BALANCED BITES! PART TWO
Ali Hamidi concludes his two-part article explaining his favoured methods for utilising the Balanced Wafter hookbait range...
As I explained in part-one, I learnt very early on in my fishing life that the attention paid to hookbaits and the finer details of this important fishing element simply does one thing – catch more fish! Actually two things – catch you more fish, but also catch you a blank saver on a tough day!
Spending time in recent years with the Guru boys has really highlighted this. These lads target a high number of ‘match-weight’ bites and are constantly changing and tweaking hookbaits to keep those bites coming. The root reason for this is that the fish can become finicky with they’re feeding and are also pressured – sound familiar? Yep, the same kind of scenario we regularly face fishing the day ticket waters up and down the country.
Of course there are days when the fish are friendly and we’ve perhaps some room for error within our presentation, but there’s plenty more days that are not so kind. So for me it’s simply standard to follow a routine of things that put a few more odds in favour, like using advantageous hookbaits – especially when it’s a straight forward case of taking one out of the tub and threading it onto the Hair. That’s all I need to do with the Balanced Wafter hookbaits from Mainline to give myself and my favoured rigs an edge – let me explain…
BALANCE IS CRITICAL
One thing we’ve noticed time and time again during the under-water filming projects at Korda is that pressured carp can be very careful in selecting baits when feeding. Anything that doesn’t act quite right as they attempt to suck it into their mouth, might not necessarily spook the fish, but is often ignored.
This is something I touched upon in part-one when talking about long rigs and boilie fishing – in that a wafting hookbait will react in much the same way as a free, safe boilie unaffected by the weight and resistance of a rig. This is achieved by the Balanced Wafter combining the weight of a bottom bait with the buoyancy of a pop-up. The result is a hookbait with almost neutral buoyancy where only the weight of the hook is needed to slowly sink and hold the wafter close to the bottom.
This ‘critically-balanced’ characteristic is great for overcoming problems such as weed or soft silt, but is also of great benefit when under the mouthing investigations of wily or pressured carp. Because the buoyancy contained within these wafters doesn’t just mean they sink slowly – it means they will react and fly-up into the mouth of feeding carp very quickly as well.
So perfect for overcoming lakebed obstacles and boilie fishing, but also perfect for when fish are feeding over smaller items and tight to the bottom with less movement and more caution. Where one gulp and a few inches of tilt by the fish may be all chance I’ll get to set the hook and gain a bite – a time when one of my favoured tactics comes into play: solid PVA bags.
THE PERFECT COMBO
“THE TRAP IS SET AND AT THIS POINT THERE IS LITTLE TO NO RESISTANCE TO PREVENT THAT WAFTER FROM FLYING INTO THE FISHES MOUTH THE MOMENT IT APPLIES ANY AMOUNT OF SUCTION NEAR THE EXPOSED CONTENTS OF THE BAG”
If ever there was a hookbait ideally suited to solid PVA bag fishing it’s the Balanced Wafter. They not only match the simplicity of the method, (all you need to do is use a wafter straight out the tub), but also, and more importantly the theory behind what the set-up is trying to achieve – i.e. entice a fish towards an appetising mouthful of pellet and food items, after which it only takes one gulp for Mr carp to slip-up.
A chain reaction of rig mechanics that need to work quickly and efficiently – and a process that begins with the hookbait. It must sit poised within the parcel of freebies once the PVA has melted, but not be inhibited by them – ideally positioned near the top or just above the pellet. More often than not this is achieved due to the wafter containing more buoyancy than the free offerings around it.
The trap is set and at this point there is little to no resistance to prevent that wafter from flying into the fishes mouth the moment it applies any amount of suction near the exposed contents of the bag – but that lack of resistance is all about to change and rapidly!
The second that hookbait hits the inside of the fishes mouth and it tilts or moves-off a fraction, the short braid hooklink tightens and the resistance of the inline lead is engaged. Within the same nanosecond the Krank hook perfect for this presentation, turns point down and grabs a secure hook hold in the bottom lip – panic sets in, the carp bolts and its game over – I’m in!
The Krank hooks have been designed to turn quickly at the kind of speed you’re looking for in this situation, but to give them a fair chance, I want the resistance of the lead to kick in straight away. So these wafters form the perfect hookbait – with that little bit of buoyancy allowing them to shoot straight up into the hoover-like mouth of the carp and kick-start the whole process.
What’s more with a choice of Balanced Wafters from the High Impact range of boilies, as well as the freezer baits like Cell and Hybrid, I can chop and change the hookbait colour too. Perhaps using a bright Essential IB or Peaches & Cream wafter to standout against the colour of the pellet or using a food source wafter to match the flavour of the feed when I’m using Response Pellets in the bag.
Its pays to have a few options to make changes, as well as fish different colours on each rod - to gauge if one is working better than another and maximise your chances. In fact there are a few things you can do to adjust and refine the presentation.
HOW TO TIE ALI’S PVA BAG BALANCED WAFTER RIG
TWEAKING THE BALANCE
It’s worth mentioning again this month that the Balanced Wafters have been tested and designed to sink under nothing more than the weight of the hook. As a guide the 12mm size suits a size 8 hook, the 15mm wafters match a size 6 hook and the larger 18mm baits pair-up with size 4 hooks. But… as I said this is a guideline only, because not all hook brands use the same weight of metal within their hooks. This means you may find you need to make a small adjustment to rig to create the perfect balance.
So firstly always lower your rig in the margin before casting out to check its balance. If the hook needs a little extra counterbalance, adjust accordingly. One good way of doing this is to mould a little Dark Matter putty around the bend of the hook – lower in the edge again and add or reduce the putty to gain the perfect balance. Ideally where the wafter floats at first before slowly descending and gently resting on the lakebed.
Now although the range of Korda hooks I use were used within the testing process at Mainline and so match really well, I’ll still make the odd tweak from time to time. For example, if I thread a 15mm wafter onto a standard Hair Rig using a size 6 Krank, the hook will sit flat with the hookbait hovering just above it - but I can adjust this really easily. If I add a 18mm wafter rather than a 15mm, I’ll obviously be using a hookbait overly buoyant, but trim it a little and bit-by-bit, I can reduce the buoyancy. As long as I keep checking the buoyancy in the edge I can get to a stage where the rig only just sinks. Instead of the hook lying flat it will just barely sit on the point – poised that little bit higher above the pellet of my solid bags. So great for bigger PVA bags and the larger amounts of feed they hold.
The same kind of thing can be achieved in reverse, by using a 12mm wafter on a larger hook – say size 6 or 4, which will leave some scope to add a little buoyancy. The addition of a grain of pop-up corn to make-up the buoyancy does the job perfectly and creates a nice hookbait when fishing over a spod mix of particles including corn.
Mainline really have made life that bit more difficult for the carp with the Balanced Wafter range – they hold so many benefits and attributes that will basically help you hook more fish. Years ago rolling your own balanced baits was…well a time consuming pain in the backside really! It was only the many advantages and edge gained from this type of hookbait that made the process worthwhile.
Thankfully there’s no need to worry about all that anymore – simply take a wafter straight out the tub, add to your rig and tip the ‘bite balance’ in your favour!