The first thing I would like to say is thanks to Callum for your thoughts and insight into your angling. Some very interesting ideas and pointers for people reading this to take on board. Obviously we all have our own ideas and strategies in targeting different venues and even targeting certain fish.
Firstly going back to Paul’s piece on small against large hook baits etc. Personally I have always opted to use small hook baits. I’ve never been one to use big hook baits or even big boilies. I suppose part of the reason I like smaller baits is that it is more natural for the fish to eat smaller food items. A lot of lakes I have fished in the past involve the carp having very rarely seen a boilie and I didn’t want to use something completely alien in terms of the size of food items they are used to.
One lake I fished for example was Wasing estates Cranwells. There I was targeting the biggest mirror in the country yet I knew it had a tendency to get caught on small baits. My whole campaign I never used a single bait larger than a 12mm pop up. It certainly did the job as I managed to catch the fish when others using larger baits that year failed. So to sum up my answer to Paul’s comments I’m a massive fan of smaller hook baits throughout my fishing, whatever the situation or lake I am fishing.
From March till November I am a big particle fan. Again I fish a lot of clear weedy pits where competing against the natural food can be difficult. I find the use of particles matches the natural food diet as close as possible.
After reading Callum’s follow on piece, I noticed my fishing is generally completely different to his type of venues. I can honestly say on the venues I fish that I have never fished three rods on one spot. Fishing a low stocked lake I just don’t believe this would bring a greater return over spreading the rods and covering different areas of the swim I was fishing.
The venues I have been fishing these last few years have been mega weedy to the point one of the venues became unfishable. On these type of waters, generally I will have started in the spring and already have prepped spots for when the weed takes hold. I tend to locate spots and bait them heavily till the spots become noticeably cleaner. I use a lot of pellets, particles, chopped boilie and the secret to a clear spot staying clear is Himalayan rock salt. I use kilos of the stuff in spring on spots and this keeps the fish returning and also seems to disperse the weed for long periods of time if used regularly.
When it comes to fishing in weed and small clear spots accuracy is paramount. Literally I have spent hours locating clear spots within a swim. Finding those clean spots amongst the weed is key and worth the trouble. Once I locate the clear spots accuracy in both casting and bait placement is key. On small clear spots in weed I opt to use a tight baiting approach. 99% of the time I use a spod to dispatch my bait, again this is used as accurately as possible. Using wrap sticks is a great way to build accuracy and will ensure those spods land bang on the money every time. Again when fishing heavily weeded waters I opt to use a particle approach to mimic the natural food that the carp are searching out. I will rarely ever use a whole boilie on small spots opting to use broken baits usually with hemp, tigers and Rock salt. The more bait that these small clear spots receive the bigger and cleaner the spots will become. I’ve seen 50cm spots become 5ft wide overnight with the right amount of bait. It’s amazing how quickly a spot will become clearer once the fish find it.
On the larger waters I tend to fish I spread my rods at different positions, rarely ever fishing more than one rod on a spot. I usually try to locate a spot close in as well as out in the pond. I think my venues and typically low stocked venues that I fish are a lot different to the most. I hope some of what I have written you can take on board to help in your own angling. I think a good thing to move onto next is a boilie versus particle debate. What do you prefer and why? Do you switch to a more particle based approach during the warmer months or do you just boilie fish all year round? Do you adjust your baiting techniques differently throughout the year?