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Saturday, 27 September 2008 12:46

Fly Fishing For Pike

My Journey into Fly Fishing For Pike - By Steve Hills

Many thanks to Colin at Pike Fly Fishing for allowing UK Fisherman to reproduce this article. Please visit their excellent website at: www.pikeflyfishing.co.uk

I would have liked to write a piece on methods and practices in catching pike on the fly but as so far my experience and skill don't quite reach that far so i thought I would do a piece on how I got started in this wonderful sport of ours.

It all started for me as a natural progression from lure fishing. I spent many hours wandering up and down my local river Nene and various drains throwing lures in likely spots. I had my fair share of good days and mostly bad days.

But then things changed. I suddenly found myself no longer satisfied in catching pike using lures anymore. The price of the next must have lure was too much to pay with regard to satisfaction upon catching with it, and the tackle for this method is nothing short of sea fishing equipment. Unfortunately a necessary evil but no longer fun.

I needed a fresh challenge, something for the mind to dwell upon whilst stuck at work all day. For me fishing is not only about catching fish it should relate to everything about it, sporting tackle being a primary concern. I like to see fish get away occasionally, it gives me the fire to improve my skill and not just to use a bigger hook.

I had heard about fly fishing for pike before but always regarded it as too hard and a bit too up market for the likes of me so disregarded it for a while.

After a few more months of lure chucking I met a chap at work who is heavily into trout competitions. He used to tell me about captures of pike on trout gear and how a few people purposely set about catching pike with the fly.

After hearing these tails a few times I took the plunge and rang a stockist of fishing videos and ordered an American video titled "Fly-fishing for Pike" also another called "Fly fishing for big Pike" by Alan Hanna. I also purchased the books to go with them.

To see Pike caught in this way was absolutely stunning and the seed was firmly sown.

I bought a rod and reel and with advice from my trout fishing friend I tied up a fly. It was a length of black rabbit skin tied to a 4/0 hook with some lead wire wrapped around the head to give it some action. Then of I went to the twenty foot at Whittlesey and my mate offered to come down to teach me how to cast.

After much slashing and thrashing and swearing and wondering what the hell do I want to do this for, things got smoother. After a couple of hours and no fish my mate said he had to go, which left me on my own which strange as it sounds took the pressure of a bit. Anyway I carried on up the drain until I came to a spot where I knew there were a few small pike about from my lure fishing trips. Determined to catch something I made a cast along the bank a short distance and started to retrieve and sure enough thud the rod bent and i nearly wet myself. It wasn't a big fish, about 3lb, but I had never felt anything like it, I have had many fish of this size whilst lure fishing and find they are seriously out gunned by the strength of modern lure tackle. After much panicking and getting tangled up in the line I succeeded in landing my first ever fly caught pike.

I was very pleased to see the single barbless hook had caused no damage compared to some trebles I have used. Upon release the fish shot of as if it had never been caught.

Pleased with my success I cast again along the bank in the opposite direction and after a few nibbles thud the rod bent again this time with a bit more composure I landed and released another pike of about 3lb.

Pleased with my success I moved on in search of bigger fish but then disaster happened my rod sections came loose as I was false casting and split the over joint making it useless.

But that was it, a pike fly fisherman had been born, a better and stronger rod was purchased, also a better make fly line, plus a great heap of tying materials and a few good books. And the most important thing I purchased were some proper casting lessons.

My skill as a Fly Tyer is improving but as for casting and catching...well I'll just have to keep working at it.

I get a lot of satisfaction from the flies alone, every time I make a new pattern I've dreamt up, I get very excited about getting it wet. Many times I'm heading down the drains with the super glue still wet.

Fly fishing has given me everything I was missing, a real challenge but it's not so difficult the challenge can't be met with a bit of practice and determination. My only gripe is that it can depend on the weather a lot more than lure fishing. Some of the winds across those drains make casting a real problem at times but.. hey.. another challenge to overcome.

Author: Steve Hills
Source: www.pikeflyfishing.co.uk

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Saturday, 27 September 2008 12:22

Match Fishing

MATCH FISHING - By Ergo

It’s time to put your fishing skills to use and bring home some coin – but what steps need to be taken to get on the match-fishing ladder? Ergo reveals the info you’ll need...

Many pole anglers spend countless hours bashing away at their local venues. But what if you could actually make some money from it? Well, many anglers have the same thought week in, week out and when it comes to fishing a competitive match the world is your oyster.

The first decision you must make is what kind of match you want to enter. Generally, club matches are best for the match fishing ‘virgin’ because they allow you to sample competition fishing but on a small scale and with less risk to your wallet. There are literally hundreds of clubs around the UK and the chances are you’ll be in the catchment area of a dozen or so just sat where you are. Above anything else, club matches are all about anglers getting together for fun. However, the fun element doesn’t mean that the matches will be no good. On the contrary, clubs often have regular matches on some of the best waters around the UK and will offer the beginner to match fishing a chance to fish well-known venues without having to face the open-match regulars who are highly skilled.

Match fishing by ErgoThe other alternative is to go straight into open matches. Opens bring together the cream of match fishing, whether it’s from the local circuit or anglers who travel from far and wide. The major pitfall here is that you will generally be up against the best that match fishing has to offer. Those who do compete will be familiar with every peg, technique and opportunity that arises, making them very hard to beat. On the plus side, payouts are much higher and the purse for a winning angler can be in the hundreds of pounds, rather than the £50 or so you’ll win from a 25-peg club match. The basic fact to remember is to choose a match on a venue that you will feel comfortable fishing. If you’re a canal angler who rarely fishes for carp, then it may be too big a step to jump straight into a circuit based on the major commercial venues of this world. Instead, why not stick to what you are good at, be it canals, rivers or carping. If you are moving into an area that’s unfamiliar to you, then practise – after all, it will save you money in the long run.

The qualities of the field and the venue aren’t the only factors to consider though. Location and entry cost are two that can’t be overlooked. Don’t travel too far because:

a.. It is daunting to travel 100 miles or so, because those nerves will have time to build up and,
b.. You may not be able to do the journey regularly, leaving you up in the air as to whether you’ll get to grips with a venue.

Also, cost has to be taken into account. Tot up your petrol, entry cost and bait bill before you start and work out whether it will be a viable option.

The weekly angling press is the best place to start when choosing a match. There are many opens run every weekend and also through the week. If you are a member of a club, then your club newsletter will let you know the where's and the when's, making it a much easier prospect to get fishing. All in all, match fishing can be a rewarding experience, whether it’s serious open fishing or the more relaxed atmosphere of a local club.

Whatever the match, enjoy the fishing! Remember...

a.. Set your goal. Is it the money that’s your motivation or just the kudos of beating other anglers?
b.. The weeklies are your guides to the matches to be held over the coming week. Read the match reports and make your mind up from there.
c.. Join a club. Club fishing is the most popular form of match fishing and it’s easy to see why – high turnouts, affordable entry fees and the emphasis on fun.
d.. Stick to what you know. Don’t jump feet first into a match that you know you’ll do badly in. Instead, use your skills as your strength and fish matches on similar venues to those you regularly frequent.
e.. If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Make sure you cover every eventuality with regard to rigs, bait and even down to filling the car up with petrol – it’s no good if everything else is perfect but your car runs out of fuel on the way!

Edited By Paul Orford - UK Fisherman
More excellent advice from Ergo. So if any of you fancy giving match fishing a try, you now know all you need to get started.

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Wednesday, 09 August 2006 00:00

Junior Carp Championships

Preparing for the Junior Carp Championships 2006 [Part 1]: - By Crazycarper

Seventeen minutes past eleven, Thursday 3rd of August, I'm worrying about the competition in less than two weeks time. After filtering the internet for every bit of information and tips about Linear fishery's Brasenose 1, it is looking more and more like RMC's Thorpe Lea. An action water, and a big one at that.

The competition layout is 50 competetors in each qualifier, with random swims, total weight of all fish caught and top 10 go through. So now I have to make a game plan, what am I going to do which will make me stand out from the crowd ?

Brasenose 1 is 32 acres in size with just over 3,000 carp, mostly mirrors, resident there. The articles and reports I have read present stories of mega hauls of carp in single day sessions, one of which reporting 514lbs of carp in 36 hours. Most of these mega hauls were taken by some sort of boilie with an accompanying PVA bag or mesh full of pellet.

So with only 2 rods allowed, I have my first rod sorted. For the second rod, I have decided a different approach will hopefully produce the goods, so there are a couple of options in mind.

- The first is a zig rig, or for those of you who don't know, an extended hair rig (usually about 3-6 feet in length), with a pop-up high-vis boilie cast into the same area as my other rod. With this I would be covering mutiple depths and catch the fish at whatever level they are cruising around. This was also reccomended by someone who knows the lake very well (no names lol).
- The second option is a piece of fake bouyant corn counter-balanced by a piece of fake sinking maize on the hair, and a PVA mesh bag filled with groundbait mix including, mainline fusion chopped boilie, sweetcorn, mainline fusion 2mm pellets, bird seed (tried and tested !) and heathrow baits nutty groundbait.
- And of course the other option is to use the boilie and pellet filled PVA bag the same as the first rod.

So now with the baits planned I can move on to a game-plan. Because I have never fished the water, and it is similar to Thorpe Lea, I am going to take exactly the same approach as I would at Thorpe Lea. This means getting myself into a rhythm and having everything organised so my fishing flows properly and without any distractions or complications. Using my invaluable marker rod to search for those ever important gravel bars and getting some feed and my rigs on it accuratly. After finding the gravel bar and placing the marker there, I plan to throw some balls of the groundbait mix around the marker to get that first carpet of bait down (I usually put balls of groundbait out first as it gives a cloud effect to the water which draws fish in so much quicker than just boilies or pellets, Danny Fairbrass inspired me with this). Then introduce pellets and boilies, and then finally the hook-baits.

So I have 9 hours and 49 other people to compete with, I think with a organised and strong game-plan I can qualify into the finals, or at least give everyone else a run for their money ! Thanks for reading everyone and will let you all know how it went !

Luke Thomas
Crazy_Carper

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Published in Carp Fishing Articles
Tuesday, 23 September 2008 20:40

Lessons for anglers from a fishy education

LESSONS FOR ANGLERS FROM A FISHY EDUCATION:

By Rex Bledsoe

Humans have a tendency to believe most animals are relatively stupid - especially fish. When anglers believe fish have limited powers of observation and intelligence, they tend to exclude the lessons most schools of fish teach their young. When they do so, they continue to believe old wives tales and misguided assumptions about fish behavior. In particular, they underestimate the capacity of the fish they are pursuing to practice the hook-avoidance techniques that are a regular part of a fishy education.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008 20:06

Not such a great fishery

Not Such A Great Fishery !!

Uk Fisherman was recently contacted by Gareth Scutt who wanted to pass on his concerns regarding a fishery in Cheshire and the condition of the fish there.

Gareth said:

I would like to inform your readers about an appalling incident involving what I have always thought to be a great fishery.

I visited Cheshire Fisheries, Nr Tattenhall, Cheshire and upon arrival I noticed that the surface of the smallest course lake was covered with fish gasping for air. It was obvious to me that there was a serious problem so being the kind-hearted gent that I am, I thought I better make sure the owners were aware.

I approached one of the gentlemen behind the shop counter and asked, "have you seen your fish mate, they don't look to good." He said to me, "yeah the pipe is blocked because people leave litter and what do mean have I seen them, do you think I'm F***ing blind!"

I was shocked at his attitude and later further shocked that they were still selling tickets to that lake. Children and parents with kids who thought great, look at all these fish, we'll have a great day. Little did they know that these fish were all close to death and would not be feeding?

Very unprofessional and a complete outrage that they let things get so bad to begin with.

Editor: Gareth has two justifiable reasons to be upset, the state of the fish and the reaction to his concern form the guy in the shop. If you are connected to, or know Cheshire Fisheries and would like to comment on this article, please contact UK Fisherman through the contact page

** Please note the views expressed here are not necessarily endorsed by UK Fisherman

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Monday, 22 September 2008 20:30

Carp fishing with Marc - carp baits

CARP FISHING WITH MARC - By Marc

Seasonal Changes 2006 - Part 2

Thinking About Baits

Welcome to part two in which I’m going to talk about baits & the successes I have had of late.

In the late eighties I never bought used shop made baits. I allways rolled my own & I’m sure many of you will appreciate just how long this takes. Many hours I spent in the garden shed after getting banned from the kitchen mixing, rolling & boiling boilies. Yes pre-made boilies have come along way since then but I just preferred making my own on the basis that I had control of what went into my final bait, colour, flavour levels etc.

Most of my boilies were made from BFM (big fish mix) with various flavours/colours, until I stumbled across the amazing flavour of cranberry. This flavour was & still is today a top fish attractor. I did mess around with maple too but it just didn’t match cranberry.

As you maybe aware BFM is a brownish red colour & with a small amount of red robin a lovely dark red colour was formed. Red, purple & brown are apparently some strongest colours found in the carps colour spectrum - worth remembering!

I wasn’t heavily into particles at this time, a few tiger nuts, sweet corn & hemp were used occasionally and I had massive confidence in my boilies so I stuck with them.

During my brief encounter with marriage I had to sacrifice a bit of my carp fishing, the long hours bait making was one of the first to go & my over night sessions were cut down too. The birth of my daughter Annalise really limited my time on the bank, but as many of you dads will agree is a well worth sacrifice.

This was when I really had to find a pre-made bait that lived up to my expectations!

Friends & magazines really made my decision easier; everyone seemed to be raving on about Mainline baits! So my next trip to the tackle shop saw me leave laden with 10 kilo’s of Assina8 (freezer boilies). They looked good, smelt good & tasted great, yes I eat my boilies. Not regularly honest, but I believe if I like them the carp will too.

I had some really good catches on this bait but something was missing. The carp loved the bait but often got bored & would start feeding in the silt around the boilies? I started asking questions, having thoughts about this to myself. I think it was a match angler friend who suggested loose feeding maggots & cutting down the amount of loose boilies offered. God did this work, the carp went crazy, the water was fizzing with activity & they readily picked up both baits. This is when I stumbled across chopping the boilies & feeding them with the maggots, yep I had cracked it. Bearing in mind this was during the nineties & I did get many a strange look from other anglers as I sat there chopping boilies into a bucket & mixing it all with maggots. Maggots are for Roach, Rudd etc aren’t they?

I skipped the introduction of the Activa8 although some of friends caught very well on them. I stuck with my current bait until Maple8 was released. This boilie was so close to my BFM bait I just had to move on to it.

There comes a time when every angler has to raise his targets & move on to new venues, I had six great seasons on Furnace Wood syndicate & Buckhurst Park Estate lakes, with me moving homes too made finding new waters easier.

This is where I found out about a 10 acre lake, little pressure from anglers & stocked with carp to mid thirties (Lake View). This was also around the time when I heard about a new bait from Mr Hearn, ‘The Source’ & I was lucky enough to get a few kilo’s before they hit the shop shelves. New water & new bait? After a few investigating walk rounds of my new water it was becoming clear that the few anglers who did fish here were getting smashed up the likes of sweet corn, hemp & maggot, this got me thinking about particles more.

So here I am sitting in front of a new piece of water, armed with ‘The Source’, a bucket of halibut pellet & a bucket of particles (sweet corn, maize, hemp, tares, chick peas & a pint of maggots). I was expecting too much on my first visit but after plopping the marker round around the swim I found three likely areas, one in the margins, so many still today forget how productive the margins can be. I love fishing the margins, you can guarantee your presentation is 100% & your baiting up is bang on.

I had very good night, very little sleep, an aching arm & two sacked up carp, I don’t usually sack for fish for more than a few hours but it was so close to day light & wanted to get some good pictures. I asked the first day angler on his arrival to assist me in accurately weighing & photographing the fish. He did look a bit bewildered with my request but agreed. On removing the first sack from the lake my new friend Gary asked how many fish were in the sack, I could only laugh & said “One Bro”, there was no reply until I transferred the carp from the sack to weigh sling then came his reply “Bloody hell, how big is that?” “The small one of the two” was my answer. The scales swung round to 24lb, pictures taken by a very excited photographer & the carp safely returned with the use of my floating mat ( I prefer to return big fish safely with the use of the mat, just in case they flip/wriggle).

The second sack was hoisted from the lake, I knew it was bigger, just how much I was unsure. On seeing the carp my friends comment is unprintable! The scales pulled round to 29lb 10oz, my heart sunk a little I was sure she would go thirty. Photographs taken, carp returned safely & friend asking all sorts of questions.

A year later Gary has become a total all out carp angler & has broken the twenty pound barrier, a very happy moment for both of us.

During the summer of 2005 a friend of mine bought two smallish waters (Hunters Lodge) & I was invited for a session in exchange for some work he wanted done. We only had rumours of twenty pound carp to fish for & we found some of them during the next few months.

I now had three new waters close to my home, not 100% sure of their total carp stock.

The start of 2006 I found myself using particles more & more, I changed boilies again due to ‘The Source’ becoming so popular (Top Bait). I was still catching lots of fish but the edge had gone, so I switched to Richworth’s ‘Multi-plex’. A truly worthy replacement to my last boilie.

My particle mix had now evolved big time with no less than 15 different pulses, seeds, nuts mixed within it. Four different sized, flavoured pellets were also introduced to the final bucket of goodies. It didn’t look very good but it smelt great & tasted even better. The safest way to get this bait into the swim was using a spod even though my bivvy has been covered with splatters & spills from casting out.

I was lucky enough to fish a swim with shallow clear water within the margins. I introduced a few handfuls under an overhanging bush & watched. After a short wait the water fizzed into a cloudy mess, the carp loved this stuff big time.

I added two more ingredients to the mix during the late summer - mashed up sardines & aniseed extract. The extra smell & oil content meant I could now use the mix as a sort of ‘Stik mix’ (oil based baits don’t melt pva bags/mesh).

To this day I’m still catching well on the baits.

Just to be a bit different I have fished some of the particles from my mix on the hair & the results have been amazing, the bigger fish seem to prefer small particle baits placed just off the baited area.

Up to this date I have safely landed fifteen different twenties, one thirty & numerous doubles from three venues.

I am sticking to my particle mix for the coming season but I’m looking into a new boilie for the coming season.

I hope you have enjoyed my latest article & found it useful. If you contact Paul @ Uk Fisherman I’m willing to share my mixes in more detail with you, but I recommend experimenting yourselves. There is nothing better than making your own bait mixes & catching big-time.

All the very best & tight lines as ever

Marc

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Published in Carp Fishing Articles

CARP FISHING WITH MARC - By Marc

Seasonal Changes 2006 - Part 1

With runs drying up, Mr Carp getting harder to find & the winter weather becoming even less inviting, it was time to start thinking, debating, putting a few changes into my coming seasons quest.

I decided upon three areas of my fishing that needed a bit more concentration, modification etc. Terminal Tackle, Location and Bait. I chose these three points as like many other anglers we become lazy, “It worked last time, why change it”, “Everyone else is using this”. It’s so easy to fall into complacency but a few little changes can pay off big time!

I hope from reading this article you can pick up some ideas which may help you put a few extra carp on the bank.

Part One: The End Bits !

Terminal Tackle? Where do I start? We are bombarded by magazines, videos & crammed shelves full of all the latest gadgets & gizmos at the local tackle shop.

Don’t get me wrong I have tried, tied some of these space age rigs & had some great results, but I prefer to keep it simply with a few modifications.

Lets start with hooks, this past year I have switched to using Korda hooks, the wide gape & the long shank X. These hooks are incredibly strong & stay sharp even fishing over gravel, stone etc. The wide gape I have found to be perfect for fishing against weed & snags. They seem to be like a magnet in the carp’s mouth, absolutely brilliant. I have used other brands of hooks with a few problems, opening out on the bend, snapping at the bend etc.

Hook links have become a bit of a fashion accessory to me, manufacturers bring a new one out, I gotta have it !!

I prefer soft hook links, in various lengths, but I’m decreasing them in length.

During a visit to one of my local lakes, I had a quick walk round, visited the four other anglers in situ & got the same response from all of them “Its hard going Marc” not exactly what I wanted to hear!

This got me thinking & after a few searching questions a pattern emerged - they were all using hook links from 6”-9” in length with loads of freebies scattered around.

Rather than just getting my rods & casting to the hot spots I sat there for while, smoked a cigarette, deep in thought. I proceeded to take my rods out of the quiver & cut the long hook links off. I tied one rod with a link around 3” long & mounted a single 14mm boilie. The next rod I tied a link around 2” & mounted one piece of glugged maize & a small piece of yellow foam above it. The third rod I kept to the normal pattern I had been using in the past. All three rods had a small pva bag of chopped offerings attached & cast out to the likely spots.

I was hardly settled into my chair when the maize rod was off, not a monster fish but a carp all the same. I made another pva bag up & cast back out to the same spot (I all ways mark my line whether day or night). I had literally resat back down & poured a coffee out when the maize was off again, two runs in less than thirty minutes of fishing - this time an upper double graced my mat & the attention from the other anglers was growing. The nearest angler kindly did the photographs for me & as I slipped the fish back into the water the single 14mm boilie rod leapt into action, I was in again, another small double laid on the mat.

On returning the fish, the owner of the fishery popped over with two other anglers, all with the same question “What bait you on then mate”? I replied “Two fish on maize, one on boilie” there was a bit of head shaking going on in disbelief from the other anglers as they departed to their swims.

I went on to catch another four carp that day all from the short hook links, not one of the other anglers asked me about my presentation, just about the bait?

As I mentioned earlier I try to keep my hook links simple, eighty percent of the time I use the knotless knot with a small piece of tubing near the bend of the hook & a piece of heat shrink of about ¾”. The heat shrink I like placed opposite the point down the hooks shank & about ½” above the eye with a slight bend towards the point.

I have also been using a micro ring on the hook replacing the tubing - this does increase the weight of the hook towards the point & aids in hooking/turning of the hook when entering the carp’s mouth.

I do use combi-link materials too; however I do prefer to use them when fishing pop-ups.

If I want a stiff rig presentation I use amnesia (fluoro) rather than combi material.

I have had some blinding results from single bait popped up 2” from the lead.

This season all of my rigs incorporate the kwik change links that are available from most fishing tackle suppliers; they simply speed up all the process of swapping rigs & getting fishing again.

Another change I made this season was my lead arrangement, rather than follow all the other anglers with the semi fixed lead I started using running leads, leads with a stop bead 3” up the rig tube & the helicopter rig, all with different sized leads. Yes some rigs do rely on a heavy lead to function properly, but this season saw me use leads only heavy enough to reach the baited area.

My rig tube choice has to be Korda, the sinking version; they make various colours, its always super smooth & supple. Tungsten putty seems to grip to it beautifully too. Above the tubing I will normally place a flying back lead with a stop of about 3ft-4ft on the main line. I find these little weights great for pinning the last few feet of rig down to lake bed.

For the last two seasons I have been loading my reels with the unrivalled X-Line - it sinks like a brick, its fluorocarbon based, casts well & has yet to let me down.

I hope upon reading this you may get some useful tips, ideas to try out yourselves & please remember to keep your rigs safe!!!

By the way I’m not a Korda consultant; I just love & have 100% faith in their tackle.

Next time I’m going to have a natter about the bait changes I made during the season 2006.

Tight lines Marc

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Published in Carp Fishing Articles
Monday, 22 September 2008 19:58

Barbel fishing on the River Severn

WHAT CHANCE A SEVERN MONSTER? - By Stuart Watkins

Source: Barbel Catchers Club

It’s now almost a decade since Howard caught his former British record fish from the lower reaches of the Severn. I recently read an article by Steve Stayner in one of the angling monthlies where he briefly mentions the capture of this memorable fish. He then goes on to talk about the many people who have since tried to catch it, or a different fish of a similar size, from the lower river. In my experience these people that Steve talks about, don’t exist. The river never did see the influx of anglers that many of Britain’s smaller rivers see when a huge fish is caught. In short the Severn’s most popular period was at the very beginning of the barbel boom in the mid to late eighties. In my opinion this will always remain the case, because other rivers produce fish of an equal size, or in many cases bigger, that are in the majority of cases far easier to locate and catch. We often hear the term anyone can catch from the lower Severn, and while this is certainly true, fish of say 12.08 plus are not common, and fish of 14 plus are rare creatures indeed.

Stuart Watkins with a 13-0 from the Lower SevernSo what chances a Severn monster? Obviously location is the key factor here or is it? Most of the better fish I have caught came from swims which only produced the one fish on the day. A lack of smaller fish may indicate the opportunity for a better fish to move in on any feed present. Note I said on the day, because I feel these larger fish could turn up in any swim on any stretch between Worcester’s Diglis weir and Tewkesbury weir. I feel swim type has very little bearing on whether large barbel will or will not feed in them. The most important factor being a lack of run of the mill fish, again on the day. Could it be that these larger specimens perhaps only move around as solitary fish, or at most in groups of two or three fish of a similar size, and may prefer not to compete with other smaller barbel for any food in a given area. Another thing about these larger Severn fish is that they can turn up at any time of the day. Whilst most Severn regulars prefer to fish in the hours of darkness, myself included, my two thirteens from the river both came in daylight, and one of these in mid-July with an air temperature of 27°c under a blazing hot sun in water as low and clear as it gets on the lower river.

So how would I go about catching one of these truly large Severn fish? As I said earlier, I feel swim type is not that important. But having said that I always feel more confident in a swim that has less of a slope on it from the margins out towards the middle of the river, say fourteen foot deep one and a half rod lengths out, to around eighteen to nineteen foot in the middle, as opposed to say only ten foot deep one and a half rod lengths out. In shallower areas of the river, say around Diglis, the same applies, the only thing that changes is the overall depth, which may only be eleven foot in the middle so eight foot of water one and a half rod lengths would be ideal. I would be looking to place my bait around two rod lengths.

One of the most useful pieces of kit that I have used over the last two seasons has been the ‘Smartcast’, Now some people may cringe at the use of this, saying that it is unfair, but believe me if like myself the lower Severn is your usual venue, you will find it invaluable. Since first using it I have discovered that in most areas the river has no shelves apart from the marginal one which may be only a few inches deep when the river is at it’s lowest. It will also find snags and you will get used to spotting these after using the unit for a period of time and getting used to it. One other thing about the ‘Smartcast’ is don’t buy one if you are expecting it to find your fish for you, in reality it’s a pretty crude piece of kit. Believe me, having worked in the marine industry for the past eighteen years, it is only really useful as a guide.

As far as baits and baiting the swim are concerned, boilies would be my first choice in daylight, with a sausage meat concoction, donkey choker size, courtesy of ‘The Cullen Guide To Anti-social Barbel Baits’, Millennium editon, as an after dark option. Feeding the swim would be done using no more than twelve to fifteen boilies, fishing only two rod lengths out makes it easy to place loose feed by hand. I would be looking to feed an area say 20’ x 10’, putting in large amounts of loose feed in my opinion, and especially after dark, only encourages smaller barbel in numbers, or bream, and believe me once they move in forget your barbel. Once you start fishing below Upton they are definitely the river’s most predominant fish, and fish approaching double figures can reasonably be expected.

Once the swim has been fed I don’t wait to put a bait in, I can’t see the point, life’s too short and past experience tells me the biggest fish invariably comes out first, especially if you have had no action in the first half hour. Always a good sign that smaller fish and the dreaded bream are not present. My theory is that if your hook bait is untouched or you have had no rod top indications your loose feed will also be uneaten and intact.

Rigs used are simple and uncomplicated. Hooklengths are braid, either or ‘Silkworm’ or ‘ESP Sinklink’, around sixteen inches long for boilies and around thirty inches for meat. I never fish with bolt rigs in the true sense of the term, although a two to three ounce running lead will, I believe, to some extent have the same effect. I don’t see the need for fancy rigs and any modifications I make are usually to make life easier for me. For example incorporating a Fox Safe-lok with a one inch long piece of rig tube placed over it for security will make it easy to change hooklengths after dark. My views on Fluro-carbon lines are that the disadvantages far outweigh the advantages. So I will not use them, even in a gin clear river. Having said that Fox Illusion seems to be getting some excellent reviews at the moment, so I will see how Martin gets on with it over this winter with a view to using it as a hooklength next season. When fishing the large meat baits everything Martin has talked about in his articles applies. To give an idea of the bait size I use, all the ingredients weigh around 1.3 kilos. This makes around fifteen baits!

So what exactly constitutes a Severn monster? Fifteen plus is probably not an unreasonable target if you fish the river week in week out, three members have all taken fish of this size. One of the most important things to note about most barbel anglers on the lower river is that none of them are from the ‘Catch at all costs’ brigade. I think if you take this misguided approach, you will be in for a very lean time. Personally I go in the hope of catching a personal best, and if I don’t then there is always next weekend. I will probably get some stick for saying this but once you get down below Severn Stoke, don’t forget the chub. They don’t come out very often, but when you do hook one it will probably be well worth catching. In barbel anging terms my biggest ambition is to catch a lower river fifteen. Who knows, one day I may just get lucky and achieve it. Now what about that double figure bream??!!

Many thanks to The Barbel Catchers Club and Stuart Watkins for allowing UK Fisherman to reproduce this article.

Visit their excellent website at: www.barbelcatchersclub.co.uk

Submit an Article: UK Fisherman would be delighted to here from you if you would like to comment on any of the fishing articles or if you would like to submit an article of your own.

To do so, please visit the CONTACT page.

Sunday, 21 September 2008 20:46

Preston Stotz Shot

PRESTON STOTZ SHOT

Description:
preston stotx shot form preston innovations Preston stotz are a hydrid shot designed for use on larger diameter lines (they also work perfectly on fine diameters!). The wide groove makes placing them on the line quick and easy. Another advantage is the increased surface area that grips the line. This prevents damage and also stops them 'pinging' off the line under stress. The flat ends also produce a neat bulk when they are grouped together. They are available in 4 sizes.

Review:
I tried out the Stotz Shot in three sizes....8,9 & 10
I found them much easier to actually pinch onto the line than equivalent sizes in regular shot. They do seem to grip the line better due to the increased surface area in contact with the line and I didn't suffer with shot falling off the line all day. In adidition I wasted far fewer shot than normal as they are much easier to handle having a rectangular rather than spherical shape. When bulked down the line, they seemed to give a much neater and aerodynamic presentation which aided casting.

Score:

Where to buy:
Stotz Shot are available from a wide range of fishing tackle outlets although UK Fisherman recommends you buy yours from Eccleston Angling Centre. Many thanks to Bun and all at Eccleston Angling Centre for supplying the Stotz Shot for review.

Click Here to Purchase

Submit a Review: UK Fisherman would be delighted to here from you if you would like to comment on any of our reviews. To do so, use the comment box below.

Alternatively if you would to submit a review of your own or submit an item for review at UK Fisherman, please visit the CONTACT page.

Sunday, 21 September 2008 20:41

Skinz hookbait pellets

SKINZ HOOKBAIT PELLETS

Description:
Skinz hookbait pellets from Sonu Baits are an advanced, skinned, hookable pellet type bait full of powerful fish attractants. The skin is full of soluble feeding triggers that go to work immediately once immersed in water.

The skin has an elastic type property that grips the hook and prevents the bait from falling off during casting or on the strike.

You can use Skinz Hookbait Pellets straight from the bag for a slow sinking bait. This is very effective when fishing on-the-drop for fish feeding off the bottom. Alternatively, they can be soaked for a few minutes. This produces a soft hookbait that can be hooked directly on the hook or hair rigged.

Review:
Spending most of my time fishing at commercial fisheries these days, I have come to rely quite heavily on pellets. I have also grown increasingly frustrated with my search for a soft hooker pellet that stays on the hook when cast even a short distance.

Well my search is at an end! Skinz hook pellets are far and away the best hook pellets I have ever come across. They can be used straight from the packet or can be pre-soaked for only 10 minutes or so to produce a much softer pellet. I did have some difficulty with the unsoaked pellets as it can be quite difficult to penetrate the hard outer shell. For me though, they really come into their own when soaked.

I tried them out at a commercial fishery and found that keeping the bait on the hook even when casting quite long distances is a doddle. These pellets really do grip the hook exceptionally well and the outer skin transforms when wet into a consistency I can only compare to cheese on a pizza....stringy but tough. The bait doesn't fall off the hook every time you strike at a bite so you don't have to re-bait every cast. I actually caught 4 fish using the same pellet which for a soft hookbait pellet is unheard of. All species of fish seem attracted to the Skinz Pellets. I caught carp to 10lb, roach, rudd, bream, crucians and tench in one day with the Skinz Pellets.

Believe the hype - highly recommended !!

Score:

Where to buy:
Skinz Hookbait Pellets are available from a wide range of fishing tackle outlets although UK Fisherman recommends you buy yours from Eccleston Angling Centre. Many thanks to Bun and all at Eccleston Angling Centre for supplying the Skinz Hookbait Pellets for review.

Click Here to Purchase

Submit a Review: UK Fisherman would be delighted to here from you if you would like to comment on any of our reviews. To do so, use the comment box below.

Alternatively if you would to submit a review of your own or submit an item for review at UK Fisherman, please visit the CONTACT page.

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