In this piece I’d like to talk about the benefits of having a mobile approach to your angling. I’ll try and give you a feel for when and why I move swims, the thought processes I go through and what I do to keep myself mobile.
Moving swims isn’t always the answer to a blank session. In fact, it can be just as easy to move off fish as it can be to move onto them. That said, if it is clear that nothing is likely to happen in your chosen swim it is usually better to up sticks and go looking for some fish in another part of the lake. A large percentage of my captures have come soon after a move.
So, in what circumstances do I decide to move? It may be that I happen to see a particularly big fish in another swim in which case I will, more than likely, get on it, or several shows in another area would suggest that the Carp have moved and I need to follow suit.
On occasion it is possible to be on fish but not in the area that they are feeding. For instance, I could have several shows in my swim during the afternoon but they are two swims away during the morning. If bite time were in the early hours I would want to move to the area that they are frequenting at that time.
Generally, if I don’t feel confident of catching where I am I will move swims. If there are fish showing in front of me then I will stay put but if they aren’t it could well be time to up sticks. However, sometimes Carp are just not in a showing mood and you may be seeing very little activity in front of you. In this situation, assuming I have set up on fish initially, I would reel in and go and have a look round. If I am unable to find anything to move onto then the chances are that they are still present and just not showing so staying put is probably the best option.
Another reason to get on the move would be a marked change in conditions. Let’s say, for example, that the wind has been North Easterly for a few days and I’m fishing in an area that I’ve found some fish in around the middle of the lake with nothing to show for my efforts. The weather forecast suggests that there is a big South Westerly due the next morning. I would certainly be looking to move to where the SW wind is going to blow and get some traps set ready for when the fish arrive.
To me, being mobile is a frame of mind. By that I mean that, throughout my session, I will be constantly asking myself if I am in the right area. The only way to know whether you are on fish or not is through observation. To this end it is necessary to spend as much time as possible watching the water, both in front of you and elsewhere. It is all well and good finding fish and setting up on them but unless you watch what is going on how else will you know if they are still there or not 24 hours later?
I won’t necessarily move unless I feel it is advantageous but everything will be geared around making things as easy as possible should I decide to. Cutting down on the amount of gear you carry certainly does help although I think it is more important that you organise it well so that it is a quick and easy operation to pack up, move and set up again. Barrows make the physical part of transporting your kit relatively easy leaving the business of packing it all away as the main psychological barrier to overcome.
There are a number of things that I do to make things easier. Firstly my shelter is quick and easy to put up and down and I only ever carry the infill panel and groundsheet if temperatures are likely to be sub-zero. Secondly my gear is organised so that I can fish off the barrow and only set up fully if I am likely to be staying put for the night. All my fishing kit is housed in one carryall which is accessible whilst on the barrow whilst my living kit (ie wash kit, food, cooking pans etc) is kept separate. My tea kit, cooker and gas are kept in a separate bag so I can make a drink without unloading the barrow.
Once I am set up in a swim I endeavour to keep everything tidy and ready for a swift pack up. As soon as I’ve got the rods out the tackle box goes away, as do catapults, throwing stick, hookbait pots etc. I’ll even fold down the spod rod and put it away. All this means that as soon as it becomes evident that a move is required I can complete the task, day or night, more quickly and with minimal effort.
In my fishing I don’t find it necessary to move every day or even every session, however I am always conscious of the fact that it may improve my chances. I know that fishing where carp are present gives me a much better chance of success than waiting for them to come to me does. To me, getting on fish and staying on them is angling. Waiting for them to turn up…that’s just camping.