With the weather being a bit dodgy this weekend which has prevented be from getting on to the bank , i have decided to write a little piece on how i approach my peg in a match situation , although it by no means a definitive answer but it might help a few people .

Arrive at your peg

When you get to your peg and if your anything like me you would have already done your research on the best tactics , target fish and weight needed to frame . But it is still a good idea to sit on your box for a bit to see which areas to set up your swims and maybe the fish might give them self’s away because f1s normally top where they are feeding happiest and barbel usually leap out of the water .

Set out your gear

When you are getting started in to your peg it is important to have everything to hand because you don’t want to be getting up every five minutes while trying to fish to pick things up , another thing to get right is a level box as if it isn’t you will end up with a bad back after holding the pole for such a long time , pole roller placement helps too especially when fishing at range , regarding preventing tangling rigs , spilling bait or more importantly broken sections .

Rigs

Choosing the correct one for the day is all dependent on the conditions faced with ie wind-rain requires a heavier than normal rig or sunny-calm you may get away with a lighter rig and also which bait , fish you intend targeting . I always find it beneficial on using a pattern of float that you are used to and can read every little indication on the float .

Bait

The required bait for the day tends to change on most venues month by month if not week by week so it can pay off to look at the latest match results to see whats doing the business at the moment . Start preparing the bait required but be aware of any bait bans or bait limits if any on the water , the amount of bait depends on your target weight for the day but do try to limit your bait options because to many on your side tray can confuse you during the day .

Plumbing up

After picking the areas you intend fishing and try to find a flat , clean of debris place to fish , if you intend fishing an area on a slope don’t target the bottom of it because this is usually where it is the most silty and can become problematic as the day progresses with fizzing and foul hookers . Try not to fish to far out because you will not be able to follow the fish out if they back off and you also want to be comfy as you will be their for a while , try not to set your swims up to close together as it could end up splitting the shoal .

When plumbing up take your time as it is a very important part of setting your swim and i have lost count of the times i have ended up fishing over some sort of snag , always mark your pole and when you find a place that suits , put a shot under the float to mark dead depth then if conditions change and you need to put some line on the deck you always have that shot as a reference point to go back too .

Starting off

To have a chance of doing good in matches these days you really need at least two swims to catch well from because its very rare to catch enough from only one all session . Their are 3 or 4 main areas to target and these are ;

tight across

far shelf or open water

bottom near shelf

margin

Choosing which of these that will work for you on the day and when to target them at the correct times is all you need to do .

Initial feed

This is what you use to kick start your peg and depending on the time of year , bait using, target fish , getting this correct can make or break your match so getting it right is very important . As you know their is a few main ways of feeding ;

kinder pot

big pot

catty

Feeding patterns

This is what separates the average club angler from the very top anglers and choosing what is the best on the day , comes with lots of practice and obviously the more you fish a venue the more you learn its moods , although what you have learned usually can be transferred to other similar waters .

Decision time

You have been catching well but it has started to slow down , what should you do next ?

1 , stay were you are and keep putting the odd fish in the net , but by working hard changing shotting patterns , depths and how you lay your rig in can catch you a few extra fish .

2, change how your feeding to try and get the fish back in the swim by increasing , decreasing the amount of feed , you could also try a big pot or maybe a different hook bait .

3, start feeding a new line in case the above options doesn’t work and its better to do this before your original swim starts dying on you but this is not always possible . But doing this gives you the option of picking up a few fish from both lines .

Playing fish

This depends on the methods you intend using but as a rough guide when using the pole ;

When you hook the fish let it swim out of the area you are fishing so as not to disturb the shoal . When you get it on to the top kit keep the pole tip low and strip the elastic through the pulla kit , till you see your float , then raise the pole tip and get the fish on the top and net it . Sounds oh so simple but take it from me it requires a lot of practice to get it right .

All the above is a very rough guide and can change from day to day and the angler that keeps one step ahead , puts the work in will always do better than those sitting it out fishing one line all day . You can read all the latest fishing magazines recommending the best tactics , equipment , areas to target , best bait etc and they are all a very good read . But i have never seen an article telling you how to feed a swim because their are so many variables required that it would be almost impossible to write and to be honest their is no better way to sort it out than on the bank fishing .

I would be very interested in peoples views on what i have written , thanks for reading .