Know your stuff | When to use a closed-face reel and how not to spook F1's!

Question 1) In what situation should i use a closed-face reel?

A) Closed-faced reels are designed for fishing wagglers and stick floats on rivers. Line needs to be fed off the spool as the float trundles down the peg and the closed face enables you to do this smoothly because there’s no bail arm or roller to get in the way. 

Bites can be struck by simply knocking the reel handle to engage the locking pin underneath the spool cover, which stops more line being given. With practice this can be done single handedly.

Question 2) I really struggle to hair-rig bait bands. My knots are either really messy or the bands come off when I pull the knots tight. 

A) If you get it right, a knotless knot is unbeatable when it comes to hair-rigging. A good tip for when tying a knotless knot is to always whip away from the eye closure to make sure there is no chance of it damaging the line. Also, remember that the line should always exit the eye point side of the hook and not out of the top. This creates a better hooking angle, particularly when fishing a feeder. 

Question 3) Is there an easy way to clean worms before chopping them?

A) The quickest way to do this is to drop the worms, soil and all, into a fine meshed landing net head and then give it a swish around in the margins. Be careful you don’t let any worms escape though! This will remove all of the soil but leave the large pieces of bark and peat which will need to be picked out by hand. Alternatively, if you’ve got the time you can let the worms work their way through a bait riddle.

In some situations it’s worth leaving the soil with the worms, however, and chopping them so the soil creates a cloud in the water. This works especially well when fishing up in the water on the pole, in the shallow water around islands or to the far bank of snake lakes.

Question 4) What’s the best sort of waggler to use when casting to the far bank of a canal?

A) When fishing the pole with these baits you tend to strike or lift to set the hook, pulling it through the bait.

On the tip, anglers rely on carp hooking themselves, and a hair rig is better in this situation as it leaves the whole hook free and increases the chances that once the bait is sucked in the fish will get pricked, bolt off and set the hook home. If the bait is hooked normally, the carp may be able to suck it in, feel the hook and eject it again all in one motion.

With the hair, however, by the time a fish realises that something is wrong it’s too late and the fish won’t be able to get 

Question 5) How can I stop F1s spooking off a pole over their heads when fishing shallow for them?

A) F1's are notoriously nervous when feeding shallow. Changing to a light waggler cast to the same spot as your pole rig can pick off a few extra fish, but eventually you’ll suffer the same problem as they will recognise the float as danger.

When the fish are being spooky, you can still fish the pole, but you’ll need to make a few rig adjustments. First off, lengthen the line between the pole tip and float to as much as 4m and no less than 2m. You will now be able to swing the rig out into the swim a long way past the pole tip, normally to the spot where the fish have backed off to.

If it’s windy this extra line can cause problems so you’ll need to use a heavier pole float. A float of at least 0.5g, perhaps even heavier depending on the strength of the wind, will be needed to give you the weight required to swing the bait past the pole.

Another tip that a lot of top anglers use is to paint the top kit of their pole white. This greatly reduces any silhouette against the sky and is less likely to spook fish.