Jon Whin­cup’s open wa­ter tac­tics

Open wa­ter pegs of­fer more depth and fish

Angling Times (UK) - - WELCOME -

YOUR typ­i­cal com­mer­cial fish­ery may well have invit­ing pegs with is­lands, clumps of rushes or even an aer­a­tor to cast to.

But the sad fact is that in a match, 80 per cent of tick­ets drawn of­fer you only open wa­ter to go at, a far less invit­ing prospect with win­ter im­mi­nent.

It would be easy to get down­hearted as you see the bloke on the next peg shuf­fling 16m of pole over to an is­land that looks just per­fect for the job while all you have is a bland ex­panse of wa­ter rip­pled by a chilly wind and show­ing no signs of life.

That doesn’t mean game over, though – far from it, ac­cord­ing to Jon Whin­cup. Last week the new Maver Match This and Parkdean Mas­ters cham­pion talked about fish­ing up to an is­land, but this time he switches his at­ten­tions to the type of peg most of us al­ways end up draw­ing. He reck­ons that far from be­ing a bad draw, open wa­ter can be good.

“As the weather gets colder, I would hap­pily take an open wa­ter peg over an is­land, sim­ply be­cause there’s more wa­ter from which to draw fish into the peg. You’ll also find more depth here than around an is­land, and in the cold that al­ways means more fish, es­pe­cially when carp are con­cerned,” Jon said.

“Open wa­ter also gives you an op­tion to po­ten­tially catch shal­low. By that, I mean at halfdepth. I’d be very sur­prised to get carp just a foot deep but they do reg­u­larly come off bot­tom by a few feet at this time of year.”

Faced with open wa­ter on his swim at Six Is­lands Lake on the De­coy Lakes com­plex, Jon goes straight out to 14.5m. Ac­cord­ing to the man him­self, any closer in is likely to pro­duce fewer bites be­cause slightly clearing wa­ter and bright sun­shine, if you have it, will force the fish fur­ther out into the lake.

On a typ­i­cal com­mer­cial fish­ery, there will be be­tween 6ft and 8ft of wa­ter here but a deeper peg wouldn’t par­tic­u­larly faze him. He’s not look­ing for an op­ti­mum depth as he would when fish­ing up to an is­land.

“You could use all man­ner of baits but I still think pel­lets are bril­liant un­til things go cold. That’s when mag­gots take over,” he ex­plained. “I’d leave off us­ing ex­panders un­til things get re­ally tough, so that means a banded hard 6mm pel­let, feed­ing 4mm baits. If not much is hap­pen­ing, I’ll hap­pily scale down to a 4mm pel­let on the hook, es­pe­cially if there are F1s about.”

With his line cho­sen, Jon opens up by cov­er­ing the bot­tom of a large pole cup with 4mm pel­lets and dump­ing them in. Af­ter this, the big pot won’t make an ap­pear­ance. In­stead, he’ll feed with a small pot on the pole or the cat­a­pult. This lets him reg­u­late the amount of bait go­ing in, pre­vent­ing over­feed­ing and line bites.

“Just as hap­pens with fish­ing to an is­land with pel­lets, if I’m only get­ting the odd in­di­ca­tion or no bites at all us­ing the pot I’ll change to ping­ing in bait to stir things up – even in win­ter, ping­ing can be bet­ter than pot­ting,” Jon re­vealed. “It’s still a wait­ing game, es­pe­cially if you’re af­ter carp, so don’t go ex­pect­ing a bite within sec­onds of low­er­ing the rig in. When the next fish can weigh 10lb, though, I don’t mind hang­ing about! The small pot is filled with 4mm pel­lets but I only trickle in half-a-dozen at a time, roughly every 30 sec­onds. The same amount in the same ra­tio is fed when us­ing a cat­a­pult.

“Even if you do ev­ery­thing right, you will still foul-hook the odd fish. This is just down to the time of year, which can see the carp con­stantly mov­ing up and down in the wa­ter,” he said.

“You can’t help this and you have to put up with it, but for this rea­son I will al­ways have a rig set at half-depth ready.

“If I am get­ting lots of line bites and foul-hook­ers then I will cer­tainly have a few dropins with the half-depth rig to see if the fish have come well off bot­tom. This can hap­pen in the early af­ter­noon when the weather has warmed up.

“You’ll get a run of fish when con­di­tions are per­fect.”

A chilly wind doesn’t de­ter Jon Whin­cup.

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