Colin Mitchell, in his popular weekly general coarse fishing blog discovers the location of fish is sometime closer than you think!

THE first question many anglers ask about a venue is: how is it fishing?

They then ask what’s been caught, what baits, maybe even try to get an idea on what tackle is being used. But how many times have you heard them ask where the fish are being caught?

I don’t just mean which areas or pegs – I mean where in the swim! It’s one of the last questions that gets asked, especially by pleasure anglers.

It’s usually easy to pinpoint fish with a bit of watercraft – most anglers know to fish near features like bushes, weed beds, lily pads and the like. But what if there aren’t obvious features? Do you do what you always used to as a kid and try to cast to the horizon?

Well that’s what most kids used to do… except me and some of my friends. If we didn’t have features we often tried to fish as close to our own bank as possible. It’s something I still do…And in recent weeks with the water starting to warm up the nearside has certainly been the place to find some great fish and fishing.

Really close in

My mate Johnny has just started to go fishing with me again after a number of years and he’s quickly picked up on some of my little tricks to get fish right under the rod tip or at a short pole length. It’s almost unreal how close fish will come to the bank given the right incentive and approach.

Johnny was stunned a few weeks ago when I was catching in just 2ft 6in of water around a foot out from the bank with no obvious features.


Yet I knew the feature was a quick drop off from inches deep next to rushes as I had found it with some careful plumbing up.

The fish would patrol that drop looking for bugs and other food items that might drop off the rushes. Johnny came close in, fed like I was on a steady basis and in the end had fish virtually crawling up his rod.

Yet even I and Music Mike and I were stunned last weekend at just how close we got the fish and just how shallow the water was that we had fish feeding like there was no tomorrow. It all started when I saw a carp swimming just off the bank near my feet where the water was barely deep enough to cover its back. As you do… I fed a few grains of corn, got it feeding and then lowered in my rig and caught the fish.

Just as a bit of an experiment I then throw a few grains into the water to my left and slowly but surely more and more carp came into the shallows. A few pellets on top had them feeding ravenously so I set my rig about six inches deep with no shot down the line, ignored the dips of the float as they brushed the line and every minute or so I hooked a fish.

I've been catching shallow carp for fun!

Catching shallow carp for fun!

Each carp shot away from the bank – they couldn’t have come closer as they would have landed on gravel! – and the rest just kept feeding. If I stopped feeding the fish drifted away but then came back within a minute once I started to feed again.

Mike came to see and couldn’t believe what was happening but went back to his own swim, moved his chair back from the water’s edge and caught just inches from the bank doing the same thing as me.

Lessons learned

What this taught us – besides the obvious fact fish will come close if you feed and keep quiet – was just how the fish were willing to feed on the day.

I started to feed the same way and the same amount but around three metres from the bank in three feet of water and caught every drop in.

So what, you might ask. Well I had fished that three metre swim earlier and couldn’t get a steady stream of fish by feeding steadily or heavily.

Yet when I fed some pellets and then corn on the top – the corn wasn’t part of the plan earlier – I couldn’t really catch well.

An awesome day and all from just trying something a little different – stalking carp in the shallows from sitting on my box!

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