Get your house in order
On some commercial venues you have to book your swim in advance and then can’t move. If that’s the case, then you need to get super organised...
1. Take your time
The task: If, like at so many European commercial venues, you are stuck in the same swim for a whole week, take your time in setting up. Your rods and rigs can be quickly sorted if you see fish, but there’s not rush to set-up your bivvy.
2. Think about positioning
The task: You’ll be spending a lot of time in your swim, so have a think about the position of the sun at different times of the day and the predicted direction of the wind before erecting your bivvy. It can have a huge impact on how comfortable you are all week.
3. Moor responsibly
The task: If your venue allows the use of a boat for baiting up and playing fish then don’t beautifully align your rods in the middle of the swim before realising you’ve nowhere to moor your dinghy. Think about what’s the least-disruptive way to use a boat all week.
4. A place for everything
The task: Unpack your kit and provisions wisely. Place everything you’ll need regularly at close hand, and neatly store stuff that will only occasionally see the light of day.
5. Keep your cool
The task: Bait and food that needs to be kept cool should be put in a coolbox as soon as possible. Keep these items in the most shaded part of the swim and use bags of ice from local shops to aid cooling.
CARPology: “Make a note of the feeding times - they’ll almost dictate how you plan your day when it comes to baiting up and recasting the rods. And if the lads who are on the lake the week before you are still there, then ask them if there were any time patterns when they caught - it’ll just help you build up a picture a lot quicker.”
6. Have a rubbish system
The task: Don’t allow litter to accumulate in your swim. Set-up a bagging system and be prepared to suspend rubbish from a tree if rodents are a problem.
7. Prepare for new wildlife
The task: If you’ve never fished in Europe then the wildlife can take you by surprise. For instance, coypu are like giant rats but they’re docile and are less likely to pilfer your food. They do have a knack of swimming into lines, so position your rods accordingly.
8. Set-up a weigh station
The task: A successful Euro trip should be about larger fish and sometimes more of them, so having a dedicated weighing and unhooking area is a good idea. A weighing tripod will help support those potential new PBs safely.
9. Use your time wisely
The task: Days can drift if the action is slow, but don’t just sunbathe and drink cheap beer, tie up some rigs and PVA bags so that when the action does kick off you’re in the best position to capitalise.
10. Have a comms system
The task: Most people use their mobile phones in Europe without much problem these days, but if you’re fishing a swim alone and need to raise help for a big or snagged fish it can be handy to have a system in place. Walkie talkies can be a really good solution.