The Addictive World Of Carbelling - Part 3
Lee Swords says the barbel isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer, but there are still some advanced techniques that are worth knowing
|ADVANCED TECHNIQUES, SPODS DROPPERS AND ALL THINGS MAGICAL!|
This one is by far the most difficult one so far for me to write, for one simple reason, for me barbel fishing isn't that advanced. Let's be honest, old Bertie isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer is he?
So in reality this should be called advanced techniques for Lee, because what I consider to be advanced to some may seem a little bit kindergarten. Anyway, for all those anglers out there that are still experimenting with spods and droppers, are mystified with the many uses of PVA, and think that modern baits and glugs are witchcraft and the exponents should be tried and burnt for promoting heretical doctrines, this is my tilt on advanced techniques.
Spods and Bait Droppers
Not that many years ago I thought a spod was something I should turn into chips and droppers were the parts of a fly fishing tippet designed by the devil himself to ensure I spent half the day messing with tangles whilst the trout went on a feeding frenzy. But that has now changed thanks to a day spent fishing with Steph Horak and Phil Smith where I was witness to a calm and unhurried display from two of angling finest on my home patch where I should have at least expected to compete. Instead I had to be content with a half dozen schoolie chub to their three decent barbel and dozen chub apiece. The big difference was they both used a dropper to deposit a good tight bed of hemp and then allowed the swim to rest for a while before starting. Me, I hit it with everything barring the kitchen sink in a wham-bam thank you mam kind of way, which is usually okay for me, an aggressive, lone and predominantly nocturnal angler. But when the river is low and running with less colour than a bottle of triple distilled Smirnoff and I am sandwiched between two of the finest anglers in the game, probably not so good at all.
Sometimes I think my fishing has become a little too nocturnal and the things you can do at night or coming into night and confidently expect to get away with are very much removed from what you will usually get away with during the day.
The use of spods and their advantages over droppers was highlighted to me by Bob Roberts during his barbel society seminar last year (a fantastic presentation which must have taken a great amount of time and effort to put together). The main advantage I have with using spods over droppers is that the area that I fish mainly is quite snaggy and the continual loss of droppers to snags would be a very frustrating not to mention costly thing for me to accept. I am tight even by northern standards.
Whilst we are on the subject of tight that is the major difference between the feed pattern of a spod against a dropper; the dropper can put a very tight bed of feed down even in deep, fast flowing water whereas a spod deposits its contents on the surface and, dependant on flow and depth, the feed could end up over quite a large area in an elliptical pattern. So if you really need to be as tight as a duck's derriere go for the dropper but if all you wish to do is put a good bed of feed down in a reasonably tight area then a spod is just the job.
I use a 2 1/2 lb TC carp rod for all my spodding as the ones I use are not that large, but if I was to go for one of the moon Lander sized spods then I would upgrade my tackle to a specialized spod rod to avoid any embarrassing explosions, as a fully loaded spod is indeed a weighty thing to cast.
Tapes, tubes, string and all manner of flavoured and shaped bags designed to carry a sample of either what you have as hookbait, a bed of attractors or if the going is really hard a couple of shots of high quality CSL and it really is a case of now you see it , now you don't. One moment you have a sausage shaped tube of pellets nicked on the hook the next thing you know, your hookbait is sitting flush to a feature, surrounded by the tightest feed pattern imaginable and before you know it Bertie or his fat old slapper of a cousin, Gurt (G'day do you like my big belly cobber?) Bucket is quick approaching for a swift munch.
PVA offers the angler countless ways with bait presentation and is something that everyone should carry in one form or another. I personally would not be without several types of bags and a spool of string - I would feel very disadvantaged indeed.
Magical dips and all things secret
Dips, glugs, soaks, amino acids and vitamins plus flavours and favour enhancers in addition to a multitude of oils in profusion are the components you choose to give your bait an edge and separate your offering from all the rest, hopefully in a positive way. These are the things which when mixed together and blended to perfection are held in the highest secrecy with their exact makeup known (and quite rightly so) only to the angler involved.
To list a comprehensive range of secret dips would remove the excitement of experimenting with different ingredients so what I will do is give you a list of the commonest ingredients I use.
(1)Fish meal (2) anchovy essence (3) source liquid (4) various ground baits (5) corn steeping liquor CSL (6) betaine hcl (7) mono sodium glutamate MSG (8) dried fish (9) Various fish oils (10) various vegetable oils (11) various spirits, ie, whiskey or vodka (these are used to ensure oil leakage during even the coldest water temperatures) (12) baby milk formula (13) sugar and salt (14) belchan and other oriental food stuffs, ie, nam pla, oyster sauce and rice vinegar.
The list is endless and experimenting with baits and enhancers for baits is for me a very enjoyable part of fishing. It's like tying your own flies gives a new angle for the game fisherman and producing a boilie or paste or simply dusting a bait in fish meal and catching a good net of, or specimen sized fish on your own personalized bait should thrill the coarse angler. Below is a recipe for a coloured luncheon meat bait which takes no time to make and one I have caught countless fish on.
Red meat recipe
1 tin of Luncheon meat cut into thick strips then ripped into cubes
Throw the whole lot into a resealable bag and shake for several minutes, then freeze. When the bait is thawed you should have spicy flavoured red meat bait, better than anything you can buy in a can from the tackle shop.
The experi 'mental' carbeller
So we have the basics above to alter the way you approach a days fishing and hopefully catch a few fish. Like I have said before, I am not a great fisherman and am still learning myself, but I will give this advice to anyone who like myself wishes to improve their catch rates or PB's. Watch the best anglers and you will find they are constantly experimenting and evolving their tactics and bait, never satisfied until they are positive they have given themselves the best opportunity to catch in any given situation. If you approach your fishing with that in mind instead of doing the same things time after time I am certain success will come your way!
By the Same Author
- Chemical Assistance for the Humble Maggot
- Swordsy's DVD Action on the Tidal Trent
- The 5th Trent Fish-in
- Fishing's Constant Waterside Companions
- A Day's Troutin' on'tother Side o'th Pennines
- The Lure of England's Greatest River
- The Lure of England's Greatest River
- The Only Saving Grace of a Pretty Dismal Winter
- In Search of Jewels
- The Trent Barbel Fish-in 2007