The Angler's Mail weekly general coarse fishing blogger, Colin Mitchell is back and discusses how the weather should factor into your tactics when out on a session.
IT’S not been proper summer weather recently – and fishing isn’t what it should be at this time of the year!
You’ve probably had a bumper day’s fishing or struggled to put together a few bites over the past few weeks. Yet at this time of the year you would expect the fish to be feeding ravenously at the right time of the day.
And when the weather is warm and overcast – which it has been for a lot of the time – you would normally be rubbing your hands in glee at the prospect of good sport.
There’s not much you can do about the weather other than look for a settled period where it is consistent as that is when the best fishing is on offer.
If that is a warm spell with plenty of cloud cover even better. And remember that early and late sessions take some beating at this time of the year!
So can you adapt your tackle and tactics? Of course, but don’t always think inside the box and stick to what you have been told over the years is right.
Sometimes thinking a little differently and doing things that are not supposed to be ‘right’ can bring rewards.
Harder sessions than I expected
I was out for two sessions last week and both were a lot harder than I expected. Tried and trusted summer methods didn’t work but by adapting my thoughts a little I still caught enough fish to keep myself happy.
First trip was to a water where I would expect to bag up, Beaver Farm near East Grinstead, Sussex. There is no doubt that the fluctuating weather played its part in dampening sport, not helped by blistering sun all day.
Forget the old ‘rule’ of going down hook sizes and line diameters if you can’t get bites. Yes this works, most often in winter, but at this time of the year it isn’t always needed.
I tried and failed with the ‘think smaller’ ploy so I went back to a bigger hook and heavier line with the thought that if I did hook something it was coming out!
Rather than fish close in where you are looking to build the fish’s confidence, I fished longer and managed to string together a few bites and a few fish.
My edge line – usually great at this water – produced just one skimmer and a missed bite. Method feeder didn’t even produce an inquiry.
There was still a big net of fish on the lake – proof that you had to be in the right area AND get the right method. In this case the angler chased the fish around the peg both at different distances and depths. If that doesn’t work, stick to one method if it gets you a few bites or chop and change depth and baits regularly if you want to try and work your swim a bit more.
Feeding is key in this summer weather
Which bring us nicely onto day two at Marsh Farm, at Milford, Surrey, where it was feeding that was the key to a few fish.
A couple of club matches meant I didn’t get to fish where I wanted but I was still happy with my swim… until I realised it was one of those days where things were not going to go to plan.
The water isn’t that deep here but the sun had warmed it up quite a lot – maybe even too much – but it was lovely and overcast with just light rain.
Yet it took me 40 minutes to get my first bite so it was time to chop and change a little to keep the bream, tench and crucians coming. Well ok, one tench, one crucian, a single nice roach but quite a few skimmers and bream up to around 3lb.
Not a net-busting day but one that sent me home satisfied, especially when the guys in the match just along the bank were struggling and far from happy.
I took the decision that as I had started to feed groundbait I needed to keep it trickling in – thanks Ian Heaps for that lesson decades ago where you said keep on feeding cereal once you start!
I’d managed to riddle off a few casters just before I got to the venue and used them sparingly in the groundbait on the ‘less is more’ principle.
It’s something I learned on trips to Holland – they fed plenty of groundbait but just a thimble full of casters, pinkies, maggots or whatever was on the hook. The idea is that the fish don’t overfeed themselves.
Also they can’t sit back and relax after taking some food but have to search out the meagre offerings before one of their brothers does. Basically it was the little and often principle you would apply more to winter fishing than summer.
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