Take a look at sixteen of the best pole fishing tips for the summer months. We've aksed match fishing legend Steve Ringer to give his top tips for fishing the pole in the heat. Take a look at the tips below and see what you can apply to your fishing below.
SET UP A LIGHTER ELASTIC
Over the last few years I have become a massive fan of using puller kits for pole fishing. They enable me to use light elastics, which prevent fish being bumped but still enable me to land all sizes of fish.
This is important when it gets really hot, as you’ll find that some species can ‘shut up shop’ – this is why fishing for a variety of species can pay off.
If I’m fishing a venue where there are lots of decent skimmer bream but also carp from 7lb-10lb I will fish White Hydro set soft. That way I can land the big skimmers, but should a carp come along, I have a great chance of landing it using the puller kit.
USE LIGHTER RIGS
Just because it’s summer, many anglers fall into the easy trap of tying up really heavy rigs, thinking it’s all about bagging big weights on heavy gear.
I have long been of the belief that light floats will catch you more fish, and I will think nothing of using a 4x10 float in depths ranging from 3ft to 6ft.
A light float enables the hookbait to behave in a very natural manner and that, I’m convinced, leads to more bites. I have always felt that carp spend a lot of their time off the bottom but will follow a bait down to the lakebed before taking it.
WORK YOUR RIG
To me there are few things worse than just sitting there watching a motionless float and not doing anything about it.
In my head I always like to believe there are fish present, and I just have to find a way of making them have it.
One of the best ways of doing this is by lifting and dropping the float. This has the effect of causing the hookbait to rise and fall in the water, a movement that fish at times find irresistible.
When I say ‘lift and drop’ I don’t mean lifting the whole rig out and lowering it back in again. Instead I’ll lift the float between 4ins and 8ins, depending on the depth of water, and then slowly lower it back in again. Bites tend to come as soon as the float settles.
TIE SHORTER HOOKLENGTHS
For pole fishing I like to use 4ins and 6ins hooklengths. The shorter ones are for shallow water swims or fishing up in the water, and the 6ins versions for bottom work in water deeper than 3ft.
When fishing shallow, to my mind a 6ins hooklength takes up too much of the rig itself and stops me putting shot near the hook without putting it on the hooklength, something I’m reluctant to do.
However, in deeper water a 6ins hooklength allows the hookbait a lot more movement, something that I always feel leads to more bites.
TARGET THE FEATURES
Carp, F1s and barbel all love to shoal up around features.
The best ones right now are aerators which, when used regularly, will scour a deeper area in the lakebed beneath them. Barbel sit in these holes.
Always start by fishing just off features. That way you can catch a few fish straight away before it slows, then move closer to the aerator to catch a few more!
CREATE A CLOUD
When fishing in shallow water across to an island I’ll try to put a cloud in the water to
draw more fish into the swim and hold those already there.
To make a cloud, my favourite way is to feed sloppy micros made from over-wetted 2mm coarse pellets.
I then fish corn, meat or an expander pellet on the hook into the cloud.
MAKE THINGS HAPPEN
When pole fishing I try to make it happen rather than wait for it to do so.
If I’m not getting any bites or indications I’ll ping a few hard 4mm or 6mm pellets over the top of the float. Any fish in the area will then either hear the noise of the pellets hitting the water and home in on them, or spot the pellets falling through the water and follow them down.
KEEP MEAT FRESH
Meat cubes can quickly dry out and begin to float. So I’ll put my cubes into a bait strainer, fill a three-pint bait box with water, and lower the strainer into the water for about a minute.
I then remove the strainer and tip the meat into another box, where it remains wet but not soaked. If it starts to dry out just give it another dunk in the water.
MEAT & GROUNDBAIT
Meat doesn’t have much pulling power, so I like to feed it in conjunction with a strong fishmeal groundbait.
The groundbait pulls fish into the swim and once there they find a decent meal in the form of the meat.
This works well in shallow water or over to far bank features for carp and F1s. I like to overwet the groundbait before adding it to the meat in the pot. This makes it heavier, so when it’s fed it isn’t easily wafted off the bottom by feeding fish.
MAKE RED MEAT
Red meat cubes are a hookbait that feeding carp home in on, and are deadly when fished over a bed of hemp and corn in coloured water.
I cut a tin of meat into 6mm cubes and add a tiny amount of Ringers Red Shellfish liquid, which colours and adds a bit of flavour to the meat.
You can fish red meat on the pole anywhere, but to me it’s at its best when fished short on the flat area below the near slope.
FEED HEAVY CLOSE IN
Every now and then I need a ‘get out of jail’ card. Rather than use the margins for this, though, I prefer to fish short on a top kit straight in front of me.
I mix hemp, corn and meat and simply lash it in to create the impression of someone packing up and throwing their bait in. I normally kick the swim off with three big handfuls of bait and go straight in over the top.
The response is often immediate. If not, keep lashing the bait in to try to make something happen.
TRY A JIGGA RIG
This is a brilliant set-up for summer fishing for carp and F1s up in the water with casters and meat. Basically it’s a dibber-style float with a hollow centre that enables your line to run straight through the middle, and a short, weighted stem that makes the float settle straight away.
You bulk-shot the rig as normal, but the float is able to run freely up and down the line, checked only by a couple of float stops above and below it.
When a fish sucks in the hookbait it hooks itself against the pole tip, with no resistance from the Jigga.There really is no need to even watch the float!
Fishing for a big weight of silvers on a natural water requires a very positive approach on the bait front, so for a five-hour session I take three pints of casters, half of red maggots for the hook, three kilos of groundbait and half-a-kilo of worms. On top of that I would also look to take a tin of hemp and a tin of corn, just to bulk out the groundbait.
To kick the swim off I will introduce four big balls of groundbait containing loads of finely-chopped worms, casters and a few grains of corn and hemp.
My initial idea is to try to keep the fish on the deck, as this makes them a lot easier to catch.
The best way of doing this is by feeding groundbait at the start via a big pot and then throwing in small, 50p-sized balls containing chopped worms and casters throughout the session.
I like to chop the worms really fine so they release loads of scent into the water without filling the fish up. It’s this scent that I believe plays a big part in pulling fish into the swim.
USE A LONG LINE FOR WARY CARP
A little trick for shallow fishing is to set up a long line rig which I can flick past my feed. I use this to pick off any wary fish that are sitting at the back of my feed.
I find that after a few fish have been caught, the rest can quickly become cagey and back away from your swim.
To stay in touch, all you need is a relatively short float that takes plenty of weight – say, a 4x14 – and will use up to 5ft of line between pole float and tip. This enables me to cover a much bigger area than would be the case with a standard short line rig.
BANDED CASTER FOR F1S
Putting a caster inside a pellet band is a great way to catch F1s in summer.
Set up this way the bait is tougher than you think, and often I can catch five or six fish without a change of hookbait.
A hair-rigged caster leaves the whole hook free, and with nothing to mask the point your bite-to-fish ratio is much higher.
A longer-than-normal hair and a caster on the band also avoids hooking any small nuisance silver fish among the F1s.
GO BIGGER WITH PELLETS
Most anglers think 8mm pellets are way too big for pole work. In reality, though, we happily fish them for the same carp on the pellet waggler or bomb and pellet.
Of course, if the carp are happy eating big pellets out in the lake then it follows that they are likely to take them just as willingly on the pole line.
They’re particularly effective when fished short.