GET READY FOR THE NEW RIVER SEA­SON!

Paul Gar­ner re­veals six species for your early hit list

Angling Times (UK) - - CONTENTS -

En­joy our bumper guide to the rigs, tac­tics, baits, and best places to head for on June 16...

WHICH species should you tar­get on that first trip back to flow­ing wa­ter?

Chub and bar­bel are the ob­vi­ous choices, but there are many other species that can equally at­trac­tive at this time of the year.

The choice is yours, but key to catch­ing will be get­ting your bait and tac­tics right. The fish may not have seen bait for three months, but that doesn’t make them a pushover. So here is my ad­vice on my five favourite species to tar­get come open­ing day.

BAR­BEL

I sus­pect that open­ing morn­ing will see me fish­ing for bar­bel, most likely on my lo­cal River Sev­ern.

Rather than sit be­hind a pair of feeder rods (I will be do­ing enough of that later) it will be on with the waders and stand­ing out in the wa­ter, fish­ing a float.

Okay, I won’t be fish­ing for whack­ers, or catch­ing as many fish as I would on the feeder, but there is no more spe­cial way to start the sea­son than run­ning a float down a glide among weedbeds.

My bait menu will be very sim­ple. A bait apron will be loaded with plenty of hemp and some 8mm hal­ibut pel­lets. A small bait drop­per will de­posit a help­ing of bait at the head of the swim ev­ery 10 min­utes, and a banded pel­let will be my hook­bait of choice.

Fish­ing with smaller baits can lead to sil­ver fish be­com­ing a pest, so stick to some­thing more sub­stan­tial if bar­bel are your tar­get.

CARP

For many years I spent the open­ing of the sea­son in search of river carp. They might not have been huge, but they were of­ten ig­nored, mean­ing I had the fish­ing to my­self. Carp love fea­tures such as back­wa­ters and wa­ter lily beds.

Find these spots and the carp won’t be far away. Of­ten you will have to cre­ate your own swim amid the dense fo­liage, which all adds to the sense of ad­ven­ture.

Even naïve river carp will take boilies, recog­nis­ing them as food from their at­trac­tive smell, but with these you could find your­self catch­ing bream in­stead. I like to be as fo­cused as pos­si­ble, so I lay down a car­pet of hemp and fish tiger­nut hook­baits over the top.

With the ex­cep­tion of bar­bel, you are un­likely to catch any­thing but carp on these tough baits, mak­ing them ideal if you have set your heart on a June 16 carp.

RUDD

In re­cent years Fen­land rivers have pro­duced some fan­tas­tic rudd at the start of the sea­son and are now a se­ri­ous op­tion for those look­ing for some­thing a bit diïer­ent. A great tac­tic to lo­cate the shoals of rudd is to drift small chunks of bread crust down­stream along the outer edges of weedbeds. If the rudd are at home they will soon start to swirl at these free­bies, giv­ing away their pres­ence.

While float­ing baits will catch rudd (and their up­turned mouths are ide­ally po­si­tioned for this tac­tic), I find that they can be much eas­ier to catch on a slow sink­ing bait pre­sented a cou­ple of feet be­low the sur­face.

If they are al­ready swirling at crusts then a piece of bread flake moulded around the hook is the

ideal slow-sink­ing hook­bait.

Ex­pect bold bites, be­cause these fish can eas­ily en­gulf even quite large pieces of bread the size of a 50p piece.

ROACH

With rivers of­ten still car­ry­ing a lit­tle colour at this time, a net of roach is al­ways on the cards if you set your stall out for them. It’s a lit­tle early for hemp-and-tare fish­ing, but I’ll al­ways in­clude a pint of hemp on my roach menu.

Mag­gots will catch plenty of fish, but if you are look­ing for a bet­ter stamp then cast­ers are a wise in­vest­ment. You will prob­a­bly have to or­der them to be sure of hav­ing a sup­ply for the start of the sea­son, but this ef­fort is very much worth­while.

If a spec­i­men river roach is your tar­get I would try a dif­fer­ent, more se­lec­tive ap­proach.

Fish­ing into dark is the time to catch the bigger fish, and bigger baits will def­i­nitely prove more se­lec­tive. Try a grain of sweet­corn on the hook. While it’s lit­tle used for roach, corn has cer­tainly proved very ef­fec­tive for me over the years, fished over a laid-down bed of hemp.

Get the waders on and try trot­ting pel­lets.

Tiger nuts are a se­lec­tive river carp bait.

Try pel­lets for early-sea­son bar­bel.

Slow-sink­ing flake is my No1 rudd bait.

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