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CONTENTS

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October 2014

Editor Steve Phillips e: steve.phillips@dhpub.co.uk t: 01327 311999 Deputy Editor Steve Martin e: stevemartin@dhpub.co.uk t: 01327 311999 Creative Director Mark Grafton Head Designer Fiona Brett Chief Sub Editor David Haynes Reprographics Manager Derek Mooney Repro Assistant Adam Mason

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DAVID HALL PUBLISHING LTD Phone 01327 311999 Fax 01327 311190 Publisher David Hall Managing Director Sean O’Driscoll Operations Director Roger Mortimer Financial Director Sharon Malone Subscriptions Manager Louise Dalmedo e: louise.dalmedo@dhpub.co.uk Accounts, Administration & Correspondence to: 1 Whittle Close, Drayton Fields Daventry, Northants NN11 8RQ Subscription & Back Issue Queries & Orders t: +44 (0) 845 345 0253 e: subscriptions@dhpub.co.uk Unit 8, Earlstrees Court, Earlstrees Road, Corby, Northants NN17 4AX, UK Subscriptions UK £39.60, Europe £55 Rest of the World £65 Based on 12 issues and includes mailing Website www.coarsefishinganswers.com

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ISSN 1750-9629

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CONTENTS

6

10 THINGS…

One image, but there’s more to a picture than just inspiration.

8

TAMING MONSTERS Target and land big commercial carp on the pole with Jonny Watt’s advice.

14 CATAPULT MASTERCLASS The whats, whens, whys and hows of catapults, with England’s Will Raison.

20 BOB NUDD Q&A The four-time world champ answers your natural-venue queries.

23 GO LONG FOR BREAM Chris Ponsford reveals his long-range feeding technique to bag more bream.

28 SPECIMEN RIVER PERCH Des Taylor gives up his best baits and tactics for running-water stripeys.

34 CFA Q&A Steve Phillips and Steve Martin answer your general fishing queries.

36 HIT THE BIG SILVERS Kieron Rich shows how to catch big silver fish from commercial swims.

41 WEIR-POOL MAGIC Tame turbulent weirs with the great advice of Darren Cox.

46 ALAN STAGG Q&A

Top speci angler Alan Stagg answers your big-fish questions.

49 MUSH UP YOUR PELLETS Make much more of your pellets and go sloppy, as Middy’s Mark Griggs explains.

54 BEGINNER’S GUIDE We all have to start somewhere — this month, using your nets.

60 10 STEPS TO... All the tips and advice you need to help you catch a big perch.

63 FORGET GROUNDBAIT! Jon Arthur shows how you can save cash and still bag up down the edge.

68 THINK LIKE A FISH Get inside the mind of Britain’s favourite little fish, the gudgeon.

70 COMING SOON! Your chance to ask your questions to the best predator anglers in the country.

74 TACKLE UP TO… New to the sport? Here’s some of the gear that will help.

76 DREAM TACKLE We dribble over possibly the best barbel rod in the UK.

E COARSG FISHIN

NOVEMBER ISSUE ON SALE OCTOBER 8TH

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WELCOME October 2014

WELCOME

80 SUBSCRIBE TO CFA Delivered to your door every month, and a great gift too! What’s not to like?

83 BAG A BIG CARP Alan Stagg ties up the perfect PVA parcel to tempt specimens.

88 WIN BIG We’ve got over £690 worth of commercial carp-catching kit up for grabs.

91 GEAR The latest rods, reels, poles and accessories reviewed and tested.

104 TACKLE ESSENTIALS A closer look at gear before you buy — this time, budget carp rods.

108CHUB ON LURES Gareth Goldson hits the rivers and casts some lures for big chub.

112 CATCH CLUB Celebrating your angling — send in a pic and you could win a prize.

114 PUB AMMO

A

s I write this Editorial (the beginning of August) I’ve just had a very exciting conversation. In a quick phone call with one of the best big-fish anglers in the country I got that thrill of hearing about monster specimens that I always get when fish of truly epic proportions are involved.The chat revolved around a newly discovered water, a string of massive fish having been caught, and those two words that really get the old heart pumping… British Record. This very special water, discovered by a handful of top anglers, has already produced fish of a specific species at some truly incredible weights.The big-fish angler I spoke to about the place was in no doubt that the record will go next spring:“It’s not a matter of if, but of how many times it’s broken,” were his words.A hefty claim, but you don’t doubt a man of his calibre. Given that this record has stood firm for well over a decade it’s very exciting stuff. The best bit for me, though, is that in a world of social media, Google Earth, text messaging and 24-hour news, this sport can still throw up surprises and very special fish that nobody knew about until recently.And surely that’s what keeps us all going back – that magic where the next bite could be a new PB, your next session might be one you remember for the rest of your life, or that a trip to a new water could reveal a record fish... Also, just a quick note. If you’re voting in this year’s Tackle Awards you’ll need to know that the deadline stated in the last issue was a bit off. You have until midnight of Sunday, September 28th to vote. So make sure you have your say before then. Steve Phillips, Editor

Gen up and sharpen your angling mind with our host of factoids.

Send your coarse fishing question to us at

myanglingquestion@dhpub.co.uk

OUR EXPERTS BOB NUDD

ALAN STAGG

KIERON RICH

Four-time world champ Bob has one of the finest angling brains around.

Big-fish guru Alan is among the top speci anglers the UK has to offer.

A commercial magician, with all the skills to show you how to catch plenty more.

DARREN COX

WILL RAISON A former world champ, Will’s skills can catch anything that swims.

GARETH GOLDSON

Former England international Darren is up there with the best anglers in the UK.

A former Drennan Cup champ, Gareth’s a top specialist angler.

DES TAYLOR

JONNY WATT

JON ARTHUR

One of the bestknown faces in angling, Des has years of experience.

A top commercial angler, Jonny’s always on the ball to catch more fish.

Commercial ace and former UK Champion, Jon catches more fish than most.

coarsefishinganswers.com 05

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10

THINGS

YOU WON’T KNOW ABOUT THIS PHOTO

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WE NEED YOU Win a £100 voucher

1

The angler wrestling with an unseen specimen here is Shimano and Tubertinibacked commercial ace Jonny Watt. This fish took Jonny on a right chase down the margin, requiring him to stand and lean over to get the right angle to put the brakes on.

4

Jonny’s method for the day was what he christened the ‘Traffic Light Feeder’. This sees him fish the Method, changing the colour of his groundbait and coupling it with contrasting hook baits when bites slowed.

2

The rod bending up to its limit is a Beast Master BX Commercial Feeder. As you can see, it’s got a bit of a through action, with the fish on the end of the line testing it right through to the powerhouse of a blank towards the butt.

3

Providing the backdrop, and the amazingly strong carp, is Elphicks Fisheries’ Kettle Lake, in Kent. Home to some big carp and tench it’s more of a specimen runs water, but we wanted some big action for the camera.

To get this shot editor Steve Phillips had to get right into the water, using flash to light Jonny up a bit as it was a bit of a miserable day. Unfortunately the flash took a dunking when the fish came in range and gave its bankstick mount a clattering.

5

6

The carp attached to the hook here was a big common well into double figures. The brute made its way up the margin into a clump of weeds, which is just about visible in the shot.

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The carp was part of a haul of six heavyweight carp that weighed nearly 60lb in total. They were also joined by a good tench and a very frilly fantailed goldfish hybrid.

Just after the shot was taken the heavens opened and chucked it down for the rest of the session, with some of the worst rain either Jonny or Steve have done a feature in.

exclusive to

GOT A QUESTION? GET IT ANSWERED BY THE BEST IN THE BUSINESS

Jonny actually hooked the fish on the margins of an island around 30 yards straight out from his peg. Once the fish felt the weight of the feeder and bolted off it blasted to our angler’s left, quicker than he could keep up.

The main line taking the full force of the fish was 8lb Shimano Technium — it was given a real hammering against the margin reeds and detritus but held more than firm.

Send your angling query to Coarse Fishing Answers and not only could you get it answered by one of the biggest and most experienced names in the sport, but you could also bag yourself £100 worth of Stillwater tackle.

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................................................................... ................................................................... ................................................................... ................................................................... So what are you waiting for? Send your question to us at

myanglingquestion@ dhpub.co.uk or find us on Facebook. coarsefishinganswers.com coarsefishinganswers.com 07 10

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quite QIacatch few carp on pole tactics at my local fishery but I keep getting seen off by the bigger fish after struggling to control them. I’d like to know more about the tackle and tactics needed to get larger carp into the net. Can you help?

Robert White

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Hometown: Cambridge Age: 47 Favourite species: Bream

If you’re not A tackled up right and not sure of what to do, hooking a large carp on the pole can be a bit of a ‘rabbit in the headlights’ moment. But don’t worry, there are ways to tame these beasts, and rising star Jonny Watt reveals how he goes about getting them on to the bank.

CFA EXPERT Name: Jonny Watt Sponsors: Shimano, Dynamite and Tubertini Hometown: Uckfield, East Sussex

TAMING

BEASTS Photos: Steve Phillips

Big fish can be battled on the pole, but you need the right gear and the right attitude to make it work for you.

I

t’s no secret that the pole is an absolute must-have for the modern angler.There are many advantages to using one, with commercial fisheries enhancing these further by the very way they’re designed and constructed. Perhaps what is not so obvious, however, is just how deadly a tool the pole can be for big commercial carp. It’s the accuracy that the pole gives you that makes the difference.You can place your rig tight against different features, including right under overhanging trees and shrubbery – just the type of hiding places big carp get themselves into to get away from angling pressure. Hooking them is one thing, though, getting big carp out on the pole is another – as our reader has found out.

FISH IT Wylands Angling Centre. Wyland Farm Powdermill Lane Near Battle East Sussex TN33 0SU www. wylands.co.uk

Strong floats are a must to cope with battling carp and tough foliage…

… as are strong hooks; under the pressure involved, weaker versions can straighten.

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As commercial carp get bigger and bigger, there are more and more tackle and tactics devised to get ‘lumps’ into your landing net.To put them into practice, today we’re at Wylands Angling Centre, in East Sussex, to show how the pole is a fantastic and exciting way to target and snare these big wary fish and how it’s not the recipe for expensive breakages that many think it is. Jonny is set up on Wylands’ stunning Rosie’s Lake. It’s very much a mixed-species water, with plenty of double-figure carp among the lily pads and weed beds that big carp love.The weather, although lovely (it’s predicted to be the hottest day of the summer so far), is perhaps the only negative about today’s mission. It’s worth noting just how key atmospheric conditions are to fish behaviour and feeding patterns, and, perhaps more to the point, their willingness to feed at all. Fish, particularly carp, are very sensitive to change and pressure and this can often be the defining influence to catching well. Jonny’s chosen a great-looking swim with a large raft of lily pads to his left at 13 metres and a sprawling bed of Canadian pondweed the same distance to his right, leaving a nice open-water channel between the two to try and guide any hooked fish through. “Tacklewise you’ll need a manageable pole that’s fit for the purpose, and the good news

here is that most of the affordable poles on the market that are fishable at up to 13 or 14 metres are indeed very strong,” Jonny tells us.“My pole for the job today is the superb Shimano Beast Master Commercial AX 16m package.As the name suggests, this is a serious beast tamer designed for this kind of work and for what you get in the package it represents great value.The main thing is that if you suffer a breakage you won’t need a remortgage to replace the section. If you’re doing a lot of this kind of fishing I would recommend investing in a dedicated pole for it.”

STRONG RIGS

On to the fishing, and to start with Jonny plumbs up four different rigs – two for against the lilies and two to fish against the weed bed. In both swims he intends to fish paste on the hook, a method with an uncanny habit of luring the bigger fish. You’ll need to think about your quarry carefully, where they live and how you will extract them when deciding on your rigs, as they are going to take some punishment.With this in mind Jonny is using rigs constructed from 12lb Shimano Aspire Silk Shock line running straight through to a strong, eyed Tubertini 861 hook pattern in a size 12 or even 10. You’ll find that most commercial carp are not that tackle shy, especially in the coloured water at this time of year, so go with what will get them out, not what you think will get you a bite – it’s no good hooking a fish if you’ve no chance of landing it. ELASTIC

Different strengths of elastic will allow you to target big carp in different swim types.

Like your rigs and pole, getting your elastic right is a must.Again, think about what you’re fishing for and match the strength to the size of fish you’re liable to catch. Jonny covers a range of elastics in his top kits, using Nick Gilbert two-core in purple which is rated 16-20, as well as red, rated 14-16, and the

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ASK AN EXPERT Your questions answered

And relax… getting a big carp to the net can take time, but with the right tackle you’ll do it.

mighty orange at 18-20. “It’s all about balance,” says Jonny.“I choose the right elastic that I know will give me the best chance of getting big fish out of snags.Although I fish heavy line straight through I’m confident it will break before the elastic and certainly before the pole. Most likely, and key to the fish’s welfare, the hook will pull before any of the above. In any case, with the correct technique all of this is a very rare occurrence.” To finish off his setup Jonny uses puller bungs on all his top kits (incidentally, he prefers to fish match kits with the No1 removed rather than the often overly powerful and heavy ‘power’ kits).“Puller bungs are an essential aid to taming bigger fish and will give you loads more control, especially under your feet where big carp can be tricky. “I prefer puller bungs as opposed to side pullers as they keep me directly in contact with the fish and I seldom if ever need to be able to play them with the No4 still attached, as this is likely to lead to breakages.” STRATEGY

As already mentioned, paste is Jonny’s hook bait of choice with his feeding designed to mimic the long-stay anglers and their particle approach. “I’m going to use a version of a ‘spod mix’ for the bulk of my feed and then I have made a coarsefishinganswers.com 11

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paste from Dynamite’s The Crave base mix and The Source groundbait,” explains Jonny.“This has a wonderful orangey-red colour and just shouts fish.” To create the paste he mixes equal parts Crave and Source and adds water to create a nice soft paste before adding some Frenzied Hemp. For the spod feed mix Jonny uses a large container and empties the following into it: a jar of Frenzied mixed particles, three tins of Frenzied Corn and a few handfuls of 3mm Halibut and 4mm Source feed pellets. On top of this goes a liberal glug of CSL as well as some Crave liquid. After adding some lake water to soak the mix further it’s ready to go. THE SESSION

The weather is against us from the start and it becomes very apparent early on that the quality fish in Rosie’s Lake are not playing ball.After discussions the decision is taken to move to the adjacent match water, the Old Snake Lake. Despite its match-water tag this lake has plenty of feisty double-figure fish under its surface and after quickly setting up just over the bridge on Peg 40 Jonny feeds four different spots, predominantly against far-bank snags.A good 250ml potful of the spod mix, along with a few chunks of paste, is fed on all these lines and we’re fishing again. First drop-in over against the sedges at 13 metres and Jonny’s Nick Gilbert Margin Paste float shoots under, the water erupts and a very annoyed

TOP TIP

Always err on the side of caution rigwise and go overgunned for big carp. It’s no good being able to hook a fish and not land it. When you strike you need to be sure you’re in control.

common carp is hooked. It’s a good fish and very strong, so Jonny holds the pole tip low to the water and lifts the other sections high up in the air behind him to get leverage. Just as the bright-red elastic looks like it might bottom out he’s able to turn the fish and gain control. “This is vital with big, powerful fish,” says Jonny.“You don’t need to pull their heads off as they’ll only pull back harder, but you must be in control of the fish – not the other way round.” Jonny steadily applies pressure by lowering the tip into the water but at the same time keeping an eye on where the fish is heading so he is able to react quickly. Should a hooked fish head for thick weed (as this one does) quite often the best tip is to point the pole tip skywards and gently but firmly apply pressure up and then back towards you.As long as you can feel the vibration through the elastic your fish is still on. By keeping it high and steadily drawing back with the pole, using the elastic, the fish usually come free up on the surface and you can then draw back quickly and unship to get the top two in your hands. Jonny demonstrates this perfectly and now he’s able to subdue the fish with the aid of the puller bung and a near10lb common carp

Some of Jonny’s carp from the roasting-hot session.

is the reward. By working all four areas of his peg Jonny was able to land several quality common and mirror carp and in just a couple of hours there were easily 10 fish for 70lb in the net. It was a demonstration that more than proved the pole is a devastating big-fish tool on commercials. To tackle them you’ll need to think about your approach and how to apply it, think where the big fish are likely to be resident in your local commercial and how to master your fish-playing technique. Be positive, and remember that in the warm months they’ll take plenty of feed.

A Wylands’ bruiser that fell for Jonny’s approach tight against farbank reeds.

.......................................................... ............................................................... Send your coarse fishing question to us at .......................................................... ............................................................... .......................................................... ............................................................... .......................................................... .......................................................... myanglingquestion@dhpub.co.uk ............................................................... ............................................................... 12 coarsefishinganswers.com

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are there QWhy so many types of catapult? It’s a minefield out there, so can someone please advise me on the right choice?

Michael Williams Hometown: Cambridge Age: 14 Favourite species: Carp

CFA EXPERT Name: Will Raison Sponsors: Daiwa, Old Ghost Hometown: Aldershot

CATAPULT

CONUNDRUMS

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Photos: Steve Martin

Feeding is key A to international success, so we’ve asked former world champion Will Raison to step in with the answers.

England ace Will Raison takes the confusion out of catapults.

Practice makes perfect when feeding with a catapult.

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TOP TIP

T

he massive range of catapults available can be quite confusing, but if you take a step back and look again there are probably only a few that really fit the bill when it comes to feeding for fishing commercial venues. Before looking at my choices I think it’s important to talk a little about feeding in general, as it’s often the case that anglers will readily grab the catty when they could just as easily feed by hand. It’s easy to feed pellets, corn, meat, casters and maggots by hand over a top-four line, and with a little practice you should be able to loose feed over a top six if the conditions allow. However, if you were fishing the pole and faced with a headwind then you would have

ASK AN EXPERT

Check your elastic for wear before your trip. If in doubt — replace it.

Your questions answered

to reach for a catapult – not the ideal scenario. The advantage of being able to feed by hand is you don’t have to take your eyes off the float – you could miss a bite if you are looking for the pouch or down at your side tray – and you have better control of your pole. It’s not difficult to feed while holding a pole but, if you’re not used to it, a small movement while you are trying to grab the pouch could pull the float off line. Another downside of trying to feed short with a catapult is that it is difficult to hold a pole and feed other lines, like the margins.Again it is easier to lob in the loose feed by hand. One other thing, which is often mentioned by many anglers, is that by feeding this way the feed makes plenty of noise as it hits the water, which gets the

fishes’ attention. So if you can, I would always recommend that you practise feeding by hand when fishing short. If I have to use a catapult, then I will pick the one that is right for the feed.Accuracy is important, as I want to concentrate my feed around the float and not spray it all over the place, so I prefer a catapult with a solid pouch, not a soft-mesh type. Elastic strength is also important, as you need to use the right one depending on the particles you are feeding. I like to use a catty with a light/ soft elastic for small baits with little weight, such as casters and hemp – if the elastic were too severe, it’s likely you would overshoot the float. That said, when it comes to maggots,

It pays to carry more than one of each size, and store them out of the heat and direct sunlight.

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ASK AN EXPERT

Why do you prefer a solid pouch?

Your questions answered

QA &

A mesh pouch collapses and does concentrate the feed when you release it.

Leave the catapult alone when fishing short lines on the pole.

which are a bit lighter, then a medium-strength elastic is better to fire them over the float. Like everything else, the more you practise, the better you will get and the more confidence you will gain.

“If you overfill the pouch you could end up feeding a massive area rather than a tight patch.” When feeding an open-water line I like to fire the feed at my float, especially when fishing shallow, as it creates plenty of noise and disturbance as it hits the water. However, if I’m fishing up against a feature/island, then I find it’s better to ‘lob’ the feed by firing it up in the air a little more, so that it lands a little softer on the water, close to the bank. The last of my catapult choices is the one

I use when fishing the pellet waggler and/or bomb. I’m aiming to feed at least 25 yards with this, so it needs to have extra-strong elastic and a bigger pouch than the others. I really don’t see the need for more than the three sizes of catapult – otherwise it starts to become confusing – so I suggest that you stick with these and get comfortable with them, and with time your accuracy will improve. There are a couple of top tips when it comes to catapults. Firstly, the elastic will wear with constant use and it pays to carry one or two spares of each size, so that you are not left unable to feed. Spare elastic is readily available, so I would recommend that you check your catapults the day before fishing for any signs of any wear and replace it rather than take any chances on the day. Secondly, I find that if you cut an inch off the elastic when you first get your catapult it is less likely to twist up, and there’s no loss of power after losing such a small amount.Also, the hot weather can affect the elastic and perish it,

PICK THE RIGHT ’PULT

1

Soft elastic is spot-on for casters and hemp.

2

Stronger if you want to punch out maggots.

3

Get tough for longdistance pellet action.

so make sure you store your catapults well out of the heat and sunlight when you are not using them. The amount you feed with a catty is also important, because if you overfill the pouch you could end up feeding a massive area rather than a tight patch, which could, and most probably would, pull the fish away from the line you are fishing. Depending on the size of the feed, I suggest that you feed a pinch of food, and certainly no more than half a pouchful. In fact, the bigger the particle, then the less you load. Why not give it a go and see the difference it makes with different baits and sizes of catapult? I’ve concentrated on the three catapults I would use when fishing a commercial venue, and they will also do the job on a canal – the soft and medium – and the medium one on the river. However, there is another type of catapult that I use for feeding groundbait when fishing a slider on international duty and could use if I were fishing a big stillwater for bream. Groundbait catapults come with different sizes and types of pouches and strengths of elastic. I like the Drennan models, as these grip the feed balls before you release the pouch, which helps with the accuracy when you fire the balls out. Also the elastic is not overly strong, so you’re less likely to overshoot the target. If you do like to feed groundbait with a catapult, the key is not to make the feed balls too big. Make the feed slightly overwet, and try and make the balls with one hand. It will mean that you might have to feed a few more balls at the start, but, with practice, you will become more accurate.

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ASK AN EXPERT

ANTI-TWIST

1

Trimming an inch off each length of elastic helps reduce twisting.

2

Don’t push the elastic right up to the frame, as this helps too.

Master the catapult, and with accurate feeding comes the rewards.

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Your questions answered

CATAPULT TROUBLESHOOTER

Q

How often do I feed when fishing the pellet waggler? You want the fish competing for food at the depth you are fishing, so to maximise the chances of catching a fish every cast you should cast just beyond the feed area, place the rod in the rest and fire out six to 10 pellets. Almost immediately, twitch the float back with two turns of the reel, then if you don’t get a bite, feed again, wind in and recast. It’s a busy tactic, and it’s important to check the elastic regularly.

A

Q

How far out should I fish when loose feeding with a catapult? The distance you can feed often depends on the wind conditions, but don’t get carried away thinking you can gain the extra distance with the wind off your back, as a sudden change of direction might result in a headwind, and the feeding distance drastically reduced. It is much better to restrict yourself and have a little in reserve if you are faced with an awkward wind.

A

Q

How big should I make my balls of groundbait? People often make the mistake of forming big ‘Jaffasized’ balls and then wonder why they cannot fire them out very far, as they are too heavy for the catapult. It’s far better to make smaller balls and spend the extra time firing more of them out to the right spot. You can also use a slightly softer elastic, so that there is less chance of the groundbait balls breaking up in flight — a problem that can occur with the extreme elastics you often find on some groundbait catapults

A

....................................................... ............................................................... Send your coarse fishing question to us at ....................................................... ............................................................... ....................................................... ............................................................... ....................................................... ....................................................... myanglingquestion@dhpub.co.uk ............................................................... ............................................................... coarsefishinganswers.com 17

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21/08/2014 10:59


QA &

Your questions answered by... BOB NUDD FOUR-TIME WORLD CHAMPION A massive name in the sport, Bob is one of the most decorated English international anglers ever. He fished 20 world championships for his country, winning four individual gold medals. Here he answers your coarse fishing questions.

NATURAL VENUES

............. Send your coarse fishing question to Bob Nudd at ............. ............. ............. ............. myanglingquestion@dhpub.co.uk

.................................................................................................. .................................................................................................. .................................................................................................. .................................................................................................. ..................................................................................................

Would you ever add micro pellets to groundbait when targeting river bream? Pete Reynolds, via e-mail

Q

Bob says: I don’t, although they do work really well in commercial fisheries where bream see carp pellets all the time and love them so much that they often turn up in your swim before the carp. However, they seem to have the complete opposite effect when fished in natural waters. It seems to have something to do with the fishmeal content. I have experimented with fishmeal groundbaits and pellets in Ireland when targeting the big shoals there, but with no success.

20 coarsefishinganswers.com

p_020-021_cfa_10_Q&A BN.indd 1

21/08/2014 10:31


Q&A NATURAL VENUES Do you feed groundbait or just loose feed when fishing hemp or tares for roach? Sean Bickerton, via e-mail

Q

Bob says: I would never use groundbait when catching roach with tares. Loose feeding is always much

better. The big roach that you can catch on tares will take the bait on the drop as it falls through the water, so groundbait deters the fish from feeding in this way, and is far less effective.

Q

I keep missing bites when fishing casters on the hook. Can you help? Billy Edwards, via e-mail

Bob says: The strike needs to be quite hard when fishing with casters, particularly if the hook is completely buried, which is sometimes necessary when fishing for big roach or perch in clear water. I prefer to half bury the hook, going in at the fat end of the caster and bringing the hook out about halfway down. You will hook a lot more fish this way.

Q

I want to set up my pole to fish my local canal. What elastics do you recommend, and do I put it in one or two sections? Gary Buttler, via e-mail

.... .... ..

Q

Does brown bread catch fish on the canal? Tony Williams, via e-mail

Bob says: Yes, you can catch fish on brown bread. Brown crumb is only dried bread crust, so the taste will be the same — it’s just the colour that is different. I would still use white punched bread on the hook, though. Brown bread itself does not have the same ingredients as white, and is not as effective on the hook. How can I prevent my maggots turning into casters so quickly? Jason Wild, via-email

Q

Bob says: Sometimes tackle shops can be blamed for this by selling maggots that are not fresh. Maggots, which have a large black feed spot in them, should last three days at least before they start to turn. If kept in a fridge then they will last up to three weeks. You can buy maggot boxes that are completely airtight and these will slow down the turning process, but need to be kept as cool as possible, and opened every day for two hours to allow the maggots to come round before resealing.

No3, 4, and 5 elastics are fine through one section and the No6 through the top two.

Bob says: Elastics between sizes 3 and 6 should cover most situations. Use sizes 5 and 6 when targeting bream or big perch with chopped worms on the far bank, and the lighter elastics for smaller fish. If you have long top sections then the lighter

Q

When would you fish a flat float over a standard pole float on the river? Graham Rodgers, via-email

Bob says: A flat float is used when you need to stop, or allow your hook bait to move very slowly through your swim on a fast-flowing river — the design of the float is such that it offers the least resistance to flowing water. The size of float that you need to use is always difficult to determine. A simple rule is that if the float leans forward when held in the flow, then it’s too heavy. If it leans back, then it’s too light. It’s perfect when it sits upright.

coarsefishinganswers.com 21

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21/08/2014 10:31


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think QIofcan’t anything better than catching bream and skimmers on the quivertip on one of my local lakes. The problem I have is that I like to ball in groundbait, but the range I need to fish at is beyond the limits of any catapult I’ve been able to find. What I can do to get my feed in?

CFA EXPERT Name: Chris Ponsford Sponsors: Korum and Sonubaits Hometown: Worcester

ASK AN EXPERT Your questions answered

BOMBS AWAY

Nicholas Pope

..................................................... ..................................................... ..................................................... .....................................................

Hometown: Grantham Age: 56 Favourite species: Carp

Accurate feeding A at range can make a huge difference to your catch Nicholas, and you’re right, it’s not always the easiest of tasks. To find out about a tactic you can use to help you achieve your aims we spoke to Korum’s Chris Ponsford — and we were impressed by what we learnt.

Having trouble feeding your bream swim at range? Korum’s Chris Ponsford has a brilliantly effective answer.

W

hoooosh! As the line of his carp rod snaps into a tensioned arc Chris Ponsford releases another ball of groundbait to his swim some 70 yards into the middle of Larford Lakes’ Specimen Lake, our home for the day. Whoooosh! There goes the next one and within minutes a total of 15 balls of groundbait have touched down in relatively close proximity – and there hasn’t been a catapult in sight…

“I’ve been using this technique to feed for bream at range for years,” smiles Chris, as he reveals his secret weapon to us.“It’s quick, it’s pretty easy after you get a bit of practice in and it will get balls of groundbait to swims you would never have a hope of hitting with even the biggest of whopper-dropper-type catapults.” The technique Chris is using to feed his long-range swim is a sling. Basically, it’s a similar pouch to that which you’d find on a catapult, but instead of the elastic it has two lengths of cord coarsefishinganswers.com 23 10

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19/08/2014 12:25


ASK AN EXPERT Your questions answered

Using balanced tackle will help you with casting to the range you need to hit. Remember to use your reel clip to make sure you don’t cast past your swim.

that come together on a swivel.This swivel ties to the end of your main line and, using a strong rod and main line, you effectively slingshot your groundbait out. “It’s like making a cast, but once the ball of groundbait gets ahead of the sling its momentum takes over and the sling falls away. It’s similar to one of those medieval trebuchet weapons but on a smaller scale,” explains Chris.“It takes a bit of time to get used to it, but because you’re casting you can put loads of power in and get some great range and accuracy on the delivery.” It’s impressive stuff, with the experience of Chris making it look easy, but there are some fundamentals to get down first.The first and most important thing is the groundbait.“This needs to be mixed properly and needs to bind well as any weaknesses will see it break up in the air or as soon as it hits the water,” he says.“Mix it damp and claggy enough so that it can survive intact right to the bottom of the lake before it breaks down.” For his mix Chris is using a combination of Sonubaits Supercrush Green and Supercrush Krill. Both are great attractors for bream, but whatever base you’re using, check out the mixing sequence to make sure you get the consistency right. Chris makes his balls of consistent size and

24 coarsefishinganswers.com

p_023-026_cfa_10_korum.indd 2

19/08/2014 12:25


What rod should I use for sling feeding?

QA &

A carp rod at the heavier end of the scale, 2.75lb tc plus, will be perfect.

all in one go so that he can get into a slingchucking rhythm of loading and casting, which will help with accuracy. But that’s not the only thing needed to make sure he’s hitting the same spot every time. Chris has already been busy working out his range with his trusted marker rod.This is a Korum 2.5lb Korum Carp rod combined with a large-capacity reel holding 20lb mono, which fires out a large, highly buoyant and highly visible float and 3oz lead.The idea here is to cast it where you want your swim to be.The lead sits on the bottom and line is paid out until the marker pops up on the surface.At this point Chris lays the rod down on the bank, keeping the line taut so the marker can’t drift out of position, and he then has a visual marker to aim at with his groundbait. Getting your balls out there, though, requires the right kit, and for this he again turns to Korum’s Carp rod range.This time it’s the 3lbtest-curve model, which is needed to get some power into the sling cast in order to reach the range needed.Again heavy line is needed so that it doesn’t break on the cast, with Chris going for 20lb mono.The casting action for the sling is just like that for feeder fishing. Line yourself up with the marker and cast as if you were aiming to hit it with a lead. Instead you’ll just fire out

ASK AN EXPERT Your questions answered

the groundbait ball and your sling will fall short into the water. Feeding the swim is the first thing that he does, so that while he’s busy tackling up his feeder gear the attraction is working and the fish are moving in on his swim. To reach the range of his swim Chris needs the right rod, but more importantly he needs balanced tackle – it’s no good trying to cast a 60g feeder with a light wand-type tip rod, or casting a ½oz lead with a 13ft powerhouse of a feeder rod. For the job he picks up a Korum CS

12ft feeder. Matched with a Korum KMR3000 reel loaded with 6lb Korum Xpert line this setup has more than enough backbone to launch a 60g feeder where he wants it to go. While creating his sling mix Chris also knocked up a separate batch of groundbait for his feeder.“I want my feeder mix to be fluffier and lighter so that it comes out of the feeder more easily,” he explains.“As it’s in the feeder it’s protected on the cast and on impact with the water, so the sling mix would have been too heavy and would not have come out of the

Chris found the bream at around 70 yards on Larford’s Specimen Lake, requiring a slingshot feeding approach using a carp rod and reel for launching.

The use of a marker float is essential to give you a visual point of contact with your swim. Get your eye in and practise and your feeding can get very accurate.

coarsefishinganswers.com 25

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19/08/2014 12:25


ASK AN EXPERT

TOP TIP

Your questions answered

To help keep your groundbait balls in one piece during flight try lightly wetting them on the outside once formed. This will create a harder skin, helping to keep the ball together,

MAKING SLING BALLS

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

Add your groundbait to a dry bowl — a round bowl will make it easier to mix.

If you feel any lumps in the mix rub them between your hands to break them up.

Now mix the two groundbaits together dry, by hand.

Once the mix starts to bind, form a ball. It should feel compact and solid.

feeder properly.” To his feeder mix he also adds food items, in this case dead maggots and chopped worms. He didn’t with the sling mix as he only wanted to attract the bream in and not feed them, but the scent and attraction from these extras in his feeder will create a hotspot for the bream to move in on and so hopefully find his hook bait. Before any ‘fishing’ casts are made into his swim, though, Chris casts his rig out to the marker. First cast it lands within six feet of the orange float and as soon as it hits the water he keeps the bail arm open and allows the line to slip off the spool, as the feeder makes a perfectly vertical fall – if you close the bail arm the feeder will arc inwards on the tension of the line and your hook bait would move away from your feed area. Once the feeder has touched down he clips up. He now has his casting range and removes the marker float from the swim. Using a basic paternoster rig, Chris is fishing a 2ft hooklength with a Preston Innovations PR 21 size 14 hook.This is loaded with dead maggots, a worm section or a cocktail of both. A far-bank tree gives him his direction to cast and he punches the feeder out.The clip is reached, the feeder falls to the deck and we’re fishing. Almost immediately the tip jags round and a skimmer is cranked in. It’s a pattern that continues for the next few hours with only a few quiet spells – this is with just a mediumsized feeder topping up the bait. It shows just how important a good initial feed is to a good bream session, even at range, so give it a go.

Once mixed, create a dent in the middle and add lake water a little at a time.

To create even-sized balls use a can to get the same amount of mix each time.

Continue to mix, making sure all of the groundbait gets water through it.

Each ball should fit easily in the sling. Go for balls around the size of an apple.

A fine bag of bream from range for Chris.

....................................................... ............................................................... Send your coarse fishing question to us at ....................................................... ............................................................... ....................................................... ............................................................... ....................................................... ....................................................... myanglingquestion@dhpub.co.uk ............................................................... ............................................................... 26 coarsefishinganswers.com

p_023-026_cfa_10_korum.indd 4

19/08/2014 12:25


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fishing QIforlove perch in winter and have decided to have a go for them in the summer months too. I know Des Taylor is a great perch angler, can he help me with regard to bait and tactics for catching them on the river?

CFA EXPERT Name: Des Taylor Sponsor: None PB perch: 4lb 12oz

Thomas Hunter

............................... ............................... ............................... ...............................

Hometown: Ipswich Age: 42 Favourite species: Perch

Des has caught A more big perch than most, Thomas, and the river is his second home, so we’re sure he’s got loads to say on the subject and get you catching.

RIVER PERCHING Words and photos: Steve Phillips

Summer perching can be massive fun, with fighting-fit fish in the sunshine – but you need to get your tactics right...

28 coarsefishinganswers.com

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19/08/2014 12:26


ASK AN EXPERT Your questions answered

coarsefishinganswers.com coarsefishinganswers.com 29 10

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19/08/2014 12:26


ASK AN EXPERT Your questions answered

“T

hese are my secret weapons” whispers an excited Des Taylor as we creep into position on the misty banks of the middle River Severn. Peeling back the lid of a bait box he reveals a mass of damp newspaper strips, which house some of the biggest lobworms you ever did see. “My mate collects them from the local playing field and they’re real snakes,” smiles Des,“and the perch absolutely love ’em!” Today we’re on the river after a few bites from big stripeys and these snake-like lobbies are at the forefront of the plan. Our star’s brief was to give our reader the tips he needs to catch a big perch on the baits and tactics recommended, and Mr Taylor has chosen two for the day. “If we’re talking baits for big perch there are two that stand head and shoulders over the others,” Des tells us.“The first is the worm, which is pretty much unbeatable for the species. The second is the livebait. On its day and on the right water these can be deadly effective.” Each of these baits is fished very differently, with the worm being Des’ first port of call.To kick-start things, before doing anything else he chops up a handful of dendrabaenas and feeds them into the swim.“You need to maximise your time when fishing, so feed first and your bait will be working to pull fish in while you’re setting up and getting ready,” explains Des, sagely. With the worm pieces in the swim they start giving off loads of attractive scent that will pull in both perch and baitfish from downstream, but to make sure that he builds a proper perch swim he also feeds a couple of handfuls of hemp.“It’s just as important to get the smaller fish that the perch prey on involved as they’ll really attract the big perch, and hemp is brilliant for doing just that,” says Des. WORM

With the swim in full swing Des first sets up his worm rod.This consists of a Drennan 1.25lbtest-curve Specialist Avon Quiver matched with a 3000 Drennan FD reel loaded with 8lb line straight through.“As with all my fishing the rig is minimal fuss,” explains Des.“The fewer knots, components and general fuss there are, the less chance there is of something letting me down

Trotting a livebait and watching it go is massively exciting.

When should I hit a bite on a livebait?

QA &

Once the float goes under give it a few seconds to ensure the bait’s in the fish’s mouth and then lift into it.

WORM RIG A simple water knot ties the link to the main line.

Use a barbed hook to keep the worm in place.

Keep it simple and robust; fish your main line right through to the hook. A simple link-leger approach allows you to present your worm in snaggy swims.

LIVEBAIT RIG

Attach the float with rubbers so you can change the depth quickly.

A large loafer float will keep the bait at the right depth but show up perch bites.

A couple of SSGs will stop the bait swimming upwards.

if I hook a good fish.” For his worm bait Des wants a static presentation, going for a simple link-leger setup. “You literally tie the hook (a size 8 Drennan Super Specialist in the case) on the main line and tie a four-turn water knot on the line to give you a link to put your SSG weights on to,” explains Des.“The great thing about this rig, other than its simplicity, is that should the weights get snagged up they will just pull along the line until they drop off, and other than the knot on the hook, there’s nothing else to go wrong with it.” Having fed the swim with dendrabaena worms first thing, Des opts for the Rolls-Royce

As well as worms add hemp to your swim to bring in the baitfish.

Lip hook the livebait to allow it to swim freely.

of worm baits on the hook – one of those juicy lobs he showed us earlier. He doesn’t just hook and chuck it, though, he has a specific way to make the most of the bait. “You get a better hold on the worm by hooking it in the saddle (the wider band section around two-thirds of the way up the worm towards the head end),” he tells us.“The important thing, though, is to get the perch to take the bait at the hook end as worms are a pretty long bait and if they grab the other end you can miss bites.The way to do this is to pull the worm’s head off and hook it next to the body.This way the juices from that separation are right on the hook and, based on that, this is usually where the perch will be attracted and where they will pick the bait up.” Hook bait in place the first cast is made. Des underarms the link leger out around 20 feet and holds the rod up until the bait sinks and moves around in the steady flow to sit around 10 feet out from the undercut inside bank.“I’ve chosen this swim because it’s the deepest in the stretch, around 10 feet near enough under my feet.With the bright sun at this time of year and the heat this is where the perch will want to be.” Des’ feeding of the swim has paid off and there are twitches and bangs on the quivertip almost straightaway.The species is what we’re

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ASK AN EXPERT Your questions answered

HOOK YOUR WORM

1

Take your worm and locate the section known as the saddle. This is the smooth, slightly wider section of the body towards the head end of the worm.

2

Hook the worm through the saddle, putting the hook in from the head end; this will give a good hook-hold on the bait and allow the worm to wiggle.

3

Now grab the worm just above the saddle and pinch off its head; this allows the amino acids to seep out next to the hook, creating a strike point.

4

Don’t chuck the head away, hook it next to the body to add even more attraction to the hook area.

‘The bigger the better’ is the rule when it comes to lobs for perch.

5

The finished article has loads of attraction in the form of both flavour and movement, creating a killer bait for big perch!

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ASK AN EXPERT Your questions answered

With the water deeper in this section of the Severn the flow was slower, allowing Des to move his livebait gently through the hotspot, giving more time for the perch to grab it.

Des’ swim choice was one with a big drop-off and undercut bank under his feet. With the bright light the perch would be hunting deep down and sheltering next to the bank.

IT’S A LIVE!

after, unfortunately they’re not the size we want, and a string of half-pounders and smaller are swung in until Des opts for plan B.“There are plenty of fish down there and if there were bigger fish around I would have expected these smaller fish to have scarpered, as they could well be on the menu,” muses Des.“Having said that, the bigger fish might be switched on to baitfish – I’ve seen a few leaping as if they’re being struck at by predators, so it’s time for a change.”

Livebaits are a hugely effective perch bait but they don’t always sort out the bigger fish, as many anglers think. They can also be a bait that the big perch wise up to very quickly once a few of them have been caught on them. This makes livebaiting a great approach to a new water that hasn’t seen much angling pressure before.

LIVEBAIT

Switching rods – the same model but this time with the Avon top – Des is now in livebait mode.While he was persevering with the worms our editor’s been off upstream and loaded the livebait bucket with a number of small chublets (remember that it’s illegal to move fish between waters in the UK, so always catch your livebaits from the same water before you fish, and make sure you’re allowed to use livebaits in the first place), so Des is straight into action. “The perfect size for a livebait for perch is three to four inches in length,” states Des,“and in my experience the two best species are minnows and gudgeon, as they’re the hardiest of fish that will keep swimming for ages.” Unlike the static presentation for worms Des delivers his livebaits to the perch under a float. This presentation gives the bait the freedom to move around, effectively doing the work of exploring the swim for the angler.Again the setup is very simple: 10lb main line straight

the swim the float bobs around as the chublet keeps on the move before… bang, and the float sinks swiftly out of sight.A deft strike and the rod tweaks over to another half-pounder. “It’s amazing how much a perch can fit into its mouth,” laughs Des. Three more small perch are caught before Des makes the decision to switch back to the worm.“Big perch can just snap on to the feed depending on light levels.We’ve a bit of cloud coming over now and I have a hunch that we might get some action, and I’m most confident that they’ll go for the worm,” he tells us. SUCCESS

through to a size 8 hook with a 2SSG loafer float held on the line by rubbers, allowing the depth to be changed instantly, with two swan shot positioned around a foot above the hook.“The weight is to cock the float but also to keep the bait down where I want it,” Des tells us.“In this swim, with around 10 feet of water, I’ll set the depth at around seven feet. If the perch want lives then they will move up to them.” A small chub is taken from the bucket and gently lip hooked on the size 8. Being a barbed hook the bait will stay in place, but if you were fishing an unbarbed version – say on a commercial fishery – you would need something to keep the bait in place, with a small piece of elastic band working well for this.The same applies to the worms.After being cast into

Back on the monster lobs and all is very quiet until a stray eel breaks the silence with a crazy fight.A couple more casts, though, and the tension drops out of Des’ quivertip. He lifts the rod and hits into something that this time fights back. In the clear water we see a flash a couple of feet under the surface with the dogged, headnodding fight and glance of stripes confirming Des has hooked what he came for. It’s soon all over, but thanks to the tough, basic approach to his rigs the result was never really in question. Posing for the catch shot Des is pleased his lobs delivered the goods.“Even on a bright sunny day with the river low and very clear the perch haven’t been able to resist them,” he smiles. “I’m sure they would have taken on the lives as well, but for me, when it comes to perch, you just can’t beat the worm.”

....................................................... ............................................................... Send your coarse fishing question to us at ....................................................... ............................................................... ....................................................... ............................................................... ....................................................... ....................................................... myanglingquestion@dhpub.co.uk ............................................................... ............................................................... 32 coarsefishinganswers.com

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QA &

Your questions answered by the CFA team… EDITOR STEVE PHILLIPS AND DEPUTY EDITOR STEVE MARTIN With decades of angling experience across all disciplines between them, the CFA team know their onions and can answer your questions to try and get you real results.

CFA ANSWERS ............. Send your coarse fishing question to the CFA team at ............. ............. ............. ............. myanglingquestion@dhpub.co.uk

.................................................................................................. .................................................................................................. .................................................................................................. .................................................................................................. ..................................................................................................

Q

Why is it that when feeder fishing on the river it’s best to create a bow in the line, and does this affect bite detection? John Middleton, Tunbridge Wells Steve Phillips says: This is a simple case of physics, John. This technique is used on rivers with a faster flow — think the Wye and Trent — where if you had a tight line to your feeder it would be very difficult to hold bottom because of the water pressure acting against the main line. What a bow does is spread the load created by the pressure of the flow as it hits your line. The more line out there bowed around, the more the pressure is spread and the easier it is then for you to keep your feeder in place. Cast your feeder directly out or slightly upstream, then hold your rod tip up and feel as the feeder hits the bottom. Now pay out line — usually between five and 10 metres is enough — until the feeder stays where it is. This also changes the angle of the main line to the feeder, with it now coming from downstream back up to the feeder, creating a delicate balance. Use enough weight on the feeder so that it just holds bottom with a bow of line out. If you get this right, when you do get a bite most of the time the fish will dislodge the feeder and the tip will go slack in a dropback bite from an already hooked fish.

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Q&A CFA ANSWERS

Q

Why do some anglers use doubled-up elastic instead of a stronger single length? What advantages, if any, does it give them? Rich Newham, Meriden

.... .... ..

could double up a No4. The general rule, though, is not to go beyond a doubled No6 elastic.

Steve Martin says: The secret here is in how the elastic reacts. When you hit a fish on doubled-up elastic initially it’s very forgiving, so you bump off less fish. However, when you’re playing a fish and the elastic is flowing it reacts a lot faster in terms of controlling the runs of a fish, meaning that you can play and land them faster. Doubling up your elastic is pretty easy to do as well. It is literally just a doubling up of the numbers, so if you were in a situation where you wanted to fish a size 8 elastic you

Q

I’m having real trouble using the Method feeder with pellets. I’m finding that I can’t get the feeder to come out of the mould with the pellets on. Any idea what I’m doing wrong? Chris Richards, via e-mail

mould. Try cutting down the amount of pellets you put in your mould by a third and see how you get on. Either that or try moulding them around the feeder by hand.

Steve Martin says: It sounds like one of two things, Chris. Either your mix is wrong in terms of how long you’ve soaked your pellets — either too long and they’re too mushy to stick together properly or you’ve not soaked them long enough and they don’t want to bind together — or more likely is that you’re loading too many of them in the mould. If you put too many in, most of the pellets will be in the mould and not on the feeder when you try and pull the feeder out. The result will be that the pellets stay in the

Q

I’ve started tying pole rigs myself but am having problems when it comes to their length. How do I know what length they should be before I get to my swim? Tony Richards, Exeter Steve Martin says: Unless you know the venue and what to expect you won’t know what length to make them, but err on the side of caution and make them a lot longer than you think you need and then modify them when you get on the bank. If you do know the fishery you’ll be fishing then make them roughly the right length for what you want and then you can always tweak them

Q

I’m new to carp fishing and I’m trying to get my head around all the different items of tackle that are available. What I’d really like to know is what are snag ears and why would I need to use them? Steve Chambers, Nottingham

Steve Phillips says: Snag ears are small upright poles that fit either side of your bite alarm when you’re carp fishing. They are designed to be used when you’re fishing with baits really close to snags that you don’t want a hooked carp to get into. The theory is this: when you get a take the carp will bolt and run, and if you’re fishing in open water then your free-spool reel will release line. When fishing next to a snag, though, you can’t afford to allow that as before you get to your rod you’ll have already lost the fish. However, if you’re not allowing the fish to take any line and it runs you could be in danger of your rod being pulled off your alarm and down the bank — which is where the snag ears come in. They will stop your rod being pulled off your banksticks or pod and help hold the fish away from the snags. If you do try this, make sure you’re always right next to your rods and you use the right gear for the job. from there — it’s always better to have too much line on a rig than too little. Regarding how long your rig should be when you start fishing, it depends on a number of factors. First is the depth you’re fishing, which is determined by where the fish are in the water column. In terms of line between your pole tip and float, wind can play a big factor and, generally, the stronger the wind the more line you need to help buffer against pole movements. Also, if you’re fishing on running water it’s best to have more line between pole and float, to allow you to work your swim better as the rig moves downstream with the flow.

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.............................................................................. .............................................................................. .............................................................................. ..............................................................................

love catching QIsilver fish from my local commercial lake, but no matter how hard I try I don’t seem to be able to catch the bigger roach and bream. What am I doing wrong?

Richard Miller

.................... .................... .................... ....................

Hometown: Newark, Notts Age: 54 Favourite fish: Bream

Kieron Rich is our A man in the know when it comes to catching big silvers on commercials.

CFA EXPERT Name: Kieron Rich Sponsors: Daiwa, Burt Baits Hometown: Irlam, Manchester

BUILD IT UP FOR

BIGGER SILVERS Words and photos: Steve Martin

Kieron Rich looks at the tactics you need to get through the small stuff to catch big silvers.

W

ith so many anglers targeting mainly carp on their local commercial venue it’s hard to believe that there are massive shoals of silver fish that are never fished for. In the main, these fish – predominately roach and bream – spend their lives feeding on the pellet and groundbait scraps left by the carp, and swim around unnoticed, except when they are seen trying to escape a perch strike, or when they are breeding in the margins, where they also attract carp that love to feast on the eggs. However, if you want to target these silver fish, it’s pretty easy to catch them with just a pint of maggots and a little groundbait.The downside of this tactic, though, is that you will usually catch the smallest fish, mainly roach, which live in the upper layers where they quickly intercept any food that drops in the water. How often do you drop a bait in the water and see the float shoot away almost immediately, or never settle properly? It doesn’t matter what you do, as these fish will always be there looking for a free meal, so to get through to the bigger

fish, you need to think outside the box. To get to grips with this issue, we joined Daiwa-backed Kieron Rich for a day on Oak Pool, at Blundells Fishery, to look at the two tactics that he uses to catch bigger silver fish from a venue full of small stuff. The first order of the day was to set up the rigs, and for this session Kieron had set up a positive rig to fish on the deck and a shallow rig, which, he explained, he would use later in the session as with regular loose feeding the better roach, and even bream, often come up in the water. The bottom rig consisted of a 4x12 Floats Direct Slim Finesse float on 0.14mm main line with size 18 Drennan Silverfish Pellet hook on a 6in 0.10mm hook link.To ensure the hook bait dropped through the water quickly, the spread bulk was set 15 inches from the hook, with three droppers set equidistant between the bulk and the top of the hook link. In theory, the rig would drop through

the mini masses before they had time to see the bait and chase it down. Moving on to the shallow rig, this simple setup saw a 4x10 rugby-ball-shaped float on 0.10mm main line with a size 16 Drennan Silverfish Pellet hook tied on direct.Three small shot were added and set a few inches apart about four inches above the hook. It was interesting to note that the complete length of this rig was no more than 25 inches. Kieron’s plan was to fish the early part of the session on the deck, and so to pull the

TACKLE TIPS

1

Slim floats are best for deep rigs; buoyant floats are great for shallow ones.

2

A small shot below the float acts as a reference that you’re fishing the right depth.

3

Elastic needs to be soft to avoid bumping fish, but still able to cope with bigger fish.

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TOP TIP

Lift and drop your rig regularly when fishing baits just under the surface.

ASK AN EXPERT Your questions answered

QUESTION OF THE MONTH

WINNER ÂŁ100 VOUCHER

How many would have guessed that this near-2lb bream was lurking less than 12 inches below the surface?

Frequent feeding is the key to catching bigger roach on the shallow rig.

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ASK AN EXPERT

Do you hair rig the 4mm pellets?

Your questions answered

QA &

The pellets are too small, so it’s best to put the band on the hook.

SWEET, STICKY AND LOADED

1

Silver fish, especially bream love a sweet-smelling feed.

2

Pile in the casters to bulk up the groundbait.

fish into his swim he next mixed up a sweet, heavy and sticky groundbait.The sweet flavour would help attract the many skimmers in the lake, the stickiness allowed him to mix in plenty of large particles – in this case casters – and the weight enabled him to create a concentrated bed of feed that would break down slowly and form a flavour cloud in the water.Then, in the first hour he would regularly loose feed over the top to create a wider feed bed, which would help to gain the fishes’ confidence to feed.The colour of the groundbait was also important, as it needed to be visible in the coloured water to arouse the fishes’ curiosity.

3

Once on the deck, it creates a concentrated bed of feed.

4

Four big balls are dropped in to kick-start the swim.

The difference between catching small silvers and bigger fish often depends on the hook baits and feed you use.

“There was no clue that big skimmers were lurking just below the surface.” Switching back to his bottom rig, Kieron had plumbed up so that he would be fishing two inches overdepth. He explained that resting the bait on the bottom this way allowed the fish to pick it up cleanly, whereas if the small bait was fished at dead depth it would get ‘washed’ about, which could result in missed bites as the fish snatched at it. Kieron started the session by feeding four, big, caster-laced balls of groundbait at 11 metres – that’s the great thing about fishing for silvers, as you can catch them close in.With a single caster on the hook, he loose fed about a dozen ‘shells’, swung the bait in and then started to loose feed casters about three times a minute to start to ‘build up the swim’, explaining that it was important to gradually add feed to create a bed that would eventually pull in the better fish. He also added that fresh casters are essential, as you want them to sink quickly to the bottom and hopefully avoid being snatched by small fish on the way down.These were also the reasons for not fishing maggots and for the high frequency of his initial feeding. After about 90 minutes it had become clear that there were very few bigger fish feeding on the bottom, as Kieron had bagged plenty of small roach and a few ‘blades’ for his efforts. During this time there were a lot of fish swirling around his float as he loose fed – many were small roach,

PELLET POWER

1

The switch to feeding 4mm carp pellets…

2

.... .... ..

… and fishing them on a band lured the big fish.

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ASK AN EXPERT Your questions answered

but there was the odd big vortex, as a bigger fish muscled in. This was the first explanation as to sometimes why you don’t catch fish where you would expect to.Water temperature is a key factor even for silver fish, as they prefer to feed in the upper layers when the heat rises, and it had become clear that Kieron’s loose feed had pulled a lot of fish up in the water.A switch to the shallow rig saw an increase in his catch rate, with a few bigger roach plus the odd 1lb skimmer from no more than 12 inches below the surface. Now it’s at this point that many anglers might give up hope of catching big fish, but experience had told Kieron that a switch in baits can often bring a change in fortune. Silver fish see a lot of carp pellets on commercial venues, with 4mms being the common feed particles. Roach and skimmers intercept these small pellets in the same way as it’ss surprising that any they chase the casters – it loose feed ever gets down to the bottom – and bream love them. Placing the casters to one side, Kieron grabbed a bag of 4mm pellets, started to feed a dozen or so over his pole line, and switched back to his bottom where pellet bott bo ttom om rrig, ig, wh ig wher eree he sslipped lilipp pped ed a bbanded ande an dedd pe pell llet et on hook.The did yield to o tthe hee h ook.The ttactic oo actic i di id yi eld ld a fe ffew w bi bbigger gger gg skimmers, the swirls on surface every ssk kim imm meers rs, s, bu bbut ut th he sw swir irrls ls o n th thee ssu urf urf rfac a e ever ac ev ver eryy hee fe had him up his tim ti time mee h ffed ed so ssoon oon nh ad h ad im ppicking im icki ic king ki ng u ph hi iiss once more. sshallow sh hal allo low rig rig on ri o ncee m orre. o

At first Kieron suffered missed bites and pricked fish when he struck. He put this down to not lifting the float quickly enough, as there was too much line between it and the pole tip. He shortened the rig so that he had just four inches of line above the float, which meant that the fish almost hooked themselves as they attacked the bait. In fact, many did as soon as Kieron dropped the pellet in. To look at the water there was no clue that big skimmers were lurking just below the surface, but the change in bait and tactic saw Kieron regularly putting 1lb-plus fish into his net.The key was to keep the loose feed pinging in, and although he still suffered the odd missed bite – mainly from fish all competing for the food brushing against the line – his catch rate increased markedly compared to the early part of the session. The high water temperature had seen the fish feed in the upper layers, but it was still key to build the swim up over time and, as is often the case, it paid to switch to a different bait when the initial method didn’t bring results. However, that’s not to say that h Kieron’s gr ggroundbait oundba b it and wouldn’t work once ccasters ca asstter ers woul w wo ould ldn’t’t w orrk on ncee the water th he w wa atteer st ate sstarted taarrte rte ted to to ccool oo o ol down. ddo own wn. n.

After catching small roach and ‘blades’ early doors, Kieron went on to bag the bigger roach and skimmers.

....................................................... ............................................................... Send your coarse fishing question to us at ....................................................... ............................................................... ....................................................... ............................................................... ....................................................... ....................................................... myanglingquestion@dhpub.co.uk ............................................................... ............................................................... coarsefishinganswers.com 39

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have a greatQIlooking weir pool on my local club water, but I’m not sure how to fish it. Can one of your experts help, please? Paul Littlewood

.................... .................... .................... ....................

Hometown: Stratford-upon-Avon Age: 15 Favourite species: Chub

Sounds like a venue that our expert Darren Cox is familiar with, so we’ve asked him to help out.

A

CFA EXPERT Name: Darren Cox Sponsor: Garbolino Hometown: Stratford-upon-Avon

ASK AN EXPERT Your questions answered

KEEP OUT OF THE

WILD WATER Words and photos: Steve Martin

Garbolino’s Darren Cox points you in the right direction to tackle weir-pool eddies.

The large eddy created at the edge of the heavy flow acts as a food trap, which attracts all manner of species looking for an easy meal. The fast water from the weir meets the main flow coming from Darren’s right, to create a fast-flowing current at his feet, which puts extra pressure on his hookhold when playing fish.

Set the rod tip high to keep the main line out of the fast-flowing water.

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ASK AN EXPERT Your questions answered

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eir pools are a wonderland when it comes to the number of species that can be found lurking in the wild, swirling water. Many anglers shy away from them, though, as they see the challenge as a step too far, and places where more tackle is lost than fish caught. However, if they stopped a while longer and took the time to watch the water more closely, they would be able to get a better picture and start to see where the water swings away from the angry water to form slower-flowing eddies, and the discernable crease that forms where the slower water meets the fast flow. We joined Darren Cox at Lucy’s Mill weir on the Warwickshire Avon at Stratford-upon-Avon, where he not only had to contend with the water from the weir coming straight across the river from the far bank, there was also the added flow from the lock and second weir upstream that added to the power of the water that flowed at his feet.

The dark groundbait was also fishmeal-free, as Darren wanted to catch “every fish in the swim.” On arrival, Darren set his box up so that he was positioned downstream of the main flow from the weir, just below the large eddy on the far bank that was to be his target area for the session.The quiet water was in stark contrast to the slightly coloured water that raced past him at his feet, which, he pointed out, might cause him a few problems when it came to netting fish. It also didn’t help that the days prior to the session had seen some of the heaviest rainfall of the late summer, and it was cold water too. Setting up his 13ft feeder rod, Darren explained that, by their nature, weir-pool eddies collect a lot of food, as it drops down to the riverbed in the quieter water. It’s little wonder then that fish will congregate there in numbers for a feast. He also added that much of the food falls at the edge, where the fast current meets

DARREN’S SWEET RIVER MIX A slightly dark mix is best on the river, with hemp for added fizz. Big particles are added, which will hold fast in the slower flow.

the slow water, so it’s a good idea to try and cast a feeder as close to that point as possible. However, it’s not plain sailing, as often weir pools are covered with rocks on the riverbed, which have either been exposed by the raging waters or added deliberately by the water authority to prevent erosion. Before adding a feeder, Darren clipped a 50g weight to his swivel and cast as close to the edge of the pool’s flow as he dared. He then placed the rod in a rest and watched the rod tip to see if the lead stayed put, or was dragged off by the flow.After three or four casts he found an area where the weight would settle – around a metre in from the main flow – and a depth that he estimated at around nine to 10 feet. He wasn’t finished yet, though, as he then started to drag the weight slowly along the riverbed to ensure he had found a clear bottom to fish over. Only when he was happy that he would avoid the snags did he clip on the open-ended feeder and attach his hook link. Lucy’s Mill weir is well known for its bream, so the coloured water meant that the conditions were ideal to fish for them. It also dictated the groundbait mix that Darren used for the session. His recipe for the day was half a bag of a sweetsmelling feed, to which he added half a bag of a slightly darker mix that contained plenty of hemp particles.This, he explained, would give of plenty of smell and would fizz to create an attractive trail in the flow.The feed was also fishmeal-free, as Darren wanted to catch “every fish in the swim,” and if he had used a fishmealbased feed it would put off some of the smaller species. If small fish ‘ragging’ his hook bait did

IN THE FEEDER

1

Always carry a selection to cover different flow rates.

2

Initially, fill the feeder with plenty of casters…

3

… and plug both ends firmly with groundbait.

4

Fish a particle-laced feed for the rest of the session.

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TOP TIP

ASK AN EXPERT

Slowly drag a lead around your swim before you start fishing, to ensure it is clear of snags.

Your questions answered

GEAR FOR THE RIVER

1

A powerful rod is needed to cope with the heavy flow.

2

Darren’s line choice is 8lb Shimano Technium mono.

3

The feeder and swivel are stopped by a tiny bead on a twizzled loop.

Target the eddies at the side of the main flow if you want to get the very best from weir pools.

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ASK AN EXPERT Your questions answered

Overall it was a disappointing session, but Darren did catch eight different species from the river.

pester him he might add a few dampened micro pellets for a quick halibut boost.Then, as he was looking to catch on the bottom, he added two big handfuls of hemp to ensure some bigger particles were left once much of the groundbait had dispersed in the flow. A further look at Darren’s setup for the session revealed that he had clipped on quite a heavy feeder. He explained that he wanted to use more weight than he would normally need, as he would be casting quite close to the flow. And, as it was not a critically balanced setup, he would be looking for the tip to pull round when a fish took the bait. He added that he could not fish with a lighter feeder and a bow in the line due to the heavy flow at his feet, which would quickly pull the feeder away from the eddy. If a barbel or carp did find the bait there would be a chance that he would get a drop-back bite, but it was unlikely.

Before the extra water arrived Darren hooked and landed a surprise tench. The fast-flowing water also created another problem, as it was key that as much of the main line was kept out of the water as possible – again to stop the feeder being dragged away.To achieve this, Darren had set his feeder arm so that the rod tip sat high in the air, to keep as much line as possible off the water until it entered the slacker water. The heavy, nearside flow also posed another problem, as once a fish was hooked Darren would have no option but to play the fish across the flow, which, along with the weight of the fish, would put extra pressure on a light hook link and small hook.To help counter this he attached a 30in 0.18mm Garbo Line hooklength, to which he had tied a size 14 Drennan Wide Gape hook. This may have seemed a bit severe, but as Darren would be fishing big baits for bigger specimens, he wanted the extra security the ‘overgunned’ tackle would give. Bream fishing can be a waiting game, as a shoal often takes time to find the feed, so to ‘set the trap’ Darren started the session with eight or nine quick casts with the feeder full of casters and plugged with groundbait, as he wanted to get some feed down with some big particles. Once the initial feed was down he switched to a more groundbait-based feed, to which he had added some corn, chopped worms and casters to keep the big-particle theme. He explained that it was important to get a bed of feed down in the early stages, as he 44 coarsefishinganswers.com

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Why not feed with fishmeal groundbaits?

QA &

ASK AN EXPERT

Some river species shy away from fishmeal, so leave it out for a mixed catch.

expected the flow to wash much of it away to produce the flavour trail he wanted to create. He would recast every five minutes in the first hour and after that he’d leave the rig out for up to 15 minutes, unless he struck into a fish. It was all a case of getting the balance right, he said, as he needed to keep the feed going in but at the same time he want his hook bait to be fishing as long as possible. THE SESSION

The day turned out to be one of mixed fortunes for Darren, which wasn’t helped by the increased flow and rise in water level as the rain from the previous day made its way downstream.This extra cold water would certainly have affected the fish, as they are not happy when the water temperature changes rapidly.Also, the fresh water increased the spread of the fast water at his feet. Initially it was only flowing through a third of the river’s width, but after two hours the fast flow had started to spread almost halfway across, as the level rose. Not only did this affect the fish, it also dictated where Darren could cast, as the way the eddy flowed also changed. Before the extra water arrived Darren hooked and landed a surprise tench of around 4lb.This was then followed by a much bigger fish, which Darren never saw. One of the features of weir pools is they draw loads of rubbish downstream, and as Darren was just starting to tame the fish in the heavy current a large branch snagged the line, which added to the already massive strain on his gear. He continued to play the fish as the branch slid closer to his feeder until the hook pulled, much to his disappointment. Either the close proximity of the branch had spooked the fish or the extra weight close to the feeder just put too much pressure on the hook-hold. Soon after this the bites slowed with the increased water.Against his better judgement, Darren scaled down in hook size, hook-link strength and bait size.This worked to a degree, as he started to catch smaller fish, plus a perch around the 1lb mark and a reasonable eel.The issue with the lighter gear was there was always a chance that if he latched on to a bigger fish the pressure on the line and hook might result in a break or hook-pull. And such was the case as after the next good fish, which Darren said felt like a bream, was guided into the heavy current, the pressure was too much for the hook to hold. This was turning into a day of frustration, so it was back on to the heavier gear and, as he switched, Darren pointed out that not for the first time that day his hook link had been chafed as it passed over unseen rocks. It was an issue that came back to haunt him, as a few casts later he was into a big bream, which, as it came to the surface, looked all of 6lb.This

Your questions answered

BIG BAITS

1

2

3

4

5

6

A worm’s head, tipped with a dead red maggot.

Bream have a weakness when it comes to lobworms.

Double casters make for a crunchy morsel.

Add a couple of dead reds for an even bigger offering.

would have made the perfect end to a difficult day, but luck eluded Darren again – as soon as the fish bolted into the fast flow, something gave, and it was crystal clear just what had happened when he reeled in.The hook link had again rubbed on rocks, and had given way under the excess pressure. Live features do not always go to plan, as conditions can go often against the angler.The bream Darren was targeting live in the eddy

Three dead red maggots stand out in coloured water.

A heavy grain of corn sits well on the riverbed.

formed by Lucy’s Mill weir and they had made an appearance only a few days earlier. However, the weather of the previous few days and the effects it had on the river made even the best swims difficult. On another day, Darren’s tactics would have bagged him plenty of fish. He did, however, bag eight different species during the session, which shows just what you can catch from weir-pool eddies.

This 4lb-plus tench was a surprise catch from the eddy’s quiet waters.

....................................................... ............................................................... Send your coarse fishing question to us at ....................................................... ............................................................... ....................................................... ............................................................... ....................................................... ....................................................... myanglingquestion@dhpub.co.uk ............................................................... ............................................................... coarsefishinganswers.com 45

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QA &

Your questions answered by... ALAN STAGG BIG-FISH HUNTER All-rounder Alan is one of this country’s top specialist anglers and a regular Drennan Cup weekly winner, who narrowly missed winning the coveted crown in 2011. Here he answers your specialist angling questions.

SPECIMEN ANGLER ............. Send your coarse fishing question to Alan Stagg at ............. ............. ............. ............. myanglingquestion@dhpub.co.uk

Q

When buying prawns for perch fishing, which size is best to feed and which is best for the hook? Grant Potter, via e-mail

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the hook point is proud. When it comes to loose feed I find a mixture of mini prawns, which I like to dice into small pieces, red maggots and chopped worms takes some beating.

Alan says: Prawns are a fantastic bait when targeting perch and such is their effectiveness and my confidence in them that I now use prawns almost exclusively for this species. A trip to the supermarket will see all manner of hook baits at your disposal, but I prefer to use large king prawns as hook bait and mini or baby prawns as loose feed. They are a very user-friendly bait — I simply hook them through the side, making sure

I also like to add lots of the soil that the worms come in into the mix, which has two advantages. Firstly, it forms a lovely cloud in the water column and secondly, this cloud provides a great marker of exactly where you need to cast to. Whether I am fishing in close or at any range, I always introduce my feed via a spod. This helps to keep the feed in a nice tight area, and don’t be mistaken in thinking perch are afraid of the sound — it’s not

uncommon to have action while I’m spodding over the top of my hook baits. Don’t be afraid to experiment with adding flavours to your prawns to give them an added boost. One particular flavour I have done very well on is Worm & Shrimp from Enterprise Tackle. Food-colouring dyes can also be added to boost their attraction.

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Q&A SPECIMEN ANGLER

Q

I’ve been told that roach like flavoured maggots. What are the best options, and how do you add the flavours to the bait? Archie Masters, via e-mail Alan says: I’m a big fan of sprucing up maggots when targeting species like roach and rudd. I experimented extensively several years ago and found that certain edges made a big

.... .... ..

difference to my results. Now whether adding additional attraction to my loose feed and hook baits made a difference to the roach, or just my confidence, I don’t know, but it certainly improved my catch rates. I tend to steer clear of liquid flavours (which can be very concentrated) and I favour powders such as krill or Feedstim XP powder. After purchasing my maggots, I simply remove any sawdust or maize by running the maggots through a riddle. It is then a simple case of sprinkling on a liberal amount, making sure to cover the maggots evenly. If possible I like to do this the day or night before I am intending to fish.

With barbel, how many days in advance would you prebait a swim before starting to fish? Steve Andrews, via e-mail

Q Q

I want to make my own baits as I’ve been told that they are better than shopbought baits, which are full of preservatives. How do I start? Frank Miller, via e-mail Alan says: Making your own bait is dead simple. However, there are a few key items that are essential if you are going to make a good job of it. You will need a large mixing bowl, a sausage gun, a Gardner Rolaball Long Base Baitmaker, something to measure your liquids with, a pan to boil your baits in, a timer, a clean tea towel and some freezer bags. First of all crack open the required amount of eggs into a bowl — as a general rule, liquids often go in with liquids, so now is a great time to add any oils or flavours and simply beat the eggs until everything is blended. Now start adding your chosen base mix. When you are new to bait making, add a little bit at a time as it’s better to take a little longer and get it right rather than adding large amounts of powder and ending up with a sticky, lumpy mix. Add a small amount of base mix and whisk in with a fork. You’ll quickly develop something that looks like thick soup; keep adding base mix little and often until it starts to stiffen up. Soon you will have to abandon the fork, and start using your hands to fold the mix, remembering to add small amounts of base mix as you go. The clue that you are almost ready is your bowl is going to be pretty clean and no excess mix is left. You will now have a ball of paste. If the mix still feels tacky or is sticky to the touch, you are not quite ready to start

the rolling process, and now is the time to add a very small amount of base mix. A good test to check if the paste is right is to stick your finger into the mix — if nothing is on it when it’s removed, it’s time to start the rolling process. It should resemble the texture and feel of Plasticine. The important thing is not to allow it to dry out. Mould the paste into a cylinder shape that fits nicely into the sausage gun, with the remainder placed into a freezer bag to prevent it from drying out. With a well-behaved mix, use the same size nozzle on the sausage gun, as you want them to turn out to (some mixes can expand and will need a larger Rolaball). Extrude the paste from the gun to lengths that fit the top Rolaball, which keeps waste to a minimum. Lay them one at a time across the rolling table, push firmly down over the top (keeping hold of the back) and three or four sweeps backwards and forwards will result in a handful of boilies. Keep repeating until the gun is empty. Now they are ready to be boiled. With the water bought to a steady boil, carefully pour a smallish amount of boilies into a pan and start the timer (following any instructions on the bait manufacturer’s packaging). Gently stir during this process, which will prevent any from sticking. Once the boiling process is finished, scoop them out of the pan and place them on a clean tea towel and allow the surface to dry. Every now and again move them around and try not to allow them to clump together. Leave the baits until they are cool to the touch, or for a couple of hours before freezing.

Alan says: Prebaiting for barbel is always worth the effort and can often lead to some great results. Steer clear of pressured areas or well-worn swims and never bait areas that might be detrimental to fellow anglers. I follow two general rules when prebaiting rivers, which depends on how many barbel I think the river/stretch I am fishing contains. On productive stretches I find prebaiting the night before will often give enough time to attract fish in numbers and build up plenty of confidence. However, on stretches that contain far fewer fish I tend to go on a two-day rule, which gives the fish more time to find the feed. Amounts and what you introduce depend again on the fish. I tend to prefer a mix of 4mm pellets, hemp and a couple of good handfuls of hook-bait samples such as boilies or large pellets.

What are the benefits of using coated braid hook links over uncoated braids? Mark Billington, via e-mail

Q

Alan says: The benefits of using coated or uncoated braid obviously depends on the angling situation you have in front of you. If you are fishing towards snags or heavy weed then a coated braid will give you extra security. Uncoated braids can also offer good anti-tangle properties in comparison to coated braids. When it comes to choice, wherever possible I prefer

uncoated braids. Coated braids have been very popular in carp and specimen circles for a number of years and sometimes using something a little different from the norm can pay dividends. I’m also a big fan of the suppleness that braid has to offer.

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had some QI’ve success recently fishing with pellets and feel I’ve got to grips with the basics. Are there any other ways to utilise pellets to help me catch more fish on my local commercial?

CFA EXPERT

ASK AN EXPERT

Name: Mark Griggs Sponsors: Middy Hometown: Boston

Your questions answered

Chris Johns

.................................................................................... .................................................................................... .................................................................................... ....................................................................................

Hometown: Warwick Age: 43 Favourite species: Rudd

The great thing A about pellets is that they are incredibly versatile and, once you know the basics regarding preparation and hooking them, there are loads of variations in the way you can fish them to maximise your catches. We asked top match angler and last year’s Fish 4 5k winner Mark Griggs to show us his favourite methods, and joined him at Lincolnshire’s Westwood Lakes for a lesson in the fine art of pellet fishing…

SLOPPY

PELLETS Photos: Craig Butterfield

Want to add a twist to your pellet fishing? Our advice is to get sloppy and get catching.

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ASK AN EXPERT Your questions answered

T

here are many ways to fish pellets and every top angler has their preferred choice. For me, on mixed fisheries such as here at Westwood Lakes, pellet slop really is a brilliant bait. Not only is it a fantastic bait but it’s also cheap – for a normal session a bag of expander pellets and a selection of hook baits is all you will need, so you can catch huge weights of fish for less than £5. For the hook I have brought 6mm and 8mm expander pellets that have been pumped to soften them so they can be easily hooked. I’ll also take out a handful of softened 4mm pellets before I prepare my slop, to give me another hook bait and feed option. The pellet slop is incredibly simple to prepare; it’s exactly the same process as preparing your hook baits but just in larger quantities. I pump a bag of 4mm pellets in batches and then just leave them in a shallow bowl of water to fully absorb

the water and soften up. At this point I take out a few for the hook and feeding and then the rest are drained on a fine-meshed riddle. I use a pinkie riddle as I like my slop particles quite fine, but using a standardsized maggot riddle can be equally effective. Once the majority of the water has drained off I place the riddle and pellets over a bowl and then use my hand to push the soft pellets through the mesh.This gives the perfect feed that can be cupped in loose, formed into balls for deeper swims or fed by hand. I’m on Skylark Lake today and with the weather warm and the fish active I’m going to target two swims, but both at short range. The first, and my starting swim, will be at the bottom of the near shelf, which is a brilliant area to target.The fish will feel safer here than in the margins early in the session and it’s a natural spot for fish to feed.While fishing this I’ll also be feeding my margin swim to hopefully catch some bigger fish later in the session as they gain

the confidence to feed in close. I’ve set up two rigs: one for the deeper water where I have around four feet of water and one for the margins where it’s just over 18 inches deep. My margin rig carries a 4x12 Middy Styrex 1 float and a heavier 4x14 Middy Carp Grey for the deeper swim. My main line is 0.16mm Middy Lo-Viz to a 0.14mm hooklength and hook choice is a size 16 Middy 93-13.This wide-gape hook is perfect for pellets and enables me to switch between my different sizes of hook bait. As the lake holds a good head of fish to double figures and some big barbel I’m taking no chances with my elastic, and I’ve opted for a Middy 12-14 Shockcore hollow through a puller kit. I’m starting the session by feeding regular, small balls of slop by hand on my swim into the deeper water. Giving them a squeeze ensures they don’t break up until the lower layers, ensuring the fish feed on the bottom where they are easier

FISH IT Westwood Lakes Five House Lane, Boston, Lincolnshire PE21 7JA Tel: 01205 724162 E-mail: enquiries@ westwoodlakes.co.uk Day tickets: £6

Another raging carp is brought to Mark’s net.

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What pellets should I use to make slop?

QA &

You need to use prepared expanders as they will break down easily in the riddle.

ASK AN EXPERT Your questions answered

MAKE SLOPPY PELLETS

1

Everything you need to make a batch of sloppy pellets.

2

3

4

5

6

7

Put your expanders in your pump pot and cover in lake water.

Get your riddle and pour the pellets on to it and place the bowl underneath.

Pump them as usual so that they take on water and can be mushed up.

Now push your expanders through the riddle mesh to mush them up.

Once you’ve got enough expanders for what you need, put them in a bowl.

Your slop shouldn’t be too fine, but should give off plenty of cloud and attraction.

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ASK AN EXPERT Your questions answered

to catch. I’ve also put a large cup of loose slop in the margins in the hope that the fish will settle over this bait later on and I can increase my catch. It takes just 10 minutes before I get my first bite – a small tench that has taken a liking to my 6mm-pellet hook bait. Once I start getting indications I’ll feed a small ball of the pellet slop after every fish; this helps them settle after the disturbance of one of their mates going missing! I’ve had quite a few small carp and barbel now and, in the hope of catching some bigger fish, I’m going to try my secret bait – a big 8mm expander. It does take a little while longer to work but

TOP TIP

To bag the bigger fish in your swim try swapping to a larger pellet and waiting longer for a bite.

my first bite is rewarded with several metres of elastic being pulled from the pole. By using the puller kit I’m able to beat the culprit into netting range and slip the net under a stunning 4lb barbel.The bigger pellet seems to be working and in the next hour I add several carp to 4lb to my catch. The lure of the margins eventually becomes too much and, having seen several fish swirl, I’m keen to have a go. I’ve fitted a small pot on my pole and I’ll be feeding a pot of slop and a few loose 4mm expanders in the margins regularly to try to give the fish an area to feed over. The action is almost instant and within five

minutes I’m guiding a carp over my waiting net.The action is fast and furious and I’m soon adding more carp and tench to my catch – it seems that the more regularly I feed the more I catch, which is a sure sign that the fish are really getting their heads down to feed on all of the small particles of slop. I’m over the moon to end the day with close to 100lb of fish; I’ve had carp, tench, bream, barbel and crucians, which really goes to show how versatile and diverse pellets can be.We all know they’re a great fish catcher but, as with any bait, once you get to grips with the basics the possibilities for experimentation are endless… and so are the bites. Does the sloppy pellet approach work? Here’s your answer.

Mark’s bait tray is simple but deadly effective.

Tackle is simple and strong to tame carp.

....................................................... ............................................................... Send your coarse fishing question to us at ....................................................... ............................................................... ....................................................... ............................................................... ....................................................... ....................................................... myanglingquestion@dhpub.co.uk ............................................................... ............................................................... 52 coarsefishinganswers.com

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Beginner’s GUIDE We all have to start somewhere, and getting the basic angling skills right is all part of getting more out of your sport over a lifetime. Coarse Fishing Answers’ Beginner’s Guide will give you the grounding you need to develop the right skills that will help you catch more fish.

NETS Whether for landing or keeping fish, nets are some of the most important tools in your fishing kit.

W

hatever kind of coarse fishing you do, at some point you will need to use a net. Mainly this is for landing fish, but for some pleasure sessions, or if you fancy trying your hand at a match, a keepnet will also be on the agenda. LANDING NETS Landing nets are essential for safely getting fish of more than a few ounces to the bank. In the water the whole weight of a fish isn’t being put on your line because the wet stuff is

SITTING RIGHT Don’t just throw your net out and hope for the best. Make sure it’s sitting correctly in the water to maximise the space in it for the fish you catch. This might mean pegging the other end of it out in the water if you can.

supporting the creature – which is why you can play big fish on light lines. Try lifting that fish clear of the water, though, and all of its weight will act on your line, and it won’t be long before it snaps.Which is where the net comes in. Being mesh you can push a landing net through the water without taking a load of it with you. Get it under a fish and lift and it then takes the weight of the fish as you lift it on to the bank, instead of the line. Because they’re essential for all disciplines of coarse fishing, landing nets come in a range of shapes and sizes.The two most common shapes

ESCAPEES Make sure the top of your keepnet isn’t too close to the water as some fish have the habit of leaping out of the mouths of nets and back into the water.

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LEARN THE BASICS Catch More

are the spoon and the triangle. The spoon is a rounded net with a frame that goes all the way, and is more suited to small fish and commercial carp. A triangular net gives a large diameter at the front, and using just two arms spread out either side to support the mesh they’re also lighter for their size, making them more suited to larger specimen fish. KEEPNETS Keepnets are designed to allow you to hold the fish that you catch, either to admire as a whole at the end of a pleasure session, to weigh them in at the end of a match or, in some cases, to stop them going back out into your swim and spooking the other fish. Shapewise keepnets have evolved from being round to now being rectangular in their profile (although you can still buy a small number of rounded nets), with rectangular nets being more efficient in terms of the amount of water in them when laid out on the bed of a lake or river. As with the landing nets the mesh used has got better too. Fish-friendly micromesh that doesn’t catch fins and scales has made things much better.

MESH With modern angling being very much about the protection of the fish we catch there have been great developments in the field of net mesh. Tighter micromeshes that cause less damage to scales are great for commercials and natural venues where you’re after smaller fish. For rivers with a flow you’re better off with a larger-gauge mesh to allow the water to run through it and so not pull the net away from you. For lure and predator fishing, more and more manufacturers are using rubberised mesh to prevent trebles catching in them.

DEPTH The larger the fish you’re looking to catch the deeper your net should be as this allows a larger fish to ‘fold up’ into the mesh.

SPOON Spoons are best for smaller fish, ideally up to around double figures and so, with a few exceptions, aren’t available in huge sizes. Their complete frame around the outside of the mesh makes them stronger than triangle nets so you can lift the fish out more easily with the frame instead of gripping the mesh and using that to lift.

TRIANGLE Designed more for specimen fish, a triangular net uses two arms to support the mesh, with a cord across the front instead of a solid bar. The arms are held in place via a spreader block, and their design means triangular nets can be broken down for transportation and storage.

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HARRY AND CHAY This father-and-son duo are mad-keen anglers. Chay, a fully qualified level 2 angling coach and angler for many decades, is teaching his 12-yearold son and budding fisherman, Harry, the ropes.

Beginner’s GUIDE

A

s our novice angler, 12-year-old Harry Jackson, hooks another chunky rudd on his pole his elastic pulls out, he brings the fish to the surface and he scoops up the flapping golden fish in his landing net. It’s a perfect demonstration that however, wherever and whatever you’re fishing for, a landing net is an essential item of tackle. The reason that a landing net is essential is to do with water.When a fish is in the water it doesn’t weigh what it does when it’s out on the bank – its weight is supported by the water around it, meaning that you can play a 10lb carp on 2lb line and still beat it. Get that same fish to the surface and try and lift it out of the water, though, and your 2lb line has no chance. Even with Harry’s fish of 10oz or so, lifting it to hand from the water is not a clever

move – even if the delicate line that he’s using holds, one twitch from the fish and the hookhold that is now under a lot of pressure would pull and he’ll lose the fish. Using a net, though, allows you to lift the fish from the water with no stress on your tackle and in an enclosure that the fish won’t escape from. With his fish netted, unhooked and popped in his keepnet (which we’ll come back to) Harry ships out again to take a slightly larger fish on the drop.This one takes longer to play to the surface on the light elastic, but once it does come up Harry’s dad and angling mentor, Chay, talks him through netting the fish. “Don’t try netting a fish before it’s ready because your net will just get in the way and you’ll either scare it into making another run where you could lose it, or you could knock it off altogether,” he explains.“The key is to wait

until the fish is beaten; you’ll usually know when this is as the fish will come to the surface and look like they’re taking a breath.When they sit on the surface and can be pulled towards the net, that’s the time to net them.” With any fish it’s good practice to have the net waiting in the water just before you need it. Don’t be tempted to ‘stab’ at the fish when it comes to the time to net it – put the net out where you need it to be and pull the fish over it; there’s less chance of losing the fish that way. Once you have the fish over the net lift the mesh up to enclose the fish, but don’t keep lifting because in most circumstances you’ll put a lot of stress on your landing-net handle. Instead, pull the fish back in the net along the surface so the water can still support its weight, and then lift the whole lot up using the net itself when it’s close enough.

USING YOUR

NETS Don’t just take them for granted, learn to use your nets and you’ll get more out of your fishing.

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Harry does as his dad instructs and makes the them out into the water.There’s less chance of perfect job of it, lifting the net with the fish into you dropping or losing the fish than if you move his lap for unhooking.“Keep the net on your lap them in your hands, and it’s better for the fish.” supported either side by your legs when you’re Given this information it becomes obvious unhooking a fish,” Chay continues.“That way, if why, when setting up, Chay positioned you drop the fish it falls back into the net and not Harry’s keepnet so close to his back into the water or on to the floor where it seatbox.All Harry has to do after can damage itself.” unhooking his fish is turn For the same reasons Chay also slightly to his left and passes on another tip to his gently lower it into THINK FLOW When fishing on a river protégé.“Even with smaller the waiting mesh. always have your keepnet fish that you’ve had to use a But that’s not all positioned lengthways so landing net for, the best way you have to that it goes with the flow. to put them in the keepnet is consider when it The fish will always sit pointing upstream, so this to keep them in the landing comes to your will make them the most net,” he explains.“Lift them keepnet. comfortable while they’re in up and into the opening of the As a pleasure the net. keepnet, grab the mesh at the angler it’s not an bottom of the landing net and roll essential item,

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Beginner’s GUIDE but there’s something very satisfying to see all of your angling achievements together before you put your day’s catch back.With this in mind, then, fish welfare should always be at the front of your mind when using a keepnet. The first thing to think of is using the right kind of net for the fish you’re catching.A short silver-fish net is perfect for a canal when you’re targeting roach, perch and gudgeon, but no good if you’re catching large numbers of bream or carp, which will need much more room. Then there’s the amount of water that covers the net. It’s no good throwing your keepnet into a few inches of water – at the very least it needs

to have a full covering of water so that the fish have the maximum amount of room to move around in. Ideally the net will have enough water over it so that you can’t see the fish as this will mean they’ll be less stressed.Where you can, using a bankstick to stake out the end of the keepnet will also help to maximise the space in the net for the fish. Once you’ve finished your fishing session and are ready to take in and return your catch there are a few things to remember, as Chay tells Harry. “You need to look after the fish, so with that in mind you need to get them back into the

water as quickly as possible,” he explains.“Also, the less you handle the fish the better.” When Harry reaches the bottom section of the keepnet as he pulls it from the water, the flurry of activity shows he’s not been too shabby in the catching department. On the bank he has around 8lb to 10lb of rudd and roach, which he soon has to return to the water. “The worst thing you can do is just upend the keepnet and roll the fish down the mesh and back into the water, as this will damage the fish,” Chay tells him.“You also don’t want to grab each fish by hand and throw them back in because this isn’t great for them.” Instead, with all the fish in the last section of the keepnet, Chay bunches up the upper sections and pops the frame of the net just above the fish through the bunched-up top sections.This effectively shortens the net, which means that Harry can now just hold it in the water and allow his catch to swim away with minimum stress to the fish.“Always remember to check your net for any stragglers that didn’t find their way out,” adds Chay, as he pats Harry on the back for a job well done.

For safety use your landing-net head to put fish in your keepnet. Harry safely returns his catch using his keepnet. When a fish is ready to net it will come to the surface.

GOOD TIMING A keepnet is not the ideal environment for fish so don’t keep them in there for too long. A good rule of thumb is to return your catch after a maximum of five hours.

.......................................................... ............................................................... Send your coarse fishing question to us at .......................................................... ............................................................... .......................................................... ............................................................... .......................................................... .......................................................... myanglingquestion@dhpub.co.uk ............................................................... ............................................................... 58 coarsefishinganswers.com

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A CHANGE OF TACTICS IS OFTEN THE KEY TO SUCCESS …as is a change of TACKLE

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The KODEX range from 30Plus now includes a range of six purpose-built rods. Two CarpCX models and a dedicated Spod with subtle and understated cosmetics to give the look of a custom-build, while incorporating high quality features such as 50mm butt guides and anti-frap tips. A SpecimenSF model with a slim full-cork handle for lighter tactics or floater presentations. The StalkyCF, which is a short stalking 2.75lb beast, and the Twin-TipDF, a 2-6oz three-tip ideal for big barbel. Check out the full KODEX range which also includes intelligent management luggage, fully modular indicators, mats, slings, alarms and a huge range of clever tactical end tackle accessories.

THE KEY TO SUCCESS

/specimen30plus • www.specimen30plus.com


CATCH MORE

10 STEPS TO CATCHING BIG PERCH BAIT

VENUES

01

02

There are three go-to baits for big perch. If you’re exploring a new water lures are a great option, then once you’ve found your fish try worms or livebaits — the latter work best where there hasn’t been too much angling pressure. However, another brilliant bait that has caught a lot of big perch over the last decade is prawns, which they just seem to love.

SWIM SELECTION

03

Big perch have become big because they feed on the richest food there is in the water they inhabit — other fish. As predators they’ll be looking to ambush their prey, so look for them in spots that give them the cover they’re after. Structure such as sunken trees, rocks, roots, reed beds or anything they can hide in or against to get the element of surprise is worth looking at. Also think about light; dark corners and any shade over structure are great bets for perch — with their superb eyesight they like to have the advantage of low light levels over their prey.

You can’t catch a big perch if they’re not there, so do your research before you fish. Some of the best people to speak to are match anglers — big stripeys have a habit of showing up in competitions. Have a stroll down the bank at the weigh-in and see what’s turned up; you’ll normally even be able to find out what bait and peg they were caught on. Big perch can turn up anywhere, so also don’t be afraid to do a bit of pioneering on new waters where these fish might not be getting too much pressure. You never know what even the smallest of waters could throw up.

PLAYING

04

Strike into a bite and if you’ve got a big perch on the other end you almost instantly feel that powerful nodding along the rod as the fish shakes its head to try and dislodge the hook. Although big perch aren’t in the realms of carp or barbel when it come to their fighting prowess you need to play them with respect as their bony mouths don’t always give the best of hook-holds — so make sure your hooks are nice and sharp before you cast out.

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TACKLE

05

If you’re after specimen perch then you will need to strike a balance between being able to control and land what could be a fish of a lifetime and not going so strong that you risk pulling out of hook-holds. A specimen rod of between 1lb and 1.5lb test curve will work for all perch fishing, matched with a 4000-sized fixed-spool reel. When it comes to bite indication, floats and quivertips work but if you’re going down the bitealarm route remember that the species doesn’t like resistance, meaning lighter bobbins are a good idea. If you’re fishing worms or prawns then you can get away with a normal hook link, but if you’re presenting livebaits or lures and there are pike around you will want to include a low-poundage wire trace.

WHAT IS A BIG PERCH?

06

Bring a specimen perch up to the surface and almost every time you’ll swear it’s bigger than it actually is. With their gills and fins flaring, big perch look huge, but to claim that you’ve really caught a specimen you’re looking to have banked a fish of over 2lb. Net one at 3lb or over and you’ve a very healthy PB; over 4lb and that is a fish of a lifetime. There are more and more bigger fish around as the species thrives in a multitude of venue types across the country. The record now stands at a few ounces over 6lb, which is just monstrous.

FEEDING

07

Although big perch are predators, quite often it can pay to feed your swim more like a silverfish angler, to draw your chosen quarry in. Create a swim that’s full of roach, gudgeon, small perch and other tasty targets for big stripeys and they will not be far away. To do this you’ll need groundbait, maggots and chopped worms to get the little fish competing. There’s also a great secret ingredient that has been used by perch anglers for years — molehill soil. Having a diet of mainly worms the mole doesn’t just push earth out of its tunnels, but mole dung loaded with worm enzymes that drive fish, especially perch, crazy.

TIMING

08

Perch have brilliant eyesight, as most predators do, and, to make the best use of that to make them a more effective hunter, they will feed in light levels that put their prey at a disadvantage. This, then, sees perch feed most ferociously at dawn and dusk, or on bright days when the light levels drop suddenly due to cloud cover. It’s incredible how fast perch can just switch on into a feeding frenzy, so use the light to your angling advantage.

WHERE THERE’S ONE…

09

Up to a certain size big perch will still be shoal fish. This often means that where you’ve found one decent fish there could well be others of a similar size. Because of this, if you’re fishing a more intimate venue it might be a good idea to hold fish in a keepnet to prevent them spooking the rest of the shoal.

TWITCH IT

10

A great tip to try and induce a bite is to twitch your bait. Quite often big perch will hold near to a bait, just keeping an eye on it, but without actually taking it. However, give that bait a twitch and all of a sudden the perch thinks its easy meal might be heading for the hills, giving it little choice but to gulp it down.

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afford QItocannot pile in groundbait, meat and maggots down the margins on my local lake like some anglers do, but that’s where all the big carp are being caught. Is there a less expensive alternative that I can use to still catch my fair share?

Ricky Jackson

................................ ................................ ................................ ................................

Hometown: Leeds Age: 37 Favourite species: Carp

There are a few A options here Ricky, but top commercial angler Jon Arthur has one that will definitely help with your carp catching — here’s what he had to say about it.

CFA EXPERT Name: Jon Arthur Sponsor: Drennan Hometown: Oxford

ASK AN EXPERT Your questions answered

RATTLE IN THE 8MMS! Jon Arthur shows you a devilishly simple way of catching quality carp down the margins… and all you need is a single bag of 8mm pellets!

FISH IT Meadowlands Fishery Location: Oxford Road, Ryton-on-Dunsmore, Coventry CV8 3EG Contact: 07909 843561

Jon pings in hard 8mm pellets to make plenty of noise on the surface.

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D

umping in potfuls of groundbait down the edge might be all the rage on commercials these days, but it’s definitely not the be-all and end-all of margin fishing.As our reader points out it can also be an expensive old game based on the amount of bait you put in – but there are ways around that.To show you how you can still catch big without worrying your wallet, Drennan’s Jon Arthur has loaded up with hard 8mm pellets and headed to Coventry’s Meadowlands Fishery to take on the impressively hard-fighting fish of the venue’s Lambsdown Lake. WISING UP

Carp in commercial fisheries are getting increasingly bigger, older and wiser.That means they definitely learn to associate certain feeding practices with getting caught. Feeding groundbait down the margins has been one of the most devastating edge methods for a long time, but even that isn’t always right these days. It works because it creates a rich carpet of feed on the bottom for the fish to cloud up and forage through – but on some waters it’s starting to lose its edge. “More and more, recently, I’ve witnessed quality fish being clearly attracted by a bed of groundbait, but not settling over it,” explains Jon. “Instead they swirl and quickly bow wave away.

Cheaper than groundbait, hard pellets are a great edge alternative.

A banded 8mm is all that���s needed on the hook.

The rigs are basic but they work, with strong components being key.

It’s typically much later in the evenings when these fish finally decide to feed with confidence. That tells me it’s time for something different.”

The beauty of 8mm pellets is that they make a great fish-attracting rattle on the surface.This must travel a long way through the water to alert fish in the area and because of this there’s little to match an 8mm for noise.A bed of these WHY HARD PELLETS? pellets on the bottom also creates a frenzy in Practically every coarse fish in our commercial the swim.They act like a gobstopper to the fisheries has been brought up on a pellet smaller fish as they frantically try to get at diet. Even the roach and skimmers them and Jon’s sure the target carp are ravenous for pellets.There’s a must be encouraged by all this massive head of silver fish here at GO SHALLOW! The regular peppering of commotion and come in to Meadowlands, for instance, and 8mms will also encourage fish investigate. they’re like piranhas at this to take the bait seconds after Big pellets also allow you time of year.“Quite often it has hit the water. Don’t be you can reel in a hard-pellet to get away with bigger afraid to occasionally push the float down the line and hook bait to find the edges hooks and stronger line, fish well off the bottom. Today which makes extracting big completely whittled away,” Jon had two of his biggest ‘edge dwellers’ so much easier. smiles Jon. fish just 12 inches deep in two For this reason you need feet of water. to be feeding hard pellets, not TACKLING UP soft, in summer – they need For getting among the bigger fish to be as big and small-fish-proof today Jon has a no-nonsense pole rig as possible.“One of the most important assembled for his 2ft-deep margin swim. Bite things is that the carp need time to locate detection is from an ultra-strong 0.2g Drennan the bait before the nuisance fish can gorge AS4 float and with its thick 2mm bristle it can on it and, for me, that means hard 8mms all the support the weight of an 8mm pellet if necessary. way,” he adds. Bites should be ultra-positive so Jon deliberately leaves plenty of tip showing to help accentuate detection. He’s shotted his float very simply with a single bulk, placing all of the shot under the stem for a free fall or at half depth for more stability.With such a large hook bait there really is no need for any other fancy permutations than that. Line for the job is 0.20mm Supplex to a size 14 Power Riggers hook and 0.18mm hooklength.“I’m actually using pre-tied Power Bandits hooks to nylon today, which are great for the job and nice and easy to use,” explains Jon. The final part of the setup is the elastic.“I started on pink Drennan Carp Bungee today but quickly swapped to the stronger red version after the first three fish,” he tells us.“The carp are definitely a bit lively and angry today, so stouter red Bungee gains me the upper hand a bit quicker.”

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TOP TIP

A great tip is to hold your pole between the join of two sections. This way you’ll have an easy reference point to help gauge your range and make sure you’re fishing where you need to be. It also helps balance the pole, lets you search a little bit further past the feed and allows you to follow any fish that bolt off into the middle of the lake.

ASK AN EXPERT Your questions answered

Big carp come in close so fish right up to the bank.

VARY YOUR FEEED Once you get the carps’ attention vary or reduce your feed to keep them interested but increase your chances of them taking your hook bait.

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FEEDING PATTERNS

Where possible, Jon likes to keep some distance between himself and the fish, so today’s swim is around 13 metres down the bank.A decent catapult is essential as he won’t be feeding anything with a pole pot. “There’s no need to kick off with a large amount of bait,” he says.“Instead, I’ll simply fire out small amounts of pellets quite regularly.” The actual ratio can vary but there are two main ways Jon likes to feed.The first is a light peppering of just two to four pellets every minute or so.This can work particularly well when he thinks there are already fish in the swim.The second method is ‘burst feeding’ with two full pouches at a time.This is used to draw fish in when

quickly, I try to feed more bait as soon as I’ve things are quiet or to help regroup them. hooked a carp,” says Jon as he hooks into a Unlike some other edge fishing tactics, good fish.“Then, when I’ve stopped its initial Jon has no problem feeding bait over the run and have it under control I will top while he’s actually fishing try and feed again. Failing that, the swim. “The beauty of I’ll make sure I feed another this method is that you’re PLOP IT! decent pouch of bait as soon feeding a decent area The fish will associate the sound of your loose-fed 8mms as I have the carp in the of about two metres, with feed, so try mimicking that landing net. This way, you rather than the fish by lifting and dropping your hook are priming the swim fighting over a tightly bait. Regularly plop the hook ready for when you ship concentrated pile bait back in to make a noise. of bait,” he explains. back out again.” Sometimes the fish will prefer the pellet falling straight down, “I think that makes There really isn’t much while at other times holding it it easier to hold the more to explain than that. on a tight line so it slowly arcs fish and prevents them The 8mm way is simple, through the spooking so easily.The easy and, as Jon’s haul of water is better. occasional stray pellet won’t Meadowlands scrappers shows, harm the swim, either, and also very effective. In fact, as Jon actually helps to draw more fish feeds and catches the swim just gets into the area.” better and better and by the end he has at least The catapult is rarely out of his hand as 20 angry carp to 12lb in his keepnet.“Your the swim receives a regular peppering readers have got to try this for themselves – of pellets.“As long as a fish they won’t be disappointed,” Jon smiles as he doesn’t bolt off too has one last put-in.

GRUB’S UP! Don’t worry about overfeeding. It can take a few hours to reach the bottom of a typical 800g to 900g bag of feed pellets, but that’s actually not a lot of bait compared to a bowlful of groundbait!

A great bag of fish on Jon’s pellet edge tactics.

....................................................... ............................................................... Send your coarse fishing question to us at ....................................................... ............................................................... ....................................................... ............................................................... ....................................................... ....................................................... myanglingquestion@dhpub.co.uk ............................................................... ............................................................... 66 coarsefishinganswers.com

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KNOW YOUR TARGET www.shakespeare-fishing.co.uk

THINK LIKE A FISH…

THE

GUDGEON O

ne of the UK’s most diminutive fish species, the gudgeon still holds a special place in the hearts of most anglers. Found in all water types, from big rivers and canals to

commercials and small farm ponds, it’s a species that doesn’t appear as prevalent as it once was, but always brings a smile to every angler when they turn up — no-one ever complains about catching a gudgeon!

LOCATION Looking like a tiny barbel with their bottom-feeding-shaped mouths and sensitive barbels (the little whiskers that grow around their mouths), you’ll always find gudgeon on the bottom. They usually like to congregate on the top or the bottom of shelves, especially on canals and stillwaters.

BAIT Being small fish, you’re looking at small baits for them to eat. Pinkies and maggots are the order of the day, especially fished over small nuggets of dark groundbait. A great tip is to fish with a slightly chewed maggot, or you can squash one under your shoe while it’s on the hook. For some reason gudgeon love it — being one of the smallest species in any venues, it probably stems from eating the leftovers of the bigger species.

TACKLE The best way to tackle up for gudgeon is on a whip. Fish light and fast and once you get them going in the swim you can catch big numbers of the species. Light hooklengths and size 18 or 20 hooks with a sensitive float are your best bet.

TIMING Like most fish there are set windows where they will feed the hardest. With gudgeon that’s usually around sunset where you’ll get a couple of hours’ window of hard feeding as the light begins to fade. As soon as dark comes, though, they’re off, looking for shelter from marauding predators — perch and zander love feeding on gudgeon.

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KNOW YOUR TARGET

IDEAL ENVIRONMENT

RECORD GUDGEON

Although you’ll find gudgeon all over the place, the ideal environment for them is fast, shallow and clean streams. This is where they naturally belong and where they will thrive, given half a chance.

The British record for the gudgeon has stood for 24 years and was set back in 1990 by a Mr Hull while fishing the River Nadder in Wiltshire. The fish weighed in at 5oz; not a massive fish but just think about what a gudgeon of that size would look like on your hand — simply monstrous in comparison to the average size for the species! Given the small size of the species, and the fact that it can get mistaken for barbel, there’s every chance that many contenders for this long-standing record have actually been thrown back without the captor ever knowing what they had on the bank.

..................................................................... ..................................................................... .................................................................... ....................................................................

www.shakespeare-fishing.co.uk

TOP TIPS When fishing for larger fish try dropping a small amount of bait close into the edge to try later on for gudgeon. If they’re there when you drop in you could have a quick run of fish to put a smile on your face.

.........................................

Gudgeon are suckers for a bit of garlic flavour in bait. Try adding a powdered version of it to groundbait to draw them in and get them feeding.

IDENTIFICATION With a similar body shape, gudgeon are often mistaken for small barbel especially on rivers. If you’re not sure of what species you’ve caught a great rule of thumb is that gudgeon have only two barbels whereas barbel have four of them.

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ASK AN EXPERT Your questions answered

R O T A D PRE inside the Sharpen your skills and get minds of the UK’s predators.

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ASK AN EXPERT Your questions answered

Coarse Fishing Answers’ December issue will be packed full of the best tips, tactics and tackle for taking on anything predatory. Get your questions in now to be answered by the top pike, perch and zander anglers in the country. Send all your predator fishing queries to steve.phillips@dhpub.co.uk

............................................................ ............................................................ ............................................................ ............................................................ ............................................................

Send all your predator fishing queries to

steve.phillips@dhpub.co.uk

ON SALE No

vember 12th

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£17.99 | GABY_005 Novelty cushion in an ultra-realistic perch shape/print. Great talking point or memento of a significant capture. 50cm long. Made in the EU. Machine washable. 100 per cent polyester. Other species available.

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FROM QUIRKY TO PLAIN USEFUL. WE’VE GOT THE GIFTS THAT ANGLERS WANT

The Complete Coarse Fisherman £9.99 | BKZ_013 Packed with coarse fishing tips, this 116 page bookazine, from the CFA team, will improve any angler’s success rate.

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£9.99 | ORCH_001 Smart metal cufflinks by Billylinks in two tone perch design. Supplied in a presentation box.

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18/08/2014 12:36


TACKLE Tackle up to...

03

HOW TO USE

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f there’s one thing Coarse Fishing Answers magazine aims to do it is to help anglers new to the sport to get a better understanding of how to get more from it.We know that we’ve all got to start somewhere and that getting new anglers into the sport is crucial for us all to keep enjoying it in the future.When it comes to beginners there are a few pieces of kit that will really help them get more enjoyment out of their early days of angling.

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TACKLE Tackle up to...

02

FOR LEARNING 01 ANGLING NOTEBOOK Price £7.99 There’s lots to learn when you start fishing. Multiple methods, a whole host of different items and more techniques and tips than you can shake a bankstick at to help you catch more. Keeping a note of the things that you learn, or even of the things you want to find out about, while you’re actually out on the bank can really help you to improve your skills. This A6 River Fish notebook from Gift Republic, with its masses of pages, convenient tackle-bag size and fishing theme is perfect for the job — just remember your pencil. www.giftrepublic.com

FOR IDENTIFICATION 02 SPECIES IDENTIFICATION BOOK Price £17.95 There are a large number of species swimming in the freshwater venues around Britain. Some are more obscure than others and some are very similar in their looks, so having a guide to hand when you catch something you’re not quite sure about can really help to expand your identification skills. Britain’s Freshwater Fishes by Mark Everard delivers great details on everything from carp and bullheads to chub and sticklebacks, providing a comprehensive guide perfect for any angler. www.dhpbookshop.com

01

FOR A HELPING HAND 03 MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION Price £43.60 If you want a trusted resource to help you learn and get more out of your fishing then you need Coarse Fishing Answers. Every month we bring you the answers to the angling queries you want to know about, from the best and brightest anglers in the country. If you’re a beginner to the sport, this is the place to find out what you need to know. You can also have your copy of CFA delivered direct to your front door every month. A subscription for 12 issues is just £43.60, which also gets you a brilliant free gift — see page 80 for details. www.dhpubsubs.co.uk

TO BE LEGAL 04 ROD LICENCE 1

05

Price from £3.75 If you’re fishing for coarse fish and are over 12 years of age you will need a rod licence — no ifs, no buts. As a regular coarse angler you’ll want the Non-Migratory Trout & Coarse licence. For a full season an adult licence will cost you £27; as a junior (12 to 16 years old) £5; or disabled or senior citizen (65 years old or over) £18. If you want to try out the sport before you commit to a full licence you can also buy one-day (£3.75) or eight-day (£10) licences too. www.environment-agency.gov.uk

TO GET YOU STARTED 05 CLUB KORUM STARTER PACKS Price £59.99 each It can be a bit bewildering trying to work out all the stuff you need to get from the tackle shop to get you fishing. Luckily these packs from Club Korum make it dead easy. One for float fishing, one for feeder fishing and one for pole fishing, each comes with all the gear you need to catch — all you need to do is add bait and water. You also get a DVD with each pack to show you how to get the best from them — perfect for the novice looking to take their first steps in the sport. www.clubkorum.co.uk

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To really see the beauty of this rod you need to hook into a barbel.

‘‘

Flog the house, pawn the dog and remortgage the missus – you need this in your life!

DREAM TACKLE

‘‘

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TACKLE Kit to make you go weak at the knees


coarsefishinganswers.com

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TREAT YOURSELF

The Lone Angler Trefor West 12ft Barbel Rod is available direct from Lone Angler for £250. To buy yours visit www.loneangler.co.uk

The two-piece rod — or the Trefor West 12ft Barbel Rod, to give it its full title — is built around the best-quality components there are. Forming the heart and soul of the rod are Harrison carbon blanks finished with precision in a dark matt green. The blanks then play host to high-quality Seymo rings

A QUALITY PRODUCTION

T he saying “You get what you pay for” is an age-old phrase because, by and large, it’s very true. The more you spend on something, the better it tends to be — or at least you’d hope so. In the case of the Lone Angler barbel rod, however, hope is not something you need to worry about. Designed by the godfather of modern barbel fishing, Trefor West, this sublime item of tackle is quite possibly the finest piece of barbelcatching equipment available in the UK today. And it’s no wonder.

(designed to be the right size so that weed on the line will not cause a problem when you’re playing in a fish) and a cork handle featuring Fuji screw-winch reel-seat fittings. As with the rest of the rod the handle itself has been well thought out. Measuring 24¾ inches it’s shorter than your average barbel-rod handle, but with good reason as this is designed to be held and used (the rod weighs in at 500g) , not just plonked in a rod rest, with the shortness allowing it to be easily manoeuvred around your body. One of the most impressive and ultimately attractive aspects of the Lone Angler rod, though, is the fact that it is an all-English affair. Masterminded by Trefor, who has been tinkering and tweaking this model from the bank for well over a decade through the application of his wealth of barbel angling experience, the unit is expertly assembled by Harrison Advanced Rods in Liverpool.

ALL ACTION With its luscious deep-green sheen, classy graphics and tactile cork, just keeping this rod in your tackle shed to look at would be a worthy enough reason for buying one, but to really see the beauty of it you need to hook into a barbel. Our editor owns one of these rods and will fish with nothing else for barbel. The action in the 1¾lb-testcurve rod is sublime, picking up line with lightning-quick efficiency on the strike before leaning into the fish with such a balance of forgiveness and power it’s quite unbelievable. Thanks to the combination of Trefor’s experience and Harrison’s technical genius the blank just keeps giving with no hint of locking up, even when your arms are coming out of their sockets. So, as we stated at the beginning, you get what you pay for, and in this case that’s one of the finest specimen rods we’ve ever fished with for a price tag of £250. Worth every penny.


PC • M AC • TA B L E T • S M A RT P HONE

Coarse Fishing Answers is available digitally, in single issues or money-saving subscription bundles. Download the FREE app to your device today and catch more, wherever you are! To get the required app, search ‘Coarse Fishing Answers’ in your app store, at pocketmags.com or simpler still, scan the QR code to go straight to Coarse Fishing Answers’ page.

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Q

Why do carp anglers use PVA bags to target fish? I’ve seen people casting them out on my regular water and can’t really understand how such a small packet of feed will work; surely you’re decreasing your chances of catching as it’s hard for the fish to find?

CFA EXPERT Name: Alan Stagg Sponsors: Gardner Tackle, Enterprise Tackle, CCMoore

ASK AN EXPERT Your questions answered

Tim Covany

.............................................................. .............................................................. .............................................................. ..............................................................

Hometown: Tamworth Age: 47 Favourite species: Tench

We can tell you A Tim that, although we can see where you’re coming from, you are very wrong. In the right hands the solid PVA bag is a deadly catcher of carp, and other species — you just need to learn more about it and we’re sure you’ll be a convert. To get the information you need we spoke to big-fish expert Alan Stagg.

BAG A

BIG CARP

Get to grips with PVA and you’ll be bringing bigger carp to the bank in no time.

Words and photos: Steve Phillips

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ASK AN EXPERT Your questions answered ALL YEAR ROUND Because with a solid bag you’re fishing for one bite, one fish, the PVA bag is a great year-round method. “In summer it’s great to be able to cast into weed, knowing your rig will still work and you’ll have good presentation,” says Alan. “In winter it’s also a great approach to use smaller bags and cast around to find where the fish are.”

T

he PVA bag has become a bit of a go-to presentation for carpers over recent years. In terms of bait presentation it’s pretty much unbeatable.You’re essentially placing your hook bait slap bang on top of a pile of feed, meaning that once a carp comes across your bait and starts feeding the chances of you getting a take are massively high – but there’s a bit more to it than that. One man who knows the genius of the solid PVA bag (solid referring to the bags being solid rather than mesh) is Gardner Tackle’s Alan Stagg. We caught up with him at the prolific Thorpe Lea Fishery, just outside Egham in Surrey, to see what he had to say…

The ingredients for Alan’s perfect PVA-bag mix.

up a bag with feed and your “For bait and rig presentation QUALITY BAGGING rig and cast it to where you it’s very hard to beat what a If you’re going to fish a solid PVA want, then in the water PVA bag can offer you,” bag, the most important thing is to have good-quality bags. With the states Alan.“Once you the bag dissolves away amount of pressure they get put get the knack of tying to reveal a neat pile of under when loading, casting and one sorted you will be feed. impacting on the water’s surface able to cast them pretty “The key to a they need to be well made, with good seams that won’t let you much anywhere to successful PVA bag down. For the job Alan recommends deliver a very compact is how you load it,” Gardner Tackle’s Standard and Mini patch of feed, which will explains Alan.“Not PVA bags — the sizes allow you to draw the fish in and have only will you get a neat alternate the amount of feed you them feeding over what is pile of feed but do it right cast out depending on the venue you’re fishing. basically a food backdrop to and you’ll also have your the cherry on the cake – your rig covered by the feed too, making a very covert presentation. hook bait.” Tying up a PVA bag for the cameras (see At the heart of how a solid PVA bag the comprehensive step-by-step guide) Alan works is the bag itself. PVA, or polyvinyl takes us through the details that can boost their alchohol as it’s less Bright effectiveness. commonly known, has hook baits the great properties of are the being strong and durable FEED cherry on when dry, but breaks “One of the most important things to remember the top. down when wet.As soon about your bait is that it shouldn’t have water as it touches the water the anywhere on it or the bag will start to come PVA absorbs the wet stuff, apart before you cast, and that will spell disaster,” which affects its molecular Alan is at pains to point out.“Oils, though, are bonds to the point where okay, and my favourite feed for a solid bag is a it just melts and dissipates very oily pellet mix.” into the lake. Today Alan demonstrates loading his bag using The advantages of this CC Moore’s Oily Bag Mix.This is a 4mm pellet are obvious.You can load mix that’s been slightly crushed to give both

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ASK AN EXPERT Your questions answered

BUILD THE PERFECT PVA BAG

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Take a PVA bag and nick your hook in the bottom corner. This will ensure the hook bait sits where it’s supposed to and stays put on the cast.

Now add more pellets over the top of the lead, again adding around a quarter of a bag’s worth.

With the leader from the rig at the centre, pinch the PVA around it and hold it tight.

Aerodynamics are very important to cast a bag, so you need to sort out the flaps at the bottom corners.

Load the bag with the crushed-pellet mix to about a quarter full to create a layer over your hook bait.

Compact the layer over the lead, which will keep it in place and with its position in the bag it will be covered in feed and hidden on the bottom.

Now twist the PVA tight around the leader; at this point a lot of the air will be pushed out of the bag to make it even more compact.

Lightly lick the corners to add moisture to it, but don’t overdo it.

Push the mix down, compacting it and making sure it gets into the corners of the bag.

Looking at the bottom of the bag you should now have your bright hook bait showing at the bottom corner.

Take a 20cm length of PVA string and wrap it around the top of the bag five times to create a tight seal.

Now fold the flap over and hold it down — the moisture will make it stick to the main bag.

Take your lead and place it on top of the pellets in the opposite corner to the hook — make sure your hook link is tangle-free in the bag.

Add another layer of mix and compact it until you have a sturdy lump in the bag — leaving enough PVA above the feed to tie the bag up.

Tie two overhand knots in the string and trim off the ends.

Now trim off the excess PVA at the top of the bag, being careful not to cut your leader, and you’re ready for launch.

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ASK AN EXPERT Your questions answered

pellets and a more grainy element to the feed. “These finer particles of the pellets are perfect for building a good bag as they get into the corners and fill the bag out, plus they stop the pellets moving around so you can really compact it all down, making a very solid bag that will cast much better,” he tells us. One of the most important things with a bag mix, though, is making it attractive enough to draw fish in.As our reader points out it’s a very small patch of bait that fish might miss – unless you make it work hard to be irresistible. “Oil plays a big part in my PVA bag mix and I’ll add it to the CC Moore’s mix, even though it’s oily already,” says Alan.“What you

How big a PVA bag should I use?

QA &

Chose one that will give you enough bait to get one bite - that’s all you’re fishing for.

want is this small patch of bait HOOK BAIT to create a large slick that With the feed sorted Alan turns to HOOK LINK moves around the water hook baits, and the rule is the Use a supple hook link, with on the tow to draw the brighter the better.“I go for a uncoated braid being the best fish in and down on dark feed mix so that I can choice (Alan opts for Gardner to it.” contrast a bright hook bait Trickster) as a stiffer hook link To pep up his against it,” he explains.“With will work to push your hook bait away from the tight pile pellets,Alan adds a a bag, what you’re doing is of feed. Use a short hook link glug of CC Moore’s fishing for one bite at a time, of three or four inches as this Slicking Boost liquid not looking to introduce a load will be easier to fit in your bag – only a small glug is of feed to an area to build up a without tangling. needed, as it’s potent stuff. swim. Because of this you’re playing “It’s always good to add your a bit of a numbers game and ideally oil the night before as it gives it you want the carp to take your hook bait longer to absorb, meaning your pellets before anything else.” will give off a slick for longer, but you can do it To achieve this Alan is looking to figuratively on the bank if you want and this works just as put a very bright and noticeable cherry, which well, especially on runs waters where the bites will act like a beacon to the carp, on top of a will come quicker,” reveals Alan.As well as this dark, attractive cake. His favourite hook baits for he also adds a dose of powdered krill to the the job are either a pair of Enterprise fake corn mix, which delivers a very potent grains or a whittled-down fluoro boilie – fishy attraction that the carp both being balanced so that they just love. waft around above the hook.

Just one of a number of fish that fell to Alan’s tactics at the prolific Thorpe Lea.

A well-prepped bag will cast a long way.

....................................................... ............................................................... Send your coarse fishing question to us at ....................................................... ............................................................... ....................................................... ............................................................... ....................................................... ....................................................... myanglingquestion@dhpub.co.uk ............................................................... ............................................................... 86 coarsefishinganswers.com

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what’ si n your armoury? gardnert ackle. co. uk


COMPETITION Commercial Carp Kit

WIN

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A BRILLIANT PACKAGE OF COMMERCIAL CARP-CRUNCHING TACKLE WORTH OVER £697.

HOW TO ENTER Answer the following question by post to the address below, or call 09012 932307

O

nce you start catching carp on your local commercial you’ll have a smile on your face almost as big as the fish you’re playing. It’s brilliant fun that everyone should try at least once in their angling careers. Although you can go and catch on a variety of tackle not designed specifically for commercial carp, having the right gear really can make things a lot easier and help you catch more.Well, here’s your chance to get the gear that covers all your bases. In this great giveaway we have up for offer a 13m carp pole package, a margin pole, a carp feeder rod, a carp waggler rod and two reels perfect for casting and cranking in all conditions.

Q: What size elastic is the Daiwa Power Margin pole up for grabs here rated to? A: 5

B: 12

C: 20

Terms and conditions The competition runs from midday on September 10th, 2014. Calls will cost £1.03 from a BT land line. Calls from other networks or mobiles may cost considerably more. Please obtain permission from whoever pays your telephone bill. You can also enter by post. Put your answer on a postcard or sealeddown envelope, along with your name, address, e-mail and daytime telephone number, and send it to: Commercial Carp Kit Competition, Coarse Fishing Answers, 1 Whittle Close, Drayton Fields, Daventry, Northants NN11 8RQ. Postal entries must be received five days before the closing date. The winner will be selected at random from all correct entries received by 11am on October 8th, 2014. This competition is open to UK residents only. The editor’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

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COMPETITION Commercial Carp Kit

We’ve reviewed and used all of the gear up for grabs here so we know it’s great kit that will help you get plenty more from your fishing. The Team Daiwa Power Margin pole, for example, is a brilliant piece of kit for hooking fish down the edge, and with it handling elastic up to a 20 rating you can really mix it with the bigger fish too. The good news is that one lucky winner will get to have all of this tackle to play with, and all you have to do to make that personYOU is enter the competition below. Good luck.

THE PRIZE PACKAGE • Middy Baggin’ Machine CS24 Synaptic Series Pole 13m Package: £294.98 • Daiwa Team Daiwa 8m Power Margin Pole: £130 • Middy Baggin’ Machine Carp Feeder Rod: £75 • Middy Baggin’ Machine Carp Float Rod: £75 • Drennan Series 7 Carp Method BR 9-30 Reel: £47.95 • Browning Black Magic Burner 640 Reel: £74.95

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FEATURES INCLUDE: • Reinforced knee and seat panels • Storm flap over front double zip • Wide opening legs with Velcro adjustment • Wide adjustable shoulder straps with elasticated back for added comfort • Zip pullers to make operation with cold hands easy Available in sizes: M, L, XL XXL and XXXL

RRP £69.99

LIKE

GREAT DEALS EXCLUSIVE TO CLIMAX

DELIVERY CHARGES: NEXT DAY £8.00 • 2 DAYS-PLUS £6.00 p90_CFA_10_Climax.indd 1

18/08/2014 12:38


TACKLE The latest gear in focus

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GEAR

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Looking for top tackle? We’ve got it covered. SHIMANO BAITRUNNER 10000 ST-RB Gear ratio: 4.6:1 Weight: 555g Line capacity: 325 yards of 14lb mono

SHIMANO BAITRUNNER 6000 ST-RB Gear ratio: 4.6:1 Weight: 555g Line capacity: 210 yards of 14lb mono

SHIMANO BAITRUNNER 4000 ST-RB Gear ratio: 4.8:1 Weight: 555g Line capacity: 220 yards of 10lb mono

SHIMANO BAITRUNNER 2500 ST-RB Gear ratio: 4.8:1 Weight: 310g Line capacity: 240 metres of 0.20mm mono

01 SHIMANO BAITRUNNER ST-RB REELS Price: From £69.99 www.shimano-eu.com There is a choice of four reels in the brandnew Shimano Baitrunner ST-RB range — 2500, 4000, 6000 and 10000. Many will see these reels as entry-level models, as they come with just the single spool, but they feature

loads of the features that you would expect when buying high-end reels from Shimano, so you get a lot for the money. The single-ball-bearing reels feature an XT7 body and spool, an AR-C line management system, Super Stopper II, Dyna-Balance and Varispeed. Each reel also comes with a strong, silky-smooth rear drag and long-life bail spring, plus a sensitive and

responsive free-spool mechanism. The smaller models would make a great choice for the match or river angler when fishing feeder tactics for bigger specimens, and need the extra security when the bites are savage. The 6000 and 10000 models will sit nicely with carp and predator anglers who like to fish with higher-diameter mono or heavy braid lines.

Call 0208 949 3307 ffor or the UK UK’s s best p prices

www.tacklefanatics.co.uk

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TACKLE The latest gear in focus

02

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06 ................................................................................................................................................................................................ ................................................................................................................................................................................................ ................................................................................................................................................................................................ 02 05 03 04 06 ................................................................................................................................................................................................ ACE LUMIN-8 SENSOR HEADLAMP

SAKURA MONARC SPINNER BAIT

DYNAMITE THE CRAVE BASE MIX & LIQUID KIT

30PLUS KODEX SPECIMEN MAT AND WEIGH SLING

Price: £24.99 www.acecarp.com This super-bright, compact, comfortable and lightweight headlamp is ideal for carp and specimen fishing. The central XP-C Cree white LED provides up to 80 lumens of brightness, plus there are two additional smaller LEDs for a more subtle light. The great feature on this lamp is that it can be turned on and off simply by waving your hand across the lamp’s sensor. There is also an on/off switch. The head can be angled to allow you to rebait, retie rigs, or unhook fish in darkness with minimal effort. The woven headband is comfortable and the unit runs off three supplied AAA batteries,

Price: £9.99 www.sakura-fishing.com Spinner baits are one of the most exciting lures to fish with, especially when they are fished just below the surface. This new colourful range comes in five patterns — Hot Chart, White & Chart, Red Tiger, Natural Shiner and Mazjora — each in four sizes: 7g, 10.5g, 14g and 17.5g. The bigger models are ideal for casting longer distances. Each lure comes with a weighted head with muppet-type strands that cover the hook, plus a second arm that’s fitted with two different sized blades.

Price: £9.99 www.dynamitebaits.com Developed with the help of top carp angler Terry Hearn, this proteinpacked mix is used as a base for Dynamite’s highly successful boilie range. However, thanks to its fishy ingredients, which include tuna meal, sardine and anchovy meal, concentrated shrimp paste and winterised salmon oil, it is proving a big hit with specialist anglers who prefer to make their own hook baits for barbel and chub. Each bag comes supplied with a bottle of liquid food source, to give your recipe extra pulling power, so all it needs is an egg to bind it all together. Supplied in 1kg bags with a bottle of liquid food inside.

Price: £32.50 www.specimen30plus.com This mat/sling has been designed very much with the mobile angler in mind. It’s lightweight, has a padded central section and measures 77 by 49 centimetres, so it’s ideal for carp in the upper doubles along with big specimen barbel, chub, tench and bream. The mat also doubles up as a weigh sling, with a full zip and strong handles fitted to allow it to be lifted on to scales with the fish fully protected. There is also a small chamber suitable for storing a bottle of antibacterial solution on the inside, and ‘D’ rings for pegging down if necessary.

GREYS PRODIGY TXL SPECIALIST FLOAT ROD Price: £99.99 www.greysfishing.com This lightweight, 13ft, three-piece rod has been developed to cover a multitude of float fishing tactics, and its powerful, progressive action makes it especially versatile when it comes to tackling heavy stick-float tactics on fast-flowing rivers. It’s also the ideal choice when it comes to big waggler floats, as it’s rated to cast up to 20g if required. The high-modulus carbon blank is well tailored to playing big specimens, as its antilock action and SiC rings ensure a stress-free battle right up to the net. Rated for 3lb to 10lb reel lines and 2.5lb to 8lb hook links.

Call 0208 949 3307 for the UK’s best prices 92 coarsefishinganswers.com

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TESTED The latest gear in focus

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................................................................................................................................................................................................ ................................................................................................................................................................................................ ................................................................................................................................................................................................ 07 10 08 09 11 ................................................................................................................................................................................................ DRENNAN E-SOX JELL-IGNITE SOFT SHAD LURES

MARUKYU SOFT HOOKER PELLETS

Price: £3.95 www.drennantackle.com These soft lures come in 8cm, 10cm and 12cm sizes, and in three opaque patterns designed to attract perch and pike. The bodies are translucent and have a film that covers the weight to give a lightreflecting, holographic effect when in the water. The single hook is located on top to help prevent snagging in weed or debris on the bottom, and the paddle tail adds attractive movement and vibration as the lure is retrieved. Supplied in packs of three.

Price: £2.99 www.marukyu.co.uk These 6mm soft hook baits come in two flavours — JPelletz and Skrill — and have been introduced to be used in conjunction with Marukyu feed pellets in the same flavours. The baits are soft enough to hook or hair rig and to the fish they look and smell exactly like the free offerings, but with an added bonus that they give off a tantalising and visible scent trail into the water.

GARDNER GT80+ MONO

OLD GHOST MAGGOT MEAL

BOOK PASSION FOR PIKE

Price: £19.99 www.gardnertackle.co.uk This new-generation mono has evolved directly from Gardner’s successful GT80 main line. It has a unique copolymer formula, which includes an extra-heavy-sinking additive to ensure the line sinks fast once in the water. The line also offers high abrasion resistance, without sacrificing knot strength, suppleness or linear strength. Its smooth finish gives the line excellent casting properties and the deep green colour offers great camouflage. Comes on bulk spools in three strengths — 10lb, 12lb and 15lb — which makes it a great choice for both specimen carp and specialist tactics.

Price: £5.99 www.oldghostbait.co.uk This natural maggot meal is a great groundbait additive, especially if you are going to fish with dead maggots on the hook in the margins. That said, it can be added to any mix to give it extra pulling power, but there’s no need to add too much, as it’s strong stuff. The key is to add it to a dry mix, which needs to be prepared about 20 to 30 minutes before use, so that the meal has enough time to rehydrate. Supplied in 350g bags.

Price: £19.95 www.dhpbookshop.com Dutch fisherman, artist and writer Ad Swier has been fishing for pike for 50 years. ‘Passion for Pike’ represents his reflections on that angling journey. He explains how he discovered the effectiveness of fly fishing for pike and describes some of the situations in which pike, including the very largest, may be caught on streamers, divers, poppers and other flies. Many different patterns of pike fly are described and illustrated, from simple streamers to realistic imitations of the pike’s prey. There’s humour here, and nostalgia, story and controversy, as well as good instruction and the description of techniques.

www.tacklefanatics.co.uk ww.tacklefanatics.co. Buy. Sell. Part-Exchange. Finance. coarsefishinganswers.com 93

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TESTED The latest gear in focus

TESTED

................... ..................... ................... ..................... SHIMANO FORCE MASTER 10FT COMMERCIAL MINI FEEDER ROD ................... ..................... ................... ..................... ................... ..................... ................... SHIMANO BAITRUNNER ST 2500FB REEL ..................... ................... ..................... ................... .....................

T

here’s something almost hypnotic about feeder fishing. Getting into that casting rhythm when you’re hitting the target every chuck and the bites just keep coming is simply magic. Obviously it always helps if your tackle is helping you get into that feeder groove — and in the tight economic times we live in, if that tackle doesn’t break the bank but also delivers in terms of capability, then all the better. This year tackle giant Shimano has produced two such items and CFA editor Steve Phillips got out on the bank to see what they had to offer.

SHIMANO FORCE MASTER 10FT COMMERCIAL MINI FEEDER ROD Price: £54.99 www.shimano.co.uk It’s amazing how spoiled we are as anglers these days. Back when I was learning to fish a cheap rod was exactly that, as well as heavy, badly made and liable to fall apart or break before the end of the season. But now, as this rod proves, pay as little as 35 quid — the SSP (suggested selling price) on the model — and you get a piece of kit more than capable of doing exactly what you want it to. The 10ft version of the Force Master Mini Feeder is the shortest of the two rods in the range. It’s designed more for shorter chucks, with the diminutive length giving you plenty of control to land your feeder in tight spots to find the carp. It does this very well and is a lovely light rod to cast, and can even muster a longer-range heave if you really load it up — it’s rated to cast loads of up to 70g. The rod comes with two tips, the lighter necessary for picking out shy bites in winter and suchlike, but once you get the

bites and hook a fish that’s when the fun starts. The rod has a gradual action that you’d call parabolic and the harder you or the fish pulls the more power it applies as the blank bends right through to the butt. But that also works the opposite way, meaning that if you have a small fish you still have delicate control to get them to the net. For a rod with such a tiny price tag it handles very well in this respect, impressively so in fact. The more I think about it, the more impressive this rod gets — keep thinking £35 and the fact you couldn’t fill up half a fuel tank for that! It has other features like Shimano’s Hardlite feeder guides and a custom screwhood reel seat, but my favourite is the cork and EVA handle, which gives it a great look, again belying its price tag. As an editor of a national angling magazine I get to use quite a lot of very nice and expensive kit, but if I’m honest this rod would still find a place in my tackle. It does everything you need of a close-range commercial feeder rod and it does it well. For this kind of money you can’t not check it out if you’re looking to buy this type of rod… and my bet’s on even the snobbiest of tackle tarts being impressed.

SHIMANO BAITRUNNER ST 2500FB REEL Price: £69.99 www.shimano.co.uk It’s hard to believe the Shimano Baitrunner has been with us nearly three decades now. They’ve changed loads over the years, though, and are still evolving. They’re also still very much a must-have for many anglers, especially in the specimen world, but now in the smaller-carp scene too.

With the hard fight and often savage takes of commercial carp, especially on bolt-rig-style setups such as the Method feeder, anglers can and often do find their rods jumping into the water. What the Baitrunner provides then is a buffer for this. Its secondary free-spool drag can be engaged to cope with taking fish so that it gives enough line from the clutch so as not to lose your rod. Then, with a click of the Baitrunner switch or a small turn of the handle the action moves on to the front drag, giving you instant control. Now that anglers have twigged on to this Shimano has produced Baitrunner reels specifically for the task, with the latest being this ST 2500FB. On the bank this reel does everything it says on the tin. Sleek, unfussy and looking every inch the Baitrunner it has a smooth front drag that allows line to peel off without being grabby, so no issues there. With the Baitrunner system engaged, again the clutch system is smooth, and when you want to disengage it you’re only looking at a quick half-rotation of the handle until the switch flicks over — exactly what you want for the type of fishing I talk about above. Using it for a couple of sessions the one thing I did notice about the reel was how precise it was. This isn’t an expensive unit but the line lay is great, there’s no play in the handle, it’s smooth, it feels robust and it just has that pleasing, solid feel of a good reel. I’m not sure how it would stand up to a whole season of abuse — only time will tell — but so far I’m impressed and although I’m more a fan of the older Baitrunners (probably more nostalgia than anything) I’m happy that the FB is still keeping up the good work.

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19/08/2014 12:43


TESTED The latest gear in focus

“The more I think about this rod and how little it costs the more impressed I am with it.� ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

Tested by: Editor Steve Phillips

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18/08/2014 12:38


NEW 2014

BAITRUNNER ST - RB 10000

THE NEW BAITRUNNER ST SERIES Since its invention over 25 years ago Shimano have led the way in free spool technology with the legendary BAITRUNNER reel range. Often copied, but never bettered, the new BAITRUNNER ST range is now available for under £55.00 (SSP price for Baitrunner ST-FB 2500). With two large rear drag models (6000 and 10000) for specimen carp fishing and two smaller front drag models (2500 and 4000) for smaller match sized carp and feeder fishing, the BAITRUNNER ST represents outstanding value for money.

BAITRUNNER ST - FB 4000

Of course there are cheaper copies of the Baitrunner free spool system available, but why settle for second best when you can now afford the real thing!

BAITRUNNER ST - RB 6000 - RRP £79.99. | 10000 - RRP £84.99. BAITRUNNER ST - FB 2500 - RRP £69.99. | 4000 - RRP £74.99.

Join us on Facebook shimanofishinguk

Baitrunner ST advert.indd 1

*£55 relates to limited introductory offer on Baitrunner ST-FB 2500

See us on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/shimanofishinguk

29/05/2014 16:54:52


TESTED The latest gear in focus

TESTED

..................................................... ....................................................... .................................................... ....................................................... .................................................... ........................................................ DRENNAN ACOLYTE CARP POLE ..................................................... ........................................................ ..................................................... ....................................................... ..................................................... ........................................................ ..................................................... ....................................................... ..................................................... .......................................................

ACOLYTE CARP POLE Prices: 13m package £995; 14.5m package £1,295; 16m package £1,595 www.drennantackle.com The last 18 months have seen Drennan’s Alcolyte range increase at a rapid rate. First there was the top-of-the-range Acolyte pole, which was extremely well received by match anglers, plus the introduction of the Ultra float-rod range. These were followed closely by the Power models, both of which I have reviewed on these pages. There are more rods on the horizon, but the latest addition — the Acolyte Carp pole — has really got the jungle drums banging. Aimed primarily at the commercial-venue market, this pole comes in a range of 13m, 14.5m and 16m options, and the real bonus is the price. The shorter option comes in at a fiver under a grand, and the full-length version is a tad under £1,600. Plus, you get a massive package for your money. The Carp pole itself is made on the same mandrel as the top-end Acolyte, but is constructed from ultra-high-modulus carbon and resins to give extreme stiffness for a slim pole, and means the top kits are interchangeable between the two models. Whichever length of pole you choose to buy, you will get the same standard package. This consists of four side-pull top-two kits, two side-pull double-two kits, an extra-rigid cupping top two, a 62cm

reversible section that fits in the No5 and the No6 sections when fishing short, and a 72cm reversible section that fits in the No7 section and in the ends of the 13m, 14.5m and 16m butt sections. And there’s more, as each pole comes supplied with a Visi Case that includes: roller cones that fit in the side-pull top kits, plus an extractor rod; a Polemaster pole pot, plus spare adaptor; a selection of side-pull beads; 30 superslick PTFE bushes; an EVA nose cone that fits in the No4 section and four skid bungs to help protect your pole when shipping back. That’s the standard package, but Drennan does offer top-kit packages that can be tailored to individual requirements. So what’s it like on the bank? Well, once you get the pole out of the supplied holdall, the first thing you discover is the top kits are ready to use without cutting back if you want to fish with low-diameter solid elastics. However, it doesn’t take long to cut the top section back to fit one of the supplied bushes if you plan to fish with hollow elastics. I also like the longer length of the top kits as they elimimate the need for a short-four. I took the pole to my local carp-bagging water and, when I arrived, it was clear the fish were up in the water so I chose to fish shallow — feeding 6mm pellets and slapping a short rig on the top. I had the full 16 metres with me, but I felt that as

most club/pleasure anglers would have a 13m model, it was best to stick at that distance to see how the pole performed. It usually rains when I test poles for CFA, and this session was no different, so it allowed me to see how shipping in and out was. The pole’s excellent finish allowed me to ship smoothly, and when it came to adding or removing sections the knurled finish on the ‘male’ end of the pole ensured there was no fear of jamming, which often happens in the wet. I fished at the full 13 metres at the start of the session and at that length the pole was nice and stiff, and it didn’t put a strain on the back. I caught fish from the off, and once I’d shipped back to the pullertype top two I found that, with the roller cone fitted, pulling the elastic through was not only smooth but there was none of the noise that you normally get with some other systems. After a time, the fish moved a little further out so I added the short extension, which was enough to put me back on them. I had 50lb in the net in no time at all by slapping, and at no point did the sections come loose, which often happens due to the rotating motion you get when slapping baits on the surface. I was really impressed with the pole — the package and the price — and if it wasn’t the case that I am extremely happy with my current pole, I would seriously think about buying one myself.

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19/08/2014 12:44


TESTED The latest gear in focus

“If it wasn’t the case that I am extremely happy with my current pole, I would seriously think about buying one myself.”

... ... .... ....

Tested by: Deputy editor Steve Martin

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TACKLE The latest gear in focus

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............................................................................................................................................................................................... ............................................................................................................................................................................................... ............................................................................................................................................................................................... 12 15 13 14 16 ............................................................................................................................................................................................... MIDDY FAST-STOP CARP HOOKS TO NYLON

SHOPATDHP ENGRAVED ‘SPECIES’ PEWTER TANKARD

ULTIMATE DIRECT COMMERCIAL PRO SPRAY BAR

Price: £1.99 www.middytackle.com These new hair-rigged hooks to nylon have been tied using Middy’s Lo-Viz line and new, strong, barbless KM-3 hooks. There is also an Auto-Stop on each hair to allow the easy mounting of soft hook baits or drilled pellets. Available in two styles: long (12 inches), in sizes 10 to 0.20mm, 12 to 0.20mm, 14 to 0.18mm, 16 to 0.18mm and 18 to 0.16mm for feeder tactics; short (three inches) in sizes 10 to 0.20mm, 12 to 0.20mm and 14 to-0.18mm for the Method. Supplied in packets of eight.

Price: £23.99 www.shopatdhp.com This English-made, one-pint pewter tankard comes beautifully etched with all the major UK freshwater species, including roach, perch, barbel, grayling and carp. It’s a great gift if you are looking for a birthday present for the angler in your life, or as a presentation trophy for your annual angling club awards. The tankard, which is 115 millimetres in height with a base diameter of 115 millimetres, comes in a smart gift box.

Price: £22.99 www.ultimate-direct.co.uk The problem with some spray/bump bars is they can often sit too close to your box, which makes placing fish in keepnets a bit of a farce, as you often have to stretch over the bar. This versatile bar — it fits most seatboxes — sits a fair bit further away from the footplate than most, so there’s ample room to put fish in at your feet. The bar is extremely stable, lightweight and fully height adjustable, plus there’s padding on the side bars, which help to protect the fish as you place them in the net. The spray bar itself is fully adjustable to a height of 60 centimetres, so you can set it to suit your fishing position.

KORUM XL BITE INDICATORS Price: £5.99 www.korum.co.uk These bigger models have been designed to offer better bite indication in windy conditions, or when fishing at longer distances. Every pack comes with a choice of four coloured heads, each with a slot for a small isotope, including a glowin-the-dark option for night fishing, which once ‘charged’, gives up to five hours of light in the dark. The bite indicator also features a strong 4in chain, a 10g removable weight for added stability, an adjustable line grip and a ‘hockey stick’-type attachment.

DRENNAN CRYSTAL DIBBER POLE FLOATS Price: £1.65 www.drennantackle.com Drennan is continuing to push the boundaries with these new light, buoyant, clear-plastic pole floats, which have already become popular with anglers who like to fish up-in-the-water tactics for carp and F1s. The floats have a short, unobtrusive design and a domed glow tip is easy to see above the surface when fishing long. They also feature an upwardangled side eye that is fused between the body and the fluorescent ‘cap’ of the domed tip, which makes it almost impossible to pull out. Available in red, yellow and orange tips, and in three sizes: 0.2g, 0.3g and 0.4g.

Call 0208 949 3307 for the UK UK’s s best p prices

www.tacklefanatics.co.uk

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21/08/2014 10:33


If you have a deal to advertise contact Karen Biggs on 07929 007852 or e-mail karen@dhpub.co.uk

Lodges and Luxury Cottages Cornwall 10 lodges and 2 cottages for 4 coarse lakes (residents only). Indoor pool, tennis, sauna, spa hot tub, spa treatments. Just minutes to coast and Tamar Lakes. VB 4-5 Stars, Pets welcome!

Ideal for the family fisherman

01288 321413 www.forda.co.uk

Call Jim or Gillian on

LYONS GATE CARAVAN PARK & FISHERY With a choice of 7 day ticket, 1 specimen and 5 match ponds, there is something for everyone! BARONS PONDS

St Patricks Lane, LISS, Hampshire GU33 7HF

PUMP STATION

Longmoor Road, GREATHAM, Hampshire GU33 6AP

WOOD HENGE

Smithfield Lane, WISHANGER, Surrey GU35 8ST

COLOURED PONDS

Rogate Road, RAKE, West Sussex GU31 5DL

(Private bookings only)

• Weekly senior & junior open matches • Ample car parking • toilets on site

Tel: 07885 754365 www.mbkleisures.co.uk

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Ideal for caravans, tents & motorhomes Set in a tranquil caravan park in the beautiful county of Dorset, yet only a 30-minute drive to the coast. Perfect for anyone looking for a quiet location to relax and fish, while visiting the local attractions and coastline. Our four superb coarse fishing lakes are well stocked with: carp over 35lb, tench over 10lb, plus chub, barbel, golden orfe, bream, pike, roach and rudd

Tel: 01300 345260 E-mail: info@lyons-gate.co.uk

www.lyons-gate.co.uk Lyons Gate, Dorchester, Dorset

19/08/2014 12:22


WEBSITE GUIDE www.coarsefishinganswers.com

If you’re looking for top-quality fishing tackle at affordable prices, check out these websites from some of the best companies out there... .................................................................................................................................................................... .................................................................................................................................................................... .................................................................................................................................................................... .................................................................................................................................................................... MANUFACTURER

BAIT

TACKLE DEALER

HOLIDAYS

FISHERY

www.gardnertackle.co.uk Gardner has been developing advanced carp and coarse fishing equipment since 1980

www.shakespeare-fishing.co.uk Manufacturer and distributor of great-value fishing tackle suitable for all anglers.

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www.prestoninnovations.com Manufacturer of high-quality match and coarse fishing products.

www.middytackle.com Middy Tackle has been one of the UK’s leading coarse fishing brands for many years.

TO ADVERTISE HERE CONTACT KAREN BIGGS

01327 315426 OR 07929 007852

www.korum.co.uk Visit this excellent site and discover Korum’s wide range of innovative fishing rods, luggage and accessories.

www.carp30plus.com Manufacturer of top-quality fishing tackle covering carp and all specimen disciplines.

www.shimano-eu.com State-of-the-art fishing tackle for all anglers, with millions of fans and users worldwide.

www.greysfishing.com Fishing-tackle manufacturer of quality products suited to all anglers.

18/08/2014 12:37


WEBSITE GUIDE www.coarsefishinganswers.com

www.daiwasports.co.uk Manufacturer of high-quality fishing tackle across all disciplines.

www.tackleup.com A long-established tackle shop, selling a wide range of tackle for all disciplines.

www.fishingtackle2go.co.uk Some great bargains to be had on this easy to navigate website, catering for every area of fishing.

www.tacklesaver.co.uk Big-name products at great prices with membership discounts for even more savings.

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www.drennantackle.com Quality products from one of the UK’s longest-established tackle companies.

www.tackle2u.com A huge choice of gear at brilliant prices with loads to look at on the comprehensive website.

www.ultimate-direct.co.uk A large tackle dealer with an extensive product range for all types of angler.

www.nickstackle.co.uk Based in Maidstone, Kent this long-established shop also offers a fast and reliable online shopping service

www.billyclarke.co.uk Established in 1918, Billy Clarke Fishing Tackle is a family-owned business that prides itself on its shop, stock and service.

www.tacklefanatics.co.uk A great website where anglers can buy, sell or exchange any fishing items.

www.climaxtackle.com

www.stapeleyangling.co.uk A huge shop offering the very best in carp, match and specimen fishing kit at very competitive prices.

www.sheltonsfishing.co.uk A brilliant website to complement a superb tackle shop.

www.nathansofderby.co.uk

The Climax website is updated daily with the latest deals and products from leading brands.

Established in 1988, Nathan’s has quickly become Derby’s Premier Angling Centre.

www.manorfarmfishing.co.uk

www.fishinginthailand.com

Online fishing megastore offering a huge range covering coarse, carp, match and fly tackle.

Top Cats Fishing Resort offers some of the largest and most sought-after freshwater fish in Thailand.

18/08/2014 12:37


TACKLE The latest gear in focus

TACKLE ESSENTIALS ............................................. ............................................. ............................................. ............................................. ............................................. ............................................. ............................................. .............................................

.....................................................................

..................................................................... ..................................................................... THIS MONTH… ..................................................................... ..................................................................... ..................................................................... ..................................................................... BUDGET CARP RODS .....................................................................

Carp fishing can be expensive and could put a severe dent in the wallet, but that doesn’t have to be the case as there are some good-quality, low-cost carp rods on the market. We put the spotlight on six that will do the job for less money.

DAIWA BLACK WIDOW www.daiwasports.co.uk It might be a low-cost rod, but this 12ft, two-piece, 2.75lb tool has all the Daiwa quality you would expect from a rod double the price.

It has an action that gives it plenty of casting power, and when playing fish there’s plenty of backbone, plus a good cushion for hook-holds for those ‘under the tip’ lunges, as the fish comes to the net.

The rod is finished with a matt, low-glare topcoat, and features a soft-touch grip and a graphite DPS reel seat, plus aluminiumoxide guides, including a 30mm diameter butt ring.

backbone to cope with chunky PVA bags and feeders at closer range. It has understated graphics, an abbreviated handle and ergonomic rear grip and, thanks to a responsive top section, it has a superb

fish-playing action that will tame a big double with ease. The rod features six, tough fully lined guides, including a 40mm diameter butt ring.

KORUM CARP www.korum.co.uk This 12ft, 2.75lb test curve, two-piece rod is one of four in Korum’s 2014 range of carp rods, and has all the power required for long casts with a big lead, and the

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TACKLE The latest gear in focus

.... .... .... ....

Price: ÂŁ64.99 Weight: 11.4oz Reel line rating: 6lb to 18lb mono Casting weight: 4oz Rings: Ultra-low-friction aluminium oxide

Price: ÂŁ49.99 Weight: Not stated Line rating: 10lb to 15lb mono Casting weight: 2.5oz Rings: Fully lined guides

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TACKLE The latest gear in focus

CHUB S-PLUS www.chubfishing.com This 12ft, two-piece, value-for-money rod has a slim, lightweight blank and its 2.5lb test curve gives plenty of power for longrange casting, but at the same time it has

a forgiving tip and progressive action to help you control hard-fighting carp at close quarters. Other features include an 18mm gunsmoke-grey reel seat that accepts all

big-pit-style and freespool-type reels, Other features include a Japanese shrink wrap butt grip and double-leg SiC-lite guides throughout, including a 40mm diameter butt rig.

extra strength, which makes it extremely lightweight. At the same time, with its 2.5lb test curve it has the softness you need in the top section to cast a distance and the progressive action to play fish to

the net, but also plenty of backup when you need to put the breaks on. The rod features six lightweight TS SiC guides — including a 40mm diameter butt ring.

and forgiving action to tame and land big fish. It comes with a raft of Shimano’s hi-tech features that you might expect to find on its more-expensive rod ranges, including an

XT30+ Geofibre blank with Hardlite guides fitted throughout, a DPS-type reel seat and understated cosmetics. The rod features a 40mm diameter butt ring.

rod that will cast that bit further . One of the main features with this rod is its 50mm diameter butt ring, which is essential when it comes to long-distance casts. The big ring means you are less

likely to have ‘frapping’ issues when you launch a big lead. The cosmetics are subtle and understated, and other features include a shrink butt grip and F-Grip reel seat.

JRC CONTACT 2.5LB www.jrc-fishing.co.uk Low cost needn’t mean a lack of quality. This 12ft, two-piece rod features a carboncomposite construction with a woven carbon section above the reel seat for

SHIMANO ALIVIO DX www.shimano-eu.com This 12ft, two-piece carp rod has a test curve of 2.75lb, so it has the ‘beef ’ in the top end to cast a heavy PVA bag of goodies, as well as the fish-playing action

30PLUS KODEX CX www.specimen30plus.co.uk We’ve included this 12ft, 2.75lb test curve, two-piece rod, which is still sub-£100, as it’s well worth a look if you have a slightly bigger budget, and you are looking for a

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TACKLE The latest gear in focus

Price: £59.99 Weight: 305g Line rating: Not stated Casting weight: Not stated Rings: SiC-lite guides

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Price: £69.99 Weight: 322g Line rating: Not stated Casting weight: 100g Rings: Shimano Hardlite guides

Price: £99.99 Weight: Not stated Line rating: 18lb mono Casting weight: 4oz Rings: Fully lined guides

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............................................................................................... ............................................................................................... ............................................................................................... ...............................................................................................

a lot QIofcatch chub on the rivers using standard bait tactics but I want to expand my range. I’ve actually always fancied catching them on lures, although I haven’t a clue where to start. Have you any advice that might help?

CFA EXPERT Name: Gareth Goldson Sponsors: Hardy & Greys, Dynamite PB lure-caught chub: 6lb 15oz

Dereck Watts

...................................... ...................................... ...................................... ......................................

Hometown: High Wycombe Age: 62 Favourite species: Barbel

They’re such an A exciting species to target on this method that we’re sure you’ll love it, Dereck. We asked Hardy & Greys man Gareth Goldson to give up some of his tips for targeting chub on lures.

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ASK AN EXPERT Your questions answered

P

ike, perch and zander form the standard trio of predators in UK waters… but there is another. Lurking in rivers across the county is a species that will demolish prey fish as soon as look at them.An aggressive hunter with the speed and power to make it a worthy target for any thrill-seeking predator angler – especially of the lure fishing persuasion. In its smaller sizes the chub is the bread and butter of stick-float and feeder anglers. Get to anything past the 4lb mark, though, and a predatory instinct kicks in where they begin to take advantage of the abundance of protein-rich prey fish around them. It’s a trait that our expert for this feature knows only too well, having tempted some monster chub to lure tactics.To find out more we caught up with specimen ace Gareth Goldson on a stunning stretch of the River Wensum in Norfolk. “The great thing about lure fishing for chub

is that it really does sort out the bigger fish,” says Gareth, as we begin the walk down to the river. “It’s only the bigger fish that strike at lures, so you know that when you hook one it’s liable to be a very nice fish.” At this time of year the river is full of weed, and in terms of lure presentation the fish respond well to plugs fished either on or just below the surface.With the fish sitting in the flow the takes are often savage as they torpedo upwards to smash what they see as an easy meal. For the job Gareth uses shallow-diving plugs, but it’s taken him a number of years to work out the most effective type.“I’ve been doing this kind of fishing for a while now and the most effective action I’ve found comes on the surface, but not from a surface lure,” he explains. “What you want to create is a lot of ‘wake’ on the surface. I’m actually convinced that the chub don’t actually think this is a fish they’re hitting but a vole or shrew.”

To get this wake Gareth retrieves the plugs slowly across the surface – he doesn’t make them dive as they don’t create the surface disturbance once they dip under it. The best body style he has found for this is a fat-bodied, single-piece plug (the same shape as the famous Shakespeare Big S).“My favourite for the work is a lure called the Bomber Shallow A,” he informs us.“When retrieved slowly across the surface it has a real rolling action, even when I’m putting a little speed into it.This creates loads of wake, which really riles up the chub.” The lure needs to stay on the surface and roll to give off a wake.

ACTION With the surface motion Gareth is after, all you really need to provoke takes is a slow, steady retrieve across the surface. With its lip touching the surface of the water, the lure will provide plenty of wobbling, rolling action itself and if, as Gareth believes, the chub think they’re hitting small shrews or voles, you don’t want a broken retrieve as these furry critters keep swimming until they reach safety. Remember to keep your rod at an angle to your line, though; do not point it directly at the lure. If you do get a take you need the rod to cushion the hit, otherwise all of the force will be on your line and your knots.

THE FOURTH

PREDATOR Words and photos: Steve Phillips

As well as the standard trio of fish munchers there’s another predator that you can add to your lure target list.

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ASK AN EXPERT Your questions answered

Armed with just a backpack, net, a Greys Platinum Specialist 25g rod and his trusty Shimano Stradic reel Gareth covers a lot of water in the hunt for chub. In terms of location he’s looking to fish the same swims as he would if he was presenting bait – overhanging trees, dark, deeper holes, creases and suchlike.“I’ll spend about 10 minutes in each swim; if the fish are there and they want to take a lure you’ll get one within the first couple of casts,” he says. Wading through the sea of nettles and long grass, in the second swim he fishes there’s suddenly a monstrous swirl around the lure and he’s into a fish.After an exciting battle a long, lean, river pike is in the net.“I always use wire traces for this kind of fishing just because there are a lot of pike around that will take the lure as well,” smiles Gareth, as he unhooks the fish in the water.“A trace doesn’t seem to bother the chub either.” Moving further down the river he fishes a number of swims, receiving several strikes but with the fish missing their intended target. “They’re a bit half-hearted today,” frowns our angler.“If they really want it they properly nail the lure. “Fishing a river you not only have to think about where you cast, but which way you retrieve in relation to the flow as well.The chub will be sitting facing into the flow and you get more takes to a lure coming over their heads from behind, meaning you’re working the lure against the flow.” Just as he says this he gets a tremendous smash

What angle should I hold my rod at when retrieving?

QA &

For wake fishing a plug, hold the rod high to counter the lip trying to pull the lure down.

GARETH’S CHUB LURE SELECTION Although Gareth prefers ‘wake-baiting’ lures for the chub, there are days when other approaches and patterns will also work. Because of this he always caries a selection of lures with him, with the following four being his most effective. On all of his lures Gareth swaps the trebles for stronger, sharper models to make sure that when he hooks a fish, he’s got the best chance of landing it.

BOMBER SHALLOW A

ARBOGAST JITTERBUG

With a deep roll on the surface even at low-speed retrieves this is a great lure for the surface. It’s very buoyant and, importantly, it’s just two inches long, with Gareth not going much past this size when targeting chub.

A proper oldschool surface lure for when the chub want a lot more random, splashy action from their prey. Good for imitating a struggling fish or creature on the surface.

take that sees his rod hoop over as the braided main line stretches tightly out in the river.This is no pike, and after a few seconds of tense head shaking a large head with a pair of ‘rubber lips’ containing Gareth’s lure emerges to the surface before sweeping over the lip of the net. At over 5lb it’s a scale-perfect, deep gold and brown chub.“It really wanted that and it was well hooked, which can sometimes be an issue with the tough, rubbery lips of these fish,” smiles

SALMO BUTCHER For when the fish want to hit prey fish under the water Gareth rates the Salmo Butcher crank bait. At five centimetres long it’s the perfect size, and in the floating format can be worked to around three feet in depth.

DRAGONFLY A bit of an oddity, Gareth picked up this weird lure exactly for the purpose of targeting big chub and, although it casts like an empty plastic bag, it works. This was actually responsible for fooling Gareth’s biggest chub on a lure, a fish of 6lb 15oz.

Gareth.We carry on down the river, dropping into every likely looking hole.Another fish is hooked and lost at the net along with a handful of other mistimed hits by fish before the session ends. “The end of August onwards is a great time to target chub on lures as the bigger fish are looking to eat more,” says Gareth as we pack away.“So if you’re after a specimen on lure tactics I’d advise CFA readers to give it a go.”

Gareth casts to a far-bank feature that looks perfect for chub.

A medium-weight rod and 2500 reel are good for chub.

.......................................................... ............................................................... Send your coarse fishing question to us at .......................................................... ............................................................... .......................................................... ............................................................... .......................................................... .......................................................... myanglingquestion@dhpub.co.uk ............................................................... ............................................................... 110 coarsefishinganswers.com

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13/05/2014 14:41:49


CATCH CLUB

Celebrating your catches in style with great prizes to be won.

.................................................................................................................................................................................. ..................................................................................................................................................................................

WINNER

NATHAN FARRAR (J)

MAX COLLINGS (J)

JASON ROBERTS

HARRISON WOODHAM (J)

Catch: 3lb 3oz ide Venue: Tom’s Pond, Otley, West Yorkshire

Catch: 4lb 13oz koi Venue: Rushmoor Lakes, Surrey

Catch: 38lb common carp Venue: Waterlily Lakes, France

Catch: 4lb carp Venue: Harescombe Fisheries, Gloucester

WINNER

DALE LANDER

PAUL KING

KENNETH TAYLOR

BARRY GORE

Catch: 2lb 1oz roach Venue: River Severn, Bewdley

Catch: 4lb carp Venue: Wykeham Lake, Scarborough

Catch: 13lb 8oz mirror carp Venue: Brafferton Fisheries, North Yorkshire

Catch: 45lb 6oz catfish Venue: Club lake, Kent

HANNAH ROBERTSON (J)

TERRENCE GARDNER

MARK BENNETT

MAX PHILLIPS (J)

Catch: 8lb 1oz mirror carp Venue: White Acres, Cornwall

Catch: 15lb carp Venue: Brafferton Fisheries, North Yorkshire

Catch: 12lb carp Venue: Quadring Lake, Lincolnshire

Catch: 3lb carp Venue: Lagoon, Makins Fishery, Warwickshire

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www.oldghostbait.co.uk Every picture that appears will win a selection of Hookbait Sausages, worth £18

Join the Catch Club Enter now and if we feature your catch shot here, you will win a prize from bait expert Old Ghost. There’s also a prize for the best senior and best junior catch of the month. Your entries can either be of a single fish or a nice netful. Each month the best senior and best junior entries will each receive a prize of Old Ghost goodies to the value of £65, and every picture that appears will win a selection of Hookbait Sausages, worth £18.

That’s not all, as each of our monthly winners will be invited to join the Old Ghost team for a day out on one of the UK’s top commercial venues later in the year. To enter your picture(s), send your images to oldghostcatchclub@dhpub.co.uk, along with your name, address, a daytime phone number and the details of your catch. The qualifying age for junior entries is 16 years old and under. The editor’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

oldghostcatchclub@dhpub.co.uk .................................................................................................................................................................................. ..................................................................................................................................................................................

Tip Of The Month

KAI SHIMWELL Catch: 1lb 2oz roach Venue: Ardleigh Reservoir, Essex

CAROLINE MARTIN

One of the top tactics to catch carp in the margins is to fish a bunch of maggots – dead or alive – over groundbait. The secret to getting the fish feeding on the bottom in the shallow water is extrawet groundbait. Add at least twice the amount of water than you would normally use to mix your feed, so that you get a heavy groundbait that quickly drops to the bottom when cupped in. If the mix is too dry it will drift with any wash and create a cloud; this will attract fish to your peg but will get them feeding at all levels, which is a recipe for foul-hooked fish. To ensure you get the best results, feed a pot of groundbait down the edge every 30 minutes until you start to see tails in the water or swirls from fish in deeper margins. Once you see this, feed half a pot of hook baits as well as the groundbait twice more before dropping a rig over their heads. Once you start catching, feed half a pot of groundbait and maggots every few fish.

Catch: 3lb carp Venue: White Acres, Cornwall

WINNER

WINNER

Every month our junior and senior winners will each receive a selection of Old Ghost baits to the value of £65

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PUB AMMO Get your facts straight

Catfish are the opportunist feeders of the fish world, feeding as either a scavenger or predator on pretty much anything that crosses their paths. This includes frogs, ducks, rats, fish, worms and anything else dead or alive that they come across. In the right environment the Wels catfish can grow up to a staggering 400lb in weight and measure an incredible 13 feet in length — if you hooked into one of these you’d know about it. The right conditions for this are the warmer parts of Europe, with cats having a 15lb-a-year growth rate.

The Wels catfish has two very special derivatives — the albino and the mandarin. Both are regular catfish except for their colouring. The mandarin has an orangey or yellow colouring while the albino is white with a pink tinge to its body along with pink eyes.

When it comes to the largest catfish, big rivers are where it’s at. The species grows to good sizes in running water in several countries, including: France — the Saone, Tarn, Loire, Cher, Petit Rhone and the Seine. Germany — the Rhine, Neckar, Main and Naab. Spain — the Ebro, Segre and Cinca. Italy — the Po (possibly the best catfish river in Europe) and Mincio. Russia — the Volga, Ural, Dneiper and Don.

Although a veracious predator the Wels catfish doesn’t actually have any teeth in the same way as a pike or zander has. Instead, the species uses pads at the front of its mouth that are covered in very small backward-facing barbs, before crushing its prey in its strong jaws and swallowing them down.

The International Game Fish Assocation official world record for the Wels catfish is a whopping specimen of 297lb 9oz. The monster fish was caught on Italy’s River Po — known for producing massive cats — by angler Attila Zsedely in 2010.

Catfish BIG, POWERFUL AND JUST A BIT UGLY, THERE’S MORE TO CATS THAN YOU THINK.

The Wels catfish loves rivers and as such has managed to spread across a large area within Europe and beyond. You can find Wels as far north as Sweden and as far south as Spain, while they are also found in Russia and even in parts of the middle east, including Iran.

The first Wels catfish to live in UK waters can be traced back to the late 1800s. It’s believed a soldier, Sir Stephen Lakeman, moved fish from the River Danube in Romania to his estate in Britain, in 1864. Further fish were imported by Lord Odo Russell in 1871 while he was ambassador to the German Empire, when he sent catfish to a British naturalist. The most famous introduction, though, occurred in 1880 when the 9th Duke of Bedford, Charles Hastings Russell, was made a gift of 70 catfish that were introduced into the famous Shoulder of Mutton Lake at Woburn Abbey.

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Coarse fishing answers october 2014 uk