WELCOME TO the Tuesday blog. Tuesdays mean Steve Collett, focussing mainly on match fishing but also delving into his styles of pleasure fishing and specialist angling.
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IT’S NOW TIME FOR CHANGE
IT’S time of year again, the mornings are a bit nippy, the Windstopper is getting used more frequently, and for a few of us less fish are gracing the net. But for some reason I love this time of year, for me it sorts the men out from the boys, and the “scratchers” start framing on stillwaters as the carp seem to get tighter together, and the wind becomes a real factor.
But what’s happening down there, underwater, do they really shut up shop or do we feed too much ?
I have done a fair few experiments on my own fishery over the last couple of years and I have learned a few invaluable lessons. I’m not saying I have learned it all, but I have seen certain things that have made me stop and think about my fishing during these colder months, and I think it’s paid off. I’ll share a few with you to see what you think.
I don’t think we can take enough bait, we can take the wrong sort, but on most club or Open matches I don’t think we can take enough!
As a little experiment this weekend measure your bait, that you are going to take and FEED not throw away afterwards, what you would feed, then throw it on a similar size piece of grass, say 2 acres or so. It’s not a lot I can tell you, then weigh it. Last year I took my bait and weighed it, usually taking in the September, October months 1lb 8oz of bait.
Why is he asking this? Well after watching what my fish eat, I am basically farming them, so I need to know what weight of food they are eating, and a 1-2lb carp was eating during these months twice a day and around 2oz of bait before swimming off and going on the piscatorial sofa for a lie down!
Now the average fishery of 2 acres in size can have anything upwards of 1,000 carp from 1-2lb and another 1,000 2-5lb so that 1lb 8oz of bait I have put in has fed around 10 small carp! So why aren’t we catching them ?
The time of day was very important on my pool even when we had the very bad ice a few years ago there was still a feeding time, and unfortunately for match anglers like me it wasn’t between 10am and 3pm !
It was first light and last light, with the odd runt moving around the lake looking for food, how many times have you seen this last hour become productive !
We think we have fed the swim up, and built up our swim, I think they simply move in, they were in the vicinity, they just didn’t want to feed.
Have you also noticed the “lumps” start to show in matches this time of year?
I see fish during the winter months that you never see in matches or very rarely, one in particular “Arnie”, a 23lb ghost carp that I have caught once in the summer, foulhooked !
Yet every winter I see him feeding along with the rest of the “lumps”… this is simply down to the fact that they are fatties, they have to eat to maintain their bulk, so inevitably they really go on the feed this time of year.
This was a huge eye opener for me, I have an area of my pool that is on a point, and I use it to experiment with certain baits and record the findings along with, air pressure, temp etc. During the winter months there is one bait that stands out more than any other in winter… sweetcorn. And it has to be down to colour, it cannot be the food content or protein, it must be pure and simply down to it being a bright colour.
I have fed it with pellets, meat, worms, casters so on, and… the corn gets eaten. Next most popular is white, white boilies, bread all again proving to be a lot more popular than conventional baits.
So with all this knowledge gained will it help, I’m not sure but it has made me think during matches, no longer will I panic if someone is taking the place apart in the first few hours, knowing well that they might have a munch later on, and having confidence in my feeding also is a huge help.
I recall a very big Winter League match at Woodlands view a few years ago, and during practice and on the match I “filled it in” and I mean filled it in, putting nearly all my six pint allocation in at the start and fishing over it!
And come the match day the big guns were out, I drew next to the superb Jon Arthur and young Dan Brydon from Norwich. I am sure Jon wrote about it at the time, as he looked in astonishment to what I was doing. But there was method in my madness, my thinking was that this place is full of fish, if they do go on the feed I want them to stay there until the match finished, not have a wafer thin maggot and bugger off!!
During the first few hours all around me had caught, I held my nerve, come feeding time they arrived, and didn’t stop coming, loads of moans and groans about me being on a shed full, was I, or did they arrive and not move as there was plenty to eat ? I’m not sure but a match win gave me the confidence to do it again, and I think that has a massive part to play, confidence.
Should I stay or should I go!
This time of year also means decision time, do I book every boat I can on trout reservoirs and make the long trips in pursuit of big pike, or do I sign up for a team and fish the winter league?
The current economic climate means I have to decide, I can’t afford to fish twice on a reservoir at 50-60 quid a pop and a winter league at 30-40 quid excluding any fuel!
So it’s a lot of thinking for me, and I will sneak a trip out at the start of the “pike season” to get my fix, but I will have to decide what to do this year; one or the other…
My performance of the week goes to one of my childhood heroes, a superb angler that has been at the top of his game for more than a few years, a certain Mr Joe Brennan.
Although not a massive match, just seeing his name on the result sheet, you know he has fished a good match. A quality net of 45lb of bream from Patshull Park shows he has still got it, and a danger on any venue, still or moving, natural or commercial.
Take a bow Joe.
STEVE COLLETT’S NEXT MATCH FISHING BLOG WILL BE HERE NEXT TUESDAY, OCTOBER 2. BUT BE SURE TO READ HIS MY SAY COLUMN THIS WEEK IN ANGLER’S MAIL MAGAZINE.
STEVE COLLETT’S NEXT MATCH FISHING BLOG WILL BE HERE NEXT TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 26.