In this live piece we join Kia Sanger down at Todber Manor Fishery and the lake of choice is Big Hayes. Now Big Hayes is classed as the specimen water at Todber and has a fantastic stock of big carp. Kia actually works at the fishery so it’s going to be a good opportunity to pick his brains about the venue and how he goes about approaching it at this time of year. After meeting him in the on-site tackle shop, he gathered a few items hat he would be using on the session and we were keen to find out why he chose the bait he did.

Kia Sanger: “Now the brilliant thing about Todber is that they are boilie fish, so an out an out boilie approach at this time of year is the key to getting great success. I normally use Live System boilies in 15mm so a bag of them will be coming with me. Now, for the hook bait choice I will always use a hard hook bait, tipped with a Northern Special Mini for a fleck of colour and also to help critically balance the rig, and that’s basically all you need, you don’t need loads of boilies at this time of year because the water is still warming up, but introducing them little and often is the key.”

We headed down to the lake and after a walk about Kia chose a central area of the lake to fish. We asked him to explain his choice…

KS: “Although there are two islands on this lake that can be good holding areas, I feel like there is more chance of building up a hit of fish out in open water, as there should be constant fish traffic coming through. It also gives me a good chunk of water to go at and because I work down here I generally keep an eye on areas that produce fish regularly and the open water swims definitely do just that.”

Kia got the rods out and we wanted to find out a bit more about the presentation he was using on this trip.

KS: “The rig and setup couldn’t be any simpler to be honest, it’s just a simple blow-back rig but instead of using silicone or a ring on the shank of the hook I have secured it in place with an overhand knot, then I have quite a large piece of shrink tube, just to help that hook turn over. This is all fishing on a lead clip set up with a 3oz lead. Just before I cast out I will attach a small mesh bag of three boilies to the rig, which does two things: it provides me with some more attraction around the rig, but also eliminates tangles when casting out.”

After getting the rods out we noticed Kia set his bobbins in a certain way and we wanted to know the reasoning behind this.

KS: “Well, because we haven’t actually seen any shows I want to know if the fish are about, so having a big drop in the bobbin will pick up liners of any fish passing through. Generally, if they’re in front of you, indication on the rods happens pretty quickly.”

After a matter of seconds both bobbins started lifting and dropping slowly.

KS: “Now, you’ll notice how slowly the bobbins are creeping up and dropping down; this says to me that the fish are out near the rig, if the liners were fast and jerky, then generally they are a lot closer in, so I think we’re in the right area.”

That was really interesting and good food for thought. Kia started to introduce a few baits over to the area in the catapult, probably around 20 to 30 baits.

KS: “I’ve found on here that the noise of the plops on the surface from the baits actually attracts the fish and spurs them on to feed, so by introducing around 20 to 30 baits every 30 minutes to an hour, it keeps the fish grazing around in the area and hopefully one will make a mistake by picking up the rig.”

After around an hour Kia had his first bite. The fish plodded deep for much of the fight before he eventually put the net under a rather chunky looking common. Lifting the fish on to the scales the dial pulled round to just over 31lb, a right result. After a few photos he slipped the deep bodied common back to its watery home.

KS: “Well that is an epic start, to catch one over the 30lb mark! To be honest with the amount of liners I was getting I feel like this should have gone quicker than it did, but either way it’s nice to get a bite. It actually felt like a better one too during the fight, so it was no surprise when a decent fish popped up.”

Throughout the day Kia managed to string together a number of bites, all of which were 20-pounders but not many others were catching. We were keen to find out his thoughts.

KS: “Now we allow bait boats here at Todber and a lot of anglers will take advantage of that, but I really don’t think it’s the way, dropping tight clumps of bait on to areas makes them harder to catch, in my opinion. Because there isn’t any weed in the lake and it’s a clay pit, the fish are very good at getting away with it, so to make them more catchable I feel that having a spread of bait keeps them moving more and in return makes them easier to hook. If you look at the area I have been catapulting my baits in today, it’s spread over probably a good three rod lengths, so they’re constantly having to move between mouthfuls.”

That made perfect sense and was definitely worth thinking about. The evening drew in and dark clouds formed in the sky – it looked like it was going to be a wet and windy night. After riding out a ridiculous weather front, we awoke in the morning and made a brew, it was clear by the bags under Kia’s eyes he’d had a busy night.

“I managed another four bites throughout the hours of darkness and that was enough for me – I wound in after that, the weather was outrageous; the 50mph winds and ridiculous downpours got a bit much! But now that has all subsided it’s time to get the rods back out.”

He rebaited his rigs with Live System hard hook baits tipped with the NS Minis; it seemed on this trip the colour didn’t make a huge difference, as long as there was a fleck of something. We wanted to find out Kia’s best advice for an anglers visiting Todber for the first time.

KS: “My best advice is really easy – keep it simple! Far too many people try and overcomplicate things and you really don’t need to, these fish absolutely love boilies, so just stick to an out and out boilie approach and I’m sure you will nick a few bites along the way. I see too many people using particles and little bits, then wondering why they’re getting pestered by the bream. Bring a catapult, a boilie that your confident in like the Live System, simple but effective rigs and I’m sure you’ll get bites if the conditions are good.”

Kia managed another couple of bites that morning to mid-twenties before it was home time – a very successful session, fishing in a very simple way. Hopefully showing Kia’s simplistic style of fishing gives some food for thought when you next think about your approach on venues like this, proving how you don’t need to overcomplicate things. Furthermore, why not put the theory into practice yourself with a session on Big Hayes?