Being involved within the angling trade and more specifically the Carp angling scene for the last couple of years, it has become very clear that the initial doubt and scepticism by some anglers with regards to these new fishing baits and methods, has faded and Specimen Angling, Boilies and HNV baits etc. are now very much a part of the South African fishing scene.
Like it or not the boilie and all that it brings with it is here to stay, and the last two years has seen this new style come out into the mainstream angling fraternity for the first time. No longer is it hidden, rightly or wrongly, but certainly inevitably, it is now available for all to learn and practise.
Many of South Africa’s waters have a large number of Specimen Anglers who are using many different baits and tactics to target the bigger fish. In the Western and Eastern Cape anglers are slowly getting into the boilie fishing, but with no or very few outlets stocking specimen bait or equipment and a lack of knowledge of this style of fishing it is frustrating for them who having to contact Gauteng Tackle shops and get their products via mail order.
Cape anglers who are prepared to put the time in and experiment away from the normal methods are having a great deal of success, catching many fish to the 40lb mark, and VoëlVlei which we know contains huge Carp, with people saying it still has the potential to produce an SA record.
It’s within Gauteng though, which has seen a Specimen Angling surge and not surprisingly so, with the biggest Specimen Angling companies located here, nearly all shops carry or have access to the bait and tackle, and the waters within its boundaries have over the past year produced at least two 50lb Carp and countless 30 and 40lbers.
September sees the inland angling scene beginning to pick up and as usual many of us will be deciding where they intend spending this summer, whether its trying to break a personal goal or whether they are happy just to have the swingers and alarms going.
The choice of water should still be paramount in their minds as they will be able to plan how they intend to fish during the season. Personally, I will be sticking to the same water I was on during winter, which hopefully reveal more of its secrets, but for those looking for a change, here is a list of some of the waters, which have been responding to specimen anglers within the Gauteng region over the last year or so.
Roodeplaat*, Roodekoppies, Vaalkop, Rietvlei*, Bon Accord*, Buffelspoort*, Rushmere*, Hartbeespoort, Donaldson*, Florida*, Westdene, Emmerentia, Wemmer Pan*, Middle Lake*, Kleinfontein, and a few of the smaller less known ones.
Dams market with * have all produced fish over 30lb’s and the others mentioned are most certainly capable of producing bigger ones. Remember, take care of the fish you catch, an angler is someone who takes care of the sport and the fish he or she catches. Handle the fish carefully, use a soft surface or an hooking mat when the fish is out of the water, do not use keep nets but rather a soft carp sack should be used if you have to retain the fish to photograph. Its your sport take care of it.
Following is a list of the most common questions I have been asked over the years and I will try to answer them for you.
Q: Which bait should I use?
A: Far too many anglers I believe chop and change their baits throughout a season, for no real reason, they did not catch, so blame whichever bait or flavour they were using at the time, when in fact the bait/flavour is only one of many factors involved.
I hear people say, “I don’t understand it, I caught well last week, but its just not working this week!” Chances are it is not the bait that is the problem, but some other factor has come into play which the angler is not aware of. A different weather pattern has come in, the wind has changed direction, the rig was sitting within deep silt, the rig became tangled, etc. etc.
When choosing bait you should have complete confidence in it, and with the many choices on the market, this can be difficult, but once you have found one that is working for you or that you know other people are catching on it, chances are that if you give it a good go for a season it will produce outstanding results.
If you are unsure which type or brand to use, just look at the photo gallery on this web site and see which bait is catching the bigger fish. Use the bait from a large reputable source, because usually they ensure their quality is of the highest standard and possibly, more importantly their baits are consistent, with both flavour and ingredients.
A company, whose bait is one colour one month and another colour or smell the following, isn’t following a very good quality control regime. Also, remember the bigger companies sell over a ton of bait a month that is over a ton of bait going into the water, by different anglers, which is actually pre-feeding for one another. For instance in the Roodepoort area over 200kg’s of CVB Cream is sold to one or two dealers. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see which waters they are likely to be going into!
Q: I have used the ready-made boilies on the market but would like to make my own baits, where should I start?
A: Well in my previous article I gave out a whole list of ingredients people could try to experiment with at home to use within their base mix, so this month I will give the one I use and am 100% confident in.
JD Boilie Recipe
500g BFA Natural Boilie Mix
35ml Boilie Flavour (Fruit Blend, CVB Cream, Scopex etc.)
2- 3tsp Kelp Powder
2 tsp Liver Powder
1 tsp Betaine
5 –6 Eggs
I believe the combination of Kelp, Liver and Betaine have given me the edge over the last few seasons and has caught me many fish over 30lb.
A colour could also be added should you know the fish, in a particular water have a preference for light or dark baits, or if the coots are picking up the lighter baits, as is the case on many Gauteng waters.
All the dry ingredients should be mixed by adding them into a plastic bag and giving them a good shake.
Liquid ingredients should be added to the eggs.
When mixing the eggs and other liquid additives, use a fork to lightly mix them, don’t use an electric blender or mixer as it could spoil your mix.
When ready, add the dry mix, slowly to the eggs stirring until a stiff paste is formed. You do not need to weigh the amount of dry mix, but just add enough until the paste becomes stiff and not sticky. Wetting your hands with water at the end helps to finish off the bait.
Once the mix has been kneaded into the correct texture, let it stand for a few minutes before rolling into balls as this also helps it to roll out better. Next, break off small pieces and roll into sausage shape rolls the same diameter you want your boilies to be, ideally 18mm but it can vary from 10mm to 30mm thick depending upon your preference Then either roll out your boilies on a rolling table or break small pieces off and roll by hand. Once you have about a dozen balls, boil them in boiling water for about 2 minutes depending upon their size.
Normally they are ready when they rise to the surface of the boiling water. Do not boil too many at one time as this take the water off the boil and your boiling time will be inaccurate.
A 500g mix should produce about 200 boilies of 18mm in size, obviously the smaller the balls the more bait you will make. Once boiled, they can be placed on an old kitchen towel to dry.
You can dry them for a few days just to harden them up or you can freeze them for use later. If you do freeze them, try adding a little flavour into the bag and give it a good shake, then freeze. When thawed the baits will leech out the flavours really well, as they thaw. Also, don’t forget to write the details of your mix on the packet this will help later should you need to make the same batch up again.
A few other questions also keep cropping up so will devote this last section to answering as many as possible.
Q: Why use only one hook, surely two will give you twice as much chance?
A: Boilies are more resistant to a fish’s attention than other baits and are not likely to come of the hook as easily. A second hook is dangerous to the fish and can easily be caught in the fish’s tail or side causing serious damage. Also a second hook, flailing around is bound to get caught up in weed, sunken trees or other submerged obstructions during a fight and could cause you to loose both the fish and the terminal tackle.
Q: Why are the leads used so heavy?
A: Not all the leads used are heavy, but anglers using the heavier leads are usually fishing a bolt rig, which uses the leads weight to set the hook. Other reasons for using a heavier lead in other rig designs, are that it can make the rig perform better, giving a more positive bite indication, even with running rigs.
Q: What is the plastic tubing used in the rigs for?
A: The plastic tubing or “anti-tangle tubing” is just that. When you cast out bait it invariably flails around the main line in the air and during the impact of it landing on the bottom it can cause the rig to coil up on the bottom, and when you tighten your line, you are pulling the tangle tight into itself. The tubing, which is always longer than the hook-length, helps to prevent these tangles by keeping the 12” or so of the end of line encased within the tubing, making it stiffer. It is not always a 100% effective but is much more so than just plain mono.
Q: Why is there no bait on the hook?
A: The very success of the hair-rig is dependant on the fact that nothing obstructs the hook point. Some anglers do use something onto the hook, such as trout pellet paste, because they know it will fall of the hook quite quickly once in the water, exposing the hair-rig as it was meant to be. The use of Trout Pellet paste also acts as an additional attractor. The adding paste like this onto the hook also helps to prevent the hook getting caught in any debris, weed etc. on its journey to the bottom, and once there the paste falls away leaving the hook exposed and your presentation of the bait, spot on.