After my first adventure in the Balkan, it was time to search for a great challenge close at home. With the lake of Bled in my mind, I had to search for a water that could be a challenge during the autumn. Eventually, the choice was quite easy. The lake where I actually want to start fishing for two years, kept haunting in my mind. I can hear you thinking: ‘Why didn’t you started fishing this water earlier’? The answer looks quite simpler than it actually is.
We are talking about a water of two or three hectares near my parental home. Of course this does not sound like a water where you would spend a lot of time on. However, when you arrive at the water, it is just that little bit different.
Many people already lose their heart when they arrive at this water. The first thing that avid carp anglers encounter is the mega-sized weed beds. And we are not talking about a small tuft, almost the entire water is a full forest of weed. Every disadvantage also has an advantage. The beauty of this water is that the weed here ensures that the water is crystal clear. With an ancient stock, most of which still comes from 1973, this water is very popular for several local anglers.
With a stock of around 10-20 carp maximum, this is really a water where you have to find the fish in order to catch them. I will just have to get some next level tricks to crack the water. It is a well-known fact that the rich water will take some effort to show its pearls. With this water, the courage of some people already drops in their shoes when they first arrive. And that is not only due to the weed. I will take you with me how I worked to achieve success on this water.
Tactics, Information and Exploring, the key to success?
It all starts in spring. Even before I started a session I ask some acquaintances about this water. I want to know their findings and how they approach this water. Obviously, the first word that came out of their mouth was: "WEED"! Yes, boys; we know that now!
Many told me that this was really beautiful water for the autumn, that there was a great amount of large tench and some bream. If you catch a bream then it will be certain, that it will be ‘a five kilo’ one. The carp stock was of course already known to me. I was also told that there would be three steel pipes in the middle of the water. This is crucial information, I could lose a fish because of those pipes if I didn't known.
Doing the research yourself is always the best way to discover everything.
I decide to take actions for myself and do my first exploration in April. In fact, I immediately see that there are only one or two fishable spots on the bank. This limits the possibilities of the water that is already full of obstacles.
One of the places on the bank is regularly fished and I also prefer this place. However, from the intended fishing spots that I want to fish on, I cannot reach them all from this angle. I must find a suitable solution for this. It doesn't take long before I've figured out how to reach some spots for my rigs.
I decide to use six Faith Telescopic Magnum banksticks, these are 120 cm long and can extend up to 2 meters. With this, I am able to put my rods in the water so I can fish around the corner. In this way I can just reach the desired spots. However, this creates a new problem. At all times you first have to put on your wading suit or navigate with the boat towards the rods in order to actually pick up your fishing rod. I take these risks for granted, partly because of all the information gathered in advance about the spots, migratory routes and of course the fish.
The bait campaign.
After I have selected the intended spots, the baiting can now start. It’s early September, and I have just returned from my adventure on Lake Bled in Slovenia. I made my first round on the water. Immediately I bait up one of the intended spots with a combination of citrus-banana boilies, tigernuts, and hemp. Martijn, one of my regular fishmates, helped me with baiting the spots. This is because we have also planned a number of sessions together on this water and we use the bait alternately.
After less than a week you will see that the fish have already made a really nice clean spot.
As you can see above, we bait up widely and we certainly do not forget the edges. It would not be the first fish that we have caught within 20 cm.
Polaroid glasses were a must during our baiting sessions. Not only to be able to see the soil structure properly, but also because we have seen four target fish on the spot during sunny days. It’s of course a pleasure when the targets you want to catch are near the feeding spot. Important to not immediately start fishing when you see such scenes. Given the obstacles, it is more important to ensure that the fish has confidence in the area.
The feeding spot is located in the middle between the branches of a tree that lies in the water. The beauty is that this tree still contains large branches. If the fish got caught up in the large branche then it would be easier for the fish to get free.
To approach the obstacles we use floaters and the technique is actually very simple. The floaters are used at several known places. For example; Rainbow Lake and the River Lot in France.
Floaters ensure that your line runs straight up from your safety lead clip. This allows you to present the rig in limited places. Search for clean spots to present the rig, and the system will benefits you.
What do floaters do?
Floaters provide pressure from above. This means when the fish takes your bait, it not only gets hooked by the lead but also immediately gets pressure from above. (due to the buoyancy of the bottle / floater). This ensures that the hook will hold correctly, and there is direct line tension. This makes it difficult for the carp to release the hook immediately after picking up the bait.
People who are used to drill a carp from a boat may know this. After a signal from the bite alarm, I will only put pressure when I am near the floater. This prevents the fish from getting tangled up in obstacles. When you put too much pressure on this fish from a further distance, the fish would look for the obstacle even faster. With the floater system the carp is swimming away from the obstacle.
If you go fishing in the middle of the weed, the fish will immediately get stuck in the weed and will remain calm after a few meters.
The first session.
It's time for fishing! After a day of hard work, I will make my first session at this water. After having already seen targets on the spot, we now make an effort to catch them. This session is with Martijn on the bank spot where he last week banked a mega-old characteristic mirror. Martijn fished at a different spot than the one fed up. His spot was further on the water and difficult to feed/fish. The spot in the weed was no larger than 40 by 40 cm. This required a lot of effort when we you use the boat to place the rig, especially due to the wind that constantly blew him away from the spot.
Martijn with a mega characteristic fish of 40 years old! From the week before.
Martijn would fish his rods on the spots of last week, and I would fish on my baiting spots and still look for a spot among all the weeds on the wide.
This turned out to be a difficult job. The search was for migratory routes, it certainly took one hour or so before this rod was also on a clean spot. After we settled our rods, we could quietly set up our tents and enjoy the wonderful weather.
We used a tactic with floaters on the spot where we spotted most of the fish.
Above you see my "hot spot" which was one of my baiting spots and also the place we spotted the target fish. However, you can immediately see that this is not an easy place to catch your fish. The floater ensures that by a take, the fish immediately gets pressure from above and will therefore always swim away from the obstacle. With this technique, the weed is no longer your enemy but your friend. With this tactic on this water, the fish will directly swim itself in the weed.
Of course, I can now hear you thinking: "How does this work on open water without a weed?". You can certainly use this technique with obstacles in water without weeds. Often the fish stays deeper because of the pressure from above. So when there are obstacles in the margin, the carp will go to open water almost every time.
Note: first inquire about the experiences of other anglers on the water. When losing a fish, this technique should be reconsidered immediately. Fish safety means "knowing what you are doing".
Back to the session! The rods lie spot on and with a nice beer in our hand, we look to the water. The confidence is sky high. Mainly because the fish visited the baiting spots every day around 11 p.m. After a pleasant evening in which we were able to observe the water well and a quiet night, we get packed in the morning after a blank. And the confidence was so high…
The second session will be more successful, you can read that next week in part 2.