How To Use P.V.A. Bags
The use of PVA (Polyvinyl Alcohol) in angling is now well established, especially in carp fishing. Over the last few years the availability and variety of water-soluble PVA products has increased dramatically. Anglers wishing to take advantage of the alternative presentations afforded by melting PVA can choose from PVA string, tape and various shapes and sizes of bags.
The use of PVA stringers are almost a permanent fixture in my carp fishing. I have used PVA bags less frequently but I have been very successful when incorporating them. In fact, while analyzing my results for this article I didnít realize how successful a method the PVA bags had been for me. I think that I might revert back to their use more often!
There are some problems connected with PVA. Firstly, donít get it damp or wet! If PVA gets damp it can harden and may not melt properly when you come to use it. If you get it wet it melts! This can be a problem when you cast out as the PVA could be weakened and the stringer/bag could break. Winter and wet weather can test your resolve to use PVA to its limits. And, of course, you can only use dry baits with PVA so most particle baits cannot be used in PVA bags.
The use of stringers and PVA bags restrict casting distance. PVA bags can only be used at short to medium range and your casting needs to be smoother so as not to break the bags
P.V.A. (Polyvinyl Alcohol) bags are a fantastic way of introducing your hook-bait amongst a small pile of free offerings
P.V.A. bags are usually used for short or medium range work, however, used correctly there is no reason why they cannot be use for ranges up to 100 yards.
Tools for the job
To achieve ranges of up to 100yards with a P.V.A. bag you need to have a stiff rod and the use of a shock-leader.
I use a 2.75lb test curve rod, 2oz in-line safety-lead and a 45lb shock-leader, the reason for this is that a full P.V.A. bag can weigh 2oz, add that to the 2oz lead and you have a 4oz casting weight.
A good guide for shock-leader strength is to times the casting weight by ten, i.e. 4oz x 10 = 40lb shock-leader
use a 2.75lb test curve rod, 2oz in-line safety-lead and a 45lb shock-leader, the reason for this is that a full P.V.A. bag can weigh 2oz, add that to the 2oz lead and you have a 4oz casting weight.
A good guide for shock-leader strength is to times the casting weight by ten, i.e. 4oz x 10 = 40lb shock-leader.
Once you are set-up for casting something of that weight you can then prepare the P.V.A. bag, but first choose a good make of P.V.A. bag, poor quality bags will split on the cast spilling your free offerings everywhere.
Preparing the bag
I love to use a pop-up with P.V.A. bags full of Trout-pellets, but it is up to you what you want to go inside your P.V.A. bag, but remember it must be dry.
My chosen hook-link material for P.V.A. bag work is braid, couple this with a pop-up boilie and I have my idea of the perfect presentation, the pop-up boilie being on top of the pile, like the cherry on a cake.
The braid hook-links I use vary between an inch to eight inches in length, some anglers prefer to use a fairly stiff hook-link material that uncoils when the bag melts, but I do not think it makes much difference
1. Firstly take your chosen hook-bait and a P.V.A. bag, in this case I am using a dipped pop-up boilie
2. Place your hook-bait in to the corner of the P.V.A. bag
3. Half fill the P.V.A. bag with some of your free offerings, here I am using different sized trout-pellets
4. Place your lead in to the bag
so that it sits on top of your free offerings making sure that your hook-link is
4. Place your lead in to the bag so that it sits on top of your free offerings making sure that your hook-link is not knotted.
5. Top up the bag with more free offerings to about three-quarters full and then tie up the bag with P.V.A. string around the neck of the bag trapping the lead firmly inside.
6. Push in, then pull out, the corners of the P.V.A. bag, then moisten, fold over and stick down.
Moisten and stick down the frill around the neck on the bag
7. Use a sharp implement like a boilie needle to prick the P.V.A. bag all over, this will stop the bag from floating and will assist in it dissolving
8. The finished P.V.A. bag should be tightly packed and circular in shape, this is the perfect aerodynamic shape for a long distance cast.
The first time I tried to reach the 100 yard mark with a P.V.A. bag I was very suprised that the bag stood up to it and did not split.
As I have already stated I use a 2.75lb test curve rod, this will get a P.V.A. bag up to 100 yards without too much of a problem.
However, if you want to achieve extreme distances then I advise that you step up to a larger test curve rod and use a heavier shock-leader, something that I have never tried!
The big bonus with P.V.A. bags is that you can get a neat package out to a fish, at distance, with no tangles and without having to get free offerings out to the same spot after the cast.
I use P.V.A. bags for a lot of my carp fishing and being able to get one up to 100 yards is another string to my bow, after all, it is no good fishing at 50 yards when the fish are at 90 yards.
Garth ĎGafferí Barnard.