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TACTICS

Using Liquids To Catch Shallow


we started cupping in water to try to bulk out the feed, because of the bait limits at the venue, he explains. By adding a fresh top-up of feed every couple of minutes not only would you risk running out of bait, it was also time consuming to ship in and out if you didnt have a fish on every time. The noise created by cupping in water would attract the fish, but after a while they learnt that there was no feed around if we just cupped in water. It was obvious that we needed to find a way to concentrate the fish in the swim, so we started cupping in red liquid food colouring to create a hanging cloud. Cochineal and some of the strawberry flavours were popular because they were being used on meat all the time, so the fish knew exactly what they liked. The question was, how could we keep one step ahead and move the method on to the next level? The constant noise thats generated by the liquid hitting the water in this method still pulls fish into the peg, but one of the key aspects is getting the fish into a tight area. By putting a small piece of sponge into a pole pot, Les can soak it in liquid colouring, add a small amount of feed and attract fish without using too much bait. Its a simple theory, but one that works brilliantly. The great thing about these concentrated dyes, Les explains, is that once they have soaked into the sponge you can dip the pole tip into the water several times and the cloud just keeps coming Ive managed 12 dips on just one squirt sometimes!

n Peg 26 on Woodland Views Front Deans Pool, a blood-red cloud hangs in the upper layers of the swim. Carp and F1s can be seen cruising through it, attacking the coloured water. At this time of year, the fish are usually ploughing through the top few inches of water, looking for dying insects, and upon finding the cloud they become curious, or even sometimes downright crazy for it. You can see how many fish are hanging in the colour as soon as you hook one, points out Les Thompson, as he tightens into another fish and the water erupts as feeding fish scatter. This is a method that anglers in the know at Woodland View have been using for a number of years now, and Les is one of those whove been winning with it. It all came about four years back when

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VENUE FACT FILE WOODLAND VIEW
Location: Droitwich, Worcestershire Contact: 01905 620872 Day tickets: 7 Directions: From the M5, head towards Droitwich on the A38. Follow this until the A4133 turning for Ombersley. Take this and the shery is signposted on this road 08 ADVANCED POLE FISHING
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as been h n o s p om , ed Les Th nd View for years k c a -b s n Innovatio at Woodla ess with liquid y e n o Preston m d n busin g sh an team-ma t oing the s d e n W e plunderin e h b t r tely hes ennan No r D e h t but just la d ke s. We as colouring and tell. w o h s o t

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FEED PREPARATION

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To start with, put a good handful of cleaned worms into a bait box and get to work with the scissors to chop them up.

Once they are chopped into a ne mush, add half a pint of casters to bulk out the feed. These will fall through the water, drawing sh up.

Get the scissors out again! When the worms are very nely chopped, add a generous squirt of smelly Monster Crab liquid.

You can see that although the Monster Crab is red, it hasnt actually coloured the feed. This is where the concentrated red colouring comes in. Fill up your pole pot and add a good helping of red dye before you dump it into your swim mmm, yummy!

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TACTICS

Using Liquids To Catch Shallow


long as the bait is highly visible, thats all that matters. In a typical session Les will cup in a big pot of the worm-and-liquid ?? mix to kick-start his swim. For the first half an hour or so hell try to catch on the bottom with either half a worm or corn for hook bait. As he does so, a steady trickle of loose-fed casters over the top will pull the fish up in the water to where the cloud is hanging. Once he starts to get line bites little dips on the float that he

And its not only carp that come to it by targeting roach, skimmers, F1s, tench and crucians a framing weight is almost assured. I look to catch 60lb of small fish and 10 carp, which will give me a total close to 100lb, and there arent many matches where that wont frame. A lift of the pole in response to a very slow bite sees the elastic flying out it looks like a foul hooker, but after playing the fish for 10 minutes it pops up next to the landing net, hooked firmly in the top lip. That shows that the fish was just sitting in the cloud, mopping it up. They are so confident when the method is working. The incredible thing about what Les is doing is that the carp just sit right next to the float, gulping in mouthfuls of the liquid, and dont seem to be phased by the lack of food. The swim is alive with a huge mass of bubbles and swirls; there must be a mass of fish down there, happily gill feeding in the crimson cloud they cant get enough of it! There are, however, a few points that make the difference between getting this method right and not quite. Chopped worms and casters are the main feed, but the worms have to be chopped very fine. Worm soup would be the best way to describe it, Les points out. The dye sticks to the worm mush much better than it would if you were feeding bigger pieces. Im looking for a cloud to give some cover in the upper layers of the water, as it gives the fish confidence and also helps to hide the shadow of the pole. On the hook Les prefers the head of a medium dendrabaena. Sometimes double caster is better and, if the fish get a bit iffy, sweetcorn can also be deadly. As

The constant cupping of the worm-and-caster mix pulls more fish into the swim, and brings them shallower.
cant hit he knows its time to get the shallow rigs out. The constant cupping of a pinch of the wormand-caster mix pulls more and more fish into the swim, and brings them shallower. As the session moves on, plenty of fish will be seen swirling in the peg, quite often with their backs out of the water and mouths wide open. They love it! It usually just gets better and better as a match moves on, Les explains. Dipping hook baits in the worm soup can also trigger a response when there is a lull in the action. This glugged bait is then dropped through with minimal feed. The tiny cloud that comes off the hook bait often triggers an instant response. Les believes that presenting a bait in this way is a good way to catch cruising fish. By dropping a tiny amount of the worm-and-dye mix in front of a passing carp, it will suck in the bait almost by instinct. Towards the end of this threehour stint, the Preston star is mugging a fish pretty much as soon

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HOOK BAITS

There are no hard-and-fast rules as to what hook baits you should be using. However, visibility is the main factor in sh hooking themselves so its best to go for a large bait on the hook, such as a piece of worm, a grain of corn or double caster. These sh will be actively looking for anything they can eat after all, the liquid provides no food content whatsoever so as long as you have something on the hook that they can see in the cloud, youre onto a winner.

ACTION STATIONS

Although this method is pretty much foolproof, at times you do need to just up the ante and give the sh an incentive to feed. Submerging the pole pot and dumping water in from a height is a great way to attract sh and make them feed. The sponge will hold the dye for ages, so just dip the pot under the water, lift the pole and then drop the coloured water in. Make sure your hook bait is in the cloud and, more often than not, youll get a bite instantly as the sh search for freebies.

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TACTICS

Using Liquids To Catch Shallow

TACKLE TIPS
If it gets too choppy, I use a Duraoat 10 oat, but my favourite pattern for this type of shing is a PB2 dibber. They show every little touch and are pretty stable. The main line is 0.15mm PowerLine, tied to a size 16 PR28 hook. The line is strong enough to cope with the carp, but wont deter bites from the silver sh. I also think its very important to use a Pulla Kit. If you are actually holding the elastic, you get a feel for what the sh is doing; its more like using a rod and line. I use Preston 13h Hollo elastic, as its nice and soft for the small F1s and roach, but pulling the elastic through the Pulla Kit enables me to land the biggest carp easily by increasing the tension.

Preston PB2 dibber oat

0.15mm straight through Four No10s, equally spread

Size 16 PR28

as the bait hits the water and on every drop-in. Carp, F1s and fantail goldfish are predominant in this lake, but roach and crucians get in on the act too. I cant believe some anglers will just sit there waiting for a big carp to pull the pole tip under. In the time it takes to get a bite and land a 10lb carp, Ive had probably 10 or 12 F1s and perhaps a carp as well. Basically, by the time they land a carp, 12 ADVANCED POLE FISHING

theyve fallen another 5lb behind and thats why this approach works so well here youre bagging anything and everything in your swim, our man explains. Its not a start-to-finish method, though, as it does take time for the fish to move up in the water. However, it can catch for the majority of a session but Les always also feeds down the edge for the last hour. Ill fish the same way in the edge, but

look to catch on the deck. Instead of red dye, Ill use the black dye for this (Les uses sonubaits.com dyes). Ive tested all the liquids in a tank at home and found that the black dye sinks to about three inches below the surface, instead of the two inches that the red dye settles at, he reveals. Les is a firm believer in testing all his baits and gear to satisfy himself that they are right for the job. Since signing for

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Preston Innovations, he has had access to some of the top specimen boys and their outlook has helped to move forward his carp fishing in particular. Ian Welch (one of the main men at Prestons big-fish-oriented brand, Korum) was amazed that match anglers dont taste their baits. If you taste a bait and dont like it, why would you expect a fish to? You have to experiment, and if that means testing

the bait yourself then its a no-brainer. As the clock ticks on, a full range of tricks are employed to keep fish coming slapping the bait down hard; lowering the rig in front of a feeding carp; dipping the hook bait in the worm soup; changing rig depth. Not every change worked, but enough of them brought an extra bite to make the hard work well worthwhile. As Les himself says: Its the little things

that will make the difference at the end of a session. If you can keep catching when everyone else is struggling then its job done. A smooth performance from our man results in around 50lb of silvers and F1s, plus eight carp that add another 30lb to the total. A class 80lb in three hours shows what is possible if you think laterally and employ liquids in a different way. ADVANCED POLE FISHING 13

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