Page 1




BRITISH All-time legends reveal their winning tactics February 2011 issue 12


14/2/11 07:36:22



of the Month

UKMatch reveals the winning tricks that made the difference this month Get online

UKM | Contents


Hit every single bite

Barnsley legend Denis White unveils his deadly feeder rig. The secret? Pole elastic!


When the carp don’t feed…

The breadpunch king

In search of quality Fenland roach with four times World Champion Bob Nudd.


Tip fishing made easy

England Feeder team boss Tommy Pickering talks fishing the tip for carp.

out 28 Seeing the winter Winter isn’t over yet so Mark Addy has sound advice for beating a cold snap.


Pellets - but not for carp

Forget lumps, Steve Gardener’s pellet approach wins without those big fish!

UKM | Contacts Editorial


Tel: 01733 232600 Fax: 01733 465844

Tel: 01733 395028 Fax: 01733 468671

Write to: UKMatch, Angling Times, Media House, Lynchwood, Peterborough, PE2 6EA

Published by: Bauer Consumer Media, Media House, Lynchwood, Peterborough Printed by: Polestar Group, Colchester

Cover: England’s legends reveal their winning tactics!

kAngler: Des Shipp kSponsor: Preston Innovations kVenue: Maver Larford Lakes kWeight: 44-6-0


t seems a distant memory now but only four weeks ago the ice was still playing havoc with matchfishing, freezing lakes and reducing attendances as well as weights and that’s exactly the scenario Des Shipp found himself in when trying to qualify for the Maver Classic final at Larford. Where carp normally dominate, the Preston Innovations-backed England ace knew that the big fish wouldn’t feed with a quarter of the Specimen Lake frozen over and instead pinned his hopes in the often ignored silverfish found in the

UKMatch magazine

002 UKMATCH News.indd 2


Stourport complex. Fishing classic groundbait feeder and maggot tactics, Des slowly got down to business and winkled out a steady run of skimmers and roach to weigh in 44-6-0 and book his place in the May final. His tactical decision was justified as only three carp were caught across the whole complex on the day is question. “It was mega cold and at the draw the talk was whether any carp would show up, so when I drew peg 69 on the Chalet Bank I fancied getting a few as it’s a really good area, even in the cold,” Des said. “After 45 minutes on the Method feeder with no bites I quickly realised it wasn’t to be and those around me were catching skimmers so that made my mind up.” Having set up a groundbait feeder

February 22nd 2011

14/2/11 14:30:49



Airity live test

River relief


Ian Heaps

Can you improve on Alan Scotthorne on The little man talks the brilliant? Mark why every river has a about his career and Sawyer casts an eye part that’s fishable, why he called time on over Daiwa’s new even when it’s in the big match flagship pole flood! scene

With no carp showing, Des relied on big skimmers to book his Maver Classic place.




Whittle back to Wye bagging best Angler: Hadrian Whittle kTeam: Kamasan Starlets kVenue: River Wye kWeight: 94-8-0 The Wye through Hereford has had a quiet winter by its normally high standards, thanks largely to the cold weather. Come the mild spell the fish turned up with a vengeance as Hadrian Whittle proved as he shook the ton with a super chub bag to win the Hereford DAA open and set up a great run in to the end of the river season. Famed for his big weights of bleak when the river goes in flood, Starlets ace Hadrian is no stranger to big river fishing and wielded a 20ft bolo rod to get among the fish after a slowish start on the stick float from peg 64, right in the middle of the town centre. “The peg has been kind to me in the past as I’ve won a few matches off it, but going on recent form it wasn’t the place to be,” Hadrian explained. “For that reason I set a target of around 30lb of dace, roach and chublets on the stick float fishing light tackle and maggot but within the first hour I’d

caught 13 chub up to 2lb but all the time the stick line was slowing down.” That saw Hadrian reach for the bolo rod, which was cast to midriver and also saw a switch in feed, the maggots swapped for groundbait, with a ball the size of a snooker ball fed on every run through. After a slow start using bread on the hook, the penny dropped and Hadrian swapped to a bunch of maggots, the chub lining up right over the feed to be caught, especially in the final two hours.

Big carp is a real bonus for Kinder kAngler: Andy Kinder kSponsor: Maver kVenue: Hayfield Lakes kWeight: 25-1-0

rod, Des clipped up to 35 turns out and quickly started to get interest, not hectic sport but enough bites to keep the cold out. A little venue knowledge told Des the range the fish would be found. “Normally at Larford most of the bream show at that range and once the peg settled down a bit the fish turned up and I was waiting anything between a minute and five minutes for a bite, but when they came they were of a good average size, around 14oz apiece,” he continued. “The key was switching the feed going through the feeder as caster worked well when the bites were regular but when it slowed down I swapped to dead maggots to keep them coming.”

Packing the feeder with Sonu Baits F1 Supercrush groundbait, Des resisted the temptation to feed micro pellets as he wanted the fish to be eating the same loose freebies as the same ones he had on the hook, namely single dead red maggot fished on a size 18 PR32 hook to an 0.11mm hooklength. UKM


002 UKMATCH News.indd 3

Winter fishing is all about taking your chances and Maver man Andy Kinder certainly did that to win the Hayfield Lakes open last month, by including a 9lb carp in his winning weight. The big fish was landed on fine bloodworm tackle and denied Parkdean champion Lee Kerry another memorable worm and joker win. Fished by the finest match anglers in South Yorkshire, the match came off the back of the cold spell and with the water still freezing, Andy, like the others on show, went down the bloodworm and joker route on the Island Lake aiming for 200 roach and skimmers and 20lb at the scales. “The lake had just finished defrosting and not many carp had been caught so we knew the roach and skimmers would be a better bet. It was incredibly windy on the day and I could only fish at 10m, but there was 10ft of water there on a flat plateau, which was absolutely perfect,” Andy said. “I cupped in six balls of groundbait and leam with 250ml of joker in it and kicked off with single bloodworm on a size 22 hook,


0.07mm hooklength and a 1.25g float and caught straight away, although the stamp of fish was all over the place, from 1oz to 4oz although I was motoring along quite nicely until the carp showed up!” Fishing a No 4 elastic, the carp plodded around for a while before appearing just under the surface within netting range and the Barnsley Blacks team man didn’t need a second invitation to get it in the net.


14/2/11 14:31:43

UKM winter bream/Denis White


4 UKMATCH dennis.indd 4

4 February 22nd 2011 14/2/11 07:38:04



BRITISH Denis White

Barnsley match legend

‘A Never miss another bite! Banish those frustrating knocks and taps with a feeder rig that is so simple to fish, you’ll wonder why you never thought of it before. Barnsley legend Denis White is your guide to a whole new way of winter feederfishing for skimmers

ANGLER FACTFILE Name: Denis White Age: 65 Lives: Barnsley Occupation: Retired miner Sponsor: Maver


4 UKMATCH dennis.indd 5

y Up Fatha!’ came the welcome on the other end of the phone, spoken in the deepest, broadest Barnsley accent possible. The tone belonged to probably one of the South Yorkshire town’s most famous angling sons, a man who has represented his country on dozens of occasions and was a founder member of the mighty Barnsley Blacks – Denis White. Now of pensionable age, former miner Denis is still going strong in matchfishing circles, winning big matches on river, canal and lake while finding time to sit on the Barnsley DAA committee and throw his heart and soul into coaching the area’s up and coming young talent – a full life at a time when most would be taking it easy. That’s not for Denis, or ‘Fatha’ as he’s known around the country. The man lives and breathes fishing, recently representing the England Veterans team at their World Champs. Surrounded by famous fisheries such as Worsbrough Reservoir, the Rivers Don and Trent and the big shipping canals, he’s had a matchfishing apprenticeship second to none. Fishing with likes of Scotthorne, Pickering and Clegg domestically and Ashurst and Nudd at international level, Denis has a wealth of knowledge on all manner of fisheries but if you ask him his favourite sort of fishing, he’ll always give you one reply – bream. “When I’m deaf, blind, senile, unable to walk or talk and incontinent, then I might consider fishing commercials but until then, not a chance,” Denis joked. “There’s so much good natural venue fishing around here that I can’t understand why people want to fish the same lake every week knowing what they’ll catch and the methods they’ll catch them on.” For that reason UKMatch asked the old-stager to catch some of his beloved bream. The Ouse was talked about but with winter rains ruining that possibility, Denis suggested a Barnsley lake just a stone’s throw from the house he was born in, one he’d fished since a kid and one full of skimmers.

5 FEBRUARY 22ND 2011 14/2/11 07:38:46

UKM WINTER BREAM/Denis White He’d promised to fish a feeder rig with a difference – deadly, easy to fish and allowing you to pick out liners from proper bites, the bane of any bream angler fishing the tip. “The venue we’re going to is Fleets Dam,” Denis announced. “There are millions of skimmers in there and they’re the shyest-biting fish I’ve ever known in winter but I’ve used this set-up for years on there and I simply never miss a bite on it. People call it my ‘secret’ rig but I’ve been using it for 20 years now so there’s not much secret about it. Why nobody else has cottoned on to it, god knows!”

Elasticated feeder

Fast-forwarding a few days to the banks of Fleets, Denis sat down

the steep banks, hunched over his rod with his back against the wind. “Here’s the secret rig,” ‘Fatha’ grinned as he reeled in. The first thing that stood out was the several inches of white pole elastic above the feeder. What sort of contraption was this? The answer came within the next six casts into the depths – a pretty good one! “What this rig does,” Denis explained, “is to show up proper bites from liners. Any bream angler will tell you that when fishing the feeder in winter, they probably hit only a handful of fish from dozens of indications on the tip. Now this might be fine for a lot of people but in my experience I’ve found the best way to spook a shoal of fish it to keep striking a feeder through

them every cast. You don’t want to be striking at line bites all match.” At first glance, the rig seemed crude, too crude in fact to catch wary skimmers, but as Denis deposited more and more fish into the net it soon became obvious that his set-up, which was basically a bolt rig, gave feeding fish little chance of escape once they picked the bait up. The key, according to Denis, is accuracy and patience. The rig is essentially several inches of No 5 latex pole elastic run through a swivel and tied into a loop. The knotted part is then trapped under the flat lead strip running through the middle of the groundbait feeder. The feeder has its original link removed so that both elastic and the loop of the

hooklength can slip under the strip at either end. A short hooklength finishes off the rig and, watching Denis show how it worked, everything clicked into place. “A fish picks the bait up and pulls against the feeder and the elastic,” Denis said. “This is shown on the tip as a pull round or a drop back but this isn’t when you strike. Once the fish feels the weight of the feeder it bolts, setting the hook which will show up on the tip as a series of stabs or pulls. That’s how you know a fish is on. If you don’t get those pulls, it’ll have been a liner and you don’t touch the rod.” The idea came about almost a decade ago when tired of losing too many soft-mouthed skimmers on a normal paternoster Denis


Robert’s trusty Tournament whip

4 UKMATCH dennis.indd 6

14/2/11 07:39:40





Did you Know “Elastic Denis is currently going great experimented strength needs guns in the South Yorkshire with a piece of to be matched to division of the 2011 Shimano pole elastic the size of fish County Championships – not between feeder you expect to bad for an old-timer with and hook as a sort catch,” he revealed. a bad back! of bungee. From “If I was fishing for there he moved on to big skimmers and the a loop and hit upon the odd bream than around a No 5 perfect compromise. is perfect, whereas if I knew the match was going to be harder with The right rubber more little hand-sized skimmers The key to the rig is using the right showing then I’d fish around a length and right grade of elastic to No 4 elastic to make the rig more ensure positive indications and forgiving. It’s just like fishing the hooked fish. If the elastic is too pole – you have to work out the heavy, the fish will be bumped, right strength of elastic to the while too long a loop and the bite stamp of fish.” won’t be seen by the angler. Denis In terms of length of elastic has a checklist that he goes used, the longer the loop the more through before deciding how stretch there will be. More stretch much rubber to work into the rig. means less of an immediate indication on the tip, perfect for

For gentle casts, short bomb rods are the perfect tool.

size of that, you’re doing well.” Denis has picked a spot a comfortable 35 yard cast into Fleets, although distance will vary depending on the venue. “Feederfishing for bream is about finding your range, being accurate every time and not getting impatient,” he explained. “I’ve got lots of old sayings and one is that ‘bad anglers never make bad casts.’ By that I mean that if a bad angler doesn’t hit the right spot, they’ll say ‘that’ll do’. It never will where bream are concerned and if your cast goes off target, reel in and try again.”

sticks to a natural approach, using casters, pinkies, maggots and a classic sweet groundbait pepped up with just a touch of fishmeal. “The base of my mix is Van Den Eynde 5G which is Alan Scotthorne’s groundbait and a bit of an all-rounder for roach and skimmers,” Denis said. “To this I add a little green fishmeal groundbait with the final mix being on the dry side so it comes out of the feeder quickly once on the bottom. To this I’ll add just a sprinkle of casters and

A natural approach The rig in fu ll - Denis re commends va elastic stre rying the ngth to the size of fish you aim to ca tch.

calm days where you can see every knock but when there are ‘white horses’ on the water from the wind, a shorter loop works miles better, producing quite a savage bite in amid the waves.

On the subject of feed, it’s refreshing to see no pellets on Denis’s side tray. Although Fleets fish see lots of pellets through spring, summer and autumn, in winter ‘Fatha’

On a snooker table

The ‘strike’ only needs to be a simple lift into the fish.

Accuracy and patience are Denis’s bream fishing watchwords and the first part can be easily achieved thanks to a line clip. “Forget what you read about landing your feeder on a dustbin lid, though. Believe me, bream don’t feed in such a small space for the full five hours of a match,” Denis said. “They’re like cows in a field and move around grazing, probably over something the size of a snooker table, so if you can land each cast within a spot the UKMATCH MAGAZINE

4 UKMATCH dennis.indd 7

7 FEBRUARY 22ND 2011 14/2/11 07:41:07

UKM WINTER BREAM/Denis White mixed pinkies, fishing a single red maggot on the hook.”

Don’t strike!

Because the nature of the rig means the fish is normally hooked before you pick the rod up, the conventional strike isn’t necessary. Much like Method feeder fishing, all you need to do is lift the rod and wind into the fish with a steady pull. The most important part of the battle is winding the fish in, according to Denis. “You might not miss many bites fishing this way but that doesn’t mean the rig is a magic wand,” he said. “There’s still every chance of the fish coming off if you play them too hard, even with the light elastic as a bit of a shock absorber. Make every fish count and play them carefully, keeping the rod low and the winding steady. Even stop winding if you feel the fish kick and make sure it has stopped flapping about before you net it.”

Talking tackle

For lines and hooks Denis spools up with 0.18mm Maver Genesis for

mainline and 0.12mm for the hooklength, finished off with a fine wire size 20 Preston Innovations 333 (formerly known as the PR34). This seems a little heavy but because the rig is a bolt rig, some bites can be quite violent and slightly heavier line gives you more of a safety cushion. “Length of hooklength will vary, just like it does on a paternoster,” Denis explained. “Sometimes a long tail works but I’ve always found that if a bream wants to feed, it will come to you and to the feeder in particular. You wouldn’t fish an 18 inch hooklength on the Method feeder and because this rig is a bolt rig, shorter is in my opinion better, sometimes using a hooklength six inches long.” For such a short cast and with a fine tip needed, Denis keeps his normal 11ft bream tip rods in the bag, instead using a slender bomb rod for winter skimmers.

The short line

Like all good anglers, Denis has other lines up his sleeve but they don’t involve the pole. That never

Double figures of Fleets bream for ‘Fatha’!

comes out of the bag, a second tip rod being set up instead for a gentle underarm cast on to the long pole line in the latter stages. “Just as carp do, so bream will move closer to the bank as the light starts to fade and this is where pinging a small feeder on to the 13m line can give you half-a-dozen vital extra fish when the main line is slowing down,” Denis explained. “This doesn’t have an elasticated set-up as you’re fishing it at quite short range and you should be able to see what’s a line bite and what isn’t with relative ease.” The rig here is a paternoster, using the same lines and hooks as the other rod, and to ensure absolute accuracy Denis also clips up here but doesn’t get his range from casting into the lake. Instead, he sets his pole up on the bank to 13m with the cupping kit on the end, pops the feeder in the cup and walks back with the rod until he reaches the end. This is the perfect 13m and hits the spot every time. “I’ll cup in three balls of groundbait at the start here and then forget about it until around three hours into the match, when I’ll have a quick look,” Denis said. “However, if I don’t get a bite within a couple of casts then I will come off this line.” Denis had promised a slow start, not reckoning the skimmers would get going until the afternoon, so when fourth cast produced a positive pull round followed by several sharp jabs on the tip, the 2lb bream that was responsible was a bit of a surprise. Several more smaller skimmers followed in consecutive casts with no longer than a few minutes

4 UKMATCH dennis.indd 8


Van Den Eynde G5 forms the base of Denis’s groundbait mix, to which he adds a little green fishmeal and a smattering of casters and pinkies.

‘Fatha’ comes good




passing between cast and strike. Single red maggot caught them all and while anglers to Denis’s left reported missing a few bites, the old-stager had yet to miss one. “You just can’t fail fishing like this,” Denis said. “Even with my eyesight I can see what’s what! I’ve won god knows how many matches here and at Worsbrough fishing this way and I reckon it’d even work at places like Larford’s Specimen Lake.” When a liner did come along it was equally easy to spot. The tip pulled round, dropped back and remained motionless. Winding in revealed an unmarked bait, but fishing a normal paternoster, Denis admits he would have struck at the pull-round. An earlier than expected look on the 13m line also gave Denis two skimmers before the roach moved in. He missed just two of what he felt were proper bites before his aching back called time on the session with 20 skimmers in the bag for double figures. “I expect every bugger will be fishing like this down here after they read this,” he said. “I’ve no secrets though – I’m too old for all that. What I will say is that the rig is only half the battle. You still need to be accurate with your casting and patient when fishing, and you can’t get that from reading about it!” UKM


8 FEBRUARY 22ND 2011 14/2/11 07:42:05

UKM Fen Drains/Bob Nudd

ANGLER FACTFILE Name: Bob Nudd Age: Older than he looks! Lives: Coldham, Cambs Occupation: Full-time angler and tackle consultant Sponsors: Browning and Van Den Eynde


10 UKMATCH Bob Nudd.indd 10

10 February 22nd 2011 14/2/11 07:43:18




KING OF THE FENS! Four-times World Champion Bob Nudd loves roach fishing so much he upped sticks and moved to the flat lands of East Anglia to indulge his passion. With breadpunch in hand, he remains the man to beat on the drains, and that’s all down to fishing and feeding positively – as the River Glen redfins were to find out... Bob Nudd

Browning-backed four-times World Champion


The Nudd smile greets a Glen roach.

WENTY-ONE years ago the world was a very different place. Mobile phones were laughed at, Vanilla Ice was topping the charts and central London became a war zone as Thatcher’s Poll Tax triggered mass riots. And while ‘Gazza’ was bawling his eyes out in Italy, just across the Adriatic Sea, in what was then Yugoslavia, an angling hero was being spawned as Bob Nudd lifted the first of what was to be a record-breaking four World Championships crowns on the River Drava.

While some anglers win one title and are never head of again, Bob’s victory was to be the start of a matchfishing career that continues to this day. Never mind the World Champs, Bob has won the lot on the team front with Essex County and chalked up hundreds of open match wins and that tally ticks over even now. Largely retired from the team scene, Bob’s diary now takes in matches on the Fenland drains fishing for roach. The big freeze of December saw the old master win his latest open in the big match on the Old Nene at March, catching 18lb of roach through the ice. In fact March and the nearby Rivers Welland and Glen have been a happy hunting ground for the Browning ace, being packed with roach that happily respond to a breadpunch attack but it’s not


10 UKMATCH Bob Nudd.indd 11

the bait or method that makes Bob so consistent on these small rivers – it’s all about speed! He thinks nothing of rattling out 300 little roach in five hours on bread, a break neck pace that few can keep up with and while his peg might not always hold that number of fish, if it does then you’re fishing for second once the Nudd fish-catching machine rumbles into action. “Bread fishing is such a lovely, clean way of fishing, easy to do and cheap too!” Bob said. “There’s hardly a fish that swims that won’t think about eating a little piece of punch and where roach are concerned, especially in winter when the water is clear, it’s deadly – I can honestly say that bread is the only groundbait I’ve ever had be coughed up by a roach I’ve caught so that tells me how much

11 FEBRUARY 22ND 2011 14/2/11 07:44:13

UKM fen drains/Bob Nudd

The punch doubles in size from the original (inset) once soaked.

they love the stuff! By fishing as close as you can to the bank you’re going to catch far quicker than the bloke fishing the long pole but everything you do must be positive to catch so many fish. As little as five minutes without a bite is far too much time wasted!” Bob had chosen the River Glen near Pinchbeck in the Lincolnshire fens for the bread’s testing ground, a typical arrow-straight river with steep banks, no features and a green tinge to the water. Instead of catching 300 little roach though, Bob was keen to show that punch can also sort out a shoal of better-quality roach that we all occasionally draw on! “It needs a slightly different approach where bigger roach are concerned but the rigs, bait and feed remains the same – in fact it is only in the feeding where things are different,” he explained. “The area I’m fishing holds the better fish and conditions are absolutely perfect for the bread. Let’s see if those roach play ball.”

Which line?

The Glen is only around 14m wide and has a good depth just a few feet off the bankside although the water is deceptively clear. Being a bait for clear water Bob has only one rule for deciding where to have his main line – a good depth. “There needs to be enough of a depth for the fish to feed comfortably in and on the drains that is almost always down the middle at anywhere between 5m and 7m although on the Old Nene, which is quite a shallow river, this could be near the far bank,” he

revealed. “Remember that you want to still have good control of the rig and if necessary be able to feed balls of bread by hand, especially if you’re catching a lot of small fish.” With 7ft of water at 6m, this will be Bob’s main line, but in a match he’d also consider a longer line at 12m where the depth is only six inches shallower to give him another line in case the fish backed off or a pike started to play havoc – the drains are also full of predators that just love snatching roach off the hook!

The bread

Every angler has their favourite brand of sliced white for the hook and after a lot of experimentation, Bob has settled on Warburton’s Medium. It’s not the cheapest bread on the market but is a tightly-grained loaf, which means it stays together well once punched and absorbing water making it great for the hook. “To prepare the bread I put three slices at a time in the microwave on the morning of the match and give it 20 seconds on full power, which makes the slices tacky to the touch,” Bob said. “These then go into a plastic sandwich bag which has the air removed and is sealed tight. Six slices is ample for a five hour match and I’ll leave each one out on my side tray for around 45 minutes as after this the wind and sun will have dried it out.”

Punch crumb

Liquidised bread will work but as the drains can run off quite quickly thanks to hydraulic pumps, punch crumb is a better bet and Bob uses Add a pinch of gravel to each ball of feed.

Bob Nudd Van Den Eynde’s brand with a couple of bags enough for a match. Punch crumb is coarser than liquidised and makes a stickier ball for getting through 7ft of water but even in this depth he needs a little help from some fine gravel to add weight. In shallow swims under 4ft the stones aren’t needed unless the drain is flowing quite hard. “You only need to add a pinch of gravel to each small ball,” he advised. “Always prepare the crumb the night before so it absorbs the water as you’ll be amazed how much it swells up!” Bob mixes the crumb and lets it stand for five minutes before putting it through a maggot riddle, pushing through the bigger lumps of bread that would otherwise fill the fish up. More water is added, allowed to stand and riddled again and the process is repeated a couple more times before the mix goes in the fridge overnight. “Once I get on the bank I see if any more water needs adding,” he continued. “Often it needs a drop more and it gets one more riddle before being finished. A squeezed ball should have the consistency of almost bread paste but this is normal and it does break down surprisingly quickly once in the water. A mix that is too dry won’t sink properly and will drift too far down the peg.”

Other feeds

Bread alone isn’t the only part of the Nudd armoury. He’ll also feed hemp or pinkies depending on the stamp of roach he expects to catch. “Today we’re after better roach so I’ll flick in half a dozen grains of hemp every 10 minutes or so but don’t go mad as otherwise there’s the risk of the fish becoming preoccupied with the seeds,” he warned. “For little roach I’ll feed pinkies as this also gives me an option for fishing on the hook.”

Feeding bread

Famed for pinging in a small ball of punch crumb every run through, UKMATCH MAGAZINE

10 UKMATCH Bob Nudd.indd 12

“Roach will feed over bread, even in clear water!”

Bigger roach need a different approach to the 300-fish-amatch speed tactics!

12 February 22nd 2011 14/2/11 07:45:03




A heavy float lets you swing the rig out with ease, speeding up the whole process.

Bob reckons this only works for little roach. Bigger fish need a more classic approach of feeding a sizeable ball and then fishing it out, aiming to catch on top or just downstream of the ball. “Roach will feed over the top of bread, even in clear water - forget about them not settling over light groundbait, that’s a fallacy,” he said. “For example, on the River Welland in nearby Spalding there’s an old white ‘for sale’ board on the riverbed and you can see the roach sitting over it!” For big roach Bob pots in two walnut-sized balls of punch crumb and gravel at the start and would expect to catch on this for 45 minutes to one hour before thinking about feeding again. More bait goes in if he is being plagued by tiny fish or if he is catching and then gets no bites for 10 minutes although this could be due to a pike in the peg. Either way, more feed is needed to get the fish back and one more ball will be cupped in. “Occasionally though, better fish will want a ball thrown at them every five minutes as I once caught 38lb of good roach on the Welland and fed a ball each drop in!” he laughed. “Regular feeding does put a continual column of crumb particles into the water with little bits of bread clouding and drifting through the peg and for that reason I would even consider cupping in some loose punch crumb if bites were few and far between as the clouding effect can draw fish into the peg.” Generally though, Bob aims to have a catching area right on top of the ball of feed, especially where better stamp roach are concerned and would physically slow the rig down where the ball is to pick them off. If no bites come from UKMATCH MAGAZINE

10 UKMATCH Bob Nudd.indd 13

here then the rig should carry on down the peg for a few more yards.

An instant bait?

Bread is noted for producing immediate action and within half an hour you’ll know if it’s going to work or not although Bob does recommend that you keep feeding bread even if you haven’t caught on it. He remembers one match on the River Cam where he caught nothing on bread immediately but kept feeding and sacked up in the last hour as the light faded. Never abandon it!

Punch size

Just like maggots and casters, so breadpunch can be fished in different sizes for bigger or smaller fish. Bob’s general size is a 3mm or 4mm punch although he will drop to a 2mm for cold days when the fish want a smaller bait, going up to as big as a 6mm disc of bread for bigger roach and skimmers. “I use the Preston Innovations punches which have no slit in the side of them,” Bob explained. “This allows me to get the hook right in the middle of the disc

Hook the punch through the middle of the disc.

13 February 22nd 2011 14/2/11 07:45:43

UKM Fen drains/Bob Nudd rather than on the edge as punches with a slit in them do. This means that the bait stays on the hook better as it swells up and you can reposition the rig several times without fear of the bait falling off.”


This is a key part of Bob’s punch fishing and there’s no room for any finesse. Instead he uses a large bulk in the form of an olivette and three droppers of No 11 shot for gentle flows, upped to No 10s for faster water. “Fishing positively, that’s the key to catching large numbers of fish – you need to be in and out quickly,” he advised. “Even if the peg is full of little roach you’ll find a better stamp of fish sat under the tiny ones and that’s where a big bulk comes in to bomb the bait through and if I was catching small fish then the weight would be pushed well down towards the hook.” Once he finds the depth of the swim, Bob shallows up a couple of inches to fish well off bottom as so much of the the punch crumb is wafted up off bottom that often the fish aren’t actually feeding on the bottom. Each fish should be cleanly hooked in the top lip which makes unhooking quicker and easier and lets you know that the fish are taking the bait properly. If the fishing is hard, Bob has one trick up his sleeve for inducing a bite and that’s to lift the rig a couple of inches out of the water and lower, not drop, the rig back in. As it settles, the float should bury as you’re mimicking a larger piece of feed wafting around.


Starting with elastic Bob goes for a No 4 or No 5 Browning latex, which

doesn’t stretch too much as you want to be swinging most of the fish in rather than wasting too much time netting them – unless they’re all 12oz roach that is! Lines are 0.10mm main and 0.08mm hooklength of Browning Cenex with the hooklength short at four inches as this allows Bob to place one of his dropper shots above the hooklength knot, very close to the hook, showing bites quicker and this will also show any hold ups as a fish takes the bait on the way down. Hook is a size 20 Kamasan B512, a red hook with a slightly wider gape than the famous B511 and despite the colour, the hook works well. A 0.75g Browning Nevis is the float of choice and at first glance this seems too heavy but as Bob says, you need a float that is heavy enough to swing out easily, get the bait down to the bottom and be able to control well. “The float is dotted well down as bites can be finicky as the fish try and ‘drink’ the bread off the hook,” Bob revealed. “The olivette should take the float down to just short of the bristle with the droppers taking the bristle down to a speck. If for any reason the bristle doesn’t settle then it means a fish has taken the bait on the drop.”

The session

A golden first hour gets Bob off to a flier. After cupping in those two balls of punch crumb he catches a run of roach averaging 4oz apiece on a 3mm punch although he is waiting up to a couple of minutes for a bite. When they come, they’re right on top of the feed as he predicted and after an hour he starts to think about feeding again as the bites are getting slower. Another ball is popped in and immediately he catches right on




Plenty of quality roach on the bread.

top of the feed again, all the while flicking in a few grains of hemp. If he doesn’t get a bite he tries the lifting trick to winkle out a few extra fish but if that doesn’t work, the rig is lifted out and laid back in and it’s noticeable that he gets more bites once the punch has fully swollen up. With two hours gone every angler’s worst nightmare happens as the bites stop completely. To make something happen Bob pots in some loose punch crumb to create a cloud and it accounts for a couple of fish before it goes dead. Laying the rig well down the peg produces one fish that had

dropped down the swim picking off pieces of the cloud of bread but overall it’s looking grim. Then the reason for the inactivity is revealed as Bob hooks a roach! The huge swirl in the peg reveals a decent pike and after steering the roach away the predator has another stab at the fish as it is about to be netted but no such luck. With a pike sitting over the feed those roach would have been reluctant to feed in numbers. Another roach follows 10 minutes later and narrowly misses the jaws of death before Bob calls it a day with around 10lb of quality roach in the net. UKM

A Glen pike swirls following a near miss for the hooked roach!

Every fish should be hooked in the top lip.


10 UKMATCH Bob Nudd.indd 14

14 February 22nd 2011 14/2/11 07:46:41

UKM LIVE TACKLE TEST/Daiwa Airity pole


OUTGUNS THEM ALL How do you improve on the brilliant? That was the question bugging Mark Sawyer, owner of an original Daiwa Airity pole as he tested 2011’s new and improved model – the answer as he discovered, was in many ways!


16 UKMATCH Airity test .indd 16

16 FEBRUARY 22ND 2011 14/2/11 07:49:38

NEXT PAGE Live test



Did you Know Daiwa’s Diamond Satin finish is the standout feature of the new Airity, stopping that grating ‘squeak’ when unshipping!

Mark Sawyer

Angling Times Tackle Editor


aving been the proud owner of a Tournament Airity Pole since they were first launched by Daiwa in 2007, I feel that I am more than well qualified to comment on them but firstly, let me begin by saying that during all of our years together the Airity has never let me down.

It has been strong enough to handle the biggest of commercial carp without worrying that a section is about to explode, possessed enough stiffness and tip-speed to be able to connect with quick biting silverfish, held remarkable rigidity and pose in the worst of winds and generally has been an absolute joy to own and use. I could fill the page with superlatives about this terrific bit of kit! However, there has always been one niggling little negative, a sort of Achilles’ heel that has unfortunately befallen just about every Daiwa flagship pole

since the legendary 16m Amorphous Whisker Tournament first set match anglers hearts racing. The problem is that shipping them in and out, especially when fishing over 13m, can sometimes be a bit of a battle with the paint job on the graphic sections wanting to stick to your hands rather than allowing you to slide them through smoothly. If you’re built like a brick outhouse or posses the power of Samson then through brute strength alone you may have overcome any long pole shipping annoyances and I know of some

An Ouse roach opens the account.


16 UKMATCH Airity test .indd 17

17 FEBRUARY 22ND 2011 14/2/11 07:50:16

UKM live test/ Daiwa Airity pole anglers that have even taken to wearing woolly mitts in an attempt to smooth things along and undoubtedly the glove thing does make things much easier, but in the heat of the summer sun? No thanks. To their credit Daiwa have never shied away from or denied the fact that the finish on their top-end model could have been better. But with class-act match anglers such as Simon Wheeler and Martin Greene working for the company, as well as the world’s best match angler in William Raison on the books as a consultant, the problem was always going to get addressed, it was just a matter of when that happened. The first sign I saw that Daiwa poles may be getting a new finish was about thirty months ago when walking round after a match to see how my travelling partner Daiwa Rep Simon Wheeler had gotten on. Arriving at his peg and to my utter astonishment, he had some shiny new all-black butt sections on his normally silver Tournament Pro pole – the sneaky sod. A few comments were made at the time, but company discretion was very well observed and other than trying to steal them from him every time we unloaded the car, we never discussed the matter again. Around nine months later Daiwa launched the then new Tournament Pro X, and surprise, surprise it had a super-sleek new paint job. In fact that paint job turned out to be the best finish that I had seen on any pole. As sure as eggs are eggs Daiwa would use the new finish this year on the Airity, and despite keeping ‘mum’ about it for the past twelve months, rejoice, we now have the new improved Airity with its sexy Diamond Satin slide easy paint

Rig one - running through

prone to heating-up when used under hot summer conditions. The remaining fifth, six and seventh sections have also received a makeover and now utilise Daiwa’s tried and trusted Integrated Taping System (ITS). The new finish helps to make the new Airity as slippery as the

“I thought there was little point in launching a new Airity as the original was perfect in every WAY - how wrong i was!” Mark Sawyer finish on the eighth, ninth, tenth and butt sections. The latter sections have been finished with silver-coloured graphics as opposed to the original black ones, which were always a bit

proverbial greased whippet and simply a joy to ship in and out, even when used at very long lengths. Constructed from ultra high modulus 100 ton carbon, the new UKMATCH MAGAZINE

16 UKMATCH Airity test .indd 18

Rig two - stability

Airity continues to deliver sharpness and speed with all the strength and power to cope with any grade of elastic on any venue. The spares package has also been adjusted, and the pole is now supplied with spare match top-3 kits, two match top-4s plus four BBPK1 big bore power sections with number three sections, a T-Cup Cupping Kit and Phex extension. The new Airity is also compatible with Multi- Bore kits and is also available as a pole-only model. So that’s the pole taken care of and what a lovely bit of kit it is – When I first heard that Daiwa were launching the new Airity I thought there was little point as the original was perfect in every way. However, the new model has made me think again! It was also a thoroughly pleasant change to do some proper fishing. So much of my match fishing is on

commercials that only on tackle tests do I get the chance to fish different venues and the River Ouse at Ely was one I was really looking forwards to. In fact, in my time with Essex County fishing around the area we never paid a visit to the place. Big deep rivers with plenty of pace can be somewhat daunting to those that aren’t familiar with them so I thought alongside the pole review I’d pen a few notes for guidelines on the tackle and feed you need. For a start you need a pole capable of striking in deep water with heavy floats and as the Airity is Daiwa’s flagship, I knew it would be the ideal testing ground. In fact, big winter rivers offer a very different type of fishing to what a lot of us do each week so hopefully my musings will give you a bit of a head start the next time you’re on one!

18 February 22nd 2011 14/2/11 09:55:11

detailed on the rig diagrams on this page. The first rig is for running a bait at full river pace and should be laid into the peg upstream so that everything ends up in a straight line and is ready to be run over the balled-in groundbait. Lay the rig in and let the float settle and sit upright, then let it go at full pace. By fishing with the bait just tripping bottom your hookbait will trundle over the feed along with the other freebies. You may notice that the shots nearest the hook act almost as a second bulk and these ensure that the hookbait remains pinned near the bottom and doesn’t ride up in the flow.

Proper rigs

As you can tell by now this type of fishing doesn’t need light gear! Put away those 4x14 rigs and No 3 elastics, you’ll need serious kit to deal with the conditions and for the decent stamp of fish you’ll be catching. I’ll deal with rigs first before moving onto elastics. Floats are the first consideration and anything under 1.5g will be pretty much useless in powerful flows. Nearer 3g would be a good starting point simply to give you a float that you can control properly and present the bait well under although it is rare that you’d need to fish a float over this weight in the UK unless conditions were extreme – then you’re into lollipop float territory! What is important is to make sure your float has a wire stem, which is vital for stability and control. Wire-stemmed floats also ‘stand up’ quickly once in the water which means you’re not waiting for the float to cock and they also cut through the water cleaner and don’t tangle. The best shape of body for river fishing is a dumpy pear shape and I’ve still not found a float better than the Tubertini Dark Line for this. In terms of size, this needs matching to the depth and pace of the swim and by and large for a river in normal condition, a 1.5g float will be fine for running through the swim, upping that to 2.5g or even 3g for if I plan to fish with the bait slowed down to a virtual standstill.

Rig one – running it through

Two set-ups pretty much cover most river situations and they’re

Rig two – stability

When there’s extra water on the river you might need to slow the bait down over the groundbait and this is the rig to do the job. Set the rig overdepth by roughly the length of the float bristle (around two inches) and lay the rig in downstream as you’re always taught to do. This will put the bait on the bottom facing the right way but it is crucial to keep the pole low to the water to prevent the float being pulled upwards out of the water by a gust of wind, thereby lifting the bait off bottom. This rig is also slightly overshotted to provide weight to tackle the flow – you’re not running this rig, more inching it a bit at a time over a specific part of the peg, aiming to get a bite at the back end of the feed area.

TECH SPEC Daiwa Tournament Airity pole kLength: 16m kFull Package price: RRP £4,999, SSP £2,999 Pole only price: 16m RRP £3999, SSP £2500 includes Phex extension kWeight: 1390g at 16m kRecommended elastics: 16/20


This is an area that I’ve been experimenting in lately but using Hydrolastic as opposed to normal solid latex. Where bream and skimmers or big roach are about the pink or blue grades set very soft through a top-2 have proved perfect but I feel they’re a little too beefy for small roach.

Faced with those fish I’d revert to a solid No 5 latex through a top-3. I also fit a Pulla Bung into my top kits as this gives you an extra 18 inches of elastic instead of the wastage that comes when you have a bung wedged well down the pole section!

A good workout for the Airity.

Lines and hooks

In coloured water I have no worries about fishing with thick lines and big hooks, especially if skimmers or hard-fighting hybrids are about. Ten inch hooklengths can be around 0.10 or 0.12mm with 0.15mm mainline which when you consider how much shot is on the line and the depth of water that you’re striking in makes sense. For the same reason a decent hook is needed. I’m a big fan of the Kamasan B511 pattern if only roach are on the menu. If there’s the chance of a perch or skimmer though, I find them a little too springy. The Kamasan B711 is much better in sizes 17, 19 or 21 depending on the size of hookbait I’m using. While we’re talking about hookbaits, maggots and pinkies UKMATCH MAGAZINE

16 UKMATCH Airity test .indd 19

are fine but in coloured water I’d always want some fluorescent baits with me as they stand out better in the murky conditions. Worm is also worth a go as a change bait from time to time. For distance between float and pole tip, there’s no need to go mad. You’re not fishing these rigs like you would on a whip so around a metre of line for the overdepth rig and two metres for the running rig is fine and the reason is simple. Because you’ve balled in groundbait, very little feed will end up down the peg so there’s no point in wasting time running the float all the way to the downstream limit of the swim.

19 FEBRUARY 22ND 2011 14/2/11 07:52:24

UKM live test/ Daiwa Airity pole Know what you’re throwing in - it really does make a difference in winter! When faced with a proper river of substantial depth and pace, there’s only one sensible way of feeding and that’s groundbait! Swims up to 5ft deep might allow you to loosefeed hemp or caster successfully but where there’s over 10ft of water, as was the case at Ely, balling it would be the order of the day, especially given the colour and speed of the water. My job would be to feed a mix that would get to the bottom in double quick time and stay there, creating one spot for the

fish to congregate, effectively a ‘killing zone’ to catch over every time. My involvement at Van Den Eynde for many years means I know what goes into their mixes but you don’t have to be clued up on ingredients and activity rates when it comes to picking the right bags for the job. Every company will have their own mix to do a specific job and after trawling through them all, here’s the three core river mixes that I use nowadays, all with a very different job to do.

Fast river roach

Gin clear water

Slow river skimmers

kVan Den Eynde Superoach kVan Den Eynde Secret kSensas Terre de Somme Damp Leam kGrilled Hemp

kDynamite Baits Silver X Roach kGrilled Hemp

kVan Den Eynde Supercup kSensas Lake 3000 kBrown Crumb

When the cold bites and rivers run clear, groundbait will still work but you need to refine your approach and go for something with a little less feed content but with bags of activity and I need only two mixes – Dynamite Baits Silver X Roach Black and Grilled Hemp. Dutch legend Jan Van Schendel once showed me when to use grilled hemp and when to use crushed hemp and he reckoned it was all to do with the size of fish. For bigger roach feed crushed Jan said while for bits, go for crushed grilled. The hemp will add that activity to the mix while releasing the oils from the seeds while the Silver X is a roachy mix which also contains hemp and various other goodies that roach love but on a more refined basis, it’s dark colour ideal for clear water.

This mix is not for the faint-hearted! The three groundbaits are pretty strong stuff and on their own will mix up into a sticky consistency that simply won’t break up once they hit bottom. By riddling in the leam this adds extra weight but once in the water, the leam gets washed out quickly, helping to break things up. Secret is a groundbait that absorbs water like a sponge and roach love it while Superoach is a great all-round sticky mix with 28 different ingredients! Adding grilled hemp only further enhances the mix but it is the leam that transforms things. One top tip is to mix the Secret and then let it stand for 20 minutes before adding more water due to its extremely absorbent nature!

Adding leam

So often I see anglers do this wrong but once you know how to do it, it’s so simple you’ll kick yourself! Always add the leam to the mixed groundbait – once the leam goes in, no more water should be added to the mix. What I do before I even open a bag of groundbait is work out how many balls I’ll be launching into the river. If it’s eight then I reckon around three bags of crumb will be fine along with around a kilo of leam so for balling it on a coloured pacey river I’d put in a bag of Secret, two bags of Superoach and a bit of grilled hemp and mix to a sticky consistency that is overwet. The next job is to measure out the groundbait for balling in. I work on the principle that a double handful of mix will make one ball so will take eight handfuls. To this I need to add the leam, roughly around a quarter of the amount of the crumb as you want enough groundbait in the peg to work its

magic – too much leam and the mix won’t work – it dries out too much and won’t make a ball. Measured out in double handfuls again this is passed through a maggot riddle and worked into the groundbait. You’ll see the transformation in the mix and feel the weight of it!

pole in one hand and throw the balls in with the other - you can’t! Invest in a set of pole rests and take the hassle out of it. Make sure you don’t hit the pole tip with a ball as it will smash to bits given the weight of the leam and groundbait and the next

consideration is where to actually throw the mix in, taking into account depth and river speed. Although the mix is very heavy it can still be carried a distance in strong flows. By and large you should be throwing just upstream of your pole tip. UKM


Groundbait alone won’t feed the fish and you’ll need some tasters of hookbaits. Casters, hemp and pinkies are ideal for rivers but there’s no need to go mad – a small handful of each will be ample for those eight balls at the start. Pinkies are an active bait so to settle them down and stop them breaking the balls up I chill them down overnight to reduce their wriggling. Distribute these through the mix and you’re done.

Balling it!

This isn’t quite as easy as it seems. You might think you can hold the UKMATCH MAGAZINE

16 UKMATCH Airity test .indd 20

When the river isn’t raging the bream come out to play and I know of no finer mix for river skimmers than Van Den Eynde Supercup and plain brown crumb, mixed to a dry, almost too dry consistency for fishing in the feeder. This isn’t really a balling-in mix for the pole but by overwetting it and adding some Sensas Lake, a great all-round groundbait, you give the mix a bit of backbone for deeper swims. Supercup is a famous skimmer groundbait while brown crumb is a staple ingredient for bream, even in winter. Mixed 50/50 this is spot on for the feeder but by going for a third each of crumb, Supercup and Lake you get an entirely different mix for making into balls and throwing in by hand.

Land the balls slightly upstream.

20 February 22nd 2011 14/2/11 07:53:14



FEEDER MASTER No longer a last resort, the feeder is an out-and-out match winner when fished correctly, especially in winter. Few are better with a tip rod in hand than Tommy Pickering, whether he’s fishing a commercial or river, and the former World Champ has bags of advice for keeping that rod tip wrenching round...


22 Tom Pickering.indd 22



14/2/11 14:33:16






Name: Alan Scotthorne Age: 48 Lives: Rotherham Occupation: Angling consultant Sponsors: Shimano and Van Den Eynde Team: Barnsley Blacks

Name: Tom Pickering Age: 55 Lives: Doncaster Occupation: Preston Innovations tackle consultant Sponsors: Preston Innovations and Sonu Baits Team: Barnsley Blacks


22 Tom Pickering.indd 23



14/2/11 14:34:02

UKM COMMERCIAL FEEDER/Tom Pickering Tom Pickering

Doncaster-based 1989 World Champ


N the week that saw Tommy Pickering announced as manager for England’s fledgling World Feeder Champs team, it seemed only fit that the man himself was sat staring intently at a quivertip on a blustery Lindholme Lakes complex. Famed for his small fish skills in the 1970s and 80s, former World Champion Tommy has undergone a reinvention since switching from rivers to the commercial scene and in one aspect of that world he has become a regular money winner – fishing the feeder. Whether he’s on a narrow snake lake or larger open water pool, the Preston Innovations star’s mastery of the tip has won him thousands of pounds, brought him to the brink of Fish O’Mania glory and seen him elected to lead his country this September in Italy, news that has left the likeable Yorkshireman positively buzzing. By the time you read this, the side will have been or will be close to being announced and already Tommy is forecasting great things for the event, reckoning it could be bigger than the main float-only World event owing to the everyman status of the method. Not all of us own a super slim 16m pole, bolo rods or sliders but we all have a feeder rod or two stashed away in the shed and all understand the workings of the method. He believes that will help make the Feeder Champs a success and help to for once and for all blow away outdated accusations that the feeder is a ‘chuck it and chance it’ method. Nothing, he believes, could be further from the truth. “Anglers that still believe that are wrong, very wrong,” Tommy said. “The feeder is a very skilful method and far removed from the feederfishing we first knew back in the 70’s although the principles remain exactly the same – to get a small ball of feed and your hookbait in the same spot in a certain part of the peg.” To put the tip through its paces Tommy battled the high winds on Lindholme’s Strip Pond.


Method v open end

The first choice to make is what type of feeder to use and both the Method and a normal plastic open end will catch but there are times when one outfishes the other. “There are two ways of looking at this,” Tommy said. “The Method is a simple approach to put your hookbait amongst the bait once the feeder hits bottom and breaks up and is the best way of catching fish and is also the most explainable! The open end plastic feeder allows you to put more bait in the peg and also more variations but is not as ‘instant’ as the


Most commercials don’t need long casts and in winter see many of

their carp far more docile than in summer. For that reason the new generation of commercial bomb rods are ideal for winter feeder work and Tommy specifically designed the new F1 range of rods for Preston Innovations with Lindholme F1 hybrids in mind. “I fish both the 9ft and 10ft versions for mixed F1 and carp fishing although if I was fishing just for carp then I’d up this to the 10ft Carp Mini, which has a little more poke for bigger fish,” he explained. “In winter you want a soft rod with plenty of bend and the most important factor when



Micro pellets are best for the Method, Tommy uses Sonu Baits Fin Perfect 2mm. These are poured into a large round bowl.


22 Tom Pickering.indd 24

Method. However, it does have one advantage over the Method when the fish get spooked and back off the feeder.” Because the open end feeder is fished with a longer tail than the Method, the hookbait is that bit further away from the feeder and can pick off carp that are roaming around instead of getting their heads down in one spot but where pellet fishing rules, Tommy always leans towards the Method.


Horlicks is used to help stick the pellets together slightly, no more than two tablespoons added per bag of pellets.


In goes half a pint of water, the three ingredients mixed thoroughly until the liquid in the bowl turns a milky-white colour.


14/2/11 14:35:30



BRITISH By casting to a topping fish, Tom was soon catching!

deciding how soft a rod to use is not the distance of cast needed, but more the size of hook and diameter of line you’re fishing. Like any winter method, the lower you go, the more bites you’ll get.” Mainline for all of Tommy’s feederfishing is 6lb Reflo Power Max and he fishes a running rig as this gives the fish the best chance of hooking themselves. A Quick Change Bead acts as the buffer and also allows him to switch hooklengths and hooks in seconds. “For the Method I’ll fish a four inch hooklength and typically in winter this will be Powerline in


After leaving the pellets to stand for half an hour they will have fully absorbed the moisture and swollen up like mini expander pellets.

A chunky Lindholme common – another victim of the Method!

diameters from 0.11mm and 0.13mm unless the peg is snaggy when I may step up to 0.17mm,” Tommy said. “The hook is the PR36, a brilliant hook for hair-rigging and I use either sizes 18 or 20 in winter. A size 20 might sound a bit small for carp but feederfishing in winter is all about getting bites, especially where F1s are concerned, and you can get a 10lb fish out no problem!”

Long hair?

“I’ve tried fishing with a long hair-rig but can’t get it to work,” Tommy admitted. “Now I fish with a hair around a 16th of an inch long. That’s hard to measure so what I want to look at is a hair that is slack but nearly touching the hook – basically as close as I can get to the hook but still hanging free.” The Method feeder has a short four inch link and even for the open end Tommy wants to fish as short as he can as he wants the bait

Feeder size

Whatever type of feeder you are fishing, the key in winter is to feed very little and Tommy breaks it down this way: “For the open end I use the Preston Mini or Small plastic feeders but only fill it half way as that makes the anglers around you think you’re filling it right up,” he winked. “They follow suit or so they think and overfeed their peg! Just because the feeder is such and such a size doesn’t mean you have to fill it every time. “For the Method I find that the Preston 30g flat feeder straightens

the line on the cast better and is good for longer casts but if I was fishing to the middle of the lake on a flat bottom then 15g would be ample, upped to the 30g model for island or far bank slopes,” he added. “In both instances the actual feeder would be the small version but feeder capacity is all about how many fish and the size of fish you’re catching.” “If you’re fishing for just 10 carp then use a larger feeder to put more bait in the peg whereas if you expect to be busty, making regular casts fishing for little stockie carp and F1s then the smaller feeder is better as it’s quicker to reload.”

Casting around

“Typically in winter the fish will back off when a few have been caught and if you’re not getting any indications whatsoever then start searching the peg,” Tommy advised. “There might not be any fish on this new spot that you try

Quick change beads allow you to change hooklengths in seconds.


For a final touch, Tommy adds a handful of Sonu Baits Tigerfish groundbait. This will stop pellets sticking to the Method mould.

UKMATCH magazine

22 Tom Pickering.indd 25

close to the feeder. His starting link will be 30cm long and he can then shorten it depending on the reaction of the fish and the indications he gets. If he’s not catching he will also shorten it and reckons it isn’t ridiculous to fish a four inch hooklength although you will get an odd tangle.


February 22nd 2011

14/2/11 14:36:42

UKM feederfishing/Tom Pickering but there might be! Even something as small as a topping fish can give away their location – the fish tell you everything as I like to say!” To give himself more options Tommy likes to have a closer line on the go, which he loosefeeds via the catapult from the word go. He might not catch here but it may just attract a handful of fish and he’ll know if they’re there from any line bites he gets on the tip. “If I get a slow pull round then it’s a good bet that it is from a fish between me and the feeder,” Tommy explained. “That should

be on the shorter line so I’ll wind in if nothing is happening on my original line and have a chuck short. Normally this is around 12m or 13m out or wherever I can feed comfortably and accurately with half a dozen 4mm pellets.”

Types of feed

“Where the Method is concerned it’s pellets and/or groundbait everytime using 2mm Sonu Baits for small carp and F1s or 4mm for bigger carp, prepared as explained later on,” Tommy said. “You can’t wrap a lot of baits around a Method anyway! This is where the

Job done for the Lindholme tip king.

UKMatch magazine

22 Tom Pickering.indd 26




open end feeder gives you so much might mean only casting 15 times more flexibility in terms of bait.” in a five hour match but the aim Groundbait holding things like should be to come back with a fish corn, meat or chopped on every cast. If you catch 15 worm and caster can all carp then you should be be put through an close to framing. open end and on a What’s a bite? multi-lake complex You ideally want each different baits can ukM Essential Tip fish to hook itself work on different When using pellets in the when fishing the tip pools so it’s a matter feeder, fish a banded 6mmonthehook and should only pick of playing around the rod up when you’re with hookbaits to see sure that the fish has done what response you get. exactly that. This means ignoring Then, if you catch a fish on meat knocks and taps on the tip, waiting for example, feel free to add a few for it to go round and stay there. bits to each feederful. “The problem comes with “However, if you’re feeding identifying those slow pull-rounds pellets then I’ve found it better to that can be very tempting to strike fish with just pellet on the at when you’re not getting many hook as the fish get bites,” he said. “Let the tip pull preoccupied with them above round and if it stays and thumps a all other baits,” Tommy few times the fish should be on. warned. However, sometimes other species How much? like skimmers can do this without Feeding principles in giving those extra knocks! winter for the feeder Sometimes, the reel can backwind remain the same as if you from a savage take so always fish were fishing the pole and with the anti reverse off.” ‘little and often’ is Tommy’s This can make clipping up motto. He’ll half fill his open difficult and Tommy relies on his end feeder or knock the own judgement for hitting the corners off a pellet same spot each time. Method feeder to cut Hookbaits down on the feed going For the Method a banded 6mm in the swim. hard pellet is hard to beat, fished “In winter you want on a pellet band tied into the hair to feed as little as but a single maggot can also score possible as the more bait well when fishing just groundbait that goes in, the more around the feeder. For the open chance there is of killing end the world is your oyster and the peg,” he explained. Tommy would try everything, “Even if the swim was from a grain of corn, three red solid I’d be wary of maggots and even a small piece of putting more bait like you punched luncheon meat. would in summer. You want a small pile of Feature fishing bait to attract a Many commercials pools have an few fish into island to cast to but is it always the area at a best to chuck right up against the time. That’s bare earth? That depends on the why I use type of carp you’re aiming for small feeders according to Tommy. for either “When the weather is mild the approach.” fish will move into shallower water Time closer to islands but when it goes between casts colder they’ll move back around a is also a foot off the feature where it is debatable issue. deeper. I’ve also found that F1s Tommy prefers aren’t keen on feeding in really the sit and wait shallow water whereas carp are so approach of the my philosophy is to find 1.5ft of bream angler, water for F1s while for proper carp often leaving the I’ll cast as close as I can to the feeder out for 20 island,” he explained. UKM minutes and that


February 22nd 2011

14/2/11 14:38:08

UKM cold-snap king/Mark Addy

“a fine approach will give me every chance to catch whatever’s in the peg” Mark Addy


28 UKMATCH Mark Addy.indd 28

28 February 22ND 2011 14/2/11 07:59:54




Out of the woods? NOT YET! March may be just around the corner but a cold snap is still a very real threat. However, England boss Mark Addy reckons that shouldn’t stop you from catching if you follow his approach, borrowed from the north-west canals and perfect for commercials where every bite is crucial Mark Addy


Vets World Champ and England boss

INGED by a cordon of smashed ice and steering his rig into a hole no bigger than a metre wide, Mark Addy couldn’t have picked a worse day to catch a few fish! Days of mild late-February daytime temperatures and frost-free nights had given anglers the promise of the end of the cold and something more pleasant to look forwards to in the coming weeks - dreams that came rudely crashing down with nights of minus temperatures and a daytime reading barely above zero. Inevitably that affected the fishing and following a weekend of hampered open matches and much-reduced weights, the Drennan Team England CoManager exuded as much hope and enthusiasm as a man on his long walk to the gallows. His task to catch a net of silverfish from a commercial seemed strangled at birth by mother nature. However, Mark is a veteran of many desperate winter campaigns on his native north-west canals and stillwaters, where the fishing is hard and the anglers harder still. If anyone could winkle a few out it would be the wily old veteran but he’d have to fall back on tactics normally saved for the canal rather than a fish-packed commercial. That meant no place for thick lines, strong hooks or good

helpings of bait. Instead, gossamer-fine rigs and a Scrooge-esque feeding regime coupled with the assistance of an ice breaker would be needed to get the better of Partridge Lakes, Mark’s chosen venue. There he had been plundering double figures of roach in matches where the carp were few and far between. “I thought I’d seen the last of that thing this winter,” Mark grumbled as he hurled his breaker into the depths of the Gold Lake. “It’s going to be such a gamble as to whether we catch or not but by adopting a really negative, fine approach I’m giving myself every chance to catch whatever is in the peg. Often you

anglers would be nailed on gold medallists after this winter’s trials and tribulations! “The problem with this time of year is that we should be getting milder weather so any cold spell will hopefully only be brief, but that upsets the fishing as it’s such a shock to the system and it takes a good few days to get back to normal,” Mark said. “Today is the third cold day in the little spell we’ve had and ice has been on the lakes for two of those so it’s not as if this has come out of the blue. Fingers crossed that the fish have got used to it and settled into some sort of routine although I still don’t think it’s going to be brilliant.”

Every fish counts when it’s cold!


28 UKMATCH Mark Addy.indd 29

can completely rule carp or F1s out of the equation as they’ll be shoaled up on a handful of pegs. In a team match or if you’re fishing for your section as an individual, a more general approach to catch everything that swims is a more sensible option.” Much of this approach will be borrowed from the canals including bait, feed and tackle but the Drennan NW skipper’s first job is to finish clearing the ice. Thankfully it isn’t too thick and only takes ten minutes or so of pushing around with his landing net and pole to get a narrow channel clear. If ice breaking were an Olympic sport, Britain’s match

29 FEBRUARY 22ND 2011 14/2/11 08:00:30

UKM COLD-SNAP KING/Mark Addy Battle lines drawn

With the ice smashed, Mark plans on potting in a little bait into three spots at the extreme limit of the ice hole, leaving it for half an hour while he has a cup of tea and returning to fish. He expects to catch quickly with the real acid test being to keep the bites coming.

Ice as a feature

Suitably refreshed Mark returns pleased to see that his peg hasn’t frozen over again given the temperature is only a little above freezing point. Bait has gone in on those three spots just inches from the edge of the ice at around 9m but why the seeming fascination with fishing next to the ice? “Just like an overhanging tree is on a canal, so any ice creates cover for the fish,” Mark said. “When the canals froze, you had to fish up against the ice but more importantly make your channel as narrow as possible because those that used to smash a wide swim for themselves caught little while the bloke fishing the tiniest strip did best. That had to be to do with there being more cover.” Subsequently Mark only has around 2m of width to his smashed channel and he would have broken the ice even further out if he was in a match in an effort to gain an advantage over the competition. For the purposes of today though, 9m is ample for the 63-year-old!

Bait options

Opening his carryall, Mark is leaving no stone unturned on the bait front. Because he is unsure what will work best in the icy conditions, several things will be given a go at some point, from

“ALL FISH LOVE A FLUORO PINKIE AND I CAN ONLY THINK THAT’S TO DO WITH THE COLOUR IN CLEAR WATER” Mark Addy groundbait to breadpunch – what you’d take to a canal basically! “I’d be pretty confident in catching by potting in a few pinkies and maggots but bread works incredibly well on commercials for roach and skimmers but my only worry here is that the fish have never seen the stuff before,” Mark explained. “Caster and maggot are slightly bigger baits that hopefully will catch some better quality roach and although I don’t reckon groundbait will be right for today, just a little cloud going in might make something happen where skimmers are concerned.”

Count them out

To begin with Mark will go down the pinkie and maggot route and before his tea break, trickled in around a dozen baits into those three spots, two on the edges of the ice and one in the middle directly in front of him. Carefully rotating each of these swims, spending no longer than five minutes on each should soon give him an idea of where the fish are. “Knowing when to feed more will make or break the day and even if I’m getting a few bites, I’ll be loathe to put any more bait in

Mark hard at work in the ice!

until I think it needs it, typically if I’m getting too many small fish,” he explained. “Even then that’ll only be a similar dozen or so pinkies fed with a Kinder cup. I’d expect from noon onwards to be the best time as this is when the temperature is at its warmest and so the fish should be most active.”

Just like the canal

Rigs are where Mark’s approach could easily be switched to a canal – they carry light lines and lightweight hooks with a float that you wouldn’t normally consider fishing on a commercial. “When it’s all about bites for small fish you apply exactly the

same principles that you would on a canal or river,” Mark said. “For carp you would still use thick line and strong hooks but where you’re after plenty of bites and building a weight, the finer the better.” Mark assembles two rigs with two different shotting patterns, one slightly more positive than the other for when the fish hopefully turn up en masse. Line on both is Drennan 0.12mm Rig Line for main to a short 0.08mm Double Strength hooklength and a size 20 Drennan Silverfish Match barbless hook (above right). This is heavy enough to land the odd bonus carp or F1 but the most important aspect, the hooklength is fine


Pinkies My main bait, pinkies will catch all sizes of fish and remain quite active even in cold water. Fluorescent pinkies are miles better than the rest and you can even pop a few in groundbait or liquidised bread when feeding, which works particularly well for roach.

Maggots A super change bait for bigger fish and for feeding, but only half a dozen each time. In clearish water reds are best but if you can get some, take a few fluoro pinks too. If you think a few better fish are around, especially perch,I’d have no hesitation in fishing two on the hook.

Casters Big roach are suckers for a caster and while I won’t feed any, they’re the first thing I’ll put on the hook if the stamp of roach I’m catching increases. Bury the hook in the caster completely if the bites are shy while if they’re hanging themselves, nick it on like a maggot.


28 UKMATCH Mark Addy.indd 30

Groundbait Breadpunch If there a few skimmers A little hit and miss on some are about, it can be worth commercials, when the potting in a small ball of water is clear this might be groundbait with a few pinthe only bait you’ll catch on. kies. A 50/50 mix of Van Den An instant bait, if you plan on fishing bread then always Eynde Supermatch and BaitTech Mantra is fine, making start on it, using finely a dark and fluffy feed that liquidised white slices and won’ttrusty fill theTournament fish but has whip steaming but not rolling a Robert’s maximum attraction. few slices for punching.

30 FEBRUARY 22ND 2011 14/2/11 08:02:02



BRITISH A super 1lb roach, fluoro pinkie doing the damage.

ANGLER FACTFILE Name: Mark Addy Age: 63 Lives: Boothstown, Manchester Sponsors: Drennan and Bait-Tech Team: Drennan NW Occupation: Bait-Tech agent and distributor

enough to keep the bites coming. “Mainlines can be on the thick side because the fish don’t see this as much as they do the hooklength,” Mark revealed. “A stronger mainline also allows you to step up hooklength diamaters as the day progresses – for example if a few better fish are about. Start with too low a diameter and you can’t make the switch.” Elastic is Kamasan No 4 set very slack to make the most of every hooked fish while for floats, Mark

needs only one pattern, the Drennan Roach (below). He’s got dozens made up from a tiny 4 x10 for shallow swims to 0.5g for deep central tracks on snake lakes. Today’s float is a 4 x 14 for the 6ft deep swim and he shots this in two different ways. “The first has a bulk of No 10 shot and two No 10 droppers while the second has the same shots but more strung out for when the fish start moving around a little more off bottom,” he says. “It’s also important to dot the float right Bread can be a gamble.


28 UKMATCH Mark Addy.indd 31

down but that can be a lot of faff. The easy way is to slightly overshot the float and then run the bristle of the float through your hair – provided you’ve got some that is! Hair has natural grease in it, which provides enough of a coating to stop the bristle sinking too much.”

But as quickly as the big fish turn up so they vanish. “There must have been a little pocket of bigger fish turn up,” says Mark as he swings in another little roach. “It might be worth putting in a little feed and trying a bigger bait to see if they’re still about.” A few more pinkies and maggots Fingers crossed! are trickled into both swims and a Rigs and bait at the ready, Mark single maggot slipped on the hook. drops in on his far right hand swim That draws a blank with only tiny but for the opening five minutes bites coming from small fish, a nothing happens, which comes as single caster getting the same a surprise as he was expecting a response. Switching back to pinkie bite pretty quickly. more little fish follow before the However, swapping to the fish of the day, a roach well over 1lb left hand side produces begrudgingly comes to several little roach the net. in three drops on “All fish seem to a fluoro pinkie, love a fluoro pinkie not big fish but for some reason action none and I can only think the less, Mark it’s the colour,” only taking a Mark muses. “I’ll couple of roach take a gamble and A dozen pinkies in from each swim feed bread to one the pot is ample. before changing. side and see if that “The fish will stirs them up. spook easily if you “You only need a small hammer one line too much,” he handful of liquidised bread with a advises. “I’d also expect one part of few pinkies added, which is a trick the swim to hold a few better fish we used to use for roach on the and even though I’ve caught a few canals, giving you the choice of fish, I won’t be feeding anything using them on the hook.” else until I think the peg has a lot of Duly deposited into the right roach in it.” hand side of the swim, a 4mm piece of punch follows into the Big-fish city depths but only little roach show A couple of perch are any interest. the next fish to show With the temperature beginning before Mark finds a to drop as the light fails, Mark calls run of better-quality it a day with around 6lb of fish, not fish on his right hand a huge net but one hard-earned swim, two 8oz hybrids, from a lake still solid with ice. A a roach of a similar size small match on one of the and two more chunky adjoining lakes is won with only a perch leave him handful of F1s proving the worth beaming as the pressure of scaling down and fishing for is now well and truly off. bits. UKM

31 FEBRUARY 22ND 2011 14/2/11 08:04:00

UKM RIVER backwaters/Alan Scotthorne

ANGLER FACTFILE Chunky chublets will bump up a weight.

32 UKMATCH Alan Scotthorne .indd 32

Name: Alan Scotthorne Age: 48 Lives: Rotherham Occupation: Angling consultant Sponsors: Shimano and Van Den Eynde Team: Barnsley Blacks

14/2/11 08:05:16





Dirty brown, boiling rivers often see ‘match cancelled’ signs go up, but all’s not lost for river fans, says Alan Scotthorne. Every venue has a backwater that gives refuge to the fish and sport for the angler, and with his local River Don raging through, a quiet arm off the main river got the five-times World Champ treatment… Alan Scotthorne Five-times world champion


at perched on the concrete towpath flicking his waggler to a moored barge, Alan Scotthorne could have been ensconced on his beloved Stainforth & Keadby or New Junction Canal, but not a bit of it. This was a backwater off the River Don, where only 50 yards away ran the main river in full, unfishable flood. Known locally as the Sprotbrough Canal, the chosen hunting ground of the five-times world champion couldn’t have been more different to the out-of-action Don, standing stock still with a lovely tinge of colour and, from the bent rod silhouetted against the skyline, full of fish. After a winter spent fishing amid the ice at commercial fisheries around his Rotherham base, Alan, like thousands of match anglers, was champing at the bit to get on the river for some proper fishing, but down came the rains and washed the Don out. This is where the ‘canal’ came into play. Every river has one, a lock cutting, backwater or dead arm that for much of the year doesn’t get the time of day from anglers, but when the floods arrive, they

become a goldmine, the ideal place to head for and a venue capable of producing fish to varied methods. Fishing at international level for Drennan Team England means Shimano-backed Alan has to keep his hand in fishing methods most of us would leave in the bag. The waggler is one such example, and while the canal looked ideal for the long pole, the big man had opted for an insert waggler attack in search of chub. A recce session the day before had produced double figures of fish to 1lb 8oz in less than two hours’ fishing, and Alan was hopeful of more of the same. In among those

Don has several of these arms that fish their head off when there’s extra water on the main river, and I can think of others like Shardlow Marina on the Trent that offers much the same.” The swim in question was around 30m wide with a huge barge moored on the far bank. A depth of 9ft made it perfect waggler territory, but as ever with a man as decorated and meticulous as Alan, there was a whole lot more to the method than met the eye.

Adapting floats

For Alan, wagglers as they come from the shop aren’t quite right, so

Even a few boats can’t stop the bites.


32 UKMATCH Alan Scotthorne .indd 33

chublets were the odd roach, dace and skimmer, making the canal something of an aquarium - but his aim was for a day spent fishing the way we used to before the pole took over. “The peg I’m fishing might look perfect for a little maggot or groundbait feeder chucked to the barge, but because you’re catching regularly on the float, the method becomes much quicker because you’re not having to fill the feeder on each cast, plus it creates less commotion when hitting the water and you can also catch fish on-the-drop more efficiently with the waggler,” Alan explained. “The

33 FEBRUARY 22ND 2011 14/2/11 08:06:00

UKM RIVER BACKWATERS/Alan Scotthorne he spends a bit of time in his tackle room adapting them into the perfect tools for the job in hand. This means replacement tips and a length of soldering wire to remove any need for locking shot. “I’m a big fan of the Drennan Merge Peacocks, but I do away with locking shot because I’m fishing very light lines of around 2.5lb, and when you’re fixing big shots like AAA or SSG to them, this can cause damage,” Alan revealed. “Okay, you can put on rubber tubing to prevent this, but I’ve found it far neater to build the weight into the float and use rubber Grippas from Drennan as float stops. You can then change the depth easily this way without damaging the line, and there’s also no annoying slippage, which you can get with shot.”

No shot needed

The float’s shotting is therefore built into the float with the help of knitting needles and soldering wire, and to do this Alan removes the plastic plug from the base of the shop-bought float and inserts a

ADAPTED Waggler tips are replaced with hollow tops to cut out dazzling surface glare.

length of knitting needle to act as a grip for the soldering wire, glueing the needle in place. “It’s then a case of wrapping the wire tightly around the needle until you’ve got the right capacity, and I’ve actually found it best to overshot the loading so that the float sits cock-on with just the wire added,” Alan continued. “Once the dropper shots are added all you need to do is unravel the wire and trim a bit off with scissors until it sits perfectly. I then slot a Drennan Swivel Adaptor over this so I can change floats quickly if I need to.”

Top tips

concerned,” Alan said. “Hemp, casters and maggots, and you don’t need loads either. A pint of each is ample for a steady feeding regime, maggots being my main line of attack, but you should always consider what species of fish you are targeting.” “If it’s chub then I would start on maggot with a few casters added as this gives me an option on the bait front. If I start catching bleak then I can try a caster or two as a bigger, tougher bait, and there’s no harm in feeding a little hemp, especially if I’m catching a good number of roach, although I always feel that hemp is a better bait for milder weather when you can use it for bulking out your feed, but it’s never a bad thing to feed it at any time.”

The DIY doesn’t end with the shotting, though. Alan will also replace the tips to get the perfect end result, especially on days when the sun is shining directly in front How much to feed of him, which can cause a shadow “To begin with I’ll err on the side of from solid float tips, which in turn caution with a little-but-often makes it impossible to see the float feeding when you throw in the glare! “Simply replacing the original tip with a hollow Bait No 1: Bait No 2: plastic version solves casters. hemp. this as the light will shine through the tip and cut out the shadow effect,” Alan explained. “All I do is cut off the tip with a Stanley blade and carefully insert a hollow regime plastic top into it, glued firmly until I get an idea of how in place with Superglue. Several many fish are in peg,” Alan said. companies make hollow plastic “Around nine or 10 maggots at a waggler tops in various colours time are ample, and I’ll keep an eye and tip diameters so you can on the species of fish I’m catching prepare different floats for harder and how quickly I’m getting bites. days when the bites are For instance, if I was catching shy, or go for a thicker top bleak then I’d up the amount of if necessary.” feed and try and feed them off, but Three baits the big problem is that if there are a “There’s only three baits lot of little fish in the peg, you can’t you need for the hook and get rid of them and you’re better feed where river chub are off keeping to little-and-often and taking what comes along. Let the fish tell you how much to feed Alan chooses Grippa them – never pile the bait in and try and dictate to them!” stops.


“In keeping with the feeding regime I’ll begin with a softly-softly single maggot approach, switching to a double if I reckon some bigger fish like chub or skimmers are about,” Alan revealed. “Double maggot isn’t the solution many think because two maggots actually sink slower than a single because there’s a greater surface area of bait falling UKMATCH MAGAZINE

32 UKMATCH Alan Scotthorne .indd 34

Bait No 3: maggots.

through the water, so if you’re getting bleaked out, double baits might not be the answer.”

Where to cast

That barge is an inviting target but often casting right up to it is not the best way to plunder the shoal of fish living underneath. Alan reckons a cast that ends up a foot or so off the hull is a far better bet as it will encourage the fish to leave that sanctuary into open water where they’ll be easier to catch. “Just like on an island peg on a commercial you don’t have to feed and fish right up against it,” he said. “The whole point of loosefeeding is to draw the fish to where you want them, and its easier to land a float a few feet off a feature than it is to get it bang up against, especially if the wind picks up, which can ruin accuracy.”

Finding the depth

Forget using heavy plummets that cause a cartwheeling effect on the rig when cast, the simplest way to

34 FEBRUARY 22ND 2011 14/2/11 08:06:49



BRITISH Let the fish tell you how much to feed.

tip a quick flick under the water to sink the line,” Alan explained. “If you need to get the line to sink more naturally in a skimming wind then give it a spray of washing up liquid before fishing.”

Nuisance fish

realise its a decent fish, get a few turns of the reel handle back on the spool and you’ll be fine,”


The chub were few and far between.

find the depth on the waggler suits Alan’s adapted floats perfectly. He removes the solder wire loading so that the waggler carries no shotting, which will make judging the depth so much easier. “With the solder wire coil removed I attach an SSG shot or a very small half-ounce plummet on the hook and cast this,” he commented. “Because the float has no weight you can keep altering the depth until it’s absolutely perfect, getting no false readings, which can happen with

“DON’T CAST TIGHT TO FEATURES- DRAW THE FISH OUT!” Alan Scotthorne shot around the float – there’s basically no other weight to sink the float except the plummet! I’ll start an inch or two overdepth and then go from there, shallowing-up if I get lifts on the float or very fast bites that I can’t hook.”

Rod choice

Surprisingly, Alan’s rod isn’t the 13ft model you’d expect for most waggler work. Instead, he opts for a two-piece 12ft Shimano

Speedmaster Commercial, the Light Float version, which he reckons is soft enough for fishing with light hooklengths and small barbless hooks without fear of being seen off. But why only a 12ft version? “I think this is something we’ve learnt from commercial fishing,” Alan said. “As rods get shorter the strike is that bit quicker and a 12ft float rod designed for F1 fishing with 0.09mm hooklengths is perfect for wagglers on narrowish rivers – I wouldn’t use them for fishing the middle of the Trent though! The quick strike comes because of the shorter, thinner profile of the blank, and of course it’s extremely light, making it ideal for holding for five hours of a match.”

Clipping up

With a moored barge as his target, Alan treats this much as he would any feature, which means clipping up to get the float in the right spot each time, just inches away from the boat’s hull where those chub will be lurking. “The fish aren’t that big here and with few snags, there’s no real risk of a fish doing me or needing to be given any line,” Alan explained. “Soft rods virtually stop this and it’s rare to get bust unless the peg is pretty snaggy and I can’t honestly think of many canals full of snags. As soon as you strike and UKMATCH MAGAZINE

32 UKMATCH Alan Scotthorne .indd 35

All too often you see anglers striking directly overhead, which works fine when there’s a fish on the other end but in narrow pegs or shallow water, this can result in a Polaris-like launch of the float back towards the angler, over their heads and inevitably into the tree above them. “All it needs is a controlled pull to the side,” Alan advised. “You don’t have to pick up loads of line and by sinking it contact to the float should be quite direct. Decide which side you’re more comfortable striking to and lean into the strike, moving back with the rod and pulling right through until you feel the fish.”

There’s nothing more certain to sink the heart of the match angler than the arrival of a swarm of bleak in the peg! Sadly when extra water is about these little pests are almost always the first fish to show up and rarely do they clear off. “They’re a hard fish to get rid of, usually because there’s so many of them!” Alan explained. “They’re always more of a problem when pleasure fishing than in a match where more anglers are feeding and so the shoal gets spread out. If you’ve got bleak trouble then the only thing I can think of to try and sort the situation out is to feed heavier and fish a rig with more shot down the line to try and get the bait through the bleak. “However, all is not lost if you’re fishing for chub because like carp on a commercial, chub will soon push the small fish out of the way when they’re about so if it goes quiet, expect a few better fish to be in the peg.” UKM

Sinking the line

“There is the danger of pulling the float offline by sinking the line too aggressively and the best way to minimise this is to dip the rod tip as soon as the float lands and then give the

A bitea-chuck for the champ!

35 FEBRUARY 22ND 2011 14/2/11 08:07:40


UKM RIVERs/Alan Scotthorne

Forget using strong lines and forged hooks for chub – Alan reckons that on snag-free rivers you should be going the opposite way with fine hooklengths and tiny barbless hooks. “Finer lines mean more bites, especially on heavily fished rivers and combined with small, light hooks you’ve got brilliant presentation,” he revealed. “By fishing a soft rod in a snag-free swim and not striking like Zorro you’ll have no problems landing fish up to 4lb on 0.09mm hooklengths and 2lb mainline. Simply keep the rod low when you hook a fish and let the soft action of the rod do the hard work.” Alan chooses to fish two rigs for the Don, one heavy and the other light, mainlines being 2.1lb Bayer Perlon (‘a brilliant floatfishing line that’s been about for years’) to a hooklength of 0.08mm Shimano Silkshock for the light rig and 0.09mm for the heavier version, both being around 1ft long. “It might surprise some people that I use barbless hooks but I think we’re so used to using them on

commercials that they’re no longer the risk they once were in terms of lost fish,” he said. “Keep a tight line and you’ll be fine but even then the odd loss is inevitable. The hooks I use are made from lightweight fine wire to help with presentation but I use two very different patterns with a view to fishing different-sized baits.” Alan’s choice for the heavier rig is a size 22 Drennan Silverfish Match, a hook with a decent gape that will hold two maggots or casters easily without masking the hook. For the lighter waggler that changes to a size 22 Kamasan B510, a classic crystal-bend hook designed for single maggot fishing on light lines. Both have enough strength though to not straighten out when a big chub is hooked. Alan uses very different hook patterns for each waggler rig.


32 UKMATCH Alan Scotthorne .indd 36


Rig two - heavy rig.

Rig one - light rig.

Light tackle


ToP TIp Shotting patterns k “The two rods I set up allow me to catch fish either on the drop when they’re coming off bottom or bang on the deck for those days when they’re keeping their heads down,” Alan said. “Floats for both are the same, an adapted 2SSG Drennan Merge Peacock Insert fixed with Grippas and loaded with wire (below), both set at dead depth. Shotting patterns are pretty self explanatory with a small bulk of No 9 shot on the heavy rig for bombing the bait to the deck quickly. This positive set-up is aimed at catching everything while the lighter rig has the classic shirt button-type layout with five No 10 and a single No 12 shot strung out for presenting the bait on-the-drop.

36 February 22nd 2011 14/2/11 10:02:25

Objects Desire Of


Garbolino’s state-of-the-art Bomb rod

IT’S ALL IN THE ACTION W Garbolino G MAX 10ft Bomb rod 01789 748058

HEN a rod has been two years in the making, you know it’s something a bit special and when it carries the G MAX logo you know it’s going to be every bit as good as the bestselling Garbolino pole that carries the name. First impressions of the new 10ft Bomb rod from the French company certainly tick both these boxes. Aimed purely at commercial fisheries, the G MAX Bomb is a British-designed will-o’-the-wisp of a tool that looks too light to deal with bruising double-figure carp. Put a bend in the G MAX though and that suspicion will soon vanish from your head. The G MAX bears the name of England international and Garbo’s UK boss Darren Cox, himself no slouch when it comes to commercials and with the help of his array of sponsored anglers including former Fish O’ Mania champ Steve Cooke, has taken those 24 months to tweak the rod to create what you see on the tackle shop rod racks in 2011. The super lightweight slim blank boasts a perfectly balanced crisp action that most two-piece rods struggle to maintain. Power is described as progressive in the butt and middle of the rod, which makes the G MAX capable of taking on and pummelling big carp into submission while there’s a softness to the tip that lends itself to cold weather work where bites don’t rip the rod off the rest, also

helping to prevent annoying hook pulls when winding a hooked fish in. While some two-piece bomb rods proudly talk of a ‘parabolic’ action, Garbolino reckon that this sort of rod needs a tip action for big fish meaning that you’re always in charge of the fish and not the other way round! Perfect for all short distance commercial Method, standard feeder or bomb work, the G MAX comes with four tips, two of soft glass for delicate bites, the others made from carbon for longer casts or water affected by tow. “It’s taken two years to get the rod right because we wanted the correct action,” Darren explained. “The rod actually has multi tapers, which is a hard thing to explain and the closest I can get to describing is imagining an 11m pole with eight sections condensed into a two piece rod. You get all those different tapers to create the perfect action.”



kProduct: Garbolino G MAX Bomb kPrice: RRP £189.99 kLength: 10ft kWeight: 149g kNumber of sections: Two kRecommended reel lines: 2lb to 5lb kRecommended hooklengths: 2lb to 4lb (0.10mm to 0.16mm diameters) kRecommended casting weight: 35g kTips: Four glass fibre and carbon


37 UKMATCH Objects.indd 37

SUPER LIGHT Garbo’s new offering has four tips and employs ‘multi tapers’

37 FEBRUARY 22ND 2011 14/2/11 08:15:20

UKM Silverfish winner/Steve Gardener

ANGLER FACTFILE Name: Steve Gardener Age: 58 Lives: Horley Occupation: Tackle retailer Sponsors: Milo Team: Daiwa Dorking


38 UKMATCH Steve Gardener.indd 38

38 February 22nd 2011 14/2/11 08:17:54




PELLET FISHING But without the carp! More and more commercial fisheries produce big weights of silverfish to a pellet approach intended for carp, species like skimmers, roach and even crucians are suckers for an expander. However, it needs a different tact to catch these shy-biting silverfish, as Steve Gardener explains... Steve Gardener Milo-backed England star


One of these a chuck and you’re laughing!


38 UKMATCH Steve Gardener.indd 39

s you’d expect from a match angler who has represented his country since 1985 and won countless World Champs medals, Steve Gardener is a master when it comes to fishing perfection. Even on commercials, traditionally venues where you can fish a little cruder and still catch well, the Drennan Team England legend strives for complete mastery of the task in hand, a mastery that gets magnified tenfold when winter arrives and the bites tail off. There’s no place for the hazardous chuck-and-chance-it approach of bomb fishing, while the notion of waiting for only half-a-dozen bites from carp or F1s doesn’t enter the Milo man’s head. Instead, he goes down the route that has earned him England glory and the reputation

as one of the best match anglers these shores have ever produced. Fine lines, small hooks and delicate floats all play a part in what Steve calls ‘busy fishing’, catching skimmers, roach, chublets – in fact, any of the silverfish species that are increasingly common on the commercial scene nowadays, sizeable fish that will feed when the carp go AWOL and which in the right hands can be caught in enough numbers to result in a brown envelope or three. This winter has seen Steve take wins at local fisheries including Furnace Lakes, Passies and Sumners Ponds, beating the blokes fishing for big fish with bite-a-chuck action from chunky silvers, although he does make one concession to the carp world in his bait choice – pellets. Despite the traditionalists’ view of groundbait, worms and maggots catching silverfish, in Steve’s opinion these fish have become so used to fishmeal that they’ll pass up a pinkie in favour of a 4mm expander every time. He’s tried it so many times that it can’t be coincidence!

39 FEBRUARY 22ND 2011 14/2/11 08:28:46

UKM silverfish winner/Steve Gardener “It’s amazing what you can catch in winter on pellets,” Steve said. “Too many anglers think they’re all about carp, sat fishing on the bomb or long pole, but that’s simply not true. Much of my fishing this winter has been on local commercials that have seen something of an explosion of bream and skimmers where maggots and worms haven’t worked. Put a pellet on the hook and feed micros, though, and the weights have been just staggering.” The 2008 World bronze medallist has weighed in almost 50lb of skimmers on a couple of occasions already this winter fishing this way, and situated just a few miles from Steve’s Horley home, Sumners’ Match Lake is the perfect place to put his pellet skills

“It’s amazing what you can catch on pellets in winter” Steve Gardener into practice. Aside from carp, the lake holds stacks of roach, skimmers, tench, chub and a good head of crucians that feed even in the depths of February, and a recent win with 28lb of them was plenty of proof of the pudding. “I run a winter series at Sumners where all carp count as 1lb, so while they still are a bonus fish, it doesn’t matter if one angler catches 20 of them because that means 20lb at the scales, which can be beaten with silverfish,” Steve revealed. “The fishing is great because you’re getting lots of bites, which is what we all want at the end of the day, and is more like the type of fishing I grew up with, developing a couple of swims throughout the day towards a strong finish. I suppose it’s a little like canal fishing, bringing a touch of finesse to the commercial scene.”

Hybrid rigs

Steve starts with his rigs, which he describes as 50 per cent canal and 50 per cent commercial, a blend of fine lines, elastics and hooks to a shotting pattern that you certainly wouldn’t use on the Grand Union. “I’ve put up two rigs to do two very different jobs, dictated by the

species that I have in the peg,” Steve explained. “If there are a lot of small fish like roach and skimmers about then I’ll fish a double bulk rig, whereas if it’s one of those dream days with a good stamp of fish then out comes a bulk and two dropper rig for a slower fall of the bait.” The double bulk rig takes a thin-bristled 4 x 14 Milo Saxo float and is shotted with a bulk of four No 10 shot around 30cm from the hook and a further two No 10 shot midway between. The aim is to get the bait to bomb through the peg quickly, not allowing the small fish a chance to get at the pellet. “Fishing this way also gives you the bonus of seeing very definite hold-ups on the float from a fish picking the bait up and moving that smaller bulk,” Steve said. “However, at times even the roach can do this and I wouldn’t start on this rig unless I was getting murdered by small fish.”

Light elastics result in fewer lost fish – Steve uses a No 5 grade.

Dot it down

Lines are surprisingly delicate with a mainline on 0.11mm diameter Milo Krepton to a 15cm length of 0.08mm Ghost hooklength, rounded off with one of Milo’s barbless P175 hooks, a size 18 being best for soft expander pellets. At the other end of the rig Steve fishes No 5 original Preston Innovations Slip elastic when crucians are about, dropping this to a No 4 if he was catching only small skimmers. The second rig has the same lines, hook, elastic and float but is shotted with the bulk and then two No 10 droppers equally spaced over the 15cm between bulk and hooklength. This produces a slow fall of the bait and is ideal for lowering the rig in and getting bites as the bait hits bottom. “In both instances the float is shotted to a pimple,” Steve added. “Bites will be incredibly shy at times and leaving too much float showing is a no-no because you simply won’t see enough to put a weight together. “I also add some tiny styl weights above the bulk to help get the shotting absolutely perfect as some floats can sit lower in the water as the match progresses, something I think caused by grease off our hands. If the float starts to sink a little too low I remove a styl at a time until it sits properly.” UKMATCH MAGAZINE

38 UKMATCH Steve Gardener.indd 40

4mm expanders are perfect for both hook and feed.

Always put in a second line to give yourself another option.

Top presentation

Tiny things matter when you’re a World Champs angler and as Steve points out, how many anglers actually think about the way they lay their rig into the water? “Something as seemingly simple as this can be the difference and my way is something I do when fishing bloodworm on deep venues,” he said. “It’s a way that means everything falls through the peg in a straight line without the

bait being under pressure as it falls. This can happen when you lay the rig in to one side and hold it tight, the fall being a little un-natural.” Steve’s way is to drop the bait and the bulk into the swim almost on top of each other and then pull the float to the right as the drop starts. He then pulls the float back over to the left, almost to the point where the bait originally went in. This snaking effect ensures the whole rig falls in that straight line,

40 February 22nd 2011 14/2/11 08:29:54



BRITISH Keep a tiny piece of bristle showing to hit shy bites.

Tiny styl weights are perfect for delicate shotting adjustments.

Job done! 25lb of skimmers, crucians and that bonus 3lb 8oz perch!

Drennan Depth Marker Bands – better than Tipp-Ex!

Pick an all-round float with a touch of finesse and a thin bristle. Feeding balls of pellet and groundbait sees off nuisance roach.

looks natural and will give you the best chance of an immediate bite. “Both rigs are set at dead depth but as the bottom is a little uneven on most commercial fisheries, there’s not really such a thing as bang on the bottom,” he explained. “What you want to do is try and find the deepest bit and use this as your guide. Inevitably you will be fishing a little overdepth at some point. I also use Drennan’s Depth Marker Bands, which stops me

having top kits plastered in Tipp-ex at the end of the year. Little things like this really make a difference to your overall fishing.”

Small pellets

Pellet is the only bait on the Gardener tray but even here, looks can be deceptive! At first glance it appears that Steve fishes with 4mm and 6mm expanders but they are in fact both 4mm but of different brands and so of slightly UKMATCH MAGAZINE

38 UKMATCH Steve Gardener.indd 41

differing sizes. This means there’s always a bait that’s a little bit bigger to try if necessary. “The smaller pellet is the 4mm Ringer Baits Next Generation and the larger the Bait-Tech 4mm that Alan Scotthorne put me on to,” Steve said. “I prepare them by pumping the pellets until they sink, leaving them in water for a few hours, draining them off and then bagging them up in the fridge overnight - dead simple. Both

should be hooked across the grain to stay on when unshipping”

A second line

Steve likes to have a few lines on the go during a match, more for reasons of experimentation than catching more fish. Typically he fishes two pole lines at angles of 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock, the lines put in roughly 4m apart so as not to split the shoals of fish. One will be fed with a different

41 February 22nd 2011 14/2/11 08:31:35

UKM silverfish/ Steve Gardener type of bait to the other, leaving it up to Steve to judge which one is producing the stamp and type of fish he needs to frame. He can then make an informed decision and begin feeding what works well on one line on the other. The result should be two equally productive swims on the go at once. “Where skimmers are concerned I feed one line with just pellets and the other with pellet and groundbait,” Steve revealed. “There will be times where the fish won’t settle over the groundbait so if this happens I can cut out the crumb and feed just pellets.”

Balls of feed

For his opening gambit Steve pots in a ball of groundbait around the size of a walnut and enough pellets to make a similar-sized ball, mainly micros with half a dozen

expanders mixed in while the pellet only line gets enough pellets to make a similar amount. “If the swim is shallow then the bait can be fed loose, even the groundbait but if there’s a deeper swim or if the roach turn up en masse, I’ll squeeze the pellets and groundbait into little balls to get them down quickly,” he said. “Groundbait it a 50/50 mix of Bait-Tech Special G Green and Dynamite Baits Green Swimstim mixed on the dry side but I do have one word of warning about feeding in terms of amounts. “It’s easy to get carried away when you’re getting loads of bites and the temptation is to feed more bait more regularly. Keep the same amounts going in but make it more regular as the fish won’t take a lot of feed at this time of year - little and often basically!”

Lift and drop

The best pellet anglers will always recommend lifting and dropping the rig to inject a little attraction in the hookbait and Steve agrees but where shy-biting fish are concerned the lifting is to check for bites that he hasn’t seen. “Even when dotting the float right down there will be plenty of times when a fish picks up the bait but nothing registers on the float. My advice is to drop in and if you’ve not had an indication within 15 seconds lift the float a few inches. Often you’ll find a fish on the other end!” Steve laughed.

Blinkers on

Judging weights in a small fish race is important but because a commercial holds such a wide stamp of fish you can soon lose your way and spend more time Steve with his ‘old friend’.


38 UKMATCH Steve Gardener.indd 42



BRITISH doing your sums than concentrating on the float. Some days can consist of catching 30 small 1oz roach while the next can be 30 crucians of 6oz apiece. Therefore, setting a numbers target is pointless. ‘Get your head down, be busy and aim for a fish a cast’ is Steve’s mantra.

Unwelcome guests

Carp – the nemesis of the commercial silverfish angler but Steve believes that in winter, the bait on your tray can be the solution to keeping them at bay. “The more bait that goes in, the less the carp like it,” he said. “Think about it. Most winter carp are caught on single baits fished on the bomb. That means you can fish with light lines and small hooks with a fair bit of confidence.”

A real bonus!

True to his word, the session goes smoothly, as you’d expect from an angler as experienced as Steve. Two lines produce a steady stream of skimmers and crucians typically going three or four to the pound, the only downer being an invasion of little roach on one line. Steve’s reaction is to feed harder balls of pellet and groundbait and every time some bait goes in, the better fish put in an appearance within seconds, pushing out those little fish completely. When the roach return, he feeds more bait. When the swim goes mysteriously dead though, Steve reckons a carp might have moved in and when the float buries and several feet of elastic stream out, his suspicions seem to be right. However, the fish doesn’t feel like a carp and several possibilities are banded about. Could it be a tench or even a chub? The answer comes with a flash of olive and black stripes – a perch! “There’s only five perch in this lake and they’re all big, this could be a 3lb fish,” Steve says. “I caught one weighing 3lb 9oz in October from the peg oppositel!” The fish is netted and it’s big, definitely over 3lb. The fish goes in the keepnet and Steve dashes off to his car for a set of scales - the moment of truth arrives! Steve estimates the perch to be around 3lb 8oz – inevitably that’s what it weighs, probably the same fish that he caught previously. Not a bad way to round off a session! UKM

42 February 22nd 2011 14/2/11 08:32:14






Electron Power Active 16m Pole Package RRP £999.99 OFFER £200 Back in stock for 2011, this is the 1 pole that saw Avanti compete with the big boys of polefishing, and then beat them on price. For £200 you get the full 16m Power Active pole and a spares package that includes a Match kit inside the pole (rated to No12 elastics), three spare Power kits (rated to a 20 elastic), an ultra-strong half butt, short No4 section, and a full-sized pole holdall. This makes it one of the most affordable, complete pole packages ever sold at this length and price.

Made in the same factory as many other top poles, the Power Active is a robust pole that won’t crack under the pressure of commercial work, and at 13m it is very manageable.

Avanti Oxygen Commercial Carp 12.5m Pole Package RRP £299.99 OFFER £99.99 At under £100 this pole is a real contender for commercial water anglers – and is up there with some of the more expensive big brands in terms of sheer quality. The 12.5m pole boasts two spare top kits which can be cut back to take elastics up to a 20, including hollows. Anti-friction, reinforced joints, and pole bag. Limited stocks, buy now!


RDX 11m Pole PLUS Two Spare Top Kits



RRP £199 OFFER £49.99 Simply the best pole on the market for 2 the money, it is stiff yet responsive, ideal for the serious angler working to a budget. Many expect it to become a best-seller due to the all-round performance the pole delivers – commercial carp and tench, or on natural venues for skimmers and roach. Two spare kits mean you can rig up with a full range of elastics, or create a purpose-built cupping kit – al for £150 less than the RRP!


044 UKMATCH Used Tackle.indd 44





14/2/11 08:33:51 Avanti Carp-On XS 11m Pole Package

Crunching power for the pools

RRP £199.99 OFFER £50 For £50, you’ll not find a better pole deal in the UK this season. This commercial carp-ready pole has all the length and strength needed for stillwater fisheries, and comes with an extra FOUR spare Power Top-2 kits as standard! With a Match kit (rated to a No12 elastic already inside the pole), this really is a ‘one-pole-does-it-all’ package, as you can set up with elastics for carp shallow, on the bottom, for silverfish/F1s, and also go heavy for margin fishing with a top-2 left over for you to make a cupping top! Wall strength on the sections is high, and with carbon tops it’s light to use at longer lengths.


Pantera 9.5m and 11m poles now back in stock – special offer for UKMatch readers Pantera Powercruncher 9.5m Pole RRP £59.99 OFFER £20 This best selling all-rounder of a pole is now back in stock, and is already selling fast in Used Tackle’s stores thanks to its ‘no-nonsense’ construction and incredible offer price. Supplied with a long ‘flick tip’ you can use it for snatching out roach, rudd and skimmers, or cut the tip section back and elasticate it for carp, tench and bream. Rigged-up with a No14 elastic you’ll be able to tackle any commercial venue, and the solid wall strength means you can pile on the pressure without any worries. It’s also ideal for margin fishing, and at 9.5m it’s longer than most margin poles so will give you extra reach to push your float close to features like overhanging trees and reedbeds. A robust pole, and at £20 it’s a great bargain. Stocks are limited.





Avanti Hyperspeed 11m Pole Package RRP £199.99 OFFER £70


Pantera Powercruncher Pro 11m Pole RRP £79.99 OFFER £30 bigger brother to the 9.5m pole, this 5 The 11m Powercruncher Pro is an ideal long pole for fishing shallow, on the bottom, or down the edge for carp and silverfish. It has the same tough construction of the 9.5m pole with exceptional wall strength throughout its length, but has the addition of a long carbon top-2 section which aids balance and makes the pole lighter at the tip. It packs plenty of power too, and with a No14 elastic rigged through the cut-back top kit you can hit, play and land big fish on this pole without worry.

This is a complete pole set-up – elasticated and ready to fish – and designed for all species of fish on commercial fisheries. A real all-rounder of a pole, it comes with three ready-elasticated top-2 sections that feature winder bungs, bushes, and connectors, with elastics rated for silverfish, bream, tench, and small carp, plus big carp and margin fishing. The 11m length puts you in control of where you want to fish, and although this one is not designed specifically as a margin pole, it has all




The Powercruncher Pro 11m has an easy-to-grip butt section plus a smooth finish on all the other major sections to make it slide easily through your hands for shipping in or out and when playing fish.


the strength of one, with solid walls and joints on all six main sections. A no-nonsense 11m pole which will cover you for all species on stillwater fisheries with elastics, bungs, bushes and three top kits ready to fish!



Avanti Vendetta Mk2 12.5m Pole RRP £199.99 OFFER £100 Save £100 on this new version of one of Avanti’s best-selling commercial fishery poles. The Mk2 Vendetta Pro pole is 12.5m long and comes with three Power Top-2 kits and a Match kit. It has a spiral wrap on all the major sections with high wall and joint strength throughout, and is rated to a 20 elastic. Perfect for commercial carp fishing shallow, deep, or down the edge, this pole gives you loads of options..




Avanti Argenta RS 8m Margin Pole RRP £99.99 OFFER £30 New for 2011, Avanti’s impressive Argenta Margin pole is designed for those bigger commercial carp. Uprated to a No20 elastic, it has all the power and strength you’ll ever need for fishing down the edge, and the length for fishing the ‘money-maker’ swim at the bottom of the near shelf. A spare Power Top-2 kit lets you elasticate your pole with two different elastics or set up two rigs on heavy gear. The seven-section pole has carbon top sections so it feels balanced in the hand, while a smooth slide-easy finish on the main sections makes it easy to ship in and out. The first stocks have just arrived and this pole will sell out quickly, so be sure to get your order in this week.





Avanti Margin Carp 950 Pole


RRP £99.99 OFFER £30 This no-nonsense powerhouse of a pole is spot-on for dropping a rig tight to the margins and playing the big fish which live there. At 9.5m it’s longer than most margin poles on the market and has bags of strength. Smooth, easy slide sections make using this margin pole a breeze.Rated to a 20-plus elastic, there is nothing this pole can’t stop on commercials! Limited stocks!



Tel No




044 UKMATCH Used Tackle.indd 45


Send the completed form and your cheque or postal order (payable to Used Tackle) to: Angling Times Offers, Used Tackle, 28 Baker Street, Hucknall, Nottingham NG15 7AS Data Protection Statement: *By entering your email address and/or mobile number you are choosing to receive email and SMS messages from time to time from Bauer Consumer Media (publishers of this magazine) and or carefully selected partners. We will never pass these details to any other organisation. Bauer Consumer Media (the publishers of this magazine) directly or via its agents may like to contact you by post or phone. Please tick if you do not want to be contacted by us ■ or carefully selected partner organisations ■ in this way.We will never pass these details to any other organisation.


14/2/11 08:35:17

UKM Interview nterview/Ian Heaps

5 minutes with

IAN HEAPS Small in stature but massive when it came to winning big matches, ‘Heapsy’ is a true legend in every sense of the word! IAN HEAPS 1975 World Champs gold medallist

UKM: Do you miss the big-match scene? IH: In a sense I had been there, done it and got the T-shirt and since I developed my fishery I thought that would be the end of my matchfishing as I would spend so much time running the place and coaching. Recently, though, the local lads here have been happy to let me fish matches with them – I suppose they think they can beat an old world champ – and they do! That gives me the competitive element that the big opens did and I still really enjoy it. I do miss the open circuit to a degree, but I’d done it for so many years there was nothing new going on – and I don’t miss the long walks either!

ANGLER FACTFILE Name: Ian Heaps Sponsors: None Job: Fishery owner Age: 68 Hometown: Narbeth, South Wales

A bag of Decoy carp for ‘Heapsy’.

046_UKMatch_Feb 22.indd 46

UKM: What’s your all-time favourite venue? IH: I had, and still do, have a real love for River Trent as the roach fishing on there in the 1970s and ’80s made it a real matchman’s mecca. I don’t really have one favourite section as I’d fish anywhere, from the tidal to the upper river, but I suppose if I was pushed I’d have to say Burton Joyce as my top pick. I used to fish there every Saturday and do very well, and the difference to other rivers like the Welland and Witham at that time, were the numbers fishing. The Fenland rivers might get 1,000 anglers on it because it was an out-and-out bream match where any area and any angler could win fishing the feeder or bomb. The Trent was a roach match and the anglers fishing there, I would say, were highly skilled, but you only got around 100 fishing. Everyone on the Trent fancied themselves to catch enough roach, and on a normal

14/2/11 08:39:25



Ian embraced the commercial carp scene in the late 1980s and ’90s.

BRITISH river you’d need a ‘magic stone’ as the Nottingham lads called it, around 14lb to win. The Trent attracted a different type and different class of angler. UKM: What are your angling strengths? IH: Being on a par with nature and understanding it, almost living the life of the fish and knowing what was going on under the surface. For example, I used to catch a lot of fish off bottom, even on the Trent, especially when Sugar Beet discharge was going into the river, which forced the fish to come shallower. After years of doing it and knowing what’s what it becomes easy. Another example would be not getting a bite running the float at river pace, but when you laid on or stret-pegged, creating a stationary bait, you did. We used to use Mitchell reels in those days and we learned to backwind ever so slightly so that the float was creeping through the peg, almost exactly as you would when using a centrepin, but with the benefits of a fixed spool reel. UKM: How would you say the top anglers of today rate against those of your era? IH: This is an old chestnut, and if you ask me it’s a completely different ball game today compared to the ’70s. I’m sure today’s big names like Raison, Ringer and Masson would do very well if they were transported back to the ’70s to fish those venues with the tackle that was about back then. They say that there’s nothing like the skills of yesteryear, but those lads are quality anglers, and even if they needed to brush up on things they would soon hone those skills. The sad thing is that no one is using those skills today, and I’d forecast that a lot of them will be lost in the next decade.

made a big difference, we missed out and saw how the Continental teams managed to catch on the pole when we couldn’t. I reckon that in 1977 if you went to any match on any canal in the north west, 97 per cent of the anglers were using poles, so there was a very quick uptake because you simply couldn’t beat it for pushing a little dibber under the far-bank bushes and trees. Of course, the pole was also a massive leveller because the need to cast a waggler accurately to the far bank had gone. UKM: Was owning a fishery ever a goal of yours? IH: I was the one who told Billy Makin, before he brought his fishery, that commercials were the way fishing was going. He did actually ask me if I was interested in coming in with him for Makin’s, but I was too busy working with Silstar and DAM at the time, although the thought did appeal to me. So when my time working in the trade was coming to an end I could see that I needed to do something else and I developed a love for coaching and teaching people about fishing, and I used to go around the country doing this, staying at various guest houses and B&Bs. That made me think ‘wouldn’t it be great if I had my own place all on one site where I would offer fishing, coaching and accommodation?’ That’s how Holgan Farm came about.

UKM: Can you still remember your World Champs win like yesterday? Has anything else in fishing ever come close to matching that? IH: There’s nothing to beat a World Champs win whether individual or team, and I would say the only thing to compare with Poland in 1975 was winning team gold in Italy ten years later because it was such a big thing to beat the Italians on their home ground. UKM: Who was the best angler you ever fished with or against? IH: It was always a pleasure to fish with any of the great anglers of the time, but one stood out and that was Kevin Ashurst. Like myself, Kevin had a dad who was blessed with the gift of understanding fish and nature. Benny put Kevin on the right lines, and my dad Jim did the same for me at an early age. Although we both grew up together and were roughly of the same age, Kevin

always seemed like an angler far older and more experienced than me - he hit headlines long before me and it didn’t seem to matter what venue he was on, he’d win. UKM: Anglers embrace all methods nowadays, but what did they make of new innovations in the ’70s? IH: The problem is that when you’re winning matches you never really think about changing what you’re doing or thinking about how you could catch more. With all the success I had on lakes waggler fishing, I often wonder how many times I could have done so much better by trying different things. A good example was when fishing the waggler, when it was very common in my era to fish with up to 18 inches of line on the deck. Only by experimenting after my big match days with different ways of presentation – for instance fishing at dead depth – did I realise what I’d missed out on and how many bites I never saw in the first place. UKM

The victorious England team of 1985 when they beat Italy on home soil, Ian playing a key part.

UKM: The pole now dominates everywhere. Was that always the case? IH: As soon as poles became available in the UK match anglers at the top of their game immediately saw the benefits and were using them. I think the eye-opener for me was in 1975 when I won the World Champs on the slider, which worked for me, but in other sections where a couple of small fish would have UKMATCH MAGAZINE

046_UKMatch_Feb 22.indd 47



14/2/11 08:41:22

UK Match - Issue 12  

Issue 12 of UK Match - out February 2011