IT’S MONDAY and that means it’s carp blog time here on the Angler’s Mail magazine website. This week we are pleased to welcome the guys from… Nash. Thanks to Nash man Keith Jones for supplying this round-up. He opens it up and adds contributions from some top names.
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Creme of the crop!
ALTHOUGH the banks of many waters are pretty much deserted now that the temperatures have really plummeted, many of the Nash Team are still out there fishing regularly with some good catches being reported too.
A proven bait is crucial for winter and we all have our favourites, but even so I’d like to draw your attention to the new range of Instant Action boilies and peripheral products which seem to be really grabbing people’s attention (and carp!) at the moment.
As you would expect, the baits are brightly coloured and contain a mix of attractors and feeding stimulants that are proven to induce a fast reaction from carp. To the human nose, they smell amazing, once sampled it’s almost impossible not to revisit the bag for another sniff; they seem to have the same effect on winter carp too!
But unlike some Hi-Attract baits, the Instant Action boilies and pellets have the advantage of a high nutritional content which is specifically suited to cold water carp. Carp are instinctively drawn to any potential food source; the nutritional ingredients used in the baits give off water born signals that carp instantly recognise which adds an extra dimension to attraction.
There are pop-ups, bottom baits, pellets and potent liquid boosters in the range, during an exhaustive testing programme the baits have performed particularly well on those days when tricky conditions mean we all can struggle for bites. Our tests have proven that fishing with pop ups, bottom baits and background feeds that are emitting identical ‘eat me signals’ is a very effective tactic.
It’s so easy for carp to get preoccupied with ground baits and back ground feeds and this often results in the hook baits being completely ignored. But having a common theme across your chosen range of baits really does provide an edge.
Although many of the team have started their winter campaigns with a proven winner such as Monster Squid or Amber Strawberry, many are adding a few pots of Instant Action baits to their bait buckets, just in case! I’ve been using the brilliant white Coconut Cream pop ups and pellets over the last couple of weeks and I have to say I’m impressed!
The other bait/tactic that has been featuring heavily in the catch reports are the incredible Zig Bugs – mid water tactics are accounting for a lot of fish at the moment and if you haven’t yet mastered zigs you could well be missing out this winter.
Early winter, one of my favourite times to be angling. Cold crisp days with quiet banks. I tend to spend the bulk of my winters angling alongside friends, fishing just day sessions for a bite or two. So far we are touring some of the Essex day ticket waters; our first session resulted in 18 Carp to just under 20 lb between the two of us!
It certainly seemed the key to success on that session was not only accurate casting but also very small hook baits. A trimmed down 10mm pop up, leaving just a small 5mm cube of bait fished on a size 8 Fang hook, hair rig style so that the bait just rests on the bottom produced bites when normal tactics didn’t. A small PVA bag completed the set up. My bait bucket for a day’s session generally consists of a few different coloured pop ups, Soluballs, matching Arouser, liquidised bread and of course the trusty Ball Maker. You can tempt any Carp with that little lot.
I would be crazy not to add maggots into the mix; they simply produce bites when it seems nothing else will. My preference is for a small PVA bag of maggots along with a maggot hook bait rather than spodding a quantity of them into the water. A bag on their heads, it seems, cannot be ignored, no matter what the weather.
I will be fishing light, prime time for using the Scope range, although to be honest I find myself using the ten foot scopes for all of my angling nowadays. Fishing light can be a vital ingredient for success at these day ticket venues. Most have a few people waiting at the gate for the usual 7am start time, those nimble on their feet will no doubt be in the best swim first!
With the temperature plummeting below zero this month, it always makes me giggle at the sparse numbers of people that frequent the bankside at this time of year.
Yes, it’s much harder to get a bite but the rewards are there if you put in a little more effort. For me this comes in the form of pre baiting. At this time of year I don’t pre bait with a lot of bait, in specific spots – I’ll introduce maybe 20-30 baits 2-3 times a week so fish get used to seeing it in these areas. As I mentioned at the end of my last blog I’ve started on a new water for the winter.
The lake is 15 minutes from work which makes it ideal; it’s also round 20-feet deep in most places and in the real cold weather fish are more likely to feed in the deeper water as the temperature fluctuates less.
I started baiting twice a week approximately one month before my first session. I baited in three deep spots that looked like they could hold fish depending on wind direction. Full of anticipation for my first session as the weather was looking perfect for a bite, I turned up to find three anglers fishing the lake and you guessed it every one was on one of my baited areas!!!!
As you can imagine my first overnighter was a total wash out; as I was confined to a shallow area and never had so much as a liner. Still not to be despondent I continued baiting the three areas of the lake for the following week and finished work Sunday evening and made the trip to the lake only to find it empty. Result!!!!
All of my pre baiting has been done with purple Monster Squid as I’ve had mega results on it for the past 18 months wherever I have taken it. I’m also using Amber Strawberry as I’ve caught on that every winter since I can remember.
The night was freezing and I thought maybe it was even too cold for a bite but on the stroke of midnight the Siren let out a one toner, the line was melting off the spool and it was one of those times when you know immediately on picking up the rod it’s a better fish.
After a dogged 15 minute battle, a fish of 29lbs 4oz was in the net – just 8oz shy of the lake record!
‘Improvise, adapt and overcome’ were the words uttered by Clint Eastwood in the movie, Heartbreak Ridge and this later became the unofficial motto of the US marines. I am not suggesting that carp fishing is similar to being in the Marines (although with all the camo gear and terminology carp anglers use, it is easy to see why some anglers think they are in the army), far from it. There is however, much we can take from the above statement and apply to our own lives whether it is fishing or non-fishing related.
For example, just recently I arrived at my syndicate water for an overnight session. The light was fading fast so I headed to an area I thought the carp may be held up in. Unfortunately, the area was taken but I noticed a swim on the opposite side of the lake that I also fancied. The only problem was that the wind had picked up considerably and was blowing directly into this swim meaning that the 80-90 yards casts required could be tricky. Not to be deterred, I was soon standing on the wind facing bank wondering if I had made the right choice as it was freezing! Me being me, I had forgotten my Nash Distance throwing stick (not that I would have been able to fire single boilies that far in the wind anyway) and I rarely take a spod rod for overnight sessions.
I had to get a few freebies out at least as I’d had several takes a few days before fishing over bait. My plan was actually quite simple and not too dissimilar to feeding an area with a method feeder. I cast each rod to the spot I wanted it on and clipped up so I could hit the spot again. As the light had now gone, I was relying upon the silhouette provided by trees in the horizon to mark my casting spots. I clipped a PVA bag of crumbed Scopex Squid Red and 3mm Fish Frenzy Halibut Pellets onto each rod and cast out allowing about one minute before I reeled in and repeated the process three times for each rod. I then finally cast out a fourth and final PVA bag with rigs attached for each rod.
This approach led to me banking a 37 lb common and 38 lb common within a few hours of each other, and on an overnight session!
It’s that time of year when the leaves are all gone and winter is almost upon us and with temperatures hovering between -1 and +4 it’s inevitable that things will slow down. Luckily I ‘seem’ to have got things right this year and have chosen three different venues to see me through from now ’till early spring. No matter how good your bait, rigs and tackle are if you are on the wrong sort of water for your kind of fishing you will have a hard old winter…been there, done that and didn’t catch many!
My two local waters are completely different with one being small and deep and, in cold clear conditions, fishes well on the surface, in the edge and on zigs. The other one is a little larger and a lot shallower and fishes well on wet, windy stormy weather. So rather than pick my venue a few days before I make my decision the night before dependant on weather and maximise my chances.
I have to be organised and I have plenty of rigs tied up, rods marked in separate rod sleeves and so on…So no last minute panics or forgotten gear! The final venue (or maybe two) is when it shuts down or freezes locally and then I hit the road to travel to Drayton or Chestnut Pool to the productive waters. Great places to get action from and with the good old Amber Strawberry and Zig Bugs always a recipe for success.
There really is no excuse for blanking this winter providing you do your homework and do some travelling as and when necessary…
The Nash Team
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