COLIN MITCHELLEvery Sunday we welcome 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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WANT to catch a few more fish now the conditions are getting a bit tougher?

Well you’d better get ready to be a real mover and shaker! No I don’t want to see you disco or breakdancing down the bank, but I do expect you to put a bit more effort into your fishing. Don’t just cast out and hope a fish finds your bait. Give whatever’s on your hook a bit more attraction with some movement!

More times than not most species will immediately intercept a bait that’s given a bit of a flick, twitch or is dragged a little through your swim. Pegs that appear to be empty of fish suddenly prove you wrong when that maggot, worm or even pellet, caster or corn are lifted a little off the bottom or dragged along the lake, canal or river bed.

I’ve watched fish – particularly perch – just lay there looking at free offerings on the bottom. There were pieces of juicy worm and some nice crunchy casters that were just ignored. But when the worm on the hook was lifted an inch off the bottom and then dropped back down again the perch zoomed in to intercept as if it wasn’t going to get another feed for months. One of my mates looks like he has something wrong with him when he fishes chopped worm in this manner.

Benny Ashurst

Benny Ashurst

I swear that for hours his bait NEVER stays still for more than a few seconds. He actually over-shots his float so he HAS to keep lifting it up a touch and then dropping it back. He looks like he has the shakes as his pole is never, ever stationary. And he catches. Often a lot more than those around him.

Likewise, I had another fishing pal who would count how long his bait was still before moving it. I gave that a go but there were so many numbers flooding through my brain during a session I had to give up. I think he counted slowly to 30 before making a move. Imagine how many times you would hit that three zero mark during a five hour match! And the late, great Benny Ashurst twitched his bream baits so much he looked like he was spinning.

I watched him once during a session where he cast out to his feed area and then started slowly inching his bait back to the back. Yes, that’s all the way back from a good cast out. He caught more than his fair share of bream so it has to be right!

Another good ploy is to lay your rig out on the water, whether you are fishing with a running line or pole. It works best with a pole…but lay your rig across the surface and then hold it tight as the hook and shot sink through the water. Again you will be amazed at how you sometimes catch fish that you would swore weren’t even in your swim.

dave vincent

Dave Vincent

Former Matchman of the Year and England international Dave Vincent made me do this one day when I borrowed his gear for a few drops in when I went to watch him at an Essex lake. Dave was catching well and handed me the pole. I placed the rig and worked hard on the control but didn’t get a sniff. Dave told me how to lay the rig out hard across the surface and then hold it tight as it fell. Instant bites…and nice roach at that. Fish don’t give themselves up once the weather gets cold; they need a bit more encouragement.

Likewise, it your first tactic fails, have another one read. Last week I caught well fishing double red maggot over tiny balls of fluffy groundbait on an 18 hook. But when those bites dried up I had another swim prepared with chopped worm, as far away as I could fish from my groundbait line.

Response was instant when I dropped in, half worms on a big 16 being taken with a vengeance by various carp, perch, roach and bream. That second swim had been fed at regular intervals whilst I emptied the other one, so when the hookbaits arrived the fish were down on the bottom full of confidence and only too eager to eat more.

Don’t give up if you can’t catch instantly – just think of different things to try.



You trot through a river – also give it a try on a stillwater! When there’s a good tow on the water it sometimes pays to let your hookbait go with the flow to entice a few more bites. Don’t let it go too fast though and fish with some line dragging the bottom if you have to slow it down a bit.






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