Monday, 30 November 2015

Coarse Angling Today Monthly Series - Day Ticket Tactics to Try Today no 17


Specimen angler, Duncan Charman, visits a different day-ticket venue each month and explains how he gets the best out of his session. This month he explains the secrets behind one of the best roach bagging tactics in angling, one that’s sadly rarely seen but one every angler should practice and perfect as on the right water its simply the best.

Bread, often referred to as a simple bait, yet bread is far from a simple and involves a very complicated process to produce. Extremely versatile, most anglers use bread either on the surface for carp or as flake on a cold winter’s day whilst targeting chub on running water. But just how many of us have ever tried fishing bread punch, unfortunately nowadays very few.
What I love about angling is just how diverse it is, yes the pellet approach maybe the best option for roach on a cloudy carp infested pond, yet take this to a gin clear venue and it’s just not going to be as effective. These sorts of venues are rare these days but one that I stumbled on a few years back is the legendary Waggoners Wells in deepest Surrey. Set in a valley of beech trees this venue is as scenic as it gets and swimming around in the crystal clear waters of the two bigger lakes are some stunning and specimen roach. My first few trips were with more specialist tactic, helicopter rigs and maggot or mini boilies both of which worked to some degree but the clarity of the water just screamed bread punch. Having the perfect venue to learn a new trick or two I decided to leave the specialist kit at home and see if I could perfect a method that on its day is just unbeatable. Many mistakes were made along the way but this was the refreshing factor in the experiment and now I can safely say that I have a new skill to add to my angling armoury and one that I would like to share.

Bait Preparation.
A cheap loaf of medium sliced white bread is best and instead of using this the day of purchase its best to leave for a few days before using. Preparation does take some time and is probably why many anglers fail to use the method or get it simply wrong from the start. For hookbait simply cut the crusts of eight slices before microwaving each slice for around 15 seconds. Get a rolling pin and roll each slice before cutting in half and either wrapping in cling film or placing with a plastic food bag.
As for the feed then once again take the remaining slices and remove all the crusts before placing in a food processor and blending. It best to blend a few times to get the mix as fine as possible before shaking through a riddle to remove all the big lumps. A tip in getting the crumb as fine as possible is to freeze and then run through a processor in a frozen state as this just creates a better finer mix. Place the crumb in a plastic bag as this like the slices will stop it drying out.

Feeding and hooking.
The mistake most commonly made is for an angler to introduce too much feed at the start of a session. Little and often is the key so a ball of liquidised bread around the size of a ten pence piece at the start then this again after every half a dozen roach is a good starting point. Make sure that this small ball isn’t compressed too much, just squeeze it together lightly as this needs to start breaking up and creating a cloud as soon as it hits the water. I always introduce this using a small pole cup, even if I’m using a running line which is rare as I tend to stick to the pole nowadays. Don’t make the mistake of feeding too far out either as the further out you fish the harder the bites are to hit. As for hookbait then I simply match the hook size with the size of punch used. I know this sounds obvious but I think bread punch fishing is associated with tiny hooks, size 22 and 24, which maybe the case on canals when tiny roach make up the bulk of the catch, however at Waggoner’s I find a size 18 or 16 fine wire hook, something like Kamasan B525 best with 6mm punch bread or Super Specialist if big roach are feeding.
Something that’s common when fishing punch bread is for the swim to have periods of high activity as well as low points. The start is usually good, often instant with a flurry of before slowing down. The key to constantly catching is to keep the feed going in on a little and often basis and resisting the temptation to feed more during quiet periods, if anything its best to reduce the feed during quiet periods but introduce it more often.

I always thought that rigs would have a strung out shotting pattern but how wrong was I. Fishing like this will only see loads of small roach intercepting the bait on the drop and the bait rarely getting down close to the bottom where the bigger fish are. Although floats are relatively light, I now place a bulk shotting made up of a number of size tens placed two thirds of the depth of the swim before placing a couple of smaller droppers below.
Plumbing the depth of the swim is also of huge importance and I find that a bait just off bottom best and when I say just I mean no more than an inch. The best way to get an accurate reading is to first use a heavy plummet then switch to a light one as this wont sink into any silt and allow for ultra fine tuning. If you want to get the best from punch fishing then a pole is the weapon just fish a very short line between elastic and float.
I prefer to use a slender bodied float and although bites can often be really fast and difficult to hit at times its worth on occasions to resist the temptation of striking at these and wait for the slower more positive bites as these can be from the better stamp of roach.

Five most common mistakes made when punch fishing.
1 – Fishing too far out. A short line from rod/pole top is best.
2 – Feeding too heavily, especially during quiet periods.
3 – Punching bread from a slice taken straight from the bag.
4 – Using crumb that’s not fine enough and not feeding accurately.
5 – Stringing out shot as apposed to a bulk and 1 or 2 droppers.

Images and subtitles –
1 – A cracking brace of big roach taken from a day ticket water.
2 – A double figured bag of roach, all on the punch, from Waggoner’s.
3 – Fishing the pole is by far the best option when fishing punched bread.

Hookbait preparation
4 – Cut the crusts of the slices of bread.
5 – Place each slice in the microwave.
6 – Microwave for around 15 seconds.
7 – Roll flat with a rolling pin.
8 – Cut in half and wrap in film or place in a bag.

Feed preparation
9 – Remove crusts from slices and place in food blender.
10 – Liquidise numerous times to create a fine crumb.
11 – Place in plastic bag and seal.

12 – Meat punches are also good for punching bread.
13 – It’s possible to get over a hundred 6mm baits from one slice of bread!
14 – Always fish a short line from pole top to float.
15 – A pole cup is a must for feeding.
16 – Use a water spray to keep the liquidised bread damp.

Coarse Angling Today Monthly Series - Day Ticket Tactics to Try Today no 16


Specimen angler, Duncan Charman, visits a different day-ticket venue each month and explains how he gets the best out of his session. This month he shows you his simple recipe for making a great cheese paste and the tactic he implements to catch some impressive chub.

Autumn has arrived and for the next couple of months most fish will be on the munch building up reserves for the coming winter. One of my favourite tactics for big chub is bread flake but it’s a couple of months to early for this and with most stretches seeing a vast amount of pellet being introduced you have to be a brave man to deviate away from it, but being different can have its advantages and rewards. I learnt this lesson from a customer, who after hiring myself to familiarise himself with a stretch of the river Loddon, went on and adapted his own technique to basically place more fish in his landing net than most others. After an introduction to pellet fishing for barbel, Matt noticed that many a big chub was simply picking up a bait in there lips and then dropping it the second any resistance was felt. He also soon realised that bread accounted for very few barbel, so edging his bets for both decided to use cheese paste, something that both species had only very occasionally seen and tasted. Coming from a fly background he also sight fished for chub in the shallows and watched how big chub were able to pick up a bait and give only the slightest of indications on the rod top. With this knowledge he simply adapted a very simple set of rules and these were to use a very light link ledger rig with the hook almost buried within the bait. He also pointed the rod tip directly to the position the bait was cast to then held the line and felt for bites, striking at anything more than a slight tap. I’ve tried feeling for bites and have caught plenty of chub but prefer to use a bottle top weighted down with some cheese paste to compensate for the flow before sitting and watching this steadily rise upwards as a bite materialises. He also turned my theory of catching one fish from a swim before moving, on its head, as one day I watched as he lost a definite six-pounder then making a second cast landed a five! His words to me were ‘Id rather fish a swim with spooked chub in than fish a swim with no chub in’. These were wise words and ones that have caught me a few extra quick fish in the last few years. It also saves much walking as I often keep rotating swims, even after catching, in the hope that the chub would have gained some confidence but in truth it rarely works on tiny rivers like the Loddon, so now adopt a fish for two fish in quick succession before moving on and not returning.
Matt also likes to cast downstream and every now and again tweak the bait simply by lifting the rod and prefers to introduce a few pieces of cheese paste by hand so they fall and move through the water enticingly. I however prefer to introduce my freebies by attaching them to a small length of PVA tape placed on the hook as this gives me confidence that they are right next to my hookbait. I also feel that these static baits, especially in the autumn are more appealing to barbel. We all do things slightly differently but then adapting baits and techniques to appeal to our style of fishing is what makes fishing so thought provoking. I’m not sure if Mats doing it right or if its me, all I know is that we are both catching far more fish than others simply by being different and using a bait that appeals to both species as well as not being lazy.

Simple rig and bite detection.
Probably the most important point when using cheese paste and knowing that barbel and chub will be hooked is to use a line that’s thin enough not to frighten the fish but also strong enough to handle and land anything that’s hooked. I use Sufix DuraFlex which although has a breaking point of 9.9lb is only 0.20mm thick. Hooks needs to be big and sharp and I tie a Nash Gaper size 6 on knotless knot style with a tiny cork ball on the hair which gives the bait some buoyancy as well as allowing a good dollop of cheesepaste to be mounted round. The link ledger is attached to a run-rig with enough line to allow additional shot to be added if needed and is simply buffeted by a Quick Change Bead onto which the hook link is attached. A word of warning when using Quick change Beads is to check the knot. I use a Grinner as a Six Turn Blood can be unreliable!

Cheese paste recipe.
I think what stops many anglers using cheese paste is simply not knowing how to make one, so here is a recipe that will create a great paste. Feel free to customise it by adding other ingredients such as garlic, tuna, Marmite and black pepper and I always split the batch and colour one, orange being a favourite.

5 slices of Hovis bread
4oz cheddar
1 teaspoon of margarine
4oz stilton
1 tablespoon of parmesan

1 – Grate the cheddar and remove the crusts of the bread before liquidizing.
2 – Place the bread and cheddar in a mixing bowl along with the margarine, stilton and parmesan and start to knead.
3 – Split the mix into two before adding colouring (additional ingredients) to one half and then wrapping both in cellophane and freezing.

Top Tip –
1 - I don’t kneed my paste too finely when making, preferring to do this when I start chub fishing. I don’t know what it is but the thought of diesel, deodorant on a bait reduces my confidence so I simply make sure my hands are washed well before leaving home then rub grass into them to make them inert before kneading the paste and placing on the hair.
Images and subtitles –
1 - A strange shaped chub that loved cheese paste.
2 – Back she goes.
3 – Touch ledgering in a small pool.
4 – With the chance of hooking a double figured barbel, make sure you tackle is up to the job.
5 – Its not just chub and barbel that will pick up cheese paste.
6 – Enough ingredients for a batch of paste and your sandwiches.
7 – Grate the cheddar and remove the crusts of the bread.
8 – Place everything in a mixing bowl.
9 – Kneading only takes a couple of minutes.
10 – One coloured, one natural and enough for plenty of sessions.
11 – There are loads of ways of making your paste stand out from others.
12 – A strange combination but really good fun.
13 – I use a small cork ball to mount my paste.
14 – The end rig, note that the hook is also buried within.

Coarse Angling Today Monthly Series - Day Ticket Tactics to Try Today no 15


Specimen angler, Duncan Charman, visits a different day-ticket venue each month and explains how he gets the best out of his session. This month he looks into the art of rolling meat and why more anglers should try it.

The importance of a moving bait, especially on venues where most anglers are happy to take the static approach became evident whilst shooting a Tight Lines feature. I was on one of my favourite stretches of the river Loddon and after working a dozen or so swims, without so much as a tap on the rod, stopped at the top of the stretch to plan my next move. The video really was to see if I could catch an early season barbel and whilst looking into the tail end of a pool I noticed a chub slide beneath the far bank margin. Removing the crust from a sandwich I started trickling pieces through the swim and finally grabbed the attention of not one but two lumpy chub. Slowly gaining their confidence I was amazed when a big barbel drifted into sight then twisted as if interested in the bait. Realising that I had a running 1oz lead on my set up ever so quickly removed this, pressed on a big piece of flake, and cast into the swim. As the flake headed down stream one of the chub tried to grab it but I successfully pulled it away allowing the flake to continue on its journey, well not for long as the barbel headed straight for it, turned on its side and engulfed the bait.
Ever since that day I have watched barbel as much as I can, which is difficult on the Loddon, but where ever I find them I am amazed how they can compete with the chub and quite happily, if not clumsily, take a bait well of bottom. It also made me realised that on many previous occasion, more than I would like to admit, I have walked away from a swim thinking that it was devoid of barbel, however if I had trundled a bait through the swim before leaving could well have hooked and landed loads more fish.
I have to admit that trying to use a single rod in a swim and successfully trying both static fishing and moving baits is difficult so nowadays stick with having the odd day, especially when I know the banks have been busy, roving around and edging a piece of luncheon meat through numerous swims. Mastering the art takes time, years in fact, and I admit to being no expert at rolling meat but I’m learning all the time so thought it was time to share a few tips to get you started.

Fortunately when it comes to rigs then things are relatively straight forward. I use a 1.75lb 10ft Nash Scope rod as this rod is relatively light and can be held all day as well as having plenty of power to subdue a fish. Mainline is 10lb Gardner hydroTUFF and this is fished straight through to the hook which keeps knots and weaknesses to a minimum. On the mainline I simply add a couple of large Nash Clinger before moulding a big ball of Tungsten putty around, however to keep cost down most anglers use plasticine. The great thing about the Clingers is they can be moved to alter the hook length without damaging the line however a good starting point is around 10 – 12 inches. As for the size of plasticine used depends on the depth and current of the river and again comes with practice. Ideally the weight needs to just hold bottom but when lifted roll especially if the lake bed is gravel. As for the hook I use a barbless size 7 Nash Fang X which has some soldering wire wound around the shank to weigh it down. This ensures that the hook and bait stays close to the river bed and the hook is tied on using a Grinner, a very reliable and strong knot.

As for bait then good old Spam, especially the garlic flavoured is a favourite as is Princess Pork Luncheon Meat which I pick up for a little as £1 a tin. Don’t be afraid to use a big bait, one of around an inch and a half square is about right and I simply trim the corners away so that it becomes rounded as this rolls better than a square section. Bait is simply attached to the hook being pushed through, slightly off centre, so when its twisted and pulled back into the bait the hook point sits on the outside.

The best way to search a swim is to cast upstream and allow the line to create a bow in it. The bait should come to rest on the river bed, yet by lifting the rod should see the bait start to roll downstream before coming to rest against something like weed or a stone. When the bait stops leave it for a few seconds before getting it on the move again. Once the bow in the line has straightened and the bait reached the downstream limit then wind in and repeat. I also hold the rod quite high but instead of watching the rod tip for bites try and concentrate on where the line enters the water.
The first bite I felt was one of the typical rod wrenching ones, this was when the bait had almost come to the end of its course, however quite often when the bait is upstream or in front then a ‘pluck’ ‘pluck’ feeling is experienced. Striking on different bites come with experience yet in the early days my advice is to try and tune all your senses in to the bait travelling downstream and try and imagine what it is doing. Concentration is paramount and by holding and feeling the line you should be able to feel the bait trundling across gravel and stopping on different obstacles, however feel something different and my advise is to strike.

Gaining confidence in a method comes with results. Unlike drop-shotting where I just can’t seem to catch, when rolling meat I was fortunate to catch relatively quickly. My advice is that if you are fishing a river where most, if not all, anglers are sitting and fishing static baits then by becoming active and homing in your skills and senses to this active and rewarding technique will give you a massive edge over them.

1 – The home of rolling meat. The famous Royalty stretch on the Hampshire Avon.
2 – A proper lump from the Loddon.
3 – Small rivers don’t mean small fish, quite the opposite!
4 – Get that bait moving and search the swim.
5 – Once you get to know the river you will be able to roll meat during darkness.
6– Still as good as it ever was!
7 – The final rig, very simple and I keep the hooklink relatively short, around 10inches.
8 – A great combination for rolling meat.
9 – Top Tip. Most lines are shinny so I rub the last few feet in a washing up pad to dull it down.
10 – Its best to add some soldering wire to the hook to weight it down.
11 – Cutting pieces of the hookbait to create a rounded shape will make it roll better and place the hook in the bait so the point is showing.
12A/B – Tungsten clingers are great as Plasticine or Putty can be moulded around and moved easily

Coarse Angling Today Monthly Series - Day Ticket Tactics to Try Today no 14


Specimen angler, Duncan Charman, visits a different day-ticket venue each month and explains how he gets the best out of his session. This month he reveals a tactic used by match anglers to take commercial carp venues apart and one that he has been quietly experimenting with startling results.

I’m not sure exactly the date when I first starting using trout pellets but it has to be thirty years ago. Back then I was the first to get my hands on a packet and start using them during my local club matches. Top weights in these matches before the introduction of pellets rarely exceeded 20lb however this new wonder bait sent my match weights through the roof, often exceeding 45lb! Back then the variety of pellets was limited, however fast forward three decades and well, tackle shops shelves are more like sweet shops and lakes all over the country have been simply bombarded with them, making pellet the most productive and consistent bait available today.
Not just cheap compared to maggots and boilies, pellets are also a very versatile bait and the most commonly used methods that I see on most day ticket venues, and so do the fish, has to be a PVA bag filled with them. As many readers will know, I rarely use PVA, one reason is its expensive and the other is in most cases theirs a much more effective way of presenting your bait without it. The introduction of the flat-bed feeder revolutionised pellet fishing for a while and is still producing the goods now, and although I have started to use this method more, still find it somewhat frustrating. The main reason is that the groundbait or pellets placed with the mould has to be mixed perfectly, otherwise it just breaks up on release the mould, in mid air or on impact with the water. Finding a solution to this and one that’s far simpler to use has to be a winner especially if it can place my hookbait right where I want it, around my loose feed, so when I was told about the pellet cones I just had to get one and give it a go.
The obvious answer was to take it somewhere such as Gold Valley Lakes, a day ticket venue on my doorstep and full of carp, yet to really get a feel for the method and to see just how brilliant it is, I needed a venue that was somewhat harder and held few if any carp. Around the same time a friend of mine had mentioned how he and his dad had caught a ridiculous amount of tench and crucians from Harris Lake on the Marsh Farm Complex using such a device, so with the venue chosen it was time to put it into practice. Luckily Nash Tackle had also bought out their Ballmaker Pellets which had already solved consistency problems when using the flat bed feeder and pellet-lead methods and I knew instantly that I had a winning combination. That first session on the lake was a real eye opener. Whilst others around fished feeders up against the island or placed delicate pole floats in the margins and struggled I cast a small free-running lead, short hooklink with a piece of corn hair-rigged next to a sixteen hook out and constantly caught all day. In fact using two rods became somewhat of a joke as tench after tench graced my net along with a few crucians thrown in for variety.
Since that session I have visited numerous different day ticket and club venues and every time the pellet cone approach has been a winner. In fact the method has proved so effective that I kept it quiet until now but felt that this series of articles was the perfect place to reveal one of my secrets. Most if not all match anglers will be shaking their heads saying, the pellet cone, that’s no secret, yet I not expecting that many match anglers, unless they are clever ones looking at finding a few edges and tricks up their sleeves to be reading my article, however I am expecting a lot of club and day-ticket anglers to be reading this, one’s that head to their local lake with carp on their minds. My point here is, I learn loads from the match anglers and read their articles regularly to keep up with the times so pretty much keep in touch with the latest tricks and edges and it’s these methods that will score on the majority of venues across the country.
Pellet cones come in all shapes and sizes with the most common style being the bright coloured ones in which dampened pellets are compressed before an angler draws his hooklink through using a baiting needle. This was my starting point however I now use a Quick Cone as it’s far simpler to use and I can even place small micro pellets around a hookbait, similar to an earlier article where I used the Nash Ballmaker to encapsulate a bait before dropping it in a river to catch barbel. Forget about carp rods and heavy lines, this tactic, as all of mine do requires balanced tackle, 1.25lb – 1.75lb t/c rods and 6lb or 8lb mainlines. When fishing on less populated lakes I will use a running 1.1oz inline lead, however if I’m expecting loads of bites and casting frequently a small half ounce running lead will be all that’s required. On both set ups I place a small float stop an inch behind the lead, the reason for this is it allows me to see liners from fish browsing around the small pile of pellets yet creates a bolt effect when a fish sucks in my bait. Hooklink in most cases is made from Fluorocarbon in a breaking strain around 6lb and the hook that’s as reliable as any is the good old faithful Super Specialist in a size 16 or 14 depending on hookbait size. Some anglers prefer to use a bait band and mount a hard pellet next to the hook, yet I’m not a great lover of bait-bands and prefer the versatility of a hair to mount my hookbait.
One major advantage of using a pellet cone over a flat-bed feeder is the speed in which a bait can be cast back out into the swim. This is achieved by incorporating a quick-change bead and having a spare hooklink baited up and ready to go. After landing a fish it’s a simple case of releasing the existing hooklink and connecting the ready made one up on and casting out. It might only save you a few seconds but over the course of a day, and especially when the fish are feeding it can and will put quite a few more fish in your landing net.
So here’s a massive piece of advice if you are an angler that wants to catch carp, fish’s commercials, even relatively difficult club lakes and often buys a carp magazine. The tactics shown within these magazines are often over complicated and designed to outwit carp that have seen it all. Ask yourself the question, am I fishing such a venue? The answer will probably be no, so every now and again buy a match style magazine or even subscribe to Coarse Angling Today as this is where you will see the tactics that will catch fish on your lakes.

1 – Tench, absolute suckers for a sweetcorn hookbait next to micro pellets.
2 – Quick Cone devices are easier to use and Fluorocarbon, excellent for line concealment.
3 – The pellet cone works at Mill Farm Fishery too.
4 – Sweetcorn, the best hookbait by far.
5 – Standard pellet cones, a good starting point.
6 – Constant action from carp like this would make any anglers day, so why aren’t you using a pellet cone?
7 – It pays to have a few tricks up your sleeve when targeting massive fish like this crucian.

Sequence –
1 – Nash Instant Action Ball Maker Pellets will make your life so much easier.
2 – Half fill the Quick Cone with micro pellets (I like to press these down slightly).
3 – Place your hooklink through the slots.
4 – Fill the cone to the top.
5 – Press down and fill again. The firmer the mix the further the cast but then the longer it will take to breakdown.
6 – Press the release buttons.
7 – The finished article.
8 – The rig I use when expecting loads of bites.