I have continued with my fishing on the big pit and have managed to get down most weeks over the last few months. The OP31 boilies have landed countless fish for myself and many others so far and is quickly building a solid reputation for itself. It's a bait that I will be taking everywhere with me in the future.
So with the bait working so well it might seem a strange idea to change to something else. The premonition is another boilie by noble baits that is made with big fish in mind and it's track record of huge fish landed in the UK and abroad certainly backs up it's claims as a catcher of big carp. I used it for a short period on another water during a time when I couldn't get hold of the bait that I had been using and, lo and behold, during this short period on the premonition I managed to catch what is arguably the biggest fish in the lake. I'm always keen to experiment so I decided I would give it a try on the big pit and see how the change effects my results.
We are now well into autumn and it's the perfect time to be out fishing. the banks are starting to become less busy as the temperatures drop and the carp are up in weight and well on the feed as they prepare themselves for the long cold winter. I've kept plenty of bait going in and the bites have kept on coming. In fact, since the start of September my catch rate has gone up significantly and although I'm yet to land one of the lakes monsters, I've caught some stunning fish including a few nice 20s and am thoroughly enjoying my fishing.
I'm using my usual bottom bait rig with just a piece of silicon pushed round the bend of a size 4 wide gape hook to aid it in flipping and catching hold in the fishes mouth. For pop ups I'm using my usual version of the stiff hinge rig with a coated braid boom section but am also experimenting with lower pop ups presented on a Ronnie rig. Over the last month or so bite times have changed from predominantly day time bites to around 75% night time ones, this is something I've experienced on waters before at this time of year. Another change I've noticed is that bottom baits and darker, match the hatch, coloured pop ups are now clearly out fishing brightly coloured pop ups.
I had a good opportunity to test this during a 3 day session over the course of which I landed around 40 carp. I was fishing 2 rods on a baited spot, one on a bright yellow pop up and one on a premonition pop up, which are a dark brown colour the same as the boilie. The high vis yellow pop up was fished several feet off the baited area whilst the premonition pop up was in the centre of the baited spot. The premonition started getting bites straight away while the high vis remained fishless for much longer. It is to be expected that the rod fished away from the main area of bait will do less bites but in order to determine the effectiveness of certain baits I started switching things around. I tried premonition pop ups and bottom baits, high vis yellow and pink pop ups, both on the spot and off the spot, and even though I picked up the odd fish on the bright pop ups, it was clear that the premonition was massively out fishing them, wherever the bait was placed in the swim. I would say that the bottom baits came out as the overall winner and have continued to be preferred over the last month.
I've also been trying out a new powder additive from noble baits called TMP (Tony's magic powder), it's secret composition is known only by Tony and all I know is that carp find it extremely attractive when used with boilies and hookbaits. perhaps it's responsible for my increased catch rate lately. To prepare my boilies I cover a few kilos in water and then add just two tea spoons of the powder to the water and stir it in. After leaving the boilies for a day or two to draw in the liquid they are ready to use. After 24 hours of soaking, the boilies still retain enough toughness to be put out with a throwing stick which is ideal for how I like to bait up. I also keep a pot of bottom baits, straight out the bag, and lightly coat them in the TMP powder which, once left to react, gives the baits an attractive sticky coating making them great for hookbaits.
Apart from the syndicate lake, I've done a couple of nights fishing on the river Trent for barbel with my mate. It's been a while since I last fished for barbel and I was looking forward to having another go. The OP31 was my bait of choice as I've heard it has been going down well as a barbel bait too. The seemingly endless rain we've had throughout October has seen the rivers in flood regularly. Both times we fished were as the river had just began to drop after reaching its peak, ideal conditions for barbel but with such a powerfull flow and lots of debre washing down river and building up on our lines, we had to recast regularly and fished fairly close in to be able to hold bottom.
A stiff, smelly ground bait laced with liquid OP31 in a 6oz feeder and an 18mm OP31 boosted hookbait was my chosen approach. The ground bait was packed tightly into the feeder with the hope being that it would stay in there for as long as possible giving off a fish attracting scent into the heavily coloured water. A bit of paste around the hookbait finished off the set up. My experience of barbel fishing in the past is that alot of bites come in the fading light and throughout the night. The same turned out to be true this time with the first bite coming as darkness fell and after 2 nights, fished a week apart, I managed to catch 7 barbel and amazingly every one of them was 11lb plus with the biggest weighing 13lb 2oz. I couldn't believe my luck as one by one another double went in the net. This is by far my best run of big barbel ever.
I plan to continue fishing the big pit into the winter, it has a good stock of fish so it should be possible to keep getting a few bites when the cold sets in, as long as I can get on the fish. I'll stick with the premonition for now too, and although I don't expect any magical results over night on a water where the small handful of big fish are massively outnumbered by smaller ones, it's already catching me plenty of fish and hearing of other people's success on the bait only gives me more confidence. I've been planning to spend some time fishing for other species too over this winter, so I think that's what I will do.