F1 HYBRIDS are a real ‘pleasure and pain’ fish in cold weather. On the one hand they provide bites when the carp have shut up shop, but on the other, they can be one of the most difficult species to catch!
I’ve had plenty of days when I knew there were fish in the swim, but just couldn’t catch them despite trying every trick in the book. That’s the key to catching F1s – always changing things and never sticking to the same spot, same rig, and same bait.
F1s are famed for being a fish that are always on the move. Catch a few and you think that you’ve got things cracked, but as quickly as they arrive, they drift away.
The angler that works this out and moves with them will keep on getting bites, which is why location becomes critical above all else. Find the F1s, and you’ll catch them!
Start off dobbing
Once winter arrives, it’s standard practice to start off dobbing for F1s, normally using bread. Dobbing is a great way of finding out where the F1s want to be. If an area dies, I’ll feed a few maggots or micros and get a second run of fish. Don’t just dob tight to features – deep water will be the best area.
Find the right depth
Depth is key with F1s. Nine times out of 10 there’ll be a precise depth that the F1s want to feed at, but this is always changing. On one day it might be 3ft, yet 24 hours later they’re in 5ft of water! If I started at 5ft and had no signs after five minutes, I’d move up to 3ft and repeat the process.
Early in a session it’s rare to catch a number of F1s from the same spot. The secret is to be quick to move. When bites dry up, I’ll move just a metre to the left or right of the original spot. I’m trying to find the fish again, and experience tells me that once I catch a few they won’t have gone far.
Fish the short line
The ‘short’ line with maggots is a good bet for F1s, often feeding by hand. The earlier you can catch on it, the better chance you have of doing well. I fish this line at six pole sections out and trickle maggots in all day, ready to fish it in the last hour. On better pegs, you can catch for two hours.