Popular all-round fishing blogger Colin Mitchell shares some fishing fiction tales that aren't always true...
IF you tell someone a story often enough it’s difficult to sift fact from fiction, particularly in the world of angling.
The truth can become indistinguishable from fantasy and myth and if you believe some angling stories that are bandied about you could just end up missing out on some good sport.
So, to help you along the way a little bit to better fishing here are a few things that aren’t always true…
1. ‘Fish only eat certain baits in your local venue’
Rubbish! Do you eat the same things all of the time? Of course not…
Last week I fished a water where a local told me that the giant perch only eat prawns, nothing else works, particularly not worms.
Really? Every perch I have ever known loves worms – and on this venue last year I had some of my bigger perch ever fishing worms over chopped worms!
Oh…and dead red maggots also worked for me and I saw others catch stripys on casters.
2. ‘Groundbait is useless in winter’
I might have believed this if you had said it to me two decades ago but now I am a firm believer that cereal can be an important part of cold water angling.
I tend to use darker groundbait in winter and tone down the flavours or additives. Just recently some of the best weights on the lower Thames have come to anglers balling in groundbait containing some soil and minimal freebies of hookbaits.
3. ‘You have to fish small hooks to catch in winter’
Now this might be true at certain times but if a fish wants to eat or you find a shoal of fish crammed together tightly you will probably catch just as well on a 14 as a 22.
Surely it’s better to start to the big hook knowing that if you get a bite there’s a good chance of hooking and landing the fish rather than start small and risk losing your prize.
You can always scale down later to see if it brings bites.
4. ‘Only small diameter lines will attract bites’
This could also be true – but think about experimenting first with bigger diameter/breaking strains before fishing with a line that could part if you hook a good fish.
Again…you can always scale down…
5. ‘You have to feed what you fish on the hook’
Most definitely wrong. A few free hooks samples are good…but casters work well over hemp; maggots will work over casters; worms will work over pellets. It’s worth experimenting.
6. ‘Maggot feed kills off the chance of catching on worm’
I used to believe this was true. But think about it… why didn’t big worms work over maggot?
It was probably because the fish scoffed them all and couldn’t manage the worm too – or they didn’t fancy worms on the day.
Maggots can draw other fish into the swim – which may then attract predators like perch and pike, or even big chub. If fish don’t want them, they won’t eat them.
7. ‘Small baits equal small fish’
Well that would make sense when you think that big baits equal big fish. Except it isn’t true!
I’ve got some great fish on bits of bread punch and double pinkie, and in recent weeks, so that theory is blown right out of the water. Sometimes the fish might want a snack, not a feast.
8. ‘Pole outscores running line every time’
Well pole certain gives better presentation but it is not the be-all and end-all tactic, especially when the water is clearer.
First the fish may have moved out past pole range, second they may be spooked in shallow or clear water by a pole wafting above their heads.
A waggler can be cast past the fish and drawn back so as not to spook them. A feeder can be feathered down to land with a plop rather than a SPLODOOSH, ensuring some feed is around your hook bait.
9. ‘Feed has to be kept tight in winter’
I would tend to agree with this – but not totally! You can’t catch a big bag of fish baiting up an area the size of a bait bucket lid.
The secret is to spread out a bit of feed but have a small pile in the middle of that area. The few pellets, maggots or casters scattered around your swim will get a few fish interested…the little pile of bait is where you might concentrate the main fish, or more likely the bigger ones!
10. ‘If you don’t catch straight away, go home’
No way! It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, fish rarely feed right around the clock, there will always be one time of day that they decide to have a chomp and you have to be there and ready.
This time of year when it is colder this period could be the middle of the day when it is at its warmest or it is more likely to be just as the light starts to fade.
I’ve fished all day at this time of the year and not had my first sign of a bite until 4pm… then no matter what I have done I have caught a fish.
It’s like a switch is flicked and the fish are on a supermarket trolley dash to see how much they can eat and how fast!