Solid PVA bagging in the 90s
If there was one man who was synonymous with solid PVA bagging in the late 90s, it was Ian Poole...
Ian Poole was the angler of that era when it came to perfectly-packed bags of mini pellets, ripping apart all the well-known Oxfordshire day ticket venues...
CARPOLOGY: When did you first hear (the year and from who) about solid PVA bags?
IAN POOLE: “It would have been in the early Nineties I guess, in the pages of Carp-Talk. Most weeks there were catch reports featured from popular Hampshire day ticket venue, Broadlands Lakes, and it seemed as though nearly every fish was caught on a Richworth White Chocolate Pop-Up over a bag of trout pellets.”
CARPOLOGY: Where were you fishing around this time?
IAN POOLE: “The main water I was fishing back then would have been Whelford Pools, but it would have been a few years after that before I started using the tactic in my own fishing.”
CARPOLOGY: Can you remember your first experience of using them, and how much impact did they have on your catch results back then?
IAN POOLE: “They had very little impact to start with. I dabbled with their use from around the mid-Nineties onwards, although to be fair my first results were nothing special and it was something I would occasionally try, much preferring the funnel web mesh style of PVA over solids. Everything changed for me when I started to fish Linch Hill in 1998. On my very first trip I met a guy called Tim Wagner, who back then owned a small company called Temple Products who, funnily enough, manufactured solid PVA bags. Tim gave me some to try, showed me how he was fishing them and from that moment on I never looked back. The bags quickly became my ‘go-to’ method and it felt like I could go anywhere with them and catch carp.”
CARPOLOGY: What were you filling them with back then? Just trout pellets? And what about hookbait options then?
IAN POOLE: “To start with it would have been pellets such as the old Hinders of Swindon Mini-Betaines or their mega oily Slickers. Hookbaits would have been either a small Nash S-Mix Pop-Up or bottom bait. All very straightforward stuff to be honest but it worked everywhere.”
CARPOLOGY: Looking back now, what are the biggest changes you’ve made to your bagging approach from the 90s until today?
IAN POOLE: “Apart from going through a few different hooks and hooklink materials as the years went on and the general quality and choice of end tackle improved, I haven’t made that many changes at all. The basic presentation of a very short braided rig combined with a compact-shaped inline lead can only be refined so much, so I just keep it simple, tinkering with the length of the rig only if I think the carp might be getting away with it. Starting point on the rig would be four-inches but I have caught on hooklinks half that in the past with the carp still well-and-truly nailed. In more recent times I guess the only major improvement to the rig would be having the option to fish the lead drop-off style, which can sometimes help in very weedy conditions. Apart from that I really don’t overthink it at all.
“In regards to the bait I still base my bag mix around a mix of small, oily pellets such as our own Mini Mass but will often add a few extras such as boilie crumb plus some powders such as GLM or liver powder. Another of my firm favourites to put in the mix was the old Dynamite Meaty Marine Groundbait. After only recently becoming available again for a year or so this has been discontinued for a second time which is a shame as it was very good.
“In regards to liquids, the only thing I tend to add is a spot of hemp oil. Winter or summer I find the slick that plumes off the bag very effective at dragging fish down from mid-water.”
CARPOLOGY: Can you remember any real red letter sessions when you first started using them?
IAN POOLE: “The period of my angling from 1998 to 2003 down on Linch Hill and Horseshoe was an amazing time for me. It seemed like I could do no wrong and I’m sure the solid bags played a large part in this. If I had to pick out one fish it would be the capture of the old Christchurch mirror known as Petals, a lovely old history fish which is still my personal best and funnily enough fell to a solid bag fish with a 2.5-inch hooklink.”
CARPOLOGY: When would you say solid bagging was at its peak of popularity? It certainly doesn’t seem to get the column inches or airtime like it used to a decade or so ago.
IAN POOLE: “I’m not sure to be honest. I work in a busy tackle shop now and it seems as though we sell lots of solid bags. However, the bags can be fiddly and time-consuming to tie so I guess this is why some anglers don’t use them or just try them once and go back to using the mesh. Another reason is that the pellets they are often filled with can drag in the bream, plus there also seems to be the mis-conception they are only a small fish method. Well, I agree about the bream, but my one-word answer to the latter isn’t printable in the pages of this magazine.”
CARPOLOGY: Do you still use solid bags in 2019 as much as you used to in the late 90s, early 00s?
IAN POOLE: “I don’t fish anywhere near as much as I used to back then but in the right situation the bags are still my number one tactic. On one of the waters I dabble on these days I don’t see anyone else using them and in a few short day sessions I have already had fish to over 40lbs on them… And that is more than good enough for me!”