Steve Renyard: Bucking The Trend
Steve Renyard explains how you can go about gaining an advantage on crowded venues…
Once lockdown eases and we're all allowed back out on the bank again, renowned pressured venue angler, Steve Renyard has a few tips on how you can gain an advantage over fellow anglers. Here he talks to Dan Wildbore…
You’ve always fished the busy lakes; are there things you can do to give you an edge?
“Of course. I’ve always been one to go against the grain and do something different, and on busy lakes especially, I think that’s really important. Carp get used to coming across the same thing time and time again, whether that be a rig presentation or baiting situation. They learn by association and if they come across something that they’ve previously noted as dangerous, they’ll shy off.”
What have you noticed when it comes to baiting on the busy lakes? Do you adapt, depending on what others are doing?
“A lot of my decisions are based on the time of year, the venue, stock level etc. Once I’ve formulated a plan, I’ll also watch other anglers and see what they’re doing. This might be something that I work out after a session, because not everyone baits up at the same time.
“On Brasenose Two last year, everyone was spodding, so I tried using a throwing stick. Instead of fishing over large beds of small items all fished tightly together, I chose to spread 20mm boilies, and we ended up catching so many fish… big ones too!
“Paying attention to hookbaits can also help. If they’re smashing through the bait, an out-the-pot pop-up or wafter in the matching colour will be the one. If they’re feeding cautiously, I’d use a smaller bait, maybe trimmed down so that it looks more inconspicuous. Bright ones are also great, but knowing when to put them out is the key to their use.”
Do you have a similar view on rigs then, even though it’s hard to know what others are using?
“Since I’ve been back into my fishing, it seems like everyone is using the Ronnie Rig. I’m sure it’s a good rig, but I stick to a few that I have 100 percent faith in. If I’m using a pop-up, I go for the Withy Pool Rig, as it’s tried and tested. If I want to fish with solid PVA bags, I use a supple braid and a small wafter hookbait. Finally, if I’m boilie fishing, I use the Basic Complicated Rig. I do play around with the Withy Pool set-up if I want to fish a small pop-up; it’s something I’ve used for 30 years.
“One thing with all the rigs though, is they all incorporate relatively small hooks - I rarely use anything bigger than a size 7. I feel like I get great hook-holds, rarely lose fish and the hooks start off and remain super sharp. I’ve had the same rigs on for weeks before now, and have caught a number of fish on the same hook.”
You’re quite a stubborn angler and to an extent, you’re set in your ways. How does this give you an edge over others?
“I back myself, and experience guides me in what I should do. I’ll find the fish and then react according to how they’re behaving, the weather conditions and angling pressure. I also love working spots. I spend a fair bit of time finding a good area to fish and once I’ve done that, a degree of thought goes into how I bait the spot. This might be with a bucket of hemp spodded accurately and then a couple of kilos of boilies spread around with the throwing stick. Straight away, this comes across as something different to the carp and not anything they might’ve seen. A few solid bags fished to an area where fish are showing might be a better tactic than spodding. It’s all about reading the water and working out what’s best before you commit to something.”
Would you say choosing your venues is something that you do well?
“It’s really important, but I’d never back down from a challenge. I know before I go, if it’s going to be a tall order to catch on a venue or not, but I’m always confident of getting one. Although I’m stubborn, I’m not afraid to chop and change if I get it wrong. I’ll work the lake or the swim until I get a result… that’s the best way to be in my eyes.
“Picking a lake that has good form at a particular time of year will certainly stand you in good stead. I guess this is even more important during winter. Finding a lake that fishes well during the coldest months of the year can be hard, but there are plenty about.”
The Hermit Rig… is that an edge for you?
“It’s a huge edge, particularly in the winter. When the fish are moving slowly and feeding on small food items, not going far between each mouthful, they can be hard to catch. They seemingly can’t deal with the Hermit Lead Rig, mainly because they just don’t see it. I think all the fish I caught from Christchurch last winter were caught on this lead system… it’s deadly!”