We use cookies to track usage and preferences. See Cookie Policy
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
   You are currently viewing the European Union version of the site.
Would you like to switch to your local site?
Digital Subscriptions >  Latest Articles > The Fish Magnet

The Fish Magnet
Pole Fishing

The Fish Magnet

Posted Saturday, April 4, 2015   |   1502 views   |   Sport   |   Comments (0) Cameron Hughes reveals the tricks he uses to draw fish into even the most unfavoured of pegs.

Regardless of what some of my fellow anglers would have you believe, I don’t sit on good pegs all the time. I am not going to deny that I get my fair share of them, and when I do, catching from them can be relatively straightforward. This is because you have a large number of fish in front of you, and once you manage to trigger them into competing for bait, they often drop any inhibitions that they have, meaning you can catch them quite easily.

The most challenging, but also rewarding, days are when there are not so many fish in front of you. On these days you have to draw the fish into your peg, then encourage them to feed before you can really plunder them.

Perfect Planning
The first thing that I must stress is how important it is to have a clear plan in your head of how you would like the day to go. For example, we know that fishing often gets better as the day progresses, due to the increase in water temperature and drop in light levels.

With this in mind, it can often pay to spend the early part of a session building your swim up for an anticipated good last couple of hours. On all too many occasions, I have seen anglers suffer a bad first part of the session then panic. Believing they are out of the race, they ‘fill their peg in’ and ruin any chance of fish moving into the area.

A better line of attack is to ensure that your entire approach is fine tuned, so that when fish do switch on you are ready, your tackle is perfect, your swims are primed and you can proceed to empty the joint!

Depth and Distance
You join me on Lake 5 at Makins Fishery near Wolvey. Like many commercials, this lake is absolutely rammed with silver fish and also holds a good head of carp. Now for the bad news – the peg that I’m sat on is on the shallow bank and is only around three feet deep, compared with the six or seven that you find on most banks. There has been a keen spring frost, and with bright, sunny weather, conditions are perfect to demonstrate how to build a peg from scratch.
The pleasure anglers on the deeper banks appear to be catching fairly well – which at least gives me the confidence that fish are feeding, and if I tailor my approach correctly a good net of fish could be on the cards.

Because I don’t have depth on my side, and the water is still fairly clear, I know straightaway that there are two things that I will need to do to give myself the best possible chance of catching. When the fish aren’t entirely confident they shy away from two things. Firstly, bankside disturbance, so I know that I will have to feed as far from the bank as I comfortably can. This means 14.5 metres, so that I have the option of fishing past my bait at the pole’s full length of 16 metres.

Secondly, it’s the shadow of your pole tip. This means fishing at least two swims, so that the fish can be gaining con!dence over one feed area while you plunder the other. Plus, fishing a long line in between my pole tip and foat so that I am able to flick my rig past the shadow of my pole, where the fish will hopefully intercept my bait more confidently.

When it comes to tackling up, there are two key considerations that you need to make. First of all, you need a rig that gives you optimum bait presentation and sensitivity, so when the fish aren’t feeding confidently you can tempt them into taking your hook bait. For me, this means a light strung-out rig; I’m using a 0.2g Rive 255 pencil float. This is shotted with seven No11s down to a 6in hooklength of 0.10mm Rive hooklength line and a size 18 Green Gama hook. This is matched to a soft No4-6 Rive hollow elastic.

The other thing you need is a more positive ‘bagging’ rig. After all, when the fish really switch on later in the day, you need to be able to plunder them! A lot of anglers go down a real gung-ho route when it comes to this. Bigger lines, bigger hooks, bigger elastics – but on days when you are only going to catch for a short space of time I steer clear of this.

Let me explain why. Say the fish switch on and you’re fishing your ‘normal’ rig, catching one every put-in, so you decide to switch to your bagging rig. All of a sudden, everything is a gauge heavier and several things could happen. Bites could become if!er because of your bigger float, line or hook. You could bump fish off because of your heavier-gauge elastic, or you might not get bites because of your cruder presentation. From nowhere, you are now wasting time and probably catching fewer fish than you were on your lighter rig.

This why in these conditions, all a bagging rig entails for me is the same line, float and hooks, but with a bulk and two droppers instead of a strung-out shotting pattern. This, in theory, means that I will get bites quicker and see them more positively. If I don’t, of course, I can simply pick my lighter rig back up.

Just to be clear, this is not my policy with all kinds of fishing. If I were on a flier and expecting a bumper day, I might use heavier line, floats and hooks. But when I know that my catching time is going to be at a premium, I don’t like to take any unnecessary risks.
When you know that you are not fishing in the best area of a lake, you need to get one thing clear in your head before you even start. It is very unlikely that you are going to catch a great deal in the early part of the session. It can even sometimes be a bad thing if you do, because it stops feeding !sh from settling properly.

You also have to take into consideration that to maximise what you catch you need to feed the right baits to suit what the fish want to eat. Groundbait is often the biggest risk  that you have to take. On some days you catch more, and bigger-stamp, !sh over a bed of groundbait, while on others you struggle to get so much as a bite over it but catch well
from the area of your peg where you haven’t fed any.

This is why covering your options is essential. I have fed a line to my left with two balls of groundbait at the all-in, and to my right I have fed just a palmful of red  maggots and casters. As expected, no instant response is forthcoming and half an hour into the session I haven’t had a bite. Even despite this lack of action, I still keep the occasional pouch of loose feed falling through the water in a bid to draw fish into the swim. I feed between six and 10 casters over my loose-feed line every 10 minutes.

Patience and confidence are key during this early part of the session. As is to be proved shortly, although I am not getting any bites or putting anything in the net, my feeding isn’t going unnoticed. All the time fish are congregating in my swim, and as long as I don’t do anything to counteract this, when the !sh that I am drawing in decide to
feed, I should catch well.

Sure enough, an hour into the day I put a small roach in the net, then no more bites follow. Following a brief break for a cup of coffee, I then add three good-sized skimmers to the net before I am again sitting there biteless. Interestingly, all my baits so far have fallen to a single-red-maggot hook bait rather than a caster. I think the soft nature of this hook bait and the bit of movement that it gives off helps to incite a bite in these more dif!cult conditions.

For more great articles like this get the May 2015 issue of Pole Fishing below or subscribe and save.

Single Issue - May 2018 Replica Edition included
Or 349 points
Annual Digital Subscription
Only € 2.42 per issue
Or 2899 points
6 Month Digital Subscription
Only € 2.83 per issue
Or 1699 points
Monthly Digital Subscription
Only € 3.49 per issue
Or 349 points

View Issues

About Pole Fishing

Pole Fishing is the only magazine that is 100% dedicated to helping YOU catch more fish on the pole! Every month we pull out all the stops to bring you a mouth-watering issue packed full of exclusive features, instructional articles, in-depth reviews and top tackle. Pole Fishing is guaranteed to get your elastic stretching!

More great content like this...

For more great articles like this subscribe to Pole Fishing today.

Most read articles this month



Nashville songwriter Mark Cawley shares some tactics for reviving those elusive creative juices when you’ve lost the flow More...
How I got  published

How I got published

The author’s debut was actually her sixth novel, she tells Dolores Gordon-Smith More...
3 Free Reads for the New Year

3 Free Reads for the New Year

Spend all your money in December? Us too. We’ve pulled together our 3 favourite free reads available for you on Pocketmags. Everyone loves a free read! More...
News from the world of the piano

News from the world of the piano

Argerich and Babayan in Cleveland More...
5 Digital Magazines for Spring

5 Digital Magazines for Spring

Here at Pocketmags, we simply cannot wait to welcome in a new season of bloom and blossom. Jumpstart your motivation with our selection of 5 digital magazines for spring. More...
3 Fitness Trends You Haven’t Tried

3 Fitness Trends You Haven’t Tried

We’ve all heard of the crazy exercises people are trying - from animal yoga to orange theory. But if one of your New Year's resolutions is to get fit and find some sort of exercise you’ll enjoy then maybe you will love one of these… More...
How to Celebrate Valentine’s Day Without a Valentine

How to Celebrate Valentine’s Day Without a Valentine

It’s been hitting you in the face since the 1st of February, from the red and pink hues occupying every storefront window, to the heart-shaped boxes of chocolate taking over your local supermarket, there is simply no escaping the mushy romantic vibes of Valentine’s Day. More...
Take your research to the next level

Take your research to the next level

Starting with this issue, and running all through 2018, the Academy learning experience will help you learn more about the records, resources and research skills you need to become the best genealogist you can be. We have case studies for you to pit your wits against, documents for you to decipher, old handwriting for you to tackle, and more… More...
5 Free Ways to Celebrate Valentine's Day

5 Free Ways to Celebrate Valentine's Day

It’s the one, and the only day of the year that is devoted to a crazy, little thing called love. Where all you need are three words, eight letters and twenty-four hours to steal the heart of the one you most desire. More...
Great British Cake Decorator Winner 2017

Great British Cake Decorator Winner 2017

We talk fondant and fairytales with the 2017 winner of our Great British Cake Decorator competition, Nicola Gerrans of Nicola Gerrans Cake Design More...
Vouchers Gift Cards A magazine subscription is the perfect gift but you'll need something to show on the big day. View All
Ways to Pay Pocketmags Payment Types
At Pocketmags you get Secure Billing Great Offers HTML Reader Gifting options Loyalty Points