So, where to start with the minefield that is marking your swim and spodding some bait into your marked area. We will start at the beginning, shall we? Let’s take a look at how I approach this. Firstly, when I pack the car to go to my chosen water, I pack the marker rod last so it’s the first thing I get out when I arrive at the venue. Especially if I am big pit fishing so it gives me the freedom to not commit to a swim and keep mobile until I find the right swim to fish.
I think location is key when choosing a swim whether that’s on a small lake or big gravel pit, so I always spend a little time looking around, see where others are fishing, having a chat to a few people to see what is happening, but mainly watching to see if the fish show themselves. It’s always worth taking time at this point to make as much effort as I can to get in the right place. It’s better to be in the right place for less time, than be in the wrong place for more time, if you get my drift. Something else worthwhile finding out is local knowledge from the regular anglers or bailiffs, this gives me a rough idea of what is in front of me rather than going in blind. Once I have chosen my swim, I will set-up the marker rod and start to cast it around the swim, personally I go from the middle of my swim and work left and then right. On my marker set up I used braid because I find this a lot more responsive than mono line when I am feeling the lead along the bottom. So, I cast out with the marker set up and let the lead hit the bottom and float come to the surface. I then wind down to the lead until I feel a slight resistance on the tip of my rod, position my body sideways to the lake and gently pull back the marker rod. Watch the rod tip for how it is reacting to me pulling the lead along the bottom of the lake, if the rod tip feels like it is knocking and bouncing then you are pulling it over gravel, this for me is the ideal fishing spot. A few other indications to look for, are if the rod locks up, lift the rod tip up slightly pulling the lead up into the water, this indicates you are fishing in weedy conditions, you will usually see what type of weed it is when you wind in. If the lead pulls along smoothly you could be in mud, also you could be in silt. If you are in silt when you reel the lead back in, you will smell it. I like to repeat this process a few times to see if I have any gravel bars, plateaus, or any varying difference in depth in general in front of me that I potentially could have missed if I only cast out once or twice. This then gives me a rough idea where I am going to position my rods. I like to think at least one or two steps ahead of myself when I’m marking. Something else I consider is the season I am fishing in. If I am fishing in the warmer months I will bait up on the top of the plateau or gravel bar but fish two rods on the plateau and one at the bottom of it. I find in the colder months the deeper water at the base of the feature is the most productive place to have my rigs.
Once I am comfortable I have found the spot I want to fish, I release the float back to the surface a foot at a time by releasing the clutch until I can pull the line off the reel. The Wolf X series marker rod has the 12-inch mark on them to make this easy to do and easy to count. For example, if you pull 12 inches of line off 5 times then your marker is sat in 5ft of water, wind down to the lead again and clip the braid on the line clip on the reel, I then cast out again and make sure that it hits the same spot and this still feels like I am on gravel, the lead should go down with a thud if the lead has landed on gravel. Take the clip off and let the marker float back to the top. Then let the spodding begin, although there are two ways to approach this depending on how much work you want to put into it.
I always leave the marker where it is over my chosen spot. This makes spodding much easier giving me a target to aim for once I get into a rhythm with the spod. The visibility of the marker float is key. Depending on weather conditions I either use a black or an orange top on the marker float.
On my spodding set up I personally use 30lb or 50lb braid depending on the distance I am casting the spod. Controversially, I don’t use shock leader as I think every knot in the line is a weak spot. I tie an over size overhand knot, thread the loop through the hole in the top of the spod then drop the spod back through the loop then pull tightly to lasso the spod on the braid.
I have used numerous spods in my fishing career and I must say the Wolf X-Spod is by far the best I have used. Zero leakage when you put your enhancement liquids in, only opens on impact and not by accident, casts nice and straight. So, I start with around 15-20 spods over each marked area. I will look to put 4-5 to the left of the marker and 4-5 spods to the right of the marker. I also take off 5ft of braid from the clip and spod 4-5 spods at the back of the marker after this I bring back 10ft of the braid, reclip and spod 4-5 spods in front of the marker. I believe this gives you a nice carpet of bait to bring the carp in to the swim and not just focussed on one little spot. My thinking behind this approach is the fish will forage for the bait and be more comfortable and confident when it comes to taking your hook bait.
If I am using two rods I will fish them both on the baited area within about 6ft of each other knowing that I am on the baited area because I have clipped up to the same distance as the marker and this is where it is also an advantage to myself that I have fed a bigger area like I said earlier in the article. However if I am to use three rods I will fish two on the baited area and one slightly off it to try and steal a bite from the more wary carp, which can sometimes be the bigger carp as well!
Once I have caught a fish, I will retain the fish to recover before I take pictures and weigh it, this allows me time to top up the swim with around 6-10 spods of bait and get the rod back out on the spot. So there you have it, a simple but reliable method of getting bait to where you want it, in front of the Carp. Any questions, drop me a line.