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Spring Tactics
that this bait will be eaten by carp at
some point, or at least some of it. This
will assist in making this bait a more
readily acceptable food source come
the really heavy bait feeding time.
I use Essential Baits B5, and come
late October remain on the same bait,
but it is modified into a winterised
form, with the reduction of oils and
addition of ingredients to assist fish in
digesting it better in lower temperatures. This means I can use one bait
all year round, so that any hard work
establishing bait is not wasted by
having to change come the winter
and change back come the spring.
That said, I will use dedicated winter
baits such as Essential’s Creamseed
on waters that I’m limited to winter
campaigns only. This introduction of
bait long term over the winter will
certainly give you an advantage over
others, as with more free bait eaten in
turn the more confidence the fish will
have with eating it, and when more
and more better weather anglers
arrive you can already have a leg up
on them. Certainly spring fishing is
often associated with hi-viz singles
chucked way out in the pond and yes,
this method does produce results.
However if your bait is already established and the fish are looking for it,
long-term I feel better results can be
attained.
As we come further into spring it is
noticeable how the fish seem to
become far more nomadic, often turning up in many different areas of the
lake on different days. This is certainly
one time the mobile angler can score
well and to that end I try my best to
discard all the extra gear I seem to
gather over the winter, dig out the
brolly, and make an effort to actually
take only those items of tackle I actually need! However do bear in mind
that some April days can be as cold as
the coldest midwinter ones! I can
remember being caught out in a
severe frost with just my summer
clothes and lightweight sleeping bag
in late April. Last spring I made a pact
to up and move as often as required,
and for me this worked well on the
water I was on. The earlier identification of the snags, polished spots and
new weed growth areas I had done
were logged in the memory and if I
saw fish either in the snags or showing out on the weedy areas I was up
and on them as quickly as I could.
Watching the fish in the snags during the day also gave a pattern of how
and when they arrived and departed
from there and this information I used
to pre plan an approach to be plotted
up before they got in there. As many
of my sessions were after work nights
I needed to exploit my time as best as
possible and fishing their night time
exit route provided me with optimum
results in the time that I had. In fact
on a few occasions I saw fish in the
snags on my arrival and caught that
same fish that night from my swim
further down the bank on what I was
sure was the fish’s departure route.
As far as actual presentation is concerned I tend to rely on rigs that I
already have the most confidence in. I
always use strong tackle anyway, but
it goes without saying that if you are
fishing near snags that you use the
strongest and safest tackle. Spring
can also be the least riggy time of the
year in any case, and when good hits
of fish are possible I always use rigs
that are tried and tested in the past.
Lead discharge is also a big advantage and most recently I’ve been
using the Gardner Covert lead clips,
which have been excellent at offloading the lead on the take, thus ensuring
the fish comes up in the water above
any weed or snags during the fight. I
also favour inline leads with the lead
core wrapped around the outside as
another excellent method of ejecting
the lead. As we get further into the
Watching equals learning.
months of May the weed seems to
really take hold, and any advantage to
prevent the loss of fish by getting
weeded up is worth considering.
Last year I started my spring campaign on a syndicate lake and was
extremely fortunate to get off the
mark very early, first trip in fact! This
gave me a big surge in confidence as
I knew the fish were awake as it was
still early, being only late February, I
knew it was a good time to establish
the bait, knowing the fish were up
and looking for it. The fish were initially all plotted up in a small sheltered snag-filled bay, but in predictable style come mid-April and the
rising water temperatures they
seemed to leave the bay and spread
out over the lake. On these first trips
again, simply by doing a bit of homework, looking and learning, they were
generally easy to find, and were in
areas I had already a bit of an idea of
how to fish. They spent the days in
the margins near to the lake’s abundant snags, but I would watch them
depart and begin crashing in the middle of the pond at night. This suited
m e, a s I o f t e n d i d w o r k d a y
overnighters and could plan my
approach as to where I thought the
fish would turn up in the hours that I
was there.
On one of these nights I arrived in
the late afternoon after the frantic
FREE LINE 77

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