QUESTION OF THE WEEK – UPSTREAM LEGERING

Chris Chandler, Chris_chandler2@hotmail.com wins a bulk spool of Shimano Catana mono for:

Although not the river season at the moment I know of a spot on the river Teme which has a large overhanging tree on the far side, which holds many fish (some large). However, this is unfishable from the spot above the tree but could be fished from the swim below which brings me to my question.

What is the best way to upstream leger to the back of a large overhanging tree and keep the bait in position?

FM COLUMNIST AND ALL-ROUNDER DAVE COOPER ANSWERS

Knowing the Teme quite well I can imagine what a tricky situation this is. It’s a brave man that tries to cast close to an upstream bush on a jungle river like the Teme! Without knowing the actual swim and your circumstances, there are probably three scenarios I would think might help.

The first is to technically answer your question. This is on the assumption that you can only fish daylight hours and therefore need to actually try and tempt the fish out from the tree. There are other methods I would employ from dusk onwards, but more of that in a minute.

The trick to upstream ledgering is to judge how much weight is going to hold bottom, which may be up to a couple of ounces or more depending on the strength of the flow. You ideally need just enough weight to hold bottom and put a slight bend in the quiver tip. Take a deep breath and cast as close as you can to the feature, either beside or behind it.

Assuming your terminal tackle has landed in the water and is not dangling from the branches, immediately let out a few extra yards of line to allow the line to bow, with the rod tip held as high as possible. This prevents the lead being dragged downstream by the flow as the angle of line from the lead goes more or less straight downstream, not across as would happen with a tight line. The high rod tip ensures the minimum amount of line is being pulled by the current. Hopefully your lead and bait remain in position and a maybe a barbel will then condescend to leave the sanctuary of the bush and take your bait. Despite the extra line out the bite will register very positively, usually as a sharp drop-back as the fish dislodges the lead.

My preferred way of tackling this situation though would be to bait the nearest available upstream swim and wait until dusk. On the Teme barbel will normally leave the sanctuary of overhanging bushes to feed as the light fails, so if you are allowed to fish into darkness and there is a suitable swim above your tree, this is what I would do.

Bait the nearest fishable area upstream of where you know the barbel are holding up using a good few pints of hemp, corn, pellets, mashed meat, etc, about two hours before dark. The smell trail will waft downstream to where the barbel are and draw them to you when they emerge to feed. Get a hookbait in amongst the free offerings and wait for the tip to bang over.

If getting an upstream area baited is also not an option, then you can employ the same tactic as close as you can downstream of the tree that you can cast to safely after dark. Even though the smell trail isn’t there to guide the barbel directly from under the bush, chances are they will find the baited area anyway when they emerge.

RUNNER-UP QUESTION – TENCH AND CARP IN DEEP WATER

Phil Hatton, phil.h2@eidosnet.co.uk, wins a spool of Shimano Exage mono for:

I’ve just started fishing an old sand pit of about 4 acres in size and fairly sheltered from the wind. My problem is that it’s very deep. At the rod end you get 8 – 10 feet and it shelves off quite rapidly to around 30. There are no bars or plateaux as you would get in a gravel pit and being a flooded sand quarry the bottom is smooth and uniform. The only features you can fish to are bankside trees and bushes and as yet I have noticed very little marginal weed growth. What I would really like to know is do tench and carp feed in water as deep as 30 feet or am I best off sticking to the margins.

FM EDITOR GRAHAM ANSWERS

I know a sand pit just like it which I used to fish for carp some years ago. And yes, the fish did feed in depths up to 30ft or so.

But perhaps not surprisingly they cruised around the surface a lot, probably enjoying the warmer water found there in the summer months, although they weren’t at all interested in surface baits.

So what we used to do to catch them was use very oily baits that, when thrown in, left a smell trail all the way down from the surface to the bottom. A favourite bait was meatballs because of the oily gravy. When we saw a carp approaching we would cast a fresh meatball at a spot where we thought the carp would pass over, and very often the carp would hit the oil slick at the surface and then follow the flavour down to the bottom where it would snaffle the meatball.

None of which means you should ignore the margins, just that you shouldn’t ignore that very deep water either.

SECOND RUNNER-UP QUESTION – FEEDER FISHING FOR BREAM

Dave, angler123@ntlworld.com, wins a spool of Shimano Exage mono for:

What is the best way to go about feeder fishing for bream, at a range of about 60 yards in shallow water? The lake in question is only 2 to 3 feet deep and the island the bream patrol around is about 60 yards out. the depth is the same all over the lake give or take a couple of inches in places.

‘RIVER CARP’ BOOK AUTHOR AND TOP SPECIALIST ANGLER NEIL WAYTE ANSWERS:

Most of my bream fishing is for specimen size bream but the same rules apply. Firstly, accurate casting to the same baited spot is essential. To do this cast to the spot you want and then place the line in the clip on the spool of the reel this will make sure the feeder drops at the right range every time. To make sure you cast in the right direction pick a tree or bush on the island and cast at this every time. If, however, the water contains some carp then it’s not wise to fish clipped up. So mark your line with electrical insulation tape or power gum. You can then clip up before you cast and then remove the line from the clip once the feeder has been cast out again. The marker on your line will allow you to find the right spot to clip up again if you hook a carp.

If the waters as shallow, as you say, then it may not be wise to fire balls of groundbait out because of the disturbance, so 10 quick casts with the feeder to lay a small bed of groundbait could be a better option.

One thing I learnt from the matchmen was that when hooking bream in shallow water it pays to keep the tip low to the water when playing fish. This helps to stop them from splashing on the surface and disturbing the rest of the shoal. Also try to play the fish away from the baited area quickly to avoid spooking the rest of the shoal.

AND MORE ANSWERS FROM NEIL ABOUT THE METHOD

Lee lawrence, ROACHPOLE@bigpond.com asks:

The method, how is it applied, when, and what knots and equipment are necessary to apply the technique properly? I am an ex-pat moving back to the UK from Australia and have lost touch with some of the techniques of coarse fishing. Please answer soon as am arriving 1st June and am heading for the Norfolk, Suffolk area and am eagerly looking forward to getting my fishing gear down from my mum’s loft, my loves are bream and match fishing.

And Jim Barnes, jobarnes@30northcote.freeserve.co.uk. asks:

Just a quick question regarding mixes for fishing the method. I’ve only just started fishing this way, but by time I’ve bought manufactured mixes and a few additives it’s working out quite expensive. A mate of mine said flaked maize works okay (I think he’s winding me up) but what do you think and if so how do you mix it and what with to attract mainly carp.

Neil says: The method was developed by match anglers for use on the carp pools but has now been used for many different species. There are many method feeders on the market now but please stay clear of the ones using elastic in their setup. It also requires the use of stronger lines because of the weight of a baited feeder. There are also method feeder rods on the market but a light carp rod will do. I use a buzzer and a bobbin when using the method because I’m often fishing at night but neither are really necessary for normal daytime fishing. The rod can be fished quivertip style and set at an angle to the lake or river. Bites are usually very positive and you won’t miss many.

Method Mix
A cheap way of making a method mix is to buy a bag of Vitalin dog food. You can use this straight from the bag or you can grind it down in a food blender. Put some Vitalin in a groundbait bowl and mix water to it. Don’t add too much water at any one time because Vitalin will soak up quite large amounts of water. When you have a stiff mix leave it for 10 minutes because it will stiffen up quite a bit.

You can add any flavour or oil you like to Vitalin before you add the water. Take a look at the new flavoured CSL liquid from Van de Eynde it will give you a flavoured mix. You can add large amounts of hemp, corn or maggots to the mix and it will still bind round your feeder. Another good dodge is to grind up some trout pellets and then add them to the Vitalin before you add water. This will give you a pellets-flavoured method mix.

WALLIS CASTING A LEGER

Ken, ken_barbel@lineone.net asks:

Please can you help!! I wish to learn how to Wallis cast using a leger setup with about