In his popular Sunday pleasure fishing blog for Angler’s Mail, Colin Mitchell talks tactics. If you like this blog please share by clicking the Facebook and/or Twitter icon above.

Blog Mitch






SOME things you pick up during your angling travels stick in the brain and quite often come back to save the day.

'Big baits equals big fish' - wise words from Bob Gledhill, who sadly died in 2008.

‘Big bait, big fish’ – wise words from Bob Gledhill, who sadly died in 2008.

One thing that has always been at the back of my mind is something that former England international sea angler Bob Gledhill wrote.

Blackpool Bob was a long-time contributor to Angler’s Mail and over the years I had to read through and edit a lot of his copy.

The one thing I remember, more than anything else, is that ‘Big baits equal big fish.’

It’s pretty obvious really but something many anglers don’t always put into practise.

As regular readers will be aware, just recently I’ve had a bit of an obsession with catfish. And they have been getting the upper hand…

Two weeks ago my evening session resulted in Cats 4 Col 0. Last week it was Cats 0 Col 1.

Come on, in World Cup finals time it has to be an away win. The cats live in that fishery all the time, I just visit…

I’d been wracking my brain to come up with a solution to dropped baits. Big baits, small baits, fish baits, pellets, meat…hair, hook mounted, popped up, on the bottom…everything had been getting to me.

There is now no doubt in my mind that freelined baits at the way forward. No weight on the line other than the hook and swivel means less dropped runs.

Baitrunners are in freespool, although my line is left slack although still on the bite alarms. No drop back arms or any other form of indicator as that too is more resistance, no matter how light they are.


Marvellous meat!

So hook or hair. Hair, without a doubt. It gives the cat more time to suck the bait into its giant gob.

Bait…luncheon meat. It works for others, a lot goes into the water via carp anglers, it smells and can be cut into all sorts of shapes and sizes.

I can’t quite get my head around using half a tin of meat like some catfish anglers do, but I am using chunks twice as big as I normally would for carp or any other species.

Think golf ball with bits cut from it to give an uneven and totally unusual shape.

It worked last week – even though I did miss some bits that still played around with the bait. I am convinced that when we do an all-nighter we will get lots of hook-ups.

Now the amazing bit. We have used size 2 hooks…and still caught carp!

No messing about with silly bites despite a long hair, bit hook and big bait. The carp pluck at the meat – which you can see as the line twitches a bit – and then they just take off, all hooked lovely in the side of the mouth.

Anglers Paradise cat-2

Time to move on from the cats…

And the one cat I did land – only lost one – was also neatly hooked.

I’ve binned the fish for now – especially after the guy who had fishing next to me hooked a nice double-figure cat just as we were loading the car to leave.

He had a massive cube of meat hair rigged on a big hook. I think the bait was just a fraction too big as he didn’t had a carp…and I had five from 7 lb up to a nice 15 lb common.

I’ve not got it right yet, not by a long measure. But I am experimenting more than I normally would with bait and rigs and that should also benefit my other fishing when I pick up a pole, waggler or feeder next time.

The lesson: don’t wear blinkers.


Related links

Colin Mitchell targets catfish

Colin Mitchell – ‘on fish fish or using the right tactics?’

Colin Mitchell – fishery rules he hates

Colin Mitchell – choosing the right fishing lines

Colin Mitchell – changing your fishing tactics in spring

Why ticketless bank walkers wind Colin Mitchell up!


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It’s a brilliant read! Get this week’s Angler’s Mail, with free one-day rod licence voucher, fishery deals, World Cup venues, river tips, Go Fishing with Dave Coster – and more!