STEP INTO SPRING!
SPRING FISHING: DARRELL PECK REVEALS HIS THOUGHTS ON SINGLE HOOKBAITS, BAITED SPOTS AND HIS EARLY SEASON APPROACH…
In this piece, I would like to get across some thoughts on baits and baiting in the spring, be it when tackling an intimate little venue or a vast gravel pit. Location is always my primary focus but once located how do I decide how and what I’ll feed, right through to the most important bit the actual hookbait itself. A carp is a carp the world over but its certainly fair to say that the more pressure a venue receives the more wary the carp tend to be towards anglers baits. I really think as anglers in general we are fooled into thinking the carp are feeding hard in the early spring because a few are starting to get caught. Looking back at my best results at this time, time and again though they have been the result of minimal feeding and more often than not just single hookbaits. Single hookbaits can be really devastating and if you need any more convincing then look no further than the Spring Section on the latest Korda Masterclass4. Danny and I dish out a real beat down on a low stock German venue by simply casting bright singles towards showing fish. I used to put my success on singles down to the fact I generally fish lower stocked waters where natural food was abundant, but I have now realised the power of singles even on the higher stocked venues, particularly if they are heavily pressured.
I remember starting on Monks Pit, Cambridge in April one year and over the course my first few sessions I caught well without setting the world a light, casting single Pineapples towards showing fish. Being a greedy bugger though I soon became dissatisfied and wanted more so I booked a week session early May with the intension being to absolutely fill it in. The thinking was there’s 500 carp in here and I want to be catching more than two or three every 48hours, I want to generate multiple takes by creating a competitive feeding situation with loads of bait. I got in the swim I wanted, found a nice clear spot and began spodding the granny out of it. Obviously, I had anticipated that the disturbance might cause the fish to leave the area but with forecast for a decent blow the following day into this area I was also confident they would return. What happened though surprised me, they turned up wholesale on the wind showing with merry abandon all over my swim, everywhere but over the bait. I had takes casting to showing fish away from the bait, but none on the baited patch, in fact it took four nights before I had a take from that spot despite them being there in numbers. In hindsight (a wonderful thing) they were obviously very cautious of the baited patch, obviously they could see it because the water being crystal clear, they were just wary. What I have written isn’t something that can be applied like fact to every other water, for example the exact opposite to this is when I fished a winter on Sutton at Hone in Kent. Some of you may have read of how it can be a very tricky but at the end of March one year I had a great result by fishing white cork balled Cell pop-ups over 1-2 kilos free offerings. Sutton had a huge Bream population and the water very murky, I believe the natural food wasn’t abundant and simply that a large bed of boilies excited them.
This brings be nicely onto the actual hookbaits themselves. Having already mentioned the Masterclass DVD I can’t think of a better example of where bright singles are best deployed apart from when I fished at Fen Drayton on April. I never fed a single boilie there also just casting home-made fruity pink pop-ups at showing fish. From my experience I would say bigger pit fish are the most prone to bright singles. If I had to hazard a guess to why then I would say just by making them aware of the hookbait you give them more opportunity to take. Simple logic I know but I think nomadic carp often feed on sight and if they can see it and they are in the mood then the chance of them being taken is good. On the other hand on the small heavily pressured waters like The Essex Manor where they regularly encounter rigs I think although clearly “bait fish” they can be a little cuter. In this situation I don’t think you can do any better than matching the hatch as such, using a naturally coloured bait that in an ideal world mimics something they have seen lots of in recent times, i.e. the Cell. If you want to take match the hatch to the next level than it doesn’t come any better than a cork balled versions using the exact same past the actual boilies are made from, whether it be wafter or pop-up. Cork balled hookbaits are a pain in the arse no doubt, but they certainly mimic free offerings best! Tight lines, Darrell.