Steve Ringer

Steve re­veals why you can’t af­ford to ig­nore the mar­gins in au­tumn… even if they look like this!

Angling Times (UK) - - WELCOME -

re­veals why you need to keep fish­ing the mar­gins in the cold

CON­TRARY to pop­u­lar be­lief, carp will still come into the edges to feed, even in the cold.

This means that any­one ig­nor­ing the mar­gins at this time of year could be miss­ing out on an aw­ful lot of fish.

Granted, with the tem­per­a­ture drop­ping you do need to change your ap­proach from the usual sum­mer mar­gin at­tack.

In­stead of feed­ing big pots of bait as you would in the warmer months, you need to adopt a more re­fined strat­egy.

Once the wa­ter starts to go clear, I al­ways feel big piles of bait tend to get treated with sus­pi­cion, so for me it’s a case of feed­ing just enough bait to at­tract and catch one fish at a time… and then re­peat the process!

Get it right and the re­wards can be there for the tak­ing. Here’s how to do it…


The first part to get right is where you feed and put your rig.

In sum­mer you’re look­ing to get as tight as pos­si­ble to fea­tures but, as the wa­ter clears, depth is per­haps more im­por­tant.

Some­times this can mean fish­ing slightly away from the bank to find a lit­tle ex­tra wa­ter.

Today is a brilliant ex­am­ple of this. Nor­mally I like to fish right against the pal­let, but with the wa­ter level low this would have meant fish­ing in just 6ins. You might get away with that in the sum­mer, but not now.

With this in mind I’ve ended up fish­ing a good me­tre in front of the plat­form where I found 16ins of wa­ter to fish – a much more sen­si­ble depth in the clearer wa­ter, in my view.

Had I found 16ins against the pal­let I would have fished there. It’s a great fea­ture, but it’s no good fish­ing against it if the wa­ter isn’t deep enough for the carp to feel con­fi­dent about feed­ing.

As for the snags, yes there are a lot in this swim but if you set your gear up prop­erly, fish sen­si­bly, and con­trol the fish with­out bul­ly­ing them, then there’s no prob­lem!

In this case I was able to hook fish, steer them away from the fallen tree and into the open

wa­ter be­fore break­ing the pole down and net­ting them. Just to prove the point, I didn’t lose a sin­gle fish all day!


There is no doubt that ground­bait and dead mag­gots are deadly in the warmer months, but at this time of year it’s all change on the bait front. I pre­fer to go with pel­lets and sweet­corn in­stead.

I favour pel­lets over ground­bait in the cold as I just feel the carp are hap­pier to feed on them.

You don’t need loads of bait ei­ther – in fact I would say 2½ pints of 2mm coarse pel­lets and a pint of corn is plenty.

I do like to wet the pel­lets down, though, and if any­thing I over-wet them. This is al­ways done the night be­fore, to al­low the pel­lets to fully ab­sorb the wa­ter. This helps them set­tle on the bot­tom bet­ter once they’re fed.


As far as feed­ing goes, less is def­i­nitely more and tim­ing is key.

Usu­ally I won’t look to feed the edge un­til about 15 min­utes be­fore I want to go on it, and this will be with around a third of a pot of mi­cro pel­lets and corn.

When it’s time to have a look, I will use the large Guru pot and half-fill it with corn and then cap it with the wet­ted-down mi­cro pel­lets.

It’s then a case of tap­ping out the con­tents of the pot, low­er­ing the rig in, and wait­ing.

Rig place­ment is also key – be­cause I’m not feed­ing a lot of bait, it’s vi­tal that when I empty the pot I place my hook­bait right on top of the loose of­fer­ings.

Once the bait is fed I’m pre­pared to be a lit­tle more pa­tient than nor­mal and I will wait for around five min­utes, pro­vid­ing there are no in­di­ca­tions.

Af­ter five min­utes I’ll leave the edge alone and will look to go back in 20 min­utes or so.

How­ever, if I catch a fish then I’ll sim­ply re­fill the pot and set the trap again.

This way I al­ways feel I’m feed­ing for one fish at a time and I’m in a lot more con­trol of how much bait is on the bot­tom.


As far as hook­bait goes, it’s all about sweet­corn – it’s a big, bright bait that stands out in the clear wa­ter and gives the fish a de­cent meal with lit­tle ef­fort.

As a rule I’ll kick off with a sin­gle grain of corn on the hook, as this matches the loose­feed per­fectly.

If I start to get odd in­di­ca­tions and no bites I will switch to dou­ble corn. That of­ten pro­duces a quick bite when a sin­gle grain is ig­nored.

I can only think that dou­ble corn, be­ing a big­ger bait, just catches the fish’s eye and an im­me­di­ate bite is the re­sult.

A great lit­tle trick, which of­ten pro­duces a re­sponse when fish­ing with corn, is to lift and drop the rig in a bid to en­tice a ‘re­ac­tion bite’.

When the wa­ter starts to go clear I’m to­tally con­vinced that carp feed pri­mar­ily on sight, and lift­ing the float just 4ins-6ins clear of the

wa­ter and low­er­ing it back down again of­ten elic­its a re­sponse.

The rea­son for this is that the lit­tle bit of move­ment catches the carp’s eye, and it homes in on the hook­bait as a re­sult.

A Guru pot full of corn and mi­cros.

Mi­cros and corn are good win­ter baits.

The mar­gins can still be pro­duc­tive.

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