Solid PVA bags made easy – Steven Coe
WHEN it comes to prolific waters such as Linear Fisheries’ Brasenose One, many anglers adopt the same approach. First, they cast around with a marker float and then spod out a bucket or two of bait. I have to confess, I have been guilty of this in the past. But these days I have totally changed my approach – and for the better. There is so much bait that goes into B1 but all my big hits have come on zigs or solid PVA bags. I think the carp are beginning to treat big beds of bait with suspicion. A small solid bag is far more subtle and I get bites quicker when using them than I do when I fish over a big bed of spod mix. A lot of anglers steer clear of solid PVA bags, however, simply because they believe they take too much effort to make. But, for me, they are perfect. The fish don’t even realise they are being fished for most of the time because it is a presentation that is totally different to what 99 per cent of other people are using on waters like this. Plus, with the couple of little edges that I employ, it really stacks the odds in my favour.
Solid PVA bag advantages
Unlike many presentations, a solid PVA bag can be cast over pretty much any lakebed type. The only areas I avoid are extremely deep silt or thick weed. With your rig encased inside the bag there is absolutely no way the hooklink or hair can tangle on the cast so you can be totally confident that you’re fishing effectively once the bag melts. Over the years I’ve caught some of the most pressured fish in the land using solid bags. As long as you prepare, load and tie them correctly, you are able to fish what you want, where you want. What’s not to like? On venues like B1, there are so many anglers on the banks every day, you never know what you are fishing over. So again, a small PVA bag can produce a quick bite, whereas you may be adding to the 10 kilos that the peg’s previous occupant put in if you break out the spod rod. The first thing I do when arriving in a new swim is to cast out three solid bags while I sort out the rest of my gear and it’s not uncommon to have a fish on the bank before the rest of the jobs are done! Another plus point is as long as the payload isn’t wet, or if it is, as long as you dry it thoroughly or add salt, you can use whatever you like in them.
Simple bag edges
My approach has evolved over the years. I make up a large batch of bag mix in advance and then keep it for a number of sessions. That way I am always ready to go. My mix comprises a whole bag of Dynamite Baits’ Green Swim Stim groundbait plus the same of 1mm pellets. I also add two bags of 2mm Swim Stim Red Krill pellets and a couple of handfuls of larger pellets – 4mm or 6mm Complex-T or Halibut. If stored in an air-tight bucket, the mix lasts for weeks. The reason for the mixture of sizes and colours is that I want to add confusion as well as maximise the colour, taste, texture and size of what is in the swim. Too many anglers fish solid bags filled with one size and colour of pellet and a hi-viz hookbait. With my bags, the fish are presented with a range of food items so they are not as easily spooked. Also, you’ll notice that the biggest item is 4mm or 6mm. This means that I can tie the bag really tight because I can compress the bag to remove the air. This improves casting and prevents the bag floating, which can happen if there is too much air left in the bag. One of my edges is to add maggots to the bag. Their movement on the bottom helps to attract the carp’s attention and kicks up the oil I inject into my bags. Injecting the oil is really simple and is done once the bag is tied. I carefully pierce it with the nozzle of one of Dynamite’s new Evolution Oils, either Citrus or Hemp, and squeeze in the desired amount. This adds a further dimension to the finished result. You get a slick on the surface, indicating that a fish is sniffing around the bag and that a bite may be imminent.
For the rig, I start with a 12-inch length of leadcore with a loop in the end. This means I can have a few bags made up in advance and then attach them to the mainline with a loop- to-loop knot. The lead is a 3.5oz Square Pear. This is important because it casts much better once tied in the bag. My hooklink is a 5in length of 20lb Super Natural braid to a size 4 Wide Gape hook. I like a longer hooklink because there are a number of 30s in B1 so this gives them a bit more rope to hang themselves with. The size 4 is used as I want to land everything I hook and a larger hook is harder for the fish to deal with than a smaller one. When it comes to the actual fishing of solid PVA bags, there are no hard and fast rules. You can cast to showing fish, or where you think they might be, or you can spod over the top of them. I re-cast every hour. Either to a new spot or over the baited area to freshen the presentation. If you have fish showing over you all the time and you’ve not had a bite within an hour, that indicates they are not on the bottom, so I’d swap over to zigs at this point. Solid PVA bags are great for covering water and for opportunistic bites. They are just as good whether you choose to use them for day sessions, 24-hour sessions or for longer periods. Give it a go and you may find that a PB is the result!
A cracking mirror caught on solid PVA bag tactics
Steven injects his bags with Citrus Oil for an added edge
SQUARE LEAD A 3.5oz inline square pear lead is used as it casts well inside the bag and offers excellent hooking properties with the short braid hooklink HOOKLENGTH Use a supple braid hooklink material and not coated braid. The supple braid can be...