The title of this blog could be termed as a bit inflammatory but it’s not meant to be. It’s come about because one of the waters I fish regularly has had a fish kill and has had to be closed. The reasons are not definite but it is thought to be a mix of angling pressure (the controlling club have had a big influx of new carp anglers who all want to test out the water), the fish being under stress after winter, and, most controversially, the use of particles in spod mixes.
I’ve mentioned in previous blogs about my thoughts on spodding out large beds of bait, particularly particle/seed mixes. Personally, it’s something I very, very, rarely do as I cannot see the point in putting out large amounts of bait unless you know for definite that the area you’re fishing hasn’t already been fished by other anglers. Most waters I fish are club venues and some tend to be quite busy. When I turn up at a lake I have no real idea of who’s been fishing the lake/swim, how much bait they’ve put in etc. In view of this I prefer to bait up sparingly with small amounts of Skretting pellets and sit on my hands for a while to see what happens.
Recently, though, I’ve seen anglers turn up in swims that have only just been vacated, and start spodding out kilo after kilo of particle mix. The result has been that large areas of the lakebed are covered in rotting particles as the fish are ‘not having it’. Remarkably, the anglers keep on putting the bait in to ‘make ‘em have it’. Now, I can see how this will work on the some waters. I’ve fished at venues such as Brazenose 2 at Linear Fisheries where such tactics do work well. But there’s over 2,000 carp in this lake to mop up the bait. In our club lakes the biomass of carp is much lower so if 10 anglers, each fishing two rods and putting in a kilo or two of particles a day are fishing that’s 20kg of mix going in each day. The fish can’t eat this amount and so it’s sitting rotting on the lake bed. Overfeeding a lake isn’t helped when articles in magazines say, ‘Keep the bait going in; spodding this way will often force a bite. Always work the swim and encourage those carp into a feeding frenzy.’ That may be true of some very highly-stocked venues but it can be the kiss of death on others – which the EA think has happened on our water resulting in several fish deaths and a general slow-down in fish captures plus some very lethargic and generally unhealthy fish.
One interesting point is that the EA say that this sort of thing doesn’t happen so much when pellets are used. They said that seed mixes are harder for carp to digest whereas pellets, which are, after all, specifically designed to feed to fish, are not. It makes sense to me that, once a pellet has broken down, even the largest pellets will be eaten by even the smallest fish from a stickleback upwards whereas particles/seed mixes won’t. As companies such as Skrettings bring out new ranges of pellets specifically designed for carp/coarse fish and anglers are able to make use of these, then this has got to be the way forward to me. Protec Carp and Coarse are an excellent choice and can be used on their own or in a spod mix with particles/seeds to reduce the total amount of seeds going into a lake. The result will be (according to the EA chap I spoke to), that the fish will be fed good quality food with a balanced diet, and any excess will be eaten by small fry/fish and if it’s not eaten, be digested by bacteria quickly, whereas seeds alone will not.
I hope readers will look into what they’re putting out as ‘attractants’ in view of this because, as we’ve seen at our lake, it can really mean that we’re killing our fish with kindness!
MORE ON COLOUR
Now onto something a little more cheerful. I’ve had quite a response from me last blog about colour. It would appear, from my research, that carp can see pretty much the same as we can with regards to colour. However, one question I was asked whilst out on the bank recently was the use of bright coloured pop-ups. We were having a discussion about bait colour and I’d been using a bright red pop-up and crushing up some bright red boilies to add colour to the pellets I was putting out. The angler made a very good point that he could not understand why bright pop-ups work. His thoughts were that if we only use the bright baits on the hook then why do the carp not associate a bright colour with danger and just ignore it? I couldn’t really answer that one but pointed out that my recent idea of mixing bright coloured baits in the free offerings, alongside my usual PVA bag of Protec Carp pellets I’m giving them something they may not have seen before. It’s been working quite well for me recently, with a few carp coming my way. Only small ones, though, which is strange, and commons too. Perhaps time will tell why but at least it’s working?
FRANCE HERE WE COME!
I’m off to France in a few weeks with my angling pal, John, for our annual trip. We’re going back to Petit Pretre for the third time. It’s unprecedented for us to go back to a venue several times as we usually like to try out different venues. However, we’ve enjoyed ourselves so much there that we thought we’d give it yet another go. Last year’s trip didn’t prove to be the best week for fish captures we’ve ever had but overall it’s so good we decided to give it another try. We’ve started getting out bait together so I’ve ordered 20kg of boilies from my pal Mark at Custom Bait Services and will be taking a 25kg sack of Protec Carp along too. It’s interesting to note that Bob, the owner of the venue, has stopped selling his mixed seed spod mix and now only sells hemp alongside pellets. I’ll have to ask why he’s done this when I get there but I guess it’ll be because he knows that pellets won’t give his fish any problems.
IT’S WORK PARTY TIME
Finally, our little syndicate pool as now closed for the next month or so. This gives us time to do some work on the pool and this year we’re experimenting with trash pumps to try to clear some of the silt. If you’ve never heard of these they’re diesel or petrol-powered pumps that can handle solids as well. We’re only borrowing one for this year but if it works we’ll be buying our own. We’ll be using the pump alongside our usual dose of Siltex which seems to have worked in certain areas but not in others, probably because these areas are full of sticks and leaves instead of just silt. Anyway, we’re looking forward (or not!) to a few weekends of hard graft. It’ll be worth it though!