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                    Assessing a new fishing water 

              
Article written by Ian Boden who is the National Federation of Anglers Senior coach for the West Midlands region, and a qualified level 2 angling coach. Visit Ian's web site for more information: http://www.ianbodenanglingschool.com    Ian offers lessons & group instruction on all aspects of coarse fishing  

                               © This article is copyrighted

As a full time fishing coach and match fisherman, I get questions from time to time about how I would go about fishing a particular venue that I have never fished before. This particular question was sent to me about fishing at Nasby reservoir in Northampton .

I would like to learn how to assess a venue I have never been to before taking into account weather, wind, light conditions etc. Best swims. Which method would you start fishing with? Feeding:  - how much, how often. Above all – how would you adapt and change tactics when not catching. How long to give a particular     technique or bait before changing. Although commercials are what I have access to I don't just want to catch carp so techniques for general still water fishing would be great.

 

 MY REPLY:

I have already looked for information as to where it is, what species of fish are in there and what are the best areas to fish and  what  are the best methods. The information I have so far is for fishing at this time of year (late March early April).

I would expect to fish from the dam wall, which varies in depth from 10 - 20 feet deep at short range. The main species I would expect to catch are roach and bream and if lucky the odd carp which run to 20 lbs plus. (Already I have a picture of the venue in my head and how I am going to start fishing it).

 

Due to the depth, swim feeder tactics will be the starting option, the nature of the venue which holds a large head of carp tells me that during the summer months a lot of pellets are going to be fed for the carp, this tells me that I will need a fish meal based ground bait for the Bream and Roach as this will be a large part of their      normal diet. As for hook baits, I would be looking to fish both worms and casters for my target species. I would also take along some larger hard hook pellets in case the carp start to show an interest, and I always carry maggots when fishing a new venue. My ground bait: I like to mix my ground baits for maximum effect because I would be aiming to catch 2 different species of fish. As stated before , I would be using a bream fishmeal mix and the other a much sweeter dark mix for the roach. A kilo of each would be needed and mixed into 1 big mix before the session starts. Half kilo of Dendrobena worms and 1 - 2 pints of casters will be the bulk of bait needed for this day.  

 

Fishing Tackle needed: 1 swim feeder rod with a light tip (about 1 1/2 ounces) reels with 4 lbs line. Maybe a spare spool with 6 or even 8 lbs line (just in case the carp show up).  A selection of swim feeders including cage feeders, normal open Enders and maybe even method feeders. Starting hook lengths of about 3 lbs to a size 16 hook, this can be changed at anytime depending on the size of fish we are catching or the amount of bites we are getting (if no or few bites are coming then thinner line and/or smaller hooks will be used) if we are catching bream and losing the odd carp then the hook lengths would need to be stronger.

What I would be looking for before I start fishing: firstly I want to know what the bottom of the lake is like and how far out the dam wall finishes. If the bottom is made up of rocks or boulders then fishing with a feeder will be almost impossible unless you can find a patch were these stop. To find this out you would need to cast around a few times with just a ledger attached to your line and retrieve it slowly. If the rod jerks as you’re bringing it in then you have found rocks if it comes in smooth then you have found silt of a smooth bottom. You can determine how far you need to cast by the nature of what is happening to you tip whilst performing this.

 

So now we know what type of fish we would be aiming for and through carefully casting around we have found an area where we want to fish (depending on how accurate you can cast is what we do next), on every reel you have a line clip which you simply guide your line under and this will hit the right length every time, then its just the direction that you need to concentrate on. If you expect the odd bigger fish this can not be done as every time you hook a bigger fish you will have your line broken when the fish runs off. In this situation I use a wide elastic band and quite simply find the range I want to cast then slip the band over the spool trapping the line underneath it, then mark your line with a black marker pen so after you have landed the fish you can cast out and put the band back over your line in the same place.  

 

First of all , cast to our chosen spot: For the first few casts in to such deep water I would use a plastic open ended swim feeder as these hold the bait in the feeder better through the depths needed. I would block 1 end with ground bait and put a sample of chopped worm and casters in the middle then block the other end with more ground bait and put a small piece of worm and a single caster on the hook. We know its 20 feet deep so this has to be accommodated in the cast because if you hit the clip with the rod facing the water your feeder will sink in an arc releasing your ground bait in to a larger area. So once your feeder is travelling through the air bring the rod back over your head before you hit the clip. This will give your feeder more of a straight drop through the water. Place your rod on the rest and wait for a bite or some type of movement on your tip to indicate that there are fish in the area.  

 

Leave out for about 5 minutes if no indications have shown on the tip. Bring it in re load and cast to the same spot again. After a few casts you will be building a bed of bait in the same area so you can leave you feeder out a while longer. The key to feeder fishing is the accuracy of your casting and finding the right sort of bottom for fish to settle on.  


I hope I have given you an insight to what information I need and how I go about gathering it. How I would expect to fish a reservoir such as Nasby at this time of year. Hopefully you can try to put into action what I have listed here as I think these tactics will work once we have had a couple of frosts.

 

 

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