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Clint Walker - Trying out a pellet waggler
Having tried a method I dislike immensely last week, zig rigs, I’ve tried another one this week that I enjoy just as little… the pellet waggler! I’ve had a couple of the new Sonik Sports SKSC commercial fishery rods sent down to me, an 11’ feeder and matching pellet waggler rod, so thought I’d better get out and give the float rod an outing on a local club lake. I wasn’t looking forward to a day of arm aching, constant casting and catapulting, as I much prefer a more sedate day on the bank, but sponsors needs must… Until last week, I didn’t even own a suitable float for pellet waggler fishing, instead having a tube full of stick floats, bodied wagglers and crystal quills, so after putting in an order with Premier Floats, I was delighted to receive a set of four floats of differing weights which would be suitable. In truth, the delivery wasn’t exactly what I’d ordered, but a quick phone call rectified the issue, and I thought I’d mention their excellent customer service as it deserves praise; if you are looking for a great company to deal with, give them a call! I wanted to fish at around fifty yards, so selected a loaded float of 10g, slipped on a couple of float stops, and attached a pre-tied mono hook link terminating in a size 10 barbless hook with a pellet band. As soon as I’d arrived, I started flicking a few pellets every thirty seconds or so, hoping to see a swirl as hungry carp answered the dinner bell, and after fifteen minutes, I noted the first bow wave as carp moved in… I opted to use Spotted Fin 8mm Premium Coarse pellets, available in a 3kg pouch, which have a uniform sink rate, and fast breakdown. I didn’t particularly want carp grubbing around on the bottom, so these pellets fit the bill perfectly, and a single pellet was banded to the hook then cast out beyond the baited area. I quickly fired out a few more freebies, and wound the float back into the target area. Pre-loaded, it cocked immediately, and then just as quickly shot out of sight; first bite! I struck to set the hook, and the new rod picked up the line quickly to connect with the first double figure carp of the day; easy! I was able to quickly shift the fish away from the other carp seeking the falling pellets, and swiftly got it to the net, lifted it onto the mat, removed the hook and returned it after a quick snap, all within a minute; pellet waggler fishing is fast and furious! I commenced the regular (monotonous) cycle of catapult, cast, catapult, and within ninety minutes, had banked five double figure carp, and lost one to a hook pull, which wasn’t a bad return. Of the five carp landed, a couple of them already had pellet hooks embedded in their mouth, indicating that anglers weren’t really prepared for double figure carp. It’s well known that the fish in this particular lake go to around 20lb, so if you are fishing for similar specimens on your lake, then please gear up for them. I was using 10lb line straight through to an 8lb hook link, which in a water with few in any snags was safe, so why do anglers still insist on using flimsy hook links and mainlines which obviously won’t cope? Beggars belief really. Personally, I’d rather a few carp shy off the bait than hook them, and then be snapped to leave fish trailing line. In fact, on a later session, I even had a carp in my swim trailing not only the hook link, but also the mainline and pellet float! Very poor angling by someone… After two hours, I’d had enough. Pellet waggler isn’t really my style, I find it a bit labour intensive, and when I’m trying to relax, I prefer something a little more relaxing. I’d caught enough fish to prove the rod, and if you are a match or pleasure angler looking for a pellet waggler rod that won’t break the bank, then the new SKSC range, coming in at just £39.99 should surely be on your check list. Match it with an SKSC reel too, and for less than £75 you have a functional, good quality set up for your session. They do the job well, provide fun fishing, and easily handle double figure carp; what more can you ask for?
20 days ago
Clint Walker: Tench and Bream at Rode Pool
The weather conditions continue to upset my fishing plans, I’m itching to get back onto the river banks, but can’t justify barbel fishing when the water is so low. As a result, I headed back to one of my favourite waters, Rode Pool, on the Stoke-on-Trent Angling Society card in search of tench and bream, but with an eye out for an opportunity to bag my first carp from this very tricky water… I arrived just as the sun started to fleck the horizon with pinks but was dismayed to find that I’d already been beaten to my intended spot! One other angler on the lake, and he was sitting where I wanted to be; typical! We had a brief chat, before I retired to the other end of the lake, choosing peg 1, one of my least favourite areas, but the wind was pushing hard into the other end of the lake, and taking a huge amount of algal bloom with it, coating the water is a paint-like green slick which I didn’t fancy cleaning off my gear later! It’s a two-rod only water, so I set up a pair of 3lb test curve rods, twinned them with the huge spools of my trusty Sonik Tournos 10000’s, and prepared myself to launch a cast about 140 yards to where I could see carp cruising. I won’t lie, my cast fell about 35 yards short, a mix of average casting technique and a crosswind, and I felt the lead plug solidly into silt; not ideal. I tightened up, and pulled to release the lead, before winding in to try again. Again, I fell way short, but this time the lead seemed to settle on good ground, so I left it in situ as I realised I was never going to get near the intended spot. Baited with a Spotted Fin Smokey Jack bottom bait, and tipped with a small yellow wafter, I was confident that if carp were hungry, they would find it. A few freebies were sticked out over the top, and I went about my second rod. I know The Method works extremely well here, so the usual tri-lobe feeder was slid up the line, wrapped in Spotted Fin Classic Corn groundbait, studded with 2mm pellets, and an 8mm wafter banded onto the hook. This went out into open water near a submerged bar, and I sat back to wait. On the hour, every hour, the method feeder was retrieved and reloaded, but after 5 hours, I hadn’t had a single indication on either rod! Earlier activity had quietened down, with fish no longer to be seen rolling on the surface, and it appeared that they had indeed followed the wind. Eventually, a bleep and a typically stuttering run saw a bream of around 4lb banked, then another, and then I lost a slightly bigger fish, and that was it; nothing further all day, still no carp, and it was soon time to pack up. I found out subsequently that despite my misgivings, I was the only angler of six to have caught… scant consolation for such a poor day, but at least it wasn’t a blank! I returned a couple of days later, determined to fish better and catch more. Both rods were set up with a method feeder, but this time crammed with Spotted Fin Super Sweet Blend groundbait, one with a tiny wafter hook bait, the other with two grains of corn on the hair. Both were lobbed out quickly and left to settle. Once more, I intended to recast every hour, but I didn’t really get chance. After a quiet first hour, in which I identified another bar to the right hand side of the swim, I moved the rods slightly left, and started to get interest straight away in an area devoid of silt or leaf debris. My first fish tripped up over the corn, as did my second, then the third picked up the wafter to give me a total of 3 big bream on the bank. A fourth fish fell to the corn, so I swapped the other rod over to yellow grains, and from then on rarely had them out together for more than 20 minutes! It went a bit mad, and by mid-afternoon, I’d tallied 16 bream and a trio chubby tench, as well as losing 3 more due to having (unheard of on this water) double takes! Usually, the wafters out perform any other bait on this particular lake, but just for once, after ringing the changes, I opted to fish the humble grain and it paid off. I’ve got absolute belief in the groundbait too, the sweetness proving a definite attractor for the hefty bream which reside within, and flecked through with 2mm Smokey Jack pellets, it makes an irresistible mix which seems to work consistently. Once more, I caught more than anyone else on the lake, and I think I know why; confidence in your bait is much of the battle on tricky waters, and I’ve got complete confidence in mine! Get on the Fin!
a month ago
Clint Walker - Trying Out The Sonik SKSC Range
I’ve taken delivery of some of the brand new SKSC commercial fishery range from Sonik Sports recently, so decided to take the 11’ feeder rod and 5000 series reel out for a session to see how it performed. It’s realistically priced to provide a viable option for those anglers who hate to part with big money for kit, with rods and reels coming in at under £40 each. There is a good selection to choose from too, with a trio of both float and feeder rods at 9’, 10’ and 11’, three reels, and a couple of landing nets too; there are even barbel rods to be had, so the new range is certainly worth checking out… I arrived at my local club venue, and despite seeing a few carp on the top, opted to use a small flatbed method feeder, which I intended to fish close in at the base of the marginal shelf. I know that carp congregate in this area as I’ve run my Deeper ™ sonar over it, so was confident of a bite or two to put some pressure on the rod and reel. I usually fish a 12’ rod, so was looking forward to trying something different to see if had much effect on the way I played the fish or affected my casting. The feeder was quickly loaded with Spotted Fin Classic Corn feeder mix (try it, you won’t be disappointed!) an 8mm matching wafter banded on, and the rig gently cast out around twenty yards. I fired a few sinking pellets over the top hoping to sound the ‘dinner bell’, then tightened the line to put a gentle curve in the 2oz tip and sat back to wait. The rod is supplied with both a 1oz and 2oz push in tip, and I’d chosen the stiffer tip purely as I was using the method feeder… there is not much subtlety required when fishing the method, so I didn’t expect to have to decipher the delicate trembles and flickers associated with ‘normal’ feeder fishing, instead waiting for the rod to hoop around when a fish picked up the bait. I love to watch the bites develop on the method as fish demolish the bait ball before finding the target bait within, and so the session started; a minute of gentle pulls as the fish moved in, then WHAM! The tip shot around as my first carp of the day was hooked! I’d set the clutch so I didn’t get smashed up immediately, and was pleased to see the SKSC reel spool off line steadily as the clutch gently tempered the first angry run. The carp moved out into open water where I was happy to let the rod do all of the work as the fish charged around trying to shed the hook. The 11’ rod is ringed very well, and fighting pressure put a pleasing curve in the rod as the carp fought on. Obviously, I couldn’t put as much pressure on my opponent as I would have been able to with a 2.75lb test curve rod, but lighter tackle always makes the battle more fun, and eventually, my first carp tired and slid over the waiting net. At around 12lb, it wasn’t a huge fish, but not unexpected on a commercial fishery, and the new tackle performed admirably! I’d already noticed that the titanium oxide rod rings on the SKSC feeder rod were easy to thread. All too often, I find that guides are so small at the tip that it often difficult to thread the line through (especially once your eyesight starts to ‘age’) but the SKSC was easy to tackle up and get to work with reel lines in the 5-8lb bracket. It also features a screw down reel seat, and EVA/cork handle which always looks great, is easy to handle when wet and cold, and features muted graphics which appeal to many anglers. The reel is supplied with both deep and shallow aluminium spools, and I was happy to note great line lay without having to mess about with washers or similar; for the money, both products offer great value! Throughout the day, I landed a total of thirteen carp to about 14lb, and twenty one bream, all around 3-4lb, then added a dozen small barbel, with the new SKSC kit taming them all with ease. I’ve yet to try the pellet waggler rod, but if it performs as well as the feeder kit (and I fully expect it too) then Sonik have a very popular, affordable range of quality coarse fishing kit, ideal for both the match and pleasure angler, who wants good kit at great prices which will do ‘exactly what it says on the tin’. Check out the full range at []
2 months ago
Clint Walker - Rainy Day of Fishing
I’ve been back to Rode Pool again this week, a jewel on the card of Stoke-on-Trent Angling Society, to continue my pursuit of carp from this tricky mere. A cold wind had sprung up overnight, a chill breeze from the east, whipping across the lake in the opposite direction to the usual prevailing winds, and I opted to set up on the back of it, hoping that the fish would be huddled in slightly warmer, calmer water at the top of the lake. Once again, I chose to fish with tiny pva bags and popped up baits, but instead of the boilies I’d used last week, this time I tied up walnut sized bags of Spotted Fin particle mix, added my hook baits, and fired both out to the edge of marginal reed cover on the far bank. On the first, an 8mm wafter was pinched into a bait band against the hook, on the other, a 15mm Smokey Jack pop up was attached to the rig ring, and both were quickly settled, lines sunk, and rods placed gently on the rests as I sat back to listen to the woods wake up… I enjoy sitting in the woods at Rode Pool. Cushioned from any traffic noise by ancient oak trees which provide a shady canopy, the bankside cover always has something to see, and the water is home to a multitude of waterfowl. I love to watch flitting visitors that I rarely see elsewhere, little egret and oystercatchers amongst them, and it really is a place to just sink in, relax, and enjoy fishing purely for its own sake. Even with other anglers on the bank, I can still find solitude amongst beautiful surroundings, and despite it’s tricky reputation, I still keep coming back! For the first time this year, I noted swifts and swallows skipping across the surface, snatching midges, indicating a possible recent bloodworm hatch. Rode has vast beds of bloodworm, on which I suspect that resident fish can become preoccupied, so I made sure my baits were in the midst of them! Despite my considerations and deductions, nothing happened all day. I had no indications, no bites, and saw no fish. I’d obviously got my tactics completely wrong, and having heard that at least four tench had been caught in the teeth of the wind much further down the lake, I can only write it up my notes, learn from it, and try not to make the same mistake again… A day later, and I sat in the car park at a different club lake, and watched the rain hammer the windscreen as I sat huddled over the heater. It was cold again, a sudden downturn in overnight temperatures had seen another weather system passing over the UK, and I really gave serious thought to turning around, going home, and climbing back into bed! Rain was forecast for much of the day, meaning I’d have to set up, and pack away in it… not something I ever enjoy. My phone bleeped. A message from fishing chum Andy confirming that he was still on his way. That decided it, I was going to have to get out into the rain and get sorted. At the back of the van, I stepped out of my trainers, slid my leg into my salopettes, and reached for my boots. I stumbled (I’ve never been very well balanced) and my besocked foot landed squarely in a large, muddy puddle. A great start which certainly didn’t improve my mood! However, barrow loaded, I squelched off to find my peg, and after walking a few hundred yards in the teeming downpour, pitched up beside an area of bushes which would at least give some modicum of shelter. Only one rod is allowed here, so it was quickly pieced together, the same rig left on from the previous day, which was rebaited with a fresh Smokey Jack pop up, re-armed with a tiny bag of matching pellets, and fired out to where I’d seen fish rising. The brolly was up and pegged down, and I sat miserably beneath it as the rain dripped onto my boots, and I waited for the first action of the day. I was the only angler on the bank, and I watched carp sipping at midges on the surface, smashed out of the air by raindrops, as yet more swifts and swallows darted speedily over the water enjoying a feast of flies. Andy arrived with his young son Liam, and they set up in their favourite peg next to me, quickly hiding under a canopy of nylon as the rain continued. Other anglers ventured onto the far bank, which made seven of us on the water, then another further up ‘our’ bank, and a further hardy soul in the distance made nine; all looking dejected, and after a few hours, all of us biteless. I’d had a single line bite, but nothing else, Andy and Liam’s alarms were silent, and we hadn’t seen anyone catch on the far side either, so it became obvious that it was going to be a struggle all day… Eventually, a twitchy run had me by the rod, and although the alarm had stopped, the rod tip continued to flex, so I picked it up and connected with the first fish of the day. After a few minutes, a lean double figure common lay in the folds of the net. It was quickly unhooked, treated, photographed and returned, and then the bait repositioned, before I sent the picture to the swim next door to gloat… Hours passed, and nothing else had happened until I noted a gracefully curving rod tip over the brambles between us; Liam was into a fish, and as my bait was currently on the bank being changed, I wandered over to see him land a beautifully dark mirror well into double figures. Elsewhere, no-one else had caught anything… Through the binoculars, I saw a bream netted on the far bank as others continued to struggle for bites. I had another tentative run, missed it and recast. A third run saw a low double figure mirror quickly released, a fourth saw me lose a fish, and a fifth resulted in another common on the mat. Andy and Liam hadn’t had anything else, so it looked like I was the only one seeing any results. Earlier, I’d changed my bait, moving from the red of the Smokey Jack to the yellow of the Classic Corn pop up, twinned it with a bag of Catalyst pellets, sprayed it with pineapple and N-Butyric booster, and also increased the length of my fluorocarbon hook link to move things away from the lead, which I was convinced they could see in the clear water. It looked like it was paying off… Andy and Liam departed, as did all but one angler on the far bank. My chums had seen no more fish, and I was just having ‘one last cast’ before disappearing myself. As Andy opened the gate to the car park, I had a further fish, another double figure mirror bringing my tally to four and two missed, before I too packed up in the rain and set off for the warmth of the van. Only two other carp came out, both after I’d gone home, so overall, I was pleased with my haul during miserable conditions. Little changes had made a big difference; both Andy and I know the water well, and often fish similar tactics, but on the day, it just wasn’t working, so I’m glad I tweaked things to keep the fish guessing. Next week, the forecast promises Mediterranean sunshine, so no doubt the behaviour of the fish will change again, but I know that at some point, I’ll be stealthily ensconced beneath those ancient oaks, hoping for an elusive Rode Pool carp, and I’ll have another session too somewhere else, just to keep me interested. Hopefully, summer is now well on the way, and before long, the floater kit can come out, but until then, I’ll dry off my sodden socks, shake out the brolly, and keep plugging away whatever the weather! []
7 months ago
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