Will Raison's Tip of the Week comes from the current issue of Will's downloadable e-Magazine available here.
WHY I LOOK FOR A HARD LAKE BED
It has become more and more obvious to me that when you have large shoals of carp and bream in a venue that fishing over a hard area produces better, cleaner, and more positive bites than fishing over a soft silty area. Where you have silt it doesn’t take many feeding fish to stir up the bottom creating a cloud, filled not just with bait but all kinds of debris and this can make it much harder for fish to single out the feed and in particular the hook baits. Furthermore it leads to the fish picking particles at varying depths above the feed and this inevitably leads to lots of liners resulting in some inconsistent indications on the float and very often a lot of foul-hooked fish.
It does not only apply to float swims but is equally important on the feeder where a similar situation occurs: fish a feeder over hard bottom and you will get positive clean bites, fishing over soft bottom and you’ll get plenty of liners.
Now this does not apply to every venue, for example is not so important at Gold Valley where a number of underwater springs keep the bottom relatively silt free, but it is something that works on so many modern venues.
Determining The Nature Of The Lakebed
So how do you find out what areas of your swim have a hard or soft bottom? Well actually it is not too difficult and here is how I do it on the feeder and on the pole. On the feeder clip a bomb weight on the end of the line and cast as far as the swim allows. Then hold the rod tip high and drag the bomb back towards you. As you do so study the tip of the rod, if the bomb is on a gravelly hard bottom it will judder as it bumps across the bottom. If the bomb settles on a soft silty bottom it will move much more smoothly. With a little bit of practice you can see engage the different types of response. If you find an area of gravel within the casting range than what I do is clip up at that point, reel back in and have another cast just to double check before switching the bomb for the feeder rig.
On the pole line you need to use a decent heavy plummet one of say 28 gr. or more and have a really good plumb around the swim lowering the plummet quite firmly down, directly under the pole tip. If the plummet settles on a soft silty bottom it will sink into the silt so when you lift the pole tip up to lift up the rig and plummet it will not respond immediately. What will happen is the pole tip will rise up and the elastic will stretch but the float will stay where it is and the plummet will stay where it is. As you continue to pull you will release the plummet but the delay will be enough to tell you the bottom is soft. If the plummet settled on gravel or a hard bottom when you go to lift the rig and plummet it will respond immediately indicating the bottom is hard. Once again if I locate an area like this on the pole then I will feed that area. WR
For the full article see Will Raison's A World Champion's Angle Issue 43 August 2012 available for £2.99
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