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Skill in a water related sport
What is watercraft?
Have you ever been fortunate enough to watch an old school fly angler don his deer stalker and take on the seasonal salmon of a large Scottish river with a 13’ rod that has no butt section? ….. that Norsemans oar of a rod appears to be but a mere extension of his forearm as he draws back a retrieve and then so gracefully lands his nymph just upstream of a rising fish? Or the delicate art of trotting a tiny stick float along the far margin of a slow moving river as it slides seamlessly along the contours of the overhanging branches above…. gently holding the line back behind the float without moving the bait below…. these are both physical watercraft examples of another aspect of our beloved sport.
But watercraft itself (IMO) is about much more than being able to land a lead in a hole in the weed at 63yds, its also about a mental understanding, being at one and in tune with the water you’re fishing…. knowing the cycles, areas and times of the day when our largely habitual friends may be in attendance…… observation and the punishment of others for snippets of information is by far the best way to get a bigger picture of what actually goes on beneath that un chartered glaze…….
watch Any of the guys at the top of their game and you’ll notice one common theme…… observation! they don’t take their eyes of the water before them, I’ve even heard of certain anglers making a brew from start to finish without taking their eyes of the lake! (I’ve tried this and the results weren’t to clever tbh!) and with a little breeze rippling past its all too easy to miss a cheeky little head n shoulder moment….. a moment that could spark a move or affirm your location and thus ignite the anticipation! ….look and you will find….. all valuable pieces of the jigsaw are there!
If you can’t get out for a week or two, use your time away from the bank by preparing, tying rigs, glugging/making hookbaits and fine tuning your kit so that when the moment arises you’re ready… try to have a lap or two if possible instead…. make friends and stay in touch with the pond as best you can so you develop a sense of knowing, helping you tune back in faster upon your return….hopefully you’ll be armed with rough locations of recent captures or shows and you’ll already be marching with purpose towards these areas….. try not to be too pre conceived on location…. stop to look in these areas for as much time as you can afford…. a population of carp can move pretty fast from one day to the next…. there may be two or three pegs in that area for instance… are you there long or just the night? Do you jump on them or anticipate their next move? Check the forecast…These are the decisions that careful observation will help you answer…..
bait-application for me is another key element to our watercraft…. with so many variables available today the decisions are endless…. most of us however have our own style, be it boilie angling, particle angling, both etc…. it’s important to know the differences in how carp feed on different baits….. a small handful of particle can keep a few wary carp busy for hours in the same place whereas a scattering of boilies can get them moving from one bait to another, picking them off individually and working a little more for each snack.
Use the knowledge you’ve previously acquired to determine how much bait to put out, length of session is an important consideration….. if it’s a short session then consider fishing for a bite at a time…. a high attract snack fit for one, if you have a few nights however and there’s been a few out then don’t be afraid to give it to em!! A small group of competing carp can clear up a kilo or two in no time…. a common sense baiting approach that matches the time given…..How many times have you seen a guy turn up on your water, late afternoon, stick 20 spombs out and in the morning he’s packing up? only for someone to drop in a night or two later (hopefully me!) fish a single and nick a bite or three! Often a good indication of how long it’s taking fish at different times of the season to get on the bigger beds of bait….. take note and maybe bait accordingly prior to your next trip……
of course there’s the end game…… that pinnacle final three feet! another myriad of choices! And an article or two in itself!!!! In brief….Keep it simple, use rigs you’re confident in, understand the mechanics of why and how they work and then ultimately….. a good hooking arrangement with a very sharp hook!! You can have a £500 bivvy and £1500 worth of reels but if you’ve not got a sharp hook you may as well pack up n go home!!
Trust your instinct, make the right choices and success will follow, with success comes confidence, which is key…. a confident angler angles well….. remain humble, do all you can to make your own luck and help others in return……
I hope this has touched on a somewhat un tapped area of our common interest, I had little idea of where it would lead as I began!
Be lucky
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