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Bait
05 Jun 2017
by Terry Hearn
Is tight baiting really that good?
On Tel's agenda this month: tight baiting

Before moving on, I would just like to pick up on one specific point from Rob Hughes comments and expand upon it if I may; well, I am going to anyway so here it is.

“It was the old school anglers of Elstow over 20 years ago that introduced fishing three rods on a tight spot with a load of bait around it. They did this as they had great watercraft and knew that the humps in the deeper water were where the fish would feed early season and they wanted to keep them there and maximise chances. This old school method has now almost become universally accepted as the way to fish OX29 style (The Linear postcode) and the new school guys have tightened it up, added a modern slant, and perfected it even further.”

Right, I am not disagreeing with this paragraph because it is a statement and, as such, totally accurate, this happened and is still happening but I have never understood it from a big carp perspective.

On the OX type of waters I get it, totally, and I would employ it myself because you are trying to whip up that massive competitive feeding frenzy with a load of fish in a tight area, all jostling for prime position. However, on big fish waters such as Elstow, I fail to see the advantages. Big carp are very easily spooked by a hooked fish, at least on all the waters I have fished they have been. Fishing two, or even three, hookbaits on the same spot has NEVER given me any advantage whatsoever and, believe me, I have tried many, many times. I am absolutely fanatical about making all the rods work, I just cannot see the point of fishing three rods if you don’t think they are all in with a chance of a bite and putting them all on the same spot seems like a lottery as to which one goes first but the other two will still have to wait for the fish to return and calm down again. If I can get three different spots going, even if they are close to each other, then I am truly happy that I am fishing as well as I can. Let’s face it, we always know which rod is going to go first, don’t we, and it’s always the last one we reel in when we have to go home, and the same can be said for the second and finally the third.

Does anyone else ever think that they are fishing three rods just because they can or do you sometimes cut it down to two or just one if the situation warrants it? Dave Lane

On those types of well fished, heavily stocked waters, where the fish are not only competing for food they’re also very used to disturbance, then I’m sure that fishing all three rods tight together is a good method, especially when combined with accurate spodding. It’s a bit like casting a swim feeder back to the exact same spot every time, concentrating all the feed into a tight area and getting the fish to compete for their grub.

Thinking about it, I’ve gone through spells on several different waters in the past were I’ve fished in a similar way for a while, with one spot baited and all three rods fished relatively tight together. At one stage at Burghfield I was fishing all three just ten feet apart alongside an island, but that was when I was fishing at around 160yds with a remote boat, when putting each rod back out again after dark would have proved very difficult. Nowadays, with the use of an echo sounder I’d probably find it a lot easier to put them back out accurately at night, but at the time I figured it was likely to do more damage than good, and so whenever I had a take from that particular swim I’d leave that rod leaning against the trees until very first light, though only because I was happy that I still had a bait or two in the zone. Quite often I’d end up with just one or even no rods left out by first light, but at that time they’d be sent back out with accuracy, and with any luck I’d already have one or two sacked up in the margins, which was good enough for me. In that case fishing all three rods together was simply to make sure I always had a bait on the money.

Chertsey’s Black Scaley on the mat. Sleeping behind one rod in a tight gap proved to be well worthwhile that night. Camera dials: Canon EOS 5D, 50mm, f4.5, 1/400

The biggest problem I find with fishing your rods tight together is avoiding your remaining lines whenever playing in a fish. At Burghfield, the distance I was fishing at meant my lines were well down, even though they were fished dead tight, and when fishing your rods close together this can make life a whole lot easier. Whenever playing in a fish I’d always be really careful to avoid any remaining lines, as I knew that so long as I could keep them fishing there was every chance of more action.

One time I remember having to change my main lines, but as new line tends to sit higher in the water, on my next trip out I had problems wiping out the remaining lines each time a fish was hooked, which ended up costing me. I guess I should have used the old soaking in Fairy Liquid solution to de-grease them beforehand.

Although occasionally I might fish two or even three baits tight together, rather than putting all my eggs into one basket, I generally prefer to fish three different ‘going’ spots if I can find them. I can also think of occasions were I’ve been so sure of an area that I’ve tightened up the baits, fishing all three pretty much side-by-side and then come morning I’ve found that the extra lines have proved a bit too much and the fish are showing to one side of me.

A recent cracker of 43lb 4oz. At Wasing each of the swims cover a fair amount of water, making it easier to spread the rods. Camera dials: Canon EOS 6D, 50mm, f5.6, 1/100

As Dave says, a lot of the time we do tend to know which one is the banker rod, and I’m exactly the same when it comes to choosing which rods to reel in first, I always have a first, second and third in order of what I feel each rods chances are.
It depends on the nature of the swim and what else is available, but now and again I find myself only fishing two rods (or even one) because I feel that the others have a very slim chance of action and they’re just in the way. We’ve probably all been in this situation, where a swim has one particular spot that’s doing the action and the only other spots you can imagine catching from mean putting another line in the way of your banker rod. For instance, only just to one side but maybe just beyond your banker spot. Sometimes I just don’t want to risk ruining what I might already feel is a very good chance of a take, I like to keep each line away from interfering with the others. Other times the swim’s just a bit too tight, and although I might only be able to get one rod out in it, the spot might still be such a good ‘un that I’d rather sit there with one rod than somewhere less likely with three. One bait in the right place is all that’s needed at the end of the day.

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