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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YOU are reading this as we just arrive back from the lads’ annual trip to Ireland.

We’ve been to some of our old haunts, fished some of our favourite spots and met up with some great long time friends. But we also ventured onto some ‘new’ waters. They are venues that are on the maps yet have been largely ignored because visiting anglers always tend to head for the same place.

And that made me think about how many venues back in England, Wales and Scotland also get overlooked. They could be waters that have no form; that no one has tried to fish; or fisheries that stopped producing the goods as well as they used to. Contrary to what many anglers believe there are still loads of stillwaters and stretches of river that rarely, if ever, see rod and line.

Let’s get this straight – it’s NOT me in this picture, honest! But visiting once popular waters, or places you’ve neglected personally, can bring back the variety into your fishing.

I took my wife for a walk along a stretch of a Thames tributary that she didn’t realise was there, despite crossing over it numerous times in the past 20 years. She knew the river was there but not what it looked like and it’s fishing potential. Likewise, one of my mates, always keen to find somewhere close to home, has found three local ponds, all within five miles, that hold fish and seldom see a rod. All of these lakes hold fish – and in some cases nice specimens. They are not the biggest or even the most attractive of waters, but they are lovely little fishing venues for a short session.

I went over to Sussex just a couple of weeks ago and someone told me about a lake near to where I was visiting. I had a walk around and there were just two anglers fishing and waiting to pay their cheap day ticket. One of them hadn’t been there for years but obviously knew the venue well and told me about the bream, tench and a few carp. My son had spotted some carp anglers there a few weeks earlier.

I won’t name the venue so there isn’t a deluge of anglers spoiling the fishing for those who have bothered to check it out recently. But in the past the water was always rated and then fell from favour when fishing went off and there was a lot of weed growth. Now it looks like it is heading back to former glories. Lovely, a natural fishery, on cheap day ticket, offering good fishing. There were a few bank walker but not enough to affect the sport.

Nice though it is to get assured carp sport on commercials, they are just one genre of venue to tackle. And don’t forget: they often have fish other than carp… like redfins galore!

The growth of commercial fisheries and the decline of many rivers have changed out fishing habits. The commercials have been great for our sport, no doubt about that, but they have also led to a lot of newcomers not realising just how fishing can offer so much variety.

I like visiting some of the commercials near me, especially the ones that can offer great pleasure fishing and not just big weight bag-up matches. It’s not all about carp you know! Our trips nearly always produce loads of other species – just before our Ireland trip; besides the usual carp (and plenty of different varieties at that) we landed bream, skimmers, tench and some amazing roach.

Mad as it might sound to some, those roach were the highlights of the sessions. My best carp was 15lb, a lovely fish, but the sheer number of 12oz to 1lb roach means I will be back in the winter to just target the redfins.

I’ll also be back to two of the venues in search of big perch. We know they are there, we have seen them caught in the colder weather and the plan is to target them when all of the other fish aren’t feeding quite so well. Fishing is meant to be fun. Variety is the spice of life. Put the two things together and your angling could be even more interesting than it already is!



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