Friday, 2 October 2015

Red Dog or Two Dog?

Over the summer, I have been playing around with groundbait on the feeder. My Two Dog groundbait seems to be the best of the bunch. The others work well, but the one I was not sure about was Red Dog. It has had its moments but overall it just does not seem to have the same effect as the Two Dog. Yesterday I decided to compare the two.

Hidden, well almost...
 The normal early start got me to Beaver just as the gate opened. After finding a good spot to hide the van, I got set up in no time on a peg on the other side of the lake from where I was fishing last week. By the time I was heading home, on my last visit, I was just getting the swim going. Today I wanted to try what I had learnt last week in a different part of the Jeff's lake. My intention was twofold. First I wanted to spend more time getting my cast better. Second I wanted to test the validity of my Two Dog Groundbait. It was just getting light, the mist was still hanging around and the place was deserted, much to my surprise as the forecast was for good weather I thought there would be more people about. What I had not realised was there were, they were all on Major's lake - yesterday was the first day of the pike season and Major's Lake is where the action could be had. As I am still trying to master this feeder lark the pike will have to wait... Hmmm... how about some home made lures? At that time of the morning it was still a bit chilly but with the promise of a nice sunny day in prospect. As I was setting up I could feel the sun on my back as it burnt away the remaining mist. I had the lake to myself for the first few hours, just me and my shadow.

Me and my shadow...
First thing, before I got into the method mix test, I thought I would try the swim feeder. This, I was thinking, might give me another string to the bow, in my quest to overcome the definite disadvantage to not having a pole, and supply a few silvers to bolster the catch of carp. I filled an open-ended swim feeder with a groundbait/maggot sandwich, baited up with a red maggot and cast. It didn't take long and it was fish on! This is good, I am thinking to myself, at this rate I will have a bag full of fish in no time. One minuscule rudd and three gudgeon later I went back to the feeder. I must admit that I really like gudgeon they are perfect little fish with oversized fins, they just don't add much weight to a match catch.

It may be cute but it ain't heavy
I Started to fish one line out to my left using the Two Dog mix, almost immediately I was getting bites and landing fish. I fished and fished for an hour or so and this line was still supplying fish on almost every cast. I then moved to a line to the right of me and tried the Red Dog mix. Six or seven casts produced nothing. Eventually I caught a few fish and then it dried up. I then loaded the feeder with Two Dog. First cast and bang! I had a fish on. I tried it again and caught another. time and again it was catching fish. By this time I had a flurry of fish waiting for it. As I cast out, there would be a whirl of activity on the surface and the fish would follow the feeder down.

Red Dog up against the odds on favourite, Two Dog 
Once I had them going I changed back to the Red Dog. Cast out, a small amount of activity on the first cast and then nothing. I cast again, nothing. Thinking I had fished out this swim I went back to the line on my right. Same result - nothing after maybe six or seven casts. I loaded the feeder with Two dog  and cast, expecting to have to wait and rebuild the swim I was not expecting what happened next. As soon as the feeder hit the water, the rod tip bent over double and the line was running against the clutch. I tightened the clutch slightly and it stopped. When I got it landed the fish was a decent size, no great shakes, but it must have been so happy see the Two Dog mix again it was off celebrating!

Over and over again it was cast, lots of surface action then a few seconds later a bite. I think the fish were following the hook bait down but could not catch it, as it was on a short, four inch hooklength. Next time I might try a twelve inch length once the fish are up in the water. By this time my arm was aching from fighting the dozens of F1s scoffing the Two Dog. I thought this would be a good time to try the Red Dog again. Guess what? Nothing. It was as if they were just discussed with the offering. Just like the mood changes when an unwelcome visitor enters a room. Six or seven more casts and not even a hint on interest.

I am now totally convinced that there is something in the Two Dog mix that the fish crave and once they get a taste they can't leave it alone. On this visit my main intention was to get the casting sorted out (It's getting better!) so I was not counting fish, but now I wish I had. I honestly have no idea how many fish I landed but it was dozens of them. I usually work my 2-4-40 system, which entails using Two Dog groundbait, four inch hooklength and letting it sit for forty seconds. If nothing happens after that time, the feeder is retrieved, reloaded and cast again. Yesterday I don't think I managed to get to a forty-count except when I was using the Red Dog mix.

Hook bait (or should that be hair-bait?) is punched bacon grill, both fried off in oil and as it comes, They really seem to like the fried off stuff and it stays on the hair better than meat fresh from the tin. Just for a change I use a bit of sweetcorn now and again but I think the bacon grill is better. 

riddle,riddle, riddle...
As for the Two Dog itself it has to be prepared and looked after during the session. It gets riddled straight from the bag, it is then wet and mixed, riddled again. For use on the feeder it needs to be wet enough to stay on but dry enough to 'explode' from the feeder. If the fish are on the surface the bait is placed in the bottom of the feeder mould and over-filled with groundbait. The flat bottom feeder is pressed into the mould and the whole thing is released. If I am just getting going I will cast out two or three feeders with the bait method mix double skinned, that is to say that after the first application as described above the mould is filled again and the feeder with the existing mix and hook bait are reapplied to the mould to add more mix. This helps take the hook-bait further down in the water column before it is released and depositing a good amount of groundbait to hold the fish in the swim while retrieving and recasting.   

The other thing I have done differently was to improve the accuracy of my casting. This makes a real difference. Getting the feeder to land in the same place over and over again  builds up a good bed of feed that keeps the fish in the swim. A combination of my improved technique and the Two Dog groundbait will give me a much better chance of not being bottom of the leader board next Wednesday, when I will be fishing the last match of the season at Beaver Fishery, I wonder if the new toilet and shower block will be finished?

Posh bogs at Beaver - nearly finished!
By the time I got home I was knackered... (can I say that here? Too late!) but very satisfied with my day. Even though my arms ache, I reckon I could get to like this fishing lark...