FL13 - Page 74



A Question of Bait
By Mark McKenna
Send in your questions and Mark will answer them each month in this great new series.
Last month you discussed high
volume bait application in winter, which is an alien concept to
me. What suggestions have you
got for me – someone who only
fishes occasionally during the
winter?
I suppose you are among the
masses who struggle to sit out the
long cold nights on the off chance you
might bag a fish. Winter fishing needn’t be that hard, and what I try to do is
make it as enjoyable as possible so if
as usual I’m not involved in an all-out
campaign on a ‘target’ water, it usually involves a ‘social’ of some
description and a guest session on
one of my mates’ waters – a chance
to catch up and the opportunity to
bag a whacker.
So how do you approach a ‘one-off’
Drop Scale 43.15.
74 FREE LINE
type session during the winter? Well
it’s the antithesis of what we discussed in answering last month’s
question of bait. In fact I’ll give you an
example of just such a session I
enjoyed with my mate Dave a couple
of years ago. Dave is a tidy angler
with many big fish to his credit, and
good company, so when he offered
me a guest on his syndicate lake in
January, I was happy to accept. We
pulled up in the car park full of anticipation as the lake in question has a
fair bit of winter form, and although it
had been frozen solid prior to our
arrival there was a real Atlantic low
on the go with a warming southwesterly wind of 25 miles an hour hacking
into a weedy bay as we looked round,
making swim choice rather obvious
although we hadn’t actually seen fish
clattering out or rolling.
Dave valiantly opted to fish the
main swim in the bay, leaving me a
more sheltered little bay with a ‘film
star’ set of snags, which according to
my mate Leon had held fish during
the freeze-up. Dave, being a youngster, is like a whippet, and had his
rods out and bivvy up in no time at all,
and stood with me plying me with tea
as I got sorted at a far more sedate
pace, having had a good look round
the snags and laced the length of
them with less than half a pound of
crushed up T1 drizzled in Cow Cola.
I had had the advantage of seeing a
DVD of fish feeding in this swim on a
tight bed of bait, so I opted to spread
it over 25yds of bank to keep any fish
that did feed moving and a tad more
hookable. The other thing I wanted to
avoid was fishing any obvious bald
patches, so I spread my rods along
the snags in slightly less obvious
areas. Hookbaits were trimmed down
T1 freebies, critically balanced with
‘bright as ****’ yellow 10mm pop-ups,
which were dispatched to their
respective spots with a critically bala n c e d m i n i - P VA b a g o f c r u m b
attached that settles down neatly
away from the lead, and a little
bright/HNV Critter hookbait with a
patch of crumb underneath it – irresistible!
Dave poured scorn on my
approach; the titchy fluoro topper
being the butt of most of his ridicule.
Dave being a diehard food bait user
like me, refused to ‘lure fish’ despite
the time of year, and normally I’d
agree, but in this game there is a time
and a place for everything. I believed
under the circumstances that the
time was now, even with Dave telling
me I’d only be scaring them off! I suspect deep down what he really
wanted to do was dip into my swervy

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