I love Brava sunsets
Well, I have finally made it out onto the banks of Sierra Brava since my short Christmas session. There have been a few times since that session when the desire to go fishing has crept into my mind, but I have been quite busy with other things in January, such as my trip to Prague, and working on my house. These things were priorities. I also go fishing when I want to these days and not because I have to. I think you should fish on these terms to get the most from the sport and when I feel I am just going through the motions and enduring it, rather than enjoying it, I don’t want to be on the bank.
I am fishing a new swim. I have decided that over the next month I will try to get on the bank at least once a week to explore some new territory. I have favoured areas but the water level is really low at the moment and not how it was at this time last year. This has advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is the fish are easier to find as there is less water for them to hide in, but the disadvantage is the access around the lake is very easy with a normal car meaning areas that were quiet last year, might not be this year. Last year there were some great areas that could only be reached if you had a good 4 x 4 and you basically had this certain section of the lake to yourself. However, this certain area would not be the same at the moment as the water levels are low, so I suppose it doesn’t matter anyway!
The plan therefore is to do some homework and find some swims that offer really good fishing for myself and my clients, and fortunately on Sierra Brava that is never hard to do. For example I have only been fishing 24 hours and I have caught two carp already, from a brand new swim I have never wet a line in before. This is what I love about Sierra Brava – the whole lake fishes well to be honest and if the conditions are right and the carp are having it, most people stand a good chance of getting a bend in their rods.
I am using the new boilie I mentioned in my last post. Vital Baits Banana GLM (green lipped mussel). Banana flavoured boilies seem to work very well at Brava and many Spanish anglers use a banana boilie that isn’t exactly high in nutritional value, but it works well all the same. The Vital Baits boilie is packed full of NV. GLM, birdseed, and a subtle, smooth, banana flavour. I knew this bait would work and I have always been a huge fan of baits with GLM; now we have a great combination. I will be buying this boilie for my clients to use as I think they will have very good results with it.
Nicky Hedin at VB has also launched some new products for the angler who likes to use little tricks up his sleeve. A stick mix containing halibut, and another product containing crushed hemp and halibut. Extra attraction is sometimes needed, especially at certain times of the year, and when the water is cold, I think extra attraction can be very beneficial in drawing in some fish to your hook bait.
Playing around with Vitals products.
I have been playing around with the new products today and one of the things I did was to roll some of the boilies in the sticky krill glug. I then rolled these in some of the halibut stick mix powder and made sure they got a good coating. You can repeat the process several times if you like and effectively build up a thick layer of paste. I have seen this technique done before many times before and it has already worked for me, as I had a take at long-range at 5pm this afternoon. I was having a siesta and was woken by the run and the carp put up a nice account of itself. It came in straight as a die to begin with, like a dog on a lead, and then began to kite a little as I got it near the bank. A bit of side-strain turned it and I soon had my first twenty pounder of the year in my net. This fish would probably have weighed about 15lb last summer, but it was incredibly fat, and the extra weight pushed the needle to 20lb. First twenty of the year always deserves a photo.
First 20lb'er of the year. Always worth a photo for good luck!
My other carp was caught at 4am this morning. I caught this one using a single VB Banana GLM 20mm boilie. Yesterday when I arrived at 4pm I got the rods sorted immediately and two were put near a tree sticking out of the water at about 40 yards range; the depth is about 25 foot. I then put a kilo of the boilie around the general tree area with my throwing stick. I wanted to see if the bait would work without a stringer or any other hook bait attraction aid, and I am pleased to say it did. I think that is good proof of a good bait.
Windy but loving it!
It was hellish windy when I was setting up, which made everything more difficult than normal. I had to set up my bivvy using my Navara for shelter. It was a peg by peg erection that took some patience and technique to stop the whole thing taking off. The weather is how I like it at the moment, in the fact we are getting some really strong winds in the daytime. North westerly’s blowing up to 25km/ph, which on a big lake like Brava is enough to get a really good chop on the water and white horses racing across the lake. The days are sunny and the nights are chilly and I have timed my session in accordance with the full moon, the wind, and the fact that last night, tonight, and possibly tomorrow night are milder. 2+ as opposed to minus 4-6. It is still winter and I know ‘real’ winter has arrived in many parts of Europe, so Spain is going to get some of the knock on effects!
The short session continues into its third night, and the carp count is now at number four. I have not long ago returned the fourth and biggest of the session; another common and an 11kg/24lb 2oz specimen. The rod is back on the spot, the carp has been photographed and released, and I am sat in my bivvy drinking tea, so I thought why not write a quick blog too!
My reliable carp spotter.
Carp number three appeared yesterday evening at 9.15pm. Caught from the same long-range spot as the previous capture, and although it put up a better fight than its earlier 20lb cousin, it weighed a couple of pounds less. I released the fish immediately after weighing and whacked the rod back out in the dark, using a distant tree on the horizon as my marker.
Nothing else happened during the night so at first light and after a coffee I got the rods sorted for the day. I firmly believe in certain situations that it is better to move rods in the daytime to increase your chances of a take. For example the carp at Brava do have a habit of going out into slightly deeper water from about 10-11am. You can often see fish topping in the morning as they move out towards the deeper areas. I started doing this technique last year, and it generally works. A small bright pop-up, a one bait stringer, and a few boilies put out with the throwing stick. The idea is you cast as far as you can, but not as far that you can’t reach it with a throwing stick for baiting up. The number of bolies does not have to be huge; 20-50 is ample, topping up after a run/fish/recast. As the day begins to draw to a close, I then normally bring the long-range rods in, and put the rods back to their close range spots. It is effectively doubling your chances of catching in the day and catching during the night.
11pm - 11kg
Tonight’s carp has come from the close range tree where carp number one was caught from. I put out about 3 kilos of spod mix this evening using the Vital hemp/halibut mix I showed you in yesterday’s post. I added some maize flour, maize, tigers, and 15mm Banana GLM boilies. It was windy when I put this out with my spomb so I made sure the casts landed to the right of my marker, as the wind that was blowing to the left. This just ensures the spomb mix trickles to the bottom, roughly where you want it, and not away from your intended spot. I got these rods out by 6.30pm and had the take at 11pm. A four and a half hour wait for a nice looking carp is always welcome.
I will be packing up tomorrow morning and heading back to my house. It is going to get very cold here in the next few days and I am hoping to get back out after the cold snap has passed.
Cheers till then.