Loose­feed like crazy for sil­vers – Adam Bowen

Never put down the cat­a­pult if you’re se­ri­ous about catch­ing qual­ity sil­ver fish, says Adam Bowen who feeds mag­gots and cast­ers up to three times a minute

Improve Your Coarse Fishing (UK) - - Contents - Words & Pho­tog­ra­phy Tony Grig­or­jevs

IT’S easy to put to­gether a glis­ten­ing net of sil­vers but mak­ing sure ev­ery one of those fish is of a qual­ity stamp is a much tougher tar­get to achieve. Small roach, rudd and ide are ex­tremely naïve and can be caught on even the crud­est of rigs. Use in­ap­pro­pri­ate tac­tics, though, for their big­ger shoal­mates and you’re in for a nasty shock. Haul­ing out a carp ev­ery chuck doesn’t ap­peal to Fishinginthenorth­west.co.uk blog­ger Adam Bowen, but nei­ther is he con­tent with catch­ing tid­dlers all day. “I love catch­ing qual­ity sil­ver fish. Over the years I have worked out what is the most im­por­tant item of tackle when try­ing to make them drop their guard,” re­vealed Adam. “Pil­ing in the bait pretty much con­stantly is vi­tal. I never let go of the cat­a­pult when I am try­ing to get the big sil­vers to bully the lit­tle ones out of the swim.”

The only two baits you need

When roach, rudd and ide are on the agenda there are only two baits worth feed­ing – mag­gots and cast­ers. Con­fu­sion of­ten arises when de­cid­ing which is the best op­tion but Adam be­lieves it is the fish­ery you are tar­get­ing that dic­tates this. “I have found that it varies from venue to venue which pro­duces more bites. On some lakes you will find that cast­ers pick out the big­ger fish yet on oth­ers they are smashed in an in­stant by small fish and you have to ship back in. “If you are vis­it­ing a wa­ter for the first time take a cou­ple of pints of each and you’ll soon no­tice a pat­tern emerge. The next time you go you just take the one but double the amount you took first time round.” One thing that doesn’t vary is how much bait you need to feed. Flick­ing in a few morsels here and there isn’t go­ing to cut the mus­tard. “You need to feed at least two or three times a minute or those big fish aren’t go­ing to set­tle. Ev­ery peg will have large num­bers of small fish but only a few will hold num­bers of large sil­vers. You need to give them a rea­son to come into your peg and stay there. “I al­ways feed be­fore lay­ing in my rig. If I don’t get an in­stant bite I feed again and keep do­ing the same ev­ery 20-30 sec­onds un­til I put a fish in the net.” Reg­u­larly lift­ing and drop­ping your rig is im­per­a­tive. This en­ables the hook­bait to fall at the same time as the loose­feed and makes it harder for the fish to spot the trap. Adam starts by feed­ing 15 mag­gots or cast­ers each time but steps that up if he is still get­ting pestered by small fish. He only re­duces the num­ber he feeds when the big­ger ones ar­rive. “When the big fish are in your peg you need to pro­vide them with enough food to keep them in the swim, but you also want them to find your hook­bait quickly. Feed­ing 8-10 is usu­ally enough to achieve this.”

Keep al­ter­ing the depth

With bait rain­ing down, it is in­evitable that the fish will want to com­pete just un­der the sur­face. After all, if they sat on the bot­tom they wouldn’t even get any scraps be­cause the small fish – which per­ma­nently live shal­low dur­ing sum­mer – would devour the lot. Con­stantly al­ter­ing the depth is im­por­tant to keep in touch with the fish. “Al­though the big sil­vers will be off the bot­tom, they will keep switch­ing what level they sit at. Chang­ing the depth by just a cou­ple of inches can make a mas­sive dif­fer­ence. I’ll of­ten start 2ft deep but that will be changed very slightly dozens of times through­out the day. “If I can’t get bites from the big­ger fish then I will go a few inches deeper but if I am miss­ing lots of bites I will go shal­lower as they are prob­a­bly giv­ing me line bites as they sit above the hook­bait and brush up against the rig.”

Lash in the bait

Use a heavy rig when try­ing to catch big sil­ver fish and you might not get a sin­gle bite. Roach, rudd and ide of a de­cent size have wised up to all the tricks so light set-ups are vi­tal. “I use 0.13mm main­line to a 0.10mm hook­length and a size 18 hook. This is baited with a sin­gle or double caster. A 0.2g float with around half of the bris­tle show­ing is ideal, and a 6-8 elas­tic will help land sil­vers of ev­ery size.” Dur­ing a ses­sion for the IYCF cam­eras, Adam kept lashing in the bait at The Rosie Pool – a tran­quil Con­nah’s Quay AC club wa­ter in Dee­side that is teem­ing with roach, rudd, ide, cru­cians and carp. Pil­ing in mag­gots from the off, small fish were pre­dictably the first to re­spond. It took a good 30 min­utes be­fore the land­ing net was re­quired but he never re­duced the feed­ing regime. Once the big fish had ar­rived Adam never looked back but it was clear that as soon as he stopped feed­ing while pos­ing in front of the lens, the big fish van­ished and he needed to ham­mer it in again to re­con­vene. “Con­stant feed­ing is vi­tal when go­ing for big sil­vers. Keep ping­ing that cat­a­pult all day and you’ll be amazed at the fi­nal re­sult,” said Adam, as he re­leased a 30lb net.

Use a soft elas­tic so that you don’t lose fish on the strike

A 0.2g float shot­ted with a strung out pat­tern will fool big­ger fish

Mag­gots and cast­ers are the best baits, with a worm head a great hook­bait al­ter­na­tive

Rigs should be made of a fairly thick main­line that has No.10 shot strung down it

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