This blog piece is a brief follow up to my last article where I detailed my latest week’s fishing in France with my brother David Gillett. Now regular readers of this blog or the Angling Lines blog, will see that a number of the bloggers such has Shaun Harrison, Paul Cooper, Ron Key and myself are forever preaching the virtue of correct bait application, starting off lightly and gradually building a swim up over the week. The week in question perfectly highlighted this philosophy!
With the relatively high stocking levels of a lot of the carp lakes now in this country, it is also a philosophy which I believe can be carried over to a lot of the carp fishing in the UK. A lot of carp anglers probably won’t like me for saying it, but I liken it to feeder fishing for bream or barbel etc (obviously over a longer period), you are aiming to concentrate the carp’s feeding to one area, instead of spreading your bait (and the carp), all over the place, which is what can happen when you fish all your rods on different spots.
I have to admit I thought the week was going to be a tricky one fishing wise, has the lake had a relatively high average depth of between 12 to 14 feet and this combined with the forecast of bright sunshine, cool nights and really high pressure of upwards of 1030mb would not make for anywhere near what you would call good fishing conditions.
These concerns were further heightened when the lake owner told us that a couple of the guys had only had 2 runs each the previous week (including from the swim where I would end up). But hey, we would be away from Wolverhampton for the week, so would enjoy it come what may!
I have detailed how I chose our swim and the initial spots in my previous blog, so I won’t go into that again
Bait wise, I had bought 25 Kg of the ever reliable Quest Baits Rahja Spice boilies in 15 mm and 10 mm, 25 kg of 4 mm halibut pellets and had purchased 10 kg of ready cooked partiblend (from the lake owner to save on more cooking gear). This would be more than enough for the 2 of us for the week.
With the weather conditions not being great and the fish obviously not feeding that well, I kept the baiting levels to a minimum to start with and also decided on the use of small baits (I prefer these when I think I may be scratching for a bite). Three of the rods were set up with snowman rigs made up of 10mm bottom baits and 6mm pimple pop-ups. The other three were set up with a ‘chopped’ down 15 mm bottom, tipped with a small piece of plastic corn.
I wanted to try and establish what depths the carp may be feeding at to start with, so placed the rods at various depths on different areas. My swim had a small island in front of me (swim 6), which had a very shallow plateau (about 18 inches deep) running out from it on either side. This dropped straight off to between 9 and 11 feet (it varied). I would put two rods on this area.
By Wednesday my 2 rods fishing to the ‘drop-off’ from the island plateau had not produced a single run. I had continued to bait area on a fairly light basis with about 10 spod fulls of 15 mm and 10 mm Rahja Spice boilies, partiblend and pellet each evening and about 5 spods full at midday. Not much bait at all between 2 rods. I didn’t want to up the baiting levels any more than that because the fish that we had caught had all come to relatively light bait application, including the highlight of the week to
David with the biggest fish in the lake at 58 lb 2 oz.
I was in a bit of a quandary as I still had a ‘gut feeling’ that the drop off would produce, but if it didn’t I would end up going home catching very little really.
But after having a discussion with David (he told me “to trust my instincts, as they are usually right”), I decided to persevere with this area and that proved to be my best decision of the week. From midnight Wednesday till packing up at 7 pm Saturday morning, this small baited area produced 15 fish for me. I didn’t up the amount of bait put in at any one time but did top up with another 6 spomb fulls of the mixed Rahja Spice boilies after each capture, no matter what time of the day or night it was. The fish had really got onto the bait in this area and each one was excreting it out on the mat.
We finished the week with 32 fish, of which 15 had come to the same 2 rods in less than 60 hours. I was really happy with our results in difficult conditions and felt that this week more than any other really underlined the importance of correct bait application. It is all to easy to chop and change your rods, if nothing is happening. But all you end up doing is spreading the bait (and the fish) all over the lake, instead of concentrating them into one area, which makes multiple catches easier. Be patient and very often the fishing over a baited area will pick up during the week and get better and better as you keep on applying more bait after each capture.
The key to this type of fishing is accuracy. You must be able to cast out your hook baits and Spomb/spod to the same spot every time, otherwise you are just defeating the object. A lot of guys like to use the 2 bank sticks method, but personally I prefer to walk the rods out on the bank. First of all the marker rod is walked out, then this is followed by the fishing rods. These will be marked up with a bit of insulating tape in the second or third rod ring. The Spomb/spod is then walked out and the braid clipped up at the required distance. I first saw this type of thing whilst fishing for some big bream over 20 years ago on a very large pit. It was about 2 am in the morning and a guy came walking past me with a piece of rope. I wondered what the hell he was doing? It then transpired that he had ‘cracked off’ and instead of drawing his other rod in (2 rod limit), he just marched the rod out to this length of rope which was set to the perfect length (because it had been boated out to his markers). This may seem extreme, but on a very weedy water where runs were few and far between from these big bream, every edge you could get was invaluable. By doing what he was doing this guy knew he would be back on the right spot each time. If I have a problem I just ‘substitute my spod rod for this length of rope’ and walk my fishing rod out to this. Remark the line and away you go. Choose a far bank silhouette for casting to in the dark and you should be spot on each time.
For the record, we used 15 kg of boilies, 12 kg of pellet and 12 kg of partiblend between us, not much really between 6 rods and for the amount of runs achieved. Again matching the baiting levels to the poor conditions, especially on a water that is not known as a ‘runs’ water. With using the shelf life Rahja Spice we were able to bring these back home with us for use at a later date.