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By Jeff Vaughan

Because like most Brits I have been carp fishing all my life, I sometimes take things for granted and forget that most Canadian and American carp addicts have only been at it a few years at most. Also there are small changes I make in almost all aspects of my fishing to tailor them to the Canadian carp. Spodding is no different so here is my guide to spodding Canadian style.

Rods: A loaded spod weighs 5 to 8 ounces, and you need to be able to cast this accurately to around 50 to 70 yds when needed. So the rod needs to be reasonably heavy. If you are looking for a purpose built Spod rod you will probably be looking at test curves between 4 and 5.5 lb. Most of the spod rods in my hire kits at the motel are my regular 3 lb t/c carp rods that have been broken at the tip so cut down to make them more powerful. These work very well. However when I put the guys on one of the few “longer chuck” swims I will give them purpose built spod rods as it does make a difference. For me the Greys Prodigy spod is BY FAR the best spod rod I have ever used. It is only 4.25 t/c but with this I can spod at close to 100yds and my arm doesn’t fall off at 50 yds.

Reels: You live and learn. I like an awful lot of anglers took the attitude of “it is only a spod reel” so paid little attention to the reel as long as it was big enough to hold the line and hit the spot. I have reels in the shop for $50.00 which I brought in for spod fishing and they will do the job. However I am increasingly doing more and more spodding at Long Sault so I upgraded my spod reel to a pukka Daiwa big Pit reel. What a difference. Because it is smooth and fast it picks up the spod much faster and takes a lot of the drudgery out of the spodding. The faster you bring it in the faster you can get it out again and get the job done.

Lines: You can use fairly light nylon say 8 to 10 lb with a braided shock leader, but most of you out here will know I am pretty much a braid fanatic, so I recommend the reverse. I use 30 lb Braid with a 30 lb Nylon shock leader of about 15 feet. If you use light nylons the shock leader is to take the initial strain of the cast, and 8 ounces of spod can put a lot of pressure on a cast!! But if you are using 30lb braid the shock leader is about protecting your poor little pinkies. Yes you can wear a finger stool, or a casting glove, but I am Mr Simple and I can spod out 30 KG of bait quite happily with my nylon shock leader. If I was looking for very long distance spodding I would drop down to 20 or even 10 lb braid and move to a braided shock leader of at least 50 lb, but where I am in Canada I never need to spod great distances.

Spods: As in all things fishy, there is a bewildering range of spods on the market, different sizes, shapes, number and size of holes etc. Mostly this is just the tackle companies trying to be different from each other and to sell you more kit. YES if you are fishing in France at 120yds you may need a special long range super duper spod. In the main out here you just want a large spod that tips up and empties efficiently. What MANY people do not know is the difference between a hi-buoyancy and a low buoyancy spod. 95% of spods are high buoyancy, they tip up fast and empty near the surface. They are easier to use and correct for 90% of your fishing. However in deeper, faster moving waters you need a low buoyancy spod that sinks quickly and tips up closer to the bottom. The longer the bait is sinking in the water column the more it is moving down stream and the less control you have over it. Last year in the CANAM I watched all of the guys upstream of me merrily casting conventional spods and feeding my swim for me. I used a low buoyancy spod (along with method balls fired by catapult) to keep the bait on the bottom and won my section by quite a margin. For the record I use the Korda spods for surface work and have a range of my own spods I developed for deeper, flowing work.

Casting/fishing the spod: Everyone knows how to cast a spod right? Well…..I watch anglers all day and may have to question that fact.

The first point is of course the distance you want to fish. If you have a known feature you want to fish over or close to this it is simple, you just cast the empty spod to that point, lift the rod to 12 o’clock and clip the line into the clip on the spool. But often out here there are no real features to aim at and your main feature will be your bed of bait. So make it easy on yourself!!! Put a bed down at a nice comfortable range far enough away so you can get the fish out of the shoal fast to avoid spooking, but close enough to hit every time accurately and comfortably.

Once you have your distance and have clipped up. Pick a marker on the far bank and align your body with this. If you are going to fish after dark, always pick a high feature that you will see on the skyline later. Cast the rod with enough power to “overcast” your spot a little, while the spod is in the air hold the rod high at 12 O’clock and as you feel the spod “hit the clip” lower your rod fairly slowly so the rod always feels under tension and cushion the spod into the swim. With practice you will get used to feeling the spod and can lower it into the water with comparatively little splash. Once in give it a few seconds to start to empty and a few sharp twitches to help the bait come free. A lot of people do not give the Spod long enough in the water to fully empty.

Then comes the Long Sault barn dance; In the UK I will spod a fairly tight area as I am fishing for maybe 1 to 5 fish in a shoal. Out here there may easily be 100 in the shoal so I have a little dance around the swim. I start at the front edge of the swim and put say 3 or 4 spods out at that range. I then walk backwards 10 feet and do the same. I then move further left or right and repeat the process. I will also be using the rod to lower the spod at different distances from each point. NOT focussing on total accuracy as I would back home. Depending on how many fish I am expecting in an area I will normally feed a 20 to 30 feet area heavily and also fire boilies over a wader area (and some on the spot) to give the fish a few road signs to follow to the café.

Next comes hitting the spot with the rig and bait. Mostly if I have followed my own advice I am not fishing beyond 60 yards tops and often only 40. So I can “free cast” into the area fairly accurately. If I am fishing at greater distance or in the dark there is more of a problem. The only way to ensure accuracy is to mark the line at the correct distance. There are two ways to do this, either with a piece of bright coloured marker braid (I use fly line backing in bright orange) or with electrical tape. If conditions are correct, simply walk the spod out along the bank and put a stick in the ground. Then walk the rigs out to the same distance and tie on the braid or tape so the marker is between the but and second ring. Electrical tape is easier but is prone to moving (slipping) on braid, Marker braid doesn’t move but is a buggar to get off when you change swims. This year I am going to experiment with pole elastic as in theory this should be easier to get off.

When you tie on the marker braid it is important to leave long tag ends. Do not cut the braid back close to the knot leave say 2 inches either side. This does two things, It makes casting easier (believe it or not) and you will get used to hearing the sound of it leaving the reel and hitting the rings which allows you to stop the line on the cast.

If you wish, on every new cast you can cast into open water away from the bait, get the range and clip up on the spool, and then recast over the bait, but pretty soon you will get used to hearing the marker and stopping the line without using the clip. Of course if you do clip up. REMEMBER to unclip before you fish as rods and reels come expensive!!

Spod Mixes: As a general rule of thumb, spod mixes should contain a mixture of different sizes of bait and smells and contain a good quantity of your hook bait in it. My only real exception to this is fishing fast water swims where I normally only spod corn (maize) as the lighter particles just wash away.

If I am doing just a normal short session, my spod mix will be just cracked corn, regular corn with some broken boilies in it. If I am having a “serious session” I am far fussier. For a serious session I will use a ratio of approximately 25% cracked corn, 25% cooked hemp seed, 25% whole corn and the balance made up of a good quantity of broken boilies ( I use a liquidiser to do this) two tins of sweet corn ( carp love this, shame it is comes off the hook so easily) and two or three tins of Tuna, (just the cheapest I can find in brine and mashed up in my hands so it breaks up and mixes well) and lastly some Kosher salt a good double handful. (Sea salt is also good but table salt is not great) I will often also add a good squirt of whatever flavour I am using and sometimes chilly powder. If I want to stodge it up, I add some porridge oats, I would prefer to use sinking fish pellet as stodge, but I have not yet found a good source in Canada, although I may have this soon.

I say above IF I want to stodge it up, for a reason. In Europe we stodge up spod mixes to stop spod spill when casting. Quite often I WANT spod spill. Spod spill is the stuff that flies out of the spod in the air and falls between you and the desired baiting area. Every day is different which makes carp fishing so exciting, but so difficult to give advice on. Normally as I have said, we are fishing for vast patrolling shoals of fish, not small pods. The spod spill is effectively giving more of those road signs I mentioned earlier and fish will search out the bed when enticed by the smaller amounts of food scattered around. If fishing has been tough and I am prepared to sit it out longer I will stodge up the bait and keep it tight. On the same subject, most people overfill their spods. If you fill it up to the top, a lot will spill out, if you leave say ¾ inch from the top, far less will fall out, and it also empties faster.

Well as always that was far more than I intended writing. However spodding is so important in getting big catches. Do it properly and you will be amazed at the difference it can make.

Here are some great articles to get you started!

Casting   |   Feeding   |   Fish Location   |   Fishing the Method

Fishing With Corn   |   Flavouring Baits   |   Float Fishing for Carp

Float News   |   Getting an Edge   |   Hook Baits

Quiver Tipping for Carp   |   Spodding   |   Marker Floats and Feature Finding

Asian Grass Carp