Most carp anglers use a spod of some kind to place out bait at regular intervals during a fishing session, but are there any good tactics that can ensure a more effective bait presentation to attract the larger carp into feeding?
I firmly believe that when we spod out bait, the majority of time we just end up with small, consistently sized patches of spod mix scattered around an area the size of a small garage. For many anglers, this may seem fine, but I feel this is all too common for the majority of carp in English waters. Once carp see a common pattern enough times they start to associate those situations as dangerous. Even if they still feed on a potentially dangerous presentation they will be more cautious, and as a result they’ll be harder to hook! I think it’s important to try to present our spod mixes to wary carp in different ways to ensure continued big fish captures.
The first change to using a different spod presentation is to make sure all spod is accurately bunched together so it forms a large mound of bait on the bottom of the lake bed. This is actually quite a hard task to achieve and will require very good casting accuracy in order to create this type of spod presentation. Also, it will often require other factors to be in your favour, such as calm winds and slower water currents. Either of these factors could ruin the potential for a good bait presentation, and for these reasons, this tactic is probably best used on very calm days in the summer months. It will also require a lot of practice at cast to a clipped-up reel and may be best to use this tactic for short distance fishing. In fact, the difficulty of such accurate casting, especially at range, is why I prefer to use a bait boat when attempting very tightly packed groups of bait. I often tie some line from a spare rod to the back of the boat and clip up so the boat hits the exact distance every time. I also guarantee accurate drops by parking the boat to a clear horizon marker, and to be especially accurate, I stand in the exact spot every time the boat goes out with a ton of extra bait. Baiting the swim this way ensures the spod mix falls on top of the previous drop, and causes the whole bait to mound up which gives a very prominent bait presentation for attracting in the big carp. This is something I never see other boat users doing, so I think it does give an edge for catching out extra large carp.
Another way to change the presentation of your spod patches is to bait up with complete inaccuracy. By this I mean you want to place out spod patches all over the whole swim with complete randomness, where there’s a small patch of spod mix in numerous different parts of the swim, and at good distances apart. This may seem like a crazy method that wouldn’t work in a million years but it does have its benefits.
1. With patches of bait so far apart it causes the fish to keep moving and mooching for more food, this creates easier catches because they seem to move off quicker after picking up the hookbait. This also helps with stronger hook holds because the carp seem to take the bait more confidently in order to quickly move onto the next patch before any other fish get there first.
2. You want the carp to become more active when searching out food items because there’s more chance they’ll pick up a hookbait with a lowered guard making it easier for hooking them. Active fish in your swim will also mean a potential increase in line bites, and location of your lines bites will give away where the carp are feeding most. This shows you where you should put out more bait, and of course, where to place the rigs!
Using a sloppy spod mix for ideal attraction
For the particles I use a mixture of hemp, tares, maples, maize, tins of tuna and the other half with some dried beans such as black-eyed beans and maple peas. I then add pellets of all sizes to the mix, although, some are low in oil and a few kilos of pellets are high in oil content.
Once the particles are cooked and the juices drained off (which I save for later), I add the dry pellets with the particles together and soak them in some of the juice from the cooked particles. I soak these both the night before I go fishing. The pellets will fluff up as they take in the particle juices. These juices also hold the smell, sugars and other nutrients from the cooked particles, so they add real attraction to the whole mix. I sometimes add a few boilies or chops to the mix when I arrive at the lake, although I always use fresh frozen boilies. If I find that the mix is becoming too stodgy I will add a little bread crumb ground bait. This will soak up some liquid so it doesn’t become too slimy, but it also helps hold in the flavours and liquids so they can release into the water when fishing.
As the spod mix hits the water, it gives off a slight oil slick that comes from the pellets. The cloud that form as the mix falls through the water will attract carp from some distance away, this adds to the effectiveness of the sloppy spod mix. Another benefit of using this sloppy spod mix is you’ll get to know when the carp have started to feed hard on the mix because you’ll see a flat circle form on top of the water. This is when you want to leave the rigs in and wait for the rods to scream off! Or if you need to recast, try doing it in between spod splashes, so there’s less chance of spooking any carp in the swim.
The great thing about knowing when the fish are feeding on the mix is that you’ll get a good feel for how much more spod mix to add or top up during your fishing session. If there are plenty of flat spots during the day then don’t be afraid to top up with loads more as it gets dark.
Using those fizzing tablets in quite a few of your spod mixes can work really well for attracting carp onto your baited area, especially when grouping your spod mixture tightly to the fishing rigs. I have used many different flavours together at the same time, but just add one tablet to one spod mixture once in every three casts.
The whole bed will have a few different flavoured tablets fizzing away in various section of your baited area, if the carp aren't attracted by one flavour, then maybe another one will work more effectively. They should all be working together to produce good attraction levels for carp to move into the area.