Many anglers turn up at the lake, spend hours meticulously studying the water for signs of fish, settle on a peg and chuck out the marker float. They find a bar or area of gravel and pop the marker up. Now to get the rods and spod out! I still see numerous anglers just casting at the marker and guessing how close the leads or spod are landing. There is however, a much better way of accurately hitting the marker, without also having to walk 100 yards down the bank.
Once a spot is located I will clip the line into the line clip on the reel and line it up with a far bank marker before reeling in. I place two bank sticks or pegs 12ft apart (a rod length), attaching the lead to one and with the bail arm open (using the clutch causes line twist), pay line out and wrap it around each peg until I hit the clip, counting each turn. If, for example, I counted out 12 and a half turns, there are 4 yards to 12ft so I would be fishing at 50 yards exactly. Marking this down on a piece of paper for future sessions, I would then reel the marker line in, clipping up the spod to 12 and a half turns. By clipping the spod to this range, I can bait up quickly and accurately when the marker is not in the water later in the session and even ensure I can hit the spot during future sessions without the need for marker work.
Josh with a superb 41.06 mirror caught using this approach
I am then able to clip up the fishing rods, but I allow a certain amount of extra line depending on the depth of water I’m fishing. Because of the way the lead enters the water when it hits a line clip, it falls through the water coming back towards the angler (see diagram), so clipping at the same range as the marker would mean it landing just short of the spot and your baited area. Obviously this is not needed with the spod as it lies on top of the water above the spot and doesn’t fall through the water column. With this in mind, imagine a gravel bar at 50 yards (12.5 turns) which is 15 foot deep. For each 3 foot in depth I add an extra 1 foot to the distance I need to clip the fishing rod up to around the sticks. If this were the case I would add an extra 5 foot to my fishing line, so although my spod will be clipped to 12.5 turns, my actual fishing rods will be clipped to just under 13 turns. To ensure that I am ultra accurate, the angle of the rod when hitting the clip, is also noted down. By holding the rod at vertical when hitting the clip, 90 degrees to the water level, I can gently lower the lead or spod onto the surface of the water. This ensures each rod hits the clip at the same angle and allows the angler to feel for a ‘donk’ on the lead as it hits the bottom, ensuring I am on the desired spot. Furthermore, this allows me to gently lay the spod or rig onto the surface of the lake, without having a big ‘badoosh!’ each time you cast out. If I were to hold the rod pointing at the lead as it hit the clip, this would probably be the case and the stretch in the line (100% of my fishing is done with monofilament or fluorocarbon) would have an emphasised ‘bungee’ effect on the lead and spring it back towards me further still, numbing the ‘feel’ of the lead hitting bottom via the rod tip and decreasing accuracy. By feathering the cast to hit the clip as delicately as possible, this allows the lead to have minimal effect on the stretch in the line, making the lead arch in the water column and hopefully land as accurately as possible.
Once I have clipped up, some marking tape or elastic placed by the butt ring when the line is still in the clip allows for each rod to be recast after a capture with ease and not risk putting my hook bait beyond my baited area. By writing the distance, far bank marker and always casting with a 90 degree angle in the rod when hitting the clip, even if I turned up on a Friday night in the dark, I could still hit the same spot every time on the next session.
Please excuse the terrible paint diagram, but hopefully it aids in describing what I am trying to highlight. The dotted line with a small red dot indicates the marker above a feature. The grey line is the spod, hitting the clip and having no stretch in the braided line landing bang on the marker, depositing bait all over the feature. The black line is the fishing line and as you can see I have put a small orange circle where I aim to hit the clip; just above the water line. This puts minimal stretch into the main line and reduces the arc you can see under the water line. This arc is the reason I add an extra foot for each 3 foot in depth to ensure I land right on top of the bait. As you can see if you were to clip up at the same distance of the spod, you would be landing smack bang next to the float, but due to the arch in the leads descent under water you would be landing well short of the spot. On the surface of the water, you should be landing just behind the marker.
Quite a complicated article I’m afraid, but trust me with practice, this method really is very accurate.