Colin Mitchell, in his popular weekly general coarse fishing blog asks: is research the be all and end all on a water?

ANY ANGLER who wants a good day’s fishing or to do well in a match does his homework.

He – or she! – will make a few phone calls, ask a few mates or the bailiffs for tips or scan match results before visiting a venue.

Use all of the above tactics and you shouldn’t go far wrong… or is it really such a good bet?

Look past the obvious if you really want to succeed. Most people wear blinkers or rose tinted specs when it comes to describing tactics and how a place is fishing.

Match results  – what they reveal

Let’s look first at match results. There could be a mega winning weight and a few back up weights but this does not give the best picture.

Where did these weights come from? Were they in one area of the venue? Who caught (yes that is important as if it’s a star angler who knows the venue he is obviously going to be well in the know) and how did they catch?

Looking into match fishing weights can give you some ideas... but the wrong conclusion can be drawn!

Looking into match fishing weights can give you some ideas… but the wrong conclusion can be drawn!

Check out how the other areas of the venue fished. There could have been tiny weights, few fish or even blanks! That means you need to know if the fish move around because of the sun, shade, water temperature or wind. And many of you will also ask how deep is the water where the fish were caught.

That is important…but some other things need to be known too!

Are fish caught down the edge or at distance? Do they live on the bottom or do they come up in the water to feed? The same questions must be asked if you ask a pleasure angler how somewhere if fishing.

The angler you ask might have had a great day: the venue is fishing brilliant according to him, he will be full of how to catch but may well fail to tell you how many people did not land a fish!

If he’s had a rubbish day: you’ll be told it the place is fishing like a drain, it’s not worth visiting…and you could miss out.

Two different versions of one day…

Last week Music Mike and I went to a venue we know and he went to an area that we had fished before. I tried one of the other lakes we had not tried.

Now we knew it wasn’t going to fish as well as normal as there had been a surprise overnight frost and we were greeted with a flat calm sunny day – and more anglers on the venue than normal.

Mike caught but nowhere near the numbers that we would expect. I struggled until late on when I had a run of nice bream, although I did also have a lovely 14lb common carp. I was plagued by perch which are not normally a problem at this water.

Burton Springs common-4

I did have a nice common but perch were a pest…

So ask Mike what the place was fishing like and he would tell you it was only average but as he knows it can fish well and as he would factor in the weather we endured.

Ask me and I could tell you it fished rubbish, pestered by perch, not many carp although you might stand a chance with bream.

To be truthful I would just have said wrong lake in poor conditions for me; just poor conditions for Mike who still had a nice day’s fishing. Ninety per cent of the time at this venue we would have expected to catch a lot more – even on a cold winter’s day – so these really were one-off results.

What about the other guys?

Some other anglers who fished the same day might tell you the place was overcrowded (wrong as they were mostly all on one of the lakes with just four anglers on mine!).

They would probably say it was rubbish – I didn’t see anyone land more than three fish and a few went home early.

But the fish just weren’t going to respond in those conditions and certainly did not want the mountains of bait some of the anglers blasted at them.


We all know we should be there at dusk!!

And like many pleasure anglers most packed up late afternoon and went home… so missing one of the best times of the day as that sun slipped down behind the trees.

That is also when the carp started to show on the surface and there were tell-tale signs of them moving into the margins.

Yes we went home around then too… but we knew we were going to miss that feeding time and we’d had an enjoyable day anyway. We will be back…

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