We have been experiencing some lovely low pressure of late, I for one am really happy to see the back of the summer, I love Autumn and Winter fishing so much, the bank side thins out and you are left to get on with what you need to do. As I recall this years summer has been one of the toughest in regards to banking carp, the heat has been up and down like a yo yo and there were times when, whatever I tried just didn't produce. During these periods I find I review certain approaches and consider little tweaks to my presentations. The reward for this effort usually starts to show itself when the carp start to feed up for winter. Even in theory if you're not doing anything wrong, the little extra thought you put into what you're doing when suffering a blank, can shift your perspective on the situation in front of you.
The Expanse Of WaterThe more I have fished the place the more I wanted to explore it in a little more detail, I love marker work and I decided I'd have a quick feel about in some of the swims I was interested in fishing. The first thing that has started to become very apparent is how snag ridden the whole water is and worst of all you can't actually see any evidence of them, they're everywhere and in the past I have lost good fish to them, it doesn't matter what you do or how much pressure you give on the fight, they seem to find something to get around.
It has been so frustrating because you take time to find something of interest only to fall at the last post trying to net the take. From the power and weight of some of the fish I have hooked, I am thinking a few of them were something special. A few weekends ago the weather had really turned, the wind was heavy, it was overcast and raining. Through past experience I have come to realise that these are perfect conditions for this specific water. It was Saturday afternoon, I grabbed my gear at around 1:30pm and got down to the lake with the intention of leaving at sunset.
As expected the lake was deserted and I quickly had an idea of where I wanted to fish. As I have mentioned before, I tend to shy away from the main visual features because all these areas get hammered 24/7. It's the stuff that I can't see that really interests me. The swim I chose was one of the more popular ones, it's a double and two islands sit directly in front of you.
The wind was blowing really heavy in my face, instead of going at the island, I decided I was going to fish the channel between the bank I was fishing and the island itself. I wanted to try 3 PVA bags, one long range, one medium range and one close in. In my mind I thought that it would be pretty hard for any fish making their way through to not come across one of my baits. My bait of choice was Starmers 'hooker pellet', these are dumbbell shaped and have a lovely soft centre, the flavor was Salmon Marine and I had glugged the lot in pure Salmon oil, they stunk real good.
As I was only down for a short time I didn't put any loose feed out, I concentrated on making my bags as attractive as possible. They consisted of green lipped mussel and monster squid pellets, to these I added some crushed hooker pellets, crushed Bio Cp2 Amino Boilies and some dry hot chilli hemp method mix. I tied the bags big and tight, they looked pretty clumsy but I had a feeling they might just do the trick. Before casting out I attached a small stringer round the end of the funnel web, this had a mixture of fishmeal based boilies on it.
A Big Bag Of Stench
Hydro Link Micro
To finish off the presentation I cut a tiny slither of yellow zig foam and top the bait off with it, I find it adds a nice little visual effect. In places, the bottom of the lake is pretty much black so anything to help catch the carps eye is always a good idea. On certain lakes I tend to shy away from imitation corn, I find it can be a little bit to blatant. On occasions I sometimes rub a little mud into the foam just to dull it down a little. Because sweet corn has been used to catch fish pretty much since the beginning of time, I feel there is almost something inherent within the carp that attracts them to the colour.
Just A Slither
I tied up my three bags and whacked them out making sure I have the range of the channel covered. By this time the wind was really kicking in and I had a feeling I wouldn't have to wait long for a pick up. The average depth of the water out in front of me was 5ft, it was a mix of soft black sand with very fine debris on top. I would usually use a pop up in these situations but because the blend in my bags was so potent I decided to stick with bottom baits.
View From The SwimOnce all three rods were out it didn't take long to get my first take, it was about 30 minutes in when my middle rod tore off . It came in pretty easy, it was only a scamp of about 5IB, I didn't bother taking a picture, I got her straight back, chucked the rod back out and within minutes of it hitting the water it shot off again, resulting in a carp of a similar size. The size of the fish was irrelevant, the important thing was the fact the approach was working. A little bit of time ticked by and then I got my third take, again off the middle rod. This felt like a much better fish and when I eventually got her in, I was pleasantly surprised to be face to face with a nice long common, I weighed her, scales sunk to 19IB.
View From The Swim
Long Common On The Hooker PelletI was really pleased with this capture and it confirmed that in the right conditions and the right location my chosen approach works. I wouldn't opt for using it if I was fishing the open water. On this lake big beds of boilies seemed to be the way to go on open spots. By this time a couple of anglers had turned up wanting to do a night in the swim so I packed up and went home.
Short Session Thoughts
One of the advantages of being a 'short session' angler is how you can make the process of trial and error a lot shorter than if you're doing regular long stints. On short sessions I like to try an approach and maybe a spot that I usually wouldn't go for. If you are adopting a specific approach for only a couple of hours and it works, you can then incorporated it into the longer sessions you do. Also when you have limited time I feel you become a lot more proactive in your ideas. For me a fresh and clear perspective can be the difference between catching and blanking. The minute I feel I am losing perspective, I have to pull off the bank-side for awhile, it gives your brain time to process things and then you can get back down with a fresh set of ideas and a healthy dose of enthusiasm.
Part Two To Follow Shortly
Part Two To Follow Shortly