After my last few trips out turned out to be pretty much a bit of a let-down I decided it was time to make a few changes. I’m not really one for making snap decisions and changing things for the sake of it but recent results have been a bit disappointing so I thought that a few alterations to tactics and tackle could be the way to instil a little more confidence and, hopefully, get a few extra fish on the bank.
Of course, making changes is one thing but what to change is another. What do you change first, how do you work out whether it’s been effective? Well, if you change your bait and your rig at the same time and start catching fish how do you know what it is that’s worked? Add into that different weather conditions etc. and you can see that all those features in the mags or on the internet about how changing something resulted in a whole ruck of massive fish on the bank is not a scientific way of approaching something and the results could be questioned.
I decided to change one thing at a time and it was to be bait. I’m more than happy with my use of Skrettings pellets but my hookbaits? Hmm. I thought a change could be on the cards. I can’t say I’m unhappy with my choice of boilie but one thing I have noticed is that I was finding them a little soft and bream and roach were whittling the hookbait away on several waters, so much so that I very often reeled in to find no hookbait at all.
I looked back over my diaries and decided to go back to one of my all-time favourite boilies. The Premier Baits Super Indian. I used these several years ago and never really had a good reason to change from them except that I got a bait deal from another company. So, decision made I ordered my new bait.
Once the bait had arrived I was like a little kid, I couldn’t wait to get out on the bank to try it out. The weather was appalling and the outlook for actually catching a fish looked bleak but I work on the principle that you can’t catch fish sitting on the sofa at home so I was out as soon as work allowed.
Once on the bank I was set up and the rods were out in double quick time. The water was one that I fish regularly so I have a pretty good idea where the fish will be at any given time. The rods were out with the new bait on the hooks and a few handfuls spread around. As usual I added a good few pouches of Skrettings Halibut pellet mixed with Protec Carp and I sat back to see what happened.
To cut a long story short in only a 36-hour session I had six carp to 24lb. This was more than I’d had on my four previous sessions. Was it down to my new bait? The obvious answer was yes, but I’m not so sure. The angler in the next swim to me also had a good ‘hit’ with five fish and he was using boilies that were just about as different to mine as you could get – mine being made on a fishmeal base with a spicy oil and, as the name suggests, Indian spices. His was a milk/birdfood base with fruit oil. Personally, much that I’d like to think I’ve hit on the ideal bait for this water I’m not convinced yet. I just have a gut feeling that it was a one-hit wonder so my next couple of trips to this water will prove things …or not!
Back at our weedy syndicate pool it’s been going from bad to worse. The mix of Canadian Pondweed and Hornwort has now been joined by great rafts of silkweed and the whole place looks so unexciting it’s difficult for me to get enthusiastic about fishing it. But, I’ve paid my money so I’m going to keep on trying as the fish are certainly liking the weed and all the extra food that’s in it even if they’re not all that interested in taking angler’s baits.
My last trip here was after the one where I caught the six fish so it was a real push to change from one successful venue to another. However, I had a good reason to change and that was I wanted to try out an idea I’d had about tempting the fish. I’ve always had good success on this water with pellets but recently it’s slowed down somewhat so I decided to change the baiting tactic. As I reported in my last blog, I’ve been grinding down pellets into powder and, once mixed with normal pellets and put into PVA bags, the resulting cloud of bait in the water has, I feel, been a great way to attract fish. The powder slowly rises in the water and settles on all the leaves and fronds of the weed, coating it all in tiny particles. I’ve seen fish paying a great deal of attention to this when I’ve been out testing out the method when not fishing so I was anxious to try it out. I decided to add some crushed hempseed and crumbed boilies to the mix to add a little variation and give a mix of sizes and shapes in the PVA bag.
I stuck with my tried and tested Snowman hookbaits but made sure that the hookbait only just sank under the weight of the hook, trimming tiny slivers off the baits until the whole lot just sank. Coupled with the PVA bag and after making sure that the area I was fishing was free of weed, I cast out two rods both baited identically. The result was a lovely 20lb common and two of the smaller ‘stockies’ that had been added last year.
What impressed me more than the fish was the way that the ground pellets and hempseed created a cloud of attraction in the water. The PVA bags sank slowly and rested gently on the bottom before virtually exploding into the water, depositing the mix of ground up Protec Carp and Halibut pellets plus the crushed hemp around the area whilst leaving the heavier full pellets and crushed boilies in the immediate area of the hookbait.
Once again, I’m going to have to do some more experimentation with this tactic and I’m already wondering why I’ve changed tactics at two waters where I need to keep going back to do more testing. But the final figures speak for themselves, six fish on one session and three on the next from two very different waters. Was it the change of bait and/or tactics? I’m not sure but I do think one thing I did made all the difference and that was the amount of thought and effort I put in. Like most anglers I usually turn up, get the kit sorted and cast out without really much thought. However, on the last two (successful) trips I put a lot more care and attention into my bait and tactics and it showed. Time will tell whether the change of bait works but I’m sure that the variations on a theme are pointing me in the right direction.