Mainline carper, Jack Brown explains how fishing tightly to one spot is not just a 'big-hit' tactic it's a 'big-fish' method too!
Autumn is most certainly my favourite time of year to get out and go angling. The Fish are at top weights; they look stunning and are more than up for some grub! With the fish being so active and feeding positively I really like to give them some bait, which falls perfectly into the style of fishing I like to use at this time of year. Fishing multiple rods on one tight spot and then baiting as accurately as possible with a good amount of bait.
Growing up in Bedfordshire and knowing a few anglers that fished the Elstow Pits, where this style derived from, I already had an inkling of how effective this method could be, and I first started properly fishing this way on Christchurch, over on the Linch Hill complex. This method works brilliantly on waters with a decent stock of fish, and big fish as well! It also seems to be most effective on lakes that are quite weedy, where firmer clean spots are generally harder to come buy, which makes the area you are fishing stand out more, becoming more of an attraction to the fish.
Finding a presentable spot is very important and something I will happily take my time with when doing so. I rarely use a marker float now when feature finding, I’ve found the best method is to use just a bare lead straight onto a braided main line. A stiff rod is also important, this just helps emulate the lakebed more effectively, and I tend to just use my spod rod for this now. Ideally I prefer to find quite small spots that are nice and clean, this can take a while and I will have plenty of repeat casts to check to the size of the spot etc. Once I have found a spot, I will clip-up via the line clip on the reel and use the ‘two-bankstick-trick’. This is quite a common method now for marking your lines out and probably the most effective.
For those that don’t know, you place two banksticks, (a few companies have actually manufactured some specifically for the job), a rod length (12ft) apart, so four yards. Placing the lead at one end and going in a figure of eight motion around the sticks you can count how many times is takes before hitting the line clip on the reel. If it’s between the sticks, for example: 15 turns and 3 feet, to be ultra-precise I tend to place a mark, either a peg or stick etc. exactly inline with my rod tip when I hit the clip. The great thing about this is you can now clip up your fishing rods, spod rod as well to the exact mark without leaving your swim, ideal on those real busy waters.
One thing I do take into account is the distance I clip my fishing rods up compared to my leading/spod rod. Because of the stretch in mono on my main line and the non-stretch in braid, you need to allow for this and also the depth of water you are fishing and the swing back you get when a lead hits the water. A general rule of thumb is to clip your fishing rods up at half the depth you are fishing past your spod/leading rod. For example I have found a spot at 16 wraps in around 12ft of water, with my spod/leading rod, I will leave this at that distance, but my actual fishing rods will be clipped up 6ft past this, so 16 ½ wraps. This seems to be pretty precise, when there isn’t a massive crosswind on the water.
Mentioning crosswinds, being ultra-precise when baiting is extremely important! If I can get away with it, I will try not to bait-up in savage, windy conditions. Generally, depending on the weather conditions and the venue in question, I’d happily start off with putting out a full bucket of bait onto the spot, around 5 litres. A lot of people will think that’s loads of bait, but I’ve seen first-hand what a bucket of bait looks like on a spot from a boat and it really doesn’t look like much, especially when using real small food items.
Also a shoal of large carp can demolish that amount of bait in no time. So don’t be hasty. Once a bite has occurred the spot can then be topped up accordingly. Getting into some sort of rhythm when spodding will really help with the accuracy of your casts, having everything to hand without moving to far will ensure you bait up more precise, becoming almost second nature.
When fishing in this manner, having tight lines is a must. This allows for positive bite indication, prevents lines from tangling on takes etc. and you can also see how close each rod is fishing apart. Once I have cast out I like to hold my rod tips together on a tight line to ensure lines are not crossed over. I also like to fish with a fairly tight clutch, bites are usually a few single bleeps with the bobbin rising slightly or a simple drop back, again with the bobbin only just dropping. Take notice of any beep or indication you receive; don’t be fooled in thinking you’re going to get a full-blown run!
The Spod mix I like to use is mainly made up of smaller food items. The main layer of my mix consists of hempseed and Response Pellets from Mainline. Carp adore both of these and they really get the fish rooting around on the lakebed. A good helping of Coconut Milk Particle & Pellet Syrup is also added, this combined with the oil content that is in the hemp and Response Pellet gives you a good indication if there are fish present and feeding. Oil slicks and flat spots will appear on the lakes surface above your spot. To this I like to add a good helping of Fresh water snails, these are a massive edge! Corn and more recently 10mm Cell boilies also go into the mix, not just to build the food content, but the Cell and the corn both provide great hookbait options. I’d happily fish a small bright hookbait, corn, or a Balanced Wafter over the top of this. As I feel having a balanced hookbait when fishing in this manner is very important. Shoals of fish will feed very competitively on a small tight spot, causing all sorts of disturbance, so having a rig and a hookbait that resets itself is very important. No one wants a rig that’s unfishable when you have a load of hungry carp in the zone!
HOW TO… PUT TOGETHER JACKS SPOD MIX
My favourite rig to fish when fishing this tight is probably a solid PVA bag. The terminal set-up is quite simple; a small length of lead core, no more than a couple of feet and an inline lead of around 3oz - fished drop off style, with a short length of supple braid whipped to a size 8 hook all that’s needed for the rig. My favourite hookbait option is a piece of plastic corn, yellow or pink. The size 8 hook and the plastic corn marry together lovely creating a perfect balanced hook bait set-up. The Spod and PVA Pellet mix from Mainline is my favoured mix to add to the bags. The pellet compacts down nice and tight together, producing a solid bag that’s full of attraction, but more importantly very aerodynamic. Once dispersed onto the spot the balanced corn hookbait will ever so slightly protrude above the small mound of pellet, a really effective presentation in my eyes.
As I’ve mentioned, being as accurate as you possibly can, when fishing like this is so important. Therefore I wouldn’t use a solid bag if there were a hefty wind on the water. It could take ages to get three rods tight, especially at range and I’m certain a standard lead set-up is more ideal. This would be what I’d opt for, ideally the largest lead I could get away with too punch through the wind to hit the spot. This would be fished on a lead clip set-up with a fairly simple Combi Rig, something that won’t tangle on the cast and reset itself if you get done by a fish. Although Be sure to check the buoyancy of your hook bait prior to casting, ultimately you want a hookbait that sinks ever so slowly from the weight of the hook.
HOW TO… PUT TOGETHER JACKS BALANCED WAFTER SET-UP
One thing that will regularly happen when fishing in this way, is multiple takes in a short period of time. When fishing with three rods especially, if you receive a take don’t feel the need to rush getting that rod back out onto the spot, remember you have two other rods fishing and with the fish feeding in such a competitive manner, another take shortly after can be very likely. I can remember on quite a few occasions catching a fish and leaving it for 20 minutes or so before redoing the rod and in this time, catching another fish.
This can really be a devastating method during the autumn period, I’ve caught stacks of big fish this way too, to well over forty-pounds in the past. It may take some time before you get your head around fishing in this manner, but the rewards are there to be had! Have a successful autumns fishing and tight lines – Jack.