Colour Co­or­di­nated

Need a pair of sun­glasses to at­tach your Day-glo pop-ups? The brighter the bet­ter? Chilly’s not sure bait colour makes the slight­est dif­fer­ence...

Carpworld - - CONTENTS - -Ian Chill­cott

Need a pair of sun­glasses to at­tach your Day­glo pop-ups? The brighter the bet­ter? Chilly’s not sure bait colour makes the slight­est dif­fer­ence...

It of­ten sur­prises many carp an­glers when I tell them I have tried just about ev­ery­thing with re­gards to most ar­eas of carp fish­ing. Save, of course, for a few fash­ion­able trends that have never caught any­one an ex­tra carp or two, no mat­ter how much they are thrust upon us. I am not as pig-headed and stub­born as it would some­times seem, it’s just that if things are no good then they are des­tined for file 13. Try­ing a bit of ev­ery­thing helped me to fine things down to the ba­sic level I have achieved to­day, and it is be­cause of my ex­pe­ri­ences, in any­thing ac­tu­ally, that al­lows me to make cal­cu­lated and ed­u­cated de­ci­sions about what I want to do. If you don’t know it doesn’t work, or just as im­por­tantly if it does, then you can dis­card it from or in­tro­duce it to your own fish­ing ac­cord­ingly. Fold­ing reel han­dles, which is well trendy so I’ve been told, would be a great ex­am­ple, along with blow­ing some odd look­ing pur­ple smoke from the bivvy door. For the love of life, isn’t carp fish­ing sup­posed to be the drug we all get a hit from? There are also tac­ti­cal is­sues to think about too, the things that can have a di­rect in­flu­ence on your re­sults. One thing that I did for years, un­til for some rea­son it be­came ‘the thing’ to do, was to have my tips point­ing up­wards. Not beach­caster-style, but just enough to make a bite look even more ex­cit­ing. It was never meant to do any­thing else, and it cer­tainly never ‘grad­u­ally in­creased the pres­sure on the line to en­sure a se­cure hook hold’, as some­one rather strangely sug­gested! It wasn’t a fash­ion state­ment on my part ei­ther, and I would never sug­gest any­thing I did or do could be em­ployed as a trend­set­ting phe­nom­e­non. It has al­ways been about a means to an end, the way to get the re­sults I wanted – and the best way to achieve this is to go through the tac­tics that are avail­able, dis­card­ing the things which fail to work and keep­ing the ones that do... re­mark­ably sim­ple when all is said and done!

The rea­son I have cov­ered such even­tu­al­i­ties is all about be­ing ob­sessed with what oth­ers are do­ing, and one topic that con­tin­u­ally rears its rather con­fus­ing head, is the colour of our hook­baits. We dis­cussed bait last time out, at

which point I did men­tion that we credit carp with un­fath­omable amounts of in­tel­li­gence. Maybe it’s me who’s get­ting con­fused, but I just don’t un­der­stand that if carp are so gifted, why do they pick up a hook­bait which is so mas­sively dif­fer­ent to the free of­fer­ings we bait up with? If a carp has the abil­ity to, as some would sug­gest, ob­serve and study our rigs and pre­sen­ta­tion in minute de­tail, on the look­out for a hook or other alarm­ing items of tackle, why does it pick up a hook­bait that is so bright he needs to bor­row your Po­larised glasses to look at it? How ob­vi­ous do we want our pre­sen­ta­tion to be? And if they are so in­tel­li­gent, don’t you think they could suss this out in the blink of an eye... if they could blink their eyes, of course. Bright hook­baits work but I have al­ways felt, rightly or wrongly, that a lit­tle sub­tlety goes a long, long way. As al­ways, a good ex­am­ple of this will ex­plain what I mean, and it was from a time when the colour of hook­baits be­came a real mat­ter of in­ter­est...

The Banned – con­sist­ing of Dave Lane, Keith Jenk­ins, Richard How­ell and my­self – de­cided to fish at Manor Farm on the Lin­ear Fish­eries Com­plex in Ox­ford­shire back in the win­ters of 1997/98. There weren’t too many fish in there in those days, but as hard as it was in win­ter, a pos­si­ble two 40-pounders drove us on. It was around this time that a cer­tain an­gler started us­ing yel­low hook­baits, and although he only ever caught two carp from that wa­ter, his in­flu­ence soon made sure ev­ery­one was us­ing the same. Now, if ev­ery­one is us­ing the same thing, what­ever that might be, then it stands to rea­son the only thing a carp will be caught on (or with) is that item of tackle or, in this in­stance, hook­bait! The Banned were all us­ing Main­lines Ac­tiv-8 at the time, which along with be­ing a bait of bib­li­cal mag­ni­tude, was as dull as it’s pos­si­ble to be, colour­wise. To me per­son­ally, the dull brown colour screamed sub­tlety and fit­ted into my way of think­ing per­fectly. It wasn’t that I didn’t like brighter hook­baits, it’s sim­ply be­cause The Grange and the Ac­tiv-8 shaped the way in which I thought and ap­proached my fish­ing. We baited as of­ten as we could with 15mm and 18mm free of­fer­ings and, of course, the hook­bait was ex­actly the same. I never used a pop-up, and I’m not so sure any­one else did ei­ther, all we did was choose be­tween the two sizes as we saw fit. Along with a cou­ple of bailiffs there, who very sen­si­bly got on the band­wagon with us, we quite sim­ply out­fished ev­ery­one else on the lake. I thought it

wouldn’t take too long for that trendy mad­ness to go away, but only a slack hand­ful of peo­ple seemed to take note. As long as the rest of the an­glers thought they were be­ing ‘in-the-know’ and fash­ion­ably ac­cept­able, that’s all that mat­tered to them. And there was me think­ing I would look just fine hold­ing an­other carp up for the cam­era!

I be­lieve an­other great ex­am­ple will only un­der­line the point I am try­ing to make still fur­ther, and this re­volves around sur­face fish­ing and Zigs. I came across ‘Zigs’ way be­fore they were named, and very suc­cess­fully, too! It is an in­cred­i­bly sim­ple set up, one that can dom­i­nate all lev­els of the wa­ter col­umn. It’s prob­a­bly be­cause of its un­com­pli­cated con­struc­tion that many an­glers try to find some­thing to over­com­pli­cate the ba­sic idea. Noth­ing in a carp’s nat­u­ral diet rep­re­sents any­thing more than a dull brown or black blob, float­ing in the wa­ter, ei­ther on the sur­face or hang­ing off a piece of weed. Wa­ter shrimps and snails sur­vive, to some ex­tent, be­cause they are cam­ou­flaged. I have not seen one strut­ting his stuff up and down the mar­gin in a day-glow hoody! To that end, there­fore, a carp is never stim­u­lated nat­u­rally by the colour of its food. And don’t think for a sec­ond that blood­worms are red and there­fore vis­i­ble ei­ther. They live deep in the silt, and the carp has to bury his head in it to fil­ter out the worms he wants to eat. Iron­i­cally, they have prob­a­bly never seen one at all. Get­ting

As long as the rest of the an­glers thought they were be­ing ‘in-the-know’ and fash­ion­ably ac­cept­able, that’s all that mat­tered to them

into the pri­mary way a carp lo­cates its food is an­other story, one that prob­a­bly stretches my brain ca­pac­ity just a lit­tle too far. No, all I can rely on is ex­pe­ri­ence, some­thing that many of those who be­lieve they know what the hell they are on about, are lack­ing. It’s un­sure if carp can see colour any­way, although many claim they can see in cer­tain light con­di­tions. Even the sci­en­tific world is con­fused by the is­sue, with some say­ing carp can see colours in var­i­ous wave­lengths, whilst oth­ers be­lieve noth­ing could be fur­ther from the truth. In re­al­ity, sci­en­tists don’t even have an idea of what the carp’s eye sees, or how sight is trans­lated in their brain. And as that grey mat­ter is half the size of a pea, I don’t reckon it can trans­late too much. Dan­ger, safety and food are the only things these sim­ple crea­tures can cope with, and with a brain that size it can­not think with any more depth. To my mind, the only way carp can clearly see Zig and sur­face baits is from un­der­neath, af­ter all, the eyes are pri­mar­ily for safety and are po­si­tioned to look up­wards any­way. They will be clearly sil­hou­et­ted against the light of the sky, and to that end ap­pear black. Even at night they will eas­ily be spot­ted be­cause the sky is still much lighter. Their colour be­comes of lit­tle con­se­quence be­cause the carp sim­ply can­not see dif­fer­ent colours, if at all, in this sit­u­a­tion.

The first time I was aware of what a carp may think of a hook­bait fished up in the wa­ter col­umn, was at Con­ning­brook many, many years ago. Although I used this tac­tic reg­u­larly, I had never been able to study one at close quar­ters. I watched The Long Com­mon, a rarely caught carp, trav­el­ling around some weed in the shal­low area of the lake. It was tak­ing snails, not ravenously, but with enough gusto for me to at­tempt to catch it... and I very nearly got there. The first thing I tried was a white pop-up on a four-foot hook­link – surely this would get his at­ten­tion? It just swam right on by, so I changed to a yel­low one which re­ceived ex­actly the same re­sult. It wasn’t un­til I pre­sented a black piece of foam that the sit­u­a­tion went into a to­tally dif­fer­ent di­men­sion! Over a dozen times he came to in­ves­ti­gate the hook­bait, but un­for­tu­nately never took it. Which was prob­a­bly my fault, as the black foam had come from the in­side of my train­ing shoe. Not the tasti­est morsel it had ever come across, for sure! Prob­a­bly from that ex­pe­ri­ence alone, my pre­ferred Zig and sur­face hook­bait colour is black. In all hon­esty, I have used and caught on other colours, but when the chips are down I al­ways switch back to black. Does this re­ally mat­ter when we are fish­ing on the bot­tom though? Again, it is some­thing which can eas­ily be ex­plained with an ex­am­ple.

For some un­known rea­son he stated that or­ange was the worst colour to have as a hook­bait – the carp never re­sponded to it and was never worth cast­ing out. Re­ally?

I gained a ticket for Ash­mead back in Novem­ber of 2009, and it was my in­ten­tion to fish it all the way through un­til the carp spawned the fol­low­ing spring or sum­mer. My first ses­sion saw me em­ploy­ing rigs and tac­tics that I use for 90% of my fish­ing – a 15mm bot­tom bait topped by a Main­line Top­per, or in this case, a piece of or­ange corn. I landed a stun­ning 21lb mir­ror on my first trip, and I re­counted the story on my sec­ond visit to some­one who was in the carp an­gling scene at the time. It was then that I de­cided I wouldn’t change the colour for all the tea in China. For some un­known rea­son he stated that or­ange was the worst colour to have as a hook­bait – the carp never re­sponded to it and was never worth cast­ing out. Re­ally? To this end ev­ery sin­gle hook­bait I cast or low­ered into that fa­bled pool was tipped with a piece of or­ange plas­tic! Re­mem­ber, it was win­ter and a very cold one too. In fact the lake froze sev­eral times in early Jan­uary, but I caught at least one carp ev­ery time I vis­ited. Two days af­ter a freeze to­wards the end of that month, I re­turned once again and po­si­tioned an or­ange tipped hook­bait with 50 free of­fer­ings at the side of a weedbed, in around five feet of wa­ter. I had seen the carp, I had ul­ti­mately joined to catch, us­ing the area be­fore and even said to Lynn on the phone that night, if I caught one I knew which

Back to Manor Farm in 2012 and a yel­low piece of corn played its part in the down­fall of this 44lb 6oz mir­ror

one it would be. I wish I had rung the ‘or­ange hater’ as well, be­cause in the early hours of the morn­ing I played and landed the big­gest fish in the lake – Sin­gle Scale at 53¾lb. I kept on catch­ing too, un­til un­for­tu­nately I landed the same fish again some five weeks later. And yep, you’ve guessed it, a small piece of or­ange foam hung from its mouth on a long hair as I laid her on the mat!

So, where does this leave me with re­gards to the colour of my hook­bait? Well, I seem to have ar­rived in a place that cov­ers all the pock­ets, or should that be all the swims? The orig­i­nal idea of adding a piece of corn to my hook­baits had ab­so­lutely noth­ing to do with what colour it was. It was all about negat­ing the weight of the hook, hope­fully get­ting the hook­bait to be­have ex­actly how the free of­fer­ings were. I wasn’t try­ing to cre­ate a bal­anced hook­bait ei­ther, as long as the plas­tic corn lifted the hook off the bot­tom on its own, I was happy. In the end it all came down to hedg­ing my bets. When­ever I could use corn in ad­di­tion to my free of­fer­ings, I would place a yel­low bit of plas­tic on the tip of my boilie hook­bait. Even­tu­ally, even when I didn’t in­tro­duce corn, I didn’t re­ally care and stuck with the plas­tic, be­cause it never seemed to mat­ter. How­ever, it al­ways oc­curred to me, no mat­ter what some un­in­formed an­glers said, we were not sure if carp could see colour or not. Even so, I use it, just in case they do. To that end, plas­tic be­came a con­stant com­pan­ion for my boilies, be they bot­tom baits or pop-ups – to this very day. In fact, I doubt I have caught a carp us­ing a naked hook­bait in many years. Of late, I have been us­ing Main­line Top­pers in­stead of the corn, and in many re­spects it has taken things to a new level. They come in bright colours of course, but just as im­por­tantly they re­lease the same at­trac­tors as the boilie it ac­com­pa­nies on my hair. Who said I could never change things? All in all it works, and at the end of the day, that’s all I re­ally need to know.

So much has been talked about the colour of bait, and the carp’s re­ac­tion to it. I be­lieve it would be safe to say that the carp we fish for have seen just about ev­ery­thing, colour­wise, and I bet my bot­tom dol­lar not one of them has failed to catch a carp. It can be a con­fus­ing is­sue for sure, made even worse by some aw­ful rub­bish that is writ­ten at times. I re­mem­ber one no­to­ri­ous carp an­gler get­ting a deal with a plas­tic bait maker; his first ar­ti­cle af­ter he signed the dot­ted line, was all about plas­tic. It went to ex­tra­or­di­nary lengths, telling the reader that get­ting a bite at cer­tain times of the day de­pended on the shade of yel­low he was us­ing. It de­fied be­lief, and there has never been any proof of this be­ing the case, and never will there be. Ul­ti­mately, this kind of wan­ton gib­ber­ish will have a detri­men­tal ef­fect on not only a carp an­gler’s lev­els of con­fi­dence and con­fu­sion, but a mas­sive im­pact on their wal­let too! It’s a bit like ev­ery as­pect of carp fish­ing that I re­fer to – do your own thing, stick to some­thing that works then try and im­prove it from there. Achieve your own carp fish­ing mem­o­ries, you don’t have to buy them! Take care of you and yours. Chilly.

ABOVE Dull coloured free of­fer­ings – just the WAY I LIKE THEM TO BE

LEFT The Manor in 1997 and Ac­tiv-8 ruled the roost, as this 39¼lb MIR­ROR WOULD SUG­GEST

FAR LEFTI’ve used bright hook­baits, but feel MORE CON­FI­DENT WHEN I am hedg­ing my bets

The Long One from Hor­ton in 1996 on a four-foot pop-up, off the lead, as the pre­sen­ta­tion was known back thenABOVE

TOP Sin­gle Scale for the sec­ond time on an or­ange piece of plas­tic corn and boilie hook­bait

MID­DLE I’ve ex­per­i­mented with many colours over the years

LEFTNINETY PER­CENT OF MY FISH­ING is car­ried out this way

As this win­ter mon­ster would sug­gest, my tac­tics work all year round TOP

As long as it makes you smile, who cares? ABOVE

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.