Floater fish­ing fixes – Brian Skoyles

Brian Skoyles re­veals his top tips for float­ing fish­ing so you can en­joy sum­mer’s num­ber one big carp tac­tic

Improve Your Coarse Fishing (UK) - - Contents - Words James Fur­ness Pho­tog­ra­phy Lloyd Rogers

ASPLIT sec­ond af­ter an eruption on the sur­face Brian Skoyles’ line tight­ened and his rod bent as it was swept back to con­nect with the fish. He did his best to steer the carp away from the many weedbeds in front of his swim and a golden mir­ror with huge ap­ple-slice scales dec­o­rat­ing its flanks came over the net cord af­ter 10 nerve-wrack­ing min­utes. “This is why you can’t beat sur­face fish­ing!” ex­claimed an ex­u­ber­ant Brian. With dark shapes of sev­eral carp just un­der the sur­face and the chance of more fish on the cards, it’s hard to ar­gue.

Light tackle

Af­ter tak­ing a few photos of the im­mac­u­late mir­ror, Brian at­tached a fresh hook­bait ready for a re­cast. “You don’t want to be over­gunned and a rod with a 2.25lb test curve is about right for the lighter lines and smaller hooks that the tac­tic re­quires. A small reel such as a Daiwa The­ory SP3000A or SS2600 Whisker is prefer­able as you have to hold the rod and reel for long pe­ri­ods,” ad­vised Brian. “I’m very fussy with re­gards to lines and I use a dif­fer­ent main­line and hook­length for floater fish­ing. I re­ally rate Korda Kruiser Con­trol as a main­line and I have one spool loaded with 10lb and one with 12lb. My hook­link is tied from Stroft GTM and I carry a range of break­ing strains from 9.4lb to 17.6lb to cover any sce­nario from open wa­ter with no weed or snags to hit-and-hold sit­u­a­tions near lily pads or heavy weed. “For this style of fish­ing you need a strong, rea­son­ably fine wire hook in a wide gape pat­tern such as Korda Mixas, Ga­makatsu Spe­cial­ist Wide Gapes and Dren­nan Su­per Spe­cial­ist Bar­bel hooks.

Stay­ing in con­trol

There are two main types of con­troller floats used for floater fish­ing – drift, which lay flat on the sur­face, and ver­ti­cal which sit up­right in the wa­ter. “I carry both styles to cover most wind con­di­tions,” he said. “When it’s flat calm or there’s a light wind, I use the drift type and in stronger winds I opt for ver­ti­cal floats. Drift con­trollers also work bet­ter over weed.” Brian sets up his ver­ti­cal con­trollers in a dif­fer­ent way to most peo­ple who sim­ply thread their main­line through the swivel on the top and trap the float in place with rub­ber float stops. “A he­li­copter set-up is less prone to tan­gles,” said Brian. “It’s re­ally easy to set-up, too. Sim­ply at­tach a size 8 swivel to the end of your hook­link and thread this on to your main­line, fol­lowed by a Korda anti-tan­gle sleeve. Next, tie your main­line to the swivel on the con­troller, push the sleeve over the swivel and then bring the hook­length swivel down and over the anti-tan­gle sleeve.” Many carp wa­ters re­ceive a lot of pres­sure and be­cause most sur­face fish­ing takes place from close in to 30 yards, the fish can be­come in­creas­ingly wary at these ranges. They will, how­ever, hap­pily snack on any floater that comes their way fur­ther out. “I carry a cou­ple of much larger con­trollers ca­pa­ble of cast­ing big dis­tances and the

dif­fer­ence in the per­cent­age in­crease in the num­ber of con­fi­dent takes from longer range is notable. At long range, you can’t al­ways see the take and you have to watch for line move­ment, and in some cases wait for the reel to spin. Ex­cit­ing stuff!”

Oily floaters

“Most of my floater fish­ing is en­joyed with var­i­ous sizes of float­ing pel­lets. The two I re­ally rate are the 6mm and 11mm Float­ing Trout Pel­lets from Hin­ders. The larger ones sup­port a size 12 or 10 hook bril­liantly and last well in the wa­ter,” he ex­plained. “The smaller ones are ex­cel­lent for get­ting fish to feed, but the carp can be­come pre­oc­cu­pied on them so, ide­ally, I like to feed a mix of sizes.” Brian has also found a way of mak­ing his feed even more at­trac­tive. “My favourite method is oil­ing up. It’s dead easy to do, and I’ve found carp will re­act very strongly to oiled baits,” he said. Many an­glers use ar­ti­fi­cial mix­ers, trimmed­down pop-ups or cork balls in an at­tempt to im­i­tate their loose­feed. Brian, how­ever, sim­ply hooks the same size pellet he feeds. “This makes it much harder for carp to tell your hook­bait apart from the free­bies, but you need a quick and easy way of reg­u­larly re­plac­ing your hook­bait be­fore cast­ing. I have found that pellet bands are the best way of

achiev­ing this and I tie these on to a short­shor braided hair. I tie my hook­lengths with the pellet held close to the eye so the hook hangs down un­der the pellet. It also en­sures that the pellet band stays in place, even on a strong cast,” he ex­plained.

Avoid­ing the birds

“Ide­ally, Ide­ally, you should feed the swim for a while and get the fish ac­tively feed­ing and con­fi­dent be­fore cast­ing a hook­bait. This can be prob­lem­atic as birdlife also like what youy are feed­ing and can dis­turb the swim. “As­sess As­sess your swim on the day and re­act accordingly. If birdlife is a prob­lem, I usu­al­lyusu­all fish close in or move reg­u­larly. I al­waysalw take a lightweight spod rod equipped with a Mini Spomb. It makes bait­ing up with 6mm pel­lets much more ef­fi­cient and birdlife doesn’tdoesn al­ways as­so­ciate it with float­ing food and won’t in­ves­ti­gate. A stan­dard catty works fine for larger baits.”

Brian’s favourite baits are 6mm and 11mm Float­ing Trout Pel­lets from Hin­ders

Oil­ing and flavour­ing his pel­lets is the best way Brian has found of mak­ing them more at­trac­tive

Catch­ing carp off the sur­face is great fun in the sum­mer

Brian feeds larger baits via a cat­a­pult and uses a Spomb when 6mm pel­lets are be­ing of­fered

Brian car­ries a se­lec­tion of hook sizes with bait bands tied on and ready to go

Size 12 hooks are pe­fectly bal­anced with the 11mm pel­lets Brian uses as a hook­bait

Fine-tuned floater fish­ing can pro­duce some real mon­sters!

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