FREE LINE 03 - Page 142



Edges in the Edge
The trap is set and there are three fish over the hook bait – adrenaline time!
spots regularly baited that I know the
fish visit. This is particularly useful if
there is a snaggy area that the fish
frequent. Regular baiting of a nearby
spot, where it is safer to fish for them,
will encourage them to leave the snag
in search of food. Once you get to
know your fish and the lake well, you
will be able to select a handful of
spots in areas that the fish are happy
to visit. I will often bait a couple of
spots the day before I intend to stalk,
but only if I have located fish in the
general area beforehand.
Getting a rig in the water without
betraying your presence can be problematic at times, although there are
several ways to achieve it. For example, if I found a few fish sitting
beneath the canopy of an overhanging tree I will first spend some time
observing them. Often they will leave
the spot only to return a few minutes
later, giving you an opportunity to
142 FREE LINE
introduce your hook bait and freebies.
A lot of the time when they do leave
the spot, you will be able to see where
they go, and it is frequently for a little
rummage along the margin. This
gives you the option of setting your
trap along the route. This is the option
I would choose if the spot where they
are sitting is unfishable due to snags
etc.
If your observations reveal that the
fish are remaining static, then the
alternative is to encourage them to
leave by throwing a few small baits
on top of them. Most times they will
drift off and then return a short while
later with you having placed your bait
in the meantime, although there is the
risk that they ‘spook’ and don’t return.
The other drawback with this method
is that sometimes they immediately
start feeding on the bait with which
you are trying to encourage them
away from the vicinity. You will then
have to increase the amount you are
putting in to move them. If they continue to feed and won’t be discouraged, then you should be able to get
away with introducing the rig with
them present. I have also used this
tactic to be more selective or rather
de-selective. Having found a group of
five fish, one of which I did not want
to catch (having caught it previously)
I was able to throw a few small pellets
onto the four target fish – one by one,
getting them to leave the area. With
the one fish remaining I deposited a
handful of pellet onto it, spooking it
away, leaving me to set the trap,
which was sprung a few minutes later
as soon as the first four fish returned.
The levels of baiting that I use for
stalking are far lower than I would use
normally. Obviously each situation is
different, but usually I will be fishing
over less than a handful of free offerings, as I often find myself targeting a
small group or an individual fish. The
aim is to create a competitive feeding
situation in a short space of time, and
you will be up against it with just a
couple of fish feeding over a kilo of
bait. They will be able to take their
time and feed more carefully, giving
them every chance to suss your rig,
which is more visible in shallower
water. It really is surprising how often
all the freebies are eaten before the
hook bait is picked up. They may also
leave having had their fill, so I usually
err on the side of caution. Unlike
when fishing further out you will be
able to see if they have cleared you
out, so you can always introduce
some more if necessary. The size of
the baited area will be dependent on
the number of fish in attendance, with
the area being tighter for fewer fish.
As a guide, with three or four fish
present, I would spread the bait over
a 2ft square area to enable them to
feed together.
The free offerings are always put in
prior to the rig. The reason for this is
so that I can see how they have
landed on the bottom and position
the rig on the part of the baited patch
that gives me the best chance of a
pick up. This is invariably towards the
nearside edge i.e. on the edge of the
free bait closest to the bank, leaving
no line running across the spot to be
picked up by fins. Once the rig is in
position I will ensure that any line in
the water is as unobtrusive as possible with it flat to the lakebed. This can

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