FREE LINE 03 - Page 143

Edges in the Edge
involve weaving it between a couple
of reed stems or around a clump of
weed. The rod will be positioned with
the absolute minimum protruding
over the water, and the line will be left
slack. As a drop back is hardly possible there is no need for any sort of
bobbin in this situation.
There may be benefits to sitting
back and waiting, but I find myself
unable to do it for more than a few
minutes. I feel compelled to watch
the spot and the fish, as there is so
much to be learned from their behaviour, and witnessing their feeding
around your hookbait really is the
essence of stalking. Keeping your
movements slow and to a minimum is
paramount though, as a sudden
movement can destroy your chances.
Having just advocated the softly,
softly approach to the introduction of
freebies, I should point out that it is
not always the best way. On a recent
stalking session I had a group of three
fish sitting close to my quietly introduced handful of bait for a couple of
hours, seemingly unaware of its presence. With time running out, and
more in desperation than any tactical
thinking on my part, I deposited two
big handfuls of chops and corn right
next to them, which was followed, not
by them bolting off as expected, but
by almost instant frenzied feeding,
resulting in a mid-30 mirror on the
mat. This scenario is the exception
rather than the rule, but it does illustrate that, whilst on some occasions
the slightest thing can ruin your
chances, on others you can take
absolute liberties with them and get
away with it.
Before introducing your hookbait it
is imperative that you have a game
plan to play and land your quarry. This
is particularly important close to
snags and weed, but is necessary in
any tight spot. Hooking a fish and
then finding that you can’t lift the rod
due to an overhanging branch is likely
to end in a hook pull, but a little preplanning can avoid losing the fish.
Could you pass the rod around the
tree trunk and play it from the other
side? If so, is that where the landing
net should be? Do I need to hit and
hold, or would it be better to let the
fish run to open water away from the
tree roots? I might need to jump in
the margin to play the fish, therefore I
don’t want my phone, keys etc in my
pocket. It is far easier to follow a plan
than to try and invent one with your
‘personal best’ stripping line off your
spool and a “5p/50p” situation occurring!
Having stalking as another string to
your bow really can save a blank session, and is a great way to learn about
your lake and its inhabitants. There
will be frustration as you watch a rig
being spat out with distain, but there
is no substitute for the rush of adrenalin as a large mirror starts feeding
and you watch as it picks up your
hookbait. A day’s stalking can be hard
work, but, catch or not, you will feel
that you have not just gone through
the motions, but have got back to
basics and really angled. n
The Boxer at 34lb 14oz – stalking whilst taking photos for the article.


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