I was busy on Wednesday and couldn’t make the White Acres mid week match, by Sunday I was chomping at
Joe’s Maggot Magic
If you were to ask the majority of anglers to pick a bait that will get them a bite at any given time, they would almost certainly choose a maggot. They are a year round winner at all manner of venues, and as an added bonus they are cheap for anglers to get hold of.
One man who is all to aware of the devastating effectiveness of maggot is Garbolino Ossett star Joe Carass, who has lately been enjoying a good run of form in the open matches on Goldrush Lake at ‘The Willows’ fishery near York, where his maggot and caster approach has proved irresistible to the resident ide. He agreed to take Fishing 4 Fun’s Tom Scholey to the venue, to show us how it’s done.
“The beauty of targeting silvers on a venue such as this is that they tend to be in every peg, whereas carp are not” Joe told us. “With many of the ide that show averaging 2lb, along with a good head of big skimmers, rudd and the occasional trout, a good net of fish can soon be amassed on light tackle, that will beat the majority of carp weights.”
“It’s important to remember when targeting silvers that you still need to fish light, whatever the season to get the maximum out of your peg. A lot of anglers worry about hitting a carp that may stray into the peg and losing it if they use light tackle, but they really shouldn’t let this bother them. If the carp is hooked properly, you stand a decent chance of getting it out on an 0.10 bottom anyway. But even if it snaps you and gets off, just look to make up the difference in the time you would have spent playing it. It doesn’t take that many big ide and skimmers to make up the weight of even a big carp.”
With this theory in mind Joe began setting up his tackle. He opted to fish two lines, one at 14.5 metres towards an overhanging tree, and the other in open water at 13metres. His dead depth rig on both lines consisted of a 4×12 Malman float, on 0.12 ‘Garboline’ mainline complete with an 0.10 bottom and a size 22 Tubertini 808 hook. He shotted (or should I say “stotted”) this with a bulk of No 9 Stotz, and two No 12 droppers around 7 inches apart. This was mounted on a match kit of his “Garbolino G Force Power” pole with a 6-10 Maver Hollow Dual Core being his elastic of choice.
He also set up an on the drop rig which would serve both lines. This comprised of a lighter 4×10 Malman float, with the same mainline and hook length as his normal rigs. His shotting here was spaced out number 11′s, which gradually got further apart as they neared his Tubertini 808 size 18 hook.
His shallow rig comprised of a Garbo 0.1 dibber with a bulk of Preston Stotz directly underneath it, around 10 inches of 0.10 line and an 18 black gamma hook. He matched this to a softer Preston 9 Hollo elastic, again through a match top.
An interesting feature of all Joe’s rigs was a backshot, which rested just above the eye of his float. ” I use this on all my rigs, and do so for a number of reasons” Joe told me.
Firstly, It gives stability to the float when there is a bit of wind or skim on the water, and secondly, If I feel my float is dotted down to much, and I could do with seeing more of the bristle, I can just slide it up too under the stonfo and take some weight off my float, without running the risk of kinking or damaging my line at the business end.”
Although conditions were near perfect on the day, there was an unforeseen problem we had to contend with:- The carp were even more active than normal, the bright sunshine seeing them basking and swirling on the surface.
Keeping the carp at bay!
For this reason, Joe adopted a cautious feeding plan designed to attract the silvers while keeping the carp at bay. His opening feed on his 13metre line was around 20 maggots 20 casters and a golf ball sized lump of ‘Swimstim Natural’, which he hoped would attract skimmers into the peg.
His 14.5 metre tree line was fed with a similar amount of maggots and casters but on this line he opted to feed a handful of dryish groundbait to put a fish attracting cloud in the water, hopefully encouraging the fish to compete.
He spent the first 30 minutes on his 13 metre line, fishing his bulked deck rig while regularly loose feeding both lines with five or so maggots. Every 10 or so minutes he also fed with a pole mounted toss pot, dribbling 10 maggots on each line. “The important thing to remember at the start of the session is to keep some bait going in to attract the fish into your swim, once they are there it is a matter of deciding how to keep them there, so that you catch them effectively,” he said.
Joe started the session with double white maggot on the hook, and after around 15 minutes he was into this first fish, a roach of around four ounces. Next drop he was into a small ide, the first of three or four to put in an appearance, all averaging eight ounces. “These are the little fellas” he told me, “you often get a few of these before the big boys turn up”.
On The Drop
To try and induce a bite from a better fish, Joe decided to try something different, and switched to his on the drop rig. All at once the better ide arrived. He had a run of about 15 minutes where he had one a put, all averaging between 1½ lb and 2 lb, before the swim went quiet. “They’ve probably backed off now, I will rest this line, and keep a bit of feed trickling in while I have a look on my tree swim. Hopefully the bigger fish will regain confidence and move back over this line in a bit,” he explained.
First drop in on his tree line with his bulk rig produced an ide of 3lb, and he had two more of a similar size in quick succession. “They’ve really got there party hats on down there now,” he said.
After five or six fish the swim went quiet, and Joe again had to switch to his drop rig to keep fish coming. He was catching really well though, and managing to tempt a bite every drop in. To continue Joe’s analogy, there must have been party poppers and streamers flying in all directions!
It was fascinating to watch how well Joe read the water, and by constantly ringing changes, such as taking or adding an inch on to his depth, and dragging and lifting the float, he managed to keep catching well .
With three hours gone, and an estimated 40lb in the net, Joe began to get plagued with trout, which were feeding aggressively, and bullying the more timid ide out of the way. “Although they average about 12 oz each and are good weight builders, I’d rather be catching the ide as they are of a much larger stamp” he said.
“There isn’t really a lot you can do in this situation he added, by increasing your feed you only draw more trout in, and if you stop feeding you don’t get any bites at all.”
After twenty minutes or so of catching trout, they thankfully seemed to back off, and Joe started catching the odd small tench, skimmer and crucian.He was putting a truly mixed bag together for the camera.
With around four and a half hours gone we decided it was time to call it a day, and Joe pulled his net out to reveal well over 50lb of ide, skimmers, tench, trout and crucians. This would have been more than enough to frame in most of the open matches at the venue. “It just goes to show how a simple maggot and caster approach can make for a lovely days fishing. With the right rigs and a bit of practice, anyone can catch a net like this here. It’s solid” Joe concluded.