Believe it or not, not all day-ticket venues are out and out carp bagging waters. There are plenty of fisheries that try to attract all disciplines by offering specimen carp fishing along with a large population of silver fish species, so as you wander around the bank you will see two rods on a pod at one peg, with a guy fishing the long pole on the next.
If you are one of the latter, then these types of venues can become a challenge, especially when it comes to catching a weight of the bigger silvers in a match, and even more so when the match rules are pole and float only. It’s the conundrum that Rive-backed Amer Jawad had to solve when he fished a recent match at Chestnut Pool Fisheries, in Bedfordshire.
“Most of the carp in here live over towards the islands, due to the amount of feed that that carp anglers put in every day,” Amer pointed out, as his was setting up. “There’s little chance of catching one in a match, and then if you do hook one it’s a lottery as to whether you land it, as they are nearly all double-figure specimens.
“All that feed going in also has a knock-on affect, as it also pulls the bream and big skimmers you need away too, and you want those to enable you to catch a big weight. Yes, you can catch plenty of roach, but you really want the bigger silvers if you want to frame.
“All those big particles going in had me wondering if I could emulate the spodding action on the pole line, so in a recent match I ditched the casters and instead, I took meat and corn to see if I could draw the bream in.”
The key to feeding big particles is that you are trying to mimic the sound of a spod delivering food, so hold the pole cup well off the water before dumping it into the swim.
It was a tactic that worked, as he has won a couple of matches at the venue, and to find out how he solved the puzzle he agreed to reveal the winning method.
Amer certainly meant business, as he had a bait bag loaded with six pints of 6mm cubed meat and six tins of corn. There wasn’t a caster, maggot or bag of groundbait or pellets in sight, so it was clear the session would be big fish or bust!
“The key is to concentrate on catching on the deck, so big, heavy baits are the way to go, as they sink down quickly, hopefully avoiding the attentions of small roach,” he continued. “And as they are big particles, I should be able to stop the fish from feeding up in the water.”
Corn was the best option as it quickly fell down to the catching zone.
The big baits also require a suitable rig, one that doesn’t give false bites when small nuisance fish knock it around, so Amer had set up a 4x14 MW Carbon Plinker – a carbon-stem-type float, which he explained that he preferred over a wire-stemmed type, as it allowed him to read the bites better.
“A wire stem gives greater stability, but it doesn’t always tell you what’s going on,” he explained. “In my opinion, it can be too heavy, so it doesn’t register lift bites, which you get with bream and skimmers.
“I also want to fish with quite a bit of bristle sticking out of the water to help eliminate line bites from pulling the float under, so the extra buoyancy of the carbon-stemmed float helps with that too.
“With all the weight in the bulk, it also makes the rig more sensitive when fishing baits on the bottom.”
The float was set on 0.15mm Power line, which Amer pointed out was to give him a fighting chance if he did hook a carp, and that it was better to fish a slightly stronger rig as he was looking to catch the bigger silvers. The bulk of six No10s were set 18 inches from the hook, plus two No10 droppers. Hooklength was six inches of 0.13mm Power, holding a size 2 Tubertini 175 hook. Elastic was a Rive 10 to 12 hollow set soft for the silvers, but with plenty in reserve if a carp crashed the party!
While he plumbed up, Amer pointed out that the depth was fairly uniform (five feet), at the distance he planned to fish so he could use one rig to fish two lines if need be.
“I like to fish two long lines, where I hope to catch two or three on the first, then re-feed and rest it while I look on the second,” he explained. “Two lines are also a good option, as if a carp does muscle in and spook the silvers from one, there is a ‘safe haven’ with food for them to move to, which helps to hold them, rather than disappear out of the area.
Amer fed and fished two long lines at the same distance, and also a short line.
“You know when a carp has arrived, when the bites drop off,” he added. “Then it’s worth trying to catch it, but you might end up wasting valuable time, playing and losing it, when you could put two or three bream in the net during the same time. It’s a risky choice, but it’s a gamble that might pay off.
“I would certainly leave that line a few minutes before re-feeding to allow the carp to move off. Then I’d feed and leave it until the bites on my second line slowed, before having another look.”
Amer also explained that he would feed a short line, with the same depth, which he would leave until the later stages of the match, where he hoped that he could pull the fish in closer in the last hour and catch more fish quickly. He added that he would also look over that line if he needed to feed and rest both his long lines.
Before starting the session, Amer half filled a three-pint bait tub with meat and covered it with water, so that it didn’t dry out in the heat during the day and also some of the fat leached off the bait. He then opened three tins of corn, and washed the grains in lake water to remove the sticky, sugary liquid. He also placed a bowl of water onto his bait tray.
“The evolution of puller kits has made playing big fish a lot better, but when you fish with ‘messy’ baits, if you are not careful, you coat the elastic with meat fat, sticky water, and so on,” he pointed out. “I always wash my fingers each time after I bait up, so that they are clean when I pull on the elastic. This ensures that I don’t get a messy build-up on it, which over time would cause problems with clogging and sticking, and crap in the top kit.”
With everything sorted it was time to get fishing, and it was now that Amer filled in the missing details about his ‘spodding’ technique.
“You’ve noticed the carp guys spodding while I’ve been setting up. They are feeding a lot, but what’s more interesting in that when the spod hits the water, it creates a massive splash and noise,” he pointed out. “My theory was could I imitate some of that commotion, and would it fool the fish? So, rather than carefully potting in the feed I drop it from a height, feeding big particles that make a lot of noise as they hit the water.
“Then, while I’m fishing, I fire a big pouchful of bait over the float at regular intervals. Hopefully, the big bait and the noise fool the fish into thinking that a banquet has arrived!”
With that, Amer poured in a big cup of 60 per cent meat and 40 per cent corn over his primary long line, fed a similar pot on the short, and started the session on a cube of meat.
“I won’t feed the second long line just yet, as I want to see what turns up over the initial feed first,” he added, as he loose fed a few grains of corn over his short line.
Five minutes in and the float dipped. Then the elastic shot out and continued going, until – ping!
The bigger skimmers and bream took a while to arrive, and the hot conditions didn’t help.
“That wasn’t in the script,” Amer laughed, as he checked his rig after a close encounter with a monster carp.
His hook had been bent out, so after a quick fix and another big pot of feed deposited from a height, it was take two!
The next bite produced a 1lb skimmer, and Amer was off and running. That was followed immediately by another carp, which this time he managed to land.
“I guess the ‘spodding’ tactics are working too well,” he joked, as he fed another pot of meat and corn.
The line finally settled down, with Amer catching a run of skimmers and bigger bream. He fed a pouch of meat and corn regularly, also keeping the grains trickling in on the short line. When he did tempt a better skimmer, the fish all went for ‘a flyabout’ when he struck. It seems to be a common trick when bream are caught on the pole, and, Amer pointed out, it can be a bit of a problem if you don’t set you rig up correctly.
“I my experience, if you fish with a short line between the pole tip and float, a fish can often ping off when it flies out of the water,” he explained. “If I’m fishing for bream, then I will have at least 18 inches of line between the two, which seems to work as a buffer before the elastic kicks in.”
The decision when to re-feed is not often easy to gauge, but it was clear for Amer when he lost the bream and the roach moved in, as they were intercepting the loose-fed meat, causing line bites, and the bigger fish were actually taking the hook bait.
“I think the slower-sinking meat is causing a problem. I’m not sure if much is getting down to the bottom. I’m sure the corn is, as I’ve caught most of my fish on that too.
“I’m going to feed another big pot, but hold off on the loose feed to see if that makes a difference.”
While he rests the line, Amer switched to the short line, but that produces only roach, although they are a good size all the same.
“Just think what you could catch on the short line or whip with casters,” he commented. “You could put 50lb in the next, but it wouldn’t win you anything!”
With no bream on the short line, Amer concentrated on the long one, which gave up a few more fish before it went quiet. This prompted him to surmise that a carp might have turned up, and sure enough, as he struck into a bite his elastic headed out towards the island in front of him. However, the carp was foul-hooked and within moments his rig returned with a big scale!
“I’ve not done it here, yet, but in a match I would have a second long line fed, so that if a carp did show, the fish had somewhere to feed away from the first line,” he explained. “I believe it stops the spooked fish from moving too far out of the swim.”
With that, he re-fed his long line and fed a second, both with big pots of feed, but the new line with more corn than meat. Then for the remainder of the session he plundered fish from both – moving to the new line when bites on the first slowed, requiring another feed. Amar also looked on his short line regularly, but he could only catch roach.
By the end of the session, he estimated that he had a good 75 to 80lb of bream and skimmers, so with those two carp he had caught over 100lb.
“I feel that I may have fed too much meat at the start, which pulled the fish up in the water and encouraged the roach to move in too,” he concluded. “I partly solved the problem by cutting back and then completely ditching the loose feed.
“I’m disappointed that the short line didn’t work, as I wanted to demonstrate that the tactic worked close in, so that you could catch more, quicker,” he added. “I’m in no doubt, however, that the extreme feeding pulled more bream into my swim than if I had fished chopped worms and casters, or pellets.”
It’s great when a plan comes together! This corking catch would top the frame at Chestnut Pool any day.
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