How to bring your peg to life

Match ace Rob Woot­ton ex­plains how cloudy ground­bait can keep you catch­ing in win­ter

Angling Times (UK) - - TIPS & TACTICS -

IT’S a com­mon sce­nario in win­ter com­mer­cial carp an­gling.

You start off feed­ing a small amount of bait in a Kin­der-type cup and prob­a­bly catch a few early ‘mug’ fish on the stan­dard fare of mag­gots, pel­lets or corn, but then it be­comes a real strug­gle for bites.

While you can go chas­ing fish and think about adding a pole section or two, there’s a danger they can be pushed out of the peg com­pletely.

In­creas­ing the feed in win­ter is un­likely to have the pulling power it does in sum­mer – in fact it usu­ally has the op­po­site ef­fect of killing the peg stone dead if you’re not care­ful.

The an­swer I’ve come up with is to feed some­thing dif­fer­ent which in re­al­ity, is the equiv­a­lent of feed­ing noth­ing at all – a ground­bait cloud.

We associate a cloud with fish­ing up-in-the-wa­ter or in the mar­gins for sum­mer carp, but the re­al­ity is that a cloud can be just as ef­fec­tive in cold, clear wa­ter.

It’s enough to at­tract an in­quis­i­tive fish or two into the peg with­out giv­ing them any­thing solid to eat – apart from the bait with your hook in it, that is.

It’s a strat­egy for ek­ing ev­ery last bite out of the peg with­out over­do­ing things. I’m not talk­ing about putting in large pots of ground­bait, but just push­ing a small nugget the size of, say, a 50p piece into your Kin­der pot each time. You only need a small cloud to go down to the deck.

This is def­i­nitely a tac­tic for shal­low venues, is­lands or mar­gin swims, in wa­ter of 4ft deep or less.

If you try to do this in a deep peg, the ground­bait cloud will sim­ply dis­perse over too wide an area, ren­der­ing it in­ef­fec­tive.

It also goes with­out say­ing that the ground­bait you use is im­por­tant. A fish­meal mix is needed on a com­mer­cial, but I go for a dark-coloured mix to avoid alarm­ing the fish in clear wa­ter – a bright cloud may well spook them. My choice is Dy­na­mite Swim Stim Black on its own.

Pre­sen­ta­tion is ev­ery­thing for lethar­gic fish in win­ter, so the eas­ier you can make it for a fish to take your bait the bet­ter.

Use a light float if con­di­tions al­low, such as a 4 x 10 (0.1g) or 4 x 12 (0.2g). This will give you re­ally good bite in­di­ca­tion, es­pe­cially if you dot it right down. I’m a fan of the Mal­man Dusty, a slim pat­tern with a wire stem.

I’ll of­ten set up a ‘nor­mal’ rig with a bulk of shot slightly spaced out above the 6ins hook­length and then a sec­ond rig with the shots spread out over 18ins, much like a squatt rig. With a light float this sec­ond rig gives a re­ally slow fall of the bait through the cloud and en­cour­ages a bite on even the tough­est days!

I use 0.145mm main­line to a 0.125mm hook­length. Hooks are size 16 Guru F1 Pel­let.

Two mag­gots work over a cloud.

Some of Rob’s carp en­ticed by the cloud.

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