Keep it tight and your results will go through the roof
For many years, we’ve used ground-bait to attract fish. When I say ground-bait, I mean quite literally an area of bait to attract the fish, be it particle, a kilo of boilies, crushed or otherwise, breadcrumb in all its variants and so on. The list is endless. Whichever you choose, there are some things to think about when baiting an area. This is even more prevalent in the colder months, when fish are less likely to go bombing from one end of the lake to the other.
So, back in the day, we used to make it into balls and either through our “ground-bait” in by hand, or catapult it out. Irrespective of the depth, most of it would get to the bottom in one lump. However, unless you were eyeball accurate, the odd ball or six would end up somewhere else. We used to joke “feeding your gudgeon line” after someone had rapped their knuckles with the pult and that ball dropped 50 yards short. We’ve all been there, many times.
Spod payload going evreywhere
Then the ‘Spod’ arrived in our shops. Brilliant, accurate and easy for “ground-bait”. Soon after, the ‘Spom’, which was the one for pellets and loose feed. Again, brilliant, accurate, and easy. Or are they?
Here is my view and I hope this helps you maybe think a little differently. This time of year, often the winds are stronger than in the summer. The bigger the venue you’re fishing, the bigger impact the wind has, irrespective of direction. We must consider three main factors at this time of year. First, as I said earlier, the fish will not move too far. Secondly, the fish won’t eat as much. Third, the impact the wind has on the water, this being the most important when you’re feeding. One thing you don’t want – when considering how little fish move and eat – is to have your “ground-bait” spread out all over the place.
So with that in mind consider this. If you’re fishing a 10 to 100 acre water and the wind is side on it will move the water at all levels, more so on the top but also deeper down. It is obvious if the wind is blowing from left to right that the top couple of feet will be moving to the right. However, if the water is deep and there is a bank close to you on the right, the water will hit that bank and role under. So in essence on a venue that is 6-10 feet deep, the top two feet will be going left to right and the bottom couple of feet from right to left. Now there are many contributing factors, i.e. wind strength, direction, size of venue, depth etc etc.
So, if you feed loose particle, pellet, crumbed boilies, where’s your feed ending up? Confused, I am.
Hang on though, there is a simple answer. Irrespective of lake size, depth, wind strength, direction, you can control your feed easily. You’re going to need a couple of things that you probably already have, and one bit of kit that you may not have. You got a choice here, Big Spod, of Big Spom. A Nash 30mm or 40mm ball maker. Lastly, whatever you choose to feed, be-it crumbed boilies, particle, hemp, corn, and so on, add some old fashioned ground-bait to it. There are plenty to choose from for Carp – Bream – Tench. Of late, as you well know, I’ve been using the SSP Bait, and I have to say, their ground-bait in both gravel and silt, when combined with their 3mm pellets are perfect for this. It binds well enough to get to the bottom, but breaks up nice and quickly. Tip here; add a squirt of their bait-mist to each ball of ground-bait for a great impact. Then take your ball maker and make your feed into balls. The big spom will take two 40mm balls and a big spod will take three 30mm balls.
Get your distance on your spod reel clipped up; pick a mark on the horizon, not one that will move. A mate of mine picked a parked car derr. And, Spod -spom til your heart’s content. I hear you ask how many balls for winter. There is no answer to that, however, this would be a rule of thumb for me. Heavily stocked commercial carp lakes such as Henham, Clavering, Newlands, etc, where there are plenty of fish, I would start with 30-40 30mm balls, 20-30 40mm balls. On a low stock, Big Fish water, such as Hemingford, Ladywell, St Ives complex, Fyords, Lea Valley pits, etc, I would go with 16-20 30mm balls or 12-16 40mm balls. And that’s in even the coldest months. Double or treble it in the warm months. Then understand the reaction you get and in time, you will know if you need to up this, lower it, and perhaps even top it up, especially on a long-haul session.
Once again, this is only my opinion, however, it has helped me immensely over the years.