You may well off even thrown the PVA, boilies and method feeders in the bin and tried using one of the methods mentioned. If so, I hope you have managed to not only save a few quid but managed to catch a few extra fish. Change isn’t always easy, and getting pellets or groundbait to grip a lead, yet still breaking down effectively to be attractive to fish takes some practice and the only way to learn the art is to make some mistakes. In this article I’m going to look at one tactics in more depth, explain how I go about preparing my bait in advance (more shown by means of photo sequences) as well as how I approach a venue with this.
Targeting Carp using the Pellet-Lead’.
The first method is ‘The standard pellet-lead’ which is great for targeting carp on well stocked club lakes as well as day ticket waters which are classify as runs waters. Once again I have to reinforce the issue of locating fish, without a doubt the most important part of each session if catching is high on you’re agenda. Setting the alarm clock half an hour early and arriving at the venue just before daybreak will give you the extra time needed to scan the water. Usually at dawn fish will be spotted, however if you struggle to find the fish then my advise at this time of the year is to head to the end of the lake where the wind is blowing. Fishing with the wind directly in you’re face, especially if its an easterly will be cold during the winter and this is the same for the fish, so move away from this bank and try and fish into the ripple from the side, yet if there is an exceptionally mild period with a warm south west wind, something that’s more and more common these days, then I would risk positioning myself in a swim with this straight into my face. Once the fish have been located and you are in a swim with them in front of you, take time to see at what distance most of the activity is, as this is where you want to be placing your bait. Make a quick cast then place the line in the reels line clip and tie a reference mark onto the line next to this. The best line reference marker is that made from E.S.P Marker Gum. A simple stop-knot is good enough and will not move, just make sure you leave the ends longer than you would think, as cutting these too short will create friction on the line and cause you problems when casting. Once clipped and marked up I simply tie on a Spomb and get some bait out, which is going to be the same as that moulded around the lead and the same size as that placed on the hair. Once I have deposited maybe three loads I simply tie on my rig, place a bait on the hair, mould some free offerings around the lead and cast out to the desired spot. Laying the rod on the ground I repeat this with the second rod then go about organising the swim for the day ahead. Dawn is one of the best periods for a bite so expect one of the rods placed on the ground to burst into life, just remember if doing this to ensure you have removed the line from the clip and that the baitrunner is loosened right off! Being able to get rods out to showing fish quickly is all about being organised, hence why my rods are always made up on arrival with rigs attached.
The reason I call this ‘The standard Pellet-Lead’ is on runs-waters I want the carp to feed on a certain size bait, so if I’m going to mould 8mm pellets around the lead then I’m going to be using an 8mm pellet on the hair, my preference being a Nash 8mm Squidgee Pellet. This is where carp on such waters often get away with things, as if you place 8mm pellets in a PVA bag they will home in on these, feed with confidence on these, yet leave you’re 18mm boilie alone. This is where matching you’re hookbait with you’re feed is so important. Let’s look at it this way. If I was feeding maggots, would I be using luncheon meat on the hook, no, I’d be using maggot! Unfortunately, and I hate to say this, most anglers think they can just turn up on a lake, cast out and catch, sorry you are wrong. Using a PVA bag of pellets and fishing a boilie on the hook will catch you fish, but far less than if you were to work the swim and match the hookbait with the feed. A boilie will last for hours, yet an 8mm pellets, maybe minutes, so if you decide to try my tactic then it means no slacking, just constant casting.
When matching hookbait with feed, an area that needs to be looked at is hook size, as there is no point using a size 6 hook with an 8mm pellet. The way I gauge this is simple. I try to match the diameter of the bait with the diameter of the hook. The best way for me to explain this is, would you use a size 18 hook with a 18mm boilie, no, and all angler no why! A good size hook for an 8mm pellet would be a size 10 or 12 and knowing that I will be scaling down to consistently catch, then I need to also look at the rods I will be using. It seems that 2.75lb rods are sold as standard for carp fishing, but I rarely use such powerful rods, as I’m rarely casting further than fifty yards and rarely targeting fish in excess of 30lb. More often than not I’m aiming to catch plenty of doubles in venues with very few snags, on thought through scaled down tactics where balance rods are called for in the 1.25lb to 2.2lb t/c range. Before you go thinking you have to start buying new rods then don’t, just remember if you take my advise and start bringing my tactics into you’re fishing, all you need to remember is when using smaller hooks you will need to play fish far more gently than if using beefier rods. If you start experiencing hook pulls then its time to rethink rods.
At last, we come to bait. Most day ticket, club waters see the constant introduction of pellets, so to me this is what I have to use to get the best results. Fish love pellets, yet in the winter, although still effective, they do start to loose their appeal, so all you need to do is drop down on the amount you introduce. The pellets I use are Nash Sticky Method Pellets which are fantastic as they can be wetted down once at the lake and are usable within minutes, but be warned, add water on a little and often basis.
An edge that might just catch you more fish is by adding a sight/buoyancy aid next to the pellet on the hair. It doesn’t always work, however if you know fish are in the swim and are experiencing loads of liners then it might be worth trying. I recall one day, when after experiencing numerous liners I added a small piece of buoyant plastic corn to the pellet only to see the bobbin hit the rod blank, time after time.
One other very important point, that many anglers miss, is the sharpness of the hook point. This comes hot on the heels of fish location, as a blunt hook will cost you fish. Place an appetising meal in front of a hungry fish, next to a sharp hook and you have the recipe for success, however a blunt hook is destined for failure. I will check my hook point every time I remove one from the packet, and believe me they aren’t always sharp, as well as after every capture, or each time I find myself caught on a snag. Attention to detail makes all the difference.
My thought process before each session –
Rods rigged up and ready to go.
Alarm set ready to arrive half an hour before daybreak.
Arrive at venue, leave tackle in car (as long as it’s safe) and go find the fish.
Fish located, get tackle from car and into swim.
Remove rig from rod, replace with Spomb and introduce bait.
Remove Spomb, replace with rig and cast to baited area, repeat with second rod.
Arrange swim for day ahead (land, weigh, photograph fish often associated with early start).
Create a casting plan depending on time of year, amount of fish showing.
Cast every 15/30/45 minutes depending on situation.
Enjoy the rewards the extra effort provides!
Top tip –
- Try and match the hook size with the hookbait.
- Always check the sharpness of you’re hook. If it digs in my nail, it’s good, if it slides across its blunt.