5 part guide to Paste fishing

Corn Master

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Jun 24, 2011
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Ran this on Middy Facebook page 2 years ago

🔸 PART 1: YOUR GEAR 🔸
It has to be beefy. Big fish come in early on when paste fishing. Elastics. Check both ends. At your dacron end to ensure no fraying, or "stubble" as I call it, and the same on your pulla. Whether side or a bung. This can show signs of wear too. Especially if your kits haven't been checked for a while. If there's going to be a breakage, it'll be on paste!

With paste fishing my rule is fish as heavy as you can get away with. 0.22mm (10.3lbs) line is a good starting diameter. This works really well with Middy 12-16 Hi-Viz hollow elastic. It will give you the confidence you need when playing big carp. Coupled with this is a super strong hook. This is the business end of course. It will go through hell during a busy paste session so for me the first choice is a size 12 KM-4.
When it comes to a float, a 4x14 will cover most situations and various paste sizes and densities. You don't want one too buoyant as it will constantly want to shed the paste so a float with a carbon stem and a long bristle is perfect. My first choice is a XK55 4x14 series 3. Designed by Steve Gregory, these floats are awesome for the job in hand. I will move onto a 4x16 if it's windy or the swim is suffering from some nasty tow. Make sure the float you use has a minimum of 3 float rubbers on the stem and one on the bristle if you can, at the top preferably to ensure the float remains straight and absorbs any strain. I'll only move this rubber on the bristle down near the eye if it's a blustery day.

🔸 PART 2: PLUMBING 🔸
The need for a flat area when paste fishing is as important as your bait. The only way to really get a good reading of the swim is with a heavy plummet. I will only ever plumb up with one that's 28g. I mean, I used to just grab any size and get the depth and then fish but the more I got things wrong, the harder my session went. So my second tip will help your improve your paste fishing and you'll then always read your swim better. A 28g plummet is so much heavier than normal that it will allow you to read the swims bottom which is silt and a solid deck. A heavy plummet sinks that far in silt that it almost acts like a sucking motion when you try to lift.

When I plumb a swim I'll start by selecting my area then move the plummet 2ft to the left and drop. At this stage I make sure my float is over depth. I'll move the float up several times to ensure this is right. Generally about the whole float length. This way I can read the deck correctly. I will feel around the swim on the left of my target area a foot towards me then 2ft away from me. After this I'll repeat the same process on the right hand side of my target. This way I have plumbed a nice square area. If I can't get this on this line then I'll try again. So when I've found this I will then make sure I've plumbed up to right at the bottom of the bristle and then make changes during the session when needed.
Normally this swim is about 1 or 2 o'clock just to make sure I have an area to move hooked fish away from the swim. Now I mentioned silt earlier. You may never be able to fish a particular peg without experiencing silt. Some have more than others. This generally builds up at 3m to 5m from the bank and will appear across the lake bed so a good area to fish will be in this 5m zone. I'll always plumb an area here. Doesn't mean I won't try at 8, 11 or 14.5m but 5m is a great holding area for fish as food naturally sits here after the nearside bank slopes away but it also offers a firm area for your loose feed and hook bait to sit. Plumb an area here and you'll more often than not fish this one and have a great session on it.

🔸 PART 3: BAIT 🔸
Gone are the days where you need to make your own paste. Don't get me wrong, lots of very good paste anglers still make their own paste and it's awesome. I once knew someone who caught lots of double figure bream and barbel on his own mix but for me it's now moved on and there are loads of different types on the shelves in your local tackle shop. Use one you feel comfortable with but a good start is a natural fishmeal type.
I normally stay away from fibre paste unless I'm wrapping around a pellet when fishing bomb otherwise I'm looking for a wet sand type texture. I can achieve this by using various brands. The reason for having it like this is so it holds well enough to cope with liners, which can be a big problem when paste fishing but the hook will easily pull through upon a take.
I'll mix up the bait backwards to how we conventionally mix groundbait. Firstly I'll pour a pint of water in a bait tub. Maybe add a touch of molasses or about half a teaspoon of adrenaline baits 'plasma' to the water for a change in flavour and aroma. I'll then pour the powder into the water allowing it to soak through. I'll do this a little at a time. The look I want firstly is like porridge. Very wet. Don't worry if it looks too wet. Just keep mixing it in with your fingers or a fork and eventually it'll stiffen up to something like a hard cake. I'll then add more water to get it to that wet sand consistency.
Now for moulding this around the hook. Big fish and paste need big hooks. A size 14 is the smallest I'll go when it's fishing hard sometimes, but on the day the norm for me is a size 12. The Middy KM-4 hook is perfect. This has a wide gape and is incredibly strong. Grab a piece of paste of about the size of a 50 pence piece and flatten it a little. With your hook in the middle fold the ends over the hook without pressing in too hard. The more you do this the more you'll get use to it. I'd go as far as saying that by the middle of your session you'll have this perfected. Now this leaves the bottom of the paste needing to be folded. This part I will press fairly hard. This'll give the bait a little more density on the bottom but will also allow it to break down. Don't worry about any torn like edges or floppy strands. These break down first and make the bait attractive. After all, you're fishing a grounded bait. And the attractants are irresistible to fish.

🔸 PART 4: FEEDING 🔸
This really is a conundrum. Some anglers don't feed at all when fishing paste. I have tried a "no feed" approach and yes I have caught fish, but then the swim had died only to pick off the odd fish through the day. This may have been due to other anglers' feeding activity, or could have been by catching big lumps early - possibly disturbing the swim - but with no bait being there and just a few withering bits of paste the swim had died. So I find that loose feeding works best for me.

A lot of anglers will strike off the paste within 2 minutes of not having a fish. This technically is feeding a swim so I just go one step further. Over the past several weeks I have fished paste almost exclusively. Though I have fished it for many years and thought I had nearly perfected my paste fishing, I have always battled with the feeding scenario. I feel now I have this under control. This is not a "right or wrong" guide, but simply what works for me. To start the session I will have the following bait at hand:
• 300ml of micros that are 'over-wetted'
• 1 pint of hard 4mm's
• 1 pint of hard 6mm's
• Half a pint of hard 8mm's
To kick off I will feed by cupping kit, 150ml of micros with around 50-80 4mm's. This equates roughly to a smallish handful of hard pellets grabbed from the tub. I will then pot these in and swirl the cup kit left and right a little to try and spread the bait over the plumbed up area. I don't want to drop it in too tight an area as it'll result in lost fish and lots of liners.
I will then feed nothing when I drop the hookbait in when I've shipped out. I have seen lots of anglers feed this way this. I personally think that regular feeding can only bring fish up, plus your loose feed may stick to the paste, resulting in it not looking right. This can lead to smaller fish dabbing at it especially if you keep feeding micros.
Like I mentioned before in my bait list, my micros are very 'over wetted'. This means they will break down quickly and put a carpet of feed on the deck. Throughout the session I will then only feed via my cup kit a handful of 6mm's and 8mm's around every hour, coupled with some loose offerings of paste. Maybe around 6 or so blobs which are about half the size of my hookbait.
At midway in the session I will then repeat this process of the initial "kick off". With all micros gone it's now only hard pellet to go at. No more loose offerings of paste are needed as struck off bait from missed bites have created an addition to the carpet-like feed that had built up.
This is a really simple approach and is now my refined regime that has been proven to work for me.
Tomorrow will be the 5th and final part of this paste fishing tips series and we'll look at reading the float in terms of bites and beating "the fizz"

🔸 PART 5 🔸
As a whole, fishing paste is very simple. Rigs are straight forward even if you shot the line sparingly to take out any slack as I do or none at all. Feeding is easy. The bait itself lends it to be fuss free. The bites however can be iffy.

Typical bites as you know them are out of the window. Yes there are loads of times during the session when the bristle just shoots under. These confident takes pretty much end up as self hookers. On the other hand, other bites to watch out for are as follows:
• Shoot offs when dropping bait in when shipped - this may happen if your mix is too soft. By this I mean that you've created an ever sinking cloud of paste that has broken down too early every time you've shipped out or that you may have loose fed too often bringing fish up.
• Small jabs - this is a result of having your paste a bit on the large side making it difficult for the fish to take or possibly smaller fish in the swim just nipping at it. This can also happen when you add loose feed to your hookbait in your pole pot. These bites will change when your micros break down or when you just feed paste and hard pellets
• Lifts and drops but the rig won't settle - these are feeding fish in the swim. Don't worry and certainly don't take your eyes off your float. You should expect it to go under within 15 seconds or so.
• A lift and a stayer - if it lifts and doesn't go under, one of two things has happened.
1: The bait has come off.
2: A fish, mainly bream or a big skimmer has your bait. They pick up a big blob of paste and then leave the feeding pack and sit away generally at mid depth or a foot or so away from your swim. Give your rig 30 seconds or even longer and study it. It may give signs of small lifts and drops whilst sitting up at an angle or even better start to move off in a direction. Lift into these. You'll be surprised as most of the times there's a good skimmer on the end. These fish sometimes are jumpers and are very acrobatic and fun to hook in to.
Now for the "Jacuzzi Effect" or "Fizz Effect". Fizzing is exciting. A very obvious indicator that fish are responding. Paste fishing creates lots of activity in a swim and fizzing can be managed easily. If you are suffering liners than just drop your bait in a little short when shipped out. Only by a foot but you'll still be in the zone and generally out of the way from the bobbing heads and wafting tails. You may find that you can keep fishing around the area that you plumbed by picking off the odd fish. That's why if you plumbed a swim of around 4 foot square it will give you options in order to avoid fishing in the middle of fizz. When I get fizzing like this I will only feed paste. I think the fish then concentrate and will then only pick up paste that's on the deck. This one includes yours.
 

Blanks

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Definitely give this a good read later when I have more time,thanks for posting.:)
 

Expanda

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Brilliant, many thanks.👍. It's the feeding that I think gives me problems. I have always fed micros out of the pot with the paste. Last year I was getting lots of little "pecks" till the paste was gone, with few proper takes. I put this down to small fish attacking the bait before anything else got a look in. A colleague was having the same trouble and suggested leaving out the micros and just feeding 4mm in the hope it wouldn't attract the small ones (prob skimmers). Any thoughts? Does this make sense?
 

Corn Master

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Yeah micros can be real nasty when fishing paste. Try two swims. Sometimes I may even just feed 8mm's. Depends on the depth of swim generally. Micros are a disaster in deeper swims and will almost always result in lost fish through them being foul hooked. A tell tale nightmare is when you strike at nothing and foul hook a fish mid depth for example
 

Gaz9243

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Great post!
So do you generally shot the float? If so where on the float do you shot to?
 

Corn Master

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Hi Gaz. One shot directly under the stem and then 3 18" inches or so above the hook. Fish straight through. Not poxy hooklengths. Just want the rig as stiff as it can be
 
D

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Yeah micros can be real nasty when fishing paste. Try two swims. Sometimes I may even just feed 8mm's. Depends on the depth of swim generally. Micros are a disaster in deeper swims and will almost always result in lost fish through them being foul hooked. A tell tale nightmare is when you strike at nothing and foul hook a fish mid depth for example
Brilliant insight, thank you.
 
D

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Hi Gaz. One shot directly under the stem and then 3 18" inches or so above the hook. Fish straight through. Not poxy hooklengths. Just want the rig as stiff as it can be
A couple of questions:
Are you fishing overdepth and if so how much?
And
Do you cup the paste in or swing it out?
 

Corn Master

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Dead depth. "I will then make sure I've plumbed up to right at the bottom of the bristle and then make changes during the session when needed". 4 no.8's on a 4x16 wouldn't shot the float anyway. The paste firstly is too soft to swing out and also, it just would risk moving the hook in the paste. Always pot fed, even when fishing short on top 2 in the margins
 

Corn Master

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I have seen a video of paste being fished overdepth and using double bulk. Most paste anglers would disagree with this method
 

danny_glover09

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Thank you. Remember reading one of your articles about corn and won me a match putting it into practice first time at wrigtington
 

Total

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@Corn Master .....Always interesting reading other paste anglers views on the subject. (y).....While I agree with most of your views, it obviously works for you....Nice one. (y)
 

derwentboy

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Interesting that mate..thankyou..I've never fished paste before and didn't realise there was such an art to it.
 
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Dead depth. "I will then make sure I've plumbed up to right at the bottom of the bristle and then make changes during the session when needed". 4 no.8's on a 4x16 wouldn't shot the float anyway. The paste firstly is too soft to swing out and also, it just would risk moving the hook in the paste. Always pot fed, even when fishing short on top 2 in the margins
Thanks again, great stuff.
 

Blanks

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Thanks for sharing your take on the black arts of paste fishing.
 
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