SUM­MER RIVERS

Rivers teem­ing with fish of­ten look su­perb in sum­mer but catch­ing can be a lit­tle tricky. Mark Pollard re­veals his cool tricks for hot wa­ter suc­cess

Improve Your Coarse Fishing (UK) - - News - Words Tony Grig­or­jevs

Mark Pollard demon­strates how to bag up from clear, shal­low rivers us­ing sim­ple wag­gler tac­tics.

WALK along the banks of your favourite small wa­ter­way and it’s hard to miss the ac­tiv­ity be­neath the sur­face, with fish of all sizes danc­ing be­tween the streamer weed as they strug­gle to dis­guise them­selves in the crys­tal clear wa­ter. The sight of such large num­bers of fish will un­doubt­edly give you an ir­re­sistible urge to wet a line but catch­ing these eas­ily spooked barbel, chub and sil­vers can pro­vide a tricky chal­lenge. Get your ap­proach wrong and hours of frus­tra­tion lie ahead, but get it right and you’ll soon be the envy of all your angling mates. Dy­na­mite Baits and Ma­trix-backed an­gler Mark Pollard is a true all-rounder but hav­ing spent most of the closed sea­son plun­der­ing his lo­cal com­mer­cials, he has been en­joy­ing pit­ting his wits against the shoals in his lo­cal stretch of the Great Ouse in re­cent weeks. “The Kemp­ston stretch is re­ally shal­low and stand­ing there for a few min­utes you’ll be amazed at the num­ber of fish,” ex­plained Mark. “Over the years I have found that cer­tain tac­tics will get you a bite ev­ery sin­gle chuck while oth­ers will scare off ev­ery fish in the river for miles around!”

Swim se­lec­tion

Spot an over­hang­ing tree that a huge shoal of dace are bask­ing un­der or a clump of reeds that a big chub keeps in­ves­ti­gat­ing, and it would be so tempt­ing to plonk your seat­box down right in front of the fish-hold­ing fea­ture. But min­utes af­ter un­load­ing your tackle the fish will have mys­te­ri­ously van­ished. “I will al­ways place my box well up­stream of where I even­tu­ally want to catch the fish. If you sit right on top of them they will def­i­nitely move off else­where so it is bet­ter to try and catch them from fur­ther away. “It is im­por­tant to make sure that the area be­tween where you are sit­ting and where you in­tend to get the bites is free of large snags and ob­struc­tions be­cause you will need a clear area.”

Leave the pole alone

Float­fish­ing rules supreme on this type of wa­ter in the heat of sum­mer al­though the pole is rarely ef­fec­tive. Wav­ing a long length of car­bon over the top of the shoal will in­stantly spook them, so a wag­gler is the bet­ter op­tion. “I like to run the float through the swim, al­low­ing the cur­rent to push it through to make the hook­bait move at a nat­u­ral pace. “A swim that is fairly slow mov­ing will en­able you to have full con­trol of how the float trots. I al­ways leave the bail arm open and this en­ables me to let the float run as far as I want, while also giv­ing me the op­tion of plac­ing my fin­ger on the spool ev­ery now and then to stop the rig. “It pays to ex­per­i­ment with how much you stop the rig mov­ing but, in my ex­pe­ri­ence, the big­gest fish of­ten turn up when the rig has come to a stand­still for a mo­ment. A 3g or 4g loaded wag­gler that is locked in place by two float stops pro­vides the best con­trol on small rivers, with 4lb main­line through to an 0.10mm Ma­trix Power Mi­cron hook­length and a size 18 hook.

Care­ful feed­ing

Mag­gots and cast­ers are the best bet when sil­ver­fish and bonus chub are on the agenda but ran­domly chuck­ing them into the river is a sure­fire way of dis­pers­ing the shoals. “You have to keep feed­ing if you want the fish to feed con­fi­dently but it is im­por­tant that you do it right. “I let my rig start run­ning through the swim and aim to have my loose­feed land a cou­ple of me­tres be­hind the float. It will catch up with your hook­bait at the point of where you are try­ing to get a bite, mak­ing your rig look a lot less sus­pi­cious to the fish.” Al­though Mark likes to feed ev­ery time he runs the rig through the swim, he only in­tro­duces around 10 freebies each time. “I want to feed the fish just enough so that they will start to com­pete but, at the same time, I need them to find my hook­bait quickly so that I get a bite each time the rig runs through. “If I fed di­rectly on top of my float it would quickly take the fish fur­ther down­stream and they’d soon be out of range and in some­one else’s peg. When it comes to hook­bait choice the size and species you are tar­get­ing plays a big part al­though triple mag­got or caster is a win­ner when you are try­ing to fend off small fish, while a sin­gle mag­got works best when you are happy catch­ing fish of all sizes.

In­stant ac­tion

With the sun sit­ting high in the sky and sweat drip­ping off our brows at 11am, it was never go­ing to be ideal for any type of fish­ing. The clear wa­ter helped Mark spot the fish eas­ily and he soon knew they would be will­ing to feed, with each and ev­ery mag­got be­ing hoovered up be­fore they reached the bot­tom. “I’ve got to make sure I don’t dis­turb them early on or that could spell dis­as­ter.” Set­ting up around 15m from where the fish were gath­ered, he was soon in ac­tion with Mark choos­ing to catch ev­ery­thing that swims in­stead of wait­ing for the big­ger spec­i­mens. The ac­tion never let up in four hours, with dou­ble fig­ures, of dace, chublets and the odd roach and perch go­ing into the net on a day when most wouldn’t have fan­cied their chances. “Our rivers are in the best con­di­tion they have been for years and you can put to­gether a huge net of fish in sum­mer,” con­cluded Mark.

Pho­tog­ra­phy Lloyd Rogers

It’s im­por­tant to set-up some dis­tance away from where you hope to con­nect with fish

A hook buried in a caster (left) or two mag­gots mounted top-and-tail (right) are great sum­mer baits

Leave the bale arm open to en­able your rig and hook­bait to trot through at a nat­u­ral pace A dou­ble fig­ure net of sil­vers made for an en­joy­able day Feed­ing the right amount of loose­feed ac­cu­rately is key

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