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Undertow: What really happens underwater?

By Improve Your Coarse Fishing


09 September 2009 15:22

Did you know that stillwaters, lakes, meres, estate lakes and even commercial fisheries are rarely absolutely
still? When the wind blows strange things happen to the water underneath the surface...

Even the faintest breeze can have an affect on the lake itself because, like Newton once said, for every
reaction there is an opposite reaction.

So, the wind blowing over the surface of any lake anywhere is bound to affect the water immediately
underneath those moving air particles and that affect is to create water movement. In other words, the
dreaded undertow.

Everone who has ever floatfished a stillwater when it's windy will have, at some point, suffered from the
affect of undertow.... those times when your float willl not stay still and keeps drifting through the swim
making presentation really awkward, but worse still, makes your bait move unnaturally.

Here's you'll find out a whole lot more about undertow, what happens under the water, how it works and
what to do to beat it and carry on catching even in the strongest wind...

a Surface water movement direction

b Wind direction

c The water slams into the end of the lake and is returned along the lake bottom

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d Frequently the strongest tow is found close in and weakens as you go further out

e On some waters, the wind pushes the water around the lake circles

f Undertow, most of the time, will generally return in the opposite direction to the wind

g Undertow direction

RIG FOR PICKING UP THE TOW RIG FOR AVOIDING THE TOW

If you have tow moving in the opposite direction to When the wind and tow are in the same direction
wind, this is the ideal scenario as it makes it easier you get presentation problems. With the extra ‘push’
to keep that bait still. Surface water movement is your float will scurry through the swim far too
counteracted by tow along the lake’s bottom, so if quickly, providing poor presentation. You might pick
you put your shot in a bulk in this area it will hold off the odd fi sh with the bait moving, but you really
steadily in the swim. need to slow that bait down and present it still. It
really is important to do this and having line on the
bottom can secure your bait.

Undertow explained

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Imagine you are pole fishing on a lake and your float is moving against the direction the wind is going.
What’s going on here, then? (diagram, left) Well, it’s the undertow! When you have wind blowing against
the lake this encourages the surface water to run in a particular direction. And then, when it reaches the far
bank, currents are transferred to the bottom, so what happens is that the currents go back in a reverse
direction, circulating water within the lake.

Remember, it’s not always fixed either, with currents and tow moving in different ways, sometimes even in
circular fashion like a tumble dryer. And before all this talk of circulating currents puts you off, remember
that undertow is a good thing, as water movement introduces oxygen into the water, encouraging fish to
feed.

Beating undertow when fishing a waggler...

Although this is near impossible, there are a few things you can do to slow your rig right down whenever
fishing in a strong wind and equally strong undertow...

Sinking your mainline between float and rod tip helps. To do this either cast further than you require, dip the
rod tip under the water and wind the rig back really quickly to force the line under the surface. Alternatively,
cast out, straighten your line, dip the rod tip right under the surface and strike the rod upwards quite sharply.

Using a very long waggler helps too as this ensures that your line is positioned further under the surface.

Fishing overdepth can slow your float down dramatically too, but choose your bait wisely as heavy baits can
become snagged on underwater blanket weed. One of the best baits is a single caster, set so that the hook
is worked right inside the bait, ensuring that the hook point doesn't show.

Anchoring the rig to the lake bed also helps. Fish overdepth and add a No8 or two onto the hooklength so
that the shot drags along the bottom, slowing the passage of the float down. To do this correctly you'll need
to use a straight peacock waggler as this will have enough buoyancy in the tip to keep the float above water
when the shot trundle along the bottom.

If all else fails...

Get your feeder rod out and start legering instead!

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How to prepare particles correctly
By Gofishing.co.uk
25 June 2010 14:23

If primed correctly on the right occasion, particle baits can prove to be more effective than boilies. They are
great as a feed, hook and holding bait. The choices available now are huge, so there will be something to
suit every situation.

‘Particle’ refers to a wide range of beans, nuts, peas and seeds. If prepared right, the natural oils, sugars
and flavours are given the chance to blend with the fish’s natural feeding environment.

It's crucial that anglers prepare particles correctly as a fish that eats uprepared particles may suffer due
to the seed or nut expanding within the fish's digestive system.

We recommend that every angler who intends using particles - either as an attractant, as loosefeed or as
hookbait - fishes responsibly and follows the guidelines below...

Particle
Pre-soak Boil/Simmer

12-14 hours Until split

Hemp

12-14 hrs 20-30 mins

Tares

Standard tiger nuts 24 hrs 30 mins

Premium tiger nuts 24 hrs 30 mins

Chopped tiger nuts 12-14 hrs 10-20 mins

Peanut kernels 12-18 hrs 20-30 mins

Wheat 6 hrs 10-15 mins

Whole maize 24 hrs 30 mins

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Flaked maize Not needed 1 min

Maple Peas 12-14 hrs 20-30 mins

Groats Not needed 1 min

Chick Peas 12-14 hrs 20-30 mins

French Mix Not needed 1 min

Blackeyed Beans 12-14 hrs 20-30 mins

Red Kidney Beans 12-14 hrs 20-30 mins

Carp Krunch 6 hrs 10-15 mins

Moth Beans Not needed 1 min

Red/White Dari 6 hrs 10-15 mins

How to cast accurately


04 November 2009 10:19

THE ability to cast close to a fi sh-holding feature, or consistently drop a feeder on a sixpence, often means
the difference between bagging or blanking.

Here’s what to do, and what not to do, if you want to become a better caster...
1 DO... face the target with shoulders square and line the rod up above your head with the
blank running above the centre of your head with the butt-end pointing directly at the
intended target. Keep your elbows tight to your body.

DO NOT... try to cast across one shoulder with the butt end pointing away from the target.
Do not open your elbows out

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2 DO... make sure that the float or feeder you’re casting hangs about 76cm (30-inches)
below the rod tip and is as still as possible, not swinging like a pendulum.

DO NOT... have the float or feeder wound close to the rod tip, or hanging too far down
towards the ground.

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3 DO... pick a fixed far-bank marker like a tree, bush or telegraph pole and always cast
directly at it and allow for any strong crosswind.

DO NOT... aim for a spot in open water that you cannot positively identify at any time of the
day as the sun and clouds travel across the sky.

4 DO... make sure the spool on your reel is correctly filled to almost level with the lip, and you
can also comfortably hold the line with your index finger during casting without stretching.

DO NOT... underfill the reel as line will not flow freely, so reducing the length of the cast. Do
not overfill the reel as coils of line will fall off the spool, causing tangles.

5 DO... use the reel’s line clip to help you cast an identical distance every time. If casting to a
feature like an aerator, make an initial cast but deliberately drop the float or feeder a few
metres short of the target. Then, pull another metre of line off the spool and ‘clip up’ before
recasting. Repeat the process until the float or feeder lands on target but cannot be
overcast because the clip will not allow any more line off the spool.

DO NOT... try to land the float or feeder tight up against a feature with the first cast. If you
overshoot, you’ll tangle and probably have to pull for a break.

6 DO... make sure that the guides on your rod are properly aligned.

DO NOT... try to cast when the rod rings are twisted.

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Steve Ringer on fishing commercial carp lakes in Autumn
By Steve Ringer
15 October 2009 12:35

I always regard myself as a very positive angler when it comes to tackle, tactics and feeding and I’m
convinced I win more fishing matches and catch a lot more fish as a result of this approach.

But sometimes this attitude isn’t the right one, a fact brought home to me at the recent Preston Innovations
festival at Whiteacres.

The previous week had been my best ever, with four lake wins and a lake second in among my five section
wins in five days.

The second week, however, was very different and I failed to win a section on any day.

While it would be easy to say I didn’t draw particularly well, at the same time I am honest enough to admit I
didn’t fish particularly well either.

Put quite simply, I didn’t adapt to the fact that the temperature was dropping and the fish had been under an
awful lot of pressure.

I went in with the positive approach of feeding and attacking the swim which had worked so well the
previous week, but this was the wrong thing to do.

What I should have been doing was refining my rigs, feeding and baits in order to extract the most from
each swim I drew. In other words, I should have been fishing for bites.

It’s certainly a lesson I won’t forget in a hurry, and I know this winter my fishing will now improve as a result.

Can a smaller hook really make a difference?

Don’t get me wrong here, if there aren’t any fish


present in the swim then changing to a smaller
hook size isn’t suddenly going to lead to your float
going under every cast.

However, if you are just getting the odd bite or you


are getting a lot of finicky bites, a small change
really can lead to more fish in the net.

I think the real key at this time of year is to make


sure that your hook matches the size of your
hookbait as closely as possible.

In other words, if the hook stands out of the bait


like a sore thumb to you then it is going to look just
the same to a feeding fish.

At this time of year there are likely to be fewer


feeding fish in the swim which, in turn, gives those
that are feeding longer to inspect each loose
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offering before picking it up. This means that if your
bait doesn’t look quite right, it is likely that it will be
ignored.

Drop a hook size

My number one hook choice for carp is a


size 16 Kamasan B911 – it never lets me
down.

However, at this time of year with the water


going clearer I feel that a size 16 is a little
on the large side, and an 18 in the same
pattern is far more suitable for baits like
maggots and casters.

Going further still, if the carp are on the


small side then I’ll drop right down to a size
20 Kamasan B611 in order to get more
bites.

Equally, when pellet fishing in winter, a small


fine-wire hook will undoubtedly bring more
bites, and a Tubertini 808 in a size 18 is my
choice for presenting a pellet hookbait as
naturally as possible.

Scale down with softer pellets

Bait choice at this time of year is very much venue dependent, but I will say that small baits,
in my opinion, lead to more bites. This is especially true where pellets are concerned.

As an example, if you have been fishing with a 6mm pellet all summer, then at this time of
year a 4mm pellet will bring you more bites.

Yes, you might catch more small fish, but for me on a cold winter’s day it’s all about seeing
the float go under as opposed to trying to target the biggest fish in the lake.

I’m also a big believer in soft pellets being better than hard pellets once the water
temperature drops. The way I see it is that if a carp isn’t really hungry but is still eating, it’s
far more likely to suck in a soft pellet which can almost be slurped up, so to speak.

Whenever possible try to match your hookbait to your loosefeed – if you’re feeding micro
pellets then a small 3mm expander over the top is going to be the logical choice as
opposed to a 6mm expander which is going to stand out like a sore thumb.

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Feeding – feel your way in

Feeding is all about working out how the fish


want it on the day. As a rule, though, when fishing
for bites a little-and-often feeding policy will bring
far more success than a ‘dump it in and wait’
feeding regime.

It’s important to try and keep your feed in as tight


an area as possible. The last thing you want
when there aren’t many fish feeding is bait
spread all over the swim, so always feed with a
pot rather than a catty.

Something else that might surprise you is how


little you need to feed to keep fish in the swim.
Dripping in as few as six wetted-down micro
pellets can keep bites coming all day at this time
of year. It’s important to remember this, as you
can all too easily get carried away.

You only have to increase the amount of pellets


to a Kinder pot full every drop-in and before you
know it you will have overfed and the fish will
have backed off.

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Switch to wire stems

At this time of year there’s no need for the thick tipped carp-style floats
commonly used in the summer to support large hookbaits.

Instead, a finer float is called for in order for you to be able to see the most
delicate of indications which in winter might be all you get by way of a bite.

Another key characteristic when it comes to float choice is stem material. Wire
stemmed floats offer far more stability than carbon, which leads to superior
presentation and in turn more bites.

Float patterns I like to use at this time of the year are KC Carpa Belters or the
new KC Carpa Gent. Both these patterns feature a wire stem and fine tip,
making them ideal for winter work on commercials.

A tip when deciding on what size float to use – wherever possible in winter I
like to use as light a float as I can get away with, without compromising on
presentation.

By using a light float I am able to make my hookbait appear as natural as


possible.

Line change brings other fish too

I’d always been of the opinion that line diameter made very little difference. And if you are on a lot of carp
then I still believe you will catch a good percentage without fining down. But if you’re fishing for just a handful
of carp then your fishing line diameter can make all the difference.

Lighter lines are not only less visible but they also allow your hookbait to fall more naturally, and when carp
are really scrutinising your baits this is a vital change to make.

This season I’ve dropped down from my normal 0.16mm line fished straight through to using a hooklength of
either 0.10mm or 0.12mm.

I’ve already started catching more skimmers and big roach than before, which help boost my weights.

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Elastic choice

When using lower diameter lines and smaller hooks it’s no good using heavy, unforgiving elastics or you are
going to end up losing fish.

It’s all about balancing your tackle to give yourself the ability to get bites and land the fish once they’re
hooked.

When you’re only looking for a handful of fish to make the difference it’s more important to make sure every
fish hooked is landed, no matter how long it takes – remember, there’s no award for who can land a hooked
carp the quickest.

With this in mind a lot of my fishing in winter is going to be done with a doubled-up No5 Preston Original
elastic.

The beauty of pole fishing with doubled-up elastic is that it’s very soft on the strike, which results in fewer
bumped fish, while at the same time it’s powerful enough to allow me to land carp to 8lb, given enough time
to play the fish.

If the doubled-up No5 doesn’t sound like it’s for you, then the next-best elastic I can think of is White Hydro,
which is very

Spodding and how to spod bait


By Improve Your Coarse Fishing
08 October 2009 12:56

For baiting up a carp swim when fishing at range there can be no better technique than spodding - and no
better tool to use than a spod. Here is our guide showing you how and what you need to spod effectively…

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What is a spod?

A spod is basically a cylindrical bait rocket with a buoyant nose cone. The spod is filled with bait - pellets,
corn, boilies or particles – and is then cast into the swim.

The buoyant nose cone makes the spod flip end up in the water allowing it to deposit its payload on a
sixpence every time.

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Spods come in a variety of types and sizes, from the tiny Gardner Pocket Rocket through to larger models,
like the Korda Skyliner spod that is capable of carrying almost half-a-pint of bait at a time.

Apart from their size difference, some spods have many holes in their side and some have none at all. The
side holes help water flow when you’re retrieving the spod.

However, if you’re looking to spod maggots or very small items like hemp and micro pellets, it’s better to use
a spod with few or no holes in the side.

Spodding is a method used by many carp anglers as it enables the angler to very quickly bait up a swim
with light or small baits beyond catapult range.

However, if you do a lot of feeder fishing for bream and tench for example, it’s well worth investing in a
spodding outfit.

Rather than making a dozen casts with a feeder in order to prime the swim, quicken the whole process by
simply filling your spod with groundbait.

The tackle you'll need...

An ordinary 2.5lb or 2.75lb test curve rod coupled with a standard free spool reel loaded with 12lb line could
just about cope with spodding a small amount of bait short distances, but to get the most from this deadly
technique you'll need a special set-up.

Large-spooled big pit reels loaded with braided line and a strong mono shockleader are best as they will
take the brunt of a powerful cast, yet the large spool and thin diameter braid will not slow the spod down as
it flies.

The best rods are specialiy designed spod rods having test curves of around the 4lb to 5lb mark. These will
easily be able to cope with the stresses of casting filled spods that could weigh in excess of 6oz - maybe
even 10oz in some circumstances.

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Great baits for spodding…

Boilies can be catapulted out, but if you want to get them in a tighter grouping, it’s better to spod them.

Another advantage of spodding boilies is that regardless of what size of bait you’re using, you can still get
them 100-yards plus.

Pellets come in various types and sizes and it is always better to mix them in order to fool the fish. These
should be spodded out and not catapulted. To add casting weight, dunk the spod under the water prior to
casting.

Similar to pellets, the amount of different particles that you can use is legion. Again, as most particles are
quite light, it pays to use a larger spod in order to give you a little bit more casting weight. Spods come in a
variety of different shapes and sizes.

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How to hit the same spot every time...
1. Cast out your marker float set-up or straight lead in order to find any areas of clean gravel or silt.
2. Once you’ve found the spot to fish over, cast an empty spod until you hit the marker float.
3. Now that you’re happy with your casting distance, place the mainline into the reel’s line clip.
4. Wind in the spod, fill it up with bait and cast towards the marker – making sure you hit the line clip.

QUICK TIP

After you have cast out your spod into the swim, leave it for a few seconds in order to allow the spod time to
fully empty. Also, prior to retrieving the spod, make a strike; this is to ensure that the spod is completely
empty.

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How to feeder fish an island swim
By Improve Your Coarse Fishing
14 September 2009 10:52

Here Paul Garner shows exactly how to effectively fish a feeder and cast your bait as close as
possible to islands that can be found on both commercial fisheries and natural lakes.

Fish scientist, specimen angler and Korum Product Manager Dr Paul Garner explains why fish are drawn to
islands, and how to maximise your catch by feeder fishing them correctly.

Paul said: “Islands are both natural patrol routes, and holding areas for fish as they offer food and cover.
Cast anywhere towards an island and, sooner or later, you’re likely to catch a fish. The trick is to keep those
fish coming throughout the session. To fill your net you must be able to interpret island features, and learn to
cast accurately to them.”

Island features

Overhead cover cuts out light and makes fish feel more confident out of sight of possible threats – including
anglers!

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Islands offer all kinds of cover from the smallest tuft of overhanging grass, to mighty willow trees pushing
well out over the water. The closer you can get a bait to these fishy sanctuaries, the better the chance of
getting confident bites.

Other fish-holding features to watch for are shallows often found at the end of islands where fish will bask in
warm weather, small bays or ‘cut-outs’ in the island bank, ‘rat holes’ and protruding reed beds.

Paul has brought the cameras to the scenic and fish-filled Brockamin Pools day-ticket fishery near
Worcester.

He’s opted to fish the Lower Pool in a swim that offers him half a dozen different fish-holding features on the
island within comfortable casting range.

Canopies

Each of the Island features will definitely hold fish but Paul is especially interested in any ‘canopies’ formed
by dense vegetation like pampas grass that grows out from the bank and leans over the water creating a
protective, shady overhead canopy where fish feel safe.

This canopy can protrude over the water for several metres and form a sanctuary for a surprising volume of
fish, especially on heavily pressurised waters.

It’s impossible to get bait under these island overhangs, but the closer you can get your feeder to them, the
more fish you will tempt.

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Feeder Choice

You can use either a cage feeder, or a flat-style Method feeder, to fish to islands. Both types have their
advantages.

Flat Method feeders cast further, and more accurately, especially in a crosswind. A short hooklength can be
buried in the groundbait so they are less prone to tangling if you accidentally overcast and catch
overhanging vegetation. In clear water, burying the hook also helps get more bites.

Flat feeders are better at letting fish, especially carp, hook themselves with the ‘bolt’ effect and produce
‘unmissable’ rip-round bites on the quivertip. Also, flat feeders don’t roll as much when they land on steep
underwater island slopes.

Cage feeder rigs are much more sensitive to bites than flat feeders because there’s far more movement in
the long hooklength that’s connected above the weight of the feeder. Shy-biting fish can pick up the bait and
move freely without feeling resistance. This rig should be used when delicate biting species like roach,
bream, skimmers and F1 carp are expected. Cage feeders are arguably easier to load than Method feeders
and Paul’s using one here.

Click here to learn how to make the


perfect feeder rig for fishing tight to
islands

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Click here to learn the right way to
load your feeder rig groundbait

Groundbait choice

You can use the same groundbait ingredients for the cage and Method feeders but each must have a
different texture for best results.

The cage feeder mix should be light, fluffy and barely damp so that it expands and explodes out of the cage
once it hits the lake bottom.

The Method mix is more ‘claggy’to stick to the Method frame and stay intact until it hits bottom where carp
will attack it.

The difference between these textures depends entirely on how much water you use to mix them with. The
more water you add, the stiffer/stickier the groundbait becomes.

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You need Hemp & Hali Crush, S-Pellet, Crushed Fill a two-pint bait tub with Sonubaits Hemp & Hali
Halibut Pellet and Tuna Dip Crush

Now add two pints of S-Pellet groundbait to the Hemp Thoroughly mix the groundbaits together in a
& Hali crush groundbait bowl

The mixed light and dark coloured groundbaits should Add a dollop of Tuna Dip to the water used to mix
look like this the groundbait

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Use your fingers to mix the Tuna Dip and water before Add Tuna Dip water a little at a time. Don’t overwet
adding to the mix it!

After mixing, add a good handful of Crushed Halibut The finished mix should be light and fluffy and just
Pellet feed damp, not wet

Starting point

Paul never begins a session casting tight to an island. He always starts three or four metres short in deeper
water, where it is far easier to cast to.

He reckons you can always try and tempt a few fish away from the island to your bait, but if you go straight
in tight to the island in shallow water and spook the fish, you risk ruining the session before you’ve even
started.

Also, once you’ve put bait close to the island, it will be a lot more difficult to cast shorter and pull the fish
away from the island.

Fish hooked a few metres away from the island bank can also be played with minimal commotion so they
don’t spook fish laying tight to the island.

As the day progresses, the fish will naturally become more cautious and retreat to the island where they feel
safer. This is where the angler with the knowledge and casting ability to follow them tight in will continue
catching while other anglers sit without a bite.

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If he’s not catching fish, or getting line bites (where fish are accidentally swimming into the line), it’s time for
him to cast closer to the island bank.

Paul told us: “There are days when you have to be really close to the island bank to catch – you almost
have to put the feeder up a rat hole before they’ll have it. If you learn to cast this accurately, you could be
the only bloke on the lake catching consistently!”

Doing the ‘creep’

The best way to cast close to an island is to do the ‘creep’. Simply cast an empty feeder towards the island
but deliberately undercast, allowing the feeder to fall five or six yards short. (The feeder has to be empty so
that you don’t spread feed all over the lake!)

Now open the bail arm and pull off an extra yard of line. Trap the mono under the reel’s line clip at the point
where it comes off the spool and recast. Use your finger to ‘feather’ (slow down) the reel line just before it
splashes down. This will prevent the line hitting the line clip with a sudden, jarring impact that could weaken
the line, or even cause a crack-off.

Keep repeating the process until you’ve ‘crept’ right up to the feature. Your last couple of casts should
advance by a foot at a time, not a yard.

Now when you cast, your feeder cannot travel further than the line clip, so you can’t tangle in the
overhanging vegetation.

The lifesaver

Now you’ve ‘crept’ up tight you’ll be okay catching small fish. But, if a big carp runs you have a problem.
Because the reel line is trapped behind the line clip, you can’t give line and will get snapped. So, you need
to master the ‘lifesaver’.

This is a way of casting tight to the island, yet getting three or four turns of mono back on the reel. This extra
line is often enough to save your life.
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Once you’ve done the creep and clipped up, pull off an extra 2m of line and re-clip. Use the picture
sequence above to learn the technique.

It takes some practice, but it’s a top skill to master.

The ‘lifesaver’ method to avoid crack-offs

1. Bring the rod squarely behind your head at this 2. Follow the cast through with the rod to this angle and
angle and aim at your chosen far-bank marker begin to ‘feather’ the reel line with your fingers to slow it
down

3. Now, bring the rod back up, all the time still 4. Continue bringing the rod back to this angle where
feathering the reel line as the feeder hits the water you will feel it hit the line clip. Now quickly drop the rod
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tip and reel surplus line back on to reel

How to tie a spade end hook


31 July 2009 12:24

We show you how to use the popular Matchman hook tyer one of the easiest ways of tying a spade-end
hook…

STEP ONE Clamp the hook into the tyer by STEP TWO Push in the metal prongs, note how the
tightening the dial. Ensure the hook point isn’t front one has a gap for the line to go under
showing as this can catch the line.

STEP THREE Hold the line tight by putting a weight STEP FOUR Run the tight line behind the two metal
on the spool, or by pulling against the rod if you tie prongs.
direct to the mainline.

STEP FIVE Pin the tag of line to the hook tyer with STEP SIX With your other hand bring the tag of line
your thumb. behind the hook and the tight line.
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STEP SEVEN Pull the tag and the main piece of STEP EIGHT Slowly rotate the hook tyer seven or
line tight to the hook near the base of the shank. eight times, moving up the shank of the hook towards
its spade.

STEP NINE Hook the tag of line behind the front STEP TEN Pull both lines tight before unscrewing the
prong and push both prongs in. clasp and wetting the lines with saliva.

STEP ELEVEN As you unscrew the clasp apply STEP TWELVE Slide the knot up to the spade by
steady pressure on the line and slowly tease the pulling the line above it. Pull the knot tight and trim the
knot down. tag off. Ensure the line comes off the front of the
spade.

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Everything you need to know about quivertips
10 November 2009 14:37

If choosing a quivertip leaves you trembling in confusion, do not fear, our guide will remove the mystery and
solve all your problems…

WATCHING the quivertip on your leger rod twang round is certain to get your heart racing.

However, selecting the correct quivertip for a particular fishing situation can mean the difference between a
red letter day and a blank.

Here’s a list of the factors that affect quivertip choice:

>> CASTING WEIGHT


The heavier the feeder/leger weight, the stronger the tip should be. If you use too light a tip it will either not
cast the weight properly or, worse still, actually break on the cast!

>> FLOW OR UNDERTOW


If the tip is dragged right round, by the flow on a river or undertow on a stillwater, you will not be able to see
the bites. You should step up the strength of the tip to compensate.

>> SIZE OF FISH


If you’re targeting shy biting silverfish use a very light tip. For larger species like carp, tench and barbel, you
should use a heavier tip. The bites from these species aren’t shy and they will often try to pull the rod in.

QUIVERTIPS EXPLAINED

>> STRENGTH

All quivertips have a test curve or strength rating. A test curve is the amount of weight it takes to bend the tip
to 90 degrees. Glass tips tend to be 2oz or less, whereas carbon tips can be a strong as 6oz.

>> TIP MATERIAL

Quivertips are made from two types of material, carbon or glass fibre.

CARBON tips are stiffer and generally have a higher strength rating (2oz to 6oz).

GLASS tips have a soft, progressive action and are produced in lower test curves (0.5oz to 2.5oz).

The two materials are identified by the colour of the tips base. Carbon tips have a dark base; glass tips have
a clear or white base.

>> TIP EYE

The size of the tip’s end eye can be a giveaway sign to the strength of the tip. Generally, the larger the eye
the heavier the tip, as it is designed to be used for distance casting and thicker lines.
27
WHAT TIP SIZE TO USE AND WHEN...

TIP WHEN TO USE SPECIES


RATING
0.5oz - 1oz Stillwaters Silverfish
1.5oz - 2oz Stillwaters and slow-moving rivers Small carp, tench bream and
silverfish
2.5oz - 3oz Stillwaters and moderately flowing rivers Carp, tench and chub
4oz - plus Distance fishing, the Method feeder and fast- Double-figure carp and barbel
flowing rivers

28
CHOOSING the correct quivertip is vital, but how you set it up and fish with it is just as important if you want
to keep those bites coming.

The main picture (above) shows quivertip expert Les Thompson on the banks of a local commercial fisherry
were he is sitting at a 45 degree angle to the bank. This gives Les the perfect angle to spot the shyest of
bites and plenty of room to strike into indications quickly and effectively.

1: Les tightens up to the rig to place a small 2: The rod rest should be halfway along the
bend in the end of the tip. This allows him to rod, just in front of the second or third ring.
see fullblooded ‘pull rounds’ or delicate drop- This balances the rod and stops it bouncing
29
back bites as the tip straightens. in the wind.

A drop-back happens when the fish takes the In addition, the rod rest has a number of
bait and moves towards the angler, grooves so that you can easily adjust the
dislodging the swimfeeder or leger. tension on the quivertip.

3: Les traps the rod butt between his leg and 4: The proof is in the pudding, as can be
body to stabilise the rod. This makes bites seen by this fine bag of carp.
easier to see.
The session was made all the more
Furthermore, he keeps his hand on the reel, successful by selecting the correct quivertip
so he’s ready to strike immediately. and fishing it effectively.

How to catch more big barbel from river wierpools


10 November 2010 14:57

Picture the scene; my latest pupil, David Booth, begrudgingly helped one more of his mates to land yet
another barbel from the River Severn.

Looking downstream to where his gear lay, his heart suddenly sank as his eyes locked on to his still dry
landing net. A curious mixture of jealousy and longing overcame him, as brutal as a smack in the face.

Having put in over 200 rod-hours and thrashed the water to foam on every major barbel river in England,
David’s landing net still hadn’t welcomed one of the graceful, hard-fighting whiskered torpedoes that he
longed to catch.
30
Ever since he was a boy, David has loved river fishing. The draw of running water and the chance to catch a
truly feral fish – like a barbel – seemed much better than targeting some podgy, lake-bound carp, tench or
bream.

Falling away from the sport in his teens to concentrate on marriage, family and career, the 47-year-old
master baker returned to angling four years ago, but he’s still to realise his 40-year dream of catching a
barbel.

Recently, he thought he’d finally done it. When fishing on the Severn, his rod hooped over and a very strong
fish tore off upstream.

Playing the fish to the net, David’s hopes were once again dashed as a beautifully marked, white, orange,
black and gold koi carp of 10lb rose to the surface and flopped into his waiting net.

Now at the end of his tether and with thoughts of long, lean whiskery barbel filling his every waking moment,
he called me to help finally put him in contact with his long awaited prize.

Arranging a day on the River Trent, a stretch owned by Scunthorpe Police Angling Club, I set about trying to
help David exorcise his barbel demons and help realise his 40-year fantasy.

Here’s how we got on…

Why target weir pools for barbel?

In his search for a barbel, I first wanted to offer David some watercraft skills.

When faced with a foaming, rushing, frothing mass of water that is a weir pool, it’s hardly surprising that
many anglers don’t know were to start.

The combination of fast, powerful water and snags can be quite daunting. But weirs are probably one of the
finest areas to fish for barbel, particularly during the really warm months, because the constant crashing of
water forces huge amounts of oxygen into the river.

Furthermore, the force of the river over the weir’s sill scours the bottom clean, revealing a gravely bottom. It
is this combination of fast, well– oxygenated water and a gravel bottom that attract barbel in considerable
numbers.

The best area to target barbel is just in front of the sill, right in the pool’s main flush. They can also be found
at the tail of the weir pool.

Weir pools don’t only contain barbel. The swirling water and constant food supply coming over the sill is
attractive to all species of fish which can be found in different areas of the pool (see diagram below).

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Tackle

I replaced David’s 10ft leger rod with my longer 13ft model. By setting the rod at a 45-degree angle to the
bank (beachcaster-style), the longer rod helps keep more of the mainline out of the flow. This allows me to
use a lighter feeder to hold bottom because less line in the water means there is less water pressure
pushing against the rig, which could force it to bounce down the swim.

I haven’t had a great deal of experience targeting barbel, so I decided to attack the river using old-school,
match-style tactics, rather than using more modern methods with boilies, PVA and groundbaits.

My approach would revolve around the use of a Kamasan Black Cap Blockend feeder.

I had modified the feeder by cutting a couple of groves in the side with a pair of scissors to enlarge the
holes. This allows the bait of hemp and either caster, or 4mm pellets, to easily wash out of the feeder.

The weight of the feeder is dictated by the flow of the river. Weir pools can be quite powerful, so I kicked off
with a 50 gram (2oz) feeder.

The only unusual addition to my rig was a nine-inch length of 14lb powergum. This helps prevent the fish
from shedding the barbless hook on the take and during the fight when they use the weight of the feeder to
throw the hook.

The powergum is doubled-up at one end and it is this doubled-up end which is attached loop to loop to the
mainline.

Running on the powergum is a bead to protect the swivel knot and a snaplink bead.

The hooklink is 18 inches of 0.18mm (6.5lb) and the hook is a size 14 Drennan Barbless carp for 14mm
banded or hair-rigged pellets, or two or three casters.
For smaller pellets, I use the same hook but in a size 16.

32
How to upstream leger

With the weir to the left, and the river running from left to right, we’re going to have to make a 30-yard cast
upstream to drop the feeder half a rodlength off the weir sill where the barbel live. The rod is then put in a
rest pointing skywards. This is known as upstream legering.

I’ll be teaching David to fish for drop-back bites where the tension in the rod tip caused by the river pulling
against the line is suddenly released by a fish hooking itself and dislodging the feeder. The result is the rod

33
tip springing back smartly to the straight position, rather than being yanked downwards as you’d normally
expect.

The idea of upstream legering is to deliberately allow the current to form a big
bow or sag in your reel line from the rod tip to where the feeder lands. If your
line was cheese-wire tight, the power of the river would drag all but the
heaviest feeder out of position.

he bow in the line effectively reduces the water pressure on both the line and
feeder, allowing you to hold bottom with a much lighter leger weight and fish
with a lighter quiver tip rod, rather than a big, heavy Avon-type tip. All you have to do is strap extra lead
weights – known as ‘dead cows’ – to your feeder until it just holds bottom.

I started off with a 50g Drennan Black Cap maggot feeder, but this was too light. Adding a 1oz (28g) ‘dead
cow’ perfectly balanced it. Now the slightest touch on the hookbait will dislodge the balanced feeder,
sending the rod tip springing back and driving the hook point home.

Sometimes the rod tip will go over, depending on which way the hooked fish runs, and the rod can be
virtually ripped off the rest. But, you’ll find that you get more drop-back bites with this upstream legering
technique. Either way, both types of bites are unmissable!

Bait

As we’re fishing match-style, I’ve decided to use smaller particle baits like hemp and caster, with maybe a
little pellet, rather than boilies and pastes.

Hemp and caster is a classic barbel bait combination and has sadly been all but forgotten these days in
favour of designer baits. But, the combo caught well in the 70s and 80s and it still works supremely well
today.

The great thing about using small particles is that the force of the river helps to move them downstream,
leaving a trail of food items that will help to draw fish up from five or six pegs away.

The other advantage of these baits is that once the barbel start to eat them confidently, they will stay in the
swim all day trying to pick up every single bit of hemp and caster from the bottom.

Once you get the barbel feeding like this, they become unbelievably easy to catch because they are
preoccupied by food. They don’t even notice you pulling one of their mates out of the shoal around them,
such is the power of particles.

34
I’ll be loading the feeder with 70 per cent hemp and 30 per cent caster, and then will be looking to cast every
five minutes to lay down a good bed of bait.

I’ve also brought some 4mm pellets as a change to the casters. If we put pellet in the feeder, I’ll fish a hair-
rigged pellet on the hook to complement these freebies.

I’ll only swap over to pellet if the small fish – little chub – are smashing the casters before the barbel have a
chance to get at them.

Living the dream…

We kicked off the swim with casts every couple of minutes for the first quarter of an hour to get some bait
down. Then, we reduced casting to every five minutes. And it didn’t take long before David’s quivertip was
starting to show signs of there being a diner in the swim. Several knocks, bumps and line bites saw the tip
quivering like a jelly.

“Sit on your hands until it goes,” I commanded.

A couple of minutes later, the tip lurched forward slightly, before springing violently straight. Hit it! A hefty
strike saw David with his first barbel of the day on the end of his line.

Getting the fish under control after its initial powerful run, he was doing well…when disaster struck.

The rod sprang straight and the fish was gone. He’d had his reel’s clutch set too stiff and the barbel had
snapped the hooklink. What a nightmare. It looked as if David’s dreams might still remain unfulfilled.

But after retackling and hooking another three casters on to the hook, we set about rebuilding the swim and
the barbels’ confidence.

After two hours, things were looking grim. Then, the rod showed a huge drop back bite and he was into a
fish again. This time there were no mistakes and, after a short but brutal fight, David had his first ever barbel
under his belt – a fine 5lb Trent fish.

Building on this success, David went on to take another similarly-sized fish, finishing the session with a
flourish.

At the end of the day, David’s huge grin showed it all. He looked like the cat that had got a gallon of cream.
He had finally realised a personal goal and accomplished a 40-year dream.

It reminds me of when I fulfilled a long held dream and won my first world championship, but that’s another
story…

How to target different species of fish from a weir pool


By Improve Your Coarse Fishing
01 November 2010 15:35

CASCADING white water and swirling flows can make weir pools intimidating places for anglers.

35
However, one of the all-time golden rules about fishing is that features mean fish. So any fisherman willing
to take on the challenge of a raging weir pool can expect success.

From barbel to pike, virtually every species has a home here, it’s just a matter of working out where.

Don’t worry about all that heaving surface water – by cutting beneath the surface commotion you’ll find the
bottom is remarkably sedate and easier to fish than the surface torrent would lead you to believe.

A B
CHUB PERCH

These will normally lay These will hide in ambush


back a little from the white by using the undercut
water and to one side of below the weir sill as
the pool, especially if cover cover. Try using only a
is present. Because the small amount of shot
surface here is still turbulent, stick to legering. A big pinched directly onto the
bait will easily be spotted so paternoster a piece of line with a big lobworm on
cheese paste or bread flake. the hook. You can then use the backflow to bounce it
into position.
C D

36
BARBEL ROACH

With the torrent of white Big roach sit in the middle


water so obviously visible of the pool. The water is
it’s logical to suppose that deep and calm – the ‘eye
the bottom is equally as of the storm’. A maggot
turbulent. But, in truth, it’s feeder is my main attack
almost calm. Barbel will sit and I look for drop back
at the point where the flow begins to pick up again. bites. The rig (below) is a fine line set up – step it up
So try a piece of luncheon meat or pellet and use if you’re connecting with chub or barbel.
stout gear.
E F
PIKE BREAM

Pike aren’t slow on the While bream aren’t


uptake when a meal is normally associated with
available. By sitting flowing water, they seem
towards the end of the attracted to weir pools.
deeper water, especially Target areas where the
near a snag, they are able to zoom in and out on frothy water smoothes out
surprise attacks. Try a large smelly herring on a with an open-ended feeder and a pellet hookbait.
simple bottom rig and weaker ‘rotten’ lead link. You may be surprised by the result.

UNDERWATER VIEW - Locating different species

Weir feeder rig

37
How to catch barbel, chub and other fish from flooded rivers

By Improve Your Coarse Fishing


25 October 2010 11:22

As the first storms of autumn and winter roll in Martin Bowler prepares you for the floods...

THIS is the time of year when the skies will blacken, Atlantic storms will rush in and the nation’s rivers are
likely to come into their first cold weather floods.

There is no doubt that, weatherwise, 2007 has already been an unusual year.

The ‘summer’ was a wash-out for many of us and lots of rivers spent June and July at the top of their banks.

But as autumn and winter storms bring more rainfall, vegetation soaks up less water, the land becomes
saturated and floods will become more common. To prepare you for the high water to come, here’s a guide
to the changes a river goes through in times of flood. It shows you where to look for fish and how their
behaviour changes.

38
A INSIDE A BEND

In extreme floods fish live on the inside of a bend where the flow is calmer than the centre channel.

Roach and barbel are good species to target in a coloured river as they keep feeding. Here’s where you’ll
find them.

Remember to avoid turbulent areas littered with swirling debris – fish don’t like living in a washing machine!

B NEW GROUND

The green shaded area illustrates where a river will flow when it breaks its banks.

Depending on the shape of the bank, large slack areas can be formed on the outside edge of a bend, where
the water spills over the bank. These areas can be good legering spots for roach.

C CATTLE DRINK

Areas where cattle go down to the river to drink are normally spots you’ll walk past without a second
thought.

But in a flood, the bays the cows create in the riverbank provide a catching area for the river and the water
will form a calmer pool where all sorts of fish can shelter.

Carp are common visitors to spots like this and a legered lump of meat can see you latch into a bonus fish.
If you do hook one, try to stop it blasting out into the main flow – where you’ll probably lose it!

39
D NEWLY CREATED SLACKS

When a river rises over a shallow flood bank large areas of smooth, slack water can be created. These
slacks can often be found next to what would be a straight piece of river in normal conditions.

Try a swimfeeder-fished lobworm and a smelly, fishmeal groundbait such as Dynamite Marine Pellet mix.
This is where the bream will be.

E BARBEL ON THE STRAIGHT

Although lots of fish do look for calmer water during a flood, one species of fish is also perfectly at ease with
sitting in the teeth of the main channel – barbel.

A fairly straight piece of river, sandwiched between two bends, should offer fairly smooth water for the barbel
to lie up in. Avoid really turbulent water.

Leger with big weights and halibut pellets.

F WHERE WATERS MEET

Confluences in the river, where a tributary or stream flow into the main flooded river, are always worth
investigating.

If the water is backing up into the tributary then fish fry, dace, roach and chub are likely to seek shelter there.
This means these areas can also be good for specimen perch and pike which have been attracted by the
concentration of prey fish.

Fishing for bream from a Fenland drain


By Improve Your Coarse Fishing
05 October 2010 11:04

Fenland angler Paul Goult loves watching a swingtip rise to the gentle tune of a big drain bream.
Here he reveals how to fish for bream at his favourite Middle Level in Norfolk...

FEN drains are 350-year-old man-made waterways, cut out of the surrounding marshland so that it could be
converted into agricultural land. They also help to prevent flooding. They can be found nationwide, but the
most numerous are in the East Anglian Fens.

Many anglers dismiss drains as a waste of time because of their apparently featureless appearance.
Nothing could be further from the truth! With huge shoals of roach and bream, specimen tench and some
enormous pike and zander, drains can easily throw up a redletter day, especially for those anglers prepared
to put in the time to locate the fish and perhaps prebait as well.

Fishing on the King’s Lynn AA controlled stretch of the Middle Level Main Drain, Paul Goult was here to
show us the quality of fishing that the drains has to offer and to put the Fens back on the angling map.
Having fished this stretch since he was 12 years old, Paul has more than enough insider knowledge, and
armed with his trusted quivertip and swingtip rod, he set-off in pursuit of some Fenland bream dreams.
40
Why drains?

“I JUST love the challenge of the drains,” says Paul, “Especially if you’re prepared to put the time in.” This is
one of the most important tips Paul gave us.

The very fact that most drains are fairly featureless means you have to focus more on the little that is there.
For example, pump houses are excellent places to target. They cut out a gully in the bottom and oxygenate
the surrounding water – a classic fishholding feature. Other features worth targeting are lily pad beds or
reed fringed banks. Another feature that can be excellent, especially for bream, is any spot where lines of
gravel cross the drain – here the bottom can be heavily contoured. These spots tend to be rich feeding
grounds, very attractive to all manner of species. Such areas can be difficult to find, but with the help of a
local angler or a local tackle shop you will soon be put in the right direction.

Anywhere that was a hot spot in targeting today. Bream are creatures of habit, and tend to frequent the
same places year in, year out.”

“The best time to target the huge bream shoals is after they have spawned – early July onwards, up to
around about mid-October, just before the first frosts,” says Paul. As for the best time of day, during the
summer Paul starts his sessions early in the morning soon after first light. As the colder nights set-in, you
dont have to get up quite so early.

Here, a 10am start is all that’s required.

Tactics

TACTICS on a drain can vary considerably depending upon the species that you’re targeting. For this
session Paul had his sights set firmly on bream and so was looking to lean on a leger approach. After
catapulting in six balls of groundbait, he generally starts with a simple bomb rig, combined with his trusty
swingtip rod – a little used tool these days. With this method, Paul will also continue to fire two or three balls
into the swim every hour. If the bream are being a bit awkward however, Paul will swap over to a feeder rig.
“This can be a great way of pulling the fish in,” says Paul, “Especially when they’re really having it!”

41
Unlike a canal, most drains are deep, around about 13ft-14ft, with very steep sides. Due to this depth, the
casting of a feeder or bomb won’t tend to spook the shoal, even if you’re casting every five minutes. This is
further helped in that all drain fish are wild, with most having never seen a bait before.

Fishing the tip

Swingtip fishing these days has sadly become a bit of a forgotten art, but there is simply no bite indication
system more sensitive – a belief strongly held by Paul. “I was brought up fishing the tip. It’s a fantastic
method and much more sensitive than even the lightest of quivers. The other advantage is that the bites are
unmissable, as the fish feels no resistance,” he says.

One of the main problems when bream fishing is line bites. This is amplified when the shoal is particularly
large. With a quivertip it’s easy to mistake line bites for actual takes. This can lead to foulhooked fish and a
spooked shoal. The advantage of the swingtip is that it increases the time for a bite to develop, particularly
when using long tips like Paul.

“With a line bite, the tip may rise half way up and then come back to rest,” says Paul. “If it is a genuine take,
the tip will rise all the way to the top and the rod will start to shake. Now is the time to strike!”

How do I fish the swingtip?

End tackle: Generally used with a straight


leger set-up. The leger itself needs to heavy
enough to avoid tangles and wraparounds if
the tip bounces on the cast. Therefore look
to use a lead of around about 1oz-11 ⁄2oz.
Set-up (A): The correct positioning for the
tip is 20 degrees from the vertical, with the
end of the tip just touching the water. This
allows the tip just enough movement to
indicate drop-back bites as well as forward
takes.
Casting (B): Swingtips can be difficult to
cast for the novice, but with a little practice it
soon becomes second nature. Before
making the cast, look to see that everything
is clear and that the lead is hanging from the
rod tip. Once the lead hits the water, keep
the line slack to allow the lead to fall straight
down. Keeping the line taut will swing the
lead out of position.

42
Paul’s tackle

FOR his session today, Paul is using both a swingtip rod and a quivertip rod.

The swingtip rod is 12ft in length. This is fairly long for a swingtip rod but ideal for the drains because it
allows you to reach over nearside weeds and to pick up line quickly on the strike – some of these drains
require casts of 40 yards or more.

The tips that Paul uses are also longer than standard. “I prefer longer tips,” says Paul, “Because they allow
you to read line bites more easily and allow more time for the bite to develop.”

One disadvantage of using a longer, larger swingtip is that they are more difficult to cast. It is therefore
necessary to use a larger bomb than normal to avoid the tip swinging back on the cast and cracking off.

Paul’s quivertip set-up is slightly heavier than an average bream set-up, being a Preston Innovations
Carbonactive 12ft feeder rod with the medium tip inserted. This is rated at around 2oz. “Slightly heavier tips
are needed on the drains,” explains Paul.

“When the drain is run off, it’s surprising how much movement there is. Combine this with a little wind and it
soon becomes obvious that a 1oz-11 ⁄2oz tip is just too light.”

Prebaiting

AS drains tend to be relatively unfished these days, it’s a good idea to formulate a plan of attack. The first
time that you target a particular swim, it’s always a good idea to prebait in order to pull the shoal in.
Generally Paul prebaits a couple of times before fishing. “I’ll prebait one night, then two nights later, looking
to fish the following morning.”

When prebaiting a swim on the drains, don’t be shy. The bream shoals can be huge and it won’t take long
for them to eat half-a-dozen balls and move on. Paul balls in around 12 kilos! “For prebait bait I use pure
brown crumb. During the session I add 25 percent Van Den Eynde Pro Gold. To this I also add a pint of
casters, half a kilo of Dynamite Baits 4mm trout pellets and two tins of sweetcorn.”

43
1. Pour the sweetcorn and juice from its can into a 2. Add a few squirts of your chosen colouring or
polythene bag. flavouring.

3. Powdered colouring can also be added – you only 4. Blow into the bag, agitate the corn, and leave in
need half a teaspoon for a can of corn. the fridge overnight.

Additives

THE addition of a bait additive to your mix can give you a great edge. Bream tend to have a very sweet
tooth and with this in mind, Paul likes to add Sensas Aromix Bremes into his groundbait mix.

Around one third of a bottle is added to the water and mixed prior to being added to the groundbait.

“Another additive that I rate very highly,” he says, “is Van Den Eynde sweet liquid molasses. It’s a fantastic
addition to groundbait and also a great additive to use with sweetcorn.”

44
How to pole fish on snake lakes for commercial carp
By Improve Your Coarse Fishing
13 September 2010 11:37

Narrow, winding man-made ‘snake’ lakes are full of fish, but how do you get the best out of them
with your pole? Preston Innovations and Sonubaits-backed match ace Les Thompson shows a sure-
fire way to catch on the carp-filled, canal-style commercials.

Les Thompson loves fishing snake lakes because, if you do it half right, they can be one of the easiest
commercials to fish.

He says: “On most snake lakes you can put a line in anywhere and catch a few fish, but put a line in the
right place and you’ll sack up.”

Les took us to the prolific Heronbrook Fisheries at Slindon, Staffordshire, to show us how he does it.

Three lines of attack

You should always be looking for three separate lines of pole attack on ‘snakes’ to maximise your catching
capability. Don’t worry, if you work it properly, you should only need two top kits to fish them effectively. The
hot spots to target are:

45
* The near margin, under your feet to the left or right of your peg/platform.
* The far bank shelf (if your pole is long enough to reach all the way over). Les’ swim is 14m.
* Down the ‘track’(that’s a canal fishing term for straight down the middle).

These three lines will usually cover the areas where fish congregate at this time of year.

Both the near margin and ‘down the track’ swims will be deliberately chosen to be within bait-throwing range
and Les aims to feed two far-bank, and two near-bank swims, plus the track throughout the session.

Find those shelves

Most man-made snake lakes have flat underwater shelves in both


the far and near banks. Locate these shelves and you’re already
more than halfway to filling your keepnet.

When you throw, catapult or pole-pot loosefeed into the water in


either the near margin or the far bank, the food will roll down the
sloping bank until it comes to rest on a flat shelf. These shelves –
and there may be more than one of them – are dinner tables for
foraging carp, tench and bream and also make it easy for the
angler to fish.

Presenting a bait correctly on a flat shelf is far easier than trying to


fish on the side of a steep slope. If you can’t find a shelf you
should aim to find the point where the sloping bank meets the flat bottom.

Plumbing is paramount

Les will spend 20 minutes carefully plumbing all around his swim, searching for underwater ledges. With the
fish still swimming fairly high in the warm water, he’s looking for ledges at an optimum depth of between
30cm and 46cm (12in-18in) within controllable pole reach. At this depth, with only 18 inches of line in the
water, you also get far fewer line bites than if you were fishing a deeper swim.

The idea is to find ledges at precisely the same depth on the far bank, and the near margin bank, so he can
use the same pole rig and top kit for both lines. It’s rare that you won’t find ledges at matching depths.

Using a big plummet – weighing a minimum 0.5oz – Les reckons you can ‘feel’ a big lead sliding down the
slope and ‘donk’ down as it hits the shelf. He says many anglers use too light a plummet that they can’t ‘feel’
through the pole. He’ll use a flat-bottomed plummet in silted venues so it doesn’t sink too deep, giving a
false depth reading.

Les says: “Twenty minutes of plumbing is worth five hours of fishing blind.”

The ‘crease’

46
Having found ledges at the same depth on both banks, Les then locates what he calls ‘the crease’. This is
the precise point where the sloping bank meets the flat of the ledge. Again, you can feel this with the
plummet. (See diagram, above).

Fishing the crease offers two big advantages. It’s a natural food gathering point as bait rolls down the slope
and comes to rest. Secondly, by keeping his pole rig line tight to the back slope, there’s far less chance of
foraging fish accidentally running in to it and causing false ‘line’ bites. Striking at false line bites is a recipe
for foul hooking fish. The commotion they create can quickly kill a swim.

Once he’s determined where the crease is, he’ll mark the exact point on his pole with a chinagraph pencil to
give him the precise far bank length. Holding the pole with his fingers just touching this mark will ensure he’s
directly over the crease every time.

Climb the slope

Les aims to fish at dead depth exactly in the far bank crease, meaning his bait is tight to the slope while just
touching the flat of the ledge. This is where he expects to catch the most fish. However, every now and
again he will gently push his pole tip an extra 15 cm (six inches) forward. This pulls the hookbait off the flat
shelf bottom and hoists it a few inches up the sloping bank, where he holds it right in the eyeline of fish (see
diagram, below left).

Quite often, more cautious fish confidently mop up odd bits of bait that have come to rest on the slope, and
are quickly fooled by this tactic.

An important component of getting this hanging rig to work is to space the four No9 Stotz dropper shot one
inch apart so he can lay the rig up the slope where they will ‘stick’ yet still cock the float. If you bulk the shot
together and they hang up on the slope, the float won’t cock properly (below right).

Strung out shot will also fall through the water slower and more naturally than bulked shot.

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Down the track

The final line of attack is down the track (centre) of the snake. This area is often the deepest, and flattest.

Again, Les aims to fish at dead depth but needs a slightly heavier, more stable rig for the deeper swim (see
rig diagrams).

The ‘track’ swim will always be within easy bait-throwing range (most snake lakes have been dug to be 14m
wide, or less, so pole anglers can easily fish them). Les’s near bank margin swims are also deliberately
within bait-throwing range.

This means he can throw a constant trickle of bait to them by hand, even while he’s playing a fish on
another line, and he doesn’t have to waste time shipping out cupping kits.

Tackle for snakes

Les likes to use a Preston Innovations size 13H‘Hollo’ elastic through two sections of his pole for general
snake lake work. This will handle everything from a 2oz roach one put-in, to a 4lb carp the next.

The stretchy hollow elastic is fished through a Preston ‘Pulla Kit’ which Les helped to develop. This handy
gadget enables you to break down to the Top 2 kit and tighten the elastic when a fish is in netting range,
allowing you to get fast control of even larger, hard-fighting carp.

Rig line is 0.15mm Reflo Powerline with a 0.13mm Powerline hooklength and Les likes to have 30cm (12in)
or less of line between pole tip and float. As an expert angler he can get away with just 15cm (6in) at 14.5m,
but use whatever length you like, without tangling, to hold the float steady.

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Hook is a size 18 Preston PR28 for soft pellet fishing.

The best baits

At this time of year soft fishmeal pellets are a top hook and feed bait. Les favours 2mm and 4mm Fin Perfect
feed pellets and 4mm and 6mm Fin Perfect Expander pellets, 6mm Ton- Up and 6mm Competition soft
hooker pellets on the hook.

Although Les relied on a pellet attack, he says these tactics can be copied successfully with maggots,
casters, worm or sweetcorn.

As he says: “There’s no set rule what you give them. What’s more important is where and how you deliver it
that will determine how many fish you catch.”

Feeding

Getting into an accurate feeding rhythm is another key to determining how much you will catch. Les kick-
starts his swims by filling a large Preston Kup one third full of 2mm feed pellets and potting half in each of
his two chosen far bank swims. He repeats the process with his two near bank swims (picture below).

He then squeezes a tangerine-sized ball of 2mm feed pellets tightly together and throws it down the track.
This water is deeper, and there could be a bit of tow, so he wants the compressed ball to sink quickly, then
break up on the deck.

From now on he will flick a pinch of 4mm feed pellets by hand to both his nearside margin swims and his
‘track’ swim every few minutes (picture left).

The two far bank swims will be fed every put-in via a medium sized Cad pot, with the lid removed, clipped to
the end of his pole. A clever technique allows him to feed half of the contents of the Cad pot to each far bank
swim.

The Preston Cad First, fill the pot Aim to fill these Use your thumb Now, top-up with
Pot connects to with loose, pellets to the to compress this the same, loose
the end of your dampened second (lower) consignment so it 2mm feed pellets
pole kit like this 2mm feed pellets line in the pot sticks in the pot

Double potting

Les fills his Cad pot to the lower line with 2mm feed pellets, and compresses them to half original volume.
Next he pours in loose 2mm pellets to the lip. Shipping out to his first far bank swim, Les turns the pole to
49
desposit the loose pellets. He then moves the pole over his
second far bank line, turns the pole, and taps the butt section with
his hand to dislodge the compressed pellets so they fall in.

The session

Les constantly keeps all his lines active and working by trickling in
bait. He also keeps an eye on each. In his four margin swims it’s
so shallow that feeding fish often announce themselves by
causing boils, swirls, bow waves and ‘tail patterns’ in the water, or
even by sticking their tails out altogether as they stand on their
heads to get at the bait!

On the track swim he’s looking for tell-tale streams of bubbles as


fish root round the bottom. By keeping an eye on each line Les
knows exactly where and when to fish. He will take a fish from
one line, feed it, and then quickly rotate to another while the first
swim recovers and the fish show themselves again.

If he starts foul-hooking fish, Les knows he’s putting in too much


feed, and cuts down.

After just three hours he’s had had a bite almost every put-in, and has over 50lb of carp and tench in his net.
If he’d been fishing seriously without having to constantly stop and perform for the IYCF cameras, he
reckons he could have put at least 20lb more in the keepnet.

Proof positive that if you put a line in the right place, you’ll sack up on the snakes! IYCF

Catching chub and barbel from wierpools


By Improve Your Coarse Fishing
31 August 2010 16:13

True anglers are always drawn to the sound, sight and smell of weirpools. The temptation to peer
into the white, rumbling water and wonder which species might live in such torrents is too hard to
resist. Unless you cast a baited hook into the fierce water you’ll never know what lurks beneath, but
it takes courage and confidence to do so. Jan Porter is your guide as he tackles Church Wilne weir
on the Derbyshire Derwent.

WEIRPOOLS are tremendous places to fish. They look almost too violent and fierce to even consider
tackling them, but the rewards can be phenomenal and catching fish from white water is an experience that
you will never, ever forget.

Granted, your first 100lb-plus carp haul is a memorable event, but imagine the thrill of successfully setting
out your stall, feeding and catching a large, powerful chub or barbel from the true, wild water of a weirpool.
It’s your weirpool exploits that will be the most fondly remembered.

They aren’t easy places to fish – you’ll always get a swim, if not the whole weirpool to yourself – so to help
you along we accompanied Jan Porter to the Church Wilne weirpool on the River Derwent, just east of
Derby.

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Jan’s intention was to leger for the many barbel and chub that live in this beautiful stretch of wild water,
fishing as close to the weir as the overhanging vegetation allowed.

WHY FISH A WEIR?

OF all the places on a river to fish, why would anyone want to push themselves and their tackle to the limit
and tackle the turbulent water of a weirpool?

The answer is quite simple when it’s explained, and it boils down to three things: weirpools provide oxygen,
food and safety.

Oxygen: Although plants give off oxygen when they photosynthesise during daylight, rivers that have sparse
weed growth will suffer during a prolonged drought. The oxygen levels drop and the fish have to seek
highlyoxygenated water, not in order to survive, but to be comfortable. And one of the most oxygenated
areas of a river is directly downstream of a turbulent weirpool.

Food: The water that pours over the weir carries food that is washed down, swept around with the
undercurrent to eventually settle on the bottom of the surrounding eddies. The constant pounding of the
water over the sill also helps stir up any crustaceans and other water life trying to mind their own business
under rocks or snags. Fish won’t be too far away.

Safety: No cormorant can work a weir as they are too powerful so there’s little chance of being picked off,
plus light cannot filter through the turbulent water so therefore there’s ample shade for the fish.

JAN’S FAVOURITE BAITS

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AS Jan was fishing for a large chub or a barbel he opted to bring big
baits normally associated with those species. He took two sizes of
trout pellets, paste, Trigga boilies, cooked hemp, sweetcorn and
Dynamite Baits’ Mini Meaty Fish Bites. The sweetcorn and hemp
made great feed inducers as they sink fast and emit strong scents.

Either of these could be hair-rigged if Jan wanted, but a big bait


approach was at the top of his agenda today.

The Special G Marine Pellets Jan set aside as hookbaits were huge –
21mm to be precise – and as these are extraordinarily hard Jan had
already drilled through them beforehand so they could easily be
hooked hair-rig-style.

Although the fish living in the weirpool may not have seen these
monstrous pellets before – or any other pellet for that matter – Jan
was adamant that these pellets are great short session baits that
meat-loving fish readily take.

It was highly likely that the chub or barbel had never seen Jan’s paste, Trigga boilies or Mini Meaty Fish
Bites either so the pressure was really on for him to prove his worth.

KICK-STARTING A SWIM

FEEDING a weirpool is incredibly simple when you apply a little common sense before throwing out the bait.
Jan walked to the head of the pool, armed with corn, small pellets and hemp, and watched the water surging
down the sill, working its way downstream. By doing this he could determine the path his loosefeed would
take as it was pushed along with the flow.

Jan pointed out that the main flow fell off the weir and headed directly downstream. He also noticed that the
flow started going slowly backwards either side of the main current creating a pair of slow moving eddies
immediately downstream of the weir and at either side of the river.

Bait thrown into the centre of the main flow would be swept downstream quickly.

It would be some time before it settled on the bottom – perhaps even 30 yards downstream of the main weir.
This distance would be determined not only by the power of the flow, but also by the buoyancy of the bait. A
heavy bait like hemp or corn sinks faster than maggots or casters.

Any bait thrown into the very edge of the weir would be drawn downstream but there is a high chance that it
will be sucked in and swept around within the swirling eddy, where it would come to rest.

Jan used a throwing stick to introduce hemp, pellets and corn across the weir.

The bait scattered between the main flow and the far bank eddy to provide plenty of options.

DON’T SKIMP ON TACKLE

JAN came armed with powerful gear capable of stopping a barge. The rod was a prototype that Jan built
himself – a 12ft, 13⁄4lb test-curve rod based on a Shimano Diaflash blank. The reel was a Shimano

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Baitrunner loaded with 8lb Catana mono. This is a durable, economical line that is not only strong, but is
also very abrasion resistant.

A powerful feeder rod with a 4oz carbon tip might suffice when fishing in such extreme conditions, but Jan
prefers to use a through action 13⁄4lb test-curve Avon-style rod. The fish will still pull the tapered tip round
on a savage bite, but by the same token the tip won’t be pulled round too much when the lead settles and
the flowing water exerts force upon the main line.

THE RIG

JAN’S rig resembled a semi-fixed carp set-up. He threaded a strong snap link onto the main line, then a
Korda Tail Rubber, and tied a large swivel on to the end. A 12-inch hooklength was tied to the swivel and a
2oz flat lead was clipped to the snap link.

The hooklength was made up of 15lb Kryston Super Mantis coated braid which is a very abrasion-resistant
material perfect for these conditions. A hair rig was tied in the end with a knotless knot and a size eight Fox
Series Two hook.

Jan utilised a snap link in the set-up as this enabled him to quickly switch between a heavier or lighter
weight, or a different shaped lead or even to remove the lead completely for free-lining if he wished.

Finally Jan pushed the Korda Tail Rubber over the swivel and worked the snap link swivel over the Rubber
until it locked. The rig would come apart if the line broke to make it safe.

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AND WHERE ARE THE FISH?

HAVING tackled River Trent weirpools many times before, Jan had a good inkling of the fish’s whereabouts.

They were very likely to be holed up where the current was least ferocious as
here they could rest and zip in and out of the current to take food as it passed
by.

Barbel prefer clean, gravel bottoms and running water over their backs so they
were likely to be resting behind rocks or downstream of snags either
downstream of the weir or even right under the surging white water.

Chub, bream and pike prefer slower water so they could be found in or very
close to the eddies at either side of the main flow. They may also lay
downstream of the main flow where the water is calmer.

Overhanging bushes are a prime target area for chub too as they love the cover they offer.

Amazingly fish can also be found right underneath the weir and white water. Here the water is deeper and
therefore the flow is reduced, plus this area is the first point of call for food being swept over the weir.

SEARCH THE BOTTOM

WEIRPOOLS are often extremely snaggy places to fish. During floods branches, debris and all manner of
things are sent down river, washed over the weirpool with the force of the water then pushing the rubbish
down where it will remain on the bottom.

To ensure that his rig didn’t become snagged on the same object every cast, Jan flicked the rig out and
allowed it to bounce along the bottom. He held the rod at all times as this allowed him to feel the contours
and make-up of the bottom through the rod.

The lead bounced along the bottom from the white water downstream and once it passed Jan’s seated
position he wound it in and cast again to a different area, repeating the run through.

Only a couple of large snags were found and from this Jan knew exactly where to cast in order to gain a
clean run through the long swim.

THE SESSION

JAN began fishing in the late morning and cast a baited rig only when he was confident that he had located
the snags and after picking the right weight for his rig. He switched between 2oz, 21⁄2oz and 3oz flat leads
and cast them into the swim. Ideally he needed a weight that remained stationary in the strong flow, but one
which would move easily if a fish picked up the bait or if Jan tugged gently on the mainline. A 2oz lead was
selected.

He started the session using a Trigga boilie but after no response in an hour he decided to switch to a string
of Mini Meaty Fish Bites.

He has a special way of attaching these baits, working four or five baits up the hook shank and on to the
hooklength, then attaching a single boilie to the hair.
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Doing this not gives a visually more appealing bait and one that smells stronger too, but the main reason is
to help hook more chub. Older, larger and wiser chub tend to pick up baits in their lips and feel for hooks, as
opposed to taking the whole bait down. But by making a longer bait the chub has to take the hook down
before it can close its lips around the end of the bait to check for hooks. When it does that it’s too late and
Jan will have felt or have seen the bite.

Jan saw a couple of taps on the rod tip but nothing materialised until he tried a Marine Pellet.

He cast to the same spot, right in the white water, and let the bait trundle downstream After a couple of
attempts the rod tip jagged and lurched over. He struck and hooked a good fish.

The culprit was a 4lb chub that used the strong flow to its advantage, giving Jan the runaround before he
finally netted it.

He replaced the pellet hookbait and tried for another fish. It took some time in coming, but again the rod
arched over and a slightly smaller chub took the massive pellet hook bait.

Although Jan didn’t catch a netful from this wonderful weirpool, he had a great day’s fishing that was
challenging yet productive.

How to catch carp in snaggy waters

30 March 2010 12:00

Regardless of the water you fish, somewhere there will be a snag. An island, an overhanging or fallen tree,
lily beds or tree stumps are always places which carp will be found in and around. Snags offer carp a feeling

55
of safety and sanctuary and this is why they love them. These areas also offer a running buffet of natural
food.

Snags are teeming with creatures such as water snails, caddis larvae and freshwater shrimps – all the
things that a carp will happily crunch on for hours.

Where to fish

HOW DO you locate where the snag starts and ends, once you’ve found one? The first stage is to cast leger
with no hooklink using the lightest weight you can for minimum disturbance, then by gently pulling the rod
back you will feel where the lead hooks up and where there are clear spots. To inch closer to the snag, let a
little line off the reel and then clip up. Retrieve the line and cast again. You’ll be able to get closer and closer
to the snag by repeating this process without casting into it.

This ‘leading around’, as it’s known, will help to give a mental image of where the snag starts and ends. The
lead shouldn’t jam, as there is no hooklength attached. Use a safety clip so that if the lead does lock up, the
clip will eject it, allowing you to easily retrieve your main line.

Once the snag’s make-up has been established and a clear spot found, you could cast a marker float to the
area in order to find the depth. As long as it’s not too shallow, fish will generally be in the area because of
the snag.

Hitting the same spot


HAVING established where to fish, add
the hooklength. Keeping the line
clipped up when casting will ensure
that you hit the same spot every time.
Carefully tighten down to the lead,
making sure not to move it and take
the mainline out of the clip.

In order to hit the exact same spot


again after a run, Damian uses a line
marker.

After tying a small length of light pole


elastic on to the mainline, he slides the
elastic till it lines up with the third ring
of his rod.

After a run, cast away from the swim


and wind back until the knot sits
beneath the third rod ring. Place the
line in the clip and then cast back into
the
area that you’re fishing. This ensures that the rig hits the same spot every time. If fishing
really close to a snag at night, pull the line marker back by one ring. The rig will be a good
foot off the snag giving a margin of error.

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A. Place the rod’s butt ring very close to or against the bite alarm.

B. Set your bobbins high to prevent too much line being released on a run.

C. Use the rod’s line clip to help keep everything taut.

D. You shouldn’t use any free-spool facility possessed by the reel. Fish ‘locked up’ and tighten the clutch
fully. Braid is a better reel line than mono.

E. A tight butt grip is essential.

1 BANKSTICKS 2 BUTT GRIPS


Both banksticks have stabilisers fitted. This Good butt grips are essential. Whichever
stops the bankstick from twisting in the make you use, they must firmly hold the
ground. Make sure all thumbscrews are also rod’s handle. If the rod tip is pointing down

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tight. or you’re fishing at a slight angle, the fish
can pull the rod so hard they can pull the
rod out of the clip. You could end up losing
the rod or give the fish enough line to reach
the snag. Either is a disaster!

3 REEL 4 ROD
Don’t engage the free-spool mechanism on Any carp rod will do for snag fishing. The
the reel. Fish with everything ‘locked up’ and rod set-up and the use of balanced tackle
the clutch tightly set. The carp will not be are much more important than a powerful
able to take line and so won’t be able to get rod.
deeply into the snag.

5 LINE CLIP 6 BOBBINS


These help to keep the line taut and give Set high in order to take as much stretch
better bite indication. out of the mainline as possible. Add-on
weights amplify this effect.

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7 BUTT RING 8 MAINLINE
Place the rod’s butt ring against the bite Monofilament will stretch allowing the fish
alarm for added stability and to help with the some room for movement. This stretch
locked-up effect. increases with distance. Consider using
braided line, as braid has zero stretch.

Keeping the line down

DAMIAN’S terminal tackle starts with 18 inches of rig tube. This he colours in slightly with an indelible black
marker. The black marker helps to camouflage the rig tube on the lake bed.

“It was just one of the many things that we learnt from some underwater video shoots,” says Damian. A
small lump of lead putty is moulded around the top of the tube with a few twists of lead wire wrapped around
the centre of the tubing. This helps to keep the rig tubing pinned down as air can become trapped in tubing,
allowing it to lift slightly. This will spook any cruising fish, as the presentation looks very unnatural. A flying
backlead is also used on the main line above the tubing. Flying backleads are small in-line leads that fly up
the mainline on casting. This also helps to keep the main line pinned down to the lake bed and is a definite
bonus when using braid as a main line.

Lead choice

A KORDA Grippa is Damian’s first choice of lead. These leads feature small lumps on both sides. The lumps
offer more resistance for a better ‘bolt’ effect and are useful when presenting rigs on a slope or island shelf.
The lead is fished with a Korda safety clip. These are imperative for fish safety, especially when fishing into
a snag as the lead can be ejected if caught up.

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Tail rubber sense

KORDA’S safety clips and tail rubbers have been designed to complement each other.

“A lot of anglers cut back the tail of the clip to allow easier ejection of a snagged lead. This is wrong as our
safety clips were never meant to be used like this,” says Damian. Fishing with the tail rubber only a third of
the way onto the clip will allow the lead to free itself easier.

An added advantage of the clip throwing the lead is that the carp will come up in the water rather than
staying deep. This makes playing the fish much easier.

Feathering a cast

When casting a PVA bag attached to the hook, you need to slow the cast down just before the bag hits the
water. This is known as ‘feathering’. Placing your finger lightly on the spool will slow the pace of the line,
straightening out the rig or stopping the force of the bag, ejecting the lead as it hits the water.

Click here to see a top rig for snag fishing.

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River roving for barbel

21 December 2009 09:00

WITH miles of Britain’s rivers being virtually unexplored and unfished these days, this is the perfect time to
go roving.

By travelling light and moving from swim to swim, you can enjoy all the glories of the English countryside as
well as some prolific barbel and chub fishing.

These are the very thoughts that inspire river wanderer Chris Holley. By staying mobile, carrying the bare
minimum of tackle and roving along a stretch of river, 49-year-old Chris has managed to catch 199 double-
figure barbell and chub to 7lb 10oz.

Furthermore, the Foxbacked angling guide has also passed on his years of river experience, helping
countless other anglers – from dustmen to big names such as Michelin-star awarded chef Marco Pierre
White - land quality fish.

“Roving is without doubt my favourite method,” said Chris enthusiastically.

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“It enables you to quickly get an idea of the river’s topography, where the snags, deep holes and weed beds
are and all the other places that will hold fish.

“This makes catching fish much easier as you are actively seeking them out rather than sitting static, behind
a pair of rods, waiting for them to come to you in a swim that may not be very good.”

To put Chris’ theory of roving to the test, we met up with him on a Birmingham Anglers Association stretch of
the River Teme at Cotheridge.

With the river running very low and clear, it was obvious things were going to be tough.

But while lots of anglers would have got straight back in their car as soon as they saw the river, Chris
remained unfazed.

Although not as confident as he would have been had the river been carrying a bit more water and colour,
he still thought he could put a couple of fish on the bank.

Chris faced the ultimate test of his mobile attack...

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CHRIS started the day by sneaking into his first swim, slightly upstream of the car park. From the high bank,
a number of large barbell and chub were merrily troughing the hemp he had introduced into his four swims
as soon as he had arrived at Cotheridge.

Burying his size 4 Drennan Boilie hook into a one inch cube of curry powdered luncheon meat, he swung his
lightweight rig 10 yards upstream, away from the feeding fish.

Using the flow to carry it along the riverbed, it was ignored on the first run.

Repeating the cast Chris tried a different line, a little closer in. The meat bounced down into the lion’s den.

Holding in the flow a barbel broke rank and jumped on the meaty cube. Leaving the bite a second to
develop, Chris swiftly struck and the first fish of the session was on.

As the fish rocketed downstream, his rod took on an alarming bend.

Giving its all, the barbell soon relinquished the balance of power and Chris welcomed it
to the folds of his landing net’s mesh.

The fish was a 6lb 8oz beauty, a great start to a tough day.

“It’s time for a move,” said Chris…

SWIM two comprised of a shallow upstream area, deepening as the river ran through a corridor of
overgrown trees, ending in a deep pool at the end of the tree-lined passageway.

The pool at the end of the run was the area that Chris had pre-baited and was a little too deep to spot fish,
although the occasional flash of white revealed there was a least one barbel in the swim.

Slipping on his chest waders, Chris’ plan was to creep to the inner edge of the trees and roll his meat down
the central channel.
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Unfortunately, with the river being at it lowest levels, Chris had problems
getting the meat to roll naturally, forcing him to work it down the river rather
than it being carried naturally.

This resulted in a few quick tugs on his meat hookbait, but no positive pick-
ups. After 30 minutes, it was again time to move on downstream…

CHRIS’ third swim was half-a-mile from the car park. In a shaded copse, this highly inviting swim had plenty
of pace running through it and a snag on the inner bank.

Having previously placed two pints of hemp around the snag, this was the place for Chris to target.

A chunk of curried meat was flicked upstream, to allow it to trundle around the edge of the snag where the
fish would be lying. Keeping his fingers on the mainline just above the reel, a technique called touch
legering, Chris waited for any knocks caused by fish picking up his bait to be transmitted to his nerveladen
fingertips.

After 10 minutes of little life showing, an armada of 20 big chub swam through the swim. Moving slowly
towards the previously baited area the air was pregnant with anticipation.

For a few moments the chub hung over the bait before drifting away - in the low, clear conditions they were
proving hard to tempt.

THE final swim was a ‘U’ shaped area of the river, with a sandy beach area on his side and an uprooted tree
on the far bank.

“This looks great,” said Chris, “the deeper, faster flow runs right along the edge
of the fallen tree opposite.

“This is a classic holding area as it provides cover and oxygen for the fish.”

Running meat through the swim a few times, the fish weren’t having it. The
river’s low levels and bright sun were making them spooky.

“I might just give worms a bash,” he said.


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Seconds later, three worms where lumbering their way through the swim.

“That was a bump,” Chris whispered. Seconds later, he struck and the day’s second barbel was on!

“It’s a bit smaller than I’d like!” Chris said with a beaming grin on his face.

The only way to describe it was ‘perfection in miniature’ as the fish weighted four ounces!

“It seems funny, but barbel this size are rarer than double figure fish,” Chris said lightheartedly.

“Anyone that does much barbel fishing will know that the smallest fish generally caught are around 1lb.

“The real babies like these are never seen. So even though she’s a little un’ she’s a real treasure!”

How to roll meat effectively


Rolling a piece of meat is a top way of catching wary barbel and chub as you are presenting them with a
moving bait that behaves naturally.

When rolling meat you must keep constant contact with the bait to read what’s happening below the water.

The best way to do this is by touch legering, the technique works by gently laying the line between your
fingertips on your free hand and feeling for tell-tale bumps and plucks caused by a fish picking up the bait.

“Using your fingertips – which are very sensitive – for bite indication, means you can strike quicker and spot
subtle bites that you might miss when using a quivertip,” said Chris.

Rod position is also important when working a moving bait downstream.

“A key mistake made by anglers is they keep the rod too high. Hold the rod tip close to the water so you give
yourself room to strike,” he added.

But the third, and perhaps most important element you must get right, concerns the weight of leger weight
you choose.

This should just be heavy enough to get the hookbait to the bottom, but not so heavy that it is pinned down
static on the riverbed.

The meat must be able to trip and trundle along the riverbed, washed along by the flow, so that it resembles
the natural movement of a free offering carried on the current.

“If the bait remains static, you immediately lose the advantage of fishing with a rolling bait and the natural
presentation it gives you,” said Chris.

“Another problem novices make is pointing the rod at the bait. It is better to keep the rod at a 90º angle to
the bait.

“By keeping a tight line and having it at an angle, you can easily feel when the bait has stopped and when it
needs tweaking to get it moving through the swim again.”

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Push the hook into and Pull the hook out of the other Gently pull the hook back into
through the top of a one inch side, and twist it 180 the meat, burying the point.
cube of meat. degrees.

CHRIS’ RIG

Chris’ roving rig (below) is simple, but it does incorporate some important aspects.

Chris’ mainline is 10lb Maxima. This is a heavy and quite thick line for its breaking strain when compared to
modern high-tech lines. This is exactly what Chris looks for.

“Being thicker, the water pushes against it helping to trundle the meat downstream” Chris said.

Chris also uses a large bore run ring, stopped by a Fox buffer bead covering a size eight swivel.

To the run ring Chris attaches a snap link to facilitate quick lead changes. This is important as some swims
have stronger flows than others, so you may need to use a lighter or heavier weight.

On the Teme Chris used a tiny leger, weighing just an eighth of an ounce, to trundle his bait along the
riverbed. If the flow is very slow, Chris will even take the lead off altogether and freeline his baits.

For his hooklink he again uses line that sinks well and hugs the riverbed.

When fishing with meat chunks he uses 8lb Drennan Sinklink sinking braid but when using smaller baits like
maggots, he uses 8lb Fox Illusion fluorocarbon. This extremely stiff line stops tangles when using light baits.

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TOP THREE ROVING BAITS

As a dyed-in-the-wool traditionalist, Chris never uses modern baits like boilies and pellets, preferring to
place his faith in time-honoured baits like luncheon meat, pastes or worms.

Chris’ top barbel and chub baits are:

LUNCHEON MEAT

The best rolling meats are the dense brands and Chris’ preferred tins made by
Celebrity, Netto or Lidl.

He cuts the meat into three inch long strips, puts them into a plastic bag, adds 2oz of
hot curry powder then inflates the bag and shakes it to cover the meat. The bag then
goes in the fridge overnight to allow the curry to permeate the meat.

PASTE

Pastes are excellent for barbel and chub and Chris uses meat and cheese paste. To
prepare his meat paste, take a pack of Sainsburys Extra Fine Sausage Meat then mix it
50/50 with fine breadcrumbs to produce a paste with the consistency of marzipan.

His cheese paste is made from equal quantities of Gorgonzola, mature cheddar and
frozen puff pasty. He grates both cheeses then kneads the three ingredients together to
form a smooth paste.

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WORMS

Three or four worms on the hook is a great change when things are tough. The only
problem with using them is that they’re not very selective. They will catch everything
that swims, like roach, chublets or even baby barbel!

DOES ROVING WORK?

Despite only fishing for a few hours in diabolical conditions Chris still managed to tempt a 6-pounder.

It was clear his mobile approach allowed him to spend time actively looking for fish rather than waiting in
vain for them to come to him.

The value of the roving approach was illustrated by a few other anglers who were fishing static baits further
upstream - they didn’t muster so much as a line bite between them!

So, next time you fancy a spot of barbel and chub fishing, leave the tackle mountain at home, travel light
and prepare to explore.

You might just discover some truly magical river fishing.

Where to fish for river chub

29 October 2009 15:19

THE chub is a wily old fox, and the bigger they get the more cunning they become. However, in the coldest
of weather when all other species are refusing to feed on the river, chub will often be the only fish to oblige
and put a bend in your carbon...if you get your tactics right.

Here’s our Quickfire guide to where you’ll find them on a small river and the key baits that you need to bag
yourself a big old chub.

68
1. Mashed bread is a top feed for chub roving. Simply soak some
stale bread in a bait bucket containing plenty water...

2. ...and squeeze a ball of mash into a golf-ball-sized lump.

69
3. Introduce your feed into likely looking swims on your stretch.
The bread breaks up a

Catching silver fish shallow using the strangest pole fishing rig ever

By Improve Your Coarse Fishing


24 September 2010 09:00

John Weeden’s silverfish pole fishing tactics and the pole fishing rigs he uses really are bizarre!

Incorporating a rig with a three-foot pole ‘float’, the Maver match ace regularly takes roach bags well in
excess of 30lb.

Crude-looking, highly unconventional, downright strange, but devilishly effective when it comes to catching
rudd and roach, John’s three-foot float rig is actually a yard-long length of greased monofilament that floats
and provides resistance-free bite indication when fishing up-in-the-water.

Having been invented and used to devastating effect in the 1960s and 70s by London Association Anglers
who’d use greased line rigs for snatching bleak on venues like the River Lea and Thames, John has revived
the tactic, putting it to use on today’s modern commercials.

Used for catching any fish that is feeding up-in-the-water, John has landed everything from roach and rudd –
his best day being 63lb taken from Gold Valley Lakes, Hampshire – through to skimmers, chub and even
carp, the best of which weighed more than 10lb.

John told us: “It’s a tactic that I saw being used nearly 40 years ago and it has been a little edge that I have
kept in my back pocket ever since.

“If I am in a match and, for whatever reason, the carp aren’t feeding confidently, I have employed the old
greased line trick and more often than not walked to victory with a bulging bag of silverfish.”

To witness John’s bizarre three-foot pole float in action, Features Editor Mark Parker, joined the ex-Kings
Cross lad on the banks of the beautiful Bridge Farm Fishery, at Litcham, near Kings Lynn to witness a day of
greased line fishing that he wouldn’t forget...

It’s so very simple, yet so very effective...

With a deft flick of the wrist, John’s top-three pole section propelled the six-foot rig out into the swim.
70
In similar fashion to a great fly angler casting out a team of flies to a wary rising trout, John nimbly held the
pole’s top kit at two-o’clock, allowing the rig to land softly on the surface of the lake, before lowering the top
kit to just below horizontal – primed and ready to strike at any movement.

The three-foot length of line – smeared in a thick coating of bright orange bristle grease with an array of
small loops tied in it every six inches – looked wholly alien as it lay on the surface of the pool.

Hurling a pinch of maggots round the end of the floating line, the countless swirls and oily vortexes on the
lake’s surface indicated that John had the fish feeding, and feeding hard.

Moments later, and in an instant, the length of curly orange line pulled bow-string tight, before it slid beneath
the surface.

A flick of the wrist was all it took to strike the hook home into yet another one of Bridge Farm’s healthy
roach.

Swinging the fish to hand, John rapidly unhooked the plump five-ounce fish, before repeating the process
once again.

Watching John closely for around 30 minutes, I noticed that I had started to involuntarily rock back and forth
in time to his casts and strikes, so fluid and quick was the momentum of his fishing.

Shaking myself out of the angling-induced daze, I set to work quizzing John about this highly unusual, yet
devastating silverfish tactic.

More years than I’d care to remember…

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Having grown up in the ‘smoke’, the young John and his mate, the now prolific match angler Terry Dalgarno,
used to regularly travel on the train from their Kings Cross home to the River Lea, in order to watch the great
matches of the day.

Here, the two young aspiring anglers would spend hours closely watching angling legends like Dickie Carr,
Bill Bullock and Ade Scutt as they went head-to-head in large 200-peg matches that stretched for miles
along the banks of the Lea as it wound its way through north London and eventually into the Thames.

“We could never afford to fish ourselves, so we’d sit behind the anglers that we looked up to, soaking in
what they did and how they did it,” said John, as a wistful look of far off fondness crossed his face as he
recalled age-old memories.

“They were all superb, but it was Ade Scutt who was the true master of greased line fishing.

“In those days they used to use lengths of invisible mending thread, rather than a section of high-tech pole
line which had yet to be invented. But it fitted the bill perfectly.

In fact, I’ll still use invisible mending thread on occasion, even now. The trouble is that it is nylon with a
breaking strain of around 1.5lb – ideal for bleak, but too light for commercial pools.

“You’ve got to remember that in the 60s and 70s tackle was very crude.

“Small fish, like bleak, would often reject the bait if they felt the weight of the float. A greased line rig offers
these fish a totally resistance-free presentation and it was the real thinking anglers like Ade, Bill and Dickie
that really pushed the boundaries, looking for alternative products to employ in order to catch these
previously uncatchable fish.”

Since these early beginnings, John has converted the old tactics by using modern lines and has won more
matches with just silverfish than he’d now care to remember.

His best result to date is a 63lb bag from Hampshire’s Gold Valley Lakes as well as plenty of 30lb and 40lb
nets both in matches and during pleasure sessions.

And the real beauty of the tactic is that it’s so simple.

The greased line rig

72
Fished ‘whip-style’, with only an elasticated top three kit and a line long enough to swing any smaller fish to
hand, John’s greased line rig will catch any fish that is willing to feed up-in-the-water.

The shorter you fish, the easier it is. He further simplifies his approach by not even plumbing up. He simply
casts out the rig, feeds a few maggots and catches fish.

The elastic is a 5-8 Maver Match This Dual Core threaded through the whole top kit and set to fish quite soft.
Having a hollow elastic gives John a forgiving set-up for catching silvers, while it still has a bit of backbone if
a larger fish takes his maggot hookbait.

The mainline is 0.14mm (4lb 2oz) Maver Genesis Extreme II mono.

John ties small overhand loops into the line along a three foot length.

“The reason for the loops is so that I can see the line much easier,” John explained.

“When you cover these small loops with a thick smear of fluorescent orange pole bristle grease, the rig
stands out brilliantly on the surface of the lake, even in a heavy ripple.

“It also allows me to see the bites develop, as each loop gets pulled under the surface. However, most of
the time, the bites are so positive you don’t get a chance to see bites develop all that well!”

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At the very end of the looped section, John attaches his small 12-inch hooklength.

This is 0.14mm, 0.12mm or 0.10mm depending upon the size of the fish that he is catching on any given
day.

When it comes to hooklengths, John thinks the heavier that you can get away with is best.

A short length of mono has very little tensile strength compared to longer lengths, so you need to make a
compromise somewhere.

Also, John will quite often catch well over 200 fish in a day, so the heavier the hooklink the fewer problems
you’ll have and the less often you will have to change it.

On the hooklength, John will place two tiny number 13 shot.

These will generally be equally spaced, although he will move them up or down the hooklink depending
whether the fish want a slower or more rapidly descending bait presentation on the day.

The hook is a size 18 Maver Match This MT Series 3.

“The two shot simply help the hooklink to sink effortlessly,” said John.

“This allows me to present my hookbait just 12 inches below the surface.

“This is an ideal area for catching fish. Over the years I’ve found that the larger, more aggressive roach tend
to sit and feed higher in the water so they get at the food before their smaller cousins.

“Combined with regular casts and even more regular feeding, I very quickly get into fish.

“The hook is big enough to land larger fish, while not being too big to hinder overall presentation.

“But even though these fish are in a feeding frenzy just under the surface, it doesn’t mean that they are
suicidal.”

When is a float not a float?

At the pole end of the rig, just before the strange, three-foot looped section starts, John attaches a small
piece of plastic.

On one rig, this is a cut down section of plastic disgorger. On another, it is a small white plastic lolly stick
which originally came from his kids while the family was on holiday in Turkey.

74
“It doesn’t really matter what you use, as long as it floats,” John explained.

“Even though this looks like it should be the rig’s float, it is only for casting weight and to
help prevent the rig tangling on the cast. Even though it floats, you never watch it for your
bite indication.

“It is the three-foot length of looped and greased line that you need to watch.

“When the greased line tightens and submerges is when you should strike.”

Baits and feeding

When it comes to hookbaits, John uses maggots, but John isn’t too fussy when it comes to free offerings.

His first choice is maggots as they complement the hookbait, although the tactic also works superbly with
loosefed hempseed as well as regularly fed small balls of light, sloppy groundbait. Something like Van Den
Eynde’s Supermatch or Special are among the best as they form a cloud in the water, while providing very
little substantial food to eat.

For hookbait, John tends to use maggots, which he threads up the shank of the hook. This helps to mask
the hook as well as making the set-up more robust.

By hooking a maggot this way, he can take a few fish before having to change the hookbait.

“This is one of the reasons I like to use more robust baits, like maggots or hemp,” John told me.

“Softer hookbaits like casters, which roach love, can be pulled off the hook without a bite registering, even
on a greased line rig.

“With maggots, especially ones threaded on to the hook, you can use the same hookbait to take a number
of fish.

“Although not allowed in matches, one of my favourite dodges to avoid having to re-hook all the time, is to
use a plastic maggot.

“The fish are in frenzy and will readily take anything that looks like food, as long as it is well presented.”

Feeding-wise, John will easily work his way through two pints of maggots in a session.

He is not looking to feed loads, but he is intent upon getting a constant stream of food raining through the
swim.

Between eight to 10 grubs thrown around the end of the rig every 30 seconds is ideal to keep the fish
actively searching the upper layers and feeding confidently.

To throw the fish off balance, he will often throw in a bit of hemp, too – perhaps every sixth or seventh feed –
to pick off the larger roach which adore seed.

Greasing the swim

75
Fishing two swims over the day, John constantly drip feeds each
one, taking between five and six fish off each line before
swapping to the next. This keeps fish coming all day and prevents
plundering just one area to depletion.

By flicking, feeding and then striking as the orange line


straightened and sunk, John was steadily and very, very easily
putting together an enviable bag of silvers while many of the
surrounding anglers were struggling to get any bites at all as they
fished conventionally on the bottom.

The total lack of resistance offered by the greased line meant that
the shy-biting silverfish took his hookbait without hesitation.

After four hours, we decided to call it a day and return the fish.

Lifting the keepnet out of the water to take a shot of the finished
catch, the sound was deafening as two keepnet ringfuls of roach
noisily flapped their annoyance at being lifted briefly out of the water.

The result had to be seen to be believed – a net well over 30lb was sitting comfortably in the base of John’s
keepnet.

As a great man once said: “History is not what you thought, it is what you can remember,” and it seems that
John’s formative years watching and remembering how some of the sport’s legends fished has rewarded
him in spades – if not silver. IYCF

Jamie Masson's guide to pole fishing basics

By Improve Your Coarse Fishing


09 August 2010 16:31

Taking your first steps into the world of pole fishing can be confusing to say the least. Although pole fishing
in itself is really very simple because after all there's no reel or casting to contend with, there's still lots to
learn.

To help you along when taking your first steps into the world of pole fishing, we joined Maver’s Jamie
Masson for an in-depth look at some important basics of fishing a pole.

These little details really matter. They may seem insignificant and many anglers either do them wrong or
completely ignore them. But put them all together, and these suggestions will help improve your pole angling
no end.

Here’s what Jamie had to tell us...

HOW TO SIT CORRECTLY

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On the level Having a level seatbox is the key to pole fishing success

Something as simple as the way that you set up your seatbox and then how you sit on it can make all the
difference between a keepnet full of fish and excruciating back pain. By keeping your
back, knees and feet at 90-degrees to each other, you’ll be able to fish the pole
comfortably for many hours.

Look... no hands! A balanced pole equals better angling

Balance is imperative to successful pole fishing.

The weight of the pole should be distributed between the forearm and thigh so that the
pole can be held steady while giving the angler the ability to use both hands freely.

This skill can only be achieved with practice but it is worth the effort. You can easily feed with a catapult or
do other tasks while fishing. This makes the session easier and you’ll catch more fish.

PLUMBING THE DEPTHS Take time to map out the swim’s contours

Only by taking your time to plumb the depth of the swim in front of you can you get an accurate idea of its
contours.

77
On many lakes there will be quite obvious features to fish to – like
islands margins, reed and/or lily beds or snags.

However, there can also be a number of fish-holding features that


are less obvious, under the water.

Depressions in the lakebed, weedbeds or the bottom of marginal


shelves can all attract and hold large heads of fish.

This means the proficient pole angler will spend at least 10 minutes searching all of the water in front of
them to find these hidden, golden areas.

To see what the bottom is made of, Jamie always uses a 1oz plummet and lowers it slowly through the
water on a tight line until it touches the bottom. The sensation that registers up the line tells him a lot about
what he’s fishing on.

If the plummet sticks the bottom is soft silt, if it feels firm but not hard the bottom is clay, if the plummet lands
with a ‘bang’ the lake bed is gravelly.

ON THE DROOP Adjust your elastic with a Rappa Bung

All new pole elastics have a great deal of stretch in them.

After playing a large fish, the elastic may not fully retract to its original length, causing it to droop out of the
end of the pole.

To adjust this tension, Jamie always elasticates his pole with an adjustable bung which incorporates a
winder.

This winder allows you to adjust the tenstion of the elastic.

There are a number of different types of adjustable winder bungs on the market. Jamie always uses a Maver
Rappa bung in his set-ups.

The excess elastic can be simply wound around this Rappa Bung,to take up slack, or even make it quite
tight for fishing close to snags.

78
To loose the droop, firstly pull the No2 and No3 top kit sections apart

Insert the Extractor Rod into the top kit and The loose excess elastic is then wound
pull out the Maver Rappa Bung from inside around the winder incorporated into the
the number two section Rappa Bung

KEEPING THINGS CLEAN Using joint cleaners and Shipper Bungs will extend your pole’s life

Dirt and grit are a pole joint’s worst enemy – nothing will wear a pole out faster.

By using Maver’s Clean Cap system and Shipper Base Bungs, Jamie ensures that the insides of his most
frequently unshipped sections – No3 and No4 – are always cleaned. The Shippa Bung protects the pole’s
base sections from damage.

79
Trouble ahead! Shipper Bung

Without the use of a Shipper Bung, the By using a Maver Shipper Bung, the base
pole’s base sections of the pole will be protected
sections can be easily damaged on bankside
debris

CATAPULTING CORRECTLY WITH A POLE To catch


effectively, you need to master feeding while holding the pole

Many novice pole anglers struggle to hold a pole – especially at


longer lengths.

The good news is, it is very easy to do after a little practice.

The first thing is to ensure the pole is balanced correctly. Secondly, rather than pulling the catty pouch
backwards, push the catty frame forwards with your chosen hand, while holding the pouch steady in the
other.

Tops and cups Having your cupping and top kits the same length means it’s easier to feed accurately

When Jamie first sets up his pole he tries to keep all of his top kits the same length as his cupping kit. This
ensures that his rigs are right over any loosefeed that he has cupped into the swim. This is vital in cold water
situations.

How to elasticate a pole from start to finish

By Improve Your Coarse Fishing


03 August 2010 15:31

A POLE needs elastic to cushion the fight from a battling fish. We’ve teamed up with tackle giants Maver
and leading pole angler Jamie Masson to show how to turn the new pole you left the tackle shop with into
one you can actually use.

Jamie used the brilliant but affordable, entry-level Maver Competition 121 13m pole which sells for around
£399.99 and comes with a match 3 and two power 2 kits plus cupping kits.

80
In this article Jamie shows us how to create a silverfish set-up and a heavier carp rig.

How to elasticate a silverfish kit using the No1 and No2 sections from a match 3 kit...

1. You’ll need the 2. The narrowest 3. Pull the thin No1 4. Take a Maver
following tools to do diameter (No.1) section right through Rappa Bung (this
the job – fine section is telescopic the No2 until it seats allows you to adjust
hacksaw, sharp craft and should be tightly tension) and push it
knife and sticky tape pushed into the No2 tightly into the No2
section section

5. Add the extractor 6. Withdraw the bung 7. Carefully cut the 8. The bung will now
rod into the bung . and place the knife a bung at this point (on slide 6 inches into the
Count the number of further two rings the eighth ring) No2 section. This
rings left exposed – in along the narrowing gives room to
81
this case its 6 bung (that’s 8) connect the No3
section

9. Match the diameter 10. Score the pole all the way round at this 11. If the bush
of an internal PTFE position and very gently snap off the excess doesn’t fit, keep
pole bush to the NOTE: If cutting a larger section Jamie cutting off very small
diameter of the No1 wraps it with tape and cuts with a hacksaw pieces (2mm-3mm) of
section No1 until it does

How to elasticate a power 2 kit for larger fish like carp...

1. Once again you’ll need exactly the same tools as you 2. Repeat the bung sizing
used to rig up your silverfish top 2 kit. This time we’ll be process (above). This bung
using the supplied top 2 power kits which are stronger, to should fit into the base of the
cope with big hard-fighting fish Power 2

3. Push the eye of the wire 4. Now slip the elastic 5. Pull the protruding wire
diamond threader through the through the diamond eye from the bottom of the No2
base of the Power 2 out of until it grips firmly in the wire section, dragging the elastic
the No1 section with it

6. Now go back to the pole tip 7. Thread the elastic through 8. Tie an ordinary overhand
end and thread on the ‘cup’ the hole in the ‘peg’ part of knot in the elastic. Now push
part of the stonfo connector the stonfo connector like this the ‘peg’ and the ‘cup’ firmly
82
like this together

9. This Maver Rappa Bung 10. The Maver 121 also 11. Cut the end of the No.1
allows you to wind on extra comes with a cupping kit, cupping kit section so that
elastic so you can adjust the you’ll need to make it up. the screw thread fits tightly
tension First, fit the screw thread over it

12. Add a dab of superglue 13. Push the screw thread 14. You are then able to
on to the end of the cupping adaptor on to the end of the screw on the two cups that
kit ‘s No1 section section and hold firmly until come with the Maver 121
the glue sets pole

15. Maver No3 and 4 16. They’re a tight fit so you 17. These go on the sections
sections have Clean Caps need to work them in your you remove most – No3 and
which help clean the female fingers to soften them No4
joint when unshipping

The ultimate guide to polefishing with catmeat

By Improve Your Coarse Fishing


27 July 2010 12:00

Catmeat is one of the most effective summer commercial carp baits. Everything that we anglers dislike
about catfood – the smell, the mess, greasy and oily texture – is absolutely adored by fish. Especially carp.

Add this to the fact that catmeat comes prepackaged in fantastic carp-attracting flavours like pilchard, tuna,
salmon and sardine, and it’s easy to see why it is such devastating bait.

Another advantage of catmeat is its soft texture, something else that carp go for. And another plus point to
this underused bait is that it’s super cheap, generally costing between 30p and 40p per tin.

83
To witness the power of catmeat, we joined Dynamite Baits’ marketing manager, Steve Cole, on the banks
of Decoy Lakes, near Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire (01733 202230), for a lesson in how to most effectively
use it.

Steve takes a unique approach to his catmeat fishing by using it in three different ways on the same day.
This allows him to target several areas with slightly different tactics from the comfort of one peg and pretty
much guarantees that he’ll take rakes of fish from all areas within one five-hour session.

We set up on Decoy’s popular Willow Lake for a masterclass in catmeat fishing that you’ll find really easy to
follow and copy.

Here's how Steve fishes this deadly commercial carp bait using pole tactics...

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Why use catmeat?

Love it or loath it, no angler can argue about the magical fish-pulling spell catmeat seems to cast over carp.
The fact that it is such an oily, slimy, rancid bait for us to handle, is its main attraction for the fish. Being
meat, it is packed with protein, ideal for when carp are heavily on the feed.

Add to this all manner of different flavours – some anglers preferring the meaty varieties like heart and beef,
while others place their faith in the fishy varieties – it is second to none when it comes to targeting highly-
stocked commercial venue carp.

But with so many different meats on the market, it can be confusing to know which one(s) to choose.

“The cheap stuff is what I always go for,” Steve told us.

“Also, always use catmeat chunks in gravy, rather than the solid meat products.

“The great thing from an angling perspective is that the really cheap stuff is probably best. The one I use
comes from the supermarket Lidl, either Coshida or Opticat which cost about 30 pence a tin.”

Unfortunately, there are a couple of drawbacks with using catmeat.

The first one is that it is a seasonal bait. Being a high protein food, it can only really be used when the carp
are hard on the feed, usually between mid-May through to mid- September.

Steve revealed that he had used it in the colder months but you have to fish it on the right days and be very
sparing with the amount of free offerings you put in. The second drawback is that it is banned on some
commercial fisheries.

“In my opinion, catmeat has received some bad press over the years, leading to it to be banned on some
fisheries where owners have deemed that it damages the fish,” Steve added.

“The trouble has been a minority of anglers piling in two dozen tins or more at a time and this has ruined it
for the more sensible anglers among us. Two or three tins are more than enough for a session.

“Furthermore, I think if it is good enough to feed pampered cats, then it should be fine for carp, too.

“Also, I’m fishing today at Decoy Lakes – one of the countries premier match and pleasure complexes. The
owners of this venue don’t ban catmeat and their fish stocks are healthy and the catch rates remain prolific –
some of the highest in the country, in fact.”

How to prepare the catmeat slop

To prepare catmeat slop, simply push the lot through a fine mesh riddle. It can then be fed into the swim
using a small Fox Toss Pot or pole cup attached to the end of the pole’s top-three section. The beauty of this
is that you can be 100 per cent accurate.

The slop, once in the water, creates a lovely oily, greasy cloud of smell and attraction, but with nothing solid
for the carp to feed on – apart from your hookbait.

The thing to avoid when using slop is not to use it in water that is deeper than three foot as the cloud will
disperse too wide and the tactic will lose its effectiveness.

85
“When it comes to using the slop, always have a tub of water next to you because if you don’t wash your
fingers after handling it, catmeat gets everywhere” Steve warned.

“Also, there are a number of different liquid additives on the market like Liquid Catmeat. These may make a
difference, but I don’t see the point in using them – it’s gilding the lily.”

STEP
ONE

Empt
ya
whole
tin of
catme
at
on to
a fine
mesh
riddle.

86
STEP
TWO

Push
all the
conte
nts
throu
gh
the
mesh
of the
riddle.

STEP
THRE
E

Lots
of it
will
stick
to the
botto
m
of the
riddle,
so
just
wipe
it in
to
your
bait
tub.

87
STEP
FOU
R

The
finish
ed
produ
ct is a
fine,
oily
and
meaty
goo
that
fish
adore
.

Preparing the hookbait

Although there is simply nothing wrong with using the chunks of catmeat straight from the can, there's
always something an angler can do to 'pep-up' the bait to make it even more appealing to carp. And also to
make the bait stand out from the feed. And also to put you ahead of the angler on the next peg.

Steve utilises Dynamite Baits Green Swim Stim groundbait to give his catmeat chunks a coating that
provides even more attraction.

Here's how it's done...

88
STEP ONE

After
washing off
the
catmeat, by
tipping it
onto a
riddle and
rinsing,
you'll be
left with
clean
chunks of
meat. Now
take a bag
of
Dynamite
Baits
Green
Swim Stim
and
sprinkle
the crumb
over the
top.

STEP TWO

Very
carefully
push the
chunks of
meat
around in
the
groundbait
to ensure
that each
piece gets
a good
coating of
the green
fishmeal
groundbait.

89
STEP
THREE

The
groundbait
sticks to
the meaty
chunks to
not only
provide an
extra
scent trail,
but it also
forms a
tougher
outer layer
which
helps
it stay on
the hook at
range.

SWIM ONE
Island margins

The first of Steve’s three-swim approach involved fishing up to the margins of Willow’s island.

Carp regularly patrol these features as at this time of year to be in the warmer, shallow water.

The trouble is that they go round and round, so it is up to the angler to stop them, forcing them to feed.

With most commercial islands being nine to 16 metres away, many people just fish sweetcorn or pellets
because catmeat is so soft it is hard work to fish at distance. But to force patrolling carp to feed, Steve uses
catmeat slop.

“Carp usually see pellet after pellet, but they’ll leap on catmeat, because it’s different. This is why it’s
effective against far-off features.”

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91
Kick off and feed
Once the slop is
prepared, Steve
fishes it through
a Toss Pot
because he’s
aiming to build
the swim slowly,
rather than piling
in a load of bait
at the start.

By priming the
swim with a
large pole cup,
you bring too
many fish into
the swim which
will result in a lot
of foul hooking,
ruining the swim
before you’ve
even started.

With a smaller
Toss Pot, Steve
can feed, put his
bait over the top
– in this case
the hookbait is a
6mm punch of
plain luncheon
meat – catch a
fish and then
repeat the
process. This
has the effect of
slowly building
the swim. The
more bites he
gets, the more
bait goes in, the
more the swim
builds. If he
doesn’t get a
bite within four
or five minutes,
only then will he
pot in another
Toss Pot full of
slop.

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“You still need
bait going
through the
water, just not
too much at
once, because
the swim will be
full of fish and it
will be total
chaos with fish
racing all over
the swim,” Steve
said.

“By adding slop


little and often,
you keep
greater control
over what is
happening
beneath the
surface.

“You can only catch one fish at a time, so why have the swim crawling with loads of carp? All you get is lots
of foul hooking which then spooks the fish.”

The hookbait Steve uses on his long island line is either punches of luncheon meat or, occasionally,
sweetcorn. These baits are more robust than cubes of softer catmeat so they’re easier to fish at distance,
staying on the hook better.

SWIM TWO
Open water

When targeting his open water swim, Steve starts by finding the average depth of the water – generally
three to eight foot on most commercial pools.

As well as fishing to the island, Steve plumbs up an area 45 degrees to the left of his island swim. This
keeps his second swim away from the first.

Also, if he fishes in line with the island in his open water swim, every fish that is hooked near the island will
be played through this second swim. This will spook any fish feeding in this area.

By keeping the second swim on a different line, he can get the carp feeding confidently in both areas.

When fishing in open water, Steve will feed catmeat straight out of the tin then fish ‘dusted’ catmeat over the
top. Dusted meat involves washing off any gravy and sludge from the tinned meat then covering it with a
sprinkling of dry groundbait.

Steve uses Dynamite Baits Green Swim Stim but any groundbait will work as long as it has a fine
consistency so that it will stick to the meat.

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“The groundbait creates an outer shell, toughening the meat,” Steve said.

“This process allows me to fish this soft bait at longer lengths, like today where I’m fishing at nine metres.”

The other beauty of creating a groundbait jacket is that there is a little more attraction coming off the
catmeat as the groundbait breaks down.

To kick off this open area, Steve feeds a full pole cup of plain catmeat then leaves the swim to rest for an
hour. After this hour he’ll fish for five minutes. If there are no carp forthcoming, he feeds the same again then
leaves the swim for 30 minutes before trying again.

“The reason for leaving it an hour is so the fish in open water gain confidence,” he said.

“I’m looking for a fish straight away. If there are no bites, feed and look again in half-an-hour, just in case the
fish are coming in, eating and leaving.”

SWIM THREE
The margins

Steve’s final swim of the day is in the margins. He targets this area only in the last hour of the session and
doesn’t feed it at all until he is ready to fish there.

“The reason I wait till the last hour to feed and fish is that I’m trying to replicate an angler leaving for the day
and throwing all their left over bait in,” Steve explained.

“The big wary fish know that later in the day these areas are safe and that they can get free food.”

To imitate a departing angler, Steve cups in three full pots of plain meat – gravy and all. He also cups it in
from a height to resemble food that’s being thrown in. He will then spend the entire last hour fishing on this
line when he could catch up to 50lb or more!

“I always use straight meat rather than slop in the margins as it is better for attracting larger fish,” Steve
said.

“Over the top I fish a single chunk of plain meat to resemble the rest of the freebies.”

If bites dry up for 10 minutes, he’ll cup another full pot straight in.

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95
The session

Starting the day against the island with his foul-smelling catmeat slop, Steve very quickly had his swim
fizzing and bubbling as the fish drove themselves into a feeding frenzy.

A 6mm punch of luncheon meat on his hook kept bites from carp and F1s coming very steadily through the
next hour.

Then it was time for Steve to look in open water. With no bites after five minutes, it was in with another pot
of meat and back to the island.

After four hours, Steve was taking fish with frightening regularity from the island swim.

He’d also had a couple of large carp from open water to boost his already impressive catch. With only an
hour left, it was into the margins.

Following his own advice, Steve scattered four large pots of catmeat next to a clump of reeds, before
following this up with his margin rig.

Within seconds the fl oat buried and he was into a good carp, which tipped the scales to around 6lb.

By the end of his five-hour session each of Steve’s three swims had produced more than 40lb of fighting-fit
carp and F1s.

He managed to keep three swims going with essentially the same bait. But by applying a little thought Steve
had shown three very different uses for catmeat.

Although he used three different presentations on the day, Steve’s approach is by no means exclusive to
catmeat. By thinking outside the box you too could add spice to a bait you probably thought could only be
fished one way

96
Steve shows off his superb haul of catmeat-caught Decoy Lakes' carp

Pole elastic guide

If you are elasticating a pole for the first time and you are unsure of which strength elastic to use, and how
many sections you need to thread it through, here's a guide to help you along...

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Elastic No of pole sections Target venue and species
strength

No 1 - No 3 Top-1 kit Canals. Gudgeon, bleak, small rudd, small perch, small
skimmers, ruffe
No 4 - No 6 Top-2 kit Rivers, canals and lakes. Roach, rudd, perch, skimmers, small
chub, carp and tench.
No 8 - No 12 Match top-3 or power top-2 River, canal or lake. Carp, tench, chub, bream.
kit
No 14 - No 18 Match top-3 or power top-2 Lakes. Tench and carp in open water.
kit
No 20- Power top-2 kit Lakes. Big carp or for margin fishing close to snags.
plus

Pole float conversion chart

Are you stuck for the right shot to use for setting up a pole rig?

Do you know the difference between pole float sizes?

Well here's our guide to the most popular pole float sizes in styl weight and their matching weight in
grammes, plus a guide to which split shot to use to cock them correctly...

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Pole float size Weight Shot equivalent
3 x 10 0.10g 2 x No10 shot
4 x 10 0.15g 3 x No9 shot
4 x 12 0.2g 5 x No10 shot
4 x 14 0.4g 6 x No8 shot
4 x 16 0.5g 8 x No8 shot
4 x 18 0.75g 3 x No3 shot
4 x 20 1g 4 x No3 shot
5 x 20 1.25g 5 x No3 shot
6 x 20 1.5g 6 x No3 shot

Buying a new fishing pole

By Gofishing.co.uk
27 January 2010 14:27

Thinking of buying a new fishing pole? Have you found a great deal on a fishing pole, but aren’t sure
whether it’s the right one for you? Well here are lots of tips to help you decide which pole you should buy.

We think buying a pole the right pole is quite tough because they all look the same, apart from the graphics
of course. After all, they are just featureless lengths of carbon that stick together to produce one long length
of tapered carbon.

The important things that go towards creating a good pole, and the right pole for you, are hidden from view.
Things like the weight, the strength and the balance are all invisible, and that’s what makes picking the right
pole difficult.

The spares package that is supplied with most poles is definitely something that you must take into
consideration, but if the pole itself is droopy, heavy, unwieldy and weak, what’s the point in having masses of
spare top kits? No amount of spare sections is going to hide the fact that the pole you bought is a crap one!

Why buy a pole anyway?

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This is a question that many anglers ask themselves. They see poles as match angler’s equipment that is
best left to the professionals. But that’s wrong.
Poles are a real joy to use. Once you get used to using one, a pole will definitely help you catch more fish
for a number of reasons:-

Accuracy – When you’re using a pole you can place your baited rig exactly where you want it. You couldn’t
ever achieve that with a rod and reel.
Simplicity – There’s not a lot that can go wrong with a pole, and very rarely do you suffer tangles once
you’ve had a little practice.
Depth finding – With a pole you can search the depths with a higher degree of accuracy than you ever
could with a rod and reel, helping you to find gentle slopes and underwater ledges.
Proximity – Poles can place your rig within inches of a feature like lilies or reeds. You can’t do that with a
waggler or a feeder rig.
Control – You can hold a pole rig back against the undertow of a lake or the flow of a river, meaning your
bait acts more natural.
Speed – if you miss a bite when pole fishing, you can simply lift your rig out to see if your bait’s still on the
hook and drop it back in again. There’s no need to reel the rig in and re-cast.

All those things combine to open up a whole new world to the angler, meaning more fish can be caught.
That isn’t a bad thing when the reason we go fishing is to catch fish!

But of course it’s not all positives. There are some bad points involved in pole fishing:-

Range – You’re limited to the distance you can fish from the bank.
Expense – A decent pole and pole package can cost many more times that of a decent rod and reel.
Stigma – Most people regard poles as a match angler’s tool.
Back ache – It’s true that using poles at their full length can cause back ache, but that’s only because the
pole isn’t being held correctly.

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Types of poles

There are three types of poles to choose from: margin poles, carp poles and match
poles (sometimes still called roach poles). Here’s a short explanation as to each
type…

Margin poles are the shortest, ranging from 4m to 10m. They are very strong
poles that are intended to be used for catching very large carp that patrol the
marginal shelves of commercial carp fisheries. Because they are short, they are
often very stiff because there’s not a great deal of downforce at the tip. Margin
poles are great for young pleasure anglers, as well as professional match
anglers, because they are light, robust and almost unbreakable. You can buy a
very good margin pole for £150.

Carp poles are again very strong because they are designed to cope with the
stresses of catching big, powerful fish quickly and regularly. This extra strength
comes with additional weight due to the increased thickness of the pole sections. They are available in a
wide variety of lengths from 10m through to over 17.5m. Most are supplied with additional top kits and most
will handle the thickest grades of elastic available. You’ll be able to find a good 14.5m carp pole for around
£500.

Match poles are the lightest, stiffest and best-balanced poles. They are designed for catching small to
average-sized fish with all manner of elastic grades, but not the strongest grades. These are the poles that
most match anglers use when tackling canals, mixed stillwaters and rivers where finesse is required. Match
poles tend to be long – 14.5m and 16m – and quite costly due to the high grade of carbon used to eliminate
the weight while retaining strength. A good quality match pole of 16m will cost £1,000 or more.

Which pole should you buy?

The answer to this question should depend upon the fisheries you tackle and the fish you want to catch, not
the amount of spare cash you have, and not what pole your mates own.

If you tackle commercial fisheries that are stocked with all manner of different species big and small and you
enjoy catching them all, an all-round match pole would be best.

If you tackle commercial carp waters with one aim only – to catch carp – then a carp pole or a margin pole
will be the obvious choice.

If you’re an all-rounder who fishes canals, rivers and lakes a match pole is best, and the longest you can
possibly afford so that you can reach the far bank margins of the canal as that’s where the better quality fish
can be found.

Deciding on pole length

The key here, when buying a new pole, is to pick the longest you can afford as that will open up more
options to you in terms of reaching fish-holding features. If your budget allows it, try to buy either a 14.5m
pole or even a 16m version.

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You obviously don’t have to use the pole at its full length every time it’s taken out of its holdall, but having
the extra sections gives you the option to fish further out to reach the far bank, reach reeds, reach another
underwater ledge if required.

You’ll find that most pole sessions will take place at around 11-13m out, but there are many times when they
take place beyond that range.

Weight and balance

Most poles have their weight printed on the butt (end) sections, in catalogues and on websites. That’s a
great starting point when choosing the best pole for you, but don’t for one second use that weight figure as
the determining factor because, in reality, the weight of a pole is meaningless.

The pole’s weight is simply how much it weighs when it’s packed away. That’s no good really as you’re not
going to use it when it’s packed away are you? You’re going to use it when it’s set up and pointing away
from you.

Drennan are the only pole manufacturing company who have seen sense and have realised this. They still
print the pole’s weight on the butt section, but they also print the pole’s downforce. That’s the figure that
holds water. That’s what all pole manufacturers should print on their poles as it’s far more important to a
potential buyer than the weight.

The downforce is the amount of weight that has to be placed upon the butt of the pole to lift the tip section
off the ground. The more downforce that is required, the harder it will be to hold the pole. So, the lower the
downforce, the better balanced and lighter the pole will feel and the easier it will be to fish with.

The only way to find out whether a pole feels ‘right’ is to visit a large tackle shop that has a pole showroom,
or to head to a major fishing event such as our Gofishing Show and try picking a few poles up.

You could have two poles of exactly the same length and weight laying alongside each other, but when you
pick them up you’ll instantly notice that one feels much lighter than the other. That’s because the lighter pole
offers much better balance - it has been designed with more thought and probably higher quality carbon with
less resin used to bond the carbon.

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Buy the stiffest you can find

When you visit a tackle shop or a fishing show to try a few poles out, give them a good waggle. Practice
striking with them. You’ll notice that some poles will wobble for ages after you’ve struck them. But some
poles will quickly straighten and stop wobbling. Those are the poles to opt for – the ones that offer the
highest degree of rigidity.

The reason why is because the stiffer poles will perform better in a wind (they won’t bend so much), they will
enable you to hit fast bites, and they will prevent fish being bumped off the hook when you strike.

Check out the sections

It’s well worth giving some of the pole sections a squeeze, particularly the third, fourth and fifth sections
(from the tip) as these are the main sections that you will hold when a fish is being netted. They are the
sections that come under the most stress when a fish is being played under the pole tip.

Don’t squeeze the sections with your finger and thumb as you’re likely to crack the example in the shop,
instead wrap your hand around the section and squeeze it with your hand to see if it’s really flexible.

If you think the section is just too thin and flexible, move on to try out another pole because replacing broken
pole sections isn’t a quick or cheap thing.

Spares packages

103
Extra top kits and a cupping kit supplied with a pole are always handy. The cupping kit allows you to ship out
loosefeed, or even small balls of groundbait, and drop it right where you want it. That’s a real bonus and will
definitely help you catch more fish.

Extra spare top kits will also help you catch more fish because you’ll be able to set them up with different
grades of elastic to suit the species you are going to catch, and also allow you to have a number of different
rigs set up. You could have one set up for the shallow margins, another set up for catching fish on the
bottom in front of you, and another set up for catching fish at mid-water. What’s more you’ll be able to
quickly switch between the three different rigs in seconds, saving time, effort and making your fishing
session run a lot more smoothly than ever before.

Most poles nowadays, even short margin poles, are supplied with at least one spare top kit, but some
decent poles will come with three or four spare top kits plus a cupping kit too.

Some poles are also supplied with ‘short fourth sections’ and ‘half-ex’s’. Short fourths are simply spare No4
pole sections that are half the length of normal fourth sections. They offer more power and strength than
normal fourth sections so they can be used instead of the normal No4 section when fishing for larger
species. The extra strength allows the angler to play the fish easily at the net, without fear of breaking the
pole.

These shorter, more rigid sections are also handy when fishing in a wind as they help stiffen the pole up a
little, retaining its rigidity.

Half-Ex’s are half-metre extensions that fit into the butt of the pole. They are very strong indeed and ideal for
sitting on. This means you can fish the pole at full length, with the half-ex in place, and sit on the very end of

104
the pole while holding the pole in front with your cupped hands. This makes holding the pole between bites a
little easier on your back.

Accessories you’ll need

If you’re buying a pole for the very first time you’ll need certain accessories in order to be able to use it
properly, and here’s the list…

Pole roller – A vital piece of Pole grip – Once your pole Elastic – You’ll need some
kit that should be placed is sat on the roller and elastic as it’s the elastic that
behind you when fishing. broken down, placing the takes the strain of the hooked
Rather than break down each pole into a grip of some fish. There are many different
pole section individually, the description ensures the pole strengths in many different
pole should be pushed back doesn’t slide into the water or colours, but basically you will
until it rests on the roller and roll around the bank. Some need enough to elasticate all
then it’s free to slide out of anglers slide the end of the your top kits. Take a look at
the way until you reach the pole into the mouth of their our guide to elastic grades
point where you can break keepnet, which serves the HERE to help you pick the
the pole down to land the same purpose and saves a right ones for the fishing you
hooked fish. few quid. will be doing.

Diamond eye threader – Bung and retriever – The PTFE bush – These tiny
This vital piece of kit is a 3m- elastic within the pole will plastic items are used either
long wire with a diamond need trapping in place with a in or around the very tip of
shape in the end. It’s used to bung. Make sure you buy your pole top kits. They form
pull the elastic through the tip one large enough to fit within a barrier between the elastic
of the pole when you are your top kit, but don’t worry if and the carbon, making sure
setting it up. it looks too large as you will the elastic doesn’t become
have to cut it down to size damaged. Make sure you get
with a knife anyway. a bush that has a large
105
enough internal bore size to
allow the elastic to slide
through it freely. Whether you
decide upon an internal or an
external bush is up to you.

Connector – These small Lubricant – This is a crucial Rigs – You can make your
plastic items are tied onto the item. Every time your pole is own pole rigs or you can buy
end of the pole elastic and used you need to pull the them ready made. It’s
have small hooks to attach bung from the end of the pole probably best to buy ready
your pole rig to. There are top section and give the made rigs to begin with, as
many different sizes and elastic a squirt of lubricant to you’re getting the feel of your
colours – just choose one make sure it runs smoothly in new pole, but eventually it’s
large enough for the elastic and out of the pole. best (and cheaper) if you
you’re going to use. make your own as you’ll be
able to fine-tune your rigs to
suit the venue that you are
fishing regularly.

Search our database for poles

We have almost 200 carp poles, match poles and margin poles to choose from on our vast tackle database,
varying in price, length, spares packages and strength. To find models that fit your budget, click the links
below…

Sub £20 poles, click HERE


£20 - £40 poles, click HERE
£40 - £60 poles, click HERE
£60 - £80 poles, click HERE
£80 - £100 poles, click HERE
£100 - £200 poles, click HERE
£200 - £300 poles, click HERE
£300 - £400 poles, click HERE
£400 - £500 poles, click HERE
£500 - £1000 poles, click HERE
£1000 - £3000 poles, click HERE
£3000 - £5000 poles, click HERE

106
Choosing the correct pole float

By Gofishing.co.uk
16 September 2010 10:00

Mesmerising - that’s the only word that can describe the vast array of different shaped, coloured and sized
pole floats lining fishing tackle shop shelves.

With so many different designs to choose from it is no surprise that lots of pole anglers – inexperienced and
experienced alike – choose the wrong float for the venue and weather conditions they are faced by.

In this simple guide to what’s what in the world of pole floats we’ll banish the mistakes and ensure you
always choose the right float…

When you're confident that you've picked the right style of pole float for the venue you're fishing and the bait
you're using, why not check out our video guide to making a pole fishing rig here on this site?

BODY SHAPE

The main part of the float is called the body and there are dozens of different shaped designs on the market
– each one is purposely made to perform a different task in different types of fi shery. To make it easier for
you to identify the main ‘families’ of pole floats and understand what job each does we have selected and
explained the six main shapes…

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1. Dibber
A short float that’s ideal when presenting a bait in shallow water tight to the near or far bank of a commercial
lake or canal. Do not use in a river. The fat tip makes the dibber highly visible so they are popular with
anglers struggling to see a fine-tipped float. Best fished slightly overdepth with a split shot touching the
bottom to anchor the float. Not great in windy conditions as the short stem doesn’t stabilise the float.

2. Body-Up
The fat body and distinct shoulders make this a very buoyant float that is suitable for fishing rivers, it ‘rides’
the current well and allows the angler to hold back the float against the flow to slow down the speed the
hookbait goes through the swim.
Make sure the bulk of the weight added to the rig is bunched in the last third of the line to ‘bomb’ the
hookbait to the bottom of the river and stop it getting lifted away by the river’s flow.

3. Round
A popular and versatile float. In the smaller sizes (up to 1gram) it is best used in stillwaters, especially if
there is a wind blowing.
The wide, buoyant body and the long stem helps keep the float stable in the water in rough conditions. In
the larger sizes (1.5 gram and above) this float can also be used in slow flowing rivers.

4. Pear
An elongated pear-shaped body gives this float some stability in canals and commercial fisheries. The
slender shape helps make this a responsive float that efficiently registers bites from shy-biting species like
roach, skimmer bream and crucians.
Good for use with maggots, casters and pinkie hookbaits especially at this time of year when bites become
more subtle.

5. Body-Down
A more pronounced shape than the pear (see above) with a fatter body for greater buoyancy and stability in
windy conditions. Best used in swims at least six feet deep and the bulk of the shotting should be placed in
the bottom third of the rig.

6. Shallow
A short, small bodied float with a fat cane tip for buoyancy and visibility. Made for presenting hookbaits in the
mid-to-upper layers of commercial lakes.

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From left to right:Dibber, body-up, round, pear, body-down and shallow.

STEMS

The thin stem poking out of the base of the float’s body is called the stem. The weight and buoyancy of the
stem effects the behaviour of the float and dictates when they should be used…

1. Cane
Similar to nylon - very light and strong. Use for shallow rigs but not in strong winds when the float will get
blown around a lot.

2. Wire
Great when fishing in windy conditions. A long, wire stem helps keep the float stable while it also helps ‘cock’
the float quickly in the water and reduces the amount of shot needed.

3. Carbon
Similar properties to wire stems but they are lighter, this can help if you want to fish a very sensitive rig.

4. Nylon
Very light and strong. Best for ‘up-in-the-water’ rigs when you want the bait to sink very slowly.

From left to right: Cane, wire, carbon and nylon.

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BRISTLES

The tip inserted into a pole float is called the bristle. The material each bristle is made from performs a
different task, as this guide explains…

1. Carbon
Very sensitive because they sink, only the buoyant body keeps the tip above the water. Brittle and easily
broken. Great when using small baits for shy-biting species but floats with a carbon tip are difficult to shot
up, you must be precise. A thin smear of Vaseline rubbed on the tip can make it slightly more buoyant.

2. Cane
Buoyant, and strong. They are ideal for using with heavier baits, such as meat and corn, as the buoyancy
helps to hold up the bait.
The strength is useful when fishing tight to lilies, weed or rushes for big carp, if the float is dragged through
the vegetation the tip won’t get broken. Thicker tip allows for greater visibility.

3. Nylon
More durable than a carbon stem, slightly buoyant and therefore easier to shot up and use. Available in a
variety of thicknesses, the fatter the nylon bristle the more buoyant they are.

From left to right: Carbon, Cane and Nylon.

Using pole rollers to reduce breakages

10 February 2010 16:24

Splintering carbon is the sound pole anglers fear - now learn to reduce expensive breakages...

POLE rollers are essential to allow you to fish the long pole smoothly and effectively. Get it right and you’ll
fish in comfort. Get it wrong and you’ll end up with backache or worse, an expensive pole breakage.
110
There are loads of models on the market from freestanding designs with three or four integral legs, to simple
‘V’ or flat-shaped roller heads that need to be screwed into a bankstick. Freestanding models are best
because they can be used on concrete or wooden surfaces where a bankstick won’t penetrate.

HOW TO POSITION THE PERFECT POLE ROLLER

Left: CORRECT
1. Set your pole up to the length you are fishing.
2. Find the pole’s balancing point - where the part in front of you is as heavy as the part behind you.
3. Position your roller at this balancing point. When your pole comes off the roller it remains parallel to the
ground and easy to to ship out.

Right: WRONG
If the roller is too close, the back of the pole dips down, forcing the tip upwards. The more you push the pole
back, the more those sections protruding behind the roller sag under their own weight. This increases the
pressure placed on the narrow piece of section resting on the roller. This fulcrum point is often where the
expensive carbon section snaps or splinters.

111
WRONG
If the roller is positioned too far back you’ll struggle to set the pole down on the roller as the butt section tips
downwards under its own weight, forcing the tip section upwards. Even if you do manage to get the butt on
the roller, the pole will sag downwards in the centre, creating another stress breakage point.

CORRECT
When fishing two lines - one straight out into the lake and one down the margin - don’t try and use just a
single pole roller. If you’re fishing the left hand margin at the 9 0’Clock position, place the second roller in the
3 O’Clock position (see pic above). This eliminates the need to sweep the pole all the way through to the 12
O’Clock position to ship onto your main roller.

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