The £50,000 fish! Find out how you can catch more with Andy May’s Fish O’ Mania winning tactics
Try Andy May’s top worm tactic
FISH can be frustrating creatures. Just when you think you’ve got your rigs, baits, and tactics sorted, they change the plan and leave you scratching your head. So what can you do? Well, this week’s issue will definitely help you get catching again – whether you’re after a really big specimen (yes please!) or a big catch from your local stillwater.
We’ve got loads of great advice from our exclusive team of experts including Steve Ringer who reveals his essential stillwater rigs, Dave Harrell on how a new feeding trick has scored with finicky chub, Martin Bowler talks about tracking down really big bream, and Paul Garner shows you how to pick the right bait for Method feeder fishing right now.
Added to that, new Fish O’ Mania champion Andy May shows you the simple pole and feeding tactics that helped win him £50,000 last weekend – if you like catching a mixed bag then this is for you!
You’ll also notice there’s a free UKFisheries magazine with your issue this week and inside you’ll find chapter and verse on more of the country’s top venues. Added to our bumper Where to Fish section – where our experts pick out the best waters in your area – it makes essential reading for all anglers looking for action.
It’s the perfect time to get out there as some of the year’s biggest catches have just been taken so whatever fishing you’re into right now, get out there and enjoy your time on the bank.
ANDY May is the new Fish O’Mania champion after he perfectly executed a ‘catch everything that swims’ approach on the Arena Pool at Cudmore Fisheries.
The MAP-backed star relied on his favoured worm and caster tactics to scoop the £50,000 top prize, and Angling Times caught up with the man of the moment for an in-depth debrief on how he got his hands on the silverware.
“I’ve always enjoyed fishing with worms and casters. Literally any species that is stocked in a commercial will feed on the combination,” explained Andy.
“It’s the greatest win of my career and you too can put together the best catch of your life this week by following a few simple tips and tricks that I put into practice on the big day.”
If you watched Andy in action you will have noticed that barely a minute passed without him feeding his swim.
Such regular introductions and that constant work rate may have looked a little manic, but you soon realise that a lot of thought went into how he baited the swim.
“As soon as I hooked a fish, I threw in by hand around 15 casters over my target line. This was to get the fish left in the swim competing so that when I dropped my rig over the top of them, the float buried instantly,” he said.
“I also cupped in a grape-sized nugget of Bait-Tech Karma groundbait after each fish. This was mixed stodgy to go straight to the bottom and concentrate the fish on the deck, with chopped worm added to bring a few bonus fish into the swim.
“If I started getting line bites I cut out the feeding for a few minutes to allow the fish to settle, stopping them racing around the swim and brushing up against my rig. Once bites tailed off it was time to start the feeding regime again.”
Andy’s number one hookbait for this type of action is a worm head or tail, as it enables him to catch several fish before needing to change it.
By the end of the day Andy had fed a couple of kilos of groundbait, just over half-a-kilo of worm and four pints of casters – a bait bill that came to less than £20.
When big bags of F1s, ide, tench and skimmers are on the cards it pays to try and get the shoals competing as close to the bank as possible.
“If you are fishing at 13m it is going to take twice the time to get a fish in than if you were targeting a swim 6m out,” he said.
“Fishing close to the bank also enables you to feed casters by hand accurately without much effort at all.”
When plumbing up, it pays to work out the contours of the lakebed, with a certain type of
surface preferable when catching on the deck.
“A firm lakebed is vital if you want to catch lots of silvers on the deck. If you fish over silt or weed they become a lot harder to catch as they become preoccupied with the natural feed,” said Andy.
With the feeding concentrating the shoals on the deck, it makes perfect sense to use a rig that delivers the hookbait to them swiftly. “There’s no point in a slowly falling hookbait if everything is feeding on the bottom,” said Andy.
“I use a 4x14 MAP SD1 float with a rugby ball-shaped body that helps to keep the rig stable, and a wire stem that makes sure I see every indication. This is shotted with a bulk about 18ins up from the hook with three small dropper shot below. “The dropper shot slow the fall of the hookbait just before it comes into contact with the fish, making it look natural and helping to bring instant bites.”
Andy’s rig is completed with a softly set solid 8 elastic, 0.15mm mainline to an 0.10mm hooklength and a size 14 fine wire Gamakatsu hook.
Andy tops up his pole pot at the Fish O’ final.
Andy drew the crowds at the Fish O’ final.
Casters will catch anything that swims.