Fish spooking from my bait.

jimmyr

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Hi everybody, I am a bit perplexed after blanking yesterday, Ok i normally go to the Lea at around 4-430 in late afternoon, start fishing at 5, yesterday I decided to go early morning, a complete turnaround.
weather was great at five in the morning, lovely and overcast, problem was the river was low and gin clear, anyway started fishing with luncheon meat as alway, nothing not a touch, put my second fav bait on which is bread, large or small no matter still no touches.
I was amazed when I put my Polaroid glasses on, lots of barbel, chub, even Carp in the swim, but alas any decent fish would get to within a foot of my bait and zoom off, but they were all attracted to my hookbait, the small fish would be eagerly demolishing the bait, they loved it but the chub barbel although eagily homing in just zoomed off every time and that’s no exaggeration at all.
there are lots of snags for the barbel to try their escape, that’s why I use ten pound Berkeley normally if fishing into dark, I even changed my line down to six pound chameleon outcome was the same anything I would have targeted just zoomed off at a vast rate of knots.
I was fishing a very narrow part of my club river, just an underarm cast of my bait which comprised of a single ssg shot 15” from my size twelve hook.
I tried large luncheon meat and small but nothing, I was fishing the same way as I would when starting a session at five o’clock in the late afternoon.
i caught nothing in fifteen hours, if all the fish that were definitely attracted took the bat I would have bagged up so to speak.

thanks for reading.
Jim.
 

Neil ofthe nene

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Two things come to mind. Could the stationary bait look unnatural when everything else food-wise would be carried by the current.

Second is that were the fish spooking from the bait or you? Morning the sun is in a totally different position and the light getting brighter as opposed to evening. Could this have caused you to be more visible to the fish? If you could see them then they can see you. Casting further downstream might have helped.

One trick that has been on my mind for many years is to use an umbrella behind you to provide a neutral silhouette that masks not only your outline but any movements you make. It may look odd setting up an umbrella on a dry day, particularly if it is not providing you with shade. But if the water is clear and/or you want to fish close in with fish that spook easily like silvers (carp don't seem to care) then it may just help.
 

jimmyr

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Thank you for the reply fella, I was sitting well back from the waters edge and the weather was pretty overcast at certain points throughout the day.
with the poloroids I could see big fish close in to my bank not being spooked by me, just gliding away when they were ready, it was quite exciting to watch their activity, it was just the hook bait that they were afraid of i am sure.
l could not come down on line strength any further,, I even tried to hide the line with weed but everything I tried made no differenc.
but hey ho, will stick to my short evening session, I’m pretty certain that had I stayed I would have caught as it went into darkness.
 

Neil ofthe nene

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The line debate is interesting and also going on on another thread.

A few years ago on a Tight Lines programme Bob Roberts showed some underwater footage and barbel reacting to line that was invisible and other line that was not. When a fish brushed the invisible line the whole shoal spooked out of camera shot. They did not react when brushing visible line.

There was obviously something about the bait that they were suspicious of.

We used to take an annual holiday on a campsite in France that had three lakes containing carp to around 5-6lb max, most were smaller. I found out that the carp would not take a whole grain of corn. I think they had just seen too much of it from campers fishing possibly quite crudely. I had to cut a grain in half to get a bite. My theory being that once a grain had been ragged by the small roach & rudd that the carp saw it as safe to eat. So cut in half it looked as if it had been in the water a while and thus safe.
 

squimp

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I remember an afternoon carp fishing with Jeremy Wade (before he was a tv star), we found a few nice carp in a weedy bay. The water was gin clear.

we started throwing decent sized bits of meat onto the weed about 5 metres out. After the fish( 2 or 3 of them) had eaten half a dozen bits we thought we would catch one.....

rig was super basic - 12lb ish line and a short drab braid hooklink. No weight. Jeremy cast the lump of meat into the general area and we settled down to watch....after a few minutes one of the same carp came into the swim and saw the meat. It swam steadily towards it until it was about 18” away at which point it froze and then it shot out of the swim. We couldn’t believe it - how could it tell the same bait was now tethered while it was still 18” away??

another place I used to fish was a ‘serious‘ carp water in Essex. There was a swim there with a huge Lilly bed on one side of it and a lovely gravel plateau exiting the lilies. People used to test their baits in that swim. The fish would come out from under the lilies, see the boil ies, swim over and then gently roll the baits along the bottom (with their lips) before they ate /rejected them ! What they were doing was checking to see if the bait was on the end of a hooklength....If the bait rolled a reasonable distance, then it was deemed safe to eat.

when you see behaviours like these in the margins, you wonder how we ever catch anything when we cast out into the distance.
 
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