In today’s video Angler Nigel Sharp walks you through his PVA bag fishing methodology. He uses PVA bags for carp fishing through the winter months. It’s helped him land 40 pounders in the past. So enjoy the step by step tutorials, edges and tips he shares in this excellent video and blog post.
In today’s video we’re on one of my local venues again. We’re well into the winter after a relatively mild Autumn. We’ve had a handful of frosts. A couple of spells of cold winds. We haven’t really had a lot of bad wintery weather this year. The knock-on effect of that is the carp have fed for longer through the Autumn and they’re really fat now.
The massive feeds are over and, although the carp are still active, they’re becoming a little bit hard to get bites from. In a few other videos we’ve gone through how to use pop-up rigs, chods and hinge stiff rigs, to get a quick bite. The way I’m reading it however, is that in a lot of places now you’re having to use a minimum amount of bait to try and win a bite. I liken it to that Monty Python Mr Creosote sketch of the one wafer thin mint for sir. The carp are stuffed!
Why I Recommend PVA Bag Fishing
So if you’re just trying to get a bite I would recommend trying PVA bag fishing. It’s not something I’ve seen a great deal of people doing lately. Yet we all carry PVA mesh in our bait buckets and bags. You don’t see a lot of people using little stick bags but for me, it’s a brilliant way of getting a little bit of attraction out.
You can mask the hook with it. If there’s still a bit of leaf matter on the surface of the water, you’re not worried about hooking that as your lead goes through. It’s nice to get a little parcel of attraction round your bait.
You can buy stick mixes from different tackle shops and from Urban Bait. More importantly, you can add to them. You can put powders and liquids in.
PVA Bag Fishing Tips
Tip 1: Don’t pack them down too tight. This is crucially important. I also prefer to make them quite small.
Tip 2: Try and avoid thicker oils. If you’re going to use an oil to get it to come up in the water to draw fish down, I would use a really thin one like Urbans nut oil or a really fine quality salmon oil or something. I tend to try and use liquids that dissipate in the water rather than rise as well.
Tip 3: A good tip is not to have your hook too near to the knots. The reason being, when they melt, the knot might end up in the gape of the hook. Obviously it could cost you a fish.
Tip 4: Rig wise I tend to use a very supple braid. I don’t really complicate it too much. I think when PVA bag fishing the fish are likely to come in. They’ll have a little suck at it and maybe blow out if they feel something in their mouth that they don’t recognise as being a food source. Like a hook or something, they’re going to try and eject it. So use basically an anti eject type rig.
My favorite ones are a KD type setup on a mugger. A short hook link as always with PVA bag fishing. If I’m using it on a rotary set up I’ll just put a big loop, put the loop through the flexi swivel and then loop it over the bag and pull it tight. So very simple. Obviously if you’re using a lead clip on waters where you’re not allowed to use lead core, or you like lead clips, you can use a quick clip or something. Or if you’re on a water where you’re expecting a lot of bites.
Tip 5: Keep the finest stuff around the hook end so you don’t risk getting a bit of boilie or something over the hook point.
Tip 6: Another very popular method is to use a bag made up of roughly crushed up bread. I’m a big fan of it as I’ve caught fish to over 40 pounds on it. If you play around with it, and you don’t pack that down too tight, you can actually get it so that its buoyant. The rig will actually sit up off the bottom. Before the bait bag bursts the rig will settle. It’s a bit like using a foam nugget. It will leave a little cloud of bread floating around your hookbait.
Tip 7: An edge that I used a few years ago played a major part in catching a Royal 40. Obviously we sit around for hours on our hands with our rods out. So use that time to make up a load of stick bags with crushed boilies. A bit of stick mix, a few pellets and that. Make it absolutely loaded with attraction.
It’s quite good at this time of year when the flying rats are about. You can fire these out like you would boilies. Because they’re a little bit too big for the sea gulls to grab hold of, you can get a bit of bait in the water. They pump out attraction in the winter. At Richmond Park it was an edge because there’s a lot of diving birds. Every time they dive on that thinking its a boilie it just kicks out more attraction.
PVA Bag Fishing Summary
PVA bag fishing is looked at as being a small fish mesh method. But I’ve actually caught quite a few big fish on bags. Even on sort of notoriously difficult places like at Frimley. I caught their biggest one out there on a little stick bag a few years back. So, like I said earlier, there’s several ways you can make your bags up. You can use the custom stick mix from the likes of Urban Bait. You can use crushed boilies and you can add a few pellets to it as well.
So basically we all we all carry a bit of PVA mesh in our armory. It surprises me that you see less and less people using PVA bag fishing as a method. We’re all relying on pop-up rigs. So really I’d give it a go this winter if you’re struggling for bites. The fish are fat just trying to nick a bite really so see how that goes.
A big thank you to Alan and the team at gardnertackle.co.uk for filming this week’s video.
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