Match and coarse fishing tactician Dave Coster of Hardy Greys is back. Here Dave, an Angler's Mail columnist, explains his tips on how approaches bream - or rather smaller ones called skimmers.
RESERVOIR skimmers can be tricky to catch because it’s not always easy to hit on the right bait for these fish, which can be picky to say the least.
The main problem I suspect is that reservoirs sit somewhere between commercial fisheries and wild venues.
They often get stocked naturally by feeder streams, but also in many cases are artificially stocked as well.
This leads some anglers to try pellets and sweetcorn, while others rely more on natural baits like maggots, casters and worms.
Then there’s the quandary regarding which type of groundbait to use – sweet or fishmeal based?
All this has led me into using a dual approach for reservoir skimmers. My bait table carries a good mixture of baits like red maggots, casters and worms, plus feed and soft hooker pellets.
As for groundbait I play safe with a sweet flavoured non fishmeal mix alongside a fishmeal recipe. Sometimes I mix the two together if I’m not sure what the fish want and on quite a few occasions this has worked very well!
North East battles with my South East mucker
My old fishing pal Andy (Epicentre) Griffiths came all the way up from London recently to have a few days skimmer fishing with me on the North East reservoirs, so I thought it would be interesting to contrast our different approaches.
Andy used an out and out fishmeal attack with commercial fishery pellets and pellet based groundbait, while I moderated my groundbait half and half as previously described, feeding a mixture of chopped worm, casters and a smattering of feed pellets.
The first reservoir we fished produced early fish on the feeder for Andy and a quick flurry of action on the waggler for me, before the wind dropped and bites dried up.
We both ended up on the long pole, where bites were finicky, but persistence eventually put us back amongst the fish.
We finished with identical low double-figure catches of skimmers, with fish ranging from 8oz up to 2 lb.
And another dead heat!
A couple of days later we tried the same tactics on another reservoir with exactly the same results – another dead heat!
I was getting plenty of bites on maggots and pieces of worms but many of these were from nuisance gudgeon and tiny roach. Andy was catching loads of gudgeon, even on 6mm expanders!
This led Andy to dump in a pint of dead maggots, which seemed to do the trick, occupying the gudgeon and bringing the skimmers back on to his pellet line.
I eventually avoided the small stuff by catapulting a few pellets just past my groundbait line and fishing here, where I picked up several bonus skimmers.
Next time you target this species it could be well worth experimenting a bit more with a good mixture of baits.
Sometimes a switch to pellets avoids the small fish and gives your hook bait enough time for something better to find it, or sometimes the fish simply want a change bait.
By the way, Epicentre now has a customised number plate with EP1 incorporated in it! And for those not in the know, he got this nickname on the London match scene many years ago due to the flier pegs he has an uncanny knack of drawing.