Angling Times (UK)
RINGER TO THE RESCUE Steve explains how to fish safely and catch more from snag swims
Matt Rowan, Leicester
HE PROBLEM here, as you’re finding out to your cost, is that carp love snags!
They see snaggy areas as their home, linking the cover they offer to the food that they can find by grubbing around among the roots. This is why, so often, you’ll see fish nosing around under pads or rocking the reed stems. Plainly, these are places you can’t ignore but, as you’ve found, hooking fish is the easy part! That said, there are several things you can do.
TStart away from snags
First, look at trying to fish just short of the snags to start with. One of the problems is that a lot of anglers see a big lily bed or rush bed and automatically go straight up tight to it, thinking they’ll catch more and quicker.
Of course, the tighter you fish to a snag, the more difficult it can be to land fish so, as a rule, I’ll always start up to a metre short of the snags and try to catch a few early fish before gradually moving closer to them as the fish naturally become more spooked.
Find shallow water
The next thing to consider is depth. The deeper it is against the snags, the harder the fish will be to keep away from them. That’s because they have far more line on the length of your rig to work with before they find sanctuary.
A hooked fish will rip off on a long rig, never allowing you to be in control. For this reason, I’ll always, if possible, try to fish in shallow water when snag fishing. This means you can get the fish moving far quicker once it’s hooked.
That said, this isn’t always possible and a brilliant example of this was on peg 45 on
Pollawyn Lake at White Acres, when I used to be a regular visitor to the complex.
Peg 45 had a huge stick-up rush bed in front of it which was always full of carp. The problem was, it was 4ft deep tight to the rushes.
This meant that when you hooked a carp on the bottom it had 4ft of line to work with to get into the snags. That doesn’t, of course, mean they were impossible to land, but it made it a lot more difficult to do so.
The solution, though, was to fish shallow to the cover. This normally meant fishing 12ins-18ins deep which in turn made those carp, once hooked, relatively easy to land.
They had very little line to work with, and were already high in the water when I began putting pressure on them.
Master the strike
Of course, you have to feed accordingly to catch shallow, in this case that meant pinging hard 6mm pellets. The downside came when they wouldn’t come up, which did happen to me on that particular peg.
It became a case of fishing on the deck, and it was all about the strike. If you lifted in the normal manner and began to ship back, there was every chance they’d find the stickups. The trick was to ship back as I struck, so when the float went under, I simply threw the pole back fast and kept shipping for a metre or so.
If I hit the bite the fish was already coming away from the snags due to the angle of the strike. It was a case of not giving the fish a chance to react and find the snags.
Go big with elastics
Last, but certainly not least, is tackle, and most important
KEEP AWAY FROM DANGER!
Don’t be tempted to fish tight up to the snags, just because you can see fish in among them. They’ll move out into open water given time, so I’d begin by feeding and fishing a metre away to give myself every chance of landing what I hook. As the day goes on, you’ll most likely end up fishing with the rig just centimetres away from the snags as the carp back off, but I’d certainly make life easy for myself in those opening few hours.