Day-Ticket Baiting Scenarios
What are the best ways to approach busy day-ticket waters, baiting-wise? Loz East runs through the options…
Fishing day-ticket venues has become the norm for me over the last few years. Turning up and competing against other anglers over the course of a weekend on some of the busiest open-access waters across the country can, at times, prove frustrating. When you arrive at a lake, there are a number of scenarios to consider, and the question of how you’re going to approach the swim.
1. FISHING SINGLE HOOKBAITS
If you arrive at the lake to find carp showing in front of you, then that’s great. This not only allows you to get fishing really quickly, but it can also see you nick a quick bite to kickstart your session. Often, you’ll see anglers in this situation get the marker rod out, followed by the spod rod, and by the time they’ve actually started fishing, the activity has ceased and they’re back to the waiting game. By fishing singles to showing fish - perhaps a bright fluoro hookbait like a 12m Hi-Viz pineapple pop-up, or a Mainline Zigger on a Zig Rig - you’re giving yourself every chance of a quick bite.
Single hookbaits are also great if you need to fish at distance. As long as you use a tangle-proof rig, you can cast and then sit back, confident that a bite is just around the corner. Winter months also provide opportunities for offering them singles. A carp’s metabolism is at its slowest during cold weather and you might be looking to fish a number of swims to try and locate fish at a time when they themselves are least mobile.
2. SOLID PVA BAGS
Again, PVA bags are another great way to get yourself a quick bite. On a personal note, these days I much prefer to start with solid bags as opposed to single hookbaits, unless I’m fishing at extreme-range, when I’ll opt for a pop-up on perhaps a Spinner Rig. Using bags gives you the extra peace of mind of knowing that wherever your rig lands, there’s a chance that you’re still ‘fishing’, even in a choddy or weedy situation. Obviously, if you have fish in front of you, the last thing you want to do is lead around to look for a clear spot. By using a bag presentation, you cut down the disturbance, but still leave a small parcel of attraction around your hookbait and not just rely on a single bright boilie.
I use Mainline Spod & PVA Pellet Mix, along with the Essential Cell Stick Mix groundbait inside my bags. The pellet mix has three or four different sized pellets which give varying breakdown rates, but they’re all small enough to allow you to create a compact offering. I make sure I use a fairly small hookbait to complement the bags, such as a 12mm IB or 12mm Salty Squid wafter.
3. FISHING TIGHT ON AN AREA
Once my session has started and the first evening approaches, I like to choose a spot to present at least two rigs on, if not three. I’ll then look to give them some bait over the top. The idea of creating a tight feeding area with three rigs side by side is to improve the chances of not only a bite, but a big hit of fish. Fishing in this manner creates loads of competition between the carp and this is how you can build up a big hit of carp (CARPology: More on that here). Three solid bags a few feet apart on a nice clean area with a good helping of spod mix over the top, creates the perfect dinner table, one the carp should find hard to resist visiting. My spod mix is very simple, and comprises boilie crumb - Cell, Essential Cell or any of the baits from Mainline’s freezer range - along with Power Particle Hemp and a small handful of corn. Once you’ve committed to a spot, it’s then a case of working the area until bites materialise, by topping up the area with a few Spombs of bait every now and again, and alternating bags, singles and Zigs over the top.
4. WIDE SPREAD OF BOILIES
I’ll be the first to admit that this is something I very rarely do myself. There are though, certain situations where I’d call upon the method. If I find myself in a situation where I have a reduced area of water in front of me, the fish are showing really close in, or the lake is particularly shallow, then this is certainly an approach I’d adopt. The last thing I’d want in any of these circumstances is a Spomb crashing onto the water and potentially spooking any fish already present. By using just a throwing stick and giving them a nice spread of baits - be that say 50 baits or a couple of kilos - you can limit the disturbance. When I do adopt this tactic, I prefer to use a single ‘match the hatch’ corkdust pop-up or wafter. Ideally, you’re looking for the fish to be moving slowly from bait to bait over a wide area, which in theory should see them a lot easier to catch. This is different obviously, to when you might have them sitting tight on a spot. By matching the hatch in this situation, you’re keeping things (your bait) constant and this is less likely to raise alarm bells with the carp.
All the tactics I’ve explained have their time and place, and if you have them all in your armoury and at your disposal, you’ll give yourself the best chance of catching a fish every time you go. I like to allow the fish and the situation to tell me which tactic to adopt, and this comes with experience. Ultimately though, I’ll always stick with what I have confidence in.