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lot worse than it actually is. What
looks fairly impenetrable on the surface is often quite sparse when you
get down below, and there are plenty
of clear areas on which to present
your bait. I think where a lot of
anglers go wrong when fishing in
Canadian is to use a pop-up, thinking
their bait is more detectable I suppose. In this situation I much prefer to
use a bottom bait on a short hooklink
and in a PVA bag, and then bait up as
accurately as I can with free offerings.
Summing up, I’m not really bothered
what the depth of weed is in my
swim; if I can feel my lead down
through the water and feel it ‘donk’
down on the lakebed then all well and
good, but if I can’t then I’ll settle for
presenting my hook bait where it
seems a bit sparser.
Baits smelling foul (to us) after
they’ve been in the water for only a
short while is a common occurrence,
although not something that overly
bothers me as the free offering will
smell the same. I can remember mentioning this to my old mate Steve
Curtin when we were fishing together
on a water in the Colne Valley and he
said, “Perhaps the carp don’t eat our
baits until they smell like that!” When
you think about it, in their environment, carp are used to all of these
smells that are alien to us; in fact it’s
far more normal for them to be eating
food that is foul smelling as opposed
to smelling of pineapple! Mentioning
Steve, there was one thing that he
always used to do that impressed me,
and that I’m sure helped to put a few
more carp on the bank. Before he
started fishing and handling his bait,
he would always thoroughly wash his
hands in the mud and weed in the
edge so that they smelled more like
the carp’s environment, so there you
go boys – that’s a little edge if you can
remember to do it.
Over the years most waters silt up
to a degree, although you will always
be able to find firmer areas if you try.
It’s a difficult one though, and do you
really need to? If the carp are used to
feeding on food that is buried in the
silt, a bait that is presented above it
might be a bit too conspicuous so
therefore get ignored. Every time I
cast out I always like to feel my lead
down to the lakebed and generally
feel a little bit more confident if it hits
bottom with a firmer ‘donk’. Sometimes these are not the right spots to
be fishing though. A few winters ago
I was fishing a gravel pit down in Kent
where the firmer areas were very
unproductive, whereas if you felt the
lead down and it felt like it had landed
on a cushion, these were the areas
that produced the bites. I sort of got
off of the subject a little bit, but I’d be
interested to know what the rest of
you do. Do you always feel your lead
down, does anyone ever ‘pull back’
any more? Remember when we were
fishing in the Colne Valley, Rob, we
pulled our end tackle back on every
cast until we felt it ‘tap’ up the gravel
bars (or not), does anyone still do
I’ve not really fished any waters
where crayfish have been a problem,
although I have fished waters containing mitten crabs, which to a
degree I think are worse, as they are a
lot more aggressive than crays. I used
to ‘mesh-up’ my hookbaits and also
tried the shrink tube stuff (Bait
Armour), but neither of these worked
particularly well, as often I’d reel in
and my hooklink had gone due to
being snipped off. What worked best
in the end was to try and feed them
off the area I was fishing. I’m not sure
if it’s the same with crays, but mitten
crabs seem to prefer to be feeding in
the margins, therefore I’d pile in a few
kilos of groundbait in the edge to try
and keep them occupied and away
from the area I was fishing. Another
thing with the mittens, and I suspect
it’s the same with crays; they never
seemed as troublesome if you used
ordinary bottom baits as opposed to
pop-ups. I suppose when you think
about it, their eyes are situated on the
top of their heads therefore a pop-up
is more noticeable. I can remember
watching an Alan Taylor slide show
where he mentioned this. When he
was fishing Chantecoq in France, if he
fished a popped-up hookbait amongst
200 free offerings, the pop-up was
always the first bait that the crayfish
went for, and they would walk along
the hook link until they had it in their
The moon is something that affects
lots of things on our planet including
us lunatics, although I don’t really
know enough about it to pass on any
more comments to what Ed, Sean and
Rob have already said. All I will say is
that I don’t really get a choice as to
when I can go fishing so have to
accept the moon phase and weather
Who knows what affect this has?
etc for what it is. Given a choice
though, I prefer to be fishing on or
around the new moon period, but that
said, there are so many variables, and
like the others have said, there are a
lot of big carp about that have a history of being caught on a full moon.
It’s bit like air pressure, water temperatures and wind strength and direction etc – we all know what we prefer,
but the carp are the final arbiters.
Mentioning these factors, I’ve
recently found a weather site called
XC Weather, don’t know if any of you
others have ever seen it, but it gives a
lot more information than what
Metcheck used to.
Should we take advice from sponsored anglers? Like Sean, I think we
should listen to any bit of advice
being given by someone whether
Sponsored by Mothercare.


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