Our insightful general angling blogger, Colin Mitchell shares his seven basic tips to land you in fishing heaven. If you like this blog, please click the social media icons above to share with your fishing pals.

Hucklesbrook tenching-2

You’ll be smiling – hopefully – if you follow these seven key pointers for success.


THERE was a time when I used to soak up every bit of available knowledge about fishing; all the tips, tricks and advice.

But, like any sport, hobby, pastime, you can actually absorb far too much information. You can try to take it in but the truth is that too much too fast can easily explode your memory and at the end of the day you remember very little.

So now my philosophy on catching fish is to keep it as simple as possible. If you do too many chops and changes to tackle, presentation and baits you are not going to get the best out of your fishing. Plan A is usually best. Plan B is a good fall back…after that, well it’s nearly always going to be a struggle.

So which are the key areas where you should look for change if you are not catching?

Here are seven ideas that could put you in fish heaven…

Carp hooks

  1. Hook size and line diameter

Drop a few sizes in both, if you can without danger of being broken off should you hook a decent fish, and see if you get some bites or more bites.


  1. Change your bait

It’s amazing how a change in bait can bring an instant response. I always like to think maggots will bring a bite from anything but in recent weeks I’ve proved this just isn’t so. When my main two baits of maggots and worms haven’t worked I’ve called on different sized pieces of meat and caught instantly.

Bulk shotting is simple but always the most effective pattern.

Bulk shotting is simple but always the most effective pattern.

  1. Alter your shotting

Simple adjustments like using lighter or heavier shotting can work. A lighter pattern of strung out shot to pick out fish feeding high in the water, or a heavier bulked pattern to get the bait down to better fish or given greater stability to your rig. Don’t presume one or the other is better or won’t work – different days, different feeding patterns, different undertows means both patterns have their days.


  1. Depth changes

Fish don’t always live on or near the bottom. Sometimes they feed higher in the water. Also, they sometimes like to feed in deeper or shallower spots, so be prepared to get out the plummet and experiment a bit.

Margin fishing-2

  1. Near and far

Most of the time fish like to live well away from the bank, especially if there is disturbance and commotion. But they regularly venture into the margins, often right next to the bank, especially later in the day when they are hunting down food – when they believe anglers have gone home!


  1. Leger or float?

Most anglers will swap between these two methods in a bid to catch – and it is ALWAYS worth a switch. Sometimes a leger or feeder will nail a bait to the bottom in a different way to which you simply can’t do with a float, even when fishing well overdepth.

  1. Experiment

Don’t stick to the tried and tested methods on the waters you visit. Just because they work most times doesn’t mean they will work every time. Sometimes a totally different approach to a water can work – this is why a newcomer can bag up on a pleasure session or a match angler wins on his first trip to a new venue.


And here’s an example of how you can change your fortunes…

TO give you an idea of how much impact one of the above points can make, here’s what happened when I went out on a local lake last week.

The fish here are caught from four to six metres out, often just on the edge of the shelf, and it’s mainly bream, tench and crucians – the mix of the fish often varying by the day.

In recent weeks maggot and casters have scored but when I arrived I was told it was chopped worm or bust, something I couldn’t quite believe!

Blog MitchNow I have caught well on the chop in all seasons of the year but I firmly believed that meat would be a winner. It had started to produce a few weeks ago, but nothing like it can when the fish get the munchies for the stuff.

The weather had warmed up enough and I thought that if a lot of worms had been fed they might just fancy something with a different taste.

Nothing on the start bait of maggots – well just a few small roach – but a change to tiny bits of punched meant brought two crucians immediately. One bream and two tench followed along with one of the best hauls of crucians I have had for a very long time, the best fish around 2 lb 8 oz.

Meat’s not working! Glad I don’t believe all I am told…