If you’re like me, you’ll be looking forward to getting out on the bank again and facing the challenges that lay ahead, which for me will mean a new water, but in this time of hiatus, it is worth looking back on previous years and examining what has been learned.
There have been a couple of significant moments in my fishing life when I have picked up a piece of knowledge that now plays a crucial role in my angling, so I have decided to share these things with you and how I came about them, in the hope you’ll be able to put them into your own angling.
A few years ago, before I was using DNA, I was fishing a club water in Nazing and was having reasonable success, but was always looking for an edge or something different. I tried various tactics, but none provided that positive breakthrough moment.
Also at this time I was due to move to Cambridgeshire and with all that upheaval fishing went on the back-burner for a while. Then I came across an article for a fishing tuition that sparked my interest. At first I was a bit sceptical, as I couldn’t see what I would get from it, but after a lot of thought I decided to book a 24-hour session. There are a lot of names out there who offer tuitions, so I though to myself, ‘Who would I like to fish with?’ After a bit of research, I ended up booking a 24-hour session with Adam Penning, which was scheduled for Ladywell Lake.
I’m not going to go through the ins and outs of the session; just the parts I still use to this day in my angling. Adam’s key message was: “The more you look, the more you see. The more you see, the more you catch.” This is something I repeat to myself every time I go fishing and I am 100% sure this has helped me put more fish on the bank.
This is something I do at every water: I look for signs. This may be showing carp, coloured water or maybe even a spooked bird. I have always thought that the carp follow birdlife, or vice versa, as when one disturbs the bottom, the other is attracted in. I had some good success on the Lower Maynard back in the day whilst following the movements of the birdlife and fishing amongst them.
The next big change in my fishing was bait. I made the change to DNA after my good mate, Perry Alabaster, put me on to it. I have written about this in a previous article, but after a couple of years of using DNA, I have what I believe to be the best bait and rig combo out there, and after all, confidence in what you are doing and using is half the battle. So, what do I do to make my bait stand out from the rest?
My baiting approach is set out to attract, rather than feed. So, I tend to crumb up 5-10kg of Secret 7 and Switch boilies, to which I will add between 500ml and 1 litre of liquid, varying between Betastim, either Switch or Secret 7 Hydro Spod Syrup, and Hydro Wheat. Prior to adding the liquid, I will put the boilies through a boilie crusher two or three times to get them as fine as I can, and then introduce the liquid. If you use too much liquid, it can clump together, which is not what you don’t want, so add the liquid little and often to get a full coating over the bait.
I would Spomb this out over the area I have chosen to fish, being careful not to compact the bait together too much, to allow a good spread of crushed-up pieces of boilies. I have Spombed out just pure Hydro Wheat on the spot in the past, as this is a very thick liquid and performs a similar function.
With all this attraction in the water, I only want to give them one piece of food, this being a whole boilie as my hookbait. Before DNA made Hard Hookers, I used to make my own my using some air-dried Secret 7, to which I’d add S7 Liquid Food and Yeast Extract and let it soak in for a week. I would then add Krill Meal and crushed-up Crayfish Mini Mix pellets to give the hookbaits a coating. Now that DNA does Hard Hookers, I just have to soak them and coat them.
I have always fished this snowman-style with either 10mm Milky Malts or PB pop-ups. I think this is the best offering I can use, and in conjunction with my attraction-based baiting approach, I have 100% confidence in what I am doing.
My fishing is usually a Saturday night, with a few extra sessions during the year when I take annual leave from work, so it has to be quick and ready to go, so all my bait prep is done when I receive my order from DNA. I will then separate the bait into bags and freeze it, so I can get them out and defrost prior to a session.
I mostly use a multi-rig with hand-sharpened hooks, meaning I can change them if they become blunt, plus I can also vary between a bottom bait and a pop-up.
As far as I’m concerned, everything I use is simple and easily changeable, should it need to be, and has put me in good stead for the past couple of years, so much so I haven’t altered a thing in my approach.
So long as I am watching, I am learning, and when that opportunity arises, I’ve got an approach I’m 100% confident in to offer the fish.