PVA Equals Bigger Fish

Barston is the home of the Method/Hybrid feeder. There have been more matches won here using this tactic than any other. But, in recent times, this killer method has lost a lot of its potency. The reason being that there has been an explosion of 4 to 6oz skimmers and this is what is making the Method/Hybrid untenable as a match winner.

These shoals of silver fish are attacking your micro pellets like piranha, so within minutes you are simply left with an empty feeder and an orange wafter hook bait. Basically, you are fishing a straight lead, when you don’t necessarily want to be!

Into this mix has come PVA. Perceived as being a purely specialist angler’s approach, PVA is now starting to make significant inroads on the match and pleasure fishing circuits.
PVA, or to give it is Sunday name, Poly Vinyl Alcohol, is soluble in water. This means that you’re able to place your loose bait directly around the hook bait in a very neat pile, giving the perfect presentation, every time.

The other major advantage is that you are able to use any loose feed that you care to mention – hard pellets, soft pellets, corn or maggots and it is the former that I have turned to, to keep the nuisance fish at bay. By using PVA bags of hard 8mm or even 6mm – I prefer 8mms – you know that you are presenting a loose feed that is wholly small skimmer-proof. It follows the old saying of “Big baits, big fish.”

Although a lot of anglers are fearful of using hard pellets as autumn turns to winter, I reckon that as our seasons change and generally become much milder, I am 100 per cent confident fishing hard pellets up to Christmas and beyond. I’ve been at Boddington in the past couple of years and witnessed anglers fishing and catching on the pellet waggler during a mild day during the Christmas holidays.

The Beauty Of PVA
Although carp and specialist anglers have used it for years, the match scene has been a little slower in ‘getting on it’, although I and a lot of anglers I know have been using it as part of our winter/cold water armoury for a number of years now. The biggest and main advantage is that you can loose feed hard baits, big baits or both. I have even used corn in the past, as long as it’s not wet so the PVA doesn’t melt prior to the cast; it’s a great way of getting these types of baits at a much longer range than you normally would be able to.
Another advantage of using PVA is that you can pretty much chuck it anywhere in the lake and fully expect to get a bite. Like fishing a single hook bait, you’re fishing for a bite at a time rather than having to fish accurately over a large bed of bait, something that the feeder angler is forced to do. Of course, I have a main swim for the day, but if I see a fish or two crash in the same area, away from where I am currently fishing, I have no qualms in casting to these showing fish. It’s a great way to put a few bonus carp in the net, particularly at a time of the year when carp bites are at a bit of a premium. If you don’t get a bite within 10 to 15 minutes, simply reel in, fix on another bag and cast back on to your main area.

It’s a great way of looking for the fish, particularly when the water is very cold and the carp are tightly shoaled. You end up going to them, rather than having to wait an age for them to find your bed of bait. That is if they are prepared to move at all, which they usually aren’t in winter.
Compared to the time-honoured feeder approach, fishing small PVA bags can sound like a very negative approach as you’re only feeding a palmful at a time. But, feeding too much in cold water can be the kiss of death.

When it comes to PVA bags and cold water, there is only one slight disadvantage. The colder the water, the slower the PVA will melt, which means that it could take a few minutes before the loose feed is revealed, meaning that you are not fishing effectively during this time.
To combat this, I like to fish mine using a Kobra PVA bag feeder. These feeders are just like Method feeders, except they have no tines to hold the pellets or groundbait in place, plus they have a length of pole elastic running top to bottom, which holds the PVA bag in place.
Once in the water, this elastic pushes down on the bag, helping it to break down quicker. I’m confident that even in the coldest water, my PVA will have melted and be fishing within 60 to 90 seconds, the same way I would be if using a traditional Method feeder.

Kobra Feeders
The feeders I use are a low-walled Method-feeder style with pole elastic to hold the PVA payload. The beauty of these compared to a standard bomb and PVA approach is that similar to the Method, I can place my hook bait directly in the pile of loose feed, so of the carp want to feed on the free baits, they can’t avoid my hook bait. There is also no messing around with stringer needles, having to thread the bags onto the hook link etc, which slows you down in a match.