5 Tips for spring margin fishing

Right now a refined attack is needed down the edge to pick off those big wary match-winning fish!

by Angling Times |

Barbel in close

Barbel are a popular fish in commercials, but they feed very differently to carp in the margins. You can catch them much closer to you, often with four or five sections of pole, and they love an undercut bank, which is why you can catch them as close to the bank as you can get. To see if your margin is undercut, before the start of a match, roll up your sleeve and feel under the bank.

The ‘second shelf’

Some lakes actually have two marginal shelves, one close to the bank and a second a little further out, and it’s this second spot that can be a match winner. Use a plummet to find the very edge of the second shelf, which could be 2m or 3m out from the bank. This will offer enough water for fish to feed confidently in, and will allow you to pick them off as they move up from the deepest water further out in the lake. It may be that the fish don’t move all the way into the very shallowest water, but by fishing this ‘second shelf’ you can pick them off late in the day while other anglers will be trying to catch tight into the bank.

Small helpings

Classic summer ‘edge’ fishing revolves around using big pots of bait to keep hungry fish happy, but that’s a good few weeks away yet! For now, you’re better off going down the route of having a little pot on the pole and introducing a small helping of bait each time to try and get one or two fish into the area and taking the bait.

Go for heavy floats

One of the keys to good margin fishing is to make sure that your rig is nailed hard on the bottom and kept as steady as possible.

To do this means using heavy floats and simple shotting patterns. As a rule, never drop below a 4x12 float in the margins – it’s more likely that a 4x14 or even a 4x16 size will be better. This should be combined with a bulk of shot, which sits above a six-inch hooklength. The end result is a rig that won’t be moved about by feeding fish, and will show proper bites easily.

Put your faith in maggots

Although feeding carp will mop up everything that you feed, harder hookbaits like pellets can be sucked in and spat out quickly. A softer offering reduces the chances of this happening, which makes maggots – alive or dead – unbeatable. Fish anything from two to eight on the hook, relative to the size of carp you’re after, but also with an eye to how prolific the fishing is going to be.

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