Open-Access Analysis: Trent View
Never before in all my time have I had to cut a session short because of running out of bait, but that was the case in this episode from Trent View; we simply couldn’t keep up with the speed and ferocious feeding of these amazing-looking carp at times.
Now, you might say just stay for the final night and fish bags and singles on the spot, but believe me, we wouldn’t have caught many more once they’d cleared the zone of bait and moved off. In total we used 15kg of SLK shelf-life boilies, 10kg of SLK matching pellets and a few kilos of Trent View’s own pellets, but we only ended up using that to bulk out our supplies of SLK, as we knew we were running low.
One of the main things we noticed was as soon as we spodded out the crumbed-up SLK and matching pellets, we’d get savage liners then mental action, with bites flowing at a fast rate of knots. I put this down to the fact it was taking them longer to clear the area I was fishing of bait due to the small nature of the feed. We basically sussed this because I did try spodding just whole SLK boilies on their own and, yes, got bites, but the response was nowhere near what it was with the smaller crumbed-up approach.
I thought at the time it was a bold move to put in around 7-8kg straight off, but considering the stock, the range I was fishing and the weather conditions, it just felt right to give them a decent helping to start with. It’s not something we’ve done before on the OAS, as we were fishing much smaller lakes than Trent View, but considering the lake’s size and depth too, it felt right to do what we did at the start of the trip.
I was getting very irate to begin with, as basically we were told that once you go beyond the marginal shelf, it’s clear, deep, open-water fishing, but I found that not to be the case. I was getting a firm drop on almost every cast, but on closer inspection, after pulling the lead through the swim, there was silkweed all over the swim, so chucking it and chancing it wasn’t an option; I needed to be sure what I was fishing over would give me a decent presentation on the rig front. Mozza and I were talking about this, as we did have a couple of lads come into the swim saying they’d been to Trent View before and not had a bite. Now, I’m sure there’s times when we all get it wrong by either picking the wrong swim or whatever reason it might be, but we definitely think the people who are struggling on Trent View are maybe either not feeling the lead down, not 100% sure what they’re fishing on and not clipping their spod up at the same distance as the rigs, which in that depth of water (considering the swing back of the rigs) will mean the bait could be up to a rod-length behind their rigs in 19ft of water (the depth I was fishing in). Obviously it’s massively important to have your baited patch behind your rigs, but not so far behind that you’re almost fishing a single bait a good way in front of that baited spot. Again, we are maybe being over-analytical, but these fish feed with gusto on big beds of bait and show themselves all the time, so definitely food for thought if you’re a Trent View angler or fish anywhere that’s deep. Brush up on your knowledge to know exactly what you’re fishing on and feel that lead down every single cast.
I couldn’t have been with anyone better for this knowledge on the baiting-up front really, as Mozza has done underwater tests on how far everything needs to be clipped up for such situations like this, and in fairness, it battered my head at first, as I was a full rod-length short with the spod compared to the leads, but man alive, he was 100% right, as this OAS will show you.
I didn’t use any particles this time for a reason. It would have really suited this style of lake, to be honest, but I just wanted to stick to the bait I’d brought for the job, which was the SLK and matching pellets. However, if I was going back and looking to get a big hit, I’d definitely take some hemp, as it would keep them routing around for ages, or long enough for them to find your hookbaits.
Talking of hookbaits, it was the white Milky Malt pop-ups that worked to start with. I’d got two rods on those with the thinking the bright white hookbait would be seen first, then the third rod was on a match-the-hatch SLK wafter. I almost swapped the wafter for a Milky Malt pop-up, but then it produced a bite, so stuck with it. In the end I had all three rods on the same area and all three were producing bites. I think I could have put any of the DNA range of fluoros or wafters out at this stage, as I’d got them waiting for more bait to go in.
At times we were only fishing two rods, as we couldn’t actually get the third out with bites coming so quickly, then having to film the fish, etc., so I think we didn’t milk the spot for all we could. If it wasn’t a filming situation and I was just there doing a couple of nights’ angling, I firmly believe I could have had 40-50 bites. Yes, the weather was favourable, but it had been favourable all weekend and there’d not been that many caught by any one single angler, so was it one single factor? Maybe. But I think overall it was a combination of things from the start of the session, which were finding the right spot with the marker that I wanted to fish, being 100% sure what was down there on the bottom so I could present correctly, feeling the lead down on a tight line in that deep water, and finally giving them enough food to keep them interested but not overfed.
Obviously I’m going to say it was all down to the SLK, but what did impress me was it was the first time I’d used the SLK in shelf life. Now, I’ve got no issues using a decent quality shelf-life bait whatsoever, but the taste, smell and consistency of this SLK shelf life is something I’ve never experienced before, even Mozza said it felt like a freezer bait to touch. I mean, let’s be honest here, shelf-life baits of years gone by were nothing short of utter crap (some still are); they were hard to touch, never broke down, smelt like soap powder, etc., etc., but not our gear; they’re different gravy to any other shelf life I’d put my grubby little hands on before.
So, what did we take from Trent View? Well, I’ll certainly be going back to fish it without the cameras, but obviously I’ll be taking more bait if the conditions are anything like we had on our trip! It also restored my faith in my own ability to fish a big, deep, weedy gravel pit and to find the perfect spot to fish all three rods on. It may have taken me longer to find than I first thought, but I got there in the end.
My issue with weed and debris on the lakebed is that I must be a million per cent sure what it’s like down there, then I can tailor my rigs and baiting approach to suit. Without that knowledge I feel like I’m fishing blind, or just chancing it, and I hate that, so practise perfecting your casting and feeling the lead down and give these fish a quality bait they’ll keep coming back for. We did and, to be honest, it couldn’t have gone any better for us.
See you all next month.