FL12Sept - Page 127

Spring Tactics
fter living in darkness for what
seems an eternity,
along with sleepi n g i n t h e c o l d,
damp conditions,
the spring is the gateway to getting
one’s sanity back. After those long,
cold nights, to feel the first warm
winds hit my face recharges my
enthusiasm for the season ahead. It’s
amazing how many people find their
way back to the lake. This time of the
year with the light levels changing
every day, and hopefully the temperatures rising, this is a great time of the
year to be fishing. Even on the trickiest of waters, you feel you could have
a chance at one of those elusive and
uncaught monsters. The spring is a
fantastic time to be out on the bank; it
offers a multitude of ways that we can
hunt for our quarry. The trouble is we
can get stuck in our ways, if you like,
with tunnel vision – sitting behind
motionless rods week in week out
and using the same rig that caught
you your PB two years ago, and now
has become your one and only way
that you fish. I’m not saying this
approach won’t work, but sitting
there blanking and camping is not for
It’s time to get up off your arse and
at least try and make it happen, by
zigging or floater fishing. Then you
have stalking, which is a great way of
getting up close and watching your
target in gin clear water. Or you have
the single approach – either a brightly
colored pop-up or bottom bait with a
stick mix attached. And then there’s
always the maggot, which is a deadly
approach to any water as are the
other methods that I have mentioned,
which when used on the right day
can be devastating. At this time of the
year I’ve seen it so many times – people think that the fish are up for a big
feed and load their chosen spots up
with bait. Early spring can be tricky
so try not to put all your eggs in one
basket and rely on mass baiting and
for the first night, just fish for a bite
and either of the approaches I’ve
mentioned will work.
Where I’ve been fishing a very
small but weedy lake the opportunity
to use a zig or floaters did come my
way a few times, but not having the
balls I let the chance slip by. Looking
back now I’m sure I could have got a
bite on what was otherwise a blanking and camping session. I must
admit I’m looking forward to getting
the zigs out this coming spring, and
the chance of catching one zigging I
find challenging and exciting due to
the fact I’ve only ever fished this way
a handful of times. The one thing I will
be trying to achieve is to lose my lead
on the take, and the reason for this is
I don’t want a long hook length and
the lead bouncing about with a small
hook inside the fish’s mouth – even if
it’s a small lead it could still cause a
problem. There are loads of very good
hooks on the market, and my choice
would be the ESP Big T or Drennan
Specialist Barbel, and also the Mugger hook in a size 12. These hooks are
very sharp and reliable.
My first choice on a warm spring
day would be to check the margins
(Above) Chod it out.
(Bottom) Bright coloured pop-ups for
the spring.
for an opportunity of stalking one out.
If the lake is not very busy and you
have some good margins that look
like they have been, or would be, visited by carp, it’s worth putting a small
amount of bait in and keeping an eye
on these areas. If using hemp or pellet
don’t make the mistake of putting it
on one spot in big handfuls, just introduce three or four bits at a time and
spread it around over the area. By
doing this it will keep the fish moving
and looking for food, which will give
you more of a chance for a bite when
stalking. When stalking and keeping
mobile you could have five or six different areas primed and ready to go.
The weather will play a big part in
this with the fish often following the
sun during the course of the day and
into evening. I’ve often found them on
the back of the wind in the calm
warm water. With stalking you have a
whole array of bait which you can
use, but I prefer to use small items
such as hemp, pellets, sweetcorn,
broken pieces of tiger nut and broken
dumbbell boilies.
I prefer not to use round boilies; the
reason being when I fished the
Cemex Road Lake there is an area
which we call The Snags, which is
very shallow and gin clear, and where
you can quite often see the fish. On
this day in particular I scattered five
12mm boilies in and waited for the


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