Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Blunts Mere ' Adjustable Zig Obsession' Part 2

Carrying on from PART 1 this blog is going to be an account of my zig session up on Blunts Mere, it was the ideal venue to put my rig and my thoughts into practise. As I mentioned in my previous blog, I chose to go on a day when we had strong gale force winds and scattered showers. 

To give myself the best chance I needed to get out on the water when I knew the conditions were right. Those days you wake up with a session in mind and open your curtains to rain, wind and dreariness, it's all way too easy to give yourself a reason not to go and get out there, it's in these conditions that the fishing can be at its best.

Blunts is located in a valley but the lake itself is very high up, you've got to be prepared to take nature on the chin. On arrival at the water it was very clear that I was going to be beaten senseless but I knew if I could get into some zig caught carp, the fight was going to be worth it. 

Apart from the odd pleasure angler the lake was very quiet, I opted to fish one of the open water swims that gave me access to the main body of the lake. My plan was to draw the fish in using a sloppy spod mix, for this to work I needed an open water swim with no channels or detour routes for the carp to use to bypass my spot. 

A Gap In Clouds Gave Me Time To Sort Myself Out
First things first, I pinned my cradle and unhooking matt down with pegs, in the past I've learnt the hard way, it doesn't take much of a gust to make my monster cradle take off like a kite, I have, not so fond memories of chasing it over the odd farmers field or two on more than one occasion. 

Once camp was erected I rigged both my rods up with my adjustable zig - "explained in part one" - measured out 10 wraps with my yard sticks, put a PVA nugget over each hook and then cast both rods out. I've found the best way to cast any zig is to have a fairly long drop and apply a nice through motion to the cast. 

I then feather it down until I feel the "donk", doing this keeps everything streamline, the nugget on the hook will create a natural drag to the hook bait, thus keeping it nice and straight on its descent. The second I feel the "donk", I release the line from the clip, place the rod on the buzzers and very slowly start to release it, I don't let the line out too fast otherwise the bait could be dragged back through the water and snag behind the mainline. 

You'll know that the rig is functioning correctly because the line that's passing through your fingers will be tightening as the float works its way up to the surface. Once the nugget and float are visible, you then adjust to your desired depth. Because I have a 4ft hook link, winding down 4 1/2 foot will put my bait 1/2ft under the surface.

I wanted to be fishing both my baits at the exact same distance, my thinking behind this was, I planned to use the wind to my advantage, it was blowing from my left across to my right, my sloppy mix would be applied a few rod lengths to the left of both my baits. The direction of the current would then feed my slop through the layers of the water passing through where my baits were.

10 Wraps On The Yard Sticks
I decided to fish two different baits on both rods, my left rod would have the avid zig lite in yellow and black, topped off with a fake maggot. My right rod would have a brown cut down Bio Cp2 Amino pop up, also topped off with a fake maggot. Putting all my eggs in one basket and fishing the same bait on both rods wasn't really the way to go, I was interested to see if one bait got taken more than the other.

View From The Swim
Because the left rod was the closest to the slop entering the water, I fished my hook bait just 1/2ft under the surface. I visualised that by the time the loose feed gets near to where my right hand bait was, it would of started to fall deeper through the layers. I chose to fish the right hand hook bait 3ft under the surface, In my mind I now had every angle covered and it was just a case of keeping the feed going in, I wrapped my pocket rocket around my yard sticks at 10.5 wraps and then got my sloppy mix made up.

Both Hook Baits

I kept my slop really simple, using Starmers 'Halibut Marine' method blend, it's very potent with lots of bits and pieces in it, it's a lovely washed out grey colour that would marry with the waters dull tones perfectly. I didn't want anything too blatant, the last thing I wanted to do was spook the fish before they'd even had a chance to feed. I kept the consistency relatively thin and wet, I didn't want it sinking too fast.

Halibut Marine Method Mix

The Perfect Cloud

Everything was set and ready to go, I loaded my pocket rocket and started to apply my slop making sure each cast kissed the clip, I wanted to try to keep disturbance to a minimum. After a few minutes I'd found my rhythm and I intended to keep it up until I got my first bite. A short time passed before my right rod gave a single bleep, the rod tip was gently quivering. 

I lifted into it 'first fish on' and what a dam fine feeling it was. Blunts fish scrap really hard and after a modest battle I slipped my first zig caught carp of the session into the net. It was an immaculate common, a perfect reward for the painful thought process I'd gone through to try and make this style of fishing work for me.

A Common Caught 3ft Under The Surface
Once returned I wrapped the rod ten times around the sticks and got it back out to the same spot, the depth was set and I proceeded to feed the swim again. Just like before, I was going to keep feeding until the next fish came along. To be honest it really didn't take too long for the same rod to go off again, it gave one bleep and the rod tip fidgeted slightly. I gently lifted into it and the tip arched round, this felt like a slightly better one, kiting all over the place, I held on tight, soon enough there was another common being teased over my net mesh.

Another From 3ft Under The Surface

The orange colouring of its scales illuminated in the scattered sun, a few photos were taken and away she went. I repeated the process again, this time feeding the swim for a few minutes before casting my bait back out. I could see the slop in the water, morphing and expanding along with the wind, the approach was working like a treat. The hook bait was cast out, this time I set it at 4ft under the water, the other rod, I set a foot deeper, maybe it was up to high in the layers, hence why I hadn't had a bite on it yet. 

Once again I found my rhythm with the spod, it was becoming strangely therapeutic and with each cast that was gently feathered, hitting the clip perfectly, a real sense of satisfaction was washing over me. I've made my views pretty clear in the past about spodding being overused, I have nothing against it whatsoever, for me the situation has to lend itself to it. I was starting to get a sense that spodding over zigs might not work on waters that see a lot of spod action, it could have the reverse effect. I will put this theory into practise on future zig sessions.

The Gardner Pocket Rocket, Perfect For Crosswinds
By this point I knew that the swim was now engulfed in a fog of stinky Halibut Marine method mix, I was thinking that it was almost impossible for a passing carp to ignore it. The feed kept going in, time went by and both rods remained static, I stopped feeding and relied on the bait that was already in the water to continue working for me. 

I sat down and had a rest, sparked up a coffee and soaked up the somewhat bleak atmosphere that the lake was holding. The clouds were broken and scattered, the wind became tame, come late afternoon it was fairly calm. Due to the change in the conditions I decided to minimise the feed, I didn't have much wind to obscure the rocket hitting the water so I cut down to a couple of spods every thirty minutes or so. 

As I sat looking at my rod tips I could feel I was in the process of falling into one of my many "angling trances" but I was suddenly pulled back to reality when my left hand rod arched around, the tip was juddering violently. Leaning into the fish, it propelled sharply to my right, desperate for it not to wipe out my other rod, side strain of the highest order was applied. She turned, and to my relief bolted away from the other rods position. 

The fight was immense, once in the net I paused to admire yet another zig caught common, this fish was reminiscent of a torpedo in shape and another fine specimen. It was my first bite off of my left hand bait, it goes to show that repositioning it at a slightly deeper depth was the right thing to do.

First Bite On The Avid Zig Lite
Once released I got the rod back out with no time to waste, the afternoon was starting to tick by now, I carried on feeding the swim, half expecting to get another quick bite. Nothing materialised and it got to the point where I was starting to feel pretty weathered from all the casting in and out. The therapeutic sense I had for spodding a few hours ago had turned into 'teadium', I was nearing the bottom of the bucket so I thought I'd get the remaining slop into the swim and then knock it on the head.

For the remaining hour or so I finally had the chance to take a proper seat, the spod rod was now packed away, I sat gazing out over the water. I could still see signs of my mix colouring up a large area around both my hook baits. My attention shifted to my right hand rod tip, it was bowing slightly, then almost straight away the left rod tip was doing the same. I instantly thought that a carp had taken one bait and ploughed through the other rod. I had visions of extreme tangles in my mind, I lifted into the right rod to be met with a solid weight, the left rod was still going.

Double Take

As I started playing the first fish it became apparent that both rods had fish on, luckily I was using my 8.5ft margin creepers so holding both rods at the same time wasn't too much of a problem. The difficultly came when I tried reeling both in together, it was nothing short of chaos. 

I was juggling both rods around, desperately trying to keep the fish away from each other, not an easy task, with both being attached to zigs it was one hell of a challenge. God knows how I did it but I managed to land the first fish without too much of an issue. The second fish was giving me a proper fight, it felt heavy, tugging and diving all over the place. Eventually she tired and it was comfortably in the net. 

What a crazy way to end the session, I carefully unhooked them both, got a few trophy shots and returned them safely home. A double take produced two fine looking commons and I felt so bloody happy that I'd finally had the chance to eradicate my zig obsession, it was getting slightly out of hand.

First Of A Double Take
A Perfect Common To Close The Session
There's nothing quite like packing up when everything has gone according to plan. Zig fishing is something that I will be focusing on more in the future, I know there's still a lot I need to get my head around and I'm fully aware that it's not a "one size fits all" style of fishing. I genuinely don't think that all waters will respond, especially in regards to spodding over the top, on pressured waters I feel this could hinder me.

If you've stuck with me on these two zig fishing blogs, I'd like to thank you, there's been a lot of theory and descriptions, I wanted to explain it in a way that made it clear to understand and hopefully it's made sense to you. If you still doubt zig fishing as an approach, trust me, it works, but you've got to be prepared to commit, persevere and put the time in, if you do, the rewards will come, finally, if you choose to use the rig I've shown, and you catch, please do let me know. 

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