General Coarse


 

 

 CARP CAKE


Carp cake is an excellent floating surface bait to try on heavily fished waters or when resident fish become wary of the standard floating type of baits.The extra effort required to enhance basic boilie 

mix into cake is well worth the effort and very successful too.

Below are a few recipes that I have used in the past.

Made from standard boilie base mix with added enhancements 'Carp Cake' is an excellent bait.The secret to a good cake is to use twice as many eggs [ high protein ] and double up on the quantities of flavourings too.If the base mix requires5 eggs for bottom baits then it is a mix of 10 eggs for a floating bait.Resulting in a 'wet' ie: runny mix which needs to be whisked vigorously to get plenty of air into the eggs.Pour the mixture into a foil lined oven dish and cook in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the top is golden yellow.To check when it is ready-simply push a cocktail stick into the cake if it pulls out cleanly without any cake residue evident,it is cooked.Allow to cool-the resulting cake should be sponge like in texture.Cut into cubes and freeze.

RECIPES

Additional additives added to chosen base mix...

4oz Casein....Milk Whey product

2oz Lactalbumin....Albumin found in milk.

2oz Wheat Germ

1oz Soya Flour

1oz Wheat Gluten

2 teaspoon baking powder

There a lot of shops selling the above ingredients on the web.


10oz Hi-Nu-Val  [ Milk extract mix from Nutrabaits ]

25mls Mellow Brandy[ Nutrabaits]

2 teaspoon baking powder

Dye if desired 

12 eggs


10oz Nutrabaits 50/50 mix

15mls Saffron Elite [ Nutrabaits ]

2 teaspoons baking powder

Half a teaspoon of yellow dye

Can be used without the use of dyes or colourants  the natural yellowness of the eggs in the cake works just as well.Nutrabaits Hi-Nu-Val produces a good tough rubbery crust.


For instant floating baits:


8oz Sodium Caseinate

1oz Wheatgerm

1oz Wheat Gluten

plus 1 teaspoon Liver Extract

or 

you can use 1 teaspoon of Nutrabaits Fruit or Creamy Super Sweet


Without base mix.


1.5 kg of strong bread flour

1 Tablespoon of dried yeast

1 Table spoon of salt

Splash of honey

500ml of slightly warmed liquid from a tin/jar of sweetcorn or hempseed. 

Use the liquid only do not introduce offerings of corn or hemp to the mix


****  It is advisable to use a plastic tablespoon measure, and not actually a normal tablespoon for the yeast and salt-contact with metal will taint the mixture ****


HOW TO


Add a little warm water to the yeast mix to a creamy consistency and leave to one side.

Pour salt and flour into a larger mixing bowl,make a hollow in the centre of the dry mix then add the warmed liquids and a dash of honey.

Stir mix from the outside in to the centre with a wooden spoon.

Mix until the elastic consistency of bread dough is achieved.

Turn dough onto a floured surface knead and stretch the dough for at least five minutes ,longer is better.

Place dough in clean dry bowl and cover with a tea towel.

Put to rest in a warm place,and leave for two hours to rise.

Uncover and puncture the skin on the dough to release air and turn out onto a lightly floured surface.

Gently knead for a few minutes.

Divide into two portions and place on baking trays.

Cover with a tea towel and allow to rise for a further 30 minutes.

Bake 180 degrees for 30 – 40 minutes

When ready the loaf will sound hollow when tapped and have a golden brown crust.

Cube and freeze or leave intact to tear into flakes bankside.


HOW TO USE


Rather than scooping out the centre of the loaf to use leave the crust on intact,side hook the bait for free lining.

The hook is exposed  allowing for ease of striking and hooking on the take.

This mix does not work to well when hair rigged so best fished on the top as designed.

 

HISTORY
Carp were first introduced in Britain as far back as the  13th century by monks who bred and reared them for the table.

Of asian origin there are three main species namely ... Common.Mirror and Leather.All species in their origin were fully scaled.Semi domesticated stocks of carp were bred with fewer scales in order to aid preparation for the table ' the birth  ' of mirror and leather carp that we know today.

Carp have always been a valuable natural resource throughout the world.Their tolerance to temperature and oxygen levels has accounted for their widespread distribution.Some English anglers refer to their beloved carp as ' English sparrow of the fishes ' defining how common it is to find carp in so many different water types and  so widespread.

Happy at 1 degree to over 30 degrees celsius 14 to 24 is probably best described as their comfort zone.Idealy suited to many international waters and climates.For short periods carp have the ability to survive in water with low dissolved levels,however subjected to extended periods of low oxygen will stunt growth and eventually mortalities are inevitable.

Found in waterways throughout Europe,Germany,Hungary,Croatia,Poland,Slovakia,the Czech Republic,America,Australia and Great Britain.Brits,Americans and Australians rarely sample the delicate flavour of carp and simply fish for carp to take advantage of their sporting qualities,strength and weight.

Carp take pride and place on many tables in many counries and eaten as tradition dictates on Christmas Eve.Many ruined and existing monasteries still bear the hallmarks of carp ' Stew ponds ' where the fish were hand fed up to table weight and netted as required.

In days long past fish were plentiful and the monks extremely inventive in their methods of trapping and extracting fish from rivers.Monks being wise retained the swim bladders from their carp,dried them and when crushed to a powder and a little water added the resulting yellow pigment was used to decorate their manuscripts.

Another use of the same powder when added to a mug of water and drank was considered to be a cure for bedwetting in the young and elderly.

Netting from a boat was common practice for salmon and trout.

Static traps called ' coops ' were built with the sole intention of trapping salmon on their journey upstream.One such 'coop' I know of must have been labour intensive and extremely tme consuming in it's building.

So what is a ' coop ' ?


One or more compartments,boxes as it were .. divided by stone walls built parallel to the bank.

Open at the front [ upstream ] but able to take sluices [ gates ] made of wooden slats which act as a barrier to prevent fish swimming any further upstream but allowing free flowing water to pass through.

Two opposing walls run a third of the way into the coop from the rear and built into the main stuctural walls to the left and right.

Thus creating two individual compartments one to the left the other to the right handside.

Simplicity and ingenuity !

Running salmon and big sea trout when confronted with the sluice gate - unable to run any further upstream.Simply drop to the left or right handside of the coop and into either of the individual compartments.

There they will happily stay until netted out with a large landing net....

Armed with the knowledge that salmon and sea trout will not turn back downstream at this time of year the monks used  Mother Nature to full advantage.

I witnessed many big ' Springers ' taken in these simplistic traps and was indeed privelidged to see them working as they did in their original days.

Needless to say special expensive licencing was required to operate these traps .. the one I ocassionaly helped with was one of the last of it's kind in Britain.


 

 ELVERS

One of my tasks as keeper was to construct elver traps and take advantage of these tiny 'glass eels' as they entered the river system.

In days long past a channel had been dug from the sea pool to a point upstream where channel and river pool merged together.This relatively easy tract was easy for the elvers to negotiate rather than try to run against the main flow of the river and incoming tide.Ideal conditions are few and far between...

Elvers like to run in on the flood tide under a bright moon and  run en-masse during May in our colder climate.Warmer southern counties experience runs of elvers from March to May the river Severn is famous for it's eels.

With darkness coinciding with the flood tide glass eels [ un-pigmented ]  stream into the river system.The first signs of the run are seen under the moonlight as the pale light reflects off the eels only a few at first but steadily increasing in volume until a solid band 2 ½ feet wide winds its way upstream within the confines of the channel.This stream of eels is virtually endless as thousands upon thousands traverse the semi submerged bankside rocks.

Waterfalls do not hinder progress as the eels simply crawl their way up the rock face weaving in and out of damp weed.Under water or dry it matters not-the run advances !

A truly incredible sight to witness.

In order to capture a quantity of eels it was necessary to place the traps at strategic points,a process of trial and error and re-construction of the traps.What I eventually came up with was rather rough and ready but worked.

A simple wooden box affair with a ramp and wings attached to confine the eels on the ramp and direct them into the trap.At the height of the run it was literally impossible to keep up with the traps as they filled up so quickly.Transported in buckets up to the holding tanks the eels were kept alive and taken from the premises to market live.

Prices were around the equivalent £2.50 a kilo -live when I first started trapping,today a kilo of fresh run elver can fetch up to £200.00.In the region of 1600 glass eels make a kilo.

A lot of today's live catch is transported to Japan and into Europe to be grown on into mature eels prior to being harvested.

Considered a delicacy elvers can be flavoured,floured and fried as whitebait or mixed with bacon and egg in a sort of omelette .

Simply delicious !

 

 BOBBING FOR EELS.

' In days past '

' Bobbing ' or ' Babbing ' for eels is a very simple and effective method for catching eels with or without a fishing rod and without the use of any hooks.

' THE RIG '

Take a worm and using a baiting needle thread it onto a long length of worsted or fine wool...bootmakers / cobblers thread is idea for this and has a lot of strength to it.

Continue threading worms onto the wool  until a full line between about 4-6 feet or longer is produced.

Double lengths of the worm string over and over upon itself until you have a ball of worms.Secure to keep from falling apart.

METHOD

Build a fire or shine a bright light over the water to attract the eels to the bait.The best nights for ' bobbing are those that threaten gentle rain with a slight breeze to ruffle the water surface.

Swing the ' bob ' laden with worms out into the water using a stout tapered birch pole.As the eels bite into the worms their backward slanting teeth become entangled in the wool / thread fibres running through the body cavity of the worm and are thus well and truly ' hung up '.An eel on the ' bob ' generally takes a nibble then bites and finally takes hold.Connecting with eels is often immediate and others are drawn quickly to the light.

Many eels are captured in short sessions using this method.The eels are simply shaken off the ' bob ' into a suitable recepticle.' Bootlaces ' to strapping great eels into pounds weight can easily be lured in this manner.


 

 ' BAG EM UP '

Love 'em or hate 'em eels are difficult to avoid when bait fishing and there are very few rivers and waterways that don't support a head of resident eels even the most polluted water houses eels which have and can survive in raw sewage.

They do however perform an extremely important ecological role in the chain of life,cleaning up the dead,the dying,and the decaying flesh from diseased fishes and other creatures that inhabit our river systems.Aiding the effectiveness of of natural welfare within the eco-system by their efforts alone to maintain disease free enviroments.

' TO CATCH QUANTITIES OF EELS COUNTRYMAN STYLE  '

Catching eels in great quantities is easy,bountiful stress free and cost effective.Other than employing the use of traditional fyke nets the simplest method used by generations of countrymen is as follows.

Take a length of willow and form into a circle [ wide enough to keep the mouth of a sack fully open ].

Splice the two ends together .

Now fold the top edge of a hessian sack over the willow hoop and stitch / bind into place.

With the mouth of the sack now fully extended and secured to the willow hoop Tie in a length of thin stout rope to either side of the hoop,bring together and secure to the main line.

Place a weight in the bottom of the sack such as a heavy rock.

Place a rotting  fish,fish heads or piece or decaying meat into the bottom of the sack .

Fill sack with compacted straw.

Either lower into the water from a boat and attach a marker buoy or swing out into the water alongside weed beds and other deep dark holes where you would expect to find eels.Initially leave in situ overnight – at least twenty four hours.Thus allowing ample time for eels to be drawn en-masse into the area attracted by the ' smell ' of decaying flesh and the opportunity of a free meal.From then on the trap can be checked on a regular basis and the bait replenished.

Draw the sack in to find an abundance of eels not only entangled in the loose hessian fibres on the exterior of the sack [ easy to shake loose ] but also nestled in the straw content of the inner sacking.

Fyke nets

Traditional baited fyke nets and variations of such have been used for catching eels and other fish species for decades.Constructed with a series of funneled net 'chambers,the furthermost laden with bait.Eels simply simply work their way in and through the chambers to reach the decaying flesh bait.

This style of net is best fished in deeper waters from a boat although it can be staked out in shallow water.The ' net wings ' attached to either side of the main trap directs eels into the opening of the first chamber.


 

 MAGGOTS


Of all the natural baits we as fishermen use on a daily basis in general maggots must rank as the number 1 bait,there are very few species that would deny themselves a feast of fresh maggots.

Bred from the common Blue Bottle maggots are naturally creamy white in colour,to enhance their colour as an added attractant to other species we dye the larvae to suit the quarry …

For example ..  Red is best for ...Perch,Bream and Tench.

                        Bronze for … Roach and Chub

                        White  .. good general bait for all species especially in clear waters.

Such is the pulling power of the humble maggot,the above noted popular colour scheme is but a general reference guide,all colours will take all other fish species too.

Storing maggots … kept cool in the fridge - fine damp Sawdust is recommended  the advantage of this over Maize is two fold 

First …  it keeps them nice and moist.

Second … it prevents them from shrinking 

Maize on the other hand has the advantages of preventing the maggots sweating  but this in turn produces a much softer bait,however these softer baits tend to be more active....

Loose fed maggots can and do bury and dig themselves into the mud and silt deposits on the river bed.

'A treatment of ' Sticky Mag ' allows the angler to form a ball of maggots which can be hand thrown or catapulted into the fishing zone without breaking up on direct contact with the water.

Once the maggot ball hits bottom it ' erupts ' distributing a bed of  bait.This is particularly effective if for instance when block end and other feeder types are not a viable proposition for the water,perhaps feed is trickling too slow from the feeder to hold fish's interest .

With the Stick Mag method there is a guaranteed bed of bait in your preffered fishing zone.

Dead maggots have their place to …thrown as loose feed or mixed into groundbait. A good winter tactic for roach.

                                                                         PINKIES

Bred from Green Bottle flies pinkies are slightly smaller than blue bottle maggots and much more livelier.Again dyed different colours,many are dyed in flourescent colours Red and Pink probably being the most popular.

Ideal for cold water,stillwaters and canals.Pinkies make a great loosefeed and as a bait for smaller roach and ' Skimmers '

SQUATTS

Bred from the common house fly and the smallest maggots their value to the angler is relegated to groundbait mixes and loose feed.

They can however be effective in catching small siver fish species off the bottom.

Most anglers that use Squatts restrict their use to canal situations and are favoured by many match anglers in their arsenal of baits.

Some shop bought maggots tend to be greasy or oily … these maggots when used as lloosefeed or in a groundbait mix tend to float out of the swim ! 

To combat this …

Dust the maggots with Tumeric Spice tumeric degreases the maggots and leaves a hint of yellow stain on their skin they will however sink as readily as their counterparts.


                       

 

 ' BREAD CRUST '

A good hearty thick crust bloomer loaf of bread is a much forgotten bait these days with so many products available in the market place today.The choice of modern flavoured baits is extremely tempting to the avid angler.Quality winter chub cannot resist bread in it's many forms,fished either as crust,flake or paste flavoured with cheese or fruit.Stale loafs 3 or 4 days old are much preferable to fresh.Durability of stale bread far out weighs a newly baked,their crusts toughen up but yet retain a high degree of elasticity and bait sized crusts have to be torn from the loaf.

Surprisingly crust casts well and floats for a considerable time even when waterlogged.It can be flavoured but in general bread in it's natural form fishes best.A size 6 hook,crust bait just can't be equalled as a true floating bait in the summer months.

Carp love floating crust and it is a great attractor more so when attacked by multitudes of fry picking at the soft underside the fine crumbs clouding the water around the bait.Carp and chub take bread baits with confidence although a hook can be buried in the soft crust without fear of masking the point on the strike time must be given for the fish to turn down before lifting the rod to the shoulder.Timing helps to locate the hook into a secure position as the fish turns thus a greater chance of hooking up.

The classic way to fish bread crust is by baiting up a link ledger  with a crust and fishing it as a static bait on the bottom.Split shot nipped onto the hook length anywhere from 4-6 inches allows the semi buoyant crust to lift just of the bottom and waft around in the current.Teasing and enticing a strike.

The fluffy inner loaf as if were can be used as flake by simply pinching a piece between the size of a ten and a two pence coin from the middle of the loaf.Size ten and eight hooks can be concealed nestled within the flake which is simply nipped onto the hook shank.Probably ten to fifteen minutes underwater and the bread will come adrift from the hook.Bear in mind when using bread that it swells to at least twice it's normal capacity when sodden and extremely fragile.Sliced breads that have a doughy consistency are ideal for this method and the cheapest loaves held in reserve for loose feeding.

Slightly coloured water with a reasonable flow demands bread crust long trotted through the swims carrying number 6 or 8 hooks and enough split shot to balance a float such as a 'chubber' or loafer floats.Small handfuls of bread soaked down into a mash should be fed regularly,this in effect will build the swim as the drifting crumbs slowly disintegrate into a particle bait attracting and holding fish.Some will follow the bread trail and take the bigger offering right under the rod tip,others will hold their position in the pool but nearly all takes are confident.

Depth is a matter of trial and error but not particularly crucial as chub wil and do rise to the crust or flake fished overhead.

Bread punch the favourite of many a match angler searching for big roach,bream and chub.A selection of punches from 2mm upward are used to 'stamp out' perfectly shaped rounds or pellets of bread and matched to relevant hook sizes.

Bread slices are ideal taken from cheap doughy loaves - fresh bread is best in this instance. microwaved for twenty seconds then stored in a sealed plastic bag prior bag prior fishing.When it is time to bait up the sliced bread will be damp to the touch and of a doughy consistency.

Punch can be either fished under a float or ledgered effectively.

Mash - sloppy bread groundbait.

Stale bread soaked in water then broken up by hand or mashed with the fingers is ideal for feeding or preparing a swim prior to long trotting when it is essential to  have a continual influx of smaller bait crumbs to draw the fish into and onto the larger hook bait.

For feeding a swim that is to be fished by ledger simply take a small handful of mashed bread and squeeze out the excess water,feed up the area to be fished with small handfuls of this sticky mix at regular intervals.The beauty of this is two fold the balls of dough sink quite fast whilst disintegrating at the same time leeching off a trail of crumb.

Liquidised bread comes into it's own when feeder fishing,bread  slices minus crusts are simply introduced to an electric blender and reduced to a fine crumb mix.Which can then be forced into a cage feeder for fishing the shallower slower reaches and glides.Thus allowing the bread to swell and spill out around the hook bait.

Closed end feeders filled with Liquidised bread are more at home and fish better in the deeper or faster water.

Versatiliy is the game in play !

Crust,mash,paste and crumb [liuidised] versions can all be flavoured with sour or sweet additives...Garlic,curry powder,banana and aniseed to name but a few.

The list of additives is only as long as your imagination !


 

 KNOW YOUR FLOATS

[ POPULAR FLOATS AND HOW TO FISH THEM ]

PLUMBING THE DEPTH

It is of great importance when fishing the float to know exactly what depth the bait will be fishing at otherwise fishing over depth or to high in the water layers will result in lost fish that simply do get the opportunity to sample the bait on offer.

The other downside is that various species feed and habituate varying water depths.

Plumbing the depth is a simple affair.plummets come in a variety of shapes and sizes but all perform the same function,some clipover the hook others have a cork base into which the hook is inserted and secured.

Initially estimate the depth as best you can setting the float and plummet to that distance.

Gently cast the float rig complete with plummet out into the chosen swim.

Once the plummet hits bottom only the tip of the float should be visible,several attempts at sliding the float further up the main line may be necessary until the correct depth is finally maintained.

Having the correct depth now measured it is simply a matter of adjusting float type and depth in accordance to the quarry species.

' TELL TALE SHOT '

The lowermost shot on the float rig is known as 'The Tell Tale Shot ' the size and weight of this shot  and it's relevant distance from the hook length can only be determined by fishing the swim through several times.

It may not in fact be necessary to use a tell tale shot close to the hook length,but in general once the right shotting pattern is determined and implemented it has an obvious effect on hook ups and catch rate.

BALSA CHUBBER

Chubbers are designed for use in rivers more so in heavy or rising waters carrying bulky baits such as luncheon meat,bread,lobworms and ideal for wasp grub.

With the line threaded through the top and bottom float rubbers this float allows for holding the float back over fish or likely holding areas in effect the art of 'Stret Pegging ' .When the float is held back on a tight line the bait rises in the water level,releasing the pressure on the line allows the bait to be drawn deeper in a natural fashion thus inducing interest and strikes at the bait.

Chub,Barbel,bigger roach and dace are all successfully taken by this method.

Shotted according to conditions and water current.

CANAL BALSA

Fishing canals with floats the angler tends to experience surface drift which can be quite exagerated at times.

In order to combat such windy conditions and register the shyest of bites the ' Canal Balsa ' comes into play.

The float is a tapered balsa with a fine tip and can be used either with a pole or rod and line.

Normally used for presenting small lightweight baits such as maggot,squatts [ smallest maggots bred from the common housefly ] casters and bloodworm.

Typical shot pattern.

1X No 10 shot nipped onto the line close to the hook length followed by 3X No 4 shot further up the line in close proximity to the single shot.

REED WAGGLER

Made from Sarkandas reeds the reed waggler is also known the straight waggler and comes in a huge variety oof sizes,lengths and diameters covering a multitude of conditions.

The longest thinner floats are ideally suited to lake/loch/shallow or still water fishing with maggots casters and bloodworm.Whilst the thicker bulkier reeds are best fished in fast flowing or turbulent water as they tend to have a more buoyant tip section than their thinner counterparts.

Typical shot pattern.

1X No 10 shot close to the hook length followed by two number 8 shot equally spaced between the single shot and float.

BALSA BODIED WAGGLER

Particularly useful in still waters or river this float is designed for long distance casting.

The lowermost body part of the float is substantially more rotund and far greater in diameter than the main slim line body of the float.

Allowing heavier shot to be used thus increasing casting ability and stability of the float in windy conditions.

Can be used with top and bottom rubbers or simply thread the line through the bottom eye and used a sliding float in deeper waters.

Typical short pattern.

1X No 8 shot close to the hook length followed by a No 6 shot and 3X No 4 shot bulked together further up the line between the hooklength and float.

Shot should be equally spaced and confined to the lower third of the rig.

UNLOADED DART

These are best used in still water,a slimline float complete with a balsa antennae.

Medium distance casting is possible with the dart,the slim tip is easily seen and is a good bite indicator.

Distance is achievable by the bulked up shot pattern.

Typical shot pattern1X No 10 shot close to the hook length followed by 1X No 6 close to the single shot.

The rest of the shot [ number of shot adjusted as water conditions / choice of float ] are simply nipped onto the line directly below the eye of the float thus allowing for some distance to be achieved when casting.

PEACOCK / QUILL FLOATS

Come in a vast range of lengths,sizes and diameters and are fished as Reed Wagglers however  the added advantages of fishing quills are their ability to register shy bites.

In the bulkier length and diameters these floats can be cast medium distances.

Typical shot pattern.

1X No 8 shot close to the hook length followed by equally spaced – 1X No 6 shot and 1X No 4 shot 

The total length of shotting should be confined to the lower third of the line from float to hook length.

Up to two extra shot nipped on the line directly below the float eye allows for distance casting and float stability.

ALLOY AND CANE STEM FLOATS


In common with with ' balsa chubbers ' this float is designed to be fished with the float attached to the main line via a top and bottom float rubber.

Best fished in slow to medium river currents fishing lightweight baits such as casters,maggots,squats and bloodworm.

Yet again another float iideally suited to 'Stet Pegging ' trot and hold the float back on a tight line allowing the bait to rise through the water levels and sink when the tension is released from the line.A great way to entice interest and bites from shy fish and ideally suited for covering a particular area of water or known lye.

There are two main functions in relatoion to the design of these floats.

First..the shape of the float and the shoulder of the float prevents it from riding high in the water and 'popping' onto the surface.

Second..the wire / cane stems aid in cocking the float.

Typical shot patters.

1..Fish this pattern in medium depth with a moderate steady current,summertime in particular.

    Shot weight dependant on bulk of float chosen depth and can be used as a guide even if not so

    many are required the pattern is important to present the bait correctly.

    First shot nipped onto the main line 12'' above the hook length..the next at 10'' ..8'' and 6 equally      

    spaced thereafter at a distance of 6''  [ up to five shot ].

    Even with amount of shot the bait will fall naturally down through the water levels against the

    current.

2..Use this pattern in winter,col water,deep or turbulent swims.The bait will fall through the water 

    rapidly.

    First shot 12'' above the hooklength followed by another at 10'' ..3X bulked up shot X2 at 6'' 

    intervals beyond the 10'' shot.

    

 

 GRAYLING


'' THE LADY OF THE STREAM ''


Now that Autumn has faded into winter's icy chill and most fishing has come to another season's end it is time to turn our thoughts to grayling A beautiful streamlined fish with an unmistakeable sail like dorsal fin and silver/blue/pink scales aptly referred to as ''The Lady Of The Stream''.

Grayling are not an indigenous Scottish fish although they are to be found in many tributaries and river Systems.First introduced into the Clyde in 1855 other introductions were to follow to the Rivers Annan,Ayr,Earn,Nith,Tay,Teviot and Tweed.Closely related to trout and salmon grayling are indeed salmonids wrongly classed as coarse fish they were persecuted for many years as it was firmly believed that grayling as a 'coarse fish ' were in direct conflict with salmon and trout stocks.Over the years this has proven not to be the case,after all the only reason grayling were tagged as ' coarse ' originates from the fact that they spawn in early summer and not within the winter's months as do trout and salmon.

HABIT AND DIET

Grayling are a shoal fish that by nature tend be to nomadic roaming the river in search of food items.There are few guarantees that having caught quality fish in one or two particular swims today that they will be in residence tomorrow,unless the quality of food is outstanding and quantifies them ' lingering ' in those swims.

Dietry items consist of Freshwater Snails,Small Crustaceans,Bread Crust,Flies,Midges,Fry of other fish species,Freshwater shrimps,Nymphs,Worms,Caddis Grubs and Maggots to name but a few.Grayling are primarily bottom feeders with underslung mouths that nature designed for picking food items off the river bed or close to it.Smaller grayling in concentrated shoals tend to favour mid water whilst bigger more mature fish tend to favour lying up in small depressions and hollows on the river bed.Flow is minimal at this depth the current slowing down drastically thus creating ideal lyes whereby food items are washed downstream to the waiting grayling which in turn are happy to lye in wait expending as little energy as necessary

Resident grayling are extremely wary so approach the water with care and some degree of stealth.

Traditionally grayling fishing goes hand in hand with late Autumn,but in most anglers mind's eye associated more so with the cold crisp clear winter months

METHOD

How do we go about catching a brace or two of grayling ?

Tradition dictates trotting a float downstream presenting bait at varying depths.Traditional floats are constructed with heavily rounded bodies allowing the float to ride high and thus tip visibility at its utmost.Modern style Crystal Avon Floats are an ideal alternative.An 11 foot float road or such like armed with a fixed spool reel laden with 4lbs mainline will suffice.Use a 2lb bs hook length,this set up should allow for any unseasonal trout to be played and returned without breakages.Hook sizes 16 to 12's Ensure the points are sharp grayling have surprisingly hard mouths and can hit a bait with lightning speed ejecting a bait just as fast too !

Mild days find grayling in the faster shallower runs and riffles,colder temperatures push the fish into deeper slower reaches.

It is often necessary to adjust the fishing depth several times before connecting with a grayling or two but well worth the effort.Often a swim that appears devoid of fish suddenly comes to life simply by altering the depth at which the bait is presented.Disregarding variable depth changes results in lost fish simply by presenting the bait too high or too low in the water.Unlike trout,grayling are not as keen to rise up in the water column to take a mid water bait,although they will take surface flies.

Long Trotting is recognised as the most successful method of catching grayling.As previously mentioned bigger grayling prefer hugging the river bed.Ideally the float in relation to hook length should be set such that the baited hook is literally just ' tripping ' the bottom a dragging effect as it were.Obviously the float will be travelling at the same pace as the surface flow,in order to slow the float down it may become necessary to adjust the shotting pattern.For instance either spread the shot at equal distances or bulk the shot together at the lowest point.possible.A little experimentation is required 

Trotting is simple but effective,by allowing the float to drift downstream over distance this method has the advantage of covering great expanses of water thus covering any fish at the depth the rig is set to.Bear in mind that the more line trotted out,the greater the distance,the greater the chance of a missed strike recovering yards of line when striking.Keep distance downstream distance reasonable and be sure that the float tip is visible at all times.Control the loose bow of line by gently winding in any excess 

Having fished the swim through several times without a take but confident that fish should be present try  'Strett Pegging ' or Holding Back 'Every few yards stop the float in it's tracks holding the float back.This in effect lifts the bait from the bottom and it rises toward the surface this simple but effectve action can be just enough to entice a fish to take.

Ledgering is highly effective when searching out bigger fish holding tight to the bottom in conjunction with a block end feeder filled with maggots.Use a paternoster length of six inches and an 18 inch hook length.which can be effectively increased to 30 inches depending on conditions and useful for shy biting fish.Throw a few maggots in as loose feed every 10 minutes or so to hold the grayling's interest.Squatts if readily available are best as they do not bury into the sand and gravel as ' standard ' maggots do.

Sweet corn is a bait rarely employed in the capture of grayling but works well and always worth a cast or two when fishing is slow.

Do not use as loose feed,only as a single hook bait corn is particularly difficult for grayling to digest and can cause physical injury if ingested in quantity.

Hard fighting all the way to the net grayling tend to belly up when released.Handle with care and allow the fish to fully recover before letting it slip from the hands back into the depths.


A GHILLIESTALE JOHN LINDSAY (c) J LINDSAY

 

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