BAG IT UP!
Bites can be hard to come by, so why not make it easy and fish for one at a time with the ever-effective solid PVA bag.
Bags are often seen as a bit of a fail-safe method, but why not use that to your advantage this winter and maximise your chances with minimal cost and fuss with the chance of nicking a bite or two in the process.
Solid bags are seen by some as a hassle to tie, especially when your hands are wet and cold. Here a few tips and tricks on how to use them successfully and why they should be in your armoury.
This doesn't have to be expensive. A fine blend will often give the very best bag filler because it compacts down nice and easily. This produces smaller bags that are better to cast, faster to sink and there’s less chance of you getting your hook link in a mess when loading.
We ran a bucket of mixed pellets through a blender to break up the larger 2mm-plus items and were left with a fine mix of varied pellets. When immersed they cloud up and release a steady stream of attraction but without giving the carp anything to fill up on.
Maggots are another invaluable edge at this time of year, so we buy them in bags. Just a pint per rod and a scattering of whites will suffice for a day’s angling. Buy the maggots several days before you intend to use them and keep them in a sealed plastic food bag. This will eventually suffocate the majority of them. It may sound cruel, but dead maggots won’t make a mess of your bag when tying them up in advance and they certainly won’t put the carp off.
Oils are also great additives to utilise at this time of year, but using the right one is imperative to success. It is wise not to use a thick one such as vegetable oil. Thinner varieties, such as hemp oil, can be a real winner to add to the bag mix or inject into the bag once tied.
Tying bags on the bank can be hard with wet and cold hands so to take a hand towel with you. By utilising the Avid Bag Stems you can tie up multiple bags well in advance; 12 to 24 hours should be long enough so as to not risk them becoming saggy. Injecting them with oil will also help. The stems will protrude from the top of the bag, keeping your rig and inline lead safely nestled inside, and can simply be tied to your main line or loop-to-loop for even quicker results. The stems are a great way of getting around a leader ban when you still wish to use solid bags already tied.
If you do fancy fishing a drop-off inline lead, you will ideally need to tie your bags up with the leader hanging out. However, check venue rules because some don’t allow leaders or specify which they do allow.
Have a bucket solely for your mix, end tackle and PVA stash. A multi-compartment bucket like the RidgeMonkey Modular Bucket System is ideal. There is enough space at the bottom for a lot of bag mix and two separate side containers can house rig essentials, hook baits and PVA, keeping them dry, which is a must.
As the saying goes, practice makes perfect, and if you wish to be one of the quickest bag tyers on your local water then now is the time to practice. Tie up plenty at home, because doing it in the comfort of your house will ultimately be the best place to begin. You will then see a remarkable difference when out on the bank because you will find a routine and pattern to suit you.