Going light for a bite
This winter has been a nightmare for many anglers, me included. If you like your pond and lake fishing for species such as carp you have had to battle the elements and even now that the ice has gone the lack of fish activity and clear water conditions have made it hard to get that elusive take.
I’ve just had my first carp of the year, it wasn’t very big, but I was well pleased, basically I’d gone light for a bite, and it had worked.
Last autumn I’d had a couple of trips to fish a new water to me called Pasture House Fisheries. I was impressed, with what I found and I caught well, so I filed the knowledge away and looked forward to a trip or two over the winter. Then the big freeze set in, and several inches of ice put paid to all my plans.
At last, with January nearly over, the ice had gone and I could go fishing. My first trip was a blank, as was my next, but on the second trip I witnessed a couple of fish being caught, by an angler fishing very light, I can take a hint!
Although I would be targeting the carp, I thought dropping the breaking strain of the hook-length and using smaller hook and baits might give me an edge, so I set about making up some scaled down, lighter rigs. The first consideration was what to use for the hook-length. I’ve been developing an interest in fly fishing over the last year of so, and as a result I’ve been acquiring a few bits of fly gear. Amongst the acquisitions were several spools of Daiwa Wilderness Fluorocarbon.
My usual carp fishing fluorocarbons ranged from 12lb to 20lb plus, not what I was looking for at this point in time, the Wilderness I had in 6lb and 8lb, I gave it a very close look , and decided to give it a go. Some rigs were made up, using the 6lb Wilderness, size 10 hooks and a pellet band on a fine braid hair.
Bait was going to be a pellet/maggot combo, my reasoning being that I was fishing a water that was holding midweek and weekend winter matches, so I hoped the fish would be seeing both maggots and pellets on a regular basis. Although they might not be feeding strongly, I would be giving them a bait they were seeing already.
The actual day’s fishing was a strange one. When I’m winter fishing I usually try to arrive soon after first light, but from an action point of view expect the afternoon to be the better fishing time. So according to plan I arrived as the sun was lightening the sky, and soon after had the baits in the water.
As planned I was fishing a maggot/pellet combo, and for added attraction was hooking on a small PVA bag of maggots and crushed pellets. In the next hour I had one or two knocks on the rod top, and a couple of slight lifts on the hanger. Encouraging I thought, thinking, small fish taking an interest in the maggots. I had a recast, and soon after had a reel churner. I grabbed the rod and I’m in. I’d love to say, it was a spectacular fight, and a massive fish, but it was neither. I was being careful with the lighter Wilderness hook-length but I needn’t have worried, it was more than up to the task, and after a few minutes I had a small mirror in the net. The size didn’t matter, I had my first carp of the year, from a slightly different game plan. It’s fair to say I was a very happy angler.
Sometimes it’s a good idea to modify what you do, I’m convinced that going lighter made the difference, and it also made me think how it’s worth looking at tackle outside the species specific gear I normally rely on. In this case, the Wilderness Fluorocarbon was perfect for the hook-length. It was very consistent, knotted well, and I was impressed, basically it did everything I asked of it. I can see it featuring in future trips, not only when I want to scale down my carp rigs, but I can also see it having lots of scope in my barbel fishing. Those Trent barbel, better watch out!