During recent times, I have been on a massive learning curve, as I finally got my ticket for a water which I had waited a very long time for. This venue is like no other I have fished in the past, so new tactics had to be learned in order to catch carp on a regular basis. I’ve already gained as much information as I could about some key factors which have helped me get a feel for my new venue.
Exploring and thinking myself in
These are very important on any venue, but more so if the water you are fishing is large and open to the elements, which my chosen venue pretty much is. Finding out which were the productive winds was first priority, as this can be the deciding factor on any water.
South-westerly winds are one of the most productive, as these tend to be warm with cloud or rain, which are ideal conditions for catching carp, but winds from other directions can be just as productive, as I found out years ago while fishing another venue where the fish really responded to an easterly wind. New winds are often productive, but these can be very short lived and only lasting for 12 to 24hrs.
Getting to know the movements of the fish on certain wind directions will put you in areas of the lake were the fish will be heading, giving you a much better chance of catching on a regular basis. Fishing on the back of winds in the flat calm areas can be just as productive as fishing on the end of the winds. I have often found this to be more productive in winter, when day time temperatures are low making any wind feel bitter and cold.
Nearly all waters have areas of the lake which are more productive than others, so I was very keen to find these areas and try to fish them from the start.
My new water has a feature of some sort in front of each swim in the way of a bar; plateau or hump surrounded by deep water and some swims have many more, so there is always something to fish to, but choosing the right areas on the day can be tricky.
As the seasons change, so can productive areas of the lake and the going swim from last year, which was producing fish on a regular basis, can become unproductive. Angling pressure along with wind can play a big part by pushing fish into areas and onto features, so intuition and or guess work has a role to play, too.
Due to the nature of the lake, I initially decided that the best way to fish was to put all my eggs in one basket which meant presenting all three rods on the same spot. Fishing this way is an all or nothing tactic which can result in a blank or a net full of carp. If the fish don’t move over your area, you are likely to end up with a dry net, but on the other hand the action can come thick and fast, often resulting in multiple catches when a group of fish move onto you.
BAIT AND TACTICS
My first line of attack has always been to go in with the boilie approach, as this has served me well wherever I have fished. And I knew the fish in this water could get through a bit of grub when they are on the munch! Giving the carp plenty of quality food is second nature to me, anyway, it's just the way I fish. For years, the water has been fed plenty of particle baits with anglers having great success with them, so this approach was something not to be ignored. But I like to be a little different, so I went down the boilie-only route to see if I could pick out the bigger stamp of fish. I decided to use both round and boilie chops (pellet shaped boilies) to mix it up a bit and create a little confusion for the carp. Monster Squid Purple is my bait of choice and I have to say it's been an instant success. I’ve been using the new Cyber Shot throwing stick to deliver the bait to my spots and what an incredible tool that is!
As always, my hook baits are critically balanced. This little edge can fool the wariest of carp and will keep producing the goods even when the fish are feeding on the cagey side.
Another tactic which has brought me plenty of success is to fish hi viz/fluro hook baits over my purple free offerings. I have found this approach to be at its most affective at the start of the season, when fishing over large amounts of bait.
It definitely produces quicker bites, the carp seem to home in on the bright hook bait first. On the flip side of that, during periods when the fish have switched off or are less willing to feed, my balanced fluoro specials will often produce a result. Again, these hook baits are critically balanced. I make these myself using the same attractor recipe as my free offerings.
I use the Top Rod Formulas to make my balanced specials...
...balanced and highly effective
My rigs remain the same as they have for many years; they are simple, clutter free and very effective, so I’m never tempted to change to the latest trends or gimmicks often found in the monthlies.
The only aspect that may change is the length of the hook link to suit the type of bottom where the rig will be presented, i.e. lengthening the hook link on the weedier/softer parts of the lake bed.
With the water having a leader ban, my usual lead core and Diffusion leaders had to be replaced by tubing. But I wasn’t too bothered by this, the Nash TT Diffusion rig tube is a far superior product to the tubing of a few years ago. It’s very supple, which ensures that it moulds itself to the lake bed and it just seems to disappear against any colour or shade.
I like the lead to detach on the take, as this puts me in direct contact with the fish, and losing the lead encourages the fish to rise up through the water towards the surface, which helps when fishing weedy waters. This minimises the chance of the fish becoming snagged in thick weed and maximises the chance of banking it. I prefer the inline drop-off lead system, as it is less prone to tangles. This system also maximises the hooking potential of the rig and ensures the lead detaches as soon as the fish bolts.
As the new season unfolds, I like to reflect on past experiences and analyse my previous time spent on the bank. I’m always looking to improve. This can be anything from fine tuning presentations, bait application, swim choice etc, It’s about making all the pieces of the jigsaw fit neatly into place.
So, here I am one year on and entering my second season on my new venue. Looking back over the previous season there was certainly a couple of areas where I needed to improve, the main one being my baiting situations, which never really worked how I intended.
I couldn’t seem to hold the fish in my chosen area for any length of time to capitalise on and produce the multiple hits I’d strived for. They certainly liked the boilies, but thinking about how particle works well on here, mixing in small amounts and maybe also some matching Soluballs and Chain Reaction to boost hook bait attraction could be the key to solving that one. I think that’s another lesson learned.
The hi-viz alternative hook baits over food bait idea is still keeping the bobbins moving on a regular basis, but now the fish are really on the feed I’ll be considering other alternatives, too.
Being a Nash consultant, there are always plenty of new ideas to experiment with. Firstly, the new range of rock salt products which seem to be causing quite a stir at the moment - these will have many uses.
Gary at the bait factory has been adding it into my boilie mix, which I’m sure can only improve on my original bait. The rock salt has also been added to my particle mix stick/bag mixes, which has so far proved to be a winning method.
Next up is the awesome Zig-Bugs. Everyone is talking about these. The amount of fish slipping up to these little critters has been quite phenomenal, especially when tied up with the new Zig Flo line, which I’m very impressed with. With some materials you have to go extra light to get those bites, but Zig Flo combines dependable strength with the ultimate in stealth.
The Riser Pellet is also proving to be a major edge, particularly on waters that haven’t seen it before.
Well, that’s it from me – be lucky!