Some Odd-Ball Methods And Other Match Winning TacticsTHERE ARE ALWAYS going to be methods that have 'the edge' when it comes to match fishing; that is the name of the game. The angler with the best edge will generally win as 'the edge' is something that has no relation to whether or not the best angler in the club or the worst angler in the club is using it, and it does not generally need any amount of special skill to be utilized. It's all about venue knowledge and fish feeding habits.
Get yourself an 'edge' says Lee Swords
I fished a venue a few years ago that had a foul bottom (no relation to Gary Knowles), it simply means that so much pellet and groundbait had been introduced the bottom was putrid and the fish were loath to feed in it. A pellet fished on the deck would be ignored yet one fished an inch or two off the bottom was taken every time resulting in a procession of F1 carp to around 2lb. With this small 'edge' a match winning lead could be amassed in a very short time before anyone could work out what they were doing wrong.
Bait for the paste feeder
Not all venues are as simple as that one, on some venues 'the edge' may be something as obscure as not feeding anything, on others it may be that you need to feed a lot. I know of one venue where a friend of mine won lots of money by cupping in water, all the other competitors, seeing that he was bagging up and noticing that he cupped in after every fish, filled their swims in with masses of pellet. He got through a handful of corn as hookbait and nothing else. To make the ruse even more believable he even prepared pellet feed before the match and in full view of everyone else. As soon as a competitor fed their swim their chances of winning were over.
Pellet and paste on the feeder
So why do commercial fisheries have 'edges'? it's my belief that the stocking density of these fisheries are a two edged sword (there's that edge word again). The fish have to feed and they have to be aggressive and competitive but they also learn by association very quickly, that's why edges change and tactics evolve.
Fixed open-end feeder
So what 'edge' tactics do I use? Not many really, but I do have a couple that are easy to use and have won me a fair bit of cash on the club match scene.
Pellet and Paste ....On the Feeder!
Nothing new with that combination at all, except that I sometimes fish it in conjunction with a swimfeeder, thereby allowing me to fish this all time great commercial combination at a different distance to most. This is its 'edge' as the fish do not associate any danger with paste fished at anything over 14 meters. They simply do not see it often enough to learn by association.
I really enjoy paste fishing as it allows the angler to use slightly bigger hooks and when a fish takes the bait, they take it with gusto and the rod slams round without any tippety-tappety rubbish.
Dave Hargate on his way to his fourth win on the trot
The paste can be made to behave with subtle differences depending on what you use as the key for it to grip onto, whether it's a float stop, rubber bead, poly ball or cork ball. This can also be a very rule bending method for fisheries that have banned the 'Method feeder' but not banned specific hooklengths. I use this method with a clear conscience on such venues as taking the rules of the venue to the very furthest point before they shatter is also an 'edge' that if you are going to be a consistent winner you will have to exploit.
Lee with another 'commercial' carp
When it comes to fishery rules don't call me cynical....Call me adventurous!
The Floating Pole Aka 'The Muppet'
What a horrible method this is, it is so boring....Ship, feed, hook, play, land, ship, feed, hook, play, land....On and on and on all day, it is so bloody boring and on its day unstoppable and unbeatable.
Fish tight areas with the floating pole
This is the method which in my opinion has landed more carp/chub/Ide by weight and number than any other method over the last few years. I have even caught tench and skimmer bream on this method.
It is simplicity itself and works on a bolt-rigging principle. The pole lays on the surface of the water with a few inches of line with a baited hook coming off the end. The angler fires a steady stream of bait at the end of the pole and the fish, having to compete for food, rise in the water and lose all inhibitions as the go into a feeding frenzy. The pole swinging left or right with elastic exiting the pole at a rapid rate of knots signals a fish has taken the bait. Ship the pole back along the surface of the water - do not try to lift the pole until you reach the breaking joint, otherwise you will smash the pole into several bits of useless carbon fibre. Once the whole shebang has been shipped back it is simply a matter of easing the fish into the net and repeating the sequence ad nauseum.
The Tampon Rig
Oo-er Vicar! Now that's a strange name for a method that catches a few fish and can if the conditions are right be an absolutely brilliant way of ensuring that it's a red letter day.
The Tampon Rig
Match winning methods move in regular cycles and there are times when a bait fished on the surface will be a sure fire winner. But surface fishing can be frustrating in the extreme, leaving the angler with the temperament of a PMT suffering Pit bull terrier with a splitting migraine.
This rig, however, cuts down on a lot of the drawbacks of commercial fishery surface fishing, ie, fish that have got 'cute' and can remove a piece of bread from the hook with a flick of their tail or dainty nip with their lips. This rig can even be used with the floating pole to deadly effect as the angler can ease the rig into the tightest of cracks in the bankside foliage of some of our canal type venues where fish seldom stray far from the reeds and the rat holes.