BYCAC Uncovered - Jake Wildbore

Every year now, for quite some time, the UK’s young guns are given the opportunity to battle it out in an attempt to become crowned British young carp angler of the year. This year is going to be no different and in this piece Jake Wildbore, a former BYCAC champion, is going to give you all the lowdown on how you too could become crowned king.

The Physical and Mental challenges:

Outside of the actual tactics that you will need to adapt in order to succeed there are lots of other things that need to be taken into consideration, which are often overlooked. The BYCAC is more than just a couple of days fishing; the strain it can put on both your mind and body is quite something.

Make sure that you bring plenty of food and drink, although there is catering on site, you can never have too much spare during an event like this. I would advise that you bring plenty of water, carbs and energy drinks, such as Lucozade. When the action really gets hectic, like it will for some, you need to keep your body working – this can’t be done on a bar of Cadbury and some Doritos. A tired and hungry brain will only underperform.

With your energy supplies organised, it’s now time to start thinking tactically about how you are going to fish during the match. There are several different methods that will bring you success and on the day, who knows what might be successful? There are however, certain methods that seem to score well every year and it’s these that I am going to talk to you about.

The Solid Bag -

There are several different ways in which these can be used. The solid bag is a great, cast anywhere, presentation. For this reason, many of the lads from previous years have had great success by simply casting them at showing fish or as far as they can towards the middle where many of the fish reside. The solid bag isn’t only effective when fished in single hook bait fashion, it is also very effective when fished over a bed of spodded bait. There is no fear of tangles with a solid bag and this is highly beneficial in a match where every second that your rig spends in the water is vital – tangled rigs could be the difference between first and last place.

The Zig Rig -

Zigs have become increasingly popular over the last five years or so and these days it is a rarity for people not to use them during the match. The carp spend the majority of their time off of the bottom and in a match situation where your fishing time must be maximised, it’s not hard to see why they can be so effective. The Brasenose carp are shoal fish and dependant on the weather, they could quite easily spend the majority of their time cruising along just beneath the lakes surface. When fished correctly, the zig rig can out fish all other methods.

One tactic that really has become popular amongst BYCAC competitors is spodding over the top of zig rigs. The idea behind this method is to create a cloud of attraction around the hook bait. The carp get enticed by the cloud and as they enter it to feed, the only wholesome food item is your piece of foam. To create your sloppy spod mix you will need something like Mainline’s Cloud 9, this Ideal. When I actually won the BYCAC for myself I was using a combination of liquidised baits, which included brazil nuts, tiger nuts, hemp and maggots. This is more hassle than buying it readily prepared but sometimes the aggro can be well worth the effort.

Big Baiting -

There are a lot of fish in Oxlease and they are capable of eating a hell of a lot of bait when they want to. Because of this it can be a good idea to spod a large area of feed. By introducing a load of bait you are putting yourself in a position where if the carp turn up on you and feed, you could have a big hit. If this is the route you go down then you MUST top up the spot after every bite, straight away, as soon as the fish is in the net, send a few spods out. If you get lazy and stop introducing bait the carp will simply eat it all and move on, before you’ve had the chance to capitalise on the situation.

Those are the three most favourable tactics in my opinion but don’t be afraid to try something new though.

Hook bait choice is a very important subject, you want the carp to be picking up your hook baits as quickly and as regularly as possible. If you are applying large quantities of bait to the swim then you want a high attract bait attached to the rig, the bait is used to draw the fish onto the spot and the high attract bait is used to get them hooked as soon as possible. A hook bait that doesn’t stand out could quite easily go unnoticed for long periods of time whilst carp are feeding on the spot – opportunities missed. I have always favoured things like bright pop-up’s or plastic corn as both are very effective. These high attract baits can either be fished on their own or used to tip another bait with colour, a snowman presentation for example.

For your zig rigs I would advise that you use either foam or cork as these are the most buoyant option, which is vital when the bait needs to hold up long lengths of monofilament. These flavourless items of food can be soaked in all sorts of liquids if you want to add attraction to them, they will work without it though so don’t worry to much.

This brings me on to the Goo, which has transformed the match carp fishing scene. The South African team have highlighted the power of the Goo, winning the world championships four years in a row, even on our home turf in the UK. The attraction the Goo provides is unrivalled and it their success was based solely around this product, the way they use the Goo, their understanding of its power, has seen them become almost unbeatable, until now. Their success cannot be questioned and nowadays we are all fortunate enough to able to access the product too.

Whether you decide to use it in order to boost your hook baits, spod it out or simply apply some to your PVA bags before casting, I would certainly advise that you incorporate it into your fishing in one way or another.

Preparation is key to success and anyone that wants to stand a realistic chance of winning must go fully prepared. Tedious jobs such as the tying of hundreds of rigs and PVA bags isn’t going to be fun but it is something you will need to do. Having as much ready before you arrive will save you time whilst actually fishing, enabling you to maximise your rod hours during your eliminator and the final if you are lucky enough to get through.

With the action being so hectic at times, you are going to need to bring spares. The last thing you want to do is run out of food, tackle or bait. The anglers in the top 5 are no doubt going to be catching large numbers of fish and in this situation, one pack of hooks and 10kilos of bait isn’t going to see you through. Its not feasible for everyone to bring loads of tackle and bait but if you can then I would advise that you do. You can never have too much spare in your armoury.

I think I’ve just about covered the most important aspects of the BYCAC tournament, the only thing I haven’t said is, enjoy yourself. Fishing is supposed to be fun and although it can get quite competitive during the match, remember to show good sportsmanship all the way through.

Have fun and good luck!

Jake Wildbore.