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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Fishing is never quite what you expect it to be


IT always pays to take off the blinkers and to experiment – or at least do something you wouldn’t normally try to catch a few extra fish.

We’ve had quite a few days with clear skies and bright sunshine recently, often after frosts.

Those are not ideal conditions for catching and you would normally expect to catch in shade or by fishing towards features.

But I’ve found that fishing in open water has often given better results, despite those unfavourable conditions.

In fact it hasn’t been a one-off; this tactic has worked on more than one venue and with different species.

I’ll hazard a guess the fish wanted that sun on the water to heat it up as they certainly shouldn’t have fed where I caught them, well not if you go by normal fishing lore.

It started on a local lake, a small venue, where we normally catch by fishing as close to overhanging brambles as possible. The water is about four-feet deep, something that is pretty consistent across the whole venue.

I loose-fed this spot and, as always, fed another swim with a bit of light groundbait carrying a few dead maggots. I caught from both areas but there is no doubt the one with the groundbait in open water was stronger.

I did feed some groundbait in the near swim later but it still didn’t come as strong as that swim with no features whatsoever, not even a variation in depth to give a ledge.

Then it was the local canal where the fish should have been close to a moored barged. There were small roach to be caught there on pinkie but the chopped worm line away from the boat proved the strongest catching area.

This line even out-fished the chop line nearest the boat – except for one decent rogue perch which took double pinkie, probably in between chasing those roach.

Next to another local lake that is full of features, including bushes, reeds and overhangs.

I decided to maintain the above experiment by going for a swim that offered open water and a feature just to my left. You guessed, I caught from both areas but the area of open water was the best spot. In fact it became solid with fish!

Same lake, later in the week, and a totally open water peg, no features at all. In fact even the depth of water was the same at three metres as it was at eight, so nothing there to give the fish something to hug, like a ledge.

My peg out-fished everywhere on the lake and, to be honest, I caught a lot more fish than I expected, including carp, tench, perch, rudd and some nice roach.

It just goes to show that all swims need to be tried, don’t write them off because they have no features.

In all the above cases and a lot of my other fishing recently I’ve also been very careful how I have fed.

The catapult stayed in the box and everything – even maggots – has been put into the swim via a cup or a pot.

A decent sized cup of micro pellets and a few maggots for starters and then regular toppings up with the pot, keeping the bait nice and tight which appears to have been very effective.

A bonus of fishing like this is that you usually pull a few bigger fish into the swim as they appear to concentrate on tightly fed bait.

It’s also been very noticeable recently fish have not always sat on top of the free bait, groundbait or loose feed.

You may catch a few fish on it but in this type of cold, bright weather they tend to back off a little just after you have fed or after you have caught a few.

As always, just keep tweaking how you fish, where you fish and what you feed. It could just pay off with a bit better day than you expected.








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