15 FISHING TIPS FOR BIGGER RIVER CATCHES

15 FISHING TIPS FOR BIGGER RIVER CATCHES

by Angling Times |

With the river season well underway we have put together a list with the help of top river angler Dave Harrell, of the top 15 fishing tips to try this coming weekend.

If you’ve not ventured out on to running water yet, do yourself a favour and do so this weekend, you won’t be disappointed, I promise you.

GET ON A PELLET FEEDER FOR BARBEL

'The best thing that ever happened for the pleasure angler' is how i'd describe the use of pellets fished through a swim feeder. Hair-rig an 8mm halibut pellet and put 4mm offerings through a swimfeeder. Hair-rig an 8mm halibut pellet and put 4mm offerings through a blackened feeder, and if there's a barbel in the vicinity it will soon show interest.

FEED SEEDS FOR ROACH

One of my favourite summer approaches for roach is the use of hemp and tares. It's a really cheap way of fishing as you don't need much of either. Just feed six to 10 grains of hemp and the odd tare, then present a single tare just off the bottom with a lightly shotted pole rig, and you'll soon be putting redefines in the net.

TRY FAST SHALLOW WATER!

Too many anglers walk past fast-flowing shallow swims where there arnt many fish at this time of year.As long as you can find 3ft of water or more, there’s a good chance that the swim will hold chub and barbel, so don’t ignore swims just because they are fast.

USE CARP PELLETS FOR CHUB

USE CARP PELLETS FOR CHUB

In the same way that halibut pellets are good for catching barbel, fishmeal pellets make a great feed and hookbait for chub. On rivers where there are a lot of chub present, feed with 6mm pellets and use a banded 8mm pellets on the hook. On more difficult waters, feed 4mm pellets and use a banded 6mm pellet on the hook. You don’t need to feed loads – a pint or two will normally be ample.

BREAK OUT THE LONG POLE

Long poles have made fishing for silver fish much easier than it ever used to be on some of our slower-moving rivers. Try using light strung-out rigs and, as a rough guide, use 0.10g for every foot of water. A swim that is 4ft deep should therefore be tackled with a 0.40g float. Use No8 shot in the main, with a No9 or a No10 as your bottom shot, positioned around 6ins to 10ins above the hook.

DON'T FISH TOO LIGHT

If big fish are your target, it can sometimes pay to go for them with pole gear but make sure everything is strong enough to cope with fish such as barbel. For me, that means 0.20mm to 0.23mm rig lines and hooklengths just a little bit thinner than that. Feed the swim either with groundbait via a pole cup or with a bait dropper.

TRY A FLOAT FOR BARBEL

Floatfishing for barbel is so exciting, and if you’ve never done it, I would urge you to do so this summer. Keep things simple and use 6lb-8lb mainlines, Truncheon Wagglers or Balsa Missiles and strong hooks from size 14 to 10. A bunch of maggots fished over loosefeed of casters and hemp will soon get fish feeding if they’re in your swim. Try to find swims from 4ft-6ft deep, either running up to or away from fords, and there’s a good chance barbel will be present.

DIG OUT A CRUMB FEEDER

While they don’t fight as hard as barbel, I love catching big bream with a groundbait feeder approach. It’s possible to put together some huge weights when there is colour in the water. Use casters and chopped worms through the feeder with worms on the hook. A 3ft tail that is lighter than your mainline is essential in case of snags.

CATCH PERCH ON WORMS

Most of the rivers now hold very good stocks of perch, and they're a great fish of target with both running line and pole gear. If the flow is slight, feed the swim by hand but if there is any pace, a bait dropper works better. Feed a combination of casters, hemp and chopped worm with worms on the hook.

EXPERIMENT WITH TALL LENGTHS

This is an area of river feeder fishing where I think a lot of anglers miss out on getting better catches by not changing anything. While 2ft 6ins-3ft is often a very good starting point, try shorter tails if you’re missing bites and go much longer, up to 5ft or 6ft, if you’re not getting any bites at all.

SHALLOW UP FOR CHUB

A lot of anglers miss out on good chub catches in deep water by setting the rig too deep and not feeing frequently enough. I've had some really big catches fishing just 3ft to 4ft in 12ft of water but the only way you can make is work is by feeding every few seconds with a catapult.Keep busy and if there are chub in the area, you will soon find out!

MASTER THE BOLD

I won the first-ever match in this country on Bolo gear, 25 years ago on the Severn with a 24lb catch of roach. Back then we all thought you had to use a long telescopic rod, but while these still play a big part, there are days when you can use very light Bolo rigs in conjunction with 13ft and 14ft rods for good catches. This is a fantastic way to present your hookbait if the conditions are favourable.

BALL IT IN FOR SILVERS!

A big groundbait bombardment at the start of a session when there are a lot of roach or skimmers present can often be the best approach. Try putting in six to 10 balls to begin with and then fish over it with a bulk-shotted pole rig. My favourite mix for this is a 50/50 blend of Pro Natural and Pro Natural Extra, with a little soil added for weight.

TRY HOLLOW ELASTICS

TRY HOLLOW ELASTICS

It took me a while to get into hollow elastics for river fishing but I’m totally sold on them now, especially in situations where bigger fish play a part in winning catches. I use Daiwa Hydrolastic in black, grey and white for big fish and yellow, pink and blue for the smaller ones.

LAY A TRAP FOR TENCH

Not all our rivers hold tench, but on those that do, it’s worth laying a trap of groundbait, casters and chopped worm at the bottom of ledges and then leaving it alone for an hour or two before trying it. Doing this I’ve landed some really big specimens from the Warwickshire Avon.

EXPERIMENT WITH TALL LENGTHS

EXPERIMENT WITH TALL LENGTHS

This is an area of river feeder fishing where I think a lot of anglers miss out on getting better catches by not changing anything. While 2ft 6ins-3ft is often a very good starting point, try shorter tails if you’re missing bites and go much longer, up to 5ft or 6ft, if you’re not getting any bites at all.

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