On this trip, I started off using it exactly as UCN advised, a little and often basis introducing neat Liquid E in small PVA bags weighed down with aquarium gravel with a single glugged hookbait cast into the same area. In other words, the E was there to get the carp to investigate the food signals given off by the slowly spreading Liquid E. I have always been a fan of well balanced nutritional baits hence my using the HNV, and my practice has always been to make the free offerings as nutritionally attractive as possible. UCN suggest tiny PVA bags of pellets soaked in the E or as a light groundbait bound with a 25% Liquid E solution.
Frankly, this tactic did not work for me - perhaps I was expecting too much - as the hoped-for ‘instant action’ did not materialise. Mind you, the weather was right against me as the summer temperatures continued an abated. UCN stress the importance of first finding the carp before introducing the E, which makes a lot of sense, however, I knew that if the E was correctly applied fish would move onto the baited area. On a small lake like the Secret Garden's the fish must cover most of the lake over 24 hours so they were bound to encounter my baited area sooner rather than later, so I continued to introduce neat E in PVA bags. I also used an E-based paste as a lead wrap on a Fox Paste Bomb, my ubiquitous go-to method of getting neat attraction close to the hookbait. This is Haith's' excellent (though I say it myself) nut-based groundbait SuperNut.
I also used one or two hookbaits that had been glugged, some in the 25% solution, some in neat E. Overall, though for the most part, and due to my preferred rig, I predominantly used the HNV Wafters.
Using the paste to introduce a flood of attraction close to the hookbait has been a huge success for me over the years, ever since I first saw the tactic being used by match anglers way back in the 70s. You can use SuperNut straight from the bag. It enables you to create a highly attractive paste, which can be formed by mixing either with water or with eggs.
The egg version will break down more slowly than the water-based and can also have the effect of holding back the attraction, so I tend to use both pastes in combination, the egg paste on the Paste Bomb while introducing a few balls of the water paste using my catapult.
This shows a ball of water-based paste as it begins to break down. Within 30 minutes the ball will have broken down completely allowing the attraction within the paste ball to flood out.
Before I left the UK I asked the factory to mix me up a trial batch of SuperNut made with the new Robin Green EU/UK with Spirulina rather that the standard Robin Red. I have been a big fan of Spirulina for some time so when the new RG came out in the summer I was eager to try it out.
This is a pure powdered liver extract, which I reckon will draw in carp from the Moon, let alone from the lake I am fishing.
I like to blend Robin Green with the liver at a 20% inclusion rate.
This gives a wonderfully attractive bait - liver + Spirulina + Robin Green UK/EU - that can be used as a groundbait, a Method Mix or packed neat into PVA stocking mesh.
This is a PVA stocking mesh parcel of the blend dosed with a few mils of neat Ultimate E.
I first tested the E for PVA-friendliness as these two pix were taken 24 hours apart demonstrate. Here I am testing a small PVA bag and a section of PVA tape. Both are soaked in neat E.
This is the filled stocking mesh parcel with the PVA starting to dissolve.
Here the PVA has melted completely leaving behind the liquid and powder attraction. You can see the Ultimate E beginning to spread its unique signature around the remaining Robin Green and Spirulina and Liver.
I wanted to add still more attraction to the bait carpet so I made up some stocking mesh parcels of HNV Procrumb, Robin Red & Fishmeal SuperSoft Pellets and a pinch of aquarium gravel. This is a neat little trick shown to me many moons ago by Bill Cottam. He had a theory what if the carp were sucking in food and then blowing out the gravel, they would suck more fiercely, especially if they were not accustomed to finding gravel in their food. Sounds good to me and it seems to work well. I hope Bill won't mind me giving away one of his secrets!
The stocking mesh was dosed with neat Ultimate E.
One of the recommended uses of the E is to use a 25% solution to dampen and bind groundbait. UCN also suggest using the solution to coat, freeze and thaw boilies and it is effective in both those suggestions. This is an early trial version of the E mixed one part E to three parts water. You can see the solids in the solution and will also note that there is considerable activity going on by the way the bottle has swollen. UCN has now amended the recipe slightly to reduce some of the activity, but they still emphasise the point that you should keep bottles of both the neat E and the solution in the fridge.
This shows a bottle of 25% solution that I made up in France to treat freebies of the HNV Pro, my pastes and my ground baits.
The effect this stuff had on the food baits, that is to say, the HNV Pro, was plain for all to see: the Liquid E was having a powerful effect of the protein in the bait, which was starting to break down. This could only be good news as far as a nutritional attraction was concerned.
Frolic dog food has long been part of my baiting strategy thanks in no small part to the fact that the doggy treats breakdown relatively quickly in water, leaving behind a large carpet of attractive particles. As such they seemed idea to act as a carrier for the E solution as the water component of the solution would kick start the breakdown releasing the taste and smell of the E very effectively.
This is HNV Pro crumb, crushed and halved boilies, and Frolic bits and pieces before the application of the solution.
And this is the same stuff after a few hours. You can see at a glance the powerful effect the solution is having on the bait.
OK. I have rambled on for ages about the wonderful venue, the Secret Garden itself, and the baiting strategy I used. Now down to the nitty-gritty…Hint: The mat had a big part to play in the coming days.
There was only one fly in the ointment: Tats slipped off a kerb in town three days into the trip and broke three bones in her left foot. This put a distinct crimp in her style and affected the amount of fishing time we could both devote to the lake. The dear lass seems to tend to break her foot and leg bones: this was the fourth time she had done so in 10 years! She must enjoy having her leg in a cast!
Here's a teaser for what is to come in part 2.