The Art of Spodding for Carp
What is Spodding?
Basically spodding is using a spod or bait rocket to send out bait to a further distance. Spodding is usually done when the angler wants to put bait out further or over a more precise area than a catapult or throwing stick will allow. You can also use it to spread little patches of bait over a larger area. It is advisable that you only spod if you are planning to fish for a long time, because the repeated splashing and winding in of the spod rocket may spook the fish to start with that you are trying to attract.
Spodding is ideal when you want to put small baits like tares, hemp, corn, fine groundbait or small pellets out at a particular range or where you don't want them to be spread over a great distance. The shape of spod rockets allows them to be cast 150 yards plus with practise and at this distance the fish will feel safer feeding on your bait. Small baits can't be catapulted this far and because the end of the rocket is only about 2 inches in diameter the bait cannot disperse very far away from where the spod lands. There is no limit to the bait that can be used in a spod rocket. You can mix all different shape, size and weighted baits if you like. If you were to do this with a catapult, then the heavier baits would go much further then the smaller baits making your baited patch larger and not necessarily in the patch you wanted.
Tackle you need for spodding,
1) You will need a very strong rod for spodding, a proper spod rod with a test curve of 4lb-5lb is recommended because of the weight of a loaded spod, which can weigh 200grams or more.
2) A reel that has a high gear ratio something like 4.5:1 is needed because you want to get the spod reeled back in a fast as you can. (prolonged spodding really makes your arms ache!)
3) A lot of people use braid for their spod set up because it has a very fine diameter to breaking strain ratio making it great for casting. I however prefer the stretch in mono for spodding as you don't need a leader to stop crack offs.
4) When spodding you should have some sort of protection on your index finger because when you slow the spod down with the line, especially if you're using braid, you can cut or burn your finger.
5) Hook snaps make changing spods quicker, so you can have a few spods loaded up ready to cast out.
6) Of course you will need some spod rockets, my favourites are MCF 5” swordfish spods. They weigh about 160grams when loaded with hemp, and the reason I like them is because they come in nose first so there is almost no resistance when I bring them back in.
How to load and use a spod
The spod rocket is just clipped on to the end of your line, with your spod mix in the back of the rocket. Then water is added to give it some extra casting weight and stability in flight. This is then cast out and because the nose of the spod is made of foam, the nose pops up emptying the bait.
If you wanted to put groundbait out there is a easier method than using a spod, and that is to use a method blaster. Using it couldn't be simpler, all you need to do is clip it on like you would with a spod and place a round ball of groundbait onto it, then you use your rod to catapult the groundbait at your target area. These blasters can launch a ball of groundbait 100plus yards but the blaster itself only goes out about 10yards itself, so you don't have to do all the winding in that you do when spodding.
A lot of people have their own special spod mixes, however the majority comprises of the same bait mix with only a few differences in flavours or ratios. Most spod mixes will have hemp, small pellets, corn or maize and samples of the hook bait normally boilies or nuts. The idea is to get a feeding frenzy going on in the swim. Having baits of all different shapes and sizes seem to make the fish slip up.
Like with all methods there are downsides to spodding. The noise of the spod landing and foaming up of the water scares fish away and annoys other anglers, so spodding is limited to long sessions when the water you're on isn't busy. You can't use a spod on rivers as when it land it floats down stream along with the bait. Not only is spodding time consuming it can be like a full upper body workout which in the heat of summer is very energy draining. Unless you're an accurate caster spodding can be a nightmare and something you shouldn't even consider doing as it can work against you. As we all know having small piles of bait over a huge area isn't great, you need to hit the mark every time. If you cast too hard and then put the breaks on all the spod mix will just spill out and give an even bigger baited patch, so being a good caster is essential.