Need for speed Sil­ver­fish tac­tics

...and the pole to hand is one of the fastest tac­tics you can use


SPEED is of the essence when a big net of sil­vers is on the cards.

But pick­ing the right tac­tic is vi­tal if you want a bulging keep­net by the end of the day.

Ship­ping in and out on the pole can waste valu­able time, with the longer dis­tances and reg­u­lar wind­ing in on the wag­gler also ham­per­ing your bag­ging pace.

When a fish-a-chuck is on the agenda there’s no bet­ter op­tion than the pole to hand – and cur­rent Vet­er­ans Na­tional cham­pion Kevin Fol­well is a mas­ter of the ap­proach.

“When you want to put a big net of roach, perch and skim­mers to­gether it is very im­por­tant that you get into a rhythm quickly or you won’t make the most of the your ses­sion,” ex­plained Kevin.

“The pole to hand al­lows you to hook fish and get them in the keep­net within sec­onds.

“You need to keep re­peat­ing the process time and time again to main­tain the pace of build­ing a good weight.”


The pole to hand ef­fec­tively al­lows you to hook and have the fish on the bank in one mo­tion with­out re­mov­ing any sec­tions.

In sum­mer, sil­vers on com­mer­cials are rav­en­ous as they com­pete with the F1s and carp for loose­feed and come close to the bank to get their fair share of bait.

With that in mind, a top kit and one ex­tra sec­tion is all that’s needed to reach the shoals.

“The rig needs to be around a foot to 18ins short of the whole length of pole you are us­ing. Then, when a fish is swung in and elas­tic is hang­ing out, the fish will still come to hand and not end up by your feet!

“To get the rig into place with ease a fairly heavy float is re­quired, and a 0.4g Drennan AS3 is am­ple. Try and catch the fish as shal­low as they will come, as that means there is less wa­ter for the hook­bait to fall through.

“If you can catch them at half depth in 4ft of wa­ter that’s a lot of time saved and a lot more fish go­ing into the net.”

A bulk shot­ting pat­tern set around 18ins from the hook with three small drop­per shot be­low is ideal, with 0.13mm main­line to a 0.11mm hook­length and a fine-wire size 18 hook to cap the rig off.


Com­mer­cial sil­vers can be easy to catch but you are in charge of whether or not they drop their guard. Swing­ing the rig into the tar­get zone and sit­ting back in the hope that the float will in­stantly fly un­der will end in dis­ap­point­ment.

To whip them into a frenzy you need to keep the loose­feed go­ing in ev­ery 30 sec­onds. Around 10 mag­gots are enough to get your swim boil­ing in no time.

“Ev­ery­one uses red mag­gots these days but I like to give them some­thing dif­fer­ent and I usu­ally rely on bronze,” said Kevin.

“Ev­ery time I cast in I’ll feed a few mag­gots over the top. When you’re get­ting hun­dreds of bites in a day that’s a lot of feed­ing. But be­cause you are only in­tro­duc­ing small quan­ti­ties at a time you don’t need gal­lons of bait. Two or three pints of mag­gots is usu­ally am­ple.”


On some com­mer­cials there has been an ex­plo­sion of tiny sil­vers, and com­ing back with one of these ev­ery drop-in will soon have you tear­ing your hair out.

But there are ways around this prob­lem and you can al­most guar­an­tee that their big­ger broth­ers and sis­ters will be lin­ger­ing nearby.

Play­ing with the shot­ting pat­tern can help, plac­ing the bulk slightly closer to the hook­length to get the hook­bait through the up­per lay­ers where the tid­dlers are usu­ally sat.

Switch­ing to cast­ers can also pro­voke a re­sponse from qual­ity redfins, skim­mers and even bonus tench and carp.

Last but not least, cast­ing to the left or right of where the main feed is can buy bites from slightly more cau­tious fish that are sat just off the main shoal.

There are hun­dreds of com­mer­cials where un­touched sil­ver­fish shoals are wait­ing to be caught, and the pole to hand is the ideal tool to plun­der them with this week.

Get into a rhythm and it’s a fish ev­ery put-in.

Kevin Fol­well’s im­pres­sive day’s catch.

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