Henry Lennon, Stalking Success
Posted on 26th June 2018 at 22:20
Often in carp fishing, anglers get too caught-up in sitting behind 3-rod setups with mountains of gear, regardless of the session they are fishing. Of course, this 'headquarters' type approach can be fruitful in rewards, especially for longer sessions on large waters where creating a feeding-scenario with big beds of bait is key. However, I only ever tend to fish in such a scenario when fishing 'on-the-continent', and I find that there is often a much better approach on day-ticket waters in the UK; one-rod stalking.
My fishing this year has been solely focused on this one-rod attitude. Arming myself with a single rod, landing net, small unhooking matt and backpack filled with all the necessary tackle and bait allows me to stay mobile and find the fish.
The old saying of “location is key” cannot be understated, and if the fish are not in front of you then they cannot be caught - simple as! I will often do lap after lap of a water when fishing this style, whereby I will also bait likely looking spots on my way around, with the hope that a few fish may have moved in for the return lap.
Using an extremely attractive bait is important when doing this, and the Successful Baits range is therefore perfect. Combining the Activator Pellet, CalaFrutti Activator Liquid, VNX+ 14mm Boilies and sweetcorn into a mix will leak a variety of bait signals to the carp, drawing them into areas on short notice.
The perfect components for a super-attractive mix; when they are not feeding off the top that is!
Rig choice is less important. Let the fishing environment determine your rig choice. You may come across a group of fish cruising along the surface, in a quiet, carpy bay. In this instance, freelining some liquid-soaked dog biscuits or a chunk of bread can be a simple, but successful tactic. If you find some fish held up in the weed, a chod-setup with a light lead can pay dividends. If you discover a group of fish tearing up the bottom, your go-to rig (a Ronnie rig, in my case) will suffice. This approach is all about being opportunistic and poaching for bites, so do not get too caught up on rig choice. The most important aspect is location, followed by an attractive bait.
My thinking behind relying so heavily on this method for this season stemmed from watching countless videos from top anglers, such as Alan Blair, and Carl and Alex Smith of 'Carl and Alex Fishing', where the one-rod roaming system is used to immense success. If it's good enough for these top anglers, then it's good enough for me. Moreover, this year saw the culmination of my university degree, so time was in limited supply; as such, the one rod method is perfect to maximize my short sessions.
The season for me began in early April as the warm weather moved in. Mill Farm Fishery, in Gilmorton, was the chosen location, with two stunning lakes, both holding carp to low 30s. Approaching the water on the first session presented me with shoals of carp drifting slowly across the surface – CalaFrutti-soaked dog biscuits was the call for the day. Flicking a few baits out whilst setting up my free-line set-up soon had the fish in a feeding frenzy, and after singling out a nice looking Ghostie with a trimmed down VNX+ popup, the first fish of the season was in the net. At mid-double, it wasn't a monster but it was a great start.
I managed to trick-out a few more fish from this spot before moving on around the lake, and then down to the next lake. I took this approach for the next few sessions, having some great success. A range of carp were landed from both lakes, caught on both the top when the sun was blazing, and on the bottom when the fish had their heads down. The biggest fish was only an upper-double common, but it was a stunning fish and furthermore, I landed a few proper characters to boot.
After 3 or 4 sessions at Mill Farm, I decided to try my hand at another location. I had discovered a venue in some woods across the fields near my house, only a 20-minute walk away; perfect for short sessions with minimal gear. Again, this venue had two lakes but only one held carp over 10lbs, so my attention was focused on the lake inhabited by the better-sized specimens. The lake was around 2 acres in size, with a small island in the middle. With a few bays and reedy margins, it was ideal for the one-rod tactic. The first three sessions were characterized by blistering heat and clear skies – dog-biscuits and bread again. I was fortunate enough to have great success on these sessions, landing 11 double figure fish, mainly commons but a nice linear also, with a simple free-lining method.
As a cooler weather spell moved in, it was time to cash in on the spots I had been baiting on my other sessions, and I was well and truly rewarded from my pre-emptive thinking. As the planned session fell on Father's Day, I took my Dad along with me, he too armed with the one-rod setup. It was a simple case of moving between the multiple spots I had been baiting since my first session, flicking out a Red Hot Bullet 12mm pink pop-up baited onto a Ronnie Rig. It was clear that the carp had been getting on my bait mix, as it took no more than 10 minutes to get the first bite. A typical, mid-double common falling to my Dad to kick-off the day.
It was a sign of things to come, as over 3 hours, we landed 3 carp each, with the pick of the bunch being a 16lbs linear landed by myself, after the rig had been in the water for no more than 20 minutes, tight to the margins of the island. It appeared to be a case of the fish feeding confidently on the spot, and the bright, pink RHB pop-ups catching the fish's eye as soon as they moved onto the spots.
First fish of the season, falling to a trimmed down VNX+ made to imitate a dog biscuit.
With scale patterns like this, who cares what size they are!
The island lake carp were struggling to resist the pre-baited spots.
Over the three months of using this method, I have caught 24 carp (excluding my Dad's 3) over around 8, short, 3-hour sessions. It has proved to me that this is an efficient, time-maximizing approach that can really revolutionize my fishing in warmer weather. Whilst I have often missed the thrill of overnighters and creating a baited spot, this is not a realistic option for me until I have passed my driving test (21st July – wish me luck!), so in the mean time, I will continue with the one-rod attack and enjoy the prolific action I have experienced thus far!
RHB popups were proving irresistible to the carp.
The pick of the bunch thus far, now for a monster
Tagged as: Henry Lennon
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