I have now got my feet firmly back on English soil after another trip onto the continent to sunny Spain where a second in the Saturday’s team match fishing with John Desque and three other top French internationals was the highlight of my weekend. (If you’ve not read part 1 yet, click here!)
Looking back at the Sensas Challenge in France I want to run you through the Waggler tactics I used to secure two section wins that helped our Ultimate Barnsley team into sixth place overall in what turned out to be a superb two day match on France’s Lake de Luby.
One of my first observations was that most of the French anglers were using floats I thought were far too big to catch the Skimmers averaging between 200 and 400grams. The Catfish were not so fussy but these size skimmers are difficult with bites hard to spot at the best of times and for me keeping the float size to a minimum when casting up to thirty meters is a must. One of the most important points is to use a light reel line so the drag on the float is reduced dramatically, so loaded onto my 4000 size reels on each of my three rigs was just a 2.6lb diameter 0.14mm Drennan Float Fish reel line.
This lake is very shallow so with a depth of just 1.5meters at 30meters it is possible to fish with a fixed float. The floats I selected were all four gram base loaded Drennan Loaded Giant Crystal Wagglers with the only difference being that I changed the insert on one of the floats for a thinner longer insert to show lift bites better as we were faced with near perfect flat calm conditions.
All three floats had lead solder wire added to the base so that each rig was fully loaded and just left me with five number 8 shot down the line plus a size 14 swivel to leave just 10mm of the plastic insert showing above the surface of the lake. To attach the float I tied a loop onto the main line and attached with a half blood knot two meters of 0.23mm Drennan Supplex and then locked the float in place with three rubber float stops so that the float would not move when casting but it is still possible to change depth easily.
If you tried to put the float straight onto the 0,14mm reel line it would move on the cast causing all sorts of problems, the shock leader also helps with fewer tangles on the bottom of the rig as the line is a little stiffer. All three rigs were shotted the same with a block of four number 8 shot and then one number 8 on top of the swivel that I attached the 30cm hook length to with a Kamasan B560 size 18 finishing off the rig.
My groundbait was a tried and tested mix of one bag of Sensas 3000 Lake to one and a half bags of Sensas Terre de Somme or ‘damp leam’ as we call it. This mix was over wetted so that it could be introduced via a catapult and would hit the bottom before breaking down. I am a big believer in keeping Skimmers on the bottom and feeding soft balls will always entice these size fish up off the bottom where they are difficult to catch. We had a bait limit of one litre of joker and 1.5 litres of any other baits but as a team we decided on just half a litre of Joker and the rest made up of Casters and dead maggots that we felt would be more important if it turned out to be a pole match as in practice we had caught well on the pole loose feeding Casters.
We all fed the pole line with a sticker mix of Sensas Gross Gardons just in case the fish came in but the waggler was fed with 20 hand size balls of the Sensas Lake mix with 200ml of joker and 200ml of casters and dead maggots to kick off the waggler line. To feed this line I used a Drennan Soft Feed catapult that I had cut the elastic down so that at full stretch the ball of GB would only go the set distance of thirty meters. So as long as all the balls were the same size you could feed right on the float every time as it was clipped up at 35meters allowing for sinking the main line to finish right in the feed area.
My first day draw was in section B14 and I had a really nice match losing just one fish at the net and amassing close to 10kilos of Skimmers and Catfish. Feeding a ball every cast with just a small amount of joker and odd dead maggots and casters per ball I kept the fish interested. These size fish don’t like too much bait and also if you started to add more Joker it just brought more Catfish that were less than 100grams each so much better to catch the Skimmers. I did loose feed most of the match on the pole line but I never saw one fish caught on this line. At the end of the match I still had a third of the joker left so it’s not always he who feeds most catches most. In this case probably the opposite!
We had all done well on the lake but being in a really difficult area of his section, Frankie had really struggled on the narrow pole sections at the top end of the lake, so this left us with a difficult task to make the top three. My second day draw was back in B section on number 4 and I hoped I could repeat the section win of the day before. I started off with the same feeding tactics but after one hour was really struggling with just a few catfish to show for my efforts. Anglers around me had all caught an odd skimmer and I could see the pegs up from me were catching Catfish at a fast rate, all on the waggler.
Just as I was thinking this may be a little more difficult, the float shot under and I caught a small Tench about a 1lb and from that point I started to catch skimmers fishing with most of the hook length on the bottom. A lot of the bites were shown as slight lifts on the float as the skimmer lifted the swivel and number 8 dropper up off the bottom. In the middle of the match the slight wind that was on the lake dropped and I picked up the thinner insert float and caught four skimmers up off the bottom but this was short lived as the wind got up again.
By the end of the match I had close to 14kilos for an easy section win and a great days fishing on waggler , I used the new 13FT Drennan Acolyte rods and lost just one fish in two days using a relatively small size 18 Kamasan B560 baited with multiples of Bloodworm hook bait. I love this type of event and finishing sixth was a good result for our team. I am sure that using a light reel line and the Drennan crystal insert wagglers helped me on this occasion to achieve a double section win for the Team.
My travels are now over for another year but I am looking forward to some good winter fishing on my local circuit, the sport can be good and there’s nothing better than catching fish on a nice, flat calm and crisp winter’s day. Bring it on!