UKCARP MAGAZINE 43 SEPTEMBER 6TH 2011I don't know what it is about some of the Oxfordshire waters, but they all respond to more or less the same approach - that being fishing very tight and spodding in the same manner.It was several years ago that I ventured the 130 miles from my home, and little did I know how some of the tactics, and indeed anglers, would influence the way I fished in the future.I mean, lets face it, when you are fishing with such characters as Steve 'Apache' Cliff, Mark Ayliffe and Jon Finch, then you cannot fail to become proficient in the Oxford way of angling.Some of you may be wondering what I'm babbling on about with 'The Oxford Way'. It is basically meticulously finding a feature out in the pond (and it could be the slightest deviation in the lakebed), then marking all three of your rods with care and casting them within inches of one another. To finish off you spod your mix out so that every single spodful lands within a couple of feet of your marker (or, in The Apache's case, six inches from the float).Now this sounds moderately easy at say 50 yards, but some of these boys (and myself if I'm in the mood for it) can do this in a severe crosswind at 120 yards. It really is a sight to see.I remember the first time I saw it in action on St John's; I actually stood there open-mouthed at the sheer accuracy of The Apache, then watched the rods busting off time after time until I could take no more and simply had to find out what he was doing, and how.Spod mixThis kind of method lends itself to the spod and my mix is a very simple one. It contains hemp, sweetcorn and pellet, nothing fancy like I said, but it's a mix that I'm confident of taking more or less anywhere and catching over.The main thing that makes it so good is the accuracy with which you are introducing it into the swim.Just imagine how many hundreds of tiny particles there are in each spod. So if you have 10 spods which go astray, imagine how many bits of food you are scattering all over your swim to give the carp the chance to enter the area and feed without you knowing a thing about it.Hookbait and rigsAs for hookbaits I always try to mimic what I'm spodding, so I use something like a couple of grains of plastic corn, a couple of 10mm baits or even a trimmed-down pop-up - basically the smaller the better.The last thing you need is a huge double 18mm bottom bait in the swim because it will stand out like a sore thumb. Think about what you are trying to achieve down on the lakebed before casting out.The same goes for rigs, so always match the hookbait to what you are feeding. If you are feeding small baits, then use a small size 10 or 8 hook, not a size 4.Good separation is critical too. By that I mean the distance between the bottom of your chosen hook and the top of your hookbait. I always like to have around 10mm with whatever rig I'm using. Just make sure you look at your rigs before chucking them out to ensure they are well tied and well balanced. At the end of the day the last thing you want to be doubting is your rig.Measuring trickThe last few years have seen me using a couple of banksticks to measure my distances. Put two sticks a rodlength apart on the bank and use them as your distances.One rod length is four yards, so 25 rodlengths is 100 yards, and what this means is you can get everything absolutely bang on with all your fishing rods, and your spod rod.I always have my spod clipped up about four feet behind my rods, so once I've felt my rigs down on a tight line the spod mix will land behind the rigs, not in front of them, causing the fish to potentially spook while feeding all over my lines."This sounds moderately easy at say 50 yards, but some of these boys (and myself if I'm in the mood) can do this in a crosswind at 120 yards"Having the right kit makes spodding easier.Mark the line once you have the required distance.Two sticks a rodlength apart help calculate distances.My mix of tiny particles contains hemp, sweetcorn and pellet.
"Get your accuracy bang on at 50 yards and work your way up in 10 yard stints, but you need to be spot-on every time, and I mean spot-on"UKCARP MAGAZINE 44 SEPTEMBER 6TH 2011KEEPING IT TIGHTIt also means you are completely self contained in your own swim, and there is no need to re-cast a bare lead to find your markers.A simple thing for night-time is to mark out your swim with any horizon markers (tree lines, street lights) so you are then fishing effectively day or night. You will be surprised how many extra bites that gets you by being able to get the rod out to the exact spot in darkness.One thing I like to do for that added bit of security on the tangle front is to slide a tiny mesh bag of pellet down the rig and simply pull the hook into the bag. It not only renders your rig tangle-free, but also straightens it out on landing, leaving a tiny amount of attraction right next to your hookbait.The bag only needs to be the size of a 20p coin - anything larger and it has the potential to move off course on the cast. If fishing at distance you'll struggle to hit the mark with a larger bag.Think about braidMoving back to hooklink materials, I favour the more subtle coated braids - or a simple braided rig will suffice. I've gone back to the subtle coated materials because there is room for error if the rig lands on a slight bit of weed or detritus.Just imagine if you are using one of the really stiff coated braids and it lands awkwardly. It could sit up at an acute angle and your rig is never going to perform how it should. The same goes for braid, which is so underused it's untrue, and I've only gone back to it because other anglers dismiss it. The only stumbling block is the tangle situation with braid, but a 20p sized bag eliminates all that and you know that you've got a chance of a bite, whatever it lands on.If you've never tried 'The Oxford Way' you could be missing a trick, but don't think you can do it at 100yds immediately. As with anything, practice makes perfect, so get your accuracy bang on at 50 yards and work your way up in 10 yard stints - but you need to be spot-on every time, and I mean spot-on.You are trying to attract the fish to your spot with your spod mix but as well as that you are aiming to fish super tight, and once mastered this can be a mind-blowing tactic.I think it is fair to say that my own fishing is now more geared around the boilie approach, but that is only because the waters I choose to fish are predominately boilie-only waters. If I'm honest I find it a lot easier than spodding tight because there is simply more room for error (maybe it's an age thing).Now and then when I'm back down in Oxford there is nothing more satisfying than getting all three rods out on a spot that's no bigger than a brolly and knocking the paint of the marker float with every spod. Then it's just a case of sitting back and waiting for the alarms to sing out. I choose subtle coated braids when I tie my rigs.Bait should mimic spod contents.Punching out to a skyline marker.Pull the hook into the bag for security.A double caught the Oxford way.