poking through the rest of the free offerings, giving the fish a central target.
How do I tie the the perfect solid PVA bag?
I use medium size bags for most of my bag fishing – a happy compromise between not too big and not too small. Big bags can be very difficult to cast accurately, as they often overload the rod and small bags don’t offer enough free offerings for me. They are also trickier to tie. I start by trimming one centimetre off the top of the bag and I use this as my PVA tape for tying the top off. Always put the lead in first, so that weight is forward during the cast (this helps no end in the accuracy of the cast and stops the bag from rolling in the air). Then I put the leader up one side of the bag and the four-inch rig up the other, keeping them separate. A little bag mix goes in before adding the rig.
Where does the hookbait go?
I always put the hookbait to the outside of the bag so that I can keep an eye on it and loop the rig in after it making sure that it is not tangled. A little more mix goes in before tying it off with the tape. Make sure you don’t overfill the bag, as it will make it a lot easier to tie. Trim off any tag ends and wet and twist the top to tidy the bag and fold in the corners to create something that looks a little more aerodynamic. If I’m not fishing far out then I’m not too fussy, but if I’m fishing at range then I will spend the time making them perfect, as they will fly a lot better.
Add a little of Dynamite Xtra Active Stick Mix into a bait tub with some 6mm Complex-T Pellets.
Trim off a sliver of the solid bag, this is used to tied the finished bag later on
Place the lead centrally in the bottom of the bag and carefully fill the bag with the pellets and stick mix
When the bag is two-thirds full, twist the top to fully compress the payload, tie off with the PVA trimming and trim tag ends
Next, carefully moisten the edges of the bag and stick them down to create an aerodynamic shape
The solid PVA bag is now ready to cast
Watch the video on how to tie the perfect solid PVA bag…
Other reasons to fish a solid PVA bag
Another advantage to using solid bags is that they are great for avoiding any underwater debris. We are coming into a time of the year where weed growth can be prominent or you might want to cast into silty areas or near underwater snags and lilies. Solid bags offer the ideal solution to this problem, as your hook and rig is protected at all time. In fact, whenever I cast a solid bag out, I’m always sitting there confident that I’m fishing and my rig or hook is not hanging up on some unwanted debris. As carp anglers, we often leave our rods out for long periods of time and there is nothing worse than sitting and worrying about your presentation or reeling in after a long period of time and finding a stick or a leaf on the hook.
Overseas winter PB
Using solid PVA bags can also be a great winter method where you don’t want to feed too much bait and yet you want a highly attractive tight area around your hookbait. I travelled to Italy in mid-February and caught all my fish on solid bags whilst fishing over very little other feed. Night-time temperatures where sometimes getting down to -5c and the fish were not very active, but I always sat there confident knowing that I had a chance with a nice little parcel of food ready to go if they did decide to have a mouthful or two. I ended up catching a new PB 65lb common on the last night because I’d not overfed the swim and yet I had a tight and attractive area ready for when they did come on the feed.
Ready to go
Because solid bags can be a little tricky and time consuming to tie, I tend to make at least a couple up in advance. If I know that I’m going to be solid bag fishing then I’ll make them at home and once I’ve got the rods out I’ll make up a couple more, ready for a re-cast or if I have a fish. I store these in plastic bags to keep them dry and water tight and I simply use a loop to loop set with my leaders so that I can quickly change them around. Once I’ve attached the new one and cast, I’ll dry the old one with a towel and put the lead and rig in the bag mix to finish drying everything off, before starting again and tying a new solid bag, ready to go.
Adding liquids and Funnel Web bags
Solid bags are also the ideal carrier for carrying PVA-friendly liquids, like Dynamite Baits’ Concentrated Hookbait dips or one of the new Evolution Oils. I tend to use concentrated liquids such as a hookbait dip to give it that extra punch and strong attraction. Simply take a small syringe and suck up your chosen liquid. Pierce the bag with a sharp baiting tool and inject the liquid into the bag. I normally do this just before casting.
Use Mesh PVA
Another superb method to use with solid bags is firing out a few solid bags of pellet to create similar piles of bait near where your fishing. Trying tying up a few mesh pva bags with a small stone in it to create weight and fire these on the spot. Although spodding is a great method, you tend to find that your baiting strategy is slightly different with a spod with lots of loose feed over a wide area. By tying up a few ‘loose feed’ bags, you create lots of small piles of bait in the area and a different baiting approach to most.
Solid bag fishing is a great method to catch both small and big wary carp. It can be used to great effect in both the summer as well as the winter, creating a tangle free set up all year round. The centralisation of the hookbait in this baiting strategy makes it the ideal method for carp fishing. I’m convinced that it puts more fish on the bank than a lot of other methods.
It doesn’t matter too much where you cast one as you always know that your fishing. They are great for creating a small pile of food and can carry liquids right down to the bottom before breaking down. You can also tie them in advance and have them ready to go. In summary, using solid bags is a great and confident way to catch carp and I’m sure they’ll be a big part of my fishing armoury for many years to come
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