This Angler’s Mail blog comes to you from England Ladies International and Browning Hotrods teamster Abbi Kendall, 21, whose winter campaign on the Fen drains included a big match win plus numerous section pick-ups amongst stellar company!

IT’S been a pretty nippy these past couple of months, but despite the elements there have still been plenty of fish to go at in matches on the Fenland drains.

With double-figures needed to win most sections, I have found a positive feeding approach combining groundbait, squatt and pinkie very successful.

This may seem a lot for winter, but bait-wise I’ve been taking three pints of squatts, two pints of pinkies, a pint of hemp and two kilos of groundbait.

My favourite groundbait mix has been Sensas Gros Gardons and Sensas River Black, mixed 50/50. I like to make sure the mix is on the wet side and thus sticky enough to carry large volumes of bait to the bottom without breaking up.

Two line approach

My winter drains strategy has centred around feeding two lines; firstly a short pole line at 5/6 metres which is fed with four balls of groundbait absolutely packed with squatts and pinkies.

I also set up a long pole at between 11-14 metres, depending on the peg, or a waggler line on really wide pegs. This is fed with a big pot of hemp and squatt at the all-in, then loose feed heavily via catapult during the session.

My rigs for the job

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Short pole:

Main line: 0.10mm Sensas Feeling.

Hook length: 0.08mm Gamakatsu Super G.

Floats: 0.5 and 0.75gr Drennan Carbo.

Hook: Kamasan B511 size 20

 

Long pole:

Main line: 0.10mm Sensas Feeling.

Hook length: 0.06mm Gamakatsu Super G.

Float: Mick Bassett London Squatt in 4 x 10, 4 x 12 or 4 x 14 depending on depth, flow and wind conditions.

Hook: Kamasan B511 size 22

 

Waggler:

Main line: 2lb Maxima

Hook length: 0.08mm Gamakatsu Super G.

Float: Drake 8” insert waggler.

Hook: Kamasan B511 size 20.

Fishing my short line

When bites slow after the initial feed or if I start getting false bites, I’ve found it best to re-feed the short line with a ball of sticky groundbait packed with squatts plus a few pinkies.

I think false bites occur when fish start to come off bottom. Re-feeding takes them back to the deck so you hit more bites and put more in the net.

A positive rig is essential so your hook bait goes down fast, right over your feed.

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Back-up line

On a long pole peg, loose feeding squatts positively at 10-11 metres and using strung out microshot rigs to catch through the water has worked well.

On a wider waggler peg at 13-15 metres, loose feeding pinkie with a similar slow drop has scored. I’ve gone onto these lines about 3-4 hours into matches once fish have backed off the short pole line. Loose feeding heavily has resulted in some better stamp roach too.

Finally, the key to getting a good weight on the drains is to ensure you come back with a fish every time…while always trying to figure out how you are going to catch your next one!

Tight lines, Abbi x