Ed Hawes, My First VNX+ Adventure
Posted on 7th October 2018 at 20:21
This is the first blog that I have written since recently joining the Successful Baits team. In the short time since I’ve been a team member I have been using the Red Hot Bullet to achieve good results on both the River Thames and my local club lakes. Now it's getting to that time of year where temperatures are starting to drop and, from hearing and reading excellent reviews and recommendations from other team members, I decided that it was time to try the VNX+. I was looking for a nut based product to use during the colder winter months and team leader Mark Jordan’s description of a bait made from Coconut, Tiger Nut, Vanilla and Hemp fitted the bill exactly. With my order quickly processed I took delivery of my salt pickled VNX+ Traveller boilies in 14 & 18mm, along with pots of wafters and pop ups as well as the VNX+ activator liquid, I now had a range of products to play with.
I like to feed baits of different sizes and will also chop up boilies to vary the sizes of free offerings available. I think that this variety helps to keep the fish feeding and by having Pop Ups and Wafters available in the same flavours you have a hook bait available for all situations. A selection of both 14 and 18mm VNX+ were placed in a bait box and covered in river water. The 2nd method I wanted to try was to soak them in a bait bucket and add boiling water and a small amount of the VNX+ activator liquid. As this method involved using water from the kitchen tap, it meant that I would be able to taste the baits at various stages of the preparation to try to test its effectiveness and progress. Thankfully, this bait is a lot tastier to humans that the fishy variants.
From my initial bait soaking I found that the water was retaining the taste of the salt preservative, so I made the decision to rinse off the baits and to re-soak them in fresh water. I repeated this one further time until I could no longer taste any salt on the boilies.
With the baits drained off I then added a generous amount of VNX+ activator liquid for the boilies to absorb the extra flavouring. I rotated the baits every few hours to allow them all to have contact with the activator liquids, I also put some wafters and pop ups in glug pots and added some activator to achieve the same pungent affect.
With the baits fully prepared I made my way to the overnighter location, wondering what the night might hold in store.
When we arrived I walked around the lake and noticed that I could hear the planes landing at Heathrow airport in the background, which was a new experience when fishing. The lake was around 4 acres in size and it was no surprise that the water level was around 2-3 feet lower than normal following the long hot summer, which limited the swims that could be fished that would allow successful and safe netting of any potential captures. With two fishable swims next to each other selected, it was time for a lead about to try and find out some detail about the lake. I found a featureless bottom and a standard depth of around 6 feet using a marker float until you reach the marginal shelf. After a quick chat we both decided to fish similar tactics of bottom baits fished on the edges of a bed of free offerings, drawing on his previous knowledge that generous baiting had worked well in the past. I selected a fishing distance of ten and a half wraps whilst my partner in crime went slightly longer at 12 wraps, which would give us a bit more spectrum to see if there were any hot spots. Unfortunately for me my debut session fishing with VNX+ ended in blank but my friend did land two commons during the night, both high doubles. I left slightly disappointed not to catch but very impressed with the aroma of the VNX+
On the 50-mile drive home I started to plot the next session. Luckily for me I had another day off work and approximately 1kg of pre-prepared VNX+ left in the car so decided to fish a local club lake for an evening session either side of dusk. The lake in question suffered a major fish death in the summer of 2017 due to a sudden algae bloom resulting in many of the lake’s residents passing away, which included the location’s well known and largest fish, “Shoulders”. As a result, the lake has been closed for the last 16 months to allow the venue time to recover and the new residents time to bed in.
To my surprise when I arrived at the lake around 4 o clock in the afternoon I had the place to myself, I couldn’t believe my luck so after a short time spent watching the 7-acre water for signs of showing fish I decided to head for a swim that was always popular in the past, but also one that I’d never had the chance to fish. In the swim there is a metal post, luckily a seagull landed on it which mades this very obvious snag in the centre of the lake easier to spot. Carp love snags so I decided to have a lead around this spot with my marker rod to see what lay beneath the surface and to find out what the lake bed consisted of. After a selection of casts, I quickly learned that the area was largely silty until I felt and saw the tell-tale sign of gravel. so with one further cast to determine the size of this hard spot I clipped up the distance so that I could work out how far it was in wraps using distance marker sticks. I baited the spot with about 15 catapult pouches of the now very well soaked 14 & 18mm boilie and clipped up my rod so that I could fish the closest point of the hard spot as I didn’t want my line to cross the baited spot and spook any feeding fish. I also baited a margin spot using a handful of broken baits. With my right hand rod clipped up and the distance measured, the chosen rig was to be a pre-soaked VNX+ wafter fished KD style on a size 6 Nash Fang hook tied to 15lb Atomic Jelly Wyre braid fished on a lead clip setup. I also included a flying back lead to help pin down the mainline. Due to the close proximity to the obvious snag I fished the rod locked up to prevent a carp from taking line beyond the post. With a piece of dissolving foam to protect the hookpoint and a tree on the far bank chosen as a casting marker, the rod went out first cast and with sufficient time taken to sink the line I placed the rod on the bite alarm, allowing further time for the line to sink before fitting the bobbin. The left hand rod was then positioned on the margin spot and I sat back to watch the water and got the kettle on to have a well deserved brew. About an hour later my right hand Delkim lit up and the bobbin pulled up, I hit into the take and the benefit of fishing locked up came up trumps, as the fish was unable to take any line, it had kited left and come up towards the surface, with the post now out of harms way a spirited fight ensued resulting in a beautiful common gracing the net. With the scales zeroed I was chuffed to bits to see 20lb 1oz on the display, what a first fish on the VNX+!
With photos taken and the fish safely returned I rebaited the spot with five further pouches of boilie and the rod went back out on the spot. As I was fishing to a tight spot I wanted the rig to be in what I considered to be the perfect position. I’m not a believer in ‘that will do’ with fishing - if you’re not totally happy with a cast then take the opportunity to recast to get it right.
About an hour after dusk, and with the temperature dropping and my stomach telling me I was hungry, I was beginning to think about going home when my bite alarm had a few suspect “bleeps” with the bobbin raising ever so slightly on the same right hand rod. I struck into what felt like a decent fish and following another decent battle I was soon sliding the net under another pristine common of 17.6lb.
With some photos and me well chuffed at the evening session it was time to go home, and of course start to think tactics for my time back out on the bank.
I have been really impressed with the VNX+ flavour, aroma and performance of the products and will be continuing to use them throughout the winter.
I think that the nut based products will perform well in the colder temperatures with their flavour and by adding the extra flavour concentration of the VNX+ Activator Liquid I’m hoping that they will attract the fish during the months when I tend to limit the amount of free offerings.
Tagged as: Ed Hawes
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