Our insightful general angling blogger, Colin Mitchell discusses how a shake-up to routines can lead to a better day's fishing. If you like this blog, please click the social media icons above to share with your fishing pals
MOST anglers have done it at one time or another. We just can’t help it…
We pick up our gear and head for our favourite venue, and then a favourite swim that has produced the goods for us in the past.
Last week I plead guilty as charged for visiting a water which is one of my favourites, Vale Farm near Andover, Hampshire. But I was determined NOT to fish any of the swims that I had plonked myself down in during any previous visits.
I wanted to experiment with methods and baits and that is something I would not have done if I had known the depth, where the fish lived and what the best bait usually was in that area. So I put my box down on the first swim I came to that was empty on the three small lakes. That wasn’t too difficult at there were only two anglers there when Cousin David and I arrived nice and early!
As usual at this well-run friendly venue we knew we would catch fish. Having fished here during all seasons I have yet to blank. In fact we have yet to have a bad day, even when there is ice in the margins!
We would catch
So on a nice warm day I was feeling pretty safe in the knowledge that we would catch. It was just a case of would it be bream or carp as the main species with rudd, roach and a few perch as the back-ups.
I wanted carp. I wanted to catch on different baits to normal and I wanted to use the Method feeder. This was a combination of experiments and a desire to catch a few carp that I’d not done for a few weeks, other species having attracted my attention.
Both of us started on the pole and fed pellets but it was quickly apparent to me that I was going to have to wade through a lot of smaller fish before I got a carp.
Smaller didn’t mean nuisance either – there was some nice rudd about, proper net fish. But they weren’t what I was after and the pole was not meant to be the method of the day for me either.
Switch to Peperami
Method feeder, a few 4mm pellets soaked and moulded around it and on the hook was the first ‘experimental’ bait… Peperami.
Peperami is not a new bait of course, but one I wanted to try on this method and see how well it worked at a water where luncheon meat has proved successful in the past.
First cast proved it worked as the tip gave the usual tap-tap-tap signals of fish interest before it whacked around and fish No.1 was on, not a giant but a fish around 4lb and a very hard scrapper as most are in these lakes.
Now I have seen a carp of 30lb caught here – on a waggler – but the majority of fish are from 3-12lb and those are what I caught most of the day, a mix of commons and mirrors.
Carp and silver fish
I ended with exactly 20 carp (I deliberately stopped fishing at that mark to head home before the traffic) but could have had more if I hadn’t tried chopping and changing baits and where I cast. I also had some nice skimmers to add to the early rudd.
There was a definite area on the lake bed that was clear of debris and had a nice hard bottom which produced the most bites. And by the time I packed away the fish were fizzing on that one patch, mopping up the remaining pellets.
He was as happy as Larry catching those species and had discovered that feeding dead maggots through a pole pot was the secret to keeping the bream feeding. Amazingly at a venue where a lot of carp live down the edges he had not caught a single one of the species.
Most of my fish had come at a decent distance – something that I had hoped for as I wanted to fish a different method to what I had been doing on recent trips.
It was a great day out in boiling hot sun. Fish caught, more than one method and bait used and a few little experimental tweaks on the end rig – all of which meant I went home happy and more confident in some of the things I had tried.
That’s what fishing is all about – great day out, nice surroundings, good company, fish and also learning from the experience.