IT’S time for our must-read Sunday blog on this new-look Angler’s Mail website. Every Sunday we welcome coarse fishing all-rounder Colin Mitchell.
For many years Colin was a senior Angler’s Mail magazine staff man and he has enjoyed a long, interesting journalism career. He understands match fishing, pleasure fishing, carp fishing – the lot.
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SMALL FISH, BIG FISH? FAST WATER, SLOW WATER?
YES, DECISIONS, DECISIONS!
THE weather’s on the turn and that can only mean one thing – a change of plans and species to be targeted.
I started last week by heading off to one of my local tributaries of the Thames. We’d had a stack of rain and I just knew that it would be spot-on…a bit of colour and fining down.
Wrong! It was low, the tinge of colour was fading fast and the place was full of rubbish and debris.
And to make matters worse the place was so overgrown that it was impossible to get through to a few of my favourite swims and look for the decent roach that I had hoped for.
I let my regular travelling partner drop into the first swim where he did catch but also decided he was going to pack in after a couple of hours after being snagged up more than is good for the heart.
I headed off downstream in search of somewhere to fish and eventually found a nice corner that usually produces. I actually sat where I would normally be fishing this time of the year and could see the bottom a good distance out.
It’s only about seven metres wide here but I wasn’t going to be deterred, even if the water was only two foot deep at best and we’d had the first proper frost so far this year.
I actually found a tiny channel that dropped a few more inches and then had 21 fish, nothing big, but several species that included roach, dace, a tiny chub, some nice perch, gudgeon, bleak and even a ruffe, all to floatfished double maggot.
But then the swim died and I too had suffered enough. A couple of specimen hunter types we had met in the car park at the start had already disappeared…
Figuring that there would still be some colour left in the main Thames, and maybe even a bit of flow for once, it was off searching for some decent spots.
Flow? After months of hardly any movement on the non-tidal it was hammering through around Walton and we couldn’t get near the favoured swims near the bridge because of work on the structure.
Back off upstream towards Staines where every bit we looked at just didn’t look right – although quite a few anglers who obviously didn’t hail from the locality and were armed with telescopic rods, bite indicators and alarms obviously saw it different to us! They still hadn’t caught…
Eventually we found ourselves behind an island fishing over fast water into a slack that produced a few small roach.
That fast water wasn’t as fast as it looked and a few runs through on a stick float – yes I do still have some and I used a centrepin – brought a few more roach.
I’m still getting excited that even more rain this week will have flushed out more summer rubbish and that the roach will start kicking in even more.
I firmly believe that flooded rivers that are fining down are among the best places to fish, summer or winter.
You can get away with line that is a bit thicker and hooks that little bit bigger and a bit more weight down the line to give better control.
If you can’t catch running through, nail the bait to the bottom with a leger or by fishing well over-depth on the float.
Slacks always look inviting but if the water isn’t too fast moving the fish will still like to be in the flow, even if it’s to move in and out of it in search of grub that is being pushed past their noses.
I’m just off to dig out my chest waters so that I can wade through the undergrowth that hasn’t died away and get to some of those spots that other anglers haven’t yet reached!
Barbel will be a target before it gets too cold and if there is colour – perch and pike are going to be on the cards if the water is clear, and providing it’s not too bright and sunny.
COLIN MITCHELL’S NEXT BLOG WILL APPEAR ON SUNDAY, OCTOBER 28. Click HERE to catch up on his previous blogs.
Blogs every day – here’s when they go live:
MONDAY: Carp crews on rotation – Korda, Fox, Nash and ACE.
TUESDAY: Steve Collett, Mail contributor and ultimate all-rounder.
WEDNESDAY: Angler’s Mail HQ – yes, us!
THURSDAY: Specialists from Pike Anglers Club, Korum, Pallatrax and Marukyu, on rotation.
FRIDAY: Carl & Alex, Angler’s Mail juniors and video diary makers.
SATURDAY: The Angling Trust – guys at the governing body.
SUNDAY: Colin Mitchell, veteran coarse angler and top journalist