Steve Collett – one of the keenest and most proficient all round anglers – is a weekly blogger here.

WELCOME TO the Tuesday blog. Tuesdays mean Steve Collett, focussing mainly on match fishing but also delving into his styles of pleasure fishing and specialist angling.

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OVER the past few months I have seen a massive increase in anglers seeking out venues where less and less carp are the quarry. They’re steering themselves more towards the finesse side of the sport and putting together quality bags of silvers.

I have given up on carp dependant fisheries over the winter months just down to personal preference, but it seems as if I am not alone, and judging by some of the attendances at “silver fish” matches this seems to be growing in popularity.

Numbers can exceed 30-plus week in week out, whereas the carp dominated waters around me are struggling to fill ten-peggers. Why?

Well I am sure you have been there, all excited at the prospect of fishing a match during the holiday season. Preparation has gone well, your carryall is all tidy, and your hook box is full, bait laid out perfectly as if it’s a catalogue shoot.

And that’s how it’s going to remain. You don’t have a bite, but across the frozen lake, and a few pegs up from crossed-armed grumpy men, is a youngster who has black hydro everywhere, fish after fish, steadily making his way to a 100lb plus catch. And strangely enough he is not feeling the cold. You can feel nothing below the knee, and your fingers have the dexterity of a bankstick.

Patience wanes when all you catch is a cold.

Winter shedful

You see carp shoal up during the winter, I have been on netting trips where we have guessed where the fish will be and targeted that area, only to find 80 percent of the lakes population of carp holed up there.

And they rarely move, if they do it will be at five minutes to four, just as you get in the car and head off up the road having caught nothing, and looking at yourself shaking your head thinking “why have I bothered?”

It’s happened to us all, but then so has the reverse when we have sat on a shedful, but the whole thing becomes a lottery.

Silverfish matches on the other hand seem to have a lot more tactical feel to them. The feeding becomes a major part, not just one yellow grain of corn every hour, but the first ten minutes of a match can make or break it.

Plus there’s the fact that you are never too far out of the running, a string of 20 small roach or the odd skimmer can see you back in the frame.

And with these fish being rarely targeted during the summer months, they are fantastic looking, and when that float dips you have no idea what it will be, a Kit Kat wrapper of a roach, or an angry 12oz perch.

It really does keep you warm and the blood pumping, and to be honest I wouldn’t mind seeing this branch of the sport stretch itself out towards the spring or summer. In turn I think this could see more anglers get out towards the naturals, because I tell you this, we either use em, or lose em.

So before you hand pick 23 grains of Jolly Green for your next lottery outing, get yourself a few pinkies and casters and try and target 10lb of silvers other than two bites all day. Trust me, you will love it.



As I write this blog I am having a big fish break – yes I enjoy a bit of specimen hunting on the side…ssshhh!

I’ll be picking two star performances next week for this slot, when my head is fully back on the very latest Open and league scene.


Related video

Here’s Adam Rooney, the midlands-based match star, showing a clever cold water pellet method using a Guru product.

It’s not for those silvers I have written about above, but will nick you carp fans a few extra fish!

There’s stunning coverage of the show where this was filmed, The Big One, in the latest Angler’s Mail magazine – out now.








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