Question 1) The clocks have now gone forward, but what will this mean for my fishing?
A) Leading fisheries scientist and consultant Simon Scott says: “Not very much in terms of the fish, because they don’t have a clock! This change, I think, has more of an impact on how anglers approach their fishing.
Plainly, the extra hour means more daylight and we all know that the last knockings of a session is the best time to fish. However, too many people assume that more daylight means that the water will be warm, but that’s not true. It will still be on the cold side, so even though we may go out of the house in the morning, feel the warm sun and think ‘we’re going to catch well today’, this is rarely the case. Go steady with feeding and also work out where the fish are in the swim, as they will still be seeking out the warmest layers in the water.
However, the longer daylight hours will act as a trigger for the fish to move about more. They will be feeding for longer and thinking about spawning, and that’s why you’ll see fish topping and moving about more, compared to a month ago. This all adds up to the best chance of catching that we’ve had for many weeks, but don’t go in too gung-ho. Remember, warm days mean cold nights at this time of year. We’re not out of the woods yet!”
Question 2) Whereabouts on a canal should I be looking to catch skimmers?
There are two areas where you can expect to find skimmers. The first is the deep water down the middle of the canal, but don’t go right down the centre, as this is where boats pass over, causing disruption. Instead, plumb up to find the edge of the channel closest to the far bank. This is typically called the bottom of the shelf and is where natural food will gather. The second spot is on top of the far bank shelf, ideally close to any cover from trees or bushes. Try to find a minimum of 2ft of water here and a nice flat bottom.
Question 3) What PVA bag contents should I use at this time of year?
The appetite of most coarse fish begins to pick up around now, so you can begin to use slightly bigger PVA bags to get more feed into the swim. In terms of what to include, an assortment of different-sized pellets is a good starting point, combined with crushed boilies and some dry fishmeal groundbait. To this ‘base mix’ you can add hemp or corn but make sure these are dried off with kitchen towel to remove the moisture or they’ll melt the PVA too early.
Adding a squirt of liquid can also add a bit of ‘pep’ to bags, but make sure it’s an oil-based one to stop the bag breaking down.