‘Get out there and bag up’ is the message from experts this week, who are predicting that fish will go hard on the feed as temperatures start rising.
Just a couple of degrees are expected to kickstart the appetite of stocks in lakes and rivers across the country, fish which have been locked away under snow and ice since well before Christmas.
Some of the hardest hit venues have been commercial fisheries, many of which have not seen a single morsel of bait introduced for over a month. Former world champ Tommy Pickering believes anglers targeting these waters now have a great chance of getting a bend back in their rods.
“It has been a tough time of late for all of us, but the thaw has started to kick in now and you literally only need the water temperature to rise by one degree for the fish to switch back on.
“I would look for the widest pegs with plenty of open water and if I had to choose three baits to get me a bite it would be maggots, pellets and corn,” said Tommy.
Legendary match ace and former England international Denis White is confident the fish in his local rivers will soon start responding to number of tactics.
He said: “In my experience, fish will search for the deepest water, meaning the areas above and below weirpools are a good bet. Maggots and casters will produce small fish, while link legering with simple breadflake will work for bigger fish like chub. My advice would be to scale down terminal tackle a little and hold back on the loosefeed to begin with.”
Even species such as perch and pike that usually feed freely throughout the winter months have gone missing recently, but big fish ace Martin Bowler believes predatory fish will be among the first to adapt to the improving conditions: “Pike will go on a feeding frenzy, so as soon as you can get a bait in the water use a simple deadbait set-up or wander around with a bag of lures because you can cover more ground and search out the fish.
“Another good tip is to head for the upper reaches of rivers because these areas will flush through contaminants such as salt much quicker than the lower reaches,” added Martin.
Experts in fish behaviour also agree that sport is now set to hot up. Sparsholt College lecturer Mark Burdass told Angling Times: “If we see a slight increase in water temperatures, then fish will definitely start looking for a good feed to replenish expended energy stores. When you find fish they may well be shoaled up tight and disinclined to move far. Under such circumstances, anglers will have a great opportunity to put together some really big catches.”