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 may have guessed by now that I love a good rant: and from some of your reactions most of you agree with me when I stand on my tackle box.

So, here we go again! More tales of stupidity from the lakeside…

This time it’s the nuggets that have got me riled. Not the chicken version you understand. In fact chickens probably have more brains than these so-called anglers.

Lots of venues, quite rightly, have a rule that says you must have an unhooking mat for big fish. They should also tell these pillocks that if you have one you should use it!

There I was last weekend looking on enviously as the guys a few swims along bagged a few nice tench and then landed them in a net that would have held a world record carp before plonking them on the ground… next to their unhooking mats!

I know, I know…why? I did suggest that wetting the mats and using them was an excellent idea and helped protect the fish and got looked at in the manner that suggested I should watch out for men in white coats.

At that point I then dredged an outlawed fixed rig from my swim, complete with one of the biggest hooks I’ve ever seen in freshwater. Needless to say it also had a barb, again prohibited at this venue.

I’ve always fancied being a policeman and nicking people. Think I now want to be a bailiff. Can they club people who break fishing rules?

Ok, it wasn’t quite this big…but it was HUGE!

Anyway back to the fishing and an interesting day that, once again, showed our favourite sport has no hard and fast rules – and hardly ever performs to the rule book.

Overcast, warm, bit of ripple, ideal in fact for a bagging session. Except it wasn’t. Well, not for me! Don’t get me wrong, I caught and caught well, just not as well as I had expected. And not as well as the nuggets – sorry, anglers – along the bank. Why? Quite simply because the fish were swimming around in front of them and not me.

It was the same around the lakes. Some people were bagging, some struggled and some had reasonable days. It wasn’t purely due to the conditions and I would like to think that in my case and a number of others it wasn’t due to our bait, presentation or gear.

After considering all of the options there was only one thing that could have affected the fishing: the wind. It had obviously been blowing strongly one way for some time as there was quite an undertow.

At first that answer puzzled me because the fish were in pockets around the lake. Then I realised: the lakes curve and twist…so the wind would have been blowing fish into a number of corners at the venue.

To prove the point even further, I caught small fish on maggot and only got some bigger tench, crucians and bream when I slipped on a grain of sweetcorn. The big fish caught “upstream” of me in the other swims were all caught on maggot.  I’d guess that the presence of the big fish had pushed the small fish out of those swims so they were willing to eat any reasonable hookbait.

My swim contained the smaller fish with the occasional better specimen that came to have a look at what the other species, like roach, rudd and perch, were eating. The secret, as ever, is to keep feeding whether you are catching or not. The amount of feed gets stepped up depending on the number of bites you get.

Quite often, especially in matches, you will hear anglers say they are trying to feed off the smaller fish to catch their bigger brothers. That is not always right. Activity from the small species brings the big ones in for a look. The presence of specimens could push the small fish out of your swim but if it doesn’t, get a big hookbait out there to be more selective.

Just don’t bank on nuggets – chicken or otherwise – getting you a net full!


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