As I’ve written in previous posts I’m not a bait boat fan. I do though like to have a bed of bait accurately placed around my hookbait. If I’m fishing beyond catapult range then the Spod is the only real option left. I’m fairly comfortable with a spod up to about 100 yards. In fact I even like to use the spod as a bait dropper in the margins for the simple reason that it keeps the bait from spreading out too much, the type of spread you get with a catapult.
Many people will tell you , ‘Don’t spod here or you’ll blank…You need a bait boat mate!”.
I don’t actually believe this for a minute. Ok, I accept that initially the splash of a spod hitting the water may spook the fish, but they’ll be back soon. If you are fishing a bait they want to eat, in an area they are used to feeding in… A spod won’t stop them for long!!
Ok so what are the types of spod I use? There exits a whole host of varieties, and I carry a selection for all eventualities.
Types of Spod
Large sized Korda , Free Spirit: These spods are pretty big, and designed for putting a large amount of bait a long distance. You really need a dedicated spod rod for these, at least 4-5lb test. I personally use a Fox Rocketeer which I believe is 4.75lb. These spods are great for particles and loose ground bait up to 100 yards range. They do make quite a bit of disturbance, but the put out a good carpet of bait.
Medium Particle MCF: For hemp and mixed particle probably, the spod I use the most is an MCF medium sized model. This will cast a fair distance and allow me to bait up with a moderate amount of particle fairly easily. It also causes far less disturbance than a larger spod. finally if you are fishing at 50-60 yards, it is often hard to cast the heavy larger sized spods to such a short mark.
Boilie rocket: The Gardner Boilie Rocket is and excellent piece of kit for putting boiled baits out a long way. Used with a braided shock leader and 10lb line you can bait up as far as you can cast with these. They are an incredible piece of kit. I find that if you fill them with water you get extra distance and stability. The only draw back I’ve found with these is that they dive deep, so if you fishing over a soft silty bottom they can get plugged in the mud.
Pocket Rocket: Gardner also do a smaller stubbier version called the Pocket Rocket, that can be used with a normal carp rod for baiting up at a modest distance with say hemp. These spods are light and discrete so if you want to add bait to a swim with less risk of spooking the fish. I find them great for a little and ofte,n approach with hemp of partiblend.
Rods: For all but the lighter spods you are best off getting a dedicated rod of around 4-5lb TC. If you try to use a large heavy spod with a normal rod you’ll risk exploding it. I’ve cast spod of up to half a pound with my 4.75lb rod no problem.
Reels: I prefer a large big pit type reel for this, something like a Shimano Biomaster or Daiwa Emblem. As with any distance casting the spool diameter and line lay are important for long and accurate casting.
Set up: I fill the reel with 10lb Daiwa Sensor and a braided shock leader. I also find adding a small clip to the end for quick changing of the spod makes for easier and more efficient spodding.
How to Spod : Once I’ve set up the rod with the spod of my choice for the type of baiting I wish to do, I then prepare my spodding set up. Firstly I’ll pile up three bucket to form a “spodding table”. Shaun Harrison showed me this, and it avoids having to bend down for each spod, thus breaking your rhythm. I then fill the spod about half full. Avoid over filling as this will lead to greater spod spill. You want to aim to get 90% of your bait on your spot. If you do get too much spod spill, try plugging the back of the spod with some ground bait or Method mix.
I always use a spod in conjunction with a marker float. Now this can be after I’ve found a particular feature or if I know I’m on a productive area, to simply offer a good and precise target to spod and cast to. I them try to scatter the spod around this marker. I don’t want to be too accurate here however, as I believe that too tight a baited area is less productive. I want the carp to be searching my swim for food. This is also one of my main criticisms of the bait boat, that it gives a very tight compact baiting effect, all of which have hooks in. I can see then how it can be very hard to get fish confidently feeding on your bait if they get hooked each time the get their heads down. By spreading the bait over a wider, yet still fairly restricted area, you’ll get more than one carp in the swim, not every fish will get hooked and you’ll have a better chance of building a competitive feeding area.
I then cast to my marked spot and wait for the spod to pop up. It is a good idea once it has emptied to keep the rod high and the spod on the surface reeling fast. I like the Daiwa emblems for spodding as the have one of the fastest retrieves of all big pit type reels.
Clipping up : Finally, many people don’t like clipping up for accuracy, but I have to admit I’m a fan. Even if I want a bit of spread, I still want to keep my area over or near to the particular feature I’m fishing to (far margin, gravel bar, weed bed, etc.) So I find using the line clip helps enormously. You’ll need to take a few precautions, as the line clips are not as good as they used to be in my view. I wrap the line in electricians tape to protect it from crimping or cracking off.
So this is my approach to spodding. Don’ be afraid, give it a go, it’s caught me a stack of carp, including my PB.