Colin Mitchell explores fishing methods, and when to change tactics, in his weekly Angler's Mail blog - exclusive to this website. Don't scratch your head, confused - read on!
LOTS of anglers sit motionless on the bank when they don’t get bites and become increasingly frustrated.
They often pack up early and head for home wondering why they haven’t caught.
Hang on a minute…that is the problem. They DON’T wonder why they haven’t caught.
They have tackled up with what they believe is the right method and slipped onto their hook the bait that usually works on the venue they are visiting.
I’ve done it myself in the past but more often than not the days of my matchfishing click into gear and when no bites are forthcoming I start to wonder what I can change.
But sometimes, just sometimes, it can pay to stick with the method you have started on!
My aim was to land a catfish (I know I have become almost obsessed with them). It knew a massive cube of meat would work and had to stick with it.
A few other anglers were on leeches and bits of fish but like me they hadn’t caught.
I had confidence in my bait and as the sun faded I started getting the little plucks and knocks that I know the cats give to freelined baits on this water.
I got a few nice carp but wasn’t tempted to change my methods. I KNEW they were right and was just waiting for the catfish to start feeding time proper.
I’d just landed a nice carp when Music Mike appeared ready to head home as the light was fading. I said I wanted a few more minutes as I knew I would get a cat.
Bingo! The line peeled off the Baitrunner and I was in. A nice fish of 14 lb 8 oz. Only one more fish was caught on the lake. Job done, head home happy.
Second trip was to a new venue which we knew held loads of carp, some bream and tench. I’d done a bit of homework and knew pellets or corn were the favoured bait, often down the edge.
A bright sunny day was lovely for fishing in but the fish didn’t want to play ball, even though there were some right lumps cruising about. A couple of regulars were getting bites on bread – but failed to hit most of the crafty bites.
I got a couple of carp on meat (see that wasn’t in our homework) on the pole next to some pads but things weren’t really happening.
I had this feeling that a Method feeder would work in the shallow water, no more than three feet deep. In fact I was sure those cruisers would go down to the bait at a bit of distance.
Out went two grains of corn on a hair and Method. Bang round went the tip for three quick fish, then nothing.
Were they three lucky carp? I didn’t think so, I still thought that the ‘new’ method was right but that a change of bait was in order.
I found some floating pellets in my bag and fired out a few. There was no response.
I slipped three on the hair so that they balance out the weight of the hook and would waft about just above the Method and the feeder when they hit the water.
Surely the carp would love them? That had to be right! It was!
Eighteen carp and a nice bream later I went home happy knowing I had put my proper fishing head on.
I had made changes and not stuck rigidly to what was supposed to be right.
Remember, never wear blinkers when you are fishing. A slight change in method, bait or even shotting patterns can turn a rubbish day into a red letter one.