I have been fishing on Stoneacres for the past few seasons, which involves a lot of boat fishing. Being able to use a boat is such an advantage but can also be dangerous if you don’t take proper steps.
Firstly, and most importantly, you must wear a life jacket, without exception. Should you fall in, it will save your life. It is no bother wearing it and it doesn’t hinder you in anyway, so please wear one. Wearing one is mandatory on most lakes that allow boats, so stick to the rules; it should be common sense anyway.
Never go out in a boat without a life jacket.
I would recommend getting yourself a decent life jacket too, not just a cheap buoyancy aid; there is a big difference. Mine will only inflate once it has made impact with the water. Spray or rain will not set it off, which means it will only do so if you are in an emergency. I also carry a spare re-arming kit, should it inflate for any reason; you need a spare just in case.
One thing I had been guilty of in the past was wearing waders in the boat. After watching a friend nearly drown, I will never be doing it again. The water will fill them should you fall in and all that weight will drag both you and the jacket down. If you don’t want to get wet when you’re getting in to the boat and pushing off, either put a pair of Crocs on, or thigh waders can be an option if absolutely necessary, providing they are a loose fit.
I use an electric motor on the back of my boat, which requires the use of a leisure battery (probably all supplied on a French venue, but check). Anyone who has ever picked one of these up will know how heavy they are. It sits at the back of the boat, which is also where the seat is often placed and where you will need to be to steer the engine. To evenly distribute the weight, I either place my spare battery at the front, or alternatively a full bucket of water or bait. It’s so important to even out the weight, otherwise the front end will tip and cause you all sorts of problems.
I very rarely stand up in the boat – I do from time to time but I have over four years’ experience of using it. If you are not comfortable or experienced in boating, I would remain knelt down at least. You will find that it stabilises the boat better and you won’t feel off balance and risk tipping it.
I think that’s all the safety aspects covered, on to the little tricks you can use when using the boat.
Firstly, if the water is fairly clear and not too deep, an aquascope is a great tool to have. It will allow you to see right down to the bottom of the lake and search out those little feeding spots. You can see what the carp have done to weed beds or natural spots, or even to areas that regularly see bait. There may be a large bit of weed that could affect the line lay going to the spot and you may want to take it out with the rake. There is a whole new world on the bottom of the lake and all those hours sat there puzzling and making an idea in your head of what is going on out there can be revealed in seconds.
It means that you can drop or lower the rig down on to the spot and bait it exactly how you would want it to be.
As well as the scope, you are going to need some H-Blocks. These will keep an anchor on the spot, giving you a reference point for when the wind drifts you away from the area. When I am in the area that I want to fish I lean over and look through the scope while holding the block in my hand. Should I see something that I like the look of, I can drop it immediately, instead of scrambling around trying to find it and losing the spot.
GARDNER H-BLOThese are dropped off the boat and automatically unravel and then settle to mark any spots you’ve found quickly and easily.
I like to have a couple of big gripper leads on to make sure that it remains on the bottom and won’t move. You want something that will keep that block in place, which is something that a smaller lead will struggle to do.
Once you have found your spot and are happy with it, you can really think about fishing slightly differently to what you are used to. Being able to use large leads is a great advantage, which might prove tricky if you were casting. I like using big leads, mainly for holding the bottom firmly and also for hooking wary carp.
Gardner H-Bloks are ideal for spot marking.
I also use the N-Trap soft hook link, which is fairly supple. This sort of arrangement may be prone to tangling when casting, but when using a boat you don’t have to worry about that because you carefully lower the rig without too much fear of tangles.
Think about fishing in the margins and using the best technology that you can muster together. It is exactly the same when using a boat; you can place anything you like down there nice and safely.
Baiting and the way you can do it is another edge. Just because you are in a boat and it is easy to bait up, don’t just go trigger-happy and fill it in because you can.
Don’t overdo the bait for the sake of it.
If the lake is fishing slowly, fish over a handful of boilie crumb or some chops and simply fish for a bite.
I love using boilie crumb, but when spodding it can end up spread across the swim. By keeping it tightly baited, those fish won’t be spending hours searching out all the little bits of food. They will have to virtually butt heads to find it and that is when they will feed competitively, thus giving you a better chance of a bite!
Adam loves to drop halved, broken and crumbed boilies in by hand.
The use of liquids is another good one, with products such as the Pure Krill Liquid going straight to the bottom. I like having a lot of smell in the swim and the addition of this particular product can really help boost your catch rate.
I like to glug all of my crumb and boilies in it until it really soaks it all up. Then, when trickling it in by the block, you can watch it all go down to the bottom, releasing so much attraction and food signals. It’s a seriously exciting experience out on the boat and, if you take all the safety precautions and try a few of my tips, it might just transform your foreign foray. Good luck!
Just one of many stunning carp that Adam has caught thanks to the use of his boat.
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