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The words below come to us from their man Nick Marlow (pictured right), the well-travelled former editor of Tackle Trade World.
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Go BIG or go home? Nooooooo!
A FEW months ago I wrote what proved to be a very popular blog about what I thought the late and great Ivan Marks would think of specimen fishing today – read here.
In that blog I deduced that Ivan would not have sat there waiting for a bite – he’d have done something to engineer a bite. He’d have changed his rig to get a bite. So guess which blogger totally ignored that… oh yeah… me… Doh!
Let me explain…
In my last blog I spoke about getting smashed up with my dodgy line. That was purely bad angling I think – and with new line on my reels – that department was sorted. Being a persistent git – and refusing to get beat, I’ve now been back to that same swim another seven times. All short evening sessions – from about 8pm till 11pm. On six of the last seven occasions I have had fish in front of me. A lot of fish. I will explain my session and let’s see if any of you draw parallels…
Arrive on the river at 8pm. Feed 300g of boilies. They happened to be Marukyu Krill Feast boilies in 18mm – but we’ll come back to that. On top of this I’ve added about 500g of 4mm and 8mm JPelletz. And then I’ve set up…
My set up is standard carp/barbel affair. A size 8 hook hair rig tied to about 10 inches of Kryston Merlin braid – and a fixed lead clip system.
At around 8.30pm my rods are in. One is on an 18mm Krill boilie, the other on two 14mm boilies. Each with a little PVA sausage of damped down JPelletz. Go big or go home! Both fishing pretty much under my rod tip… one a couple of yards downstream, and the other about 10 yards downstream.
By 9pm I’m starting to get telltale signs of fish. The tip started dancing around. There are multiple fish in the swim. By 10pm the fish are really having a go down there. It’s only a matter of time… surely?
So… question: The fish are in front of you. You’re fishing close range. The water is gin clear. You know you need to do something. You daren’t put your head torch on. You know that if you disturb them – it could be game over… What do you do?
Well… for five sessions the same thing happened… and, like a numpty – I froze in the headlights. I did absolutely nothing. Didn’t recast. Didn’t re-feed. Just sat there while the fish feasted on my numerous free offerings… occasionally brushing past my line.
And this brought me back to my previous ‘What Would Ivan Marks Do?’ blog.
So on my last session… I changed EVERYTHING. Possibly that was a tad rash as now I don’t know what worked… but this is what I did:
Changed from fixed lead to running lead. Swapped the 10 inches of braid to THREE FEET of 10lb fluorocarbon. Swapped the size 10 hook for a size 14 hook. And scaled the bait down from 14mm and 18mm boilies, to a single 10mm Krill Feast Change Bait on one rod, and two 10mm baits on the other. The result… amazing!
With similar conditions… the tips no longer danced about with fish in the swim – the rod just ripped off the rest. By 10pm I had a new pb in the bag – weighing in at 12lbs 4oz. By 10.30pm I had another barbel that came in at 7lb 4oz.
So at the beginning of this blog I said I’d come back to the boilies I was feeding.
The fish had been feeding heavily on my freebies, yet they wouldn’t take a bait with a hook in it. Or worse still… they would but were getting away with it. My assumption is that the fish were freely eating 18mm boilies, but whether it was something to do with a short hook link, or a fixed lead, or a big hook – the fish would not take the one on the end of my rig. Why?
But simply scaling down my gear (which was still man enough for the job I might add) and putting on a smaller bait of the same type – resulted in instantaneous bites.
Because I changed everything at once, I can’t say whether it was the long hook length, the smaller hook, or the smaller bait that gave the fish the confidence. But I know it was one, two or all of those things.
I think that there is a lesson to be learned here… and that is that you need to change and adapt all the time. If you aren’t catching – change what you’re doing – it could result in a new pb for you!
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