The art of the river angler

But the rivers are dead now or are they? or is it more we just don’t know how to fish them in these modern times.

We may never see the glory day’s of anglers lining the banks of the river’s up and the country in 100 + peg matches week in week out. World championships held on the Trent embankment in Nottingham, drawing huge crowds to watch top anglers at their best. I even recall matches covering both banks on the Trent and river Soar on more than a few weekends.

Trent

But the rivers are dead now or are they? or is it more we just don’t know how to fish them in these modern times.

Anglers are slowly drifting back on to the river banks, but why?. Is it because clubs are trying to make access better, I’ve come across some parts of the Trent that has better access than some commercials with pegs that you can now park behind. Or is it the weights that are coming out, the 2016 Soar Valley winter league you had to be well in to double figures to get anywhere. Not to mention the treble figure weights yes that’s right well over 100lb, but the rivers are dead aren’t they!

So where do I start, what tickets do I need?

If your relatively new to river fishing then i’d suggest starting on the river Soar rather than the Trent. Access is pretty good in a number of areas and there is a good variation of sections from slow deep runs to fast shallow runs that will test your skills.

Much of the Soar is club controlled, as a rough guide starting from the Trent area Ratcliffe on Soar through to Kegworth is controlled by Long Eaton Federation, Kegworth to Kegworth Deep locks is controlled by Long Eaton Victoria. Kegworth Deep locks to Sutton Bonington playing fields is controlled by Loughborough Soar AS. Zouch canal (tow path) to Barrow upon Soar Osier beds is mostly controlled by Loughborough Soar AS. Barrow through to Birstall on the outskirts of Leicester is mostly controlled by Leic’s & District Amalgamation. Find out more

Can I get away with using my commercial match gear? of course you can. Your pole floats and set ups will be different and you’ll more than likely need to size down your elastics to a solid 4-6. A lot of commercial rods tend to be between 9 and 10ft which are a little to short for river fishing but that doesn’t mean they are completely useless.

By far the quickest and easiest way in to river fishing from commercials is with the pole. As mentioned above scaling down your elastics and a few running water pole rigs, don’t forget the pole feeder and your sorted.

Want to know more? why not pop in to our Kegworth shop for a brew and a chat or you could throw your self in at the deep end and join us on some of our river Soar open matches.

A day pegging out

Pegging out and one muddy little helper

Sundays are my day off from the shop, So with our fourth coming matches on the Soar I thought id better get out on the bank and peg the sections out.

A cold crisp morning, well by time id got little man motivated it was mid day! peg posts cut and numbers painted on we set off to kegworth to walk and peg out the first two sections.

Earlier in the morning id had a call from one of our Colmic team member (Charlie) to say that he had just arrived at the horseshoe in Kegworth for a practice session. A short walk up from the road bridge we found Charlie on peg 5 in the boat yard. The river looked just perfect thinning down nicely from recent rain there was some colour but not chocolate like it was a few days ago. Peg 5 is just at the end of a bend with the way the boats funnel the river round it creates a nice crease in the flow just past the crease there’s a nice slack area.

Charlie was steadily catching a nice mixed bag of silvers with a few quality Roach and the odd Skimmer on the pole line.

Leaving him to it we walked round on to the next section that runs up to Kegworth deep locks. I don’t think this section has been match fished for years but I know it produces some great results to pleasure anglers.

I’ve limited the amount of pegs per section to 5 giving each angler loads of room to play with. This section at Kegworth looks great for running the stick float through the wide spaced pegs giving nice long glides to fish. So here’s hoping that a few people will put the pole to one side and reach for the rod and line for a change.Watch a live view taken from peg 5

Little man was enjoying passing me the peg posts but seemed to be getting muddier and muddier. By the time we’d walk up to put the last peg in he was proper caked in it! The last peg looking so good I just wish id could be fishing today. I know this is a noted Bream peg and it looks bob on for the feeder on the far bank.

A last drop in on Charlie to see how he was getting on, now trying the feeder up against the boats he’d still be catching steadily for around 6lb of fish by the time he packed up.

Back home it was time to hose little man down before letting him anywhere near the house!

A most enjoyable few hours walking the river with one other section to peg out at Normanton. The river looks spot on and seeing what Charlie was catching I’m optimistic for some fish to be caught on the Kings winter matches.

Well feet up with fave read and a brew me thinks.

Fancy fishing the Kings winter open matches find out more.

Pole Float Confusion?

Confused? It’s not surprising with the vast array of pole floats out there to temped you, and if your like me you just can’t help yourself. ‘you can never have enough floats’.

There are loads of ready-made rigs out there these day’s many of which are really good the Middy X5 range are some of the best I’ve used. But there’s nothing like making your own rigs up, tailoring a rig for a venue yourself then catching on it always add’s to my enjoyment.

So where to start, is there a float that covers all bases, what size of float, what do I need? these are some of the many questions you might ask yourself.

To start with I would ignore all these floats that say this is for corn this is for pellet and this is for meat. Yes some shapes are better for certain baits but it can get to confusing to start with. The only venue that shape is more important is rivers, but we’ll touch on this later.

So how do you select one float from another?

You can make things easier by looking at a floats make up and design so lets start there.

Pick up any pole float and they’ll all be a variation of a shape. round, pear, straight, and diamond. They will all tend to be made of balsa, nylon, plastic, cane and wire. All these variations make a float act and work in different ways. We could go well in to depth with this but lets start with some easy to use basics.

A round shape will give better stability than a straight stick shape. But a straight stick will give better bite detection than a round shape as there is less resistance. So you wouldn’t want to use a straight float on a flowing venue like a river or even a lake in the wind. I would stir clear of straight pole floats until your knowledge and confidence builds.

Float make up is important and also makes a difference in how the float works. I will go in to this in another chapter, but to start with stick to carbon stems balsa bodies and plastic or nylon tips.

So is there such a thing as an all-rounder that suits just about all venues like lakes ponds and slow to medium flow rivers?.

In sort yes there is, what you’re looking for is a round-bodied float or sort of rugby ball shape. The best stem to look for is a nice long carbon or nylon stem, the tip of the float wants to be either nylon or plastic.

The long carbon stem and plastic/nylon tip with give good stability in all sorts of conditions with all sorts of baits. Making it ideal for fishing up to 10ft deep, fish this float at full depth shirt button style as you’ll get a nice even fall on the hook bait.In bigger sizes from 1 gram up wards you can bulk shot to get your hook bait down, bulk shotting by grouping the shot together will work better in deep lakes or moving water.image

A 4×14 / 0.4 gram sized float will cover many still water venues from around 4ft to 5ft deep, any deeper than this I would go for a minimum of 4×16 / 1/ 2 gram float. Pushing 10ft I would be reaching for a 4×20 / 1 gram float. Rivers slow moving I wouldn’t go any smaller than 1.5 gram and I would bulk shot the float at around 3/4 depth.

For fishing up in the water or really shallow margin areas. Look for a round bodied float with a short nylon stem and nylon tip. Shot shirt button style the float will normally lay flat on the surface before slowly sitting up right as each shot sinks.image

Shotting pole floats can be difficult, the use of small shot far from helping. One of the best things you can get for setting up pole floats is a Dosapiombo. This simple little device has neutral buoyancy in water, all you to do is clip your chosen pole float in to the top and place in a jar of water that is deep enough to allow the float to sink to the correct depth. I use a glass vase as shown in the picture below.

Slowly add shot or styles to the Dosapiombo until the float sits in the water at the correct height. The table below will help give you a rough guide on which size shot to use. One thing to bearing mind it that tap water in denser than river or lake water so you may need to remove a weight once at your chosen venue.

Pole float size         Weight                    Equivalent in shot

3 x 10                         0.10g                          2 x No’10

4 x 10                          0.15g                          3 x No’9

4 x 12                          0.2g                            5 x No’10

4 x 14                          0.4g                            6 x No’8

4 x 16                          0.5g                            8 x No’8

4 x 18                          0.75g                          3 x No’3

4 x 20                          1g                                4 x No’3

5 x 20                          1.25g                           5 x No’3

6 x 20                          1.5g                             6 x No’3

All calculations are approximate

Want to know more, keep an eye out for the next chapter on Pole float confusion an in depth look.

A few Basic FAQ’s

Quick Fire FAQ’s and Tips

Do I need a rod licence?

If you are aged 12 and above you will need a rod licence, available to purchase from the Post Office or online.

Don’t forget a rod licence does not entitle you to fish anywhere. Many waters are club / society controlled. Good Tackle shops generally have these types of tickets and books for local clubs for you to purchase.

There are also lots of commercial day tickets waters that you can pay a fee to fish for the day, you can find adverts for many of these in the angling press like Angler’s Mail. You may also come across private syndicate waters that you pay a yearly fee for.

Can I fish all year round?

There is a closed season on all moving waters e.g. rivers, drains, streams and some canals. This operates from March 15th – June 16th .

Many canals can be fished all year round, check with the controlling club / society. You can also find information from the canals and rivers way trust.

Just about all commercial waters are open year round, but some do close for a period of time set by themselves.

A few additional pointers:

  • Always tell a family member where you are going.

  • Where practical take a spare set of clothes that can easily be left in a car.

  • It’s a good idea to carry an emergency foil body cover, especially if taking spare clothes is not practical.

  • Keep a bottle of alcohol hand gel in your kit.

  • Sun cream.

  • Plenty of drinks.

Top 10 tips

  1. Be safe

  2. Biggest key to fishing is bait.

  3. Learn your surroundings.

  4. Observe and learn, from nature and other anglers.

  5. Be quiet – fish can hear you.

  6. Keep it simple.

  7. Learn one method at a time.

  8. Don’t be taken in by media hype.

  9. It’s the angler that catches the fish not that £1000 pole.

  10. Enjoy and respect the great outdoors.

You can find more tips and fun things to read on my blog. stickfloat.wordpress.com

or pop along to the Angling trust website www.anglingtrust.net

Basic Items of Tackle

Other than rod and reel, or pole below is some basic items to make up your fishing kit:

Landing net and handle.

Some commercial fisheries will stipulate a unhooking mat (check first)

Disgorger

Plummet

A bait tub

Line clippers

A selection of mixed shot from 10 to SSG.

Spare pole rigs, pre tied is best to start with.

Spare floats, feeders or bomb leads if fishing rod and line.

Spare hook links, pre tied is best. Unless specimen carp fishing stick to sizes 18,16 and 14 barbless.

Something to sit on.

Small tackle box to keep everything safe.

Micros 

Micro pellets an anglers best friend. Whether your a match angler, specimen hunter or just a causal pleasure angler today’s modern fisheries are hooked on pellets.

Whether your using them as hook baits or lose feed, pellets should be apart of your bait armory.

I myself use 2mm aka micros a lot on commercial type fisheries. They make up a good part of my little and often feed pattern. Every put in with the pole I will kinder or toss pot a small mix of 2mm pellets along with either maggots or casters.

I often hear people saying they’ve used 2mm pellets but they float, The main reason being is people just used them straight from the bag, well why wouldn’t you!

In essence yes you can but many commercial fishery pellets have like biscuit crumb make up that traps air thus can make them float. The trick to making them sink easily is to dampen them ‘just slightly though’.

I use one of those garden plant spray thingy’s this gives me ultimate control and stops me completely soaking them. I can also flavour the water to give me an added edge, especially if I have to use fishery own pellets.image

There are micros that as a rule sink with out any prep, Pellets like Marukyu’s Skrill or Jpelletz seem to sink perfectly every time straight from the bag.

So next time your fishing micros as lose feeding them over a pole line and they float, have ago at lightly damping them.