One of the top specialist anglers in the Nash stable, Duncan Charman (pictured below) shares his tips and tricks as he sets out on a new campaign for golden orfe!
HAVING a few campaigns decided early in the new year is always a good idea yet this season we found ourselves with a couple of weeks spare.
The traditional Close Season had put paid to any activity next to flowing water for three months and our next target, tench were out of bounds until our new club ticket started at the beginning of April. Another species on our hit list was golden orfe!
A few recce sessions the previous summer had seen a few landed to 4 lb 11 oz, mainly to waggler and maggot tactics.
Scratching my head I decided to head to the venue far earlier than planned and on arrival was welcomed by heavy frost, great!
My watercraft had me heading to the far end of the lake, an area well away from the shallow central plateau and one where open water could be cast to in around 6ft of water.
To be honest I would have put money on myself blanking, especially as I’d limited myself to using just one rod, a 10ft 1.75lb t/c Scope.
Knowing that the venue is very much an early morning water I made a plan to keep casting every twenty minutes and by clipping up and marking the lines with Spot-On accuracy was guaranteed.
An hour past without any indications, not so much as a single bleep from the Siren or a ripple from a fish breaking surface, then out of the blue the Optic Head started to dance and on lifting the rod a headshake was felt.
Ever so steadily I drew the fish closer thinking that this had to be an orfe as the tench wouldn’t have woken up yet, however when line started peeling from the clutch close in I knew it wasn’t going to be from my quarry.
After releasing the tench my confidence lifted as orfe are known to feed right through the winter and if I could slide the net under ‘old red eyes’ then there was every chance that a big orange carrot would find itself in the folds of my net.
Keeping up the routine my thoughts were eventually confirmed as after three more tench I was away and by the unspectacular fight knew what was on the other end.
Instantly I knew that I had a new personal best, yet the desire to confirm this was delayed as orfe are very social fish, often found in small groups, so before taking a trophy shot I made a quick cast to clip up to the correct distance before casting out a new feeder packed with goodness.
Replacing the bobbin I turned around to reacquaint myself with my prize when the R3 sounded again and on lifting the rod saw a flash of orange break surface.
Once again and with ‘kid gloves’ I drew another orfe closer and as she broke surface felt my heart miss a beat as this fish wasn’t big, its was massive!
The shivering from the cold was now replaced with shaking from excitement and on weighing both orfe recordings of 4lb 15oz and 6lb 5oz were taken, two personal bests in as many minutes!
That session really embedded a few important points, firstly how important it is to use your senses and watercraft when arriving at a venue and secondly the importance of accuracy and getting a rod back in the water as quickly as possible.
It also proved having faith in a rig and creating a plan as well as taking the odd risk can massively reward an angler!
My confidence rig is as everyone knows, the helicopter rig, a tactic that has proved its efficiency time and time again on nearly every venue its been taken to and for almost every imaginable species.
The components I use are simple, size 16 hooks (micro-barbed if allowed), 5lb fluorocarbon hooklinks, two float stops, Nash Hook Swivels and Slim Hooklink Sleeves, a 30gram cage feeder and 8lb Hardcore mainline.
Plenty of three inch hooklinks are made up at home and stored on a Stiff Rig Wallet and are simply attached by threading the mainline through the exposed swivel eye before trapping with the float stops.
When the hooklink is folded down against the mainline the hook should hang just above the feeder eye which creates an anti-tangle rig, however if the hooklink becomes crinkled then it has to be replaced as this will massively effect the way the hookbait acts.
Initially I thought that popped up double maggot would work and simply added a sliver of foam to the hook; however after constantly swapping found they didn’t want it like this, proffering three red maggots to be lying on the bottom, so don’t ever become stereotyped as it’s the fish that will answer the questions.
One tactic that has worked for me over the years is known as ‘the maggot sandwich’, where maggots are simply trapped within the feeder by plugging each end with groundbait or in this case, The Key Stick Mix. Just the flat spot this mix creates on the surface gave me confidence as if it’s working so effectively here what’s it doing down below?
That first session had all thoughts of waggler fishing dismissed as this was a short campaign, a mission to extract, if possible, every orfe in the lake as effectively and quickly as possible.
Two rods were soon employed, however the second session, one that saw Chris joining me, really planned out how I thought the very first session would go.
It was another frosty morning and we were ready at the gates when they opened at 7am. Everything looked good as Chris managed a tench after just five minutes, however I received just one bite in eleven hours of fishing but fortunately it came from an Orfe, one that weighed 6lb 2oz.
Chris had never targeted orfe, yet the importance of watching the water closely paid dividends as mid afternoon I saw an orfe poke its head out of the water on the far bank.
Upping sticks we were repositioned very quickly and as I scanned the water noticed two big orfe heading alongside the plateau and right towards Chris’s rods.
As I called to him making him aware of what was happening one of the Sirens screamed and he was away, bent into his first ever golden Orfe, one that was to weigh 6lb 2oz and a fish that remains his best to this day.
As the water warmed the orfe became more active and although the deeper water did on occasions produce it was the shallows on top of the plateau that produced the majority of fish.
We also discovered that the head of big orfe in the lake was relatively small, maybe just fifteen, and with everyone showing distinctive markings we realised that repeat captures were common, so common that we both caught the same fish just one hour apart!
Knowing exactly what was to be expected from the venue soon lost its appeal and with other species waking up it was time to move on for a new challenge, tench.
Duncan Charman is sponsored by Nash Tackle and Bait and has his own website www.duncancharman.co.uk He regularly contributes to top weekly, Anglers Mail magazine.
He is also an angling guide and can be booked on a daily basis for most species including carp, pike, perch, chub, catfish, barbel, bream, grass carp, crucians, roach, rudd, grayling, tench and golden orfe. For more information and prices email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or give him a call 07928 617006 / 01252 315271.
He’s also written a book called Evolution of an Angler which is available from www.calmproductions.com