Why Natural Baits In The Summer?
In this piece we join Lauren Richardson, where she has been fishing one of her local reservoirs which is quite an expanse of water and holds an incredible amount of natural food. Her consistent catches made us want to dive right in and find out exactly how and why she is doing things.
So first things first, what made you want to target a venue such as this, is there a particular fish that’s caught your eye?
“For me a lake has to have something about it, whether that be unique and picturesque containing some nice carp, or maybe it’s in a more urban environment like this particular venue but holds a ridiculous stock of nice carp. Of course, there is always fish that you see photos of and think I’d love that in my album, but every carp in here is so different to the norm, they almost look completely wild! It’s certainly a buzz knowing that whenever that alarm sounds there is a very special carp attached to the end.”
That certainly makes a lot of sense and judging by your captures they really standout from the crowd. So where would you begin turning up to a lake like this if say you have never seen it before?
“One thing with most reservoirs is they lack actual features like islands/snags. The biggest feature on any lake is the margins, so never go to the lake with a perception that they’ll always be sat out in the middle just because it’s a big piece of water, because it’s certainly not the case. I have found the weather has a serious impact on bigger lakes, whether that be the carp getting on the end of a new south-westerly wind, or sheltering off the back of a colder easterly. You’ll always be at an advantage if you monitor the conditions leading up to your trip, sometimes though the fish do go against the rule book, and you will stumble across them in the last place you’d expect to find them on that set day. It certainly pays to be vigilant and pack light because there can often be lots of moving involved to stay on them.”
It’s quite clear there is a lot of birdlife present on the lake, but not your normal coots/tufted ducks, there is hundreds of swifts swooping down on the water's surface, do you look into that?
“The birds are a fantastic indicator if you have nothing to go on, there is many hatches going off daily and the swifts will always find their dinner, often the carp aren’t to far away so if I haven’t seen any shows or fish in the edges then I will definitely follow the bird life around, it’s just a case again of being extra vigilant and thinking where the carp can access their next easy meal, if you can be one step ahead you’re already winning part of the battle.
That’s great advice, let’s talk about the route you take when it comes to bait as it’s noticeable that you’re going down the natural route.
“All reservoirs are different but this one in particular is gin clear and because of this there is lots of weed growth present. Every cast you make, when you wind in the weed is always littered with eggs or forms of natural food which is easily accessible for the carp, due to this I feel I’m in with a much greater chance of getting bites, especially off of the more elusive carp if I can’t replicate what they are feeding on to the best of my ability. I’ve tried fishing your standard boilie/pellet mixes next to the natural approach and it's always the naturals that come out on top, this is not to say it would be the same on your lake as every venue is different, I’m just speaking from my personal point of view, but it’s something to definitely bear in mind.”
So, when it comes to the natural food itself, what are the items you will opt for?
“The two main things you will find in any weedy/silty lakes are bloodworm and snails, therefore these are the two things I bring into my approach, carp absolutely love both especially the crunch of a snail shell, so the addition of the frozen water snails in the mix gives me lots of confidence.”
How do you go about applying such small food items into the swim and what do you do about hookbaits?
“Now although I could make up a spod mix with them, I prefer to just fish solid bags towards where the carp are, like previously mentioned I will often move multiple time throughout the course of one day just to stay on the fish, if I sit on an baited area I feel almost restricted in moving because I have dedicated bait to that certain zone, whereas with solid bags you don’t need loads of bait, just a mouthful positioned in the right place will always get me bites. When using bags, I will always opt for a bloodworm wafter as a hookbait, these are infused in the liquid bloodworm compound so they’re oozing with natural attraction.
When it comes to the contents of the bag itself, the majority of the mix consists of bloodworm bag mix, I will fill the bag a third full then I like to add some frozen water snails. Because these are frozen, they carry moisture which can obviously be a disaster when working with PVA, so I will add a small amount into the bloodworm mix to dry them off, absorbing any moisture that is present. I will then top the bag up a third with the snails then finally add the last third of the bloodworm bag mix, I tie this off nice and tight using PVA tape, ensuring the bag is aerodynamic so that if I do need to fish at range this is doable. Just before casting out, I will also have the inclusion of some chilli hemp oil which I’ll inject into the bag. This will work the water column for me and hopefully stop any passing fish in their tracks, making them inclined to investigate.”
That’s great, thank’s for having a talk with us about your approach into how you go about fishing these natural rich waters!
“No problem at all, the main part of it is like any lake, the more you’re there the more you will learn and start to piece together the jigsaw.”