Pole Clinic Success!

The latest Pole Clinic at Frogmore, held on Sunday 8th May was a great success. The two coaches, Stan Kiddle with the beginners and Allan Bayman with the intermediates provided the advice and guidance to assist the 12 members who attended to get among the fish.

Pole fishing workshop 8th May 2016 – from lead coach Allan Bayman

Before the event we had an excellent level of interest with 11 anglers booking on for the day. The aim was to give anglers with minimal experience fishing the pole and chance to get an insight into this effective method and to show anglers with more experience some advanced techniques.

The fisheries team at Frogmore had done a great job and the fishery looked great.

The two groups spilt up and Stan took the basic level group and was soon finding them eager to learn and quickly getting some fish in the net.

The intermediate group were focusing on paste fishing and fishing shallow. We talked through the rigs in detail around paste and shallow fishing and had some very good questions from the group. We went into some detail around how to make paste and the different options on what to make it from covering home made v commercial packet pastes.

It as then time to put it into practice. Fishing shallow didn’t produce as expected but most people caught on paste and towards the end of the session Paul Hill started to put a run of fish together like a seasoned pro.

On the other side of the lake the other anglers all seemed to be catching well and Big Tel had a good run of fish and seemed to be enjoying himself.

The session allowed us to make some interesting small observation on how anglers could improve results or overcome problems they were having. Much of the problems could be resolved by practice or by making small changes to the way poles were set up. It is not uncommon for tackle shops to fit elastics without cutting the pole back enough so the pole bends and the elastic rubs on the inside of the pole which isn’t good for a smooth action when the elastic stretches.

Overall we had a good day but may look to increase the number of coaches next time as we were spread a little thin with such a good turn out.

We hope to host another workshop later in the year so watch this space.

VAC General Committee member Paul Hill, an angler for over 50 years now (incredible given he's still in his late 30's!) attended and here is his account of the day:

Teaching an Old Dog some new tricks!

Many years ago, I asked a very, very good angler what one piece of advice he would give to people looking to improve their own fishing. His answer at the time appeared cryptic to me, but over the years the wisdom of his reply has been proven time and again. He told me simply to “learn who to listen to and who to ignore”.

With this in mind, when the two guys who have consistently smashed the VAC match series between them over the last few years decide to spend a day imparting their knowledge, it’s pretty clear that this is an event that you need to attend if you have any sense!

I’m not a match fisherman. I’ve recently returned to dabbling with the pole after a gap of about 20 years. First lesson? There have been a LOT of changes! The kit is massively superior, and there are so many new tricks and methods. Fishing is always a learning curve, so when Stan Kiddle and Allan Bayman offered to host a Pole Clinic, I sensed a way to catch up a bit!

A dozen or so of us gathered at Frogmore on a gloriously hot spring day. Conditions were anything but ideal. First really hot day of the year, and the carp were up on the surface and getting ready to spawn. We were split into two groups, with Stan taking the “beginners” group to give them a basic introduction to pole fishing, whilst Allan took the “intermediate” guys (as I had optimistically classed myself!) to the other side of the lake for some more technical instruction.

Feedback from Stan’s group was that the session was really useful and good fun. I can’t comment too much as I am not sure what they covered, but everyone was very enthusiastic after the event, and I saw a few of them catching their first fish on the pole, so it can’t have been too bad!

On our side of the lake, Allan had decided to concentrate on two main lines of attack. We were to get to grips with fishing shallow, and paste fishing. Allan spent some considerable time talking us through the methods, the reasoning behind them, the practicalities of how to use them, and when to use them to the best effect. He demonstrated the various rig constructions, how to make the paste itself, and highlighted some of the specialist kit needed. We then went off to try our luck, and Allan spent a lot of time one-on-one with all of us, giving tips, tricks and advice.

Personally, I felt I was okay with shallow fishing. Apart from the “tapping and slapping” with the pole, my early years of roach fishing meant that I felt that I had a good grasp of the concept of fishing shallow, the feeding pattern etc. Paste fishing, however, was a mystery to me.

I’d heard the match boys talk about paste fishing a lot. It seemed to be a go-to method when things were tough, and the bites were said to be ferocious at times. I was quite keen to give it a go. Allan had said that when a swim seemed completely devoid of fish, paste could generate you a bite when nothing else was working. Sounded good to me!

Now I’m not going to try to explain the method – speak to Allan or Stan for that. Suffice it to say, when you have never done it before, it’s messy, it’s fiddly, and it’s bloody frustrating. Trying to get something “sloppy” to stay on your hook is not the easiest of tasks. Like anything, it takes a bit of practice. That said, I was successfully getting the bait presented where I wanted it, and I was hooking fish. Job done? Not quite.

I was fishing the near margin under a bush. I was convinced there were loads of fish down there. Because I was still pretty ham-fisted with this paste method, I decided to go back to the old faithful baits of pellet and meat for a while, and bank a few fish. I fished the same spot. For about half an hour. And caught nothing. Not a touch. The float never even twitched. The fish had obviously moved on. Allan wandered round at this moment to see how I was getting on. I explained the fish had moved off. “Try the paste” said he. Fiddly, messy, but the paste was duly dropped on the same spot.......and the float buried in about 3 seconds. A nice small common carp graced the net. I repeated the process, and five minutes later a small mirror took the bait. Hmmm.....so the fish were either there all along, or had moved back in at precisely the moment I switched back to paste.

Being bloody-minded, I quickly switched back to pellet for 10 minutes.......then corn......then meat. Nothing. Literally not a twitch. Back to paste. Almost instantly the float starts to twitch and bob, then buries. A bream.

Now I have no idea why this method works. What I do know is that it will generate a bite when all else is failing miserably. And of course it won’t always work. Nothing in life is that simple. What I do now possess, however, is an alternative game plan for when I need it. I’d have persevered with corn/meat/pellet that day, and gone home after a relatively poor day’s fishing. As it turned out, I had rather a good day, and it was the perfect illustration of what Allan was trying to demonstrate to us.

I’d like to thank Allan and Stan for giving up their time to host this event. It’s one of many that the Events Section runs throughout the year. From carp clinics to stick float days, from predator fishing to barbel tuition – it’s all available, and hosted by anglers that really do know what they are talking about. At worst, you get to go fishing and talk about fishing for a day. But you might just learn something really useful like I did on the pole clinic. Do you want to catch more fish? Of course you do! These guys will show you how. All you need to do is turn up. A no-brainer if ever there was one.

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