We all know one. That super competitive mate who makes out they really aren’t bothered about what they catch - until its time to pack up, then they LOVE to let you know if they have beat you!
Others are more blatant of course. They state their intent before the start with a wager. Whether it’s a bacon sandwich a post match pint, or buying the ice creams on the way home, you really don’t want to be losing out to your mate. So here are some top tips to give you the edge this weekend.
1 - Fishing Tactics
Target The Cover! With bright, hot conditions this weekend, its very likely the fish will be hanging close to marginal weed and cover. Look for overhanging trees, rush beds or Lilly pads, and you will find yourself among fish. Be careful not to fish too deep though, as at this time of year the fish often sit just a few inches under the surface. Try flattening your Fjuka to give an attractive flutter through the first few inches of water.
2- Fish For Silvers
With the carp finally waking up, you might be surprised at this one. The fact of the matter is though, at a lot of venues they have other things on their mind at the minute and as the water temperature hits 18 degrees, the carp are ready to spawn. Sadly, no matter how nicely you waft your Fjuka past their noses, they aren’t going to want to eat your bait if they are feeling amorous. You will know if they are on the job, as you will see a lot of splashing and thrashing around in the edges, and the best thing you can do is let them get on with it, and fish for the species that actually want to feed.
3 - What's Mugging?
Have A Mug! When the sun is at its brightest, you will often see carp basking at this time of year. Though these basking fish can be tricky to catch, it is exhilarating fishing. They key is to keep disturbance (like shadows on the water) to a minimum. A small waggler, set just a few inches deep can be absolutely deadly, as can a shallow pole rig with a long length of line between your pole tip and float, so you can flick your rig at the fish. A whole, or flattened Fjuka 2in1 can be an awesome bait for ‘mugging’ as we like to call it, and I tend to find black or red baits perform best. The key is to gauge the direction that the fish is moving, then flick your rig or waggler a couple of feet in front of where the fish is heading. You get some savage takes at times! Sometimes, the fish will be swimming about in pods, and though you can only see one or two fish, there may well be other, dark fish slightly lower in the water column just waiting to have a go…
4 - Fish Close
If you are heading up the canal this weekend, expect a LOT of boats. It’s school holidays, the current bun is out, and the canals will be at their busiest. I know it’s frustrating when a pleasure cruiser comes through your peg every two minutes, but there are ways of catching fish amid the turmoil. The best advice I can give is to fish really close when the boat traffic is bad. As long as you can find three feet of water, you will probably catch fish - even if this is just a couple of feet from the bank. I like to feed a fine, roach groundbait (something like the Dynamite Frenzied Hemp Match Black is excellent). Take a handful of the dry mix out before you mix it, and add this just before feeding. You will then see activity on the surface, so you know your feed is where you want it on the bottom. White, yellow or red Fjuka Micros are a deadly hookbait over the top.
5 - Gear Up
Generally I am all in favour of fishing light, balanced tackle, but for the next couple of months, we don’t have to be quite as cautious on commercial fisheries. Why? Because increased activity will mean our venues are at their most coloured, as the water temperature heads up into the upper teens. Depending on the size of fish you are targeting, I wouldn’t be afraid to step up to 0.15mm or 0.17mm hooklengths for general commercial fishing for carp into double figures. This way, if you hook a monster, you have every chance of getting him in. Remember though, if you are stepping up your line diameter, it is wise to up your hook size, and elastic diameter too. Keep everything in proportion to give yourself the best chance of landing everything you hook.