Too often used as an after thought or back-up tactic, Harry Charrington reveals why solid bags have been his front-line attack this year… and with great success!

There was undoubtedly a time, probably up to around 4 years ago, when solid bags represented my A game and were literally the first tactic I employed on most waters. Be it because of fashion or maybe a change in the type of venues I started fishing, my use of the bags started to then wane somewhat. I was then using boilies and singles over bait, almost to the exclusion of everything else. This is typical of what you see all over social media and companies’ web pages, very often a bright pop-up on a Ronnie Rig or suchlike, either cast as a single attractor bait or over a bed of particles or spread of boilies. I wouldn’t mind betting that 80% of carp anglers employ such tactics these days.Above: Pop-ups have for many, myself included, been the go to tactic with solids left in the background.

At this point, solid bags became a bit of a back-up and I hardly used them at all over the intervening period. However, this year, following a switch back to solid bags I have achieved some very pleasing results indeed. That might be fished in isolation or over bait, but the bags have seemingly brought extra bites over the usual pop-up over bait approach.

I’m on Grenville Lake this season, which most people will know of, and I have had some notable success, but I’ve also used the bags and caught well at places like Berner’s Hall earlier this year.Above: A Berners Hall tank on a solid.

My short, hinged stiff rig has not been condemned to the annals of history, but it has definitely been replaced by the solid bags on Grenville – a venue that sees a lot of the ‘pop-up over bait’ tactics. There’s no doubting that will work, as plenty of anglers catch on it, but for me the PVA bags have been a game changer. I must point out as well, this has not been a ‘bag on the third rod’ situation either; I use them on all three rods and very often even on the same spot.

There was one morning on Grenville when I had fish all over me but I had only caught one fish on the pop-ups. I felt I should have had several more, I was even getting liners on springer arms! I should have been leaving for home, but I thought I’d chuck out a solid bag to the same area and just see what happened. No more than 15 minutes later I landed a 41lber, followed by another bite five minutes after that. Three more fish also graced the net before I finally had to make the decision to leave as I was already late! Above: I would have never caught this absolute stunner if I hadn't switched to solid bags.