Fewer hours and far more action!

Jack Matthews

HOW long do you wait for a bite when you go fishing? I’ve had some fabulous sport this year and the biggest lesson has been how it can be possible to cut down the time behind rods and still catch more than if you were camping all the time.

In the Spring I dropped off my syndicate water due to lack of hours I could fish as it was becoming too much of a journey for quick overnighters inbetween work and social commitments, so I thought I’d get a little local ticket as I had some unfinished business from when I last had a little go on there a few years previously.

It’s not like most ticket waters these days having a big stock of fish to go at, but is probably the biggest lake I have fished being 30 maybe 40 acres so it was all about location. Being on my doorstep made it much easier to do my homework than just slowly learning the lake by putting in actual rod hours. Taking the dog for a walk killed two birds with one stone, and meant I could get eyes on the water for all those clues where they liked to be and at what times.

So come June the 16th I thought it would have been rude not to get the rods out for an overnighter literally 10pm till 6am setting up in the dark with no prepared rigs or pre-baiting or any of that. I managed to get the rods out over some 4G Squid and TG Active and come 11pm I hooked into one, an upper double common of about 18 lb. I slipped it back, got the rod back out and at 1am my right had rod was away fishing on a single at range. Being about the same size I slipped that back too, very welcome though! The 6am alarm clock went off to pack up for work, and whilst throwing my damp brolly and bedchair onto the barrow my middle rod pulled up and I had a real fight on my hands. Had me nearly late for work towing me around just stripping line all the time! I weighed in a solid common of 29 lb 12 oz, but what a rush it was to get some half decent photos. Luckily with some help from a friend we got it sorted. I’d had a really great start on there, but my fishing started to unfold very differently the more I fished the pit.

Don’t get me wrong I caught a few fish from putting bait out and sitting on it for an overnighter a few days later but generally I’m not one to camp in a certain swim and bore the fish onto the bank, I like to vary my options and move about when needed so packing light was key. As the summer went on I narrowed down my rod hours massively and just targeted areas at certain times of day or dependent on the weather conditions. Learning the different depths throughout the lake I sussed out where the carp would be most of the time. Having 9 foot Scopes over my shoulder whilst walking around or as a backup in the motor whilst popping over after work made it simple.

Finding fish on a nice warm wind and flicking rigs out that I was confident were presented well every time was key to getting quick action. I’ve caught on all types of rigs, bottom baits, snowman style, stiff hinges, chods and multi rigs but all have been on long hook links due to thick silt on the bottom and using heavy leads to get the range required most of the time. On one occasion, I flicked a rig out on a showing fish put the rod on the deck sunk the line and it was away instantly! The bright Citruz Rainbow pop ups proved to be a real winner on many occasions.

Being a big lump of water almost most of the members were using bait boats to position rigs, and because it was the opposite approach I found spreading baits over a large area paid off massively. The only drawback was the huge numbers of bream, so a mix of big baits along with just a few smaller 15mms was my plan of attack. Where my baiting is always different to the rest is I don’t just turn up with one type of boilie, I tend to take 3 or 4 types and different colours and sizes, both shelf-life and frozen together just to mix things up a bit. I also rarely use matching hookbaits, lots of different types of boilies in a swim means lots of options and it is surprising how often the carp clearly prefer one over the others.

This season developed more into a series of stalking sessions, generally after work a quick few hours floating about. It seemed to be more productive being mobile than lodging up behind the rods waiting for them. There’s no doubt it doesn’t take very long to catch carp if you are in the right area with a sharp hook and your rigs are well presented. People over think it all the time, so many of my bites have been within the first 10 minutes of casting a rig out.

With almost all the stock being commons I have managed to catch three mirrors, nothing of any size but to just under 20 lb. The buzz is that people have fished there for years and not had a mirror, which tells me I’m doing OK with a slightly different approach. I tallied up my captures so far and choosing a few hours in the right place rather than spending time night fishing and camping has produced 40 odd bites so far with the best times of the year still to come!