Social Sessions – Steve Cowley

Well after an amazing two days at the Big One Show, it was time for some fishing and having the week off work was ideal. The first trip out was to Westwood Lakes, near Boston in Lincolnshire, to where I was joined by good friend Mark and his dad Olly.  Lake of choice was to be Kestrel where we were hoping to get in amongst some of the resident big silver fish, predominantly some of the barbel.

I decided on two attacks, which were the waggler and maggot approach at around 20m and two pole lines on top four distance at 10 & 2 o clock. For the pole the left swim was maggots and the right some 4mm fishery pellet/caster mix, all of which were soaked then covered in a liberal helping of Bait-Tech Liquid Plum…one of my favourite products of late, it’s very sweet smelling which appeals to a wide range of species and is totally soluble in water.

Starting on the waggler I had a small F1 and ide, before the wind got up and made feeding accurately very difficult, so it was onto the pole line.  I went onto this a lot sooner than I had planned, but didn’t look back. Straight away I was catching big Ide and bream, before the barbel made an appearance the first two of which were pushing 8lb and amazing fun on light gear.

By alternating between the two lines, I was able to keep the fish feeding throughout the session. The fish 100% were enjoying the Liquid Plum covered pellets/caster mix and it’s something I will also be trying on various other baits throughout the year. Mark started off on the feeder catching carp from the off, before moving onto the pole line where both he and Olly had some big bream and Ide. This was a great session, in great company and started the week off perfectly.

The second “social” session of the week, was taking place at Suffolk Waterpark, near Ipswich, where I was joined by fellow Bait-Tech team member (and venue expert) Deana Ramsey, fellow regular Brett Calver and young aspiring angler Bradley Goymer, who wanted to sit with me through the day to try pick up some tips to help him along the way. The plan for the day was or it to be a skimmer session, as some of them can be averaging 2-3lb, provide amazing sport and are most of the time neglected as target species in favour of the big head of carp.

After the customary breakfasts in the waterside cafe, we were soon hot footing it toward poolside and we settled on pegs 15, 16 and 17 on match lake 1 or M1 as it is commonly known, which yours truly sat in the middle. The session was a chance for Bradley to see three different approaches towards the target species, Deana was using a pellet approach, Brett a cage feeder with dead maggot and myself using my favoured groundbait/meat attack. I would be sitting all my rigs up from scratch so as to talk through my approach and reasoning for it, groundbait mixing and bait preparation. Groundbait of choice for me was Bait-Tech Special G Gold & Green in equal 50/50 amounts, I mixed up a tiny bit overwet so as it could be left to stand whilst prepping the rest of the gear, before a small amount of water and a quick blitz with a drill, riddle the whole mix and your left with a perfect fluffy mix.

Rigs were two 0.6/0.8 Dino Pampa floats and a 0.75 Dino long bream, which I would use to combat the slight tow on the lake.  Line wise, all three were tied to 0.12 Aspire with 0.12 flurocarbon hook lengths throughout, with size 16 Drennan wide gape pellet hooks on all three.  Elastics are very important when fishing for the skimmers here, as sometimes they can be very lightly hooked and it can be so easy to bump fish or have the hook pull out whilst playing. With that in mind I had chosen three 1.5mm light hollow elastics on side pullers, all set fairly pingy, so as not only to set the hook securely but also to be nice and soft when shipping back. Meat choice for the day was the awesome Bait-Tech Mighty Meat boosted. I have used this predominantly for all my skimmer fishing for last couple of seasons, as it stays on the hook really well even in warm weather, I have also found you have no need to wash the meat as there is hardly any fat whatsoever.  I kicked off the 13m line with four balls of groundbait, containing a small amount of meat in each. I wouldn’t feed another thing until I had caught the first skimmer, as I am a firm believer that less is more when it comes to skimmers when using meat. Afterall when your fishing with a light approach, the last thing you want is to draw hungry carp into your peg…or at least that’s the plan. The plan was thrown totally out of the window, when after 20min the float slowly dipped and yards of elastic streamed out of the pole, this definitely wasn’t the chosen skimmer. After a tussle back and forth, a pristine common carp was netted and safely returned. I refed with a ball of Gb and then “toss” potted six cubes of meat over the top. I did manage to get a few skimmers, when just as before mr carp moved over the feed, which were an amazing fight on light gear.

Around midday I was going nowhere, so decided to start a new line at an angle on my left and fed this with three balls of groundbait, left it twenty minutes and had three big skimmers on the bounce. This seemed to be the order of the remaining day, grab a couple off one line, feed it and move to the other then repeat. I ended the session having had some skimmers up to 3lb, a tench and six angry carp. Brett’s approach brought a nice run of skimmers of all sizes, using Bait-Tech Pro Feeder mix through a small open ended feeder, Deana also got in the mix with some skimmers using 6mm Bait-Tech Xpand pellets both as feed and on the hook. It was great to be able to show Bradley different approaches toward a chosen species, and hopefully the next time he will be able to be more prepared and have a good insight into his fishing.

Two great social sessions through the week made the week off all the better, different approaches by all anglers involved and learning between us all the time. I don’t think life could get any better.

Tight Lines

Steve Cowley

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