BANK high river levels and chocolate-coloured water may look unappealing, but fish still need their grub and know where to find it. Here Angler’s Mail contributor Matt Sparkes offers some top tips for flood fishing.
1 – Large bridge buttresses offer calmer water whenever river levels rise. They also protect fish – and your rig from debris shooting past in the flow. Often you can present a float in these safe havens, but flicking out a large feeder is preferred.
2 – Slacks formed by overhanging branches are another flood hotspot where many species shelter. Use a large bait dropper to introduce feed on the deck. It’s a waste of time throwing it in – it will simply toll around in the current and drift downstream.
3 – A heavy lead that anchors our bait securely in the flow is more likely to be taken that rig washed around into debris and snags. Flat leads and oval feeders will hug the bottom best. Tape up some of the feeder holes to slow the feed discharge.
4 – Smell makes a huge difference in coloured water. A bait soaked in a stinky liquid booster is perfect for flood tactics, and don’t be shy about using a proper mouthful. Paste baits also work very well, releasing their flavours much more effectively than boiled baits.
Matt Sparkes’ extra floodwater fishing advice
Paste baits for barbel
Great guide to meat baits
Floodwater barbel tips