Pleasure fishing - Lessons learned after a return to the banks.....

Stewie74

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Having recently returned to the banks after a 7 year hiatus, and having sought (and received) a plethora of guidance and advice, I thought I'd jot down a short summary of the lessons I've learned over the last couple of weeks.

Probably more helpful for fellow beginners I'd imagine, but hopefully comments and responses from our illustrious and more experienced members will add to the knowledge bank.

Before I start, i will add a caveat that I really don't (yet) know what I'm doing, my fishing experience is extremely limited, and that my observations and comments are simply the thoughts of a novice, that should be taken with a pinch of salt for anyone with a modicum of angling experience.

I only fish still waters, and have recently joined a local AC with a variety of natural venues. Thus far my strategy has been limited to method feeder fishing using micro pellets and a range of hook baits, mainly expanders, sweetcorn and wafters.

- Stay warm....... fishing is great fun, but being cold is definitely not. As the seasons change, wrap up folks. And a flask of coffee/tea/hot beverage of choice will stand you in good stead.

- Start as early as possible..... whenever you pack up, you'll wish you had another hour, so arriving as early as poss gives you maximum fishing time.

- set up at home...... if you're like me it takes a while to go from bare rod to ready to fish, so sort your s**t out before you go. Arriving at the bank with rods ready to go will maximize your fishing time.

- pellets - fishing the method feeder makes things pretty simple. I use Ringers method micros. Soak before you leave home, ready to go when you arrive. Set your chair/box up and you're ready to go

- ground bait - please, please, add water very liberally, trust me it takes ages to dry out if you go too heavy with the water. You'll hear this adage a lot, for good reason....you can always add more water but you cant take it out.......

- hook-bait - be equipped and prepared to try lots of different options. Hard pellets. expanders, sweetcorn, wafters,, whatever else you fancy. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, you won't know until you're fishing, so cover all eventualities if you can.....

- experts - having spoken to a few venue regulars over the last week or so, I've found that opinions on 'where to catch' and 'killer baits' are subjective at best. I've caught in areas that I've been told to avoid, on baits that are apparently not great. By all means listen to venue veterans, but find your own way. Also, I've established that anglers are prone to 'exaggerating' their results.

- If it looks 'fishy'. give it a go, what do you have to lose?

- casting .... is hard. Set your expectations, then accept not reaching them. Treat every session as a casting practice session. Don't stress too much if your method feeder is a yard shy of your ideal target. The more often you do it, the more consistent you will get.

- scales - every time you catch a fish you'll wonder what it weighs. Get some, and you'll never wonder if you just caught one bigger than you've ever caught before.

- every cloud...... with the best will in the world, you are likely to have periods where you don't get bites. Enjoy the fact that you are out in the fresh air. Observe, and hear the wildlife. If you're like me and have spent the majority of your life indoors you will hear many, many new sounds. They are interesting.....

- snacks....... take a selection of your favorites. Quiet periods are made infinitely better with a little treat. Personally I'd recommend mini Twix bars, Rocky (caramel) bars, and Wine Gums. Whatever lights your candle......

As i said at the start of the post, I'm a novice, but i hope these notes may helps other beginners......

Stewie
 

Silverfisher

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- Stay warm....... fishing is great fun, but being cold is definitely not. As the seasons change, wrap up folks. And a flask of coffee/tea/hot beverage of choice will stand you in good stead.

- Start as early as possible..... whenever you pack up, you'll wish you had another hour, so arriving as early as poss gives you maximum fishing time
- every cloud...... with the best will in the world, you are likely to have periods where you don't get bites. Enjoy the fact that you are out in the fresh air. Observe, and hear the wildlife. If you're like me and have spent the majority of your life indoors you will hear many, many new sounds. They are interesting.....
Those are the 3 most important ones of those you've listed I reckon 👍🏻

It's not nice getting cold and with modern clothing it's quite avoidable save for when it's proper wet and windy

Starting early not only gives you a longer session but those early morning hours quite often give you the best fishing and the best weather.

Immersing yourself in nature is one of the best things about fishing, not many other pastimes allow you to spend hours on end out in the natural world.

Plonking myself on a decent bit of water that I can be fairly sure of doing well on is quite an important thing for me as well as I do like to catch lol
 

Stewie74

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Those are the 3 most important ones of those you've listed I reckon 👍🏻

It's not nice getting cold and with modern clothing it's quite avoidable save for when it's proper wet and windy

Starting early not only gives you a longer session but those early morning hours quite often give you the best fishing and the best weather.

Immersing yourself in nature is one of the best things about fishing, not many other pastimes allow you to spend hours on end out in the natural world.

Plonking myself on a decent bit of water that I can be fairly sure of doing well on is quite an important thing for me as well as I do like to catch lol
Plus the snacks.

You can't beat a mini twix with a hot coffee, fact.......
 

Maesknoll

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Those are the 3 most important ones of those you've listed I reckon 👍🏻

It's not nice getting cold and with modern clothing it's quite avoidable save for when it's proper wet and windy

Starting early not only gives you a longer session but those early morning hours quite often give you the best fishing and the best weather.

Immersing yourself in nature is one of the best things about fishing, not many other pastimes allow you to spend hours on end out in the natural world.

Plonking myself on a decent bit of water that I can be fairly sure of doing well on is quite an important thing for me as well as I do like to catch lol
Personally, I think fishing later in winter is better than starting early - talking about still waters - and the best fishing is as the light starts to go.
 

Silverfisher

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Personally, I think fishing later in winter is better than starting early - talking about still waters - and the best fishing is as the light starts to go.
True does switch around when it gets cold, but around May to October I almost always catch better early on even if only slightly at times.
 

rudd

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Personally, I think fishing later in winter is better than starting early - talking about still waters - and the best fishing is as the light starts to go.
This the OP will learn, in the depths of winter that last hour can make or break a session/match.
 

Total

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Personally, I think fishing later in winter is better than starting early - talking about still waters - and the best fishing is as the light starts to go.

^^ Totally agree with the caveat being (especially in Winter) The first hour and the last hour being your best times....
 

Stewie74

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Sandwiches and sausage rolls are my staple bank food washed down with Pepsi and/or water. Sometimes a slice of cake as well though 😉

I've got to be honest, I go for things that I can eat without touching them (if that makes sense)

Personally, I think fishing later in winter is better than starting early - talking about still waters - and the best fishing is as the light starts to go.
Interesting point, and one that I will definitely be experimenting with over the next few weeks 👍
 

Deejay8

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Personally, I think fishing later in winter is better than starting early - talking about still waters - and the best fishing is as the light starts to go.
There is something magical about that last hour of light in the winter, and it's the time the biggest roach and dace seem to bite.
 

Silverfisher

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I've got to be honest, I go for things that I can eat without touching them (if that makes sense

Yep I’m with you on that, that last pinch of sandwich or sausage roll where my dirty fingers have been tends to go to the fish!
 

Silverfisher

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Think I generally find it best early morning in the warmer months because as it tends to be less bright, less windy and less commotion/pressured so you can fish a bit better for fish that are less wary than they may become in a few hours time. Obviously not a hard fast rule sometimes you’ll catch well all day or sometimes it can take a while to get them going but I do find early is generally better until you get to the frosty time of year when as has been said it’s often the opposite. Also starting early can see you get two waves of fish, many a time you catch well early on then have a lull then get another busy spell later on.
 

rudd

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Having recently returned to the banks after a 7 year hiatus, and having sought (and received) a plethora of guidance and advice, I thought I'd jot down a short summary of the lessons I've learned over the last couple of weeks.

Probably more helpful for fellow beginners I'd imagine, but hopefully comments and responses from our illustrious and more experienced members will add to the knowledge bank.

Before I start, i will add a caveat that I really don't (yet) know what I'm doing, my fishing experience is extremely limited, and that my observations and comments are simply the thoughts of a novice, that should be taken with a pinch of salt for anyone with a modicum of angling experience.

I only fish still waters, and have recently joined a local AC with a variety of natural venues. Thus far my strategy has been limited to method feeder fishing using micro pellets and a range of hook baits, mainly expanders, sweetcorn and wafters.

- Stay warm....... fishing is great fun, but being cold is definitely not. As the seasons change, wrap up folks. And a flask of coffee/tea/hot beverage of choice will stand you in good stead.

- Start as early as possible..... whenever you pack up, you'll wish you had another hour, so arriving as early as poss gives you maximum fishing time.

- set up at home...... if you're like me it takes a while to go from bare rod to ready to fish, so sort your s**t out before you go. Arriving at the bank with rods ready to go will maximize your fishing time.

- pellets - fishing the method feeder makes things pretty simple. I use Ringers method micros. Soak before you leave home, ready to go when you arrive. Set your chair/box up and you're ready to go

- ground bait - please, please, add water very liberally, trust me it takes ages to dry out if you go too heavy with the water. You'll hear this adage a lot, for good reason....you can always add more water but you cant take it out.......

- hook-bait - be equipped and prepared to try lots of different options. Hard pellets. expanders, sweetcorn, wafters,, whatever else you fancy. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, you won't know until you're fishing, so cover all eventualities if you can.....

- experts - having spoken to a few venue regulars over the last week or so, I've found that opinions on 'where to catch' and 'killer baits' are subjective at best. I've caught in areas that I've been told to avoid, on baits that are apparently not great. By all means listen to venue veterans, but find your own way. Also, I've established that anglers are prone to 'exaggerating' their results.

- If it looks 'fishy'. give it a go, what do you have to lose?

- casting .... is hard. Set your expectations, then accept not reaching them. Treat every session as a casting practice session. Don't stress too much if your method feeder is a yard shy of your ideal target. The more often you do it, the more consistent you will get.

- scales - every time you catch a fish you'll wonder what it weighs. Get some, and you'll never wonder if you just caught one bigger than you've ever caught before.

- every cloud...... with the best will in the world, you are likely to have periods where you don't get bites. Enjoy the fact that you are out in the fresh air. Observe, and hear the wildlife. If you're like me and have spent the majority of your life indoors you will hear many, many new sounds. They are interesting.....

- snacks....... take a selection of your favorites. Quiet periods are made infinitely better with a little treat. Personally I'd recommend mini Twix bars, Rocky (caramel) bars, and Wine Gums. Whatever lights your candle......

As i said at the start of the post, I'm a novice, but i hope these notes may helps other beginners......

Stewie
Its good to see you are enjoying it.
Winter fishing - especially on stillwaters is a different beast altogether.
You need a settled spell of three/four days for fish to adjust and settle themselves. This even applies to very cold spells, weather needs to be at a constant.
They will feed but it is so easy to kill your peg with to much feed.
What species are you going to target?
 

Stewie74

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Its good to see you are enjoying it.
Winter fishing - especially on stillwaters is a different beast altogether.
You need a settled spell of three/four days for fish to adjust and settle themselves. This even applies to very cold spells, weather needs to be at a constant.
They will feed but it is so easy to kill your peg with to much feed.
What species are you going to target?

Definitely enjoying it so far, even though my last session session was restricted to an early F1 followed by 5 hours of nothing....

The AC I have joined has 3 still water venues, Home, with a mixed stock of fish, although in the 5 sessions I have had I have only caught carp, as have most of the other anglers I've spoken to.

As I've said, I'm currently fishing the method feeder only. My plan is to expand next year to float and possibly pole fishing, with a view to club level matches at some point. With this in mind I need to get my head around the various methods, however at this point I'm happy to focus on catching whatever I can in front of me.
 

davej1981

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Ive also returned after a long break and currently finding my way again! I fished to a reasonable level in the 90s so i feel ive got a good base to build on. In the time ive been away things have changed and ive spent alot of time here and on YouTube. The one thing ive found is lots of contrasting advice particularly from the experts on youtube. I try to only watch a handful now and use my own knowledge to pick and choose what seems right and makes sense to me. Another thing i do now is “draw” a peg at home. For this takes away the temptation to fish the same swim or head for the best areas all the and i feel it helps learn more. Ive only managed 4 sessions this year but feel i learnt alot and by the last session things had really come together
 

The Landlord

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Another thing i do now is “draw” a peg at home. For this takes away the temptation to fish the same swim or head for the best areas all the and i feel it helps learn more. Ive only managed 4 sessions this year but feel i learnt alot and by the last session things had really come together
That's a good idea. I'm guilty of always fishing the same pegs on our ponds. What do you do if the peg you've drawn is taken when you arrive?
 

davej1981

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That's a good idea. I'm guilty of always fishing the same pegs on our ponds. What do you do if the peg you've drawn is taken when you arrive?
Either redraw of if the pegs aren’t too close sit at the next peg. I just use a random number generator on google. You put the range of numbers in (on my local commie there are 32 pegs so i use the range 1-32) and hit the button and it generates a random number
 

davej1981

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I think also sticking to learning one method at a time is a great idea. Its all too easy to try a bit of everything but ultimately you don’t get the hang of anything particularly quickly. My few sessions have been spent on the pole as it was always my go to method. I intend to join my local club next season and want to spend my time concentrating on float fishing both waggler and stick as it not something i ever really concentrated on years ago, i was a bit pole obsesses! I plan on only taking my float rod out to avoid temptation!
 

DAMFLASK CHRIS

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Yesterday only bites I got as it was going dark with 2 perch
in past roach have fed in last hour before dark in winter
 
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