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Inside Out Method


Fishing with my hookbait outside of the feeder has been very effective over the past couple of months. It can be a deadly way of fishing the method feeder when the fish aren’t attacking the feeder confidently.


Light Is Best


I always try and use the lightest float and line I can get away with at this time of year, it definitely catches me more fish. As the water starts to warm up I will step up my tackle, but using light lines, floats and smaller hooks works best for me in the winter/spring months. 


Less is More

It’s amazing how little bait you can feed on commercials, but still catch loads of fish. F1’s in particular respond to the tiniest amount of bait at this time of the year. Literally, three maggots or five micro pellets is enough bait to get an initial response from a fish, then you have to be patient and wait for a proper bite. I see far too many anglers feeding with massive CAD pots and ruining their pegs. I use a small sprinkle pot, this holds more than enough bait! The ‘less is more’ statement couldn’t be more applicable at this time of the year.




Make Some Noise




Making noise is very important in fishing, even at this time of year. Fish are inquisitive and they’re attracted to noise so I always have a line up my sleeve where I catapult or throw bait. You’ll be shocked at the difference making noise can make.


Plumbing Up

This is an area that lots of anglers get confused about but I think it’s simple. I fish 1 to 2” over depth on commercials, to the bottom of the body of my float. I’ve found this to be the most effective way to plumb up, no matter what bait I’m using or what fish I’m targeting. I’ve been using a Line Safe Plummet for the past six months and it’s essential for gaining pin point accuracy.s’ 5 Commercial Tips





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Where once bloodworm ruled supreme, bread and hemp seem to dominate on Alan Scotthorne’s local canal. We met him to see how he utilises two of the best roach catchers available.

I have fished my local Stainforth & Keadby Canal for many years because it is so close to my South Yorkshire home and offers such consistent sport. Roach are always the main species, with just the occasional match won with skimmers and bream. From winter through to spring it has a reputation for being dominated by bloodworm and joker. However, times are definitely changing…

Despite its dominance, there has been a growing trend where other baits are being used more and more in matches and with surprising results. I think it was probably all brought about by the fact that one winter, around three years ago, bloodworm and joker was not available in England for a very long five-week period. This was due to the really low temperatures throughout Europe and it meant anglers had no option but to try other baits. Of these, two really stood out for catching impressive weights of roach: bread and hemp.


Super Seeds

hemp sizes B hemp mf 16
Hemp for feeding (left) and Monster Hemp hook bait (Right)

Hempseed has always been considered a great summer bait for roach. It is capable of very large weights and roach can get into a feeding frenzy at times. Using these little black seeds in winter, however, was a rarity on the Stainy. That was until some anglers discovered it could lead to weights of up to 20lb!

It has now become very common to feed hemp on a long-pole swim. This year in particular you have really needed to catch on hemp in the last two hours of a match to do well. The overall size of roach you catch on hemp is far superior to the ones caught on bloodworm, too. I don’t know what the explanation for this is. I can only think that joker attracts all the small fish and the bigger and wiser roach don’t get a chance to get to it. This is borne out by the fact that, after introducing joker, the first few roach you catch are normally of a good size, in the 2oz to 3oz class. Soon after, though, most of the fish are less than an ounce and not such good weight builders. Added to this is the problem of lots of small perch being in a swim fed with bloodworm and joker. It is therefore difficult to win a match by just fishing bloodworm and joker for the entire duration. Catching the much bigger roach on hemp is therefore vital and these traditionally begin to appear much later in a session.                                  


Breadpunch Power

alan and bait A hemp mf 16
It doesn't take much bait to catch a lot of fish


Another very effective option instead of bloodworm has been fishing with punched bread. This is also being used on my local canal for roach with great effect and they are normally a slightly better size than the bloodworm fish.

Unlike hemp, bread is also quite an instant bait that can bring an immediate response. It therefore makes sense to start by fishing with bread and end the session with a flurry of better fish on hemp.

By being quite aggressive with the way you fish with bread, it is possible to catch well for at least two or three hours. That is precisely how I have approached today’s session. I have caught 90 fish on punch before finishing the session with much bigger roach on the seed.

I have spent some time this season fine-tuning my hemp and bread approach, so I want to share with you how I make the most of these low-cost baits.


Preparing Bread Feed

bread ball B hemp mf 16
This is Alan's initial amount of feed


Using cheap loaves of sliced white bread, I remove the crust from each slice and then spread it out on a flat surface for a couple of hours so the bread dries out a little. I then put these slices through a liquidiser and pass the resulting crumbs though a pinkie riddle or sieve. This creates perfect liquidised bread for feeding.

I normally liquidise several loaves at a time, portion it in polythene bags and store it in the freezer. Then, the night before a match I take two or three bags out so they are fully defrosted in the morning.

My liquidised bread feed is okay for shallow venues, but this canal is 2.5 metres deep, so I need something to help it go straight to the bottom before breaking down. I therefore also add Sensas Punch Crumb. This fine white groundbait is stickier than liquidised bread and gives the mix much more binding power. A third to half of my mix is Sensas Punch Crumb and, using a drill and whisk, I spray it with an atomiser while whisking until it binds together easily. I then add red 2mm aquarium gravel for extra weight. I prefer red, but I know others choose to use white, so it is just personal preference.


Bread For The Hook


Next is the hook bait. For this I prefer good quality, medium-sliced Warburtons. I bring three slices to use just as they are. I also have another three that I’ve placed in a microwave on full power for 20 seconds and then compressed with a rolling pin to flatten them slightly. This gives me two hook-bait consistencies to try; normal bread straight from the bag is best when bites are coming quickly, but microwaved bread stays on the hook much better. Importantly, keep the slices in an airtight bag to maintain their freshness.


How To Hook Bread


hooking bread A
1. Alan usually starts with a 5mm punch. Pull the hook through the slot and up into the bread...


hooking bread B Hemp mf 16
2. ... before drawing the bread out of the punch head...


hooking bread D hemp mf 16
3. ... then gently move the pellet of bread onto the bend of the hook



How To Hook Hemp


hooking hemp A mf hemp 16
1. Gently force the bend of the hook into the seed that has only just split


hooking hemp B mf hemp 16
2. The seed will grip the hook well enough to stay on.


Where To Fish

netting A hemp mf 16

This is a typical canal with a slope on the near side going out to about five metres. The bottom is then flat until it starts to rise again around five metres from the far bank. I will plumb to fish on this flat area at about six to seven metres. The canal is affected by boats and lock gates, so it will occasionally tow slightly and usually from left to right. By fishing where the bottom is flat, it allows you to run over the baited area much easier than if you were fishing on a slope.

At the start I feed just one large ball of bread feed that just fits inside a 250ml Drennan pole pot. Because I know that this canal can move at times, this is cupped in a metre to the right. This means if the canal does start to run I can set up my rig above the baited area and then run over it with ease. Interestingly, I have found that a lot of fish intercept the punch hook bait when it is above the baited area. When the canal is flowing, I think the fish must swim through the baited area and then drop back below the bait; hence you catch a lot of roach upstream of the feed and not just downstream like you might assume.

The ball of bread feed is squeezed hard so I know that it will get to the bottom exactly where I want it. The extra weight of the gravel also means it will reach the bottom quickly, even if the canal is flowing. I know for a fact that the fish will soon spread the bait out across a wider area as they attack the ball and give you a slightly bigger area to fish over.

Bites normally come instantly after feeding bread, so once I am catching I can monitor the amount of bites I’m getting and decide when a re-feed is necessary. This happened after about 25 minutes today and by this stage, I had already caught 20 fish. Roach are aggressive feeders, so I topped up with two more big balls of bread in the hope that this would last a little longer.

The canal then flowed for a period and, as expected, the fish fed very well when this happened. I caught really well until I had a lapse in sport and a big pike became a nuisance, grabbing a better roach on the way in. It was no match for my 0.075mm hooklength, however. Once netted, I took it for a walk and released it further up the canal for its troubles!


Positive Bread Rig


Rigwise, fishing with breadpunch is very similar to fishing with bloodworm. I therefore have a simple setup consisting of a bulk of No8 shot with three No10 droppers spread over 40 centimetres. This is a good starting rig with a 0.6g Drennan prototype pencil-type float that I have been working on.               

This is on 0.107mm Drennan Supplex line with a 15 centimetre 0.075mm Supplex fluorocarbon hooklength to a size 18 Kamasan B511 hook. I leave around 80 centimetres of line from float to pole tip so the rig can travel across the baited area easily. This is connected to No3 Preston Slip elastic through just the long tip section of my Acolyte pole. This cushions the strike well but also ensures fish can be swung to hand easily.

I have started using this shorter length of elastic more and more on venues like this and with lighter elastics up to No6. It is better for controlling bigger fish and makes swinging fish of different sizes much better. It even helped to succumb a 12lb pike in double-quick time between the roach action!

I set the rig three centimetres off bottom because this seems to be the optimum depth. I can then work the rig over the swim and top up with more feed whenever I feel the fish are backing off. This has kept the swim ticking over and in a little less than three hours I’ve caught around 90 fish for over 8lb. A great start!



My usual hook bait is a 5mm pellet of bread, but Drennan produces a cracking set of six punches with brass heads ranging from 2.5mm up to 7mm, so it’s just a case of experimenting with what the roach want on any given day. Normally it is the size of fish that dictates the best size of punch.

I also find it better to use a bread board that I have made myself from MDF. This doesn’t damage the punches but gives a hard base to punch onto, helping with speed when hooking up. A rigid side tray also helps when repeatedly pressing down hard with a punch.


Switching To Hemp

While fishing my closer bread swim I regularly catapult hemp much further out on to a long-pole swim. That is at 15 metres towards the base of the far shelf. As soon as I have positioned my rig into the closer swim I loose feed the hemp swim with a catapult. This helps to slowly build up the area ready for the last two hours.

I feed up to 30 grains every drop-in and after missed bites, so I had probably fed this area around 120 times while fishing bread. You have to be disciplined with the regular feeding but it really is worth it if the roach are there and ready to be caught.

netting C hemp mf 16
Hemp tends to sort out a better stamp of roach


Preparing Good Hemp

I prefer freshly cooked hemp and always have two sizes. For the hook, I use Sensas Monster Hemp, but it can sometimes be difficult to cook. The best way I have found is to place it in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. I then carefully pour off the water and replace with cold water and reboil. I repeat this up to 10 times. The finished hemp is then nicely split and the shoots are snow white and perfect for roach.

For feeding I use normal sized hemp cooked in the same way. I think changing the water regularly really helps to ensure the kernels are bright white and contrast well with the black shells. This is important because roach hunt by both sight and noise.


Hemp Rigs


I set up two very different rigs for hemp. The first is my positive rig and features a 0.4g Drennan AS6 pole float that has a 1.5mm hollow bristle and a carbon stem. This is set at exact depth with just a single bulk of No10 shot positioned 80 centimetres from the hook and no droppers at all. This is quite an unorthodox setup but allows the hemp to fall very naturally. When you get a bite on this rig you rarely miss it! It also seems to pick out the bigger fish. A 0.09mm Supplex fluorocarbon hooklength to a size 16 Kamasan B511 hook to No5 Preston elastic completes the setup.

My next rig is a little more traditional and consists of a 0.2g pencil float with strung-out No11s. It also features a 0.08mm hooklength to a size 16 B511 and is usually fished around 20 centimetres off the bottom.


Hooking Hemp


I hook hemp by forcing the bend of the hook into a seed that has only just split. With a little practice, you can feel when the hemp is wedged nice and securely. This should grip the hook well and still leave enough of the hook point showing to hit bites.

There are other ways to hook hemp, such as pushing the hook through the small indentation (where it was originally attached to a stem) and out of the split, but I feel this masks the hook slightly so I prefer the way I’ve already explained.


Feeding And Presentation

Once I begin to fish the hemp swim I often find it is better to not actually feed while your rig is in the swim. This just leads to missed bites and all sorts of silly indications on the float as the fish dart around in a frenzy! So, when I ship in with a fish or rebait, I then feed with the catapult. This is normally with up to 40 grains of hemp to keep the fish down near the bottom, where they are easier to catch.

I often vary the presentation and lift and drop the hook bait until I find out how the fish want the bait falling through the swim. The angler that works hardest with this bait definitely reaps the rewards.

Usually, the longer you can wait and build up a hemp swim the better, so be patient. That is why it works so well in conjunction with a more instant bait like bread. It is a great way to catch roach, so get out and try both of these relatively cheap baits for fantastic results!

Venue File:

Venue: Stainforth & Keadby Canal

Location: Thorne, near Doncaster, South Yorkshire

Day tickets: £3 on the bank; £2 juniors and concessions

Controlling club: Thorne District Angling Association

Website: http://thorneanddistrictaa.weebly.com


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Outspoken and opinionated he may be, but whenever he writes something it’s always worth reading. Welcome back, Giles Cochrane…

Weston Pools is a fantastic match and pleasure fishing complex because it offers anglers a range of species to target with a variety of different approaches. However, from a match angler’s point of view, this can be a daunting prospect.

It took me a little while to realise that I needed to target F1s, ignoring the barbel and carp as the F1s feed shallow for most of the year and are big enough to put a reasonable weight together in the last few hours if necessary.

My approach to winning matches at Weston Pools is simple and based solely on reading the ‘bites’ to ascertain whether the fish have come up in the water.

Giles Cochrane Weston March 16
A short line between pole and float maximises the bites to hooked fish ratio

I make no secret of the fact that I disagree with too much emphasis being placed on rigs, line diameter and hook sizes because you are not focusing on the most important aspect of match fishing: feeding!

This feature is designed to demonstrate the most effective way to catch F1s. My choice of floats for the job is largely irrelevant because it is purely down to personal choice but use something robust and forget the pretty, delicate ones.

Giles Cochrane March 16 2
Giles favours solid elastics for F1s

I use Darren Milne Slims with 2.5mm tips in 4x14 and 4x12 sizes because they are strong and take a battering. It really doesn’t matter which brand of line you use or the diameter as it makes no difference, and the same can be said for hooks. Use what you have confidence in and don’t be tempted to change by the latest fads that everyone else is using. I use PR 27s because I find eyed hooks better for shallow fishing but to each their own.

This is the part of the feature you’ll have to read twice: I use diameter 0.17mm line direct to a size 14 hook when fishing caster shallow for F1s. I never use hooklengths because I use line that is strong enough to cope with any rogue carp or barbel. I see no point in tying a weaker hooklength into the rig. It’s about landing what you hook.

Giles Cochrane March 16 3
Fishing shallow is the best way for a big weight of F1s

As for elastics, I use solids for shallow fishing because I feel I have far more control, particularly for F1s as I like to ship back the pole, break down to the top kit and net the fish in one movement. I find hollows to be too soft and pulla kits make them fight harder, resulting in lost fish at the net. Winning matches has never been about landing fish quickly – it’s about landing fish effectively! If they don’t go in the keepnet then what difference does it make to anything you do?

I start every match by feeding one line at around 11 to 14 metres with chopped worm through a Kinder pot, starting on the deck and gauging the bites; more often these are liners. You need to work out where they want it. The secret to winning matches is knowing when to switch to fishing shallow. This is the most effective way of catching a big weight of F1s so the sooner I can get them off the bottom the better.

Feeding one line works well at Weston Pools because you won’t confuse yourself. I feed neat worm and a little soil through a Kinder pot but loose feed caster over the top. It’s far easier to regulate the feed by doing it this way and to determine at what depth you want them to feed.

It might take you 30 minutes to get the first bite but after two or three fish missed bites will become a problem. Scaling down your line and hooks and line diameter is not the answer; fishing shallow is! Within minutes of catching your first fish they will be shallow, even in December as this feature demonstrates. Once I’ve missed two consecutive bites, I switch to the 4x12 rig set at around two to three feet deep. I continue to pot in chopped worm, loose feeding caster over the top, but I am effectively catching on the drop with small worm heads on the hook. On some days it is possible to catch steadily on this rig for the rest of the match but on other days the bigger F1s want the caster. The chopped worm certainly speeds up the waiting time to catching shallow, but by loose feeding casters your shallow caster line has been primed from the start and they will be queuing up for it. Don’t bother to look for signs of fish feeding shallow, you won’t see any! F1s do not swirl for the bait like carp, in fact I find it better to treat them like big roach.

Most of the bites that people miss when fishing caster shallow tend to be from big F1s (3lb plus). By shortening the line between the pole tip and the float it transforms the rig into a bolt rig, which is the best way to maximise the ratio of bites to hooked fish. I believe that when fishing 12 to 18 inches deep, you need a big hook to convert bites into fish and a size 14 is perfect. It might look a little odd to your fellow competitors but who cares – they ain’t eating your casters! Fish cannot see hooks because they are only looking for casters.

Gile Cochrane March 16 4
It's not about looking pretty, it's about being efficient

Giles Cochrane March 16 5
Small pieces of worm were best for fishing on the deep

Creating competition in your peg is essential and the most important part, and to do this I feed five or six casters every few seconds! Fish come to the vibrations caused by bait hitting the surface and not the quantity you feed. You should be feeding around 20 to 30 times a minute.

Despite what people tell you about worm being an expensive way of fishing, consider this: I use half a kilo of worm and roughly five pints of casters over two matches at Weston Pools. It’s really all you need.

Giles Mochrane March 16 6
This is how to judge the quality of your peg!

You might need to practise shipping out with short rigs for the caster approach but to make this easier I use 4x10 floats with one No8 shot down the line. Too much weight down the line will cause tangles and spending your match cutting rigs off the end of the pole with scissors is likely to be detrimental to your catch rate.

Remember, feeding is everything and is the only way you’ll be able to transform average pegs into winning pegs – it’s as simple as that! You only know your peg is rubbish after five hours of fishing it properly, not before you get to it!


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Top northern angler Jamie Wilde reveals his all-time top 10 tips for rod-and-line success with carp when the water temperature plummets!

1. Go Large!

1 10 of the best Jamie Wilde

Clearly, the size of the fish matters in any match, although every carp counts and adds pounds to the final weight. Taking your time and being patient can be the difference between losing and landing a fish.

Bites can be very hard to come by during winter months so bigger fish like this can really make a difference.


2. Bait Preference

2 10 of the best jamie wilde

In the winter months, it is always beneficial to have an array of hook-bait choices. My four favourites, that I always ensure I take to the bank with me, are corn, meat, pellets and bread.

Not every day is the same as the last and having a variety enables me to experiment with what the fish want. Changing hook baits can lead to extra fish in the net. If it seems you are having more liners than bites you could try either popping your hook bait up off the bottom or casting shorter distances until you receive a bite.

You can also vary the size of your hook bait depending on the size of fish you are fishing for; I generally find an 8mm size piece of meat or pellet seems to work best as this will catch fish of all sizes.


3. Fill It Up

3 10 of the best Jamie Wilde

When refilling your spools it is crucial to ensure that the line is level to the lip; this then allows both efficiency and accuracy when casting. Doing this allows you to cast longer distances to find feeding fish within your peg. I always recommend using a minimum of an 8lb line when either bomb or feeding fishing for carp.

My preference is for a large model of reel – a 4000-size minimum – with plenty of cranking power.


4. The Butt Rest

4 10 of the best

This for me is one of the most important things when feeder fishing. I don’t see any reason for the rod to rest on your knee. The majority of the time carp hook themselves, therefore there’s no need to be sat waiting to strike at each bite.

Positioning it correctly, on my front box leg, enables me to be within reaching distance of my reel once a bite takes place. Using a butt rest can stabilise your rod, limiting vibrations down the line. Another benefit is that your rod cannot be pulled into the water.


5. Free Spool

5 10 of the best Jamie Wilde

Always set your drag to the right tension to save line breakages on savage bites. Having your clutch set correctly allows the perfect hook-hold and fewer hook-pulls. I like to set my clutch so that the reel spool spins when the rod is arched around in the rod rest.


6. Hooklengths

6 10 of the best jamie wilde

When feeder fishing or bomb fishing for carp I very rarely drop below a 6lb hooklength, because I don’t believe this results in fewer bites. You need to make every fish count and using a lighter line can result in line breakages and lost fish, which in a match situation can be costly.

I like to use a 2ft hooklength – this allows the hook bait to sink slowly when the bomb or feeder is feathered in and sometimes can provoke a bite as the bait flutters to the bottom.

Always make sure you have plenty of spare hooklengths prepared as time out of the water to tie a new one can lead to missed fish. I also make sure I have different hook baits made up ready on separate hooklengths to make quick changes.


7. Go For 90 Degrees

7 10 of the best jamie wilde

Everyone has their own preference when it comes to positioning their rod rest. I often see some anglers with their rod almost pointing straight, facing the way they are casting; this for me is not beneficial. I believe you can’t see what activity is going on in the peg – line bites, for example.

Having your rod rest set this way can also cause line breakages, as there is no give in the rod tip. I like a 90-degree angle to my rod so that the tip cushions the bite when the rod tip goes round. Having this also gives you time to react to the bite if the fish decides to swim away.


8. Loose Feed?

8 10 of the best Jamie Wilde

Despite the weather conditions, I will always have a ‘throwaway’ line where I loose feed pellets. Some days I find that you will catch on this line and some days you won’t, but feeding in this area out of the way can give you another option to try at a later time, usually at the end of the match.

I tend to feed just four pellets every five minutes to keep the fish occupied. If you don’t catch on this line, a single hook bait cast around your peg, away from the loose-fed area will be the better option.

I always judge the size of the pellets I need to use on the size of the fish I’m targeting. Very rarely do I use a pellet below 6mm, because I find it hard to feed them accurately and in a  tight group.


9. Stop Bead

9 10 of the best jamie wild

Where allowed I will always use a stop bead on my feeder setup. This allows me to speed the process up when loading my feeder. I find this helps to stop the feeder sliding down to the rod tip.

Another option of using this (again where allowed) is to slide the stop bead to the back of my bomb, giving a bolt-rig effect. Doing this sets the hook on a perfect hook-hold. This also seems to help when reeling in, helping the hooklength not to spin up.


10. Through Action

10 10 of the best Jamie wilde

I always evaluate my peg and think about the distance I have to fish, therefore I can decide which length rod to use. In most cases, I tend to use a shorter rod being either a 9ft or 10ft model.

Using a through-action rod limits the amount of hook-pulls I get throughout a match. The new Colmic Adventure Scrape range covers most aspects of commercial fishing. Having a long, stiff, landing-net pole and a big landing net is essential so you’re prepared for all sizes of fish.


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Dobbing is a bit of a Marmite tactic; it can be seen as extremely negative but it also catches a lot of fish, especially when the temperature plummets. Is there really any skill in it? We joined up-and-coming star Craig Goldstraw to discover the secrets behind his dobbing success.

What is dobbing? It’s actually quite a vague description of a method that can take many different forms. Saying you caught dobbing is a bit like saying you caught on the feeder, or on the waggler; yes it gives an idea of how you caught, but with so many variables you’re still left pretty much in the dark.

The most common assumption that most of us make is that if you caught dobbing, you caught on bread; after all it’s the only bait a lot of anglers ever try when dobbing, but in the last few seasons I’ve been having a lot of success dobbing other baits, mainly maggots, and I’ve found that a simple switch of baits can get you bites in an area you previously thought was devoid of fish.

CG Cudmore 65B MF March 16
Think red, not bread!

I don’t know exactly why maggots are so effective for dobbing but I do have a theory: fish see maggots dropping through the water all year long on most venues and therefore seeing a maggot in midwater is nothing new. Bread is rarely used on commercials and although it can be effective on certain days I do think that it’s an unusual sight for the fish and they have a lot more time to inspect a bait in winter and can easily turn their nose up at anything that looks out of place or unsafe.

One other thing I’ve discovered, which again leads me to think that maybe bread isn’t always the best bait for dobbing, is that the colour of your bait can really make a difference when it comes to catching. Surprisingly, whenever I’ve tried dobbing with white maggots they haven’t produced half as well as red maggots, which leads me to think that maybe sometimes a darker colour can sometimes be more effective than a bright colour. With this in mind the bright colour of bread could actually put the fish off at times, rather than attract them.

CG Cudmore 47 MF March 16
Well, that's the shotting taken care of.

The final plus point to fishing maggots, and this is one that I think can be a match winner in winter, is that maggots are not as selective as bread and you will pick up other species. As you’ll be fishing off the bottom these are usually, roach, rudd, ide or chub, but a couple of pounds of these throughout the day can be equivalent to another carp, and the difference between framing and not.

The Right Swim

Like any tactic, dobbing won’t guarantee you catch, regardless of what bait you use. The type of swim you’re fishing can actually have a big impact on your choice to even try dobbing as some swims, especially open-water swims with no notable features, rarely produce a lot of fish to this tactic.

The ideal swim for dobbing is one in which you can reach either the far bank or an island with the pole, and any additional features such as reeds or branches or overhanging grasses can also help to hold and attract fish that can then be dobbed.

The final element that contributes to the perfect dobbing swim is depth; having 12 inches against the island or far bank may be perfect for summer but in winter, especially as the colour begins to drop out of the water, the fish prefer a little more water over their backs.

CG Cudmore 25 MF March 16
Take your time with the bigger carp.

The ideal depth for dobbing is around three feet; if you can find this depth against the features you’ll usually find it holds a few fish all year round.

My Dobbing Rig

Fishing the correct bait, and ensuring it’s presented naturally, are both massively important when it comes to dobbing, and having one without the other can easily leave you biteless.

CG Cudmore 50 MF March 16
Yum yum!

Unlike most tactics when dobbing you’re not feeding and therefore the only way to catch is to trick the fish into thinking that your hook bait is a random offering dropped into the water. With this in mind the manner in which you present your bait must be as natural as possible and this means fishing light: light floats, delicate shotting, thin, supple lines and small, lightweight fine-wire hooks.

I never feel the need to set up loads of rigs when dobbing as one rig can usually cover all my needs. My float choice is a 4x10 Middy Carp Grey; it’s important to have a light float with a buoyant tip as this will be supporting the weight of your bait. You’ll also find that when fishing against the far bank you’ll fish into various light conditions and shadows and therefore a visible tip is really important.

Main line is 0.12mm Middy Lo-Viz to a 0.10mm hooklength. As I mentioned, this not only helps to give your bait a natural fall as the thinner the line the more supple it is, but it’s also difficult for the fish to spot underwater as they inspect your bait. Hook choice is a size 16 Middy 63-13, a lightweight hook that is still strong enough to land any carp I’ll hook when used in conjunction with a light hollow elastic and a puller kit.

The rig is shotted to give my bait the most natural fall possible and so the majority of the shot is placed just under the float with just one No10 shot just above my hooklength.

Getting Dobby

To demonstrate my dobbing tactics we’ve come to Cudmore Fishery. The lake we’re on is around 14.5 metres wide and has an inviting far bank of stickups and it certainly looks fishy.

The first job is to plumb up, just to get a mental picture of the depth on the far bank, the nature of any shelves and the depth in any clear spots against the bank. I like to plumb up both sides of me as far as I can reach, and in this case it’s meant slipping on another couple of sections and fishing at 19 metres. The more of the far bank you can cover the more chance you have of picking up fish.

I have just less than three feet against the reeds and a bit less where it cuts in, so I’m going to start the session fishing two feet deep. This way I can be safe in the knowledge that wherever I drop my bait it’ll be sat off the bottom, hopefully in the line of sight of a few fish.

I’m quite methodical when starting my dobbing session, I want to make sure I cover all of my swim so I start directly in front of me and then switch between the left and right, slowly working outwards, making a mental note of any areas where I get a bite, indication or a fish.

CG Cudmore 19 MF March 16
With the far bank reeds in reach, this was a perfect dobbing swim!

Baiting with double red maggot I ship out and lay my rig in; I like to give it a few minutes with a little lifting and dropping just to see if anything is in the area but bites on this method are usually pretty instant if the fish are there.

After 15 minutes of trying various spots I hook my first fish to my right; it’s clearly a carp as several feet of elastic are pulled from the pole and I guide it away from the danger of the far bank. Once in the open water, I take my time to ensure that I land what is a lovely common around 3lb.

I drop in at the exact same spot next time but it seems it was a lone fish. Dropping further to my right I get a couple of indications, which leads me to think the fish may be further off the bottom. I shallow up six inches and am rewarded with an instant bite, which turns out to be a small ide. Several more follow from the same spot to give my catch a quick boost. With that area drying up I switch back to my original depth and go as far to my left as I can reach, and once again I’m rewarded with a quick bite that sees an angry winter carp make a bid for freedom! I put as much pressure as I dare on the light tackle and eventually I have another carp beaten and in the net.

CG Cudmore 58 MF March 16
A nice catch from a short session on a cold day.

The temperature is really cold today and bites are hard to come by but I spend the next hour picking up the odd ide, and even a skimmer that was caught well off the bottom before I finally latch into something big again. It’s another carp of similar size and it’s soon joining the other in my keepnet.

I fish on for another hour but only a couple of ide are my reward so we decide to call it a day. It’s not been a frantic session and each carp has come from a different spot, which makes me think that they’re not here in any numbers. The three carp plus the silvers have pushed me into double figures in just a short session, and I’m sure I wouldn’t have caught that weight if I’d fished bread.

Dobbing really can be a brilliant method and when used in conjunction with the right bait – mainly maggots – it can put fish in your net when many other methods fail. It’s certainly a method I’ll be relying on in the next few months and one I think should be in every commercial angler’s armoury.


Angler File -

Name: Craig Goldstraw
Age: 25
Lives: Ashbourne
Sponsor: Joiner, Middy/Bag ‘em
MF Says: Chief Punisher


Venue File -

Venue: Cudmore Fishery
Location: Pleck Lane, Whitmore, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire ST5 5HW
Phone Number: 01782 680919
Website: www.cudmorefisheries.co.uk
Day tickets: £8 adults; £6 OAP/disabled/juniors 


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Garbolino and Dynamite backed ace Alex Dockerty is to join the Garbolino Lindholme team on a permanent basis.


Starting in June, the 21 year old Doncaster ace will become Lindholme’s resident angling coach, as well as offering his expertise to customers in the on-site tackle shop.

Alex said: “ Unlike many sports angling coaching seems to be very limited in terms of the number of people offering their services so hopefully this will be a way to pass on my knowledge of the venue and help others in the way many have helped me over the years.

The plan is to offer a multitude of sessions ranging from group days and evening classes to a full day’s one to one tuition.

Being local to the venue means I can be very flexible in terms of time. This allows me to offer services from morning/evening classes to full days.

The aim is to offer a service not too dissimilar to the coaching available in sports such as golf, where specific aspects can be fine-tuned or during a longer session a number of details can be addressed.

Over seven year working in the trade on a part time basis also places me in a great position to offer advice on tackle and bait, from rods to groundbait mixes - anything you’re having issues with I’ll be able to help.

A big thanks must go to Neil and Aaron for the offer and I look forward to starting!”

Fishery boss Neil Grantham added: “Alex first came to work here at Lindholme when he was just 13 years old, as a part of his schools work experience programme.

I was instantly impressed by his hard working attitude, and likeable personality. Since then, I have seen him grow in stature both as an employee and as an angler.

He is walking proof of how any young person with the right work ethic and attitude can get on in fishing, having now acquired a full sponsorship deal from Garbolino, as well as support from Dynamite Baits on the back of his results.

We are very proud of his progress, and are sure that he has a very bright future ahead of him, both in his own fishing, and in his role here at Garbolino Lindholme.”

Anyone wishing to enquire about Alex’s coaching services should give him a call on: 07983 864646. 

England ace smashes Lindholme league.

England International, and MAP backed super-rod James Dent has won the inaugural Lindholme Lakes Natural Baits league, by a comfortable two point margin.

The league – which was contested by some of the UK’s top rods, held its final round in fine conditions last Saturday. Anglers taking part included Alan Scotthorne, Matt Godfrey, John Allerton, Nick Speed, Mick Vials, Tom Scholey, Lee Kerry and Emma Pickering – making it among the most prestigious leagues in the country.

With anglers dropping their worst result, the league was far from a foregone conclusion with some competitors leap-frogging others on the table on the strength of their dropped score.

One such angler, who managed an emphatic comeback was James’s England stablemate, and Guru backed ace Matt Godfrey. Matt was able to drop a near-disastrous eighth in section and finish with a ten point total from his other five results.

Sean Cameron took third place, after a mega- consistent league, dropping a fourth in section to finish on eleven points.

On the day, it was Browning ace James Hall who made the most of the previously unproductive peg 70 on Bonsai, to win with a fine 36-15-0 net of skimmers and F1s. James caught skimmers and F1s on maggots fished over groundbait.

Tom Scholey, who co-organised the league with Matt Godfrey and Lee Kerry said:  “We are really happy with how this league has gone, and the calibre of angler that it has attracted certainly made it among the most prestigious winter events in the country. The thing that has really got people talking though is the payout – James picked up £1,000 for winning the league, and ninth place picked up £150, so there was impressive money to be won for anglers who performed well.

“This is thanks in no small part to the generosity of venue owner Neil Grantham, who offered us discounted pegging, which allowed us to boost the payout considerably. The dates for next year are booked already – with the first round of the league taking place on the first Saturday in January, and running for the next six consecutive Saturdays.

We have already secured two of Lindholme’s finest lakes – Bonsai and Laurels for all these dates, which should make the fishing even more prolific than it has been this year.”

With places limited to 50 anglers, anglers are advised to book on with Lee Kerry on 07739 342929, Matt Godfrey on 07917 711722 or Tom Scholey on 07971 620489 if they want to be sure of a place next year.

As with this year, the Natural Baits League will be pole only, float only, with a 16m limit, and carp will not count. Allowed baits are maggots, casters, worms, pinkies and up to 2kg of groundbait.


Lindholme League Final


Five-times world champion Alan Scotthorne looks at targeting quality fish in the cold and explains why a plummet is your best friend!


At this time of year on commercial fisheries the target fish should be firmly on the bottom, so all that slapping and shallow fishing has almost gone out of the window! This is when the trusty plummet becomes your best friend, so here are a few tips that should help you get the best out of this simple device.


Commercial masters Andy Bennett and Paul Holland have signed a new bait sponsorship deal with the Angling Bait Company.

The duo, who are also sponsored by Tackle Guru, are very excited about the move.

Andy said: “I am delighted to be joining The Angling Bait Company. I am looking forward to having a big say in the groundbait development, and knowing exactly what I’ll be feeding,  as not a lot of people know what core ingredients make up the groundbaits that they use.

This kind of in-depth knowledge can only improve my angling. The live bait supplied by ABC is also spot on, and will be great for me moving forward.”

Paul added: “I am delighted to have been given this great opportunity by The Angling Bait Company. We have recently been to the factory and the live bait side of things was amazing. I am a bit funny in the things I use and I can honestly say that the bait was brilliant and its a nice feeling knowing that I will be able to have quality bait like that every week.

We have already started working on a couple of products that I’m sure will be brilliant when the weather warms up!”

Matt Godfrey smashed his way to victory in the penultimate round of the Lindholme Natural Baits League, winning the match in emphatic style with a 43-4-0 net of F1s. Drawn on peg 9 on Willows Lake, Matt caught quality F1s on maggot tactics.

In second place was Paul Christie. Paul, who also drew on Willows, again caught quality F1s on maggots for 26-1-0.

James Dent filled third spot, and was the best weight from Bonsai lake with a 24-9-0 net of skimmers. James caught fishing maggots and pinkies over groundbait.

In the league stakes, the standings are extremely tight, and with anglers dropping their worth result after the final round this Saturday, the race is still on for top spot.

As with the rest of the league rounds, anglers are welcome to fish the match as an open. Call Lee Kerry on 07739342929 to book on.


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