18 September 2001
Rolfs Lake 200+ Club Member.
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Posted - 09 August 2004 : 8:19:26 PM
A while back, one of our members Scott Essery submitted a number of articles to a well known angling publication but had them rejected.
Their loss is our gain as having read them i feel sure that they could be of benefit to the members of Maggotdrowning.com
Here is the 1st one.
Kev Ďcokeí Arathoon has taken this simple bait to new levels of devastating effectiveness over the past two seasons. Now exclusively for the Maggotdrowning.com, he tells us his approach to using this bait and explains how it's enabled him to pick up a brown envelope nearly every weekend...........
Over the years, a small number of baits that have developed an aura of mystical significance and their use talked about in hushed whispers. Bloodworm is one and cat meat seems to be another. I think the only reason these baits have developed a reputation is because of their effectiveness and the few anglers who have invested the time to make them work, have become very successful.
Thereís nothing Ďmagicalí about cat meat fishing, but it does take a different approach than using normal meat or pellets.
For a start, cat meat is very soft and the texture alone is appealing to fish. Anyone whoís used cat meat on waters with a large head of silver fish will have already noticed they greedily attack the meat and peck bits off. Small fish will attract bigger fish, and when the carp arrive, they discover an almost buoyant bait which acts Ďnaturallyí in the water, is easily sucked in and tastes like food.
But I have found that unless your feed and rigs simulate the natural behavior of the bait, you wonít tap into its fish catching powers. And this is where I have found most people go wrong.
Iím now going to tell you how I fish the cat meat in the margins, in deep water and the most devastating method of all, how to fish it shallow.
After trying all the different flavours and types of cat meat on the market, I have found the best to be Coshida red and blue in gravy. The flavour seems to make little or no difference, but it is the texture that gives me an edge. The red is a lot firmer and tougher than the softer blue variety and this gives me an option straight away. If thereís a strong undertow or hordes of hungry silver fish are destroying the hook bait, I can use the firmer textured variety. On the other hand, if the carp are mouthing the bait and seem to be backing off, I have the option to try a softer cube of meat.
For fishing cat meat shallow or in water up to two feet deep, I like to use Drennan Carp 2 floats sized 4x12 to 4x14 and a 4x16 or 4x18 in water over two feet (depending on depth, wind and undertow). You want to use as light a float as you can get away with in order to present the cube of meat as naturally as possible. The key to success is simulating the movement of the meat when a carp sucks it in, while retaining bite registration and natural presentation. This is why my shoting pattern is slightly unusual.
When fishing in a swim no more than two feet deep, I will place all the shot directly beneath the float and have nothing down the line at all. This gives me the most natural presentation possible while reducing the change of foul hooking.
In water between two and four feet deep, Iíll place a bulk of number 8 or no 10 shot at half depth and again have no dropper shot down the line. If the wind does pick up though, Iíll place one shot half way between the bulk and the hook in order to improve presentation but still allow the meat to behave naturally when a carp investigates it.
If the swim is over 4 feet deep, Iíll place a bulk of number 8 shot at half depth, but I will now use one or two number 9 shot evenly spaced down the line. I donít place the bulk twelve inches from the hook because I want the piece of cat meat to slowly fall through the water and I often take fish on the drop soon after feeding. Also, with the bulk away from the hook, the carp feels less resistance and is less likely to eject the bait.
Another important feature of my fishing is that I begin by shotting the float down to the base of the bristle. If I was to dot it right down, so the tip was just a pimple in the water, Iíd be hitting so many liners it will either drive me crazy or most of the fish will be foul hooked. If I'm getting a lot of line bites and know the fish are tail up, I will not hesitate to remove one or even two shot. This might look strange, having your float bobbing about like a buoy, but you will be certain that when the float buries, a fish has definitely taken the hook bait and in most cases, the carp will bolt off, securely hooked in the top lip.
I will always fish cat meat dead depth as I feel the carp have too much time to eject the bait if you have the rig set over depth. I would rather come off bottom than lay line on the deck if liners are getting ridiculous, but in this case, I have got the feeding wrong and will sort it out.
In order to cover all my options and follow the fish during the course of a match, I always have a several rigs made up on my top kits. One rig will be set up to fish full depth, one set at half depth, a shallow rig in case they come right up in the water and one or two margin rigs depending on the contours of the lake and any shelves Iíve found during plumbing up.
To save time during the match I have three identical rigs, with hooks attached, placed on one winder. If the fish are feeding well in your swim and youíve got a rhythm going, you mustnít waste time tying a new rig if one becomes tangled or smashed. I also find it helpful to use the same pattern and type of float so Iím familiar with its action and can read the bites straight away.
Iíll use this in conjunction to Trabucco T1 line at 0.16 diameter or Preston Power line 0.17 coupled to a size 14 Drennan Carp or Drennan Carp feeder hooks. I'm confident the line is strong enough to take the abuse of landing lots of fish and I know the hooks will remain sharp all day. I also think you get less foul hooked fish with smaller hooks and I've found no need to go any larger, even when fishing double cat meat. As for elastics, I only use two types: Red Hydro for long pole work and Drennan 16ís for the inside margin swims. It is perfectly balanced for the hooks and line I'm using, but if I go any lighter, I will waste too much time playing the fish and could loose the shoal by breaking the feeding rhythm.
With so many fisheries now operating different rules on how you are allowed to fish the cat meat, I have had to develop a few strategies.
First of all, if the venue allows feeding cat meat and I'm fishing either shallow or in water less than two feet deep, I like to introduce chopped cat meat through a cup. All you do is place two or three cubes in a pole pot or cupping kit and using a pair of scissors, chop the meat into small pieces. DONíT try and save time by chopping a batch at the start of the match, it will turn into a rancid mush. Chop it fresh every time you want to feed. In a swim over four feet deep, I like to feed pellets (or 4mm cubes of luncheon meat if pellets are banned) and fish a cube of cat meat over the top. Carp home in on the sound of the pellets (or luncheon meat) and then see the large piece of cat meat. I have found by doing this bites are far more positive than if you feed whole chunks of cat meat.
If the venue does not allow feeding cat meat, no matter what depth of the swim, I will either use carp pellets, 4mm cubes of luncheon meat or (in less than two feet of water) liquidized luncheon meat. In this case, instead of fishing whole chunks of cat meat on the hook, I will try different sizes of punched cat meat. This can be a killer method on the right day.
Finally, donít be afraid of using double cat meat. In the last hour of a competition it can be a real match winner, or, if you think they are backing off a single piece, you can usually mug at least one greedy carp from your peg. Always add an inch of depth to your float when using double cat meat, as it tends to fall over so you wont be exactly at dead depth. I also use a baiting needle to hook double cat meat whereas with a single piece, I lay a cube of meat on my knee, push the line through it, so it cuts half way into the cat meat and then slowly draw the hook into the bait. It is essential you keep pulling until you see the spade poking out of the top. If you donít, the hook wont pull through the cat meat when you strike and youíll bump the fish.
Itís a small point but striking when fishing cat meat is very important. When fishing shallow and in water less than 4 feet deep, the carp will often bolt off, self hooked, if your set up and feed is correct. Due to water resistance, this doesnít often happen in deeper water, so I aim for a positive 3 foot upper lift. This will drive the hook clean through the meat and into the fish. When striking in shallower water, a firm 1 foot lift is all thatís needed. Strike too hard and you will be untangling the rig from the end of your pole for the next five minutes!
Now you have all my secrets and the carp are starting to feed, get out on the bank and give some of the tips a go. You will be amazed how devastating the cat meat can be.