The Forgotten Stringer - Joe Stephens

The stringer is something that has, for some reason, been somewhat forgotten about in recent times. Many things run in trends and it would appear the stringer has fallen victim to this. PVA is used all the time in carp fishing but the stringer is not; it should be.

The idea is very simple, but at the same time, very effective. By simply threading a small amount of boilies onto some PVA tape and then attaching it to your rig you are adding a whole load of attraction to your hookbait. Once the stringer has been cast out, it will dissolve, leaving a few freebies in the immediate area of the hook. This will often tempt the carp into feeding.

Boilies are best suited to the stringer but other baits will work too. I haven’t done it personally, as I tend to fish boilies all year, but I have heard of other anglers use all sorts on their stringers. You can use things like tiger nuts or sweetcorn, both of which are very popular carp baits. Adding a lot of salt to the water that these particle type baits are sat in, and then drying them off slightly will make them PVA friendly; worth bearing in mind.

There are several ways in which you can fish with stringers and a few different reasons to use them too:

When boilie fishing, the ideal hook bait is obviously going to be a boilie of some kind but why not accompany this with a couple more. A two or three bait stringer amongst a spread of boilies will help you to achieve quicker bites. Rather than picking totally at random, until eventually reaching the hook bait, the small cluster of baits will grab the attention of the carp quicker. The quicker you can get bites when introducing a decent quantity of bait, the better. This will enable you to capitalise on the amount of feeding carp in your swim. Where a bright hook bait might appear a little too obvious, a simple stringer won’t.

At the opposite end of the scale, rather than fishing amongst a baited area, you have the option to use stringers as a one-bite tactic. Just like a PVA bag, a stringer cast at a showing fish is a great way getting a quick bite. The opportunist style of angling is the most effective for many anglers, especially those with limited time. This tactic falls perfectly into the hands of that angler.

Aside from the style of angling in which stringers can be used, you also have a technical element that they can contribute to and that is the reduction of tangles. Today I am using long hairs and you the way I have attached my stringers greatly reduces the chance of the rig tangling. A tangled rig is an ineffective rig and none of us want to be sat behind one of them. By attaching a stringer to the hook end of the rig you are adding weight, which during flight will create a large separation between the lead and the bait.

Something else that the stringers do well is present amongst silt, where single hook baits might plug slightly or become submerged, stringers wont. Due to the large surface area, they don’t fall as easily through the water, nor can they be dragged down amongst the silt as easily. A stringer will always settle nicely over the top of a soft bottom and I have had great success using them amongst the black stuff. If your boilie fishing on a silty lake with bottom baits then stringer certainly has it’s place.

I should also mention is the effectiveness of stringers on venues that contain large numbers of small, nuisance fish. A pva bag will enable you to add a whole manner of goodies into the mix and create a super attractive feed. There is a downfall to this approach though, the littler fish in the lake are able to home in and destroy your presentation. I have fished lakes in the past where the roach are so prominent that it is literally impossible to use things such as stick mixes, they simply don’t last long enough. Stringers on the other hand, will enable you to add attraction to your hookbait without the fear of it all being eaten before the carp arrive. There’s nothing to say you cant use the baits in the same style either, glugging them in fish oils before hand can give you all the attraction of most stick mixes.

As with any pva product, the depth of your venue can effect your presentation when using pva. This becomes a problem, especially in deep, warm water where making sure your pva doesn’t break down before it hits the ground is important. Doubling the pva up before threading your baits onto the stringer will reinforce the breakdown time of the stringer. In deep, warm water the pva will hold out and make the bottom. During the colder weather, especially in deep water, you need to make sure are not doubling up the pva tape, if you do it could take a long time to dissolve.

There really is no end to what you can do with stringers but there is certainly a shortage of anglers that are actively using them. Like with anything, stuff goes out of fashion but at some point it always back around - this opens a massive window of opportunity. If you haven’t used them then get on the stringers and get catching.

Joe Stephens