Question 1. Paste has worked well at my local commercial recently, but is it still effective at this time of year?
Paste traditionally scores best in the hottest months of the year, but if you play with the consistency of it you can still get plenty of bites in autumn. Make sure your paste is stiffer than you are used to. You’ll have to wait longer for bites, and a sloppy paste will fall off the hook in the meantime.
You can also add dampened micro pellets and hemp to your paste so it provides the one mouthful of food that the fish are craving.
Question 2. I have started fishing for big perch on the pole but seem to be losing a lot of fish so what’s going wrong?
One of the most common mistakes anglers make when targeting big perch is to fish too light. A big perch has a very bony mouth, and penetrating that with the hook can be tricky. But by using a fairly heavy elastic and a big hook this can still be achieved, and you can land every fish you hook. Use a Preston Innovations 12 or 14 Dura Hollo elastic and a medium-wire size 12 hook and your fortunes will soon be transformed.
Question 3. Experts at my favourite fishery catch lots of carp on the waggler close to an island but don’t feed a thing – how does this work?
Right now fish will start to shoal up and you need to place the bait in front of them rather than drawn them in.
Cast a loaded waggler with no shot close to the island and allow the hookbait 20-30 seconds to sink. If you get no response, quickly twitch the bait and if the float still doesn’t move, recast. Make sure you feed absolutely nothing or you’ll reduce your chances of your hookbait being taken.
The idea is to put the hookbait directly in front of the mouth of a carp, and if you are on a large shoal, this won’t take long at all.
Question 4. What are the differences between braid, mono and fluorocarbon lines, and when would I use each one?
The three lines you mention are all very different and will achieve specific aims. Mono is widely used for mainline and hooklinks on feeder, pole, float and big-fish rigs. Fluorocarbon is a new generation of line that tends only to be used as a hooklink, while braid, looking and feeling almost like cotton, is popular with feeder anglers after bream, or as carp anglers’ hooklengths.
See below for more detailed descriptions of each one...
Question 5. When should I begin to fish casters for river roach?
It often takes a while for the fish to turn on to casters. You’ll need to feed them for a while before slipping one on the hook – this change can result in fewer bites but better quality fish when they come.
A general rule of thumb would be to start on maggots or pinkies but loosefeed casters. Once you are catching regularly, put a caster on the hook and judge the response – if you catch, carry on bagging, if not, change back to maggots, keep feeding and try again half an hour later.