FEEDER IS KEY TO SUCCESS ON EVERY COLOURED RIVER
Heavy rain puts paid to a float approach on the Avon
with the halibut groundbait. I made six quick casts to get some feed on the bottom, then left the feeder in to see what developed. I didn’t have to wait long for the first bite as the tip flew back with a drop-back bite.
I picked the rod up, expecting to feel a barbel on the other end, but there was nothing! Next cast in, the same thing happened and I picked up to find myself attached to a greedy 8oz chub.
Several more chublets followed before a really vicious bite saw me attached to something much larger, in the form of a 3lb chub.
A slightly smaller fish took a liking to my pellet hookbait on the next cast, then bites dried up.
After 15 minutes of no bites, I decided to change the feeder to a small blockend model. I’d been using a 0.18mm hooklength with the pellet and stayed with it for a while, albeit with a smaller hook.
Where there is a chance of big fish I always tend to use Kamasan Animal spade hooks. With 8mm pellets I normally use a size 12, while for maggots it can be anything from size 18 to 14.
I tied a size 14 to the 2ft 6ins hooklength and went out with three maggots as hookbait, cramming plenty of maggots into the feeder.
Chub love maggots, so I had a feeling it wouldn’t be long before a bite came. A sharp pull confirmed my thoughts as a 1lb fish hooked itself against the feeder. A good run of fish saw me quickly up to double figures, but I was now missing the odd bite and coming back with damaged maggots.
Bit by bit, I started to shorten the hooklength until eventually I was down to around a foot. This was much better, as the bites were coming quickly and I wasn’t missing any!
Bites eventually slowed down so I lengthened the hooklength back up to as much as 3ft and also worked the feeder down the swim. This is a ploy that I don’t see enough anglers do. Basically, the tactic involves keeping things accurate and catching what you can for the first two or three hours of a session.
Then, when bites dry up, cast in a little further downriver. You will often find that the fish have simply dropped down and are feeding on the loose offerings, below where your hook is. For the remainder of the session I switched between pellets and maggots, but try as I might, I couldn’t get a barbel. I did, however, manage to put together about 25lb of mainly chub, so I was well pleased with my day.