Long pole short-lining on still waters

This method can work so well for roach, skimmers and bream that it may become addictive, warns Tri-Cast Barnsley match star Alan Scotthorne.

When roach, skimmers and bream are the target on still waters, drains and slow rivers, long pole/short-lining can be unbeatable, simply because it allows such good bait presentation.

Poles apart

Ideally you need two poles: one very light, the other as stiff as possible. Light When fishing with a light rig (0.15-0.75g) in fairly shallow water (up to say 1.5m/5ft) at distances up to 12m (39ft), a very light pole is best as it allows you to manoeuvre the rig more delicately. Stiff With heavier rigs in deeper water at distances up to 14m (46ft) you need the stiffest pole you can get because it takes a much smarter strike to set the hook.

Flick-tip or elastic?

You rarely see British anglers using flick-tips for long pole/short line work – but for roach to 8oz (230g) and skimmers to 2lb (0.9kg) a flick-tip is much more positive than elastic for hooking the fish and landing them quickly.

The only drawback with flick-tips is that they don’t cope very well with bigger fish on fine line and small hooks. Where roach over 8oz (230g) and bream of more than 2lb (0.9kg) predominate, or where such bonus fish are a strong possibility, you’re better off using elastic.

Get the elastic right

Many anglers use far too much elastic inside their poles. Years ago, before the advent of internal elastic, you used a crook at the end of your pole, with 15-30cm (6-12in) of elastic attached to it. This handled fish with no problems, so why go over the top with yards of internal elastic that hinders hooking, stretches all over the place and makes landing fish difficult?

You rarely need more than 45cm (18in) of elastic. Tighten it up by about 8cm (3in) so that it doesn’t hang loose out of the end of your pole after you catch your first sizeable fish.

It’s no good using light elastic with a 2g float in 3.5m (12ft) of water – it won’t set the hook properly. Equally, it’s no good using heavy elastic when fishing lm (3ft) deep with a 0.25g float – you just bump fish after fish.

As a guide, when fishing shallow – in, say, the top lm (3ft) of water – with light floats up to 0.5g or so, use Zim No.3 (’Moyen’) elastic or its equivalent.

With floats from 0.75-1.25g in swims up to about 3.5m (12ft) deep, Zim No.4 (’Gros’) or its equivalent is adequate.

When stepping up float size for deeper water with a strong tow, use Zim No.6 (‘Iyes Fort’) or its equivalent.

Match the size of the float to the conditions . Say your swimis2.5-3m(8-10ft) deep and you want to fish the full depth. A lg float is adequate when there is only a slight surface ripple but in windy conditions you should step up to as much as 2g to combat swell and undertow.

Down the line

Shotting for the two basic types of rig

Olivette and Styl – should be kept simple. Olivette rigs Two dropper shot below the

From pole to float

Never fish too tight to your float. The more line you can get away with the better. Fish have good eyesight and can see your pole in shallow water if it is too close overhead. Also, the longer the line, the fewer sections of pole you need to unship and so the faster your catch rate. Try not to have less than lm (3ft) of line from pole tip to float, going up to 2m (6Hft) or even 3m (10ft) if conditions allow.

Floats for the job

The right shape of float for the conditions is essential for good bait presentation. A float that is too slim rides out of the water, but one with too round a body rides with the waves. (Two good basic shapes are shown in Olivette are plenty, giving you the option of catching fish on the drop in the last 60cm (2ft) or so of water or presenting a steady bait on the bottom. In good conditions use no. 10s as droppers but step these up to no.8s or no.6s when there’s a strong bottom tow. Styl rigs Number 7 Styls spaced 15cm (6in) apart do the job well. Towards the hook, use no. 7 Styls cut in half to give the hookbait a slower fall.

Hooks for the job

Hooks can be argued about forever. Certainly, when using maggots with the long pole and elastic you lose fewer fish with round bend hooks than crystal bend ones. Perhaps this is because a maggot hangs farther below the point on a round bend hook, allowing deeper penetration.

Playing fish on the pole

Elastic tends to kill the fight of a fish quicker than rod and line so use this to your advantage. Steer the fish away from the shoal, keeping the pole tip low to the surface and pushing the pole back at the same time, then unship the pole to the required length to swing the fish in or net it. Don’t raise the pole and bring the fish to the surface until the fish is in netting range. If you get the fish to the surface too early and far out it thrashes about and the hook can bounce out of its mouth.