Elliot Gray - Particle Fishing
There’s no limits to what your spod bucket can contain, so if you feel like adding something you haven't tried before then just go for it!
My favourite mix would contain hemp, pigeon conditioner, crushed and whole boilies (in a variety of sizes), crushed and whole peanuts, brazil nuts and tiger nuts, 4mm Activ-8 pellets, some oil and occasionally some corn or maize.
Topping up can be one of the most important aspects of particle fishing. Being able to achieve a feeding situation is one thing, but keeping it going is another. As a general rule I would put between eight and 10 spods out after each fish. Sometimes it pays to wait a little while before topping up, if you have another rod on the spot for example, which could also produce a fish. If it’s just the one rod you have on the spot, though, I would top the area back up immediately. Some fish are less worried about the spod than others and will happily feed whilst you’re baiting, beware though as others may bolt in fear. I always position a fresh rig and then bait up afterwards, rather than topping up straight after the fish has gone in the net. This way, worst case scenario, if I do spook any fish, it’s with a lead and rig rather than a spod!
3.Prep ‘em proper:
One of the most important things to consider is that the bait you are using has been properly pre-pared. I would advise soaking any and all particle baits for at least 24 hours before you begin boiling them. I always boil my bait for around 45 minutes to an hour, except for the aniseed pigeon condi-tioner, which takes less time.
4.Add a fleck of colour:
My spod mix will contain far less brightly-coloured food items than it would have years ago. I used to be a big fan of sweetcorn and maize, both of which are fantastic baits, I just prefer to leave them out or add them in small quantities these days. The reason behind this is that I like to use a fleck of colour on top of my hook baits. This is done simply to try and speed up the time it takes for me to get a bite. I’ll still add corn to my mix on occasion, because carp love it so much, but I’ve never re-ally noticed a detrimental effect to not having it. If there’s a thousand little bits of yellow on the spot, my bit of yellow won’t stand out and grab their attention - I want my hook bait to grab their attention!
Unlike boilie fishing, using a large spread of bait isn’t a good idea - you want it condensed tightly on a spot. The largest area I will ever bait is a rod length, and all my hook baits will be positioned tight on the bait in this scenario. Because of how the carp will feed over particle, almost glued to the spot, they cover much less ground during their time there, than when eating boilies. If you have par-ticles spread here there and everywhere you could find yourself waiting for an unnecessarily long time for and between bites. In an ideal world I’ll position all of my bait on a spot of around four to six feet wide and then get the rigs positioned side by side over the top of it. Never ignore placing a rig just off of the bait, though, as I’d have some of my better fish from the edges. If you’re rods are po-sitioned accurately, when tightened, the lines will run parallel to one another - like tram lines.
6.Add some bigger food items:
Carp can become extremely preoccupied on the small seeds that make up a particle mix and these frenzies, although great, can make your life hard. Carp can be very selective when they want to be and sometimes getting a bite on anything bigger than the grains of seed can be troublesome. I have experienced fishing where it doesn't matter and bites are always achievable, even over a bed made purely of small seeds, but I’ve also been turned over as the fish are totally preoccupied on them. For this reason alone, in an attempt to avoid trouble, I always make sure to have plenty of larger food items in the mix too, which also helps for hook bait options. When introducing boilies I’ll always run plenty through the Krusha as well so that there’s a nice mixture of both whole and crushed baits.
I use drop-off inlines more and more for my bottom bait fishing these days, particularly my particle or ‘spot fishing’. I don’t like to use inlines in silt but If I’m fishing over gravel and depositing particles then I’ll always opt for a 3.5oz drop-off lead. If i’m fishing in the edges with particle, I’ll use leads as big as 5oz. The great thing about inlines is the immediate transfer of weight as the fish tightens the hook link. This is especially effective when the carp are feeding slowly over particles. I want the fish to meet a heavy weight as the hook link tightens, which will drive the hook home, before the fish shakes it’s head and ejects the lead. Leaving the lead on can cause hook pulls and I had big prob-lems with that years ago, before discovering lead dropping.
Rigs are a big talking point when it comes to particle fishing; some like them long, others like them short, some with short hairs, some with long, it goes on. For me, I’ve always used the same bottom bait rigs for both my boilie and particle fishing. I’m a big fan of long hairs, relatively long anyway, between three quarters of an inch and an inch. I’ve never worried about it all too much but I imagine a bait on a long hair feeling far more natural than one with a hook tight to it. As far as length goes, I use a nine-inch rig in silt and eight inches over gravel. I think that having a relatively long hook link, a long hair and a balanced bait, allows the hook to move freely and do its job once in the mouth.
9.Add a PVA bag:
There are times when I will use really small hook baits, such as single tigers or grains of maize. When I do so, casting them can be a little tricky and tangles can become a problem. Because the hook bait has no weight to it, there’s nothing to keep it separated from the lead. I find it extremely important to watch the hook bait during the flight of the cast, and when it’s very small this is hard. By adding a small PVA bag into the equation you are able to apply the added weight necessary to prevent any tangle issues, and you’re able to watch it with ease. Keeping your eye on the rig as it travels through the air is the best way to ensure it definitely hasn't tangled.
10.Salt ‘em up:
This is a little trick I got shown years ago, and I’ve done it ever since. I like to add a good dose of rock salt to my particles once they’re prepped up and ready to go. Carp are unable to find salt natu-rally, yet they can make good use of it, so it’s no wonder they like it in the mix.
11.Accuracy is key:
When fishing with particles it is important that you’re clipped up properly, your lines are marked and your baiting effectively. The key word is accuracy. Clipping the rods up isn’t too much of a prob-lem, the standard rules apply - use the line clip, Cygnet Distance Sticks and some Marker Elastic, and you’ll be well away. It’s the baiting that can be confusing as simply clipping all the rods up at the same range doesn't mean that your bait and rigs will be landing on top of each other. In order to compensate for the swing back of the lead you’ll need to clip the spod up at a third of the depth shorter than the fishing rods. For example, in 12-feet of water you’ll need to clip up four feet shorter with the spod rod than you have the others.
Nuts are a great addition to any mix, and also make great hook baits. Carp absolutely love them and once you’ve used them a few times you’ll see just why. My favourites are peanuts and brazil’s, which are very oily, and tigers, which are very sweet. They have a nice crunch, which i’m sure the carp like, and some even boast an element of buoyancy, which make them absolutely perfect for hook baits. Crush them, use them whole, as hook baits, it doesn't matter, they’ll work however you use them!
13.Create an oil slick:
Ensuring that your mix contains some oil will enable your bait to slick up as the fish disturb the area. Most spod mixes will do this naturally, as things like hemp hold lots of oil, but adding a splash of your own will work wonders. This is a great way of reading what is happening out in front of you, particularly on a windy day or at range. Once the bait is disturbed the oil will rise up to the surface, flattening off any ripple and completely giving the game away for mr. carp. They’ll have no idea you’re watching but for as long as they’re feeding, your spot will be slicking.