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Paste is still dominating our commercial-expert’s dreams and this month he adds the final piece of the jigsaw, fishing it close in on running line. Last time, I wrote about paste fishing and my torment at having to learn new methods at my age, but it has given me a new lease of life and has brought some success already.
In fact, in the last six matches I have framed each time. I now realise that you can write articles about your fishing experiences, but they are useless unless you actually meet all the pitfalls along the way. I am still having trouble getting through the silver fish to the better carp or the big skimmers that are showing at Gwinear at the moment.
The venue is fishing better than ever and will soon be back to its former glory. The new stock of pastie carp have spurred everything else in the lake to feed, and on the last six matches I have put between 12lb and 20lb of skimmers, from 1lb to 3lb, in the net, and they were all caught on the paste. Writing these articles every month means I have the opportunity to backtrack, especially if I have forgotten to mention an important point or I have learnt something new.
With that in mind, I now realise there’s something that I have previously overlooked – the importance of the bait’s consistency. When I first started this series, a few months back, the water was a lot colder and the smaller fish were not so active.
I have since encountered small, but important, issues that you would not really think about when fishing the paste. Things like having a tub of water next to you to help prevent the paste drying out on hot days, and a towel to keep the excess water off to prevent it from becoming too soft on rainy days. But the biggest things that I’ve learnt is the importance of setting up and the plumbing of my rigs, and that you don’t need to fish on a slope, as I implied last month, to balance your rig correctly.
I’m sure that this attention to detail has been the main reason for my recent successes, including catching the best match weight from Gwinear, 118lb from an unfancied peg, since it started hosting matches again. Let me explain. When plumbing up I now set my float one inch overdepth, as I have discovered the best way to present the rig is to always swing the bait away from you, keeping a tight line from the connector to the float, waiting until the float settles. Usually, this will result in the rig lying at a slight angle, away from the pole tip, in the water. If the float sinks, I do one of two things. I either lift it an inch or two out of the water, pulling the bait back slowly, because it is still firm enough not to come off the hook, making sure that the bristle is
easier to see. Or, as the float goes under the water, I push the pole towards the float, slackening the line, which lets the bristle rise up. For me, this is the most important part of paste fishing, because I like to fish with a small olivette at mid-depth to set the float and then use the bait to balance the rig. In this way I feel that I can read the bites.
This brings me neatly onto another of the methods that I will need to use in this year’s UK Champs, fishing paste on a running line. At most commercial fisheries the fish seem to sense when the whistle for the all-in blows. It’s as if a switch has been pushed, because they all move away into a safe area of the lake, or become wary as soon as the bait bombardment begins.
Unless you are lucky enough to be on a shedful, most anglers then struggle, because the fish wait until the match is over then come in and mop up all the bait. This is exactly what’s happening at White Acres at the moment, but one or two of the better anglers have sussed that the best tactic is to fish a straight lead where you would normally expect to fish the feeder. Although the constant splash of the feeder hitting the water acts as a dinner bell, I’m unsure as to how the fish react every time you wind in. It must unsettle the fish feeding in the swim, having an unnatural object bumping into them every so often.
To try and perfect fishing paste on a running line, Adam Wakelin (featured in the pictures) and I have made the trip to nearby Gwinear to target the venue’s big carp that regularly patrol the margins. We set up on Pegs 47 and 50, where you can normally reach the weed bed along the edge with the long pole. However, more often than not the fish will move just out of reach. Today, there is nowhere to hide!
The weed bed is about 20 metres away, normally far enough for the fish to keep out of reach, but our plan is to cast baits that bit further to fool ’em. Similar to fishing the paste on the pole, you need to ensure the mix sticks around the hook, which requires a big surface area. Alternatively, you could consider making the paste a much stiffer consistency, but that would defeat the object and I believe it would only increase the number of missed bites.
It’s important to remember your paste should only stay on the hook for a couple of minutes before dissolving. Any longer and the bait loses its effectiveness. Running-line fishing has been made much easier nowadays, due to some of the new tackle that is appearing on the market.
The new Korum feeder bead is a great innovation because it allows you to swap hooklengths in seconds. This is great when you are trying different styles of hook links. To start with, Adam has decided to fish with a hair-rigged paste spring, but I’m going for the added confidence of a hard, hairrigged pellet to mould the paste around.
One of the annoying problems you can encounter when fishing paste on hair rigs is the paste springs have a habit of falling through the large mesh of your landing net where they catch and snap off. It can happen to a lesser extent with paste coils or even hair-rigged pellets. If fishing this way, Clint advises that you use a net with a much finer mesh.
Having to change your hook link if it breaks, the hair snaps or just to adjust its length can be very timeconsuming, especially when fishing a match. If you have plenty of extra hook links already pre-tied, this new Korum feeder bead could be the answer to all the fiddling about. In a few seconds you can swap to a new hook link easily, wasting little time.
Both these rigs will allow us to get baits into the swim causing as little disturbance as possible, at the same time getting some feed into the area. If we were to use feeders, we may get a few fish early, but the continuous casting into the shallow water will often soon spook the fish. So we’re going to fish with a small bomb. At this point I need to mention the paste we are experimenting with. It’s nothing like the paste that you would use on the pole and, as you will see from the pictures, there is no need to use a feeder because the paste does the feeding for you.
These pastes can be made up of almost any type of groundbait, but its texture is the key to getting the tactic right. The coarser the groundbait, the quicker it will dissolve, because the larger particles absorb the water quicker. However, if you want the bait to stay around the hook or spring for longer, then you need to use a finer mix.
Whichever consistency you use, remember to run the groundbait through a maggot riddle to remove all the lumps and to fluff up your mix. To fish our runningline rigs we have got our hands on the new Preston Innovations CarbonActive Sentient 10ft Carp quiver rod. It’s been specifically designed for use on commercial fisheries in swims that require a short cast and where casting space is limited.
The paste spring is probably the easiest method to use when fishing paste but it’s imperative that you attach the spring correctly. Adam makes all his hooklengths at home, where he takes special care when attaching his springs. He uses superglue to be extra sure the spring is held firm. If a fish were to swallow the spring it would probably block its digestive tract.
When fishing paste this way, the idea is to mould the bait around the spring, leaving the hook free. If you use a hair-rigged pellet, always choose one that will suit the size of the fish in the lake. The fish at Gwinear range from 10oz to 10lb and I want to try and catch everything that is in my peg, so I have chosen an 8mm carp pellet.
Due to the low oil content in the carp pellets they are much easier to drill because they don’t keep breaking up. The real bonus of using a hairrigged bait, rather than a spring, is that once the paste has dissolved you are left with a pellet in the middle of a small pile of groundbait.
With this form of fishing now becoming ever more popular, most companies are bringing out new hook patterns to suit. Kamasan has just brought out an eyed version of its popular B911, which is well worth a look.
These days, Adam and I nearly always go fishing with our rods ready to use and it only takes minutes to get set up. The choice of hooklength is just as important. You need to be totally confident in the line you use because, when they come, the bites can be quick and quite vicious, so you want to know your tackle will handle the sudden jolt.
My personal choice every time is Preston’s Powerline.’ve been using it for my commercial fishing for years and have every confidence that it’s up to the job. For my paste rig, I’m using 0.19mm. The set-up itself is really simple. I’m using a 1/2oz running bomb to anchor the bait and an 18in hooklength. Once I cast the bait as close to the feature as possible, I need to ensure I do not move the hook away from the paste as it dissolves.
To prevent this I set my rod rest at a shallower angle than normal and make sure the rod’s tip is sitting just above the water.It doesn’t matter if there is a little slack line as I don’t want any tension between rod and weight, causing the hook to be pulled away from the paste. This is critical.
The session goes well, with both of us catching plenty of fish. As we fish, I learn a few more important pointers. The first is to sit on your hands when waiting for a bite. Early on I was striking at what turned out to be line bites. I had to tell myself to wait until I got a wrap round before picking up the rod.
The second is, when you fish using a paste spring, use a finemeshed landing net because the springs have a habit of falling through a large mesh and have a tendency to catch and snap off the hair rig. Finally, if you fish against a weed bed, don’t shirk on the strength of your main line. More often than not you will need to stop the fish in its tracks to pull it away from the snags.
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