Tri-Cast Weston Pools youth team takes top spot at Tunnel.
The newly formed Tri-Cast Weston Pools youth team, comprising young anglers from across the country, recently took top spot at this year’s 2017 Angling Trust Junior National. Eight top-flight youth teams fought it out for the top honours at the commercial super-water that is Tunnel Barn Farm.
The final result was decided over section placings, with Weston finishing well clear of the nearest rivals and sending three from the six-man team through to the junior Fish ‘O’ Mania final at Cudmore.
The top team was made up of Kristian Jones, Cagsy Parry, Jordan Holloway, Mike Rough, James Allen and overall individual event winner Will McCranor, who on the day took the top spot with a fantastic display of match angling from an unfancied area.
Not only did the first team win the day but the second team – Tri-Cast Weston Red – managed a very respectable fourth place, with standout individual Zac Worby taking the section honours and also paving a way to Fisho. Zac ended his match individually second overall on the day with over 120lb of shallow-caught F1s.
This has been the first event for the team and plans are already in place for the next campaign. The team wish to thank Steve Hopkinson from Tri-Cast, and Mike and Rachael Philbin from Weston Pools for taking over the full sponsorship – certainly big things lie ahead in the future.
Thinking angler Giles Cochrane takes you through a simple yet deadly approach that just keeps on winning him matches!
When tackling any commercial in the winter there are a few basic approaches that work well and have done for years but, due to the popularity of certain methods, ultimately they lose their effectiveness. Perhaps it has more to do with the ease and convenience of the approach and the number of anglers using them that leads to fish wising up and becoming more difficult to catch.
The Method feeder and pole, for example, now result in much lower weights than they did in previous years and consequently, I seldom set up either through the winter. Chucking the Method through the summer does account for some respectable weights of fish but it’s nowhere near as effective as a straight lead and loose-feeding approach, simply because the fish have associated it with danger and have learned to avoid it. Not so with the lead, as fish have difficulty distinguishing between the loose feed and hook bait.
By feeding just two grains at a time...
... You can avoid spreading your feed too far.
The solution then, when fishing winter matches on the same venues, is to revert to the straight lead, or so it would seem. However, the reality is somewhat different and fish such as F1s are not so keen to pull the tip round. The cause of this problem is due primarily to the number of fish competing in the peg, which means that in order to get wraparound bites on the lead, you need a lot of fish in your peg!
Fish do not often respond to large quantities of bait being chucked at them in winter, as we might be inclined to do in the summer to get them competing – quite the reverse actually. You will get the odd bite on the lead during the first half of the match but often wasting far too much time on a method that is not productive. For me, the solution to this problem is to fish the waggler and corn.
I accept that the pole is a good alternative approach, or at least it used to be but, as with all good methods, it loses its effectiveness, purely because fish seem to settle beyond the range of the pole in the colder months.
My theory on the subject of fishing the lead is that F1s pick up the bait, but eject it without us knowing, so the ultimate approach would be to fish the waggler as it is possible to see some indication that the bait is being sucked in.
The waggler and corn is not a new method and has been around for a long time but as very few people fish it, the fish have not wised up to it as quickly as with more popular methods. This is not an easy approach to master as F1 bites can be a nightmare to sort out but there are ways around this and this feature is based on putting fish in the net, when all other methods have failed. The bites you don’t see on the lead will show up as a twitch or some sort of indication on the waggler if you do it right.
As with all baits, there's a right way and a wrong way of fishing corn.
To begin with, your basic approach should be based on how you would attempt to fish for silvers, so treat F1s like roach and you won’t go far wrong. I use inserted crystal wagglers up to 2g but mostly around 1 to 1.5g. The loaded ones are better as I don’t like to put too many big shot around the float and a few BBs are all you need. You need a float you can cast with ease so short pellet-waggler-type floats are no good for this as they are too short and catch most of the surface drift. You will need a static presentation and longer wagglers are ideal as most of the tow tends to be in the top six inches of water.
This is a great method for cold-waters F1s
I dot my floats right down in the water to reduce any drag caused by surface tow from crosswinds. Besides that, there are plenty of indications that you won’t see with an inch of waggler sticking out of the water.
To make this method work you need a low-diameter main line. Anything more than diameter 0.12mm will sink too deep, causing a belly to form, dragging your float offline, which will make bites impossible to hit. Everyone has their preferences when it comes to line so I’m not telling you to use anything other than sticking with what you have complete confidence in. Even 3lb (diameter 0.14mm) is far too heavy and believe me, you will miss far too many bites as a consequence.
This is the rod action you're looking for...
... to land more fish, not lose them!
An important aspect of making this approach work for you is the ability to sink the line effectively. I use Fairy Liquid and dilute it 50/50 with water. Spray this on your spool before the start and repeat when necessary. I give the reel handle a sharp turn and this is normally enough to sink the line. I would advise against sinking the rod to the butt and striking upwards as sound travels much further in water and is likely to have an effect on the fish… like scaring them witless within a five-peg radius!
Preparing Sweetcorn -
1. Tip it into your landing net - one tin should be enough
2. Give it a dunking to rinse the juice off
3. Gently squeeze off the excess water. Easy.
As for hooks, I tend to use size 18s and 20s as I think F1s eject the corn too quickly when they detect bigger hooks. I don’t think fish can see hooks but they certainly know when they’ve picked one up, much like you, eating your Sunday dinner with a hair in your mouth. By dotting the float right down and using smaller hooks, I have a far better chance of connecting with the bite.
As for rods, you can forget the shorter pellet-waggler designs as you will miss too many bites. People will dismiss this but it is only when you are drawn next to someone using a longer rod that you see the difference. Mostly, pellet-waggler rods are too stiff, which makes playing F1s and carp a lottery on smaller hooks. The rods I use I have designed myself for finesse-based approaches as I felt that there was nothing on the market that would give me the confidence to use the smaller hooks and lighter lines.
In effect, the rod should continue to bend to accommodate the size of the fish. Playing big fish effectively is down to the rod you use and stiffer rods, for me, cause more problems than they solve. It’s about putting more fish in the net than your opponents so use rods that will do this and not the opposite. Ideally, for all my carp and F1 fishing I use 12 to 13ft rods. Anything shorter is not viable and will affect my ability to land 99 per cent of what I hook.
The key to success, as with all methods, is feeding. It is possible to get bites consistently and all day long, while those around you are struggling, but corn is difficult to feed accurately. I never feed more than two grains at a time; firstly, because fish do not respond to the ‘carpet effect’ and will back away from large quantities of corn, and secondly, try feeding more than two grains and people around you start complaining that you are feeding their pegs.
Giles favours long insert crystal wagglers for F1s...
... and rods should be a minimum of 12 feet long.
The most effective way to build your peg is to feed two grains, wait 30 seconds, twitch the float and feed another two. This approach can be instant and I would normally expect to get bites by the second chuck. You need to keep the fish competing so I never exceed the amount of bait I started with. Keep it to two grains and you won’t go far wrong, drawing fish from anglers around you who are not catching on the pole.
After a few hours of doing this, you will start to miss bites as many of these bites are actually liners caused by too many fish in your peg. The last hour is when I normally chuck the lead as it can be devastating, but it’s the consistent feeding that eventually created this situation. About one tin of corn a match is all you’ll need but don’t be wasting your money on the expensive free range/Fairtrade nonsense. Tesco budget stuff is about 30p a tin and spot on for this.
One final word about this method – plumbing up! You will need to get this precise. I use a BB shot on the hook and I tend to cast out, sink the line and give the float about 10 seconds to appear. If it appears too quickly, you will be overdepth. If it doesn’t appear then add a few inches at a time until it does. Fishing overdepth with corn is never a good idea as you need to be able to detect the bait being sucked in, not spat out!
This is by no means an easy method to master but with some practice and by following these basic tips, it will result in far more bites and ultimately more fish in the net than those who sit it out on the pole or feeder. It works for me!
Get it right and the rewards are there for the taking.
Angler File -
Name: Giles Cochrane
Sponsors: Tri-Cast Weston Pools/Concept Design Rods
MF Says: The Angling Philosopher!
Venue: Weston Pools
Location: Weston Cotton Farm, Weston Lane, Weston, Oswestry SY10 9ER
Number: 01691 671812
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Jamie Hughes explains how a single-minded, catch-everything approach can be the key to match wins this winter!
For this month’s feature, I’d like to talk about something that is becoming increasingly popular on commercial fisheries, and a method that I really look forward to using once the weather begins to cool.
Approaching a commercial with a ‘fish for everything that swims’ approach can lead to an awesome day’s sport and is also a brilliant way of remaining consistent during matches when the carp aren’t feeding quite as well as during the summer months.
Over the years there have been many pieces written about combining a carp and silvers approach during matches; usually a case of catching a few lumps to begin with then topping up with a weight of silvers and finishing with a few more big lads late on.
While this is undoubtedly the correct way to approach some venues (generally those where the carp are a large average size), at most fisheries that I visit regularly, such as Weston Pools and Lingmere Fishery, simply fishing one or two lines and catching whatever fish come along for the entire session can be almost unbeatable!
Now, I must stress that for a mixed species approach to work you need to be fishing a venue with a good stocking of different fish. Both of the venues I mentioned are home to a huge amount of carp and F1s but they also have an extremely high population of what I would like to call “alternative species” such as tench, barbel, crucians and, most importantly, ide.
In general, these species are a good average size so catching them for an entire session can still lead to a good weight and with the addition of a few carp a match-winning net can be caught in the easiest possible way.
For demonstrating this tactic I've come back to my usual haunt of Weston Pools and the awesome Canal Pool, where I intend to fish just one line for the duration of the short session.
Now before I go into the usual rigs, bait and feeding details, I would like to go over my reasons for choosing just one line of attack.
Firstly, and possibly the most important factor, is what I wrote about in the October issue of this magazine: COMPETITION between fish is vital if you want to get the most from any peg, so by feeding just one line I should have a much larger group of fish in my chosen area than if I was to feed several swims and split the fish up into smaller groups all over the swim.
Secondly, by having all of my attention focused on the one area it is much easier to gain an understanding of what fish are present in the peg, how they are feeding and the best ways for me to catch them. My theory is that different species of fish will enter the peg at different points in the session and each must be fed and fished for in the correct way.
With the weather still being good my chosen line for the session was at seven metres, for the sole reason that I could feed casters that distance accurately by hand, meaning I can group my feed much tighter than if I were to fish longer and require a catapult to reach the area. As the temperature falls and the colour drops out of the water I would have no choice but to feed my lines further out, as fish would be reluctant to venture close to the bank.
I believe that the tighter I can group my bait the better, as there is less chance of missing out on fish that are hanging off the main feed due to stray baits landing elsewhere. Also, competition between fish is increased as they tussle to feed in the tight area.
Choosing what bait to feed for this method could not be simpler – maggots, casters and worms are pretty much the only three options and I will choose a bait depending on the conditions and how I expect the fish to feed.
The fish weren't the only ones attracted by Jamie's bait!
Possibly the most common choice for feeding short, maggots are my choice in the coldest weather or when fish are likely to feed at all depths. Due to their slow-sinking nature, they work brilliantly in attracting new fish into the peg and help to bring fish such as ide off the bottom on warmer days, where they can be caught faster.
Three maggots make a brilliant change bait.
If I intend on cupping my feed then maggots are my only choice, but when loose feeding they can be a little difficult to group tightly at distance or in windy conditions.
This tends to be my bait choice during the summer when I want to catch fish on the bottom. While they can be brilliant for catching F1s shallow when thrown in a slop, for other species they are best fed in a soil mix and by a pole cup.
These are my choice for today’s session. Casters have all the same properties as maggots, with the added bonus of being heavy. They can be fed very accurately by hand in all conditions and make a lot of noise to attract fish; they also sink faster than a maggot, which helps to keep fish on the bottom.
Fresh casters, and plenty of them!
As always, I have as few rig options as possible but will always have a couple of options to present my hook bait in different ways. In a similar way to how I fish hard pellets for carp, I have a slow-falling rig for when fish such as roach and ide are present in the swim and are feeding through the water. In today’s case, with the peg being five feet deep, this is a 4x12 slim carbon stemmed float shotted with No11s spread throughout the entire rig.
My second rig is a heavier 4x14 float, shotted with a bulk 15 inches from the hook and two No10 droppers. If I am waiting for bites and there are no signs of fish feeding off the bottom, then my time is best spent on this rig as it settles far quicker than the light rig, which saves a lot of time each cast and also is a lot more stable and keeps the hook bait still on the bottom.
Hooks, line and elastics need to be tailored to the size of fish and conditions on the day. Generally, a light hollow elastic combined with a 0.10mm to 0.12mm hooklength and light-gauge wire hook is perfect.
The key to making the most of my peg is to be using the correct rigs at the correct times, depending on what species are present. The amount and timing of my loose feed also needs considering carefully. For this session I planned on feeding everything by hand and began feeding around 10 casters every 30 seconds; this allowed me to pull lots of fish into the area without giving them too much feed.
For the first period my light rig was ideal and several chunky ide were caught just after the rig had settled. I find that at most venues ide are first on the scene and just like perch, gorge themselves on as much bait as possible. This seemed exactly the case today as after 45 minutes I have a good weight but bites quickly slowed, the ide disappeared and were replaced with some crucians, carp and barbel.
Swapping rigs allowed me to make the most of this change, as did cutting right back on the regularity of my feed and a pattern quickly emerged, showing the ide were continually re-entering the peg in small groups throughout the day. Their arrival was signalled by several missed bites on the heavier rig, but by swapping over to the slow-fall rig I could catch several before they backed off and the other species moved back in.
A nice bagful of ide, with a good helping or barbel F1s and carp mixed in.
On the day it was also vital that I fed in the correct way, depending on what rig I used. Ten casters every 30 seconds was right for the light rig, while changing to 30 casters every two minutes was far better and stopped any false bites when using the heavy rig.
In just a couple of hours, I put together a decent weight that would be well on the way to a winning weight here at Weston. I swapped rigs several times over the session, which I believe has maximised my fishing time and also made the most of the short feeding spells of each species. Of course this method isn’t the way when large weights of carp are needed to win, but in the tricky days of autumn you will more often that not outscore those applying a more selective approach and without doubt have a much more enjoyable day’s fishing.
Angler File -
Name: Jamie Hughes
Sponsors: Map, Bag 'em Matchbaits
Venue File -
Venue: Tri-Cast Weston Pools
Location: Weston Pools, Oswestry, Shropshire, SY10 9ER
Number: 01691 671812
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