John Bailey – The Kingfisher Diaries
December 31st 2012
Firstly can I wish everyone a very Happy New Year for tomorrow. I know over the last year or so I have been on my hobby-horse but the whole question of fish picking up a bait, feeling pressure and therefore dropping it, is one that is dominating my thoughts athrough out the year. I know bolt-rigs rely on high-octane pressure: they panic a fish into evasive action which results in self-hooking but, outside that arena, I think fish feeling pressure is frequently disastrous.
From the late summer onwards, I've been increasingly aware that barbel, chub, roach and pike will pick up baits and put them down very quickly if they feel there is anything wrong.
This is why I began to lay on with a float for barbel down on the Wye back in September. It was quite obvious that with normal quivertip and touch leger techniques, the barbel were rejecting baits very quickly indeed. The float gave them just a little more slack and built up a sense of security.
It's laying on that's producing some good roach for me now on the River Wensum. And, when I'm piking, I try to make sure my rigs are as delicately balanced as I can possibly make them. Indeed, when I ‘m dead baiting, I'll go to any lengths to try and avoid using even the lightest of leads.
I am convinced that a lot of anglers don't even know a fish has picked up and rejected the bait, the majority of times this happens. I think we'd all be amazed how frequently big fish in particular inspect our bait minutely and then reject it. A biteless day needn't always be so if we think our rigs through very carefully.