10 tips to catch bigger specimen fish

The top four anglers in this year's Drennan Cup reveal their best big fish advice

10 tips to catch bigger specimen fish

by Angling Times |

Want to track down a new personal best? There are a few key things you can do to swing the odds in your favour. Here, we reveal 10 gems of advice from the top four in this year’s Drennan Cup competition...

Use fresh bait (Angling Times)

Specimen anglers have always looked to use the best quality, freshest bait. Without doubt, it makes a difference, and will give you an edge over those using older stuff.

Use fresh bait
Use fresh bait

Fish ‘well’ (Simon Daley)

It goes without saying, but you have to fish well when an opportunity arises. There’s no need for complicated rigs – keep it simple, be confident in your approach, and be accurate and focused on everything you do.

  Fish ‘well’
Fish ‘well’

Put in the miles... (Dan Woolcott)

Big fish aren’t found everywhere, and if you want to catch certain species you’ve got to be prepared to travel for them. Long drives aren’t much fun, but if they result in the fish of a lifetime, they’re certainly worth the effort.

Put in the miles
Put in the miles ©Shutterstock

Watch the weather (Matt Fernandez)

Conditions play a huge part. Look for south-westerlies, low pressure, or prime river levels, and do what you can to get out when it’s bang on. Don’t waste your time fishing in awful conditions – try a different species, or save your energy for when it’s right.

Watch the weather
Watch the weather

Be confident (Steve Pitts)

If you’re chasing specimen fish, in my case big eels, you’ll not catch anything for most of the time. On the lake I was fishing last year, I did 82 nights for three fish. My advice is to have the upmost confidence in your approach, so when that bite comes you make the most of it.

Be confident
Be confident

Prepare swims (Angling Times)

Introducing a few free offerings can swing the odds massively in your favour. Some swims also need a bit of work – for example, on weedy lakes, raking a spot well before you start to fish it can not only get the fish going, but also make bait presentation much easier.

Prepare swims
Prepare swims

Track them down (Dan Woolcott)

You need to find the fish. At this time of year on stillwaters, get up in the dark, make yourself a cup of tea, and watch the water for signs. Binoculars are useful.

Track them down
Track them down

Do your homework (Matt Fernandez)

Don’t fish for ghosts. It’s essential that the water you’re targeting actually holds the fish you’re after. Ask around, read the angling reports, get the right tickets and give yourself a chance.

Do your homework
Do your homework

Don’t go undergunned (Steve Pitts)

There’s no point hooking one of these once-in-a-lifetime fish and not being able to get it in, so use the strongest gear you can get away with.

Don’t go undergunned
Don’t go undergunned

Keep going! (Simon Daley)

Be prepared to put in the hours for a big fish. They rarely come easily, but keep going and be sure to make the most of every single opportunity.

Keep going!
Keep going!
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