Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Feeding March!

Yes, it is over a month since my last post and I have not been fishing in all that time. However I was hoping to rectify that this week, but any plans to go fishing tomorrow have been scuppered by the non-arrival of some PVA mesh that I was planning to experiment with, read on...

Although I have done little fishing, I have not been too far away from my studies. Last time out I was trying out my new accessory chair and although there were no fish to show, I did catch three. (Total bag, just a shade under three ounces!) I was trying out an old rod while experimenting with my elasticated Tele-Pole. Since then, I have had some good advice on how to use the pole and I am planing to give that a go, but the main reason for my next trip will be to try something new to me that may improve my match fishing.

Over the past week or so I have been intrigued by an article in last week's Angling Times that talked about a 'new' way of using the method. It involves attaching a filled PVA mesh bag to a flat-backed feeder instead of moulding pellet or groundbait onto a ribbed form. At first, I could see no advantage of this over placing a bomb in a PVA bag. It was then pointed out to me that speed was the advantage. Simply slip another bag under the band on the feeder and re-bait the hook if necessary, within seconds the rig is heading back to the water. Much quicker than using a method mould - or so it seems. Further research has uncovered a few ready made bag feeders but as I have a good supply of cheap flat-back method feeders, I have acquired over the past year or so, I thought I would have a go at making one or two of my own.

Home-modified feeders
Following the instruction in the Angling Times, I clipped off the ribs, bored a couple of holes through the weight and attached a length of elastic, that was knotted to form the retaining band. The feeder is now ready to be rigged and the bag added. The hook is baited, hooked into the bag, twisted half a turn and hooked in again to hold it in place during the cast.

Tools and elastic - I opted for green over red when it came to it...

Roughly clip off the plastic ribs
Trim, file and sand off any sharp bits
Bore a couple of holes for the elastic
The finished feeder loaded with a bag of hard pellets. The green elastic might be a little less obvious than the red!
The idea is to have a selection of bags made up and ready to go. I am targeting bigger fish with this method and will give the baited rig a bit longer in the water than I would targeting F1s with the conventional method feeder. Rather than my 40-60 second retrieve, I think I will try 10 - 15 minutes and see what happens. Initially I will be using pellets in the bag but as I get more experienced at this technique I will vary the contents. There is no point in creating too many variables first time out, I want to get into a rhythm with the new style of feeding and see how that goes before I get into different baits. For the same reason, I plan to use banded pellets on the hook too.

One thing that does occur to me is the bags need to be kept bone-dry. For this reason I will store the bulk of the bags in an air-tight container and only keep one or two to hand at a time.

I also want to try using these bags on a straightforward ledger rig using a quick release link, of some kind, on the main line to connect the hook length. The baited hooklength will need to be pulled through the bag before being connected to the main line. Using this method, retrieved hook links can be changed for pre-made bated ones much quicker than re-baiting the returned link each time. Two or three pre-baited hook lengths should be enough to give it a go. I will start with 12 inch lengths and maybe adjust from there if nothing is happening.

I have a nice old float rod that was given to me by a fellow angler who has no need for it any more. It is a lot lighter than anything I have got of that size. I will take that with me to see if I can catch a few silvers while I am waiting for bites on my new experimental rigs. It has all the ingredients to make a good session and as the days are getting longer I will get time to experiment. Let's hope the weather stays reasonable, if it does I will be on the bank at Beaver Fishery on Sunday