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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PICTURE the scene. A lovely winter’s day, hardly a cloud in the sky, brilliant sun and a very slight breeze…

Agreed, not great conditions for angling but certainly a nice day to be out fishing and with a bit of care, stealth and attention to detail every chance of a few fish in the landing net. But then…you hadn’t allowed for the invasion of the aliens!

They came from nowhere. They landed just when you didn’t want them to and they certainly were not welcome on Planet Day Ticket Water. I’d cautiously placed my box on the bank with a nice nearside swim and plenty of open water, had fed cautiously and had just started to get a few fish and more bites.

If only the "aliens" were like this fella....

If only the “aliens” were like this fella….

Then the first one arrived. The not so gentle giant. Or, to be more precise, the leather-clad biker with giant boots who appeared to make the earth shake as he strode around the lakes. He wasn’t fishing, just making sure that everyone else knew he was there. He had a presence – and one that was not welcome.

Then the next wave arrived. The chavs from hell! I had to bite my tongue as the two pretend anglers and their female halves strode around the lake, talking rather loudly as they heaved their beach deckchairs to a swim. Of course they too made sure that everyone on the lakes were aware of their arrival.

I was particularly sad for the two perch anglers who had hidden away in a corner of one lake, in the shade and were very carefully trying to lure some nice specimens.  I also admired these guys for not going totally ballistic when the chavs arrived, especially when they set up in a swim next to one of them. As it was a day ticket water, you can expect quite a mix of people and characters. But should non-anglers be walking around? Should the chavs have been told to button it?

In my book non-anglers should only be allowed if they are with someone and appreciate we want a bit of peace and quiet. The chavs should have been shown the gate once they started their racket. Some day ticket fisheries ban visitors, unless they buy a day ticket. It’s a practise that is frowned on by some anglers. But why shouldn’t they pay? They are visiting someone’s land and the person that owns the venue has every right to charge them.

I remember some anglers kicking off when a commercial banned bank runners during team matches. I’d agree that may be a bit much as it has to be expected – or at least it was before mobile phones brought their annoying ringtones to the bankside. But people just out for a jolly or visiting their mates is a bit out of order. What if they pick up a spare rod and fish?

The one bone of contention with me is that if you are visiting a new venue you can’t have a look before you got your gear out or bought a ticket. That would pee me off…but there again I would have done my homework about the fishing before travelling to the place.

It’s generally accepted that smaller hooks and thinner lines bring more bites. But in recent years I’ve leant more towards the fact that you can get away with bigger hooks providing you match them to the size of bait and the fish you are after.

Last week I proved to myself that, like all other aspects of fishing, you have to keep an open mind on this and also experiment. I’d started on a small 16 with double maggot and was catching well but missing a few bites. I changed to a small 18 (it was more like a 20) and got less bites – but caught bigger roach which were then followed by carp.

Had the small fish been pushed out of the swim by the bigger specimens? That’s what I thought, so went back up a hook size and it was back to catching smaller fish. A drop down again and it was bigger fish. And of course small hooks can land big fish as my carp proved, the best 10 lb and 14 lb on the pole!







Pick up your copy of the biggest read in fishing this week. This latest copy of Angler's Mail magazine is in stockists from Tuesday, January 21.

Pick up your copy of the biggest read in fishing this week. This latest copy of Angler’s Mail magazine is in stockists from Tuesday, January 21.


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