Myth or Reality?

Aknib

Well-known member
How much of what we take to be fact is actually myth?

I’m a big fan of the traditional way of thinking when it comes to fishing and it’s a conversation with Mark in another thread which gave way to the question.

Namely that of falling bait speed in relation to loose feed when fishing on the drop and my observation that a bait actually falls slower than the loosefeed when the additional weight of even an ‘X’ version heavy gauge hook is negated by the drag effect of the mass of the line (even of a very fine diameter) having to cut through the water as the bait sinks and effectively drags the line behind it.

Yet small, fine wire hooks (which will sink even slower and therefore even more unnaturally in relation to the loosefeed) are what I’ve always been taught and it has always worked…

To an extent.

A paradox?

I believe so and here’s why.

On that occasion the larger fish were shying away from the slower falling (than the loose feed) bait whilst I continued to catch the smaller fish so, in a way, everything was fine and dandy because I was catching fish.

But…

I had seen something more.

Because I had observed what I had, In particular the larger fish taking the loose offerings whilst spooking away from the slower falling bait whilst still catching smaller fish I’m wondering if the small, fine wire hook advice for fishing on the drop is sound but for the wrong reason?

Imagine if I hadn’t seen those bigger Roach spooking away from that different fall rate of the bait and everything was hunky dory, I’m fishing at four rod lengths out and don’t even know there are specimen sized Roach even in the water but everything seems fine because I’m catching smaller fish, many of a respectable size in their own right and on those fine wire hooks which I’ve always been led to believe offer a more natural presentation in relation to the speed of the fall of the bait.

It goes unquestioned, it’s a proven winner and it works.

But maybe it works simply because fish are just generally lazy and will pick off the easiest (or in this case slowest falling) offerings first and not because you’re presenting a bait at a natural fall rate to the loose feed, despite those fine wire hooks and what we’ve always believed to be the case?

So what about those wary, specimen sized fish that I would otherwise have not known where there?

Does it explode a myth and point to the fact that the age old way of thinking will catch you plenty of fish but for a different reason to that which you may have thought and that bigger and better is available if you can just get the ‘balance’ right?

It’s certainly a testimony to how juggling shot around can alter your catch but how many of us actually do it, thinking we’ve hit the sweet spot, because we are already catching plenty of fish but we’re oblivious to what else is there?
 

rich66

Well-known member
Very interesting and thought provoking, something that has been bugging me since last summer.
Fishing a rod length out in almost clear river water I could see the bigger roach taking the loose fed maggots but shying away at the last second almost within a hairs breadth of my hook bait. Why ? It plays on my mind ! Sad but true the 2-6oz kamikaze roach don’t seem to care but the bigger ones they look like they could around a 1lb maybe more just won’t take my bait.
Hook size, rate of fall maybe a fraction different than the loose feed, who knows but enough to put them off.
Next season I’m trying a bigger loop in my loop to loop know see if that slows them down enough, or maybe hooking maggots through the back to change the way they fall through the water. ?
 

markg

Well-known member
Very difficult to achieve a perfectly natural looking bait. Trout frequently turn at the last second to a fly and last time I tried that coarse fishing so do many coarse fish. I suppose a fish's eye view of their world it must be pretty macro so the slightest anomaly is only slight to us not them. Even if neutral buoyancy is achieved the bait must still fall "differently " to how an unattached bait falls. bread is the easiest bait to achieve natural buoyancy without any aid, flake-how big, how it is squeezed etc can work well, I have achieved this with a self cocking float and no shot on the line and worked out just the right amount of bread to see it fluttering down at the right speed and mode although mainly on still water but, it can be deadly sometimes.
This question also made me remember those old diagrams in old books where bread crust and bread paste were used in conjunction to achieve perfect natural buoyancy, I bet no one tries that anymore. maybe time to resurrect it, I might try it next summer, some different flavored bread pastes with just the right amount of crust to make it sink naturally. It would be hard to achieve with very small hooks but should be possible with a 14-10 which is what I mostly use.
Just the old brain ticking on but this has also got me thinking of trying something else I have never thought of, bread paste with a few grains of hemp mixed in it fished over a ground-baited hemp area, I wonder if a thumb nail bit of paste with 3 or 4 grains of hemp stuck in it, with or without bread crust, sinking neutrally or not might get some big fish, has anyone tried that?
 
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laguna

Well-known member
I wonder if a thumb nail bit of paste with 3 or 4 grains of hemp stuck in it, with or without bread crust, sinking neutrally or not might get some big fish, has anyone tried that?
Not using whole grains I haven't Mark but I've often used a hemp puree mixed with a stiff bread paste for roach. Stiff enough to cast to the far bank and hold back, and even recast a couple of times too - which to some is against the norm where paste is concerned (most anglers tend to strike off on the retrieve) but it does allow the hemp flavour to leech out.
From a visual perspective, and if visibility is good, then whole split hemp might work. Otherwise in floods I would suggest giving the puree idea a try. If targetting chub and barbel probably blue cheese would be even better.

As a side note; I remember TEECEE I think it was who often used a single hemp on his hook over a bed of crushed hemp, but I always found it too difficult to hook. I've had better success with popped dari seeds as they have a much bigger white fluffy bit to get your hook into.
 

peterjg

Well-known member
Binka, you mentioned big roach - I'm almost certainly missing lots of action but why not just fish a big bait stationary on the deck for the roach? It works for me.
 

David Rogers 3

Well-known member
Binka, you mentioned big roach - I'm almost certainly missing lots of action but why not just fish a big bait stationary on the deck for the roach? It works for me.
My thinking exactly! I used to fish for roach with hemp on the Regents Canal in East London back in the 60s, and it was very noticeable that, while it was next to impossible to get the bigger fish to take the bait when fished off the bottom, they gave slow, confident, un-missable bites when it was laid on.
 

markg

Well-known member
Binka, you mentioned big roach - I'm almost certainly missing lots of action but why not just fish a big bait stationary on the deck for the roach? It works for me.
Binka?!-I would agree Peter, most of the big roach i have caught have been off the bottom but, sometimes a slow sinking bit of bread or other bait maybe can be deadly for roach and other species but, as Aknib says, the big roach will easily be put off if it looks the tiniest bit not right. So, it may be worth thinking about in certain situations, some time I will experiment with how small a piece of balanced paste/ crust I can get on a hook, I have just been thinking of that old method of making crust rubbery, lay it between two damp cloths and a heavy weight over-night, should help getting small pieces on a small hook and then wrap a piecde of paste round the bend.
Making some paste with pureed hemp a good idea Laguana and/or some whole grains it maybe; I will have an experiment when the summer gets going. I have never caught a 2lb roach too my knowledge so trying something different might bust that itch.
 
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wetthrough

Well-known member
Not experienced enough and don't fish waters clear enough to know/see what's going on but I've always thought checking the line on the cast leads to an unnaturally falling bait. When you check the line, the float line and bait fall in a straight line which presumably results in the bait falling in an arc - hardly natural.
 

mikench

Well-known member
I'm in the same boat as Gordon above and all my bigger roach have come on the feeder. However a fish eye lens in photography is so called for a reason. I am sure fish see a much larger area in front and to the side and much more clearly than we do. They may well view the loose offerings differently to the hook bait no matter how well we think it has been presented.
 

Aknib

Well-known member
Binka, you mentioned big roach - I'm almost certainly missing lots of action but why not just fish a big bait stationary on the deck for the roach? It works for me.
It's certainly worth a try although I think those bigger baits would still get mullered by the smaller stuff first, maybe a harder more durable bait such as pellet?

Kev and I tried it one Summer evening with large pieces of bread on some silly sized (for Roach) hooks and we were still catching the smaller fish, some which would have been quite desirable on appropriate tackle but no sign of the specimens I'd seen on previous sessions.
 

wetthrough

Well-known member
I'm in the same boat as Gordon above and all my bigger roach have come on the feeder. However a fish eye lens in photography is so called for a reason. I am sure fish see a much larger area in front and to the side and much more clearly than we do. They may well view the loose offerings differently to the hook bait no matter how well we think it has been presented.
I looked into this a while ago and they do have a very wide field of view. Not sure whether all fish are the same but it seems the only place they can't see is underneath.
 

markcw

Well-known member
A larger loop to loop method of attaching hooklengths will slow the bait down, and by large compared to a loop of less than half inch, I mean at least one inch and upto two inch, It works.
 

sam vimes

Well-known member
I'm not convinced that I'd be so polarized as to accept that it might be either extreme (myth or reality). There are so many shades of grey in angling. However, what I'm really not keen on is the unquestioning dogma that many cling to so dearly. So many anglers hang on every word that their favourite angler utters that it becomes gospel to them. There are undoubtedly some damned good anglers with some excellent ideas, but there are plenty of successful anglers that would struggle to find their own backsides with both hands and a map. Plenty of them have some bloody stupid notions, but that doesn't stop them going into print and it doesn't stop their disciples hanging on every word.

The biggest trick in angling is separating the wheat from the chaff and then the stuff that might actually apply properly to your fishing. I have never, ever seen an article from a notable name angler from a river stretch I'm especially familiar with. Though I'd love to see it someday, I'm not going to hold my breath. One thing I do know is that it's a world away from the lowland stretches that are more likely to feature in the press and on the big match circuit.

When it comes to float shotting, I can appreciate that the rate of fall can be altered by careful shotting. I also know that it can make a significant difference on the right water. However, the snag for me is that such delicate shotting is close to useless on the fast, shallow, rivers I'm fishing. I want my bait close to the bottom and I want it to stay there unless I hold back hard. Conventional wisdom would suggest that I'm doing it all wrong. I don't much care for conventional wisdom.

It's a similar story when I'm still water float fishing. I've no objection to catching anything that comes along. However, I'm usually fishing for the bigger bottom feeders in deep water. Fishing on the drop and convoluted shotting patterns simply aren't necessary.
 

tigger

Well-known member
Interesting stuff Steve.
Most of the larger roach that i've caught have been whilst using larger baits and either dragging bottom or legering.
As a youngster I used to donkey dangle for roach on a local quarry pool and i'd try to time it so my bait floated down amongst the handful of maggots. The fish would dart through the falling maggots at amazing speed as they took them, but for the biggest part my bait was left on it's lonesome. After catching a few fish they just knew not to take my bait. You could try again later and the same thing would happen.
I did notice the larger roach were always below the other feeding fish and I only got glimpses of them as they came in and out of sight because of the depth they were at.
It really was frusterating and only occassionally did any of us manage to hook one of the biggies!
 

nottskev

Well-known member
It's certainly worth a try although I think those bigger baits would still get mullered by the smaller stuff first, maybe a harder more durable bait such as pellet?

Kev and I tried it one Summer evening with large pieces of bread on some silly sized (for Roach) hooks and we were still catching the smaller fish, some which would have been quite desirable on appropriate tackle but no sign of the specimens I'd seen on previous sessions.
I remember looking over and wondering how you get that much crust on a hook! What a great little water. At one point, the path is 15' or so above the water, which might be a foot deep as far as you can see, and you can see some big roach, amongst other things, home in like ducks when you throw out bits of squeezed bread.

I take the point made by Peter, and possibly others, that the bigger roach might be more reliably caught on the bottom. But it's hard to resist trying to get them if you find them swirling around your feed or chasing it in mid-water. It's a bit like spending a couple of hours trying to get a carp you can see to take a floating bait - when you could probably catch a few in that time on bottom baits.

I've seen a couple of things about presentation of baits on the drop. One that I read somewhere was to hook maggots by nicking them through the middle. The reasoning being that maggots fall through the water "flat", and not end-first. It may only have been a coincidence, but in the one decent afternoon I managed on a new woodland pond before the first big floods set in, a biteless session suddenly threw up ide, chub, bream and even barbel when I changed to fishing half-depth with a maggot hooked in the middle..

Talking of "myths" - didn't we all hear for years that the ONLY way to hook a maggot is through bit of skin at the blunt end? Yet now we regularly hook them through the thin end to reduce spin or leave more hook clear for hooking, and through the middle, too.
 
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peterjg

Well-known member
Tigger, re your post - spot on. The presentation for big roach normally has to be perfect. A good few years ago now on the upper river Lea I clearly saw big roach moving slightly to one side as my trotted bait went passed them. Was my presentation poor or did they prefer a stationary bait on the deck? Eventually I did manage roach to 2lbs 7ozs on the leger. However; just to complicate matters further, I am sure there are times when big roach are more likely to accept a well presented bait carefully trotted down to them!?
 

tigger

Well-known member
Tigger, re your post - spot on. The presentation for big roach normally has to be perfect. A good few years ago now on the upper river Lea I clearly saw big roach moving slightly to one side as my trotted bait went passed them. Was my presentation poor or did they prefer a stationary bait on the deck? Eventually I did manage roach to 2lbs 7ozs on the leger. However; just to complicate matters further, I am sure there are times when big roach are more likely to accept a well presented bait carefully trotted down to them!?
Maybe there's more of a chance of catching larger roach if they're targetted when there's a flush of water coming through which has coloured it up?
I have actually targetted roach in those conditions and caught some nice ones.
 

nottskev

Well-known member
Another on-the-drop idea I've come across but not tried: I read an Alan Scothorne piece where he explained that lighter gear doesn't necessarily give the slowest fall of bait, although we might tend to think that, and he ties in, in some circumstances, a length of what looks like ridiculously heavy line - eg .23 or .25 - above a short thin hooklength. The thicker line, it's claimed, goes through the water more slowly.

Like hooking maggots in the middle, another idea at odds with traditional thinking.
 

Golden Eagle

Well-known member
One method I enjoy on commercials is fishing the jigger. This is a method for fishing shallow where the float is not fixed but is allowed to slide up and down the line between two stops. I find it most successful when used between 6 inches to 18 inches deep, when fish are feeding competitively. The pole tip is lifted and dropped to move the bait vertically between the two depths.

What is really interesting, in the context of this thread, is the number of fish that are hooked as the bait is rising! It’s not the odd one, it’s a significant proportion. Obviously a rising bait appears un-natural but I’ve caught enough this way to know that they will definitely take a rising bait.
 

peterjg

Well-known member
Aknib raised the point earlier about small roach mullering soft baits like bread.This is a real problem when trying to target big roach. The best baits in winter are big lumps of flake, lobworms or dead maggots - in the warmer months for roàch I use baits which are tiddler proof such as sweetcorn, pellets, gungo peas, cheese or mini boilies with hemp/tares.
 
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