Colin Mitchell, in his popular weekly general coarse fishing blog, asks whether rain really does bring more bites from fish? And he delves into the changing of the seasons, and their affects on fish.

IF I had a pound coin for every time someone asked or told me that fish bite better in the rain I’d be very rich!

Sadly I have never got the coins – and there is no truth in the rumour that a good downpour helps fishing (other than sometimes putting a bit of colour or flow into venues).

Most of the time a real downpour actually puts a dampener (sorry about that) on sport as it cools down the water or puts too much colour in the venue.

Deluge as Storm Katie struck

Last weekend was a very good pointer to the above being true with a deluge the night before and then during fishing helping to ensure that things were very slow.

The horrendous winds didn’t help either but sport was really rubbished by that influx of cold rain.

Of course I sat facing into the wind – always best for a bit of sport even if uncomfortable. It is not the best area to fish if you went to get a brolly up without it turning inside out or indeed to actually stop any of the rain lashing into your face and gear!

Of course my first bite came just as the rain started pelting into me – hence, below, you can see the smile (!) on my face from the resulting tench from Godalming AS’s Richardson Lake at Marsh Farm.

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A nice tench – shame about the weather!

I spent a lot of time with my pole lying on the deck as I held on grimly to the brolly hoping that I didn’t actually take off for an aerial tour of Surrey. A bream and a skimmer followed when the weather permitted me to drop in my rig and before we called it a day and headed home to dry out.

That soaking and harsh day’s sport meant I just had to get out for a midweeker and the chosen venue was Beaver Farm near East Grinstead where I expected some decent sport.

Thankfully the heavens stayed shut – well until we were packing up – and the wind was bearable. More important there was a bit of ripple on the water, some cloud cover and constantly high temperatures overnight and during the day for the previous 48 hours.

Conditions then were nearly perfect and with a bit of colour in the water I was not surprised to get an F1 on the pellet feeder first cast.

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A Beaver Farm F1 – excellent condition.

Like everywhere at this time, the improved temperatures have led to fish having a good chomp – maybe prior to spawning rituals. That means you can start to feed a bit more and a bit more consistently if you want to bag up.

Many anglers think that means a sack of groundbait, pints of pellets and a bag full of other edibles for the fish. Not so…

You can feed steadily all day and if you keep in frugal still have a great day’s fishing. I fished about four and a half hours, chopping and changing from pellet feeder, pole at seven metres and just down the edge and finished with 37 F1s, two nice bream and a gudgeon that somehow took a pellet.

Not a lot of bait for my fish, honest!

My hookbait and feed for that lot was just this:

  • half pint of micro pellets
  • a pint of groundbait
  • around a quarter of a pint of dead maggots
  • a handful of live maggots
  • a few pellets and mini boilies for the hooks
  • less than half a tin of meat
  • and a few hooker worms

It might look a lot when you read that list, but remember most of the above are hook baits, just a good selection as F1s and bream can change their diet a few times during a session.

The actual cost of the above is negligible and all unused bait went back into the fridge or freezer ready for the next trip.

Bag up as fish will feed hard now

Fish will probably still be shoaled up now in their winter quarters or in areas where they spawn. That means you can expect to bag up if you drop on them as they are ready to really feed.

But the good news is that over the next few weeks those fish will be spreading out over venues to make waters a lot more interesting. The right weather in Spring can produce bumper catches – but can also bring heartache!

Fish that are spawning will show no interest – well, not in your hookbaits as they will have other things on their minds! But fishing either side of that period could bring you some of the best sport you will ever get providing you pick the right spots and the right days.

Those blanks of winter should now be destined to the dustbin… for a good few months at least!

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