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As an angler who has a young family and a normal 9-5 job bank time can sometimes be hard to come by, fishing short sessions when the boys have gone to bed or in between work is what I am used too. I don’t have the luxury of doing nights on end and boring them out so to speak or using tactics like bait and wait this has meant over the years I have learnt to refine my approach maximizing the few hours I have to get the most from my angling. I honestly believe there are a few golden rules you can follow to help improve your short session angling and hopefully get you more fish on the bank.
We are all guilty of this have a look in your tackle box and see how much stuff you carry that you have never used for years. I was shocked at how much stuff I used to barrow about I probably had about 1kg of leads every hook under the sun just encase I lost 20 rigs in 3 hours lol. Why do we carry all this stuff for a few hours there is no need? I have refined my gear over a number of years and continue to do so in order to make me more mobile which is key for successful short session fishing. I now carry all of my kit in my unhooking mat and a ruck sack this is more than enough to make it through many hours of fishing, but the beauty of this means I can now up and move quickly. I see so many anglers routed to a swim and not being bothered to move purely because they have too much gear, this costs you fish. Since adopting a more mobile approach I will often fish 3 swims in a session moving on to the fish and maximising my chances and I genuinely believe this has resulted in more catches.
This is probably one of the most important factors when short session fishing be ready to fish from the moment you get there. The great thing about prep is that you are not as constrained by certain constraints in life that stop you from getting on the bank for example you can tie a rig whilst making dinner, glug some bait when its dark and the kids are sleeping make the most of your free time so you can maximise your bank time. Before a session I will always make sure everything is ready so all I need to do is turn up find the fish and lower a rig in. when you only have 3 hours to fish if you spend 30 minutes of that tying rigs, setting up your rod etc. then that’s 30 minutes of your session you’re never going to catch. There are three main areas when looking at preparation bait, rigs and gear. When it comes to bait everyone has their personal choice and certain baits work on certain waters, but regardless of the bait we can always prepare this. My personal choice of bait is CC Moore pacific tuna I will firstly glug this in feedsitm xp liquid then let it absorb for 24 hours, the next liquid I like to add is tuna l030 again I will then let this absorb for 24 hours then the final liquid I use is the hot chorizo extract, whilst the bait is still wet I will then add GLM powder and liver powder which forms a crust on the bait. I use this technique as I believe it adds greater attraction to my bait and the powders break off rising up the water column pulling fish down to the hook bait. I always fish for a bite at a time so I don’t put lots of bait in, as part of my preparation I will pre tie pva bags normally about 10 so again I don’t have to do this on the bank and I have enough spare if I mess up a cast. One last thing on bait I rarely carry more than 1kg I fish for a bite at a time and have no need to fill it in so to speak so why add the extra weight when you are trying to be mobile.
After bait I tie my rigs I put three straight on the rods that are made up at home again to save time. I always fish a blowback rig and the beauty of this rig is that you can use it for both bottom baits and pop ups. The last thing I prepare is my gear, I have touched on this already, my choice of rods are sonic Xtractors purely because of their mobility but they are also a great rod having landed carp to over 30lb on them. My rods are always setup in my unhooking mat with fresh rigs good to go. I will also make sure I have everything I need and any tackle I haven’t used in a while I will leave out continue to refine trust me when you have moved 3 times and done countless laps of the lake the less weight you can carry the better.
With my gear at a minimal so I can move easily and I’m as prepared as I can be to be fishing as soon as I get to the lake. All that is left is to find them. It is so easy to fish the known swim, or where the bigun last came out or the car park swim as it’s the closest but normally you will find the fish avoid these areas as they normally have the most amount of angling pressure. The beauty is having minimal gear means it’s so easy to walk the lake and find them one rod in the right place is much better than three in the wrong place.
It is so important to find the fish to maximise your chances some sessions I have only had the rods in the water for 10 minutes and caught and that’s because I’m on them. By actively looking you soon get to know there travel routes, favourite snags, preferred feeding areas carp are creatures of habit, as are we so that’s why we opt for the car park swim lol. My preferred areas to target are normally pads and snags the carp love them and the nature of these areas make them easier to spot as you will often see the pads moving or the snags rock. Once you have found them then it’s a matter of just dropping your rig in place and waiting for the clutch to tick.
I genuinely believe that if you follow all of these steps get prepared, refine your gear, and take a mobile approach you will get more out of your short sessions. From my own experience this has definitely put me more fish on the bank. I have been fortunate to catch carp to over 30lb in sessions of less than three hours and I know some people spend years trying to catch fish of this size. I hope you have taken something out of this and if not I appreciate you taking the time to read it.
See you on the bank some time