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24 Nov 2016
by Rob Hughes
Bite indication and line lay explained
Our resident diving pro and big fish angler, Rob Hughes exposes the few truths about bite indication and line lay…

We all know what the Highway Code says about indication, and that if you get it wrong it can lead to disaster. That very same principle can be applied to carp fishing, as without any shadow of doubt, indication is one of the important aspects of catching fish, but also one of the most overlooked. Here, our resident diving pro and big fish angler, Rob Hughes exposes the few truths about bite indication and line lay…

Fishing for 'liners'

It isn’t just the kit you use that helps your indication. I’ve spent the last three winters fishing for liners and the way I fish to find them is a definite edge when the carp are starting to move around. There’s probably still a little time left to do this before the water warms up too much and they end up just below the surface for most of their lives, but basically I will fish a leadcore length and then a neutrally buoyant or floating line as a main line and fish it under the slightest amount of tension with a Black Label Slik Bobbin Clip head on the bobbin. It has to be this sort of head as you need to fish it “Stow style” to get the best indication. Drop the tension on the line so the base of the bobbin is sitting on the chain with the tip at 90-degrees. The line should be under no tension at all and floating mid-water. If there is any fish around you will get loads of bangs and twitches to let you know where the fish are and you can re-cast accordingly.

Short-range and bobbins slack – plus fluoro on the spools: game on!

Bobbins and alarms

The final bit is possibly the least important but often the main area that anglers rely upon, and that’s the bobbin and alarm. Get the sensitivity jacked up as much as you can on the alarms (weather permitting) and then think about the bobbin you are using. I do genuinely carry three different sets with me, although, like most of us, most of the time I will only use one. We treat them as fashion items and can miss out on indication through not using the right one. For the sake of £5 quid a pop, it’s worth getting a set of weights and also a Slik Clip Head and with the variables of a line clip and tight lines you can cover most situations. Springer arms, if you can stretch to them, are brilliant in windy and long-range conditions as they effectively self-adjust to keep the right amount of tension in the line. The main thing is to follow the general rule of thumb in that if you are fishing slack or semi-slack go lighter, and heavier if you go long. Light bobbins at long-range won’t give you drop backs so you will be missing out.

My favourite medium-range indication: almost bowstring with a Slik Head

Lay your line down like a pro

Most people cast out and then drop the rod sinking the line from both ends. But this is how to lay your line down like a pro for the best “rig end” line lay. Your aim is to get the bit nearest the lead to settle first.

To get the best line lay hold the tip up so it sinks form the lead end

1. Cast out, hitting the clip so the lead goes down on a tight line.
2. Follow through then let a little line off before raising the rod high again.
3. Keep holding the rod high for a short while allowing the slack to settle.
4. Slowly lower the rod bringing the tip forwards but still keeping the tip high.
5. Wait a little more.
6. Bring the rod down slowly allow-
ing gravity to pull the line tight.

Quick-fire answers

Indication and line lay factoids

Q Will my slack line be flat on the deck and follow the contours of the weedbeds?
A Unlikely. When our line sinks it has pivot points along it that tighten up so you think it’s slack but in reality there will be tighter bits e.g. going up over weed.

Q How far off the bottom is a bowstring tight line at 100yds in 8ft of water?
A Only a little. Don’t worry about it, but if you do, use a short leader of Trans Khaki Illusion. Avoid leadcore in clear water.

Q I’ve just re-spooled. Any-thing I should know about?
A The line will have loads of air bubbles and until it’s soaked itself off, it will be obvious underwater. Fish it tight for a while rather than slack too as it will remember the way it sat on the spool and will coil until it’s been stretched a little.

Q What’s your favourite set-up? There’s so many variables.
A Long-range will be a big lead, tight line, line clip and a tight clutch. Absolutely no messing there! Medium will often be semi-tight so I can adjust either way as and when the situation changes.

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