IT’S confession time! Are you superstitious? Do you pull all kinds of stunts when you go fishing in the belief that these things will catch you more?

Call it fate, luck – good or bad – or just superstition, but I have to confess that there have been a few quirky things I have done over the years thinking they might get a few more specimens in the net.

I'm not like John Terry and his socks habit... but I have other things that 'bring me luck.'

I’m not like John Terry and his socks habit… but I have other things that ‘bring me luck.’

I used to believe that if I put my keepnet in the water before I caught my first fish it would be the kiss of death, that I would get the net wet for no reason.

That went out of the window when I started to fish matches and realised the benefits of having it set up to save time and also in place so as not to disturb fish nearby. Now I hardly use a keepnet anyway….

I never did the things that some footballers do – like Chelsea defender and angler John Terry who puts different socks on first depending on whether he is at home or away.

My socks and boots just got pulled on. Shirts, jeans and jackets were however another matter…they became lucky items of clothing. I was even reluctant to have the washed.

Once I got home to find my mam had ditched a pair of ripped, patched and generally worn out jeans that she was even embarrassed to wash. I was gutted.

Got any lucky floats? Some not unlike these babies were mine!

Got any lucky floats? Some not unlike these babies were mine!

Then, of course, there are the lucky floats. Without these I was unable to catch.

One was a home-made stick float crafted from balsa. It worked anywhere and was painted black with a red top. In the end it got broken…that was a terrifying experience.

But luckily my mates and I had also discovered that goose quills (preferably with red tops) and shop-bought Belglow floats worked a treat.

Now Belglows were actually what many people regarded as Trent trotters, a sort of mini dumpy waggler. Waggler, bottom end only? No way, in our book these were top and bottom floats. It is how they worked!

Of course we also had to have bronze maggots. When the link was found between cancer and chrysoidine used to colour our bait it was a nightmare.

Thank you whoever discovered the alternatives, but particularly turmeric.

I thought I'd found the X Factor when I got hold of X21.

I thought I’d found the X Factor when I got hold of X21.

And of course bait worries would not be complete without the right smells and additives.

We really did believe that we couldn’t catch bream without some vanilla powder sprinkled on the groundbait.

Then – and here’s a secret – there was X21. This stuff caught skimmers. Believe me you caught them where they didn’t live with this stuff.

The key was to buy this groundbait that had a picture of a little submarine on its packaging. It wasn’t always readily available.

One day a former colleague rushed to work to tell me how he had bought a whole box of the stuff. He was delighted…until I pointed out that the bag did not have the submarine. Sinking feeling…

Now it’s your turn! Let us know about your superstitions…post on the Angler’s Mail Facebook wall or drop an email to the magazine to:



Spawning timing suggests our shutdown needs a rethink


I know there’s been a big north-south divide in the weather recently but certainly down in the warmer south it looks like the fish have got into a spawning mood.

Sunday I caught, but nowhere near as well as I should have, yet the rushes opposite me were shaking like they had been hit by an earthquake

The carp were rattling those stems just like they do when they are getting ready to breed.

And when Music Mike and I nipped out for a few hours on Wednesday there were more signs that the carp weren’t feeding as well as they should be and the few bream we did catch had spawning tubercles on their heads.

A bream with spawning tubercules - and early spawning seems likely for many fish.

A bream with spawning tubercules, and early spawning seems likely for many fish.

Now that could be a good sign for fishing. If fish are spawning this early and we get more good weather later in the summer they may spawn twice. It does happen.

And of course the above proves the point that the current Close Season is nonsense.

First, you do no catch fish that are ready to spawn. They just don’t feed.

Second, all species spawn at different times and depending on whether conditions. Sometimes they don’t breed at all.

I like the idea of natural banks getting a rest, and likewise fish.

Some clubs have come up with a good answer to this by rotating which of their stillwaters are shut for a month or two at a time.

And in mainland Europe different countries have different Close Seasons for different species.

Our shut down is antiquated and needs a serious re-think.




Our Sunday blogger is  coarse fishing all-rounder Colin Mitchell. 

For many years Colin was a senior Angler’s Mail magazine staff man and he has enjoyed a long, interesting journalism career.

He understands match fishing, pleasure fishing, carp fishing – the lot.

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Related post

Last week’s Colin Mitchell pleasure fishing blog 






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