Blog Posts by Carl Gee
You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks
In my last blog I talked about my less than
fruitful efforts on the Shadow Mere (a pseudonym you will remember, as the
water has a publicity ban). On the first night I lost a fish and received
plenty of liners throughout the night. I had been been getting the fish to feed
in the swim and expectations were high, but nothing was happening!
What was I doing wrong? If it wasn't for the fact I have been catching plenty of fish on other waters, I would have thought it was me. I was going to stick to my guns and fish over reef pellet and ground bait, the new matching tiger nuts would make the presentation even more interesting for the fish.
There were questions that needed answering and I've never been afraid to ask for advice. I noticed some anglers were doing very well while others were struggling. I don't want to give away the secrets of people who have been putting the time in on the water, but let's just say the clock was turned back 30 years with these anglers and this was resulting in some brilliant catches. Everyone using modern tactics was catching very few fish.
Shadow Mere was used for the construction of the motorway and the bottom of the lake is like a luner landscape with bars, deeper holes and plateaus resulting in silt patches and clear sand areas. The odd strip of gravel is also present which gives you many different areas to attack.
One Angler was doing very well indeed and his name is Stephen Taylor. I just had to ask him what I was doing wrong and he was more than helpful. It turned out I was not that far away from the winning formula. My observation about the birds was spot on and when the birds enter the swim you would only catch the odd fish in those spots. This made quick sessions even more head banging because you needed to prime the swim at night only to avoid the birds finding your bait.
It was also better to avoid casting to your baited areas in daylight to stop the birds finding the free offerings and therefore increase catch rates. All this is very time consuming and overnight fishing was going to be tough.
The other mistake I was making was fishing slack lines and semi slack lines because the fish had become used to moving the hook around in the mouth without bolting to avoid capture, according to Steve. A foot of line was just too much on the hooklink. Three to five inches was perfect and fishing a tight line to the lead was imperative so that any movement of the lead would be picked up. I was getting many takes and the fish were using my indication tactics to their advantage.
My advice is to always listen to someone who is proving it on the bank. There is a reason for them catching fish and it's because they have been observant. Sometimes the smallest alteration to your approach to fishing makes all the difference.
The method was set and the rods were put in place according to Steve's instructions, but missing some of his 1980s style baiting methods.
The first rod was placed on the far margin at about 140 yards and the other two rods were placed on a bar at 80 yards without any spodded bait.
The Swallows were diving over the bar and this was an indication of a fly hatch which also brought some carp into the area to feed. It was going to be single hook baits through the day and baiting up at night to avoid the birds.
The Rods had only been in the water for 45 minutes, when I received a couple of bleeps on the middle rod and remembering Steve's advice I hit it! The rod doubled over and the water erupted over the bar...Yes, he was right. After a short but joyful battle a very welcome common carp was in the landing net..
Tight lines was how I fished in the 80s. Most modern DVDs advocate slack lines, but sometimes it's just better to pay attention to what is happening around you.
Let's see what happens next. It's always fun to learn and you can teach an old dog old tricks.
Until next time,