I was busy on Wednesday and couldn’t make the White Acres mid week match, by Sunday I was chomping at
Fishing Chopped Worm
To do consistently well on the modern match scene, versatility is essential. Having the ability to adopt your approach to suit how the venue is fishing is a vital skill, and if you get it right it will increase your success rate no end. One of the most versatile methods in a match anglers armoury is chopped worm and caster, as it will catch anything that swims, and allow you to adopt your approach to catch what is in front of you.
We joined chopped worm maestro Tony Bell at Wetlands fishery at Sutton Cum Lound, for a lesson in how to adapt the worm to what is happening around you.
“The water level is well up, in fact I have never seen the lake as full as it is today. I’m not sure how badly the extra water will effect fishing, but I can’t see it having a positive effect! The beauty of fishing the worm is that it will catch everything that swims however, so however the session unfolds I should be able to adopt the way I am feeding to maximize the amount of fish I catch.”
“Obviously, to get the most out of your peg, your rigs have to be right as well, and it is important to have a range of rigs set up to cover different eventualities. Today for example I have set up four rigs, ranging from 0.10 if its hard to 0.14 if the carp are feeding well.”
The first rig Tony set up was his bagging rig. This was made up of 0.14 ‘Garboline’ mainline straight through to a size 14 B911 hook. In terms of floats, a Sensas Desque 0.3 gram, was his choice, with a bulk of six number tens, and two number 11 droppers completing his set up. He also set up an on the drop rig. This was made up of a 4X12 Preston Chianti with 0.11 Garboline through to an 0.10 hooklength. This was shotted with strung out No11 shot giving the bait a gradual fall through the water. “this is the rig I would hope to catch on if it turns hard, as you often find that better fish like to watch a bait fall through the water before taking it” he said.
The next rig Tony set up was at half depth, and was made with stronger, 0.16 Garboline. Again, a size 16 B911 was Tony’s hook of choice and a spread of No11 shot helped create a natural fall through the water. “You sometimes find that fish here come off the bottom for no apparent reason, and it can be very frustrating and cause liners. By having a rig like this set up, it gives you a chance to nab a couple of fish before they move back down on to the bottom.”
Tony’s fourth rig was identical to his first, a bulk rig for the deck but this one was with 0.10 mainline, just in case the fish were really cagey, but still feeding on the deck. In terms of elastics , Tony used a Preston 9h Hollo elastic for his light (0.10) and on the drop rig, and a Preston 13H for his 0.14 deck rig, and half depth rig. “Its important to strike a balance, you don’t want anything too heavy that might bump the silver fish off, but at the same time if you hook a carp you want to stand a decent chance of getting it out, so its important that you don’t go too light”.
Choosing Your Lines
With his tackle sorted, Tony set about explaining where and how, he was going to fish his peg. “Worm is one of those baits which has the potential to draw a lot of fish into your peg, too many fish in fact, and cause line bites. That is why it is sometimes necessary to have two lines on the go, so you can feed one and fish one, giving the bait and fish chance to settle after you have fed.
Fishing in this way has another advantage if the peg is fishing hard as well, it means that you are able to let fish build up confidence on a line before you fish it. This will often mean you can keep fish coming for longer, by building one line up while fishing the other line and then swapping.”
Tony plumbed up and managed to find two lines that were roughly the same depth, both at 12 metres, one at 10 O’clock and one at 2 O’clock. This meant he could use the same rigs on both lines, making him all the more efficient.
He started the match by feeding a golf ball sized blob of worm and around 30 casters on his left hand line, and a full pot on his right hand line before starting fishing on his left hand line. Trickling caster over both lines, it wasn’t long before Tony was getting indications on the float.
“There seems to be a lot of fish milling about, but so far nothing has actually taken my bait. I have decided to top up with the pot over this line to try and get the fish to settle on the deck, meanwhile I will have a look on my right hand line and see if things are any more settled on there.” First drop on his right hand line, and his float buried, but instead of being a chunky bream or ide, as he had hoped, Tony was greeted with a two ounce perch.
“They aren’t having it right today at all” Tony noted, “normally you would expect to have had a better fish by now, I can see the lads in the club match on the other bank are struggling as well, in fact I haven’t seen any of them have a fish as yet.”
Despite his slow start, Tony persisted with both his lines, trickling bait in all the time, to try and intice the fish to have a feed. After around half an hour, Tony latched on to his first proper fish of the day, a carp of around 4lb. “I don’t think the silvers are going to play ball today” said a despondent Tony. “I’d have much preferred a 4lb bream to a 4lb carp- they come in twice as easily!”
On The Drop
Tony decided to try his on the drop rig to see if he could intice a bite by presenting his bait differently. Almost as soon as his float had settled, it was under and he was into his first ide of the day. “It just goes to show what difference a change can make, on a day like today when the fish don’t really want to feed you have to really work to make something happen.”
Unfortunately, the fish didn’t stay long for Tony, as next drop in he was greeted by another perch. He switched to his left hand line and decided to try redworm, a bait which often brings him better fish when it is hard on the canals. It worked, and another ide soon came to the net, followed by a carp.
Again, the run was short lived however, and it was back to perch with his next drop in bringing him another two ounce fish. A tough spell followed, and a glance around the lake revealed that everyone was struggling, and compared to everyone Tony was catching well.
A couple of line bites on his left hand line prompted Tony to try his half depth rig. This produced an ide straight away, and then yet again the line went dead. “It is proving impossible to put a run of fish together on any method today, all I seem to be able to get is one or two fish then the line goes dead.”
It was back on the deck for Tony, and again after several minutes working his bait another ide came to the net. Another long wait produced another bite,but it really was slow progress for everyone on the bank.
Tony took a few more carp and ide by rotating his lines and swapping and changing between methods in much the same way as he had been doing, and after around four hours fishing decided enough was enough. He had taken well over 40lb of fish on what had been a hard day, and while many other anglers on the pond had failed to catch anything at all! “It goes to show how you can adopt chopped worm and caster to suit the conditions on the day. The venue has fished hard today, and by adapting my approach and feeding little and often I have managed to catch what few fish were willing to feed.
Had the session gone differently , and had turned into a bagging match, by feeding heavier I would have been able to adapt the approach to catch quicker. It truly is a versatile method, and at mixed venues such as Wetlands is often the best and safest approach.”