The Coach Match ace Jamie Hughes on how to be a bet­ter still­wa­ter an­gler

Angling Times (UK) - - CONTENTS -

There’s no point in hav­ing the lat­est kit and top-qual­ity bait if you turn up at your peg and end up fish­ing in com­pletely the wrong spot to be­gin with.

Wa­ter­craft is what angling suc­cess boils down to at this time of year and even on rel­a­tively fea­ture­less-look­ing com­mer­cial fish­eries, there’s still plenty go­ing on un­der the wa­ter to dic­tate where the fish will and won’t be.

Faced with a large ex­panse of open wa­ter and lit­tle on the sur­face to base your at­tack around, how can you work out where to tar­get your at­tack at a time of year when the weather can change dras­ti­cally and al­ter the feed­ing habits of the fish?

Let Ma­trix-backed triple Fish O’Ma­nia cham­pion Jamie Hughes be your guide to keep­ing the bites com­ing as Christ­mas is knock­ing on the door – it’s re­ally not as com­pli­cated as it may seem at first glance!

What to fish

“Faced with open wa­ter, the first prob­lem you may en­counter is tow caused by the wind. Wide ex­posed swims are prone to this and it can ren­der the pole line un­fish­able in terms of pre­sen­ta­tion.

“If this was the case then the feeder or bomb would come to the fore but pro­vided con­di­tions are not too bad, the pole has to be the No1 ap­proach for pre­cise feed­ing and per­fect pre­sen­ta­tion. I’d cer­tainly al­ways set both up be­cause the wind can change dur­ing a ses­sion and in­crease tow.”

Where to fish

“You may not have any fish-hold­ing fea­tures on the sur­face so your best friend will be a plum­met. Most lakes have changes in depth and these may be a mat­ter of inches but they can make a big dif­fer­ence.

“I’d spend a good 15 min­utes plumb­ing around the swim on the pole to find these depth changes and would think noth­ing of go­ing out to 16m to find them. I’m look­ing for an un­der­wa­ter bar that of­fers a sub­stan­tial depth change. On the feeder, this isn’t as im­por­tant as I’ll be us­ing the rod to cast around as op­posed to build­ing up a swim in one spot.”

the bait to bring

“Mag­gots are good for F1s and sil­vers, but if you’re af­ter carp, noth­ing beats pel­lets – even in cold weather. Hard pel­lets beat soft ex­panders ev­ery time, so I’d bring some 4mm and 6mm hard pel­lets and a bag of mi­cro pel­lets. That should be am­ple for a win­ter ses­sion. Chang­ing hook­baits is key so I’d throw in a tin of corn and some bright wafters for the tip.”

Cast­ing around

“Un­like in sum­mer, I’m not try­ing to build a peg up with the feeder. In­stead, I’ll cast to dif­fer­ent spots around the peg. When I catch a

fish I then chuck back to the same spot but if noth­ing else hap­pens, I’ll be on the move again.

“How long I leave the feeder out de­pends on if any­one around me is catch­ing on the tip. That could mean wait­ing up to half-an-hour be­fore wind­ing in. I’ll re­visit spots that I’ve cast to ear­lier in the day as the lit­tle con­sign­ment of pel­lets that went in be­fore­hand may just be enough to draw in a few carp.”


“I’d be­gin fish­ing with bread dob­bing about at half-depth to try and catch fish that aren’t that in­ter­ested in feed­ing but would only give this 15 min­utes us­ing an 8mm piece of bread­punch.

“If I’ve not caught then I fall back to fish­ing pel­let, a hard 6mm banded on the hook with mi­cro pel­lets fed via a small pot.”

Find­ing un­der­wa­ter fea­tures in your swim is key to catch­ing in the cold.

My feed is cupped in on the pole.

The re­wards are there - even in win­ter.

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