Flavour your floats for more bites – Darren Hudson
Make pole floats part of your bait regime by dipping them in a flavour to catch fish sitting shallow
DRIZZLE on a little of this, sprinkle with a touch of that – we just can’t help but get creative when it comes to flavourings. In our desperate attempt to catch more fish than our mates, we often turn to the dozens of liquids and sprays to give us an edge. The contents of our bait tray are the obvious candidates to get such a boost, but could we get better results if we dowsed our terminal tackle in a pungent aroma? It might not be the conventional way to use these often bright and tangy substances, but Marukyu and PR Floats-backed Darren Hudson happens to believe it is by far the most productive. “I’ve always believed that there is something that can be done to put even more fish in the net, and a big part of my approach has been with liquids,” explained Darren. “I’ve tried dipping my hookbaits and soaking my loosefeed, but by the far the best results I have had so far are when I’ve covered my float with an attractant.”
No explanation is needed as to why your bait may be given a special twist, but when you are giving your floats the same treatment you are bound to wonder why on earth it works. “I do a lot of shallow fishing at this time of year and there is no doubt that, done in the traditional manner, this technique takes a lot of time and effort to perfect. “You need to be constantly feeding and lifting the rig out of the water to create the noise that draws the fish in, and keeping bait in the upper layers where you want the fish to sit. “By flavouring your float you drastically reduce the amount of work needed, as the liquid slowly seeps off and ensures an attractant is permanently around your rig. “Dipping the float also means that the liquid slowly sinks down to where your hookbait is. “If you coated your hookbait the scent would come off and then sink below where you were fishing, taking the fish with it.” The type of liquid you use is important – something that lingers rather than disperses in an instant is required to get the desired effect. Darren has trialled several liquids, and is yet to find anything more effective than Marukyu Boost Juice. “As soon as the float goes in you start to see it slowly coming off, and every time you lift and drop, another plume adds to the effect. “You could do this for up to five minutes and keep creating more attraction each time.”
Set the trap
It’s rare that lots of attention needs to be paid to how you ship out your pole, but when your float is loaded with an attractant, things are a little different. “You don’t want the float to touch the water until you are over the spot where you intend to fish. If you carefully position your rollers this can be easily done when fishing up to 14.5m out. “There is only a foot or two of line to keep out of the water because you are set to fish shallow. With a little practice this becomes easy. “If it does drop into the water you will be releasing some of the scent and potentially drawing fish into areas you don’t intend to fish.”
The noise element that is often so crucial in shallow fishing is still required, with the catapult getting a good workout as a result. Most anglers will feed anywhere between 10 and 15 pellets every 30 seconds, but Darren saves on his bait bill and reckons he reaps the rewards at the same time. “The liquid is the big attractant, but noise draws in fish from other pegs. By feeding just two or three pellets every minute I am confident of getting lots of fish interested. “That might not sound like much, but combine it with lifting and dropping the float and it still causes a lot of commotion. “Minimal feeding also helps get quicker bites. The fish have little choice but to take the hookbait if they are hungry, as there is not much else in the swim for them to eat.”
If there is one thing we have all learnt over the years it is that simple rigs almost always outscore complicated set-ups. Darren’s rig couldn’t be any simpler, but he makes one slight amendment to what most of his rivals do. “I use 0.14mm mainline straight through to a size 18 hook. I don’t use a hooklength because I believe the knot creates a pivot that makes the rig act unnaturally, and that will lead to fewer bites when fishing like this. “Almost all my shallow fishing is done in open water so there is very little chance of suffering any breakages. With that in mind there is no need to create a weak point.” A 4x12 PR Floats Mini Diamond is his float, with all the shot directly below the base. This makes sure the float cocks instantly, so you’ll see any bites the moment the bait hits the water. It also slows the falls of the hookbait.
Armed with two bottles of Boost Juice – Simple Krill and Very Berry – and a pint of 6mm pellets, Darren set about Manor Farm Leisure, near Evesham, Worcestershire, where he intended to whip the Windmill Lake F1s into a frenzy. A few pellets were pinged over the 14.5m line at the start before a few drops of liquid were dripped on to the body of the float. The rig was then gently shipped out and over the top. The liquid plumed off and hovered in the area, with each and every lift of the float clearly releasing more of the attractant. It wasn’t hard to see why this would be such a deadly way of fishing. With the water heavily coloured because of how ferociously the fish were feeding, the colourful layer would surely stand out a mile to the carp and F1s. Within half-an-hour a red tinge seemed to constantly sit over his target zone and there was no doubt that the fish were intrigued. Darren could hook a fish, quickly feed two pellets and then spend time playing it in and rehooking before going back over the top. The float would usually bury within a minute, indicating that the fish had stayed in the area despite a lack of feed going in. “There’s no doubt that the flavour is what keeps them in the peg for long periods. “I’d still catch plenty if I flavoured my bait instead but my results show that my twist is even more effective at this time of year,” Darren concluded.
Marukyu Boost Juice (right) works because it lingers for long periods
Manor’s big F1s couldn’t resist Darren’s unusual flavour attack