Colin Mitchell, in his popular weekly Angler's Mail pleasure fishing blog, gives some tips and tricks to win more bites - and catch more fish!
IF YOU want to earn a few more bites and put a few extra fish in the net…keep on moving!
A still bait isn’t always the answer to catching more. More often than you might think a moving bait – even in stillwaters and canals – will tempt more fish into feeding.
We all know that sometimes the only way to buy a bite is to nail your bait to the bottom in still or moving water.
But I will bet you that a bait that twitches, lifts, slowly moves off or trundles through your swim is likely to get more bites.
And I am not just talking about predators. I have yet to find any species that won’t snatch at a bait that moves.
When you are fishing worms – in pieces or whole ones – over a bed of chopped worm it pays to lift and drop occasionally, keep the bait on the move all the time, or drag it over your baited area.
But the same method of dragging and lifting will work with maggots, corn, meat…in fact anything you put on the hook.
Using the flow or the tow
Just because you are fishing a stillwater don’t think you can’t ‘trot’ your bait through.
Most stillwaters are not actually still but ‘flow’ or tow. Use this movement to put a bit of life into your bait. It’s amazing how many times perch, roach, carp and even bream will snatch at a bait that moves.
On other occasions I have bulked my Stotz at the right depth so that the catch the flow and have ‘trotted’ my bait through the swim.
It’s great – a bit like fishing a very slow river. Just don’t let the bait go too far out of your baited area.
Remember too that where you feed might not be where the bait goes to the bottom, as it too could end up going along with the tow for a short distance.
Lay your rig out on the water so that it is ‘upstream’ of where you expect to catch. This way the bait will fall into the baited area and then go on the drift – giving you even more opportunities to catch.
Watch for any hold-ups – your float not settling as fast as it should – or when the float dips slightly, or even stops going with the tow.
Lift into any movement as the chances are the fish has grabbed your bait. You don’t always have to wait until the float buries and starts darting away!
And if your float starts to drift along too fast with the tow fish a little overdepth. Just keep adding depth until it slows down, or even drag a small shot or Stotz along the bottom like you might on a river.
Movement is magic when legering too!
If you are legering there is no reason why the bait has to be totally static either.
Some river anglers pay out line to ‘bump’ their leger or feeder along the bottom in a bid to attract more bites.
In stillwaters you can go through the age-old process of twitching your bait an inch or two every now and then.
And if you wonder if that actually works let me recount something I saw once whilst watching the late, great Benny Ashurst, father of former World Champion Kevin.
Benny was well into his Seventies but still fished like he was doing decades earlier. He cast out his bomb to his baited area and then started to twitch.
I don’t mean a few inches and leave it. Benny was reeling in a bit, stopping, then starting it all again. A bit like slow motion spinning.
After a certain distance he would reel in and start the process all over again – that was when he hadn’t got a bream or roach on his hook!
It’s been working for me!
Last week I had two sessions where movement got me fish. The first I was fishing meat – not a known bait for twitching – but every time it settled I left it a short time then lifted a few inches and let the bait fall back.
Most of my fish, all carp, fell for the flip of the bait, just like they would for a falling maggot or caster float fished in summer.
Amazingly I started to catch bigger roach and even bream that might have preferred the bait nailed to the bottom.
I reverted to holding back and once again caught small fish.
You can guess how I ended the session – trotting with the tow in a stillwater. And the last fish of the day was a nice 6lb mirror on the pole.
Have a great 2015. I hope you get many bagging sessions on the bank.