How to fish the mud line – Andy Dyson
Never mind the reeds and vegetation of far-bank swims, fish even tighter to the edge and you’ll catch more, says commercial expert Andy Dyson
THE far bank of any commercial snake lake is always a hotspot. Reeds and long grass drape into the water providing cover for the fish as they cruise about. Regular introductions of bait make the area even more appealing. While placing your rig close to this far bank vegetation might seem like the obvious thing to do, it is often a better option to look for somewhere else that isn’t quite as pleasing on the eye. Commercial expert Andy Dyson reckons anglers are often afraid of fishing in the really shallow water tight to the ‘mud bank’ but this is exactly where he plunders each time he visits a snake lake. “The reeds on the far bank will constantly twitch temptingly as fish brush against them, but it’s a mistake to put your rig tight to them,” cautioned Andy. “The water in front of them is usually too deep and you’ll be plagued by line bites and foul-hookers as the fish feed at various depths. “It is better to find a small gap in between the reeds and fish tight up against the muddy bank. Do this and you will see an improvement in the number of fish you catch.”
How shallow can you go?
We all know that carp love to graze in shallow water at this time of year. But exactly how much depth do you need to hold them comfortably? Where many anglers baulk at the idea of fishing in just a few inches of water Andy believes you can bag up in less than a foot. “This extremely shallow water is usually only found extremely tight to the bank. If you moved away even slightly the depth would be significantly more. “Getting them to feed in the shallowest water possible reduces the number of lines bites and foul hooked fish,” he explained. “I’ve caught fish in as little as 6in of water but more often than not 10in-12in is the most productive depth. They will stay on the deck in this depth which makes them much easier to catch,” he added.
Increase your catches
A common mistake made on snake lakes is the introduction of too much loose-feed. The fish are already holed up close to the far bank so there is no need to pile it in. A small cupful is enough to start proceedings. “You only want to feed enough to get them directly over where you are fishing. If you feed too much they will have too much choice as to what they can eat and your hookbait could end up being ignored,” said Andy, who relies on dead maggots and Sonubaits Supercrush Expander groundbait, both introduced sparingly. “I use the small cup on the end of my pole to trickle in a few maggots and a nugget of groundbait at the start and I repeat this after every fish in the opening hour. “Once the fish are feeding confidently, I cut out the maggots and only put in a pinch of groundbait every time I ship out. “This reduces the amount of proper food available to the fish, reducing the time it takes for them to pick up the hookbait.”
Target mixed bags
The stocking policy in commercials has become much more diverse in recent years. Andy’s tactics reflect this accordingly. Rather than use a large hookbait that can only be intercepted by carp, he favours an offering that enables him to catch everything that swims. “A double dead maggot hookbait gives me the chance to get bites from a wide range of species and means the float goes under almost every time I lay in the rig. “This busy approach means I am cupping in small quantities of bait regularly which builds the swim up and helps to attract bigger fish in the process.” Light, yet balanced, tackle ensures the rig delivers the necessary finesse for species such as ide, skimmers and crucians with Andy using 0.17mm Guru N-Gauge mainline to an 0.11mm hook-length and a size 16 Guru Kaizen hook. A soft elastic that powers up once several feet has been stretched out is advisable to
prevent smaller fish from being bumped on the strike and a 7-11 Ian Everett hollow elastic fits the bill perfectly.
With the IYCF cameras in tow, Andy made the decision to tackle Goose Lake at The Old Hough complex near Middlewich in Cheshire. On arrival he inspected the pegs to find a suitable swim. “I want a peg with a decent patch of bare bank to put the float tight against. If a swim is overgrown then I leave it alone.” Plumbing up with the float virtually grazing the mud, he found 8in of water and was soon in action, trickling in a small nugget of groundbait and dead maggots. The already murky water quickly clouded up further as fish began grubbing around. Using a
“The water quickly clouded up further as fish began grubbing around”
0.3g float ensured the tip only dipped when a fish took the hookbait. “By using a reasonably heavy float and a bulk of shot just above the hook-length, I can anchor the rig in place and differentiate between liners and genuine bites.” Ide and hand-sized crucians were the first to show but the regular top ups of bait pulled in the carp and a 4lb specimen was soon fooled. Reducing the number of maggots fed helped increase his catch rate for a period, increasing it once again whenever bites tailed off. “I’ve had over 80lb of carp, F1s, ide and crucians today and I haven’t had to wait more than a couple of minutes for a bite. “Fishing in really shallow water may feel like a gamble but it is pretty much guaranteed to help you catch more fish from snake lakes.”
Double maggot hookbaits will tempt bites from fish of all sizes
Andy’s tackle: Pole: Maver Signature Elastic: Grade 7-11 Ian Everett hollow Mainline: 0.17mm Guru N-Gauge Float: 0.3g Warren Peaty Dyson Hooklength: 0.11mm Guru N-Gauge Hook: Size 16 Guru Kaizen
A 7-11 hollow elastic will prevent smaller fish from being bumped off