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Below The Surface: Kev Hewitt
Kev Hewitt: One of the most accurate anglers on planet earth and we're testing his skills on the world famous Wraysbury 1

This month I’m heading out with a man that has been the subject of this feature before, but seeing as he’s having such a brilliant run recently we couldn’t resist putting him under the spotlight once again. He’s been on fire this last 18-months or so, and I joined him on the banks of what has become his latest home: Wraysbury 1.

It was slinging it down as i entered the Wraysbury car park in the early hours of an August morning. Kev Hewitt was already in the swim fishing and had a fish under his belt. In fact, he’s had a bit of a good run up there recently and whilst one of the bigger fish has so far eluded him, it’s only a matter of time as his run-rate is mightily impressive.

I’ve known Kev for many years and he’s always got a bit of a grin on his face. I’m sure he won’t mind me saying that he’s got a bit of OCD in him and everything has to be ‘just so’. A lot of the good anglers are, and attention to detail at least is a requirement for success. His rods are out and it’s looking carpy so rather than steaming straight into the water we waited to see if a bite materialised as he had seen fish in the area and early mornings were the hot time.

During that time I asked him how he goes about picking and checking out his swim on this relatively new water for him.

“I do my homework. Look at the recent captures, look for fish, record everything in detail so I don’t have to think about too much should I come back in here again. I actually fished this swim a few weeks ago and had a big hit from the spot I’m fishing now so it will be interesting to see what it is. I was in the swim, saw a fish roll to the right, so I banged a lead over there and found a likely spot. I’ve been baiting it a bit since and I record exactly where it is, when I had bites from it, what I used etc.”

Kev's approach to a new water
1: Do your own thing and fish to your strengths.
2: Listen to others and make mental notes of what they have to say but don’t take it as gospel.
3: Have a good walk round and look for fish: in the edge, on the top or physically showing fish. Build a picture of where they like to spend their time as quickly as possible.
4: Do not be afraid to try something even if someone says it doesn’t work. The amount of venues I have fished where people say spodding doesn’t work. Well, let’s just say when I hear that it is music to my ears!
5: Study a map of the lake. I use an app called Measure Map. This allows pinpoint accuracy of distances which ensures I don’t encroach into other people’s water.

It was slinging it down when I arrived, and nothing changed for a while either
First job: check the weather app on the phone and see what the forecast is
Blimey: Low pressure and rain – carpy weather
Second job: check the records. Kev’s little black book is a mine of information
An example of the Brasenose swim he fished in the charity match. Sorry… The Wraysbury stuff is still secret!
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The spot he is fishing is a mere 8 1/4 wraps out!

With that, Kev produced his notebook and lets me have a look. It was a wealth of info about a number of lakes and swims, with drawings, distances, details and bite times.

“Recording everything takes a lot of the guesswork and memory loss out of the way,” he says. “I don’t have to think about it or try and find anything I have previously found. I know exactly where it is. Homework done previously, I check the book, have a few casts with the grappler to check if anything’s changed, and I’m happy. I’m a very methodical angler. I always take notes and never leave it out there unless I’m happy. Once I’m happy, I can chill and I know I’ve done everything I can. Until then, I can’t leave it.”

Protection To protect his main line and the fish’s flank, Kev uses ESP’s Flexi Anchor Rig Tubing in a length of 0.75m
Pinned down Kev applies small amounts of putty along the boom section to help pin it down to the lakebed
The boom section The boom sections comprises of a six-inch section of un-stripped ESP Two-Tone coated braid in 25lb breaking strain
Rig set-up For the hooking section, Kev uses ESP’s Ready-Made Chod Rigs which are tied from 20lb Stiff Bristle Filament with a size 6 Stiff Rigger hook

Rigs and bait: Kev’s using CC Moore equinox boilies, hemp and corn. It works everywhere and it’s very simple. On the hook there is a 10mm Equinox pop-up with a piece of corn on two, and the other is a stack of pop-up corn. It’s very buoyant and allows Kev to use a slightly bigger hook than most people might use with this set-up.

“I prefer a size 6 or even a size 5 hook. This particular rig is straight out of the packet as I use ready-tied ESP Chod Rigs. I add a stiff boom of ESP Two-Tone in 25lb BS so it is strong and I know the knot will not shift. For the Stiff Rig I use ESP Streamliner to make sure it kicks away. I always use a lead clip and it doesn’t tangle. There’s a little bit of putty on there to sink the hookbait and I like it to be anchored rather than critically balanced. I also like a little curve in the hook section bit – not too aggressive but pretty much how it comes out of the packet. Why? Cos it works, and I have confidence in it.”
I then asked Kev about his ‘all the eggs in one basket’ approach and the answer made perfect sense.

“Once I have found a spot that I am happy with, I will fish all three on this spot. Keeping the bait in the same place condenses the fish, and using plastic corn doesn’t lose buoyancy so I can leave them out there until I get action.”

So why are you in this peg?

“I’m always on the lookout for fish and saw one in here yesterday. It’s a no brainer. Always look for fish. I also had 10 bites off this spot six weeks ago so I know the fish like it up here and feed here. I actually fished the spot from next-door that time, but I felt this swim offered a better line angle and option so I baited up yesterday and moved in later on because it is quiet. Last night I topped up with another couple of kilos so the spot has now had 7kgs of mix in the last 24hrs. I got the rods out at 8pm last night and had my bite at 6am.”

Straight out in front of the swim isn’t always the best place. Kev’s spot was offset a fair way to the right
The spot is checked with a bare lead and then a grappler to make sure it is clean
Every time they go out or come back in they are checked for sharpness
Then for balance
All three rods go onto the same spot, almost identically. Once he’s found somewhere he’s happy with, that’s it
Sometimes, just occasionally, they land that little bit too close

Tell me about the spot

“I originally found it by seeing fish in the corner. You can see the weed on the surface and I saw a fish jump near it. I flicked a lead over and it went down with a donk and it was hard around it with big chunks of gravel. It’s weedier around the side and to the surface with weed just behind. To be fair, it’s the perfect little spot as there is a snag tree about three rod lengths off to the right and it feels right.”

You’ve put a lot of bait out for a 24hr session. 7kg is a lot of bait for most people…

“Yes, I’ll be up to 10kg soon as it will get more but it’s something that I do all the time and it just gets them feeding. The hemp and corn isn’t too expensive and it’s worked on every venue I’ve fished, whether it’s low or high stock. The bait is digestible. Single fish can eat a lot of it and pass it through. Also, when you get them feeding, it clears the spot for you. This spot started quite small but I can already feel that it is getting bigger; it’s now big enough to get three rods on. I think that when a spot is visited and fed upon it “glows” and once it starts doing that they will visit it more often. Getting them started is the hardest thing but once you have got it going they will keep coming for more and a spot can last all year if you are careful.”

One of the things that stood out last time, and does this time, is your accuracy; you’re always on the money with your casting!

“The more concentrated you can get your rigs and bait, the more chance there is of a bite. I want them feeding within inches of my hookbait rather than within feet or metres. I think that you get bites quicker if the bait is tighter. I never have a problem with three rods on a spot as I’ve done it all my life and it works. I find the best possible spot available, fish three rods on that spot and then if a fish ‘marks’ my rig or a rig falls badly, there are still another two to go for. Keeping all the bait tight also means the fish can only feed on your bait on one spot.

How do you envisage the spot itself to be?

“It’s about 5ft deep, gravel with silt around the sides and weed around the outside. My only concern is that there may be a slope and I’m at the back of the spot, maybe a metre apart. They will be presented, and I’m happy…”

And with that I got into the water…

How Kev hits the spot

“If you follow the rules, fishing accurately is a relatively simple process. Once a spot is found, with the aid of distance sticks and marker knots, all rods can be clipped-up to the same distance. Then it is simply a case of picking your far bank marker, casting the middle rod bang-on it and the other two rods slightly to the left and right. By putting all three tips together on a tight line you can check the accuracy by the direction of the lines.”

Once in, Kev points his rod tips together to check how close they really are
And make sure nothing is crossed
Bait is easy: hemp, corn and crushed/full boilies
The hookbait always matches the hatch, although being plastic gives it more life
On the money with the Spomb. A whole bucket is nothing…
The proof, as always, is when the rod rattles off. And it did
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Below the surface: Wraysbury, as ever, was clear, and there was a fair amount of weed between him and his spot. As I followed the line out I could see it rising up onto a sharp and stony bar which was absolutely covered in yellow corn and hemp. The bait stood out for miles, and upon first inspection it looked like nothing had been touched. However, as I circled around the spot, which turned out to be a quite steep sharp bar, I could see two rigs on the backside. The bait flowed all the way down the back of the bar from the top and then, when the base of the stone turned to silt, the bait abruptly stopped. The silt had been disturbed and I could clearly see the white mussel shells glowing underneath. The silt showed grey, and fish had clearly been feeding here recently. Interestingly, some pieces of corn had been washed to the sides of the silt by the movement of water, and it seemed that they had been feeding on the silt and not on the gravel. There was a distinct and unmistakable difference as to where they had been feeding.

The two rigs that remained were well presented on the back of the slope and the line lay going over the bar was spot-on as you would expect it to be. Everything looked bob on and it was interesting to see that the fish had ignored the stone preferring to feed on the silt. With that I popped out of the water and got Kev to re-create what he had done the day before.

Watching him from the bank I’ve got to say his accuracy was once again impressive. After he’d Spombed out another load and put three rods back as they were, I bobbed back out to have a look. There was no surprise that the lines were tramline-straight and the rigs sat perfectly. In fact, you can see from one of the shots that I could only just get my hand between two of the rigs and the third was only a foot or so away. Exactly what he had hoped to achieve.

Kev's Mix

10% 10mm Equinox boilies soaked to make them softer.
50% Frozen corn from a supermarket.
40% fresh hemp cooked by Kev.

The line stood out in the water a reasonable amount but was laid down well over the bar
There was a reasonable amount of bait still on the bar, certainly much more than we expected
However, at the bottom in the silt the fish had cleared off almost all of it. This is where he had the bite from
The rig just a little further up the slop hadn’t produced and was just on the edge of the action
Tell-tale signs of carp action where the baits have been wafted to the side of the spot by water movement
That one in the middle of the shot would surely be next!
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Having got out of the water and shown him the pics we then discussed thoughts on presentation?

“I’ve been using this rig for the best part of three years. It sat exactly as I wanted it to and it’s perfectly presented even if it gets picked up. I was happy with the rigs where they were and I wouldn’t change anything, especially having caught one, but having the opportunity of seeing how they’ve fed more in the silt is a real eye-opener. I think I will be even more careful with my plumbing, even though I am mega meticulous now. I’ll also pop the marker float up a bit more to double check the depth variations. Having said that, I would generally be inclined to fish towards the top of the spot, especially at this time of year, so it may have done me a favour but until you catch the first fish you don’t know. I’d had 10 bites from this spot fishing this way not so long ago and they were at the same distance as they are now. They wouldn’t have been on the silt nor right on top of the bar so the fish wanted it further up the bar then. Today they seem to want it more on the deck. It’s the difference between understanding this and also picking up where they want it that can mean the difference between catching and catching a lot.”

Kev's hookbait edges

1: I always soak my plastic baits in the intense sweetner Betalin & Black.
2: Plastic baits figure a lot in my hookbaits as they never lose buoyancy. So once I have balanced or popped up my hookbait and tested it in the edge, the buoyancy will never change even if the hookbait is in place for long periods of time.
3: A flouro pop-up makes a great alternative hookbait and I always carry plenty of Northern Specials.

Side on you can see they just didn’t want to feed up the bar
A re-bait saw more grub bang on the spot
The balanced baits and stiff hooklinks sit perfectly
A little over a hand width separated the two boillie baits
These two baits sat side-by-side shows just how close those casts were
Tramlines. And the third one was only about a foot to the left
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High point
“Knowing that everything that I thought was happening on the spot was not far off what I thought it was. I’d found the right spot, put the rig in the right spot, baited nicely, so I’m really pleased.”

Low point
“It’s hard to take anything negative from that. It really is.”

Biggest eye-opener
“That the bait on top of the bar hadn’t been eaten and yet the bait at the bottom of the bar in the silt had been polished off. If you have your rig on top you are potentially only a foot or so away from having a bite but you would never know.”

Biggest lesson learnt

“How you need to be really careful with your plumbing. It would be easy to take a marker and just pop it up straightaway and chuck rods to it. Careful plumbing makes a massive difference. There are different levels and you need to know whether you are fishing on it or off the back of it and where you are getting takes. If I had been fishing two-feet shorter I may not have had a bite or it may have taken a long time, or if I’d been fishing six-inches further I may have had more or quicker bites. It’s such fine margins that in your every day fishing you’d just never know.”

Rob Hughes
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