Winter - Poor Conditions, My Tactics

Neil ofthe nene

Doing things differently.
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Having pointed to three of my blog posts on this subject in another thread I thought it may be an idea to extract the relevant parts into one post.

As always I don't claim my way is the best way, the right way, the only way. Its just what I have developed that suits me. It may work for others, it may not.


Windy Conditions​

I am assuming that the wind has set up a tow otherwise I will fish as if calm. My first aim is to get the float set so that it will go with the tow. I find that to aid this a string of shot is better than a bulk. You may also have to shot the float lower than you might imagine to get the bristle out of the wind and stop it acting like a sail. I will also set up a heavier float than in calm conditions, probably a 1g instead of half. If I am going to change something then I like it to be a positive one and not just fiddling around.

This heavier float does two things. Obviously it helps keep the float stable and the bait on the deck. But I also think the extra shot strung down the line (I will use size 6 or 8) help pick up the tow and counter the effect of the wind on the bristle.

There is little point in trying to be precise with depth so I will go up to nine inches over to ensure the bait is on the bottom. I am looking to balance keeping the bait on the deck and the float being able to drag it through with the tow. Why 9 inches? Remember I use a 10 inch hooklength with the last shot just above the knot.

When there is a tow on the water I will feed a mixture of micros and 4 mils. This I believe will create a trail of bait down tow with the 4 mils falling quicker and the micros slower and thus spreading out. You have to feed in the same spot all the time so pick an immovable far bank marker and make sure you cup in in line with that every time. If the wind isn't too strong and the tow not significant I will cup in at two spots one or two yards apart to create the spread I am looking for.

The aim then is to fish the float along the line of the feed. Hopefully fish will be drawn from either side and down tow, lining them up along where your hookbait will travel. Then it is a case of fishing almost like you would a river. Play with the float, let it run, inch it through or hold still. What you should eventually discover is what the fish want on the day. This may be that they want the bait still or moving. Or the fish may settle a certain distance from where you fed. If this happens do not adjust your feeding point. Keep feeding to the same marker. But what you can do is then set the float off closer to that point where you are getting bites with a view to speeding up your catch rate. You may also find that the bigger fish sit further down tow and so it is worth letting the float run the full distance you can manage occasionally in the hopes of picking up a bonus.

Never be afraid to go for a heavy float in poor conditions. Well shotted it will still register bites. At the end of the day the fish will accept a well presented bait and give you more bites than struggling with a light float that gives no control and poor presentation. I carry some specific floats that go to two grams for particularly nasty conditions. By well shotted I mean that the bristle should ride through the waves/chop and not bob up and down. Yes you lose sight of the float but you will quickly see a pattern. You are then looking to strike into any variation of that pattern.

I will also fish a shorter pole in poor conditions. I would much rather have better control and be able to feed accurately. With the surface disturbance the fish will come closer. By feeding you give them a reason to.

From my “Dotting Down” blog

People will ask “What about poor conditions?”. My answer is to still get the float as low in the water as possible. The closer the rig is to neutral buoyancy the less it will be affected by any chop on the water. A well shotted float will ride through the peaks and troughs unlike an undershotted one that will bounce up and down. In these conditions I find it better to use a much heavier float. That way the whole rig will stay more stable. It also helps if you use as long a bristle as possible on pole floats. Getting the body deeper in the water will reduce the surface's effect. It is worth investing in a few “windbeater” type floats such as the DT Windbeaters* so as to get the body of the float below the wave base and thus into more stable water. They may not see much use but well worth having for those really poor days.

DT Windbeaters

Windbeater.jpg



If you want to understand why then research “Wave Base”. But simply on most lakes with wind created waves water will only be rising and falling in the top few inches. Below that it will be still. The depth of the wave base is roughly half the wavelength. So if the float body is below the wave base it will be stable.

And from “Backshotting Pole Floats”​


Windy!​

Backshotting, as I have said can be used to control the float in a breeze but what happens when we are trying to fish in a high wind? A No.9, even a No.8 is not going to help at times. In poor conditions don't be afraid to increase the weight by using a No.6 or even larger.


BS%2B4.jpg

You will see that the No.11 has been dispensed with and the large shot replaces the No.9. What this does is create a shock absorber between pole and float. If the pole gets blown around then instead of jerking the float the No.6 will rise and fall in the water and dampen some of the extreme movement. It may even help to move the shot closer to the pole tip and place the tip underwater. Experiment in poor conditions to see what works best for you on the day given the poor conditions.

This big shot will probably work best with more line than normal between pole and float. Don't be afraid to have three even four foot of line above the float. Sacrificing the speed of transferring the strike to the float and then hook will be offset by getting more bites in the first place.
 

rudd

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??. Your post reminded me of the Peter Kaye .... John Smiths adverts then rudd .... No nonsense. ??
Neils posts / blog / guides are very informative and well worth a read (even @chefster is a closet fan ? ) whilst it is true other methods are available, the post was one of humour hence three winks. ?

If I had followed my own advise one very windy club singles semi final day, I may have won it, not had multiple trashed rigs or broken my number four! ?
 

robert d

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Having pointed to three of my blog posts on this subject in another thread I thought it may be an idea to extract the relevant parts into one post.

As always I don't claim my way is the best way, the right way, the only way. Its just what I have developed that suits me. It may work for others, it may not.


Windy Conditions​

I am assuming that the wind has set up a tow otherwise I will fish as if calm. My first aim is to get the float set so that it will go with the tow. I find that to aid this a string of shot is better than a bulk. You may also have to shot the float lower than you might imagine to get the bristle out of the wind and stop it acting like a sail. I will also set up a heavier float than in calm conditions, probably a 1g instead of half. If I am going to change something then I like it to be a positive one and not just fiddling around.

This heavier float does two things. Obviously it helps keep the float stable and the bait on the deck. But I also think the extra shot strung down the line (I will use size 6 or 8) help pick up the tow and counter the effect of the wind on the bristle.

There is little point in trying to be precise with depth so I will go up to nine inches over to ensure the bait is on the bottom. I am looking to balance keeping the bait on the deck and the float being able to drag it through with the tow. Why 9 inches? Remember I use a 10 inch hooklength with the last shot just above the knot.

When there is a tow on the water I will feed a mixture of micros and 4 mils. This I believe will create a trail of bait down tow with the 4 mils falling quicker and the micros slower and thus spreading out. You have to feed in the same spot all the time so pick an immovable far bank marker and make sure you cup in in line with that every time. If the wind isn't too strong and the tow not significant I will cup in at two spots one or two yards apart to create the spread I am looking for.

The aim then is to fish the float along the line of the feed. Hopefully fish will be drawn from either side and down tow, lining them up along where your hookbait will travel. Then it is a case of fishing almost like you would a river. Play with the float, let it run, inch it through or hold still. What you should eventually discover is what the fish want on the day. This may be that they want the bait still or moving. Or the fish may settle a certain distance from where you fed. If this happens do not adjust your feeding point. Keep feeding to the same marker. But what you can do is then set the float off closer to that point where you are getting bites with a view to speeding up your catch rate. You may also find that the bigger fish sit further down tow and so it is worth letting the float run the full distance you can manage occasionally in the hopes of picking up a bonus.

Never be afraid to go for a heavy float in poor conditions. Well shotted it will still register bites. At the end of the day the fish will accept a well presented bait and give you more bites than struggling with a light float that gives no control and poor presentation. I carry some specific floats that go to two grams for particularly nasty conditions. By well shotted I mean that the bristle should ride through the waves/chop and not bob up and down. Yes you lose sight of the float but you will quickly see a pattern. You are then looking to strike into any variation of that pattern.

I will also fish a shorter pole in poor conditions. I would much rather have better control and be able to feed accurately. With the surface disturbance the fish will come closer. By feeding you give them a reason to.

From my “Dotting Down” blog

People will ask “What about poor conditions?”. My answer is to still get the float as low in the water as possible. The closer the rig is to neutral buoyancy the less it will be affected by any chop on the water. A well shotted float will ride through the peaks and troughs unlike an undershotted one that will bounce up and down. In these conditions I find it better to use a much heavier float. That way the whole rig will stay more stable. It also helps if you use as long a bristle as possible on pole floats. Getting the body deeper in the water will reduce the surface's effect. It is worth investing in a few “windbeater” type floats such as the DT Windbeaters* so as to get the body of the float below the wave base and thus into more stable water. They may not see much use but well worth having for those really poor days.

DT Windbeaters

Windbeater.jpg



If you want to understand why then research “Wave Base”. But simply on most lakes with wind created waves water will only be rising and falling in the top few inches. Below that it will be still. The depth of the wave base is roughly half the wavelength. So if the float body is below the wave base it will be stable.

And from “Backshotting Pole Floats”​


Windy!​

Backshotting, as I have said can be used to control the float in a breeze but what happens when we are trying to fish in a high wind? A No.9, even a No.8 is not going to help at times. In poor conditions don't be afraid to increase the weight by using a No.6 or even larger.


BS%2B4.jpg

You will see that the No.11 has been dispensed with and the large shot replaces the No.9. What this does is create a shock absorber between pole and float. If the pole gets blown around then instead of jerking the float the No.6 will rise and fall in the water and dampen some of the extreme movement. It may even help to move the shot closer to the pole tip and place the tip underwater. Experiment in poor conditions to see what works best for you on the day given the poor conditions.

This big shot will probably work best with more line than normal between pole and float. Don't be afraid to have three even four foot of line above the float. Sacrificing the speed of transferring the strike to the float and then hook will be offset by getting more bites in the first place.
Thanks for taking the time to write and post ,some very good advice there. On the back shotting it maybe worth using 2 3 or 4 number 8s spread about 3 or 4inches apart to keep more line under the water on very windy conditions
 

tipitinmick

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Neils posts / blog / guides are very informative and well worth a read (even @chefster is a closet fan ? ) whilst it is true other methods are available, the post was one of humour hence three winks. ?

If I had followed my own advise one very windy club singles semi final day, I may have won it, not had multiple trashed rigs or broken my number four! ?
Yeah, I think secretly Chefster is hoping Neil let’s him have his apple pie recipe as well. ??
 

tipitinmick

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One other method is to do what Jamie Masson does and use approximately 16” of leadcore between pole tip and float. I’ve tried it myself and it works a treat.
 

Rick123

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Its always nice to see what others do, even if you have your own views. In wind, I simply us a heavy float 2 grams or more and let the main line hold the float still. The bites seem to be non-miss and the fish hook themselves. I don't see a reason not to use 3/4 grams if you can dot it down enough, If I can get off the back if the wind, then a waggler would be my choice, but I just love the waggler. James Robbins does a good Cadence video on the bodied waggler, worth a watch.
 
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