BOAT FISHING SKILLS EXPLAINED

The best way of fishing a good swim situated in the main stream of a wide river is by boat. Although such swims can be reached by long-casting a leger rig, the natural presentation of float-fished tackle often brings more success. Presented this way the hookbait travels down with the current along with other matter, and the fish do not have to seek it. But lake it in a natural manner as it approaches.

Many good roach swims are out of reach of the bank angler using float tackle. A boat enables him to get close to those swims and fish accurately and comfortably.

For fishing purposes, a boat should carry two anchors capable of holding the craft in a position across the stream in flowing water. The boat should be taken upstream and allowed to drill back down to the selected swim without creating disturbance with engine or oars. When the correct spot is reached – no closer than is necessary for accurate casting – the anchors are lowered gently into the water to hold it across the current. For the sake of quietness use nylon rope rather than chain for the anchors.

Boat anglers must make every attempt to remain as quiet as possible.

The continuous shuffling of feet, the clatter of fishing accessories on the bottom of the boat, unnecessary splashing of keepnets. Or indeed any unusual noises, even loud talking, can scare all the fish right away from the swim. Stealth is essential.

Long-trotting from a boat is pleasant, fairly easy and comfortable. A 10ft (3m) rod coupled with a centrepin reel is ideal. Make a start by going well upstream before fishing. Then if the fish are elusive, raise the anchors just enough to allow the boat to drift quietly down with the current to the next swim. By this means, there will be no creaking of rowlocks, splashing of oars, throb of a noisy outboard motor, or any undue disturbance which may spoil the angler’s chances. With the boat anchored across the stream where there is a good How, the groundbait can be dropped over the side to trickle down the swim with the hookbait.

Boat fishing is also a fine and successful way to fish a large lake. Where there are islands present there will be many swims that bank anglers could never fish, either because of the distance or because of hazards which could ensnare the line or tackle.

SPINNING

Spinning is a mobite fishing style which can be employed at any time. Particularly for pike, perch, zander. And occasionally chub. The lures used come in a tremendous variety of shapes, colours and sizes. Some lures wobble, while others just spin as they are drawn through the water, but they are all known as spinners.

Spinning rods are usually shorter than those used in float or leger fishing: a two-piece rod of 8ft (2.5m) is about average. Most casting reels can be used, but the most popular are the fixed-spool types. Line strength depends, as usual, on the species being sought, and should always be the lightest possible.

When making up tackle for spinning it is essential to incorporate at least one swivel, plus an anti-kink lead or a celluloid vane. The threat of line twist is very real, even with a non-spinning lure such as a plug.

There is little advantage in standing at the water’s edge making one haphazard cast alter another. All you will do is create such a disturbance that any fish there will move off. Spinning is a roving affair, and the angler should move along the bank searching all the likely spois for hungry predators. The edges of weed beds, undercuts, the piles that once supported old landing stages, weirs – these are the spinfishcr’s domain. Try the slack water, the mouths of drains, tributary streams and sluggish backwaters. Pike, for example, like to lie in reed beds and lily patches, where they remain motionless waiting to launch QUT in a fierce lunge upon some unsuspecting victim. As your spinner wobbles past, dealing just the kind of vibrations in the water that a small, hurrying fish would make, the pike’s highly-developed sense organs detect the signals and it bursts out of hiding to locale the prey with its binocular vision, home in and lake it.

Accuracy is needed when spinning in likely pike haunts. It is easy to cast 100 far and snag the treble or double hooks in lough lily stems or even overhanging branches. The speed of retrieve must also be accurate, for it will control the depth at which the lure will travel. Vary the rate to sample different depths.

Perch are susceptible to a moving bait and a day’s pleasant spinning for them should bring good results. Perch usually gather together and move about in shoals. Sometimes a shoal of small perch will carry one or two quite large fish on the outside of the group. So a spinner cast there might tempt one of these. They will be picking off tasty little perch themselves, for these aggressive, predatory fish are notorious cannibals.

Big chub feed on minnows and small fish of all species, and a well-spun lure could prove a deadly bait for these powerful members of the carp family. The streamy runs in weirpools. Millpools and similar places should be explored with a spinner or small plug.

When spinning and searching a river it pays to work in a downstream direction. The lure should be cast across the stream, and as it strikes the water a yard or two of line can be pulled off. Allowing the lure to sink through the water. As the current takes it away beneath the surface. Work it back trying all the while to make it move erratically, like a fish swimming against the How. The more movement, the more interesting it will prove to a predator, wailing in the shadows for its next meal.

TROLLING

The biggest pike are found in the deep water in the middle of large lakes, bin it is difficult to catch them by normal spinning methods which can only be used effectively round the edges and along the fringes of weedbeds. However, huge areas of deep water can be covered by trolling a lure such as a spinner or plug from a boat.

Most trolling is done by two anglers in one boat. This provides a measure of safety, and if it is a rowing boat one angler can fish while the other rows. This allows the one fishing to make full use of his rod and reel to put life and movement into the lure. A single angler has to row while his rod is propped up at the stern, and the lure is merely trailed in a lifeless fashion.

The ideal tackle for trolling is a 10ft (3m t rod lilted with an appropriate centrepin reel. Moving the rod from parallel with the water to high in the air will induce the lure to alter course. While paying out more line will enable it to work deeper. Different lures have different actions, and if trolling is to bring really good results a number of designs may have to be tried.

STRIKING

When a fish takes the hooked bait. Signalling the bite by the movement of the line or the float, the angler reacts by striking. This is the moment when he pulls the barb of the hook into the jaws of the fish. Whether float fishing or legering, the strike is much the same. In both cases timing is vital, and comes with practice. Only experience will teach the angler when to strike. And when not to strike.

II there is slack line between the rod tip and the float or leger. The strike will merely take up the slack line: the disturbance will probably lead to the fish dropping the bait and fleeing. Il is essential to lake up any slack line before settling down to wait for a bite.

Trap lhe line before striking by holding it against the rod bull with the forefinger, or by pressing a linger on the reel spool. This will ensure that the hook can do ils work. If the line is not trapped, a strike will simply pull more line off the reel and the fish will not be properly hooked, if at all.

A small boat is useful for fishing deep water using float tackle, or when trolling a lure.

The beginner usually strikes too viciously, often breaking the line at its weakest point. The strike must be made in a controlled manner, firmly but gently. If the line still breaks the spool may have to be changed for one-holding line of a greater breaking strain.

Once a fish has been successfully hooked the rod must be kept held up with the tip in the air. This allows the spring in the rod to absorb the struggles of the fish. Never allow the line to become slack, for if the barb is not sel home properly the hook may slip free and you will lose the fish. Always be prepared for the fish to find some extra strength for a final burst of activity, especially when it sees the bank. Draw it steadily towards the submerged landing net.

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