IT’S time for our must-read Sunday blog. Every 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 my hobby, pastime and sport all rolled into one. It’s something I’ve done for a very long time.

Over the years I’ve dabbled or been serious at all aspects of angling from match through carp to fly and sea fishing. Yet I am still amazed at some of the ridiculous things that happen on the bank and which – to be brutally honest – don’t do much for our sport.

Last week friend Mike and I loaded up the car, went to one of our favourite ticket waters and had a nice day out in the sun, catching fishing, having a bit of banter and chatting to a few nice anglers. On the opposite bank there were two anglers – I use the term loosely for one of them who maybe should have stayed at home. He was only there for a few hours but had more than enough gear for a few days session. He put up his brolly to keep off the sun and after casting out went to sleep.

Then he was on his mobile (yes I could hear him ‘chatting’ across the lake). I now know a lot about his work and even more about how he thinks his other half doesn’t know how to look after a problem child who was playing up. This guy berated the woman on the other end of the phone – he should have just gone home and helped – and then moaned he wasn’t catching much (one carp as it turned out).


I don’t like calling him an angler or carp angler. He just cast out with no thought about where he was fishing (there are some lovely features which he obviously couldn’t see) and then fired baits all over the lake (luckily his catapult didn’t sent anything to our side).

When he was awake I could see him staring at me as I landed quite a few fish. He could have had a load to if he had used a bit of watercraft and actually fed some bait! This incident highlights two sad angling points which we need to put right in our sport.

The first is: we don’t want sleepers on the bank who only disturb our peace when they are awake. I’ve got a local club who ban sleeping on one of its carp lakes. It’s not as daft a rule as it sounds as there were too many people casting out with fixed rigs and then sleeping through their alarms. These are not proper anglers in my book.

Second: we need to try and help those who don’t understand watercraft. A lot of fishing ability is about presentation and feeding. But fish location also has to come into that equation. Last week Mike and I fished swims we have proved hold fish (actually, a lot on this venue do, but some are always better than others).

We fed steadily and experimented with baits until we found the best for the day (in recent weeks it’s changed from corn to meat and last week it was most definitely fishmeal paste).

Then there are the other little things to think about. The fish are normally near far bank features early in the day and move into the margins later one. Last week, with the levels down, the fish were in the deeper margins from the off, the extra depth giving them lower light levels from the blistering sun. But as the sun moved round and created shadows next to the far bank foliage it was also possible to catch in these shady areas.

Does all this sound total commonsense to you? It does to me too. It means we are thinking about our fishing, have watercraft.

Fish safety and protection is also a major part of our game. Tackle and tactics have progressed immensely in recent years but we must all play our part. Last week Mike caught a small carp with a whole pole rig attached to the fish. And I do mean a WHOLE rig. It was obvious that the elastic had snapped at the connector and that, along with the line, float, shot and hook were all wrapped around the carp. Yes, wrapped around! It took Mike a bit of time to snip his way through the gear and get the fish back, thankfully without any obvious harm.

The problem here is that the angler had either not tied the elastic to the connector with a secure knot or – and this is more likely – the elastic had not been regularly checked for wear. That first inch or two of elastic that comes out of the pole tip is always prone to a bit of damage. Check it every time you go out. Snip a bit off if you are not sure or replace the elastic. And match up the rig to the fish you are after. Remember that we were fishing a pretty coloured lake where line can’t be seen as easily by fish. There are also quite a few nice carp and tench about.

This time of the year you can get away with a pretty high breaking strain line. Low diameter brands mean you can fish quite heavy. I used 7 lb which was ideal for the conditions. The rogue rig was carrying line that must have been around 3lb. It was actually as thick as my pre-stretched line, so there was no value in using that brand.




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