Match and coarse fishing tactician Dave Coster  of Hardy Greys, and a regular in Angler’s Mail’s All The Answers section, explains his summer roach and skimmer fishing tactics. He’s just revisited his classic Go Fishing series for the Mail too as we celebrate 50 YEARS!

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This week’s match fishing blogger is Angler’s Mail magazine contributor Dave Coster, who fished at the very top level including Essex County at their peak. Dave, who oversees product development for Hardy Greys, is seen here pole fishing for roach, feeding little and often.



Putting together a winning net with Dave Coster


SINCE I moved up to Northumberland just over four years ago I have found you need a slightly different approach when fishing for silver fish, especially when fishing matches, compared to what I had become used to down in the warmer South.

You can’t feed as much and it often takes longer to get the fish feeding well, so you need to be patient and at the same time be very quick to make up ground when bites start to materialise.

The main problem, apart from it being a lot colder, is waters tend to be quite a bit clearer too. This makes fish like roach and skimmers very shy and easy to spook. You really need to be on the ball to keep in touch with them.

The roach tend to move up and down in the water a lot when you are regularly loose feeding with the pole, rarely settling at one level, while the skimmers drift in and out of your peg when targeting them with feeder or long pole tackle. So with the pole I’ve found at least three rigs are required for roach, one at full depth, one at three quarter depth and a shallow set up.

Dave Coster with a good net of northern caught skimmers and quality roach, taken by constantly switching rigs and depths to keep in touch with the fish.

Dave Coster with a good net of northern caught skimmers and quality roach, taken by constantly switching rigs and depths to keep in touch with the fish.

Normally you will catch at full depth first, after cupping in a few balls of groundbait and loose feeding over the top, but as the loose feed pulls and interests the fish they will start to move up a few feet. Then, just as you are starting to think you are going to bag up, they move again!

Sometimes the roach return to the bottom, while on other occasions they move up even higher to compete for your loose feed.

On really warm days and if there is a tinge of colour in the water, you can often keep the fish feeding shallow and put together a big weight.

But on just as many occasions a lost fish, a bank side walker or a change in light conditions will cause bites to suddenly dry up.

This normally requires starting again, cupping in some more groundbait and working the swim up with regular loose feed for 15 to 20 minutes in order to get the bites back.

The skimmers can be even trickier. Casting a groundbait feeder into the same spot normally takes 30 to 40 minutes to get a response. You then get a quick flurry of fish before they back off.

When this happens you can sometimes add a few more fish by switching to a bomb and casting a bit further out, or you have the option of resting the feeder line and having a look on the pole to see if anything is happening there.

After resting the feeder swim for around 20 minutes you can then often go back out and catch another quick flurry of skimmers before they back off again.

Yet another option is to use a longer hook length and floating maggots, which pulls bonus bites, particularly towards the end of a session. It’s easier if you can get the skimmers to come within reach of the pole. When they back off here, simply add a section and normally the action continues.

I think I’ve nearly got is sussed up here; I’ll let you know next time when the individual league I’m fishing is over. I’m in second place at the moment with two rounds left…


  • Dave Coster works for Hardy Greys – check out their coarse products HERE


HOT NEWS! Be sure to read Dave Coster’s all-time Top 50 coarse fishing tips in Angler’s Mail (the issue on sale June 3). He’s a regular in the magazine every week, and we also have a revisit of his classic Go Fishing strip coming up… it must not be missed!


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Be sure to get this week's issue of Angler's Mail - includes terrific Action Replay with Drennan's match ace Darren Davies!

Be sure to get this week’s issue of Angler’s Mail – includes terrific Action Replay with Drennan’s match ace Darren Davies!