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Carp fishing in France
Recently I was speaking to a guy who wanted some advice on bait. His "No fish" nickname on his local water is derogatory owing to his lack of fish. What this guy needed was a bait he could really feel confident in using. This did not necessarily mean trying to copy other anglers and use a standard commercially available boilie or pellet bait that has already caught fish on his water.
This guy felt he had suffered from the 'humiliation' of not catching and had done some thinking, which is absolutely what was needed! He told me he would perhaps prefer to use a unique version of a very successful commercial bait instead of the standard version readymade bait, available to everybody on his water. He could see the benefits of being first to use a bait unique to himself...
We discussed how this bait needed to have certain nutritional attractors and feeding triggers which are definitely not normally associated with this bait. Even the addition of a different essential oil combination or emulsifier and food oil combination would be enough to significantly change the bait from the 'standard version.'
This bait may need some fine tuning to maximise its effectiveness, but making it uniquely different will definitely be putting the odds of success back in his favour. The water being fished is a big fish water of some renown and so has great fishing pressure put on it. Not only this, but the standard of angling on this water is very high. The motivation to catch these very big fish is high and the baits and baiting strategies and tactics used there need to be very effective.
On most 'pressured' waters I have fished, it has been noticed that very often, the best big fish results have come on the first initial use of new baits introduced to a water. They may be boilies of a different design or even new ways to use maggots, ground baits, method mixes etc.
This does demonstrate that especially on very heavily fished big fish waters, it is wise to be the first angler on a new 'bait method' in order to achieve much higher than average results. I can attest to this having spoken to the first guys to use very heavy baiting with maggots at "Darenth Big Lake" in Kent and at "Dream lake 1" in France... (It may seem obvious, but has anyone formulated a maggot flavour yet?)
Anglers are not all of exceptional ability, nor all having endlessly available time or money to put into fishing. In fact the 'average carp angler' has generally the ability, time, money, fishing experience or technical ability of the majority. This is where he can most often reap the rewards of leveraging bait and bait tactics creativity, by not copying his peers at all.
How many times does the 'new guy' or beginner on a water catch the biggest fish in a water in a very surprisingly short period of time? This is all part of the 'being different' effect. I'm all for spreading fishing knowledge via carp fishing magazines etc. They are written by anglers for anglers and as such a fantastic source of information for the anglers to learn and develop in their chosen sport.
Did you ever notice though, how when a television programme tells us the benefits of a new product on a Friday night, by the next week it is in common use by the majority of those watching, eager to try this new wonder? Fishing products, carp magazines and the carp fishing 'grapevine' are exactly the same. There are always great new products and methods and the majority of anglers are very quick to join any new 'bandwagon.'
But who is to say that many of these new bait products are actually so new and effective by the time you get use them? Are they always the 'edge' they are claimed to be? The product or method might have been used on your water previously without your knowledge! This being the case, will your results really benefit you doing what you read in last weeks magazine when perhaps lots of other competing anglers are simultaneously using the same bait, product or method?
What I always try to figure is in truth, how much is this really going to change the odds of my success, uniquely in my favour alone? Many times this takes taking the risk of doing things differently to other anglers on your water and using a unique bait too. If you make your own bait, then your chances go up massively for so many fishing situations.
You can even 'top' or tailor make the past successful baits on your water to give them a really great new lease of life, while other anglers struggle to get takes on the old 'blown' version or flavour.
In some countries, the art and science of making your own baits may be less in favour with commercial baits so readily available, but still, you can always 'alter' these baits to your advantage and there are very numerous options and great ingredients, flavours and additives for doing this. Many could well surprise you... For example, black pepper oil, garlic and chilli are so well known and used these days, so why not be a rebel and reap the rewards!
For more alternative ingredients maybe take a look at the new 'flavours' of seaweeds appearing in your local store. Add water and make a brand new mineral, vitamin and taste enhancing amino acid rich bait soak. Or perhaps try the fashionable Thai stir fry flavouring pastes available. Even using the oil from canned tuna can make all the difference to your catches when it comes to being that little bit 'different!'
By Tim Richardson.