How the bomb, bag, and cone will help you bag up on stillwaters.
Paul Garner’s clear-water tactics that will beat the Method hands down
HAVE you noticed whether the water in your local fisheries is starting to clear yet?
Lower water temperatures will see the fish less active, and within a few days the water clarity will begin to improve.
As this happens, fish can become wary of the Method feeder, and you’ll find the number of bites you get dropping off. This is the time to switch to a straight lead, with either a small PVA stick or a cone of pellets attached to the hook.
Both tactics work really well, but it is important to recognise the pros and cons of each.
JUST A PINCH
Just a mouthful of pellets is often enough to get you a bite when the water starts to clear. This could mean using a small Method feeder, but more often than not I prefer a small PVA stick filled
with softened pellets. I make up the sticks at home – each one is around an inch in diameter, giving the fish a nugget of bait each cast.
Be sure to check how long it takes for the PVA to melt. At this time of year you should see the stick gone in under a minute.
I always hook the stick on sideways, so the hook is as far away from the knots as possible. This stops any PVA residue from clumping around the hook.
You can use hard pellets straight from the bag with a PVA stick, and with a wide range of flavoured pellets available this is a good
option, but I will still often flavour my own by briefly soaking them, or ‘top coating’ them in flavour.
To do this I simply spray a small amount of dilute liquid flavour on to the pellets in a bait box and give them a good shake. After 10 minutes the liquid will have soaked into the surface of the baits and won’t then melt the PVA.
When I am preparing pellets for PVA sticks I like them to be fairly dry, and I don’t worry if they are not soft all the way through. You can use whatever size pellet you prefer, but this tactic best lends itself to larger 6mm-plus baits, which are more difficult to prepare and won’t stick together in a cone.
When filming tench and bream this summer it was immediately obvious that the fish would home in on a brightly-coloured hookbait from several feet away.
As commercials begin to clear I am sure that colour will start to play more of a role here too, with some colours standing out better than others. Pink is a particular favourite, as it practically glows underwater. Bright yellow and white are well worth packing too.
Normally my hookbait will be a 10mm boilie. Not only is this a really robust offering (you can often catch several fish on the same bait), but such baits also have a really vibrant colour.
The hard texture of a boilie can work against you, though, on some days, so it’s also worth having some tough hooker pellets with you too. I fish these on a Quickstop hair rig, normally opting for an 8mm hookbait.
Hook a PVA stick sideways to stop residue gathering around the hook.
Carrying a mixture of different coloured hookbaits can bring more bites.