When F1s and carp don’t fall for a maggot at­tack, it’s time for a re­think…

Angling Times (UK) - - FRONT PAGE -

EV­ERY now and again things don’t go quite as planned. A per­fect ex­am­ple of this was my re­cent trip to Pack­ing­ton Somers, a fish­ery renowned for its fan­tas­tic win­ter fish­ing.

My plan was to catch F1s on mag­gots, but it seemed no-one had told the fish, and af­ter an hour I had just one missed bite to show for my ef­forts!

The funny thing was, though, I knew there were fish in the peg. It seemed it was just too cold to catch them on mag­gots.

I had a quick re­think and de­cided to have a com­plete change of tack and search the swim by dob­bing bread.

Dob­bing bread would al­low me to try to find the fish and, per­haps more im­por­tantly, put a bait right in front of them and tempt them into a ‘re­ac­tion bite’.

In this in­stance they might not be hun­gry, but they’d take a bright bait waved in their face.

Suf­fice to say that mak­ing the change was like throw­ing a light switch, and within two min­utes the first F1 was in the net!

From that point on it was sim­ply a case of catch­ing a few in one spot and then, when it went quiet, mov­ing again to re­lo­cate them.

By adopt­ing this ap­proach I was able to keep bites com­ing right through the ses­sion.

If I’d stayed on mag­gots I’m con­vinced I would have caught late on, but the first two hours would have been wasted – and that’s not the way to win matches!


A lot of an­glers think dob­bing is all about tar­get­ing the far bank, but while this can be true on cer­tain venues, most of my dob­bing tends to be done on the three-quar­ter line.

This is purely down to depth. A lot of venues I fish are very shal­low across, 12ins or less, and even with cover the fish don’t want to be in this depth of wa­ter in the cold.

Move on to that three-quar­ter line, though, and you’ve usu­ally got 3ft-plus. This tends to be where the fish like to sit.

Of course, if you have 3ft tight to the far bank it’s well worth a look, but don’t ne­glect the open wa­ter be­cause more of­ten than not this is where the fish are.


Per­haps one of the hardest parts of dob­bing is find­ing the depth the fish are sat at, and I guar­an­tee it won’t be on the bot­tom!

What I like to do is plumb the depth, then mark it on the pole as a ref­er­ence point.

I will then come 4ins off the bot­tom and see what hap­pens – if I start to get lots of in­di­ca­tions and maybe foul-hook a cou­ple of fish this tells me they are higher in the wa­ter, so I will take an­other 4ins off the depth to try to get in proper con­tact with them.

It’s im­por­tant to start deeper so you can get an idea of ex­actly what’s in front of you – it’s hard to learn any­thing by start­ing re­ally shal­low and watch­ing a mo­tion­less float!


To kick off, I al­ways try and iden­tify an area of the swim where I ex­pect the fish to be.

Ide­ally this will be straight in front of me, as I don’t want to start fish­ing long to the left and right and push the fish out of my swim early in the ses­sion.

Once I’ve cho­sen a spot I will give it five min­utes max­i­mum, and if I don’t get any signs or bites I’ll move spots.

When I move it will be a me­tre or

so to the left or right of the orig­i­nal spot to try and find the fish.

Once I find a ball of fish I will look to catch as many as pos­si­ble from that spot be­fore I con­sider mov­ing.

Once a spot dies I will, of course,

Plumb up – find­ing the right depth is vi­tal.

Come away from the far bank to find the deeper wa­ter... and the fish!

Vary your bait sizes to the bites you get.

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