Why I Love Spod Fishing for Carp: Spod Braids & More
Spodding isn’t the easiest way of baiting up, but as with anything if it’s difficult it’s often worth doing. And trust me, if you find a venue that response well to spodding, you will agree. I utilise spodding in my angling more than most, including in the winter months.
In essence, spodding is a method of getting small baits such as pellets, particles and hemp into a swim at distance. Attempting this through other means, such as throwing stick or catapult, would cause the bait to disperse as it travels through the air, and would therefore be very inefficient.
To spod effectively you must use the right gear, so don’t start attaching a spod to any old rod if you want to stand a good chance of landing a carp or two. I personally know of many anglers who dabbled with spodding but didn’t see any results and did not continue with it. In many of these cases, I put it down to not using the correct gear. My opinion on this is reinforced by the fact that every time I’ve shown people how to spod with the right equipment, they’ve gone on to be successful with it.
Like most anglers of my time, back in the day I tried spodding with pike rods, surf rods and pretty much anything that looked like it could cast a spod. Fortunately for anglers today, there are plenty of rods designed soley for spodding.
Getting the spods out there
What is a spod?
Spods came into existence back in 1981 and initially were called doppelgangers. Which Martin Locke, who at one point held a world record carp, couldn’t pronounce and so called them Spudwangers, later being shortened to spods.A spod is hollow rocket-shaped container, complete with nose cone and fins to help reduce drag as it flies through the air during the cast. Before lift-off, the spod is filled with loose feed and cast as accurately as possible to a specific area of water. Once the spod hits the water, the buoyant nose cone causes it to flip and face the surface, releasing the contained bait in the process.
One of the main features a spod can have is holes; some spods have holes in the sides and others do not. As you would expect, the loose feed within the spod is washed out faster and enters the environment much quicker if the spod has holes; holed spods are also easier to reel back in. Conversely, the non-holed spod is great for other kinds of baits, like liquids, bloodworm or maggots.
Nowadays, spods are produced by many different manufacturers, but typically come in black with an orange or yellow nose cone. My personal preference is to use Gardner rockets for most scenarios.
Two holed spods, L and XL
The correct tackle
If you want to be successful with spodding, you need to use a rod that is intended to be paired with a spod or at the very least is capable of casting a spod that weighs between 3-9oz. A 3lb TC carp rod can work if you’re using a small rocket spod that’s at the lower range, around 3oz when loaded. Whatever you do, don’t try anything heavier as it will break your rod.
Today there is a huge range of spod rods on the market and picking one up that fits your budget shouldn’t be a challenge. I use a 12’ 4lb TC rod and 99% of the time I am able to cast a spod as far as I need to with it. Finally, you need to consider the reel you’re using and importantly you need to use a reel with an decent line clip on the spool as it will be used almost every time you spod.
You need a strong line clip
Braid or Mono?
The next step is to fill the spool with line – you have two primary choices, braid or mono. A somewhat contentious subject, with both having their advantages and disadvantages. A thinner line is generally preferred when you want to cast further, so braid which is very thin, is the first choice for many anglers when spodding.With that said, it does have its downsides. It can tangle quite easily, especially when fishing at distance. This can be countered by simply wetting the braid on the spool just before casting out and not filling the spool right up to the lip with braid can also help. I always leave at least a quarter of an inch gap between the lip and the braid. Nobody wants to spend their time trying to unravel a wind knot in a braid, even more so when the temperature drops. A 30lb braid will do the job in most spodding scenarios, but don’t go much lower than that without the use of a shock leader (we’ll cover that in a moment).
Mono line is also a good choice for spodding and is more resistance to tangles and wind knots. Unlike braid, you can fill the spool up to the lip when using mono line and won’t encounter issues. If you’re considering using mono, my main piece of advice would be to not use a 30lb+ line, as it will be too thick.
Monofilament on the go
For me, I like to use a 8lb mono on my spod reels and braid straight through on my marker reels. To prevent cracking off when using thin reel lines (like 8lb mono), a shock leader is an absolute must. I tie a Wychwood 40lb Shock Braid leader to the end with a Mahin Knot.
A shock leader is included so the line doesn’t break, as it takes the force of the cast in place of the line itself. Put a minimum of six turns of the shock leader onto the reel spool and have a drop from the rod tip of about six feet.
As discussed, there are many different spods out there, small, large, non-holed, holed and more. For this reason, you may want to change from one spod type to another mid-way through a session. Using a quick-change snap link/swivel on the end of your leader is great for this, it means you don’t need to cut the leader every time.
So, with the right tackle and equipment to hand and your spod mix at the ready, you’re fully prepared to begin spodding. There is however, one warning that I give to all beginners on the topic of spodding, braid is designed to be hardy and resilience. It can and will cut your fingers to ribbons if you’re not careful. Always use protect yourself by wearing a glove or fingerstall. You can pick up specially designed casting gloves (available in left or right-handed) at reasonable prices from many tackle shops or online.
With the assumption that you’ve got the marker on your chosen spot, it’s time to start spodding! The first thing challenge is to get the distance right. You can do this by simply casting an empty spod out to the marker. If you’re fishing a significant distance or it’s particularly windy, you will have to add some weight to the spod.
By starting so far away from the water you can now vary where the spod will land in relation to the marker, by simply walking forwards or backwards without having to touch the spool clip. When the time comes to get the bait out there, ensure the spod is only filled about two thirds full, otherwise it will wobble during the cast, increasing the drag and therefore reducing the distance.
Casting gloves in action
Lower the rod
Being accurate is key to being successful with a spod. This is easier said than done, particularly when strong winds are involved. Spods are so useful because they offer a way of depositing hard to cast baits in a very clinical and accurate way. Always try to use them in this way and keep your bait in a localised area around the marker.
Spods are also great for keeping the carp foraging and searching for food in your swim, and make a great way to produce more than one fish from a single swim. Once the spod hits the clip, let the rod gently drop, the spod will then softly land on its side without causing huge disruption in the water. Let the contents of the spod exit the spod before you start reeling it back in.
It’s all about being as close to the marker as possible
Mark the line
Once you’ve had time to give spodding a good go and you’ve got the hang of it, start trying out different baits and spods. Non-holed variants are great for maggots and gooey groundbaits, plus you can add water to increase the weight.
I wouldn’t recommend using holed spods with maggots, but if it’s all you have at your disposal there is nothing stopping you from wrapping some tape around it. This won’t convert it into a non-holed spod, but it will prevent the maggots from escaping. Most other baits will work well in holed spods, except for heavy groundbaits which cluster easily.
A top tip for preventing spod mix from dropping out mid-cast is to wedge some dissolving foam to the end of the spod.
You don’t have to stop spodding with the arrival of darkness. I like to use refer to bank markers that can be seen in the absence of light, such as a pylon or gap in the trees. All I do is clip up and cast towards my unmoving reference point. As long as the spod hits the clip, you can be certain that the spod mix will hit the area you’re focusing on.