The Bolognese fishing method

floats used for Bolognese style fishing

setting up a telescopic rod

Just some of the floats used for Bolognese style fishing. They range from 2-18g. A round body is best for holding against the flow.

When setting up a telescopic rod, ensure all the rings line up, and each joint is securely pulled together. Rings that are out of line hamper line flow.

If you don’t want to use groundbait for feeding at range, try one of the new maggot binders instead. These enable you to form a virtually pure ball of maggots which can then be catapulted long distances. The hooklength can spin badly in very deep swims. Prevent this by using a small swivel between the hooklength and main line. Often this serves as a dropper weight too.

holding a Bolognese rod

You need a little extra support when holding a Bolognese rod. to do this, Steve places his left hand under the rod just in front of the reel (top, left). Another method used by the Italians, is to jam the end of the rod into your

An angler lands a dace from the Thames An angler lands a dace from the Thames. He reckons the Italians could reach the trees on the far side. When fishing at range a thick bristle or piece of peacock quill helps you spot bites.clip_image011 The rings are large to allow the line to pass through freely.Store a telescopic rod with the reel on, the line threaded and the rig kept on a winder. This way you can be fishing in a matter of minutes! long rod and heavy fixed rig

How do you reach the fish in a deep, wide river where legering is banned and a sliding float doesn’t get the bait down fast enough? Use a long rod and heavy fixed rig! Many Italian rivers — such as the Arno and Mincio near Bologna – are over 6m (20ft) deep. Anglers often pack in tightly creating bankside disturbance, so casts of 40m (44yd) are needed to reach the fish.

Casting a fixed float in this depth, using a rod of the usual length, is impossible. But by using telescopic rods of 5m (16ft) or more, coupled with pole floats taking as much as 18g, the Italian anglers were able to reach their fish. What’s more, they found that the extra long rods afforded them control over their tackle which they never had before. A new style of fishing was born – the Bolognese method.

What’s in it for us?

The method is not only effective on Italian rivers, though. Any deepish, steadily flowing river such as the Thames, Severn, Bristol Avon, Warwickshire Avon, Trent or Yorkshire Ouse is potential Bolognese fodder. But why use it in the first place? Perfect control Given the right conditions – namely an upstream wind – the extra length of a Bolognese rod enables you to hold the line right off the water. You can then do a number of things, such as holding the float back, inching it slowly through the swim or allowing it to go through at the speed of the current.

Deep water The extra length of the rod also means that anglers can fish a fixed float in swims they cannot reach with a pole and whose depth would otherwise force them to revert to the slider or leger. With a bit of practice, you can tackle swims up to 6m (20ft) deep quite comfortably. Long casting The extra leverage, combined with fairly heavy rigs, means that long range casting is possible. (Skilled Italian anglers such as Milo Columbo can fish at 50m (55yd) or more. Although this would put your tackle in the opposite field on most stretches of British rivers, it gives you some idea of what can be achieved.)

For example, you can fish those far bank slacks where you would normally have to use a feeder. The extra length means that you can hold the line off the water and prevent the flow from pulling the float out of position. This often means you connect with more bites than you would on the feeder — especially from fast-biting roach and dace, which can be murder with a legered bait.

Big fish You can expect pole-quality presentation under the right conditions, bu1 the Bolognese method has an advantage over pole fishing. A reel gives you a muct better chance of landing big fish.

Tackling up

A Bolognese outfit comprizes the special ized rod, fixed-spool reel and an Olivette rig The rod True Bolognese rods are telescopic with a ring at the end of each section anc pehaps a couple of sliding rings near the tip This means that there are far fewer rings than on a standard floatfishing rod – nine or ten is typical. So few rings would lead tc problems when trotting with a standard roc — the line jerking through the rings, pulling the float off course – but with the Bolognese method the rig is heavy enough to pull line off the reel.

Take-apart versions with more rings are coming on to the market, designed more with English fishing in mind but Bolognese fishing is still in its infancy in Britain. It remains to be seen whether these rods are an improvement. Whatever the rod, mak< sure that it has good quality, lined rings.

Although 7m (23ft) rods might be advan tageous for fishing Italian rivers, they are < bit on the long side for our purposes. An] swim on a British river deeper than 5.5n (18ft) is exceptional. A rod of around 6n (20ft) is a lighter, more manageable too’ and should cover most eventualities, bu check on the rivers you plan to fish.

The rod handle is shorter than on a stan dard rod because the rod is held differently A locking reel seat holds the reel firmly ii position.

The reel Any open or closed-face fixed spool reel that you’d use for trotting is ideal Some people find that, when trotting with closed-face reel in the usual way, the line doesn’t peel off the spool smoothly enough But when fishing a closed-face reel with the Bolognese method, the line is pulled off b] the rig. Furthermore, because a closed-face reel doesn’t have a bail arm, there’s one less thing to worry about.

It’s best to use a slightly heavier main line with this method than you’d normally use for your trotting work. Anything less than 2lb (0.9kg) is too fragile. Line of 21/2lb (1. lkg) is often ideal.

The rigs The idea behind the Bolognese method is to present the bait in a very positive and controlled way. There isn’t a ‘Bolognese rig1 as such but the general pattern is a robust top and bottom, bulk down one — usually with an Olivette.

As a general guide, don’t go lighter than 2g or else the line won’t pull through the rod rings. Use an Olivette heavy enough to be cast comfortably to the feed area, and heavy enough to get the bait down to the fish quickly and keep it there. Obviously your choice should be governed by the depth of your swim and the speed of the current — the deeper the swim and the faster the current, the larger the Olivette.

A bunch of small dropper shots placed roughly halfway between the Olivette and the hook helps to stop the hookbait dancing about and provides more sensitive bite indication. Again, your choice of size and number of shot should depend on the frow.

When to use it

The Bolognese method has its limitations, like any other. It’s no good when tfcte wind is downstream or in your face. Ideally you need an upstream wind. With an upstreamer you can allow the wind to catch the line and slow the float right down. This can be particularly deadly – especially for roach. When conditions are still and there’s barely any wind, it’s virtually impossible to hold back. It helps if the wind is coming from slightly over your shoulder.

Rivers which run east-west and therefore have a prevailing upstream wind (rivers such as the Severn and Warwickshire Avon) are prime targets.

Don’t reserve the method merely for exceptionally deep swims. Anything deeper than 2.4m (8ft) can be tackled effectively.

Using the method

The overall approach is much the same as fishing a large top and bottom Avon-type float such as a Topper-crowquill Avon. Cast the tackle overhead to the feed area – which might be anywhere from a third of the river to right the way across. Because of the heavy Olivette, the float settles almost immediately. Keeping the rod high to hold as much line off the water as you can, run the float through the swim at the pace which produces the most bites. (Often, holding it virtually still works best.) Let the fishes’ response govern the amount of feed you use. Feed regularly. With this method bites are usually very positive pull-unders. Feeding at long range without using a feeder presents its own problems. (In any case, feeders are not ideal). British anglers may have to follow the Continental trend of using groundbait more often.