Saturday, 7 June 2014

The Main Lake Hoo, 'Short Range Fishing'

The main lake at Hoo has always been a bit of a grey area for me, I have never felt inclined to fully focus on it. I half heartily did a session a long time ago that resulted in a 17IB mirror but I felt it was more luck than judgement. I think one of the main reasons for my lack of enthusiasm is the fact that it sees a lot of pressure and an awful lot of bait, more times than not when I've walked passed, there are spods flying around left, right and centre. 

I happen to think that with loads of lines in the water a large majority of the time and piles of particles going in, it can not only change the behaviour of the carp, it can also effect the way they feed. On pressured waters I think that the bigger fish start to feel uncomfortable sitting on large beds of bait and opt for the quick 'mouthful' approach. 

Main Lake
Because of all the reasons stated above, I opted to spend my time on both the stock pond and the cut, I've always kept my eye on the main lake and studied it from a distance. I started to gain a little insight about the habits of the fish and the water every time I would walk passed it back to my car after fishing the cut for the day. A few times I'd pass anglers in mid battle with a hard fighting fish and I would nearly always spot a few shows in certain parts of the lake. This got me thinking that mid afternoon up until late evening could be a productive time. 

Yesterdays Sky 'Vast Spacious Vacuum'
Loving my margin fishing so much I started to hatch a plan on fishing the water but working on it at 'close range'. There are some lovely marginal spots that drop down to around 9ft and loads of reed-lines and overhanging trees to consider. If I was going to pursue my plan I decided I would use minimal bait, maybe even singles. Because there is a fair amount of weed scattered around I made the decision I was going to fish a slow sinking bottom bait, I was using the new Mexican Hemp boilies and the pop ups are still in the process of being made. 

I find with this presentation, the slower I can get the bait to sink, the better. The are a number of ways to achieve a 'slow sinking' boilie, I will explain below how I create mine, I use both slowing sinking and critically balanced baits a lot these days, especially if the lake bed is littered with debris. There's nothing worse than reeling your rod in at the end of the day to find the hook masked disabling the mechanics of the rig.

The materials I use for this specific presentation are not complicated, I use zig foam, usually coloured white or yellow, a bait drill and a PVA nugget, the nuggets are by "Carp Craze", they're far more dense than others and seem to be a lot more buoyant. Below are the steps I take to make sure the bait sinks nice and slow.

Stage 1

Stage 2

Stage 3

Stage 4

Stage 5

Finished Presentation

When attempting this presentation it's best to take your time, especially when using softer baits, if not you will end up with a lot of split boilies. The final touch which I add prior to casting out is the PVA nugget. I don't compress it around the hook, I don't want the bait suspended in any way because I use long hairs and when the nugget releases, there is a risk of it getting tangled. I simply hook the PVA nugget on, I find this slightly delays the landing and it tends to come off whilst the bait is falling through the water. This in turn slows the baits descent down and I find it doesn't get pulled down into the weed or debris that I might be fishing over.

My chosen swim for this session is called Willows, it's tucked out the way up the end of the lake furthest from the car park. There are lots of overhanging branches and reed-lines which on the right day can be good holding areas. Whenever I fish this swim I make sure I am very quiet on my approach and whilst I set up, the carp move very close in and I don't want to spook any that might be patrolling around. 

I have learnt that being almost silent is just as important as the spots you choose to fish, rigs, bait etc. It's almost an art that I feel really helps to give you a better chance of putting more fish on the bank. Every lake I fish I make a solid effort to be quiet, I want any fish nearby to stay as natural in their behaviour as possible. It only takes an unnatural sound or movement to put them on high alert.

View From The Swim
Left Rod Spot
I arrived at the water for about 1:45pm, this gave me time to sort my rods out and get on my spots fast. The plan was to sit on my hands and fish until 8:00pm, I knew this was a realistic window to get a bite in. The hours passed and it was starting to look real good for some action, a few fish were showing on the reed-line. 

As it approached 7:30pm my right rod tore off and I was on it like lightning, I knew the fish was going to try and ditch me in the reeds. With a fair bit of side strain and a touch of luck I steered her my way and it wasn't long before I was looking at a nice fat mirror in the net, scales fell to a touch under 24IB .... Result ! 

Caught At Close Range
I was very pleased, my hunch about the feeding time and minimal baiting was correct and I am going to make sure that I slot in these short sessions when I can, I feel they could be productive. The water holds some really nice fish and I am starting to get a feeling for the place. Once again it does go to show that one bait in the right place is better than 5kg in the wrong place. 

There are so many variables in carping and I want to make sure that I continue to cover as many of them as I can, it keeps it interesting and keeps you moving forward. I don't want to rest and I don't want to feel comfortable on any of my waters, I want to keep the fish guessing, keep myself guessing and really make a concerted effort to catch the carp on my own terms. All in all it was a solid result and a good start.

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