Bulk Shot Roach
‘Catching lots of fish is not necessarily a good thing’ – sounds like the words spouted by a mad man rather than an angler but bear with me and I will do my best to justify this claim.
For the match or pleasure angler my logic is wasted and irrelevant but for the specimen hunter there are plenty of benefits in minimising bites. For example a large pop up on a chod rig may produce far fewer runs than a piece of artificial corn fished over spod but you can be sure when the alarm does rattle into life one of the lake’s biggest residents will be on the other end. Likewise a single red maggot may have been devoured by silver fish long before a barbel ever found it on the gravel run, whereas a big lump of luncheon meat would stop any unwanted attention and ensure only your chosen quarry could devour it. Choice or size of bait though isn’t the only way to reduce the number of bites and increase the average size of fish as I found out on my most recent trip.
The question of whether or not roach were present had long since been answered; in fact they were driving me mad! Flanked on either side by pads with their delicate yellow flowers devouring the sun I swept 13 foot of carbon back and released a waggler for the umpteenth time. Immediately the hooklength began to fall through the water column in a sweet gentle arc created by a string of strategically placed shot. In its wake the succulent piece of corn followed but it was never destined to fall more than a couple of feet before it was sucked into a mouth and I once again found myself skimming a 2oz fish across the surface. Lovely as it was to know there was a good future for the lake I was becoming increasingly frustrated. Why? Well beneath the sea of silver darts I could clearly see shadows ghost over the pale gravel bottom. I was convinced these were specimen roach and a creature I would dearly love to tempt – it was time for a rethink.
The bait, sweet corn sprayed in an all time classic Richworth aniseed flavour was, I felt, still to be the correct choice. So too was the selection of pellet as a feed given the ferocity of the reaction to it with flanks of silver flashing every tmie I fed. Therefore the issue was in the way I was fishing which although allowed the kernel to fall in a completely natural manner kept it far too long in the top layers where the small roach had massed. With the bigger fish obviously down deeper I needed to get the bait into this area quicker.
Prised out of the adaptor came the delicate float and in its place a giant Drennan crystal taking a whopping 3 swan was inserted. The locking shot were also replaced with a couple of float stops as I wanted to save all the weight I could for the task in hand. The shot placed accurately in a shirt button style no longer sat below the float and was instead grouped in a style that would make any match man turn in his grave. Three swan shot followed by a number 4 and 2 no 6s heading towards a size 16 Drennan spade end hook. It looked atrocious but it would ‘bomb’ the bait down through the upper and middle column at a rate of knots.
I tried to cast it delicately into the swim with little success and the float was cocked quicker than I could spin the reel handle to bury the line. I then watched and waited for the tip to move and then waited a little more. Never had I been so pleased not to get a bite because I knew when it did eventually dip a specimen whom I prized would be the culprit and my hands would grasp hold of a big bar of silver.
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