Steve Ringer’s 11 sim­ple tricks to help you catch more in the mar­gins.

Steve re­veals how you can take full ad­van­tage of those pre-au­tumn feed­ing spells on com­mer­cials

Angling Times (UK) - - WELCOME -

NOW’S the time of year I love on com­mer­cials – it’s mar­gin time!

The fish are well aware that colder weather is on its way, and Septem­ber is when they re­ally start to get their heads down and try to pack on a bit of weight.

This makes mar­gin fish­ing, with its heavy feed­ing regime, one of the best tac­tics for a big catch right now.

This week I’m go­ing to an­swer some of the most com­mon mar­gin ques­tions I get asked…

QWhen should I try fish­ing the mar­gins? Steve says: I won’t feed down the edge un­til at least three hours into a ses­sion be­cause there’s no point un­til the carp are start­ing to move closer to the bank look­ing for food.

If you feed any ear­lier, small sil­ver fish will eat ev­ery­thing and the ini­tial im­pact of feed­ing the swim will be lost.

What you have to re­mem­ber about edge fish­ing is that when the carp ar­rive you can catch very quickly, so a big weight will still be pos­si­ble even in the last hour.

QWhat depth do I need to have to be able to fish down the edge?

Steve says: Ideally I like to have be­tween 10ins and 18ins of wa­ter down the edge. If the wa­ter is shal­lower than 10ins, big carp can be very spooky and dif­fi­cult to catch, even though you can see them!

Equally, if it’s too deep, it can be tricky to keep the fish on the bot­tom and line bites then be­come a prob­lem.

When plumb­ing up, try to find a rel­a­tively flat area to both feed and fish on. What you don’t re­ally want is a spot where the bot­tom is all over the place, as it makes it hard to set­tle the fish if this is the case.

You also need to be fish­ing as tight to the bank as pos­si­ble to stop fish swim­ming the wrong side of the float, as this can lead to line bites and foul-hook­ers.

QDo I need a par­tic­u­lar type of float? Steve says: The best mar­gin floats are not only tough, but have a de­cent bris­tle, and will take a bit of shot.

A 0.2g or 0.3g MW Mar­gin Di­a­mond is per­fect, even when fish­ing in just inches of wa­ter.

The Mar­gin Di­a­mond has a big, thick bris­tle which al­lows me to read what’s hap­pen­ing in the swim a lot eas­ier, es­pe­cially in help­ing me tell the dif­fer­ence be­tween lin­ers and proper bites. For this rea­son I like to leave a good half-inch of bris­tle show­ing when edge fish­ing.

QWhat rig do you use? Do you fish straight through or use hook­lengths?

Steve says: I fish heavy for big fish... 0.22mm N-Gauge main­line to a 4ins hooklength of 0.19mm and a size 14 Guru XS spade-end hook.

Hook­lengths make my rigs more adapt­able and save loads of time, should I need to change the hook size or pat­tern on the bank.

Shot­ting is a strung bulk of No10s with the bot­tom shot 6ins from the hook and the rest spaced at one-inch in­ter­vals above this.

I don’t like the bot­tom shot too close to the hook, as I find when big fish are in the swim it can lead to line bites and fish spook­ing.

QWhich elas­tic is best? Steve says: Nine times out of 10 it’s Red Hy­dro, on lakes where the carp av­er­age 8lb-plus.

Red is pow­er­ful enough to quickly steer the carp out of the swim once hooked, but at the same time it’s still soft enough to ab­sorb that first run.

On wa­ters with smaller fish I will use White Hy­dro on a puller kit, giv­ing me that all-im­por­tant soft­ness on the strike but then the abil­ity to get fish in by us­ing the puller.

QHow much bait do I need to feed, and how do I feed it?

Steve says: Re­ally at­tack the swim. I kick off by feed­ing be­tween eight and 10 large, 250ml pots of bait.

There are two rea­sons – first, to try and hold the fish in the swim for as long as pos­si­ble and se­cond, to give the im­pres­sion to any fish in the area that I’m pack­ing up and have thrown all my left­over bait in.

QWhat bait should I put on the hook? Steve says: Big hook­baits! You need to give the carp some­thing they can re­ally home in on among all the loose of­fer­ings.

My favourites are bunches of 8-10 mag­gots, or even dou­ble corn if small nui­sance sil­ver fish are still a prob­lem.

Al­ways have the same bait on the hook that you are feed­ing. Edge carp can be clever, and it makes no sense to feed one bait and fish another!

QShould I feed again af­ter catch­ing a fish? Steve says: I al­ways try to ‘fish out’ my ini­tial feed first. Once this is done there are sev­eral ways you go about feed­ing the swim and it’s sim­ply a case of work­ing out which one is right on the day.

You can try putting a big pot in and catch­ing a fish and then feed­ing another big pot – al­ter­na­tively you can re­peat the big hit of bait and try and catch sev­eral fish off that.

There are no golden rules, so ex­per­i­men­ta­tion is the key!

QDo you still use ground­bait as feed? Steve says: Ground­bait is bril­liant in shal­low wa­ter, but if the swim is too deep, even a heavy over­wet­ted mix can prove to be a recipe for dis­as­ter.

The prob­lem with ground­bait in deep wa­ter is that once there are carp in the swim it gets wafted about all over the place. In deep wa­ter this leads to carp feed­ing off the bot­tom.

In deep mar­gins you are bet­ter off look­ing at heav­ier baits such as sweet­corn or big hard pel­lets that will stay on the bot­tom.

With the right depth, though, there’s no bet­ter edge com­bi­na­tion than ground­bait and dead mag­gots.

My favourite mix is Dy­na­mite Baits Sweet Fish­meal, slightly over-wet­ted so it will stay put on the bot­tom.

QHow do I stop fish from spook­ing? Steve says: Quite of­ten you will look down the edge to see tails ev­ery­where, only to quickly ship your rig out and dis­cover they have all van­ished.

You ship back in and then they are back again. It’s so frus­trat­ing, and the rea­son they do it is that they have been spooked by the shadow of the pole over their heads. To try and pre­vent this I hide my pole by keep­ing it over the bank rather than over the wa­ter. A longer-than-nor­mal length of line be­tween pole float and pole-tip can help too.

QHow long should I give it? Steve says: You need to be pa­tient. Pro­vided you know there are carp in the swim, just sit and wait. ‘Chas­ing’ will only spook them out of the swim and lead to foul-hook­ers.

The only mov­ing of the float I like to do is to oc­ca­sion­ally lift and lower it, just to make sure the rig is sit­ting straight. Lift­ing and low­er­ing can also help a feed­ing fish spot the hookbait.

Now’s the time to fully ex­ploit the mar­gins!

Fish as tight to the bank as you pos­si­bly can. Mar­gin floats are tough, with thick bris­tles.

Pre-tied hook­lengths save me time.

Dou­ble corn will de­feat small nui­sance sil­vers.

Bream love a bunch of dead red mag­gots.

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