Cold Weather Method Fishing, March 2015

Written By.
Adam Bowen.

Angling in cold weather is no easy task, especially when you are looking at recent heavy rain, cold snaps and pressures up and down, so for myself to pick out a few better fish and to practice my method feeder fishing before the warmer weather starts, dark ground bait and dead red maggots is one of my methods of choice, not as popular with some anglers on commercials, but suits myself and has never let me down, which in the world of angling confidence in what your doing and using is half the battle.

My end tackle of choice for this time of year on this method is Guru 24g in line feeder, Kamasan 16s B911 F1 and Prestons Reflo Power 0.13 4lb 14oz line.

I use the Guru feeder for their build quality, performance on casting and the fact they have never let me down, I also favor their mold for ground bait and pellet application, there are other method feeders preferred by other anglers, but my personal preference is the Guru.

B911 F1 hooks are light and strong, which for this time of year  is perfect for the balance of its weight with maggots so the fish are not spooked by while feeding above the feeder, a heavier hook while the fish are still shy might put them off as the dead red maggots with a heavier hook will be unbalanced.
In the warmer months this will be less of a concern when the fish are competing for feed. Again I have confidence in these hooks all year round unless I am fishing for big carp down the edge, and they are my go to hook for nearly 80% of my days on the water.

Preston power flow line will always be my first choice for end tackle wither it be the pole lines or feeder this time of the year, the 0.13 is strong a supple, fished at 4 inches on the method feeder so to give the fish confidence and not spook while above the feeder, in the summer I would fish 1-2 inches as the fish would be ripping the feeder every time, but in the colder months I give the fish more line to hang themselves. My main line for the day was 6lb, through the feeder to a quick release bead, down to 4lb to give a balanced set up to a light 9ft feeder rod, all the above will catch you plenty of fish and give you the back bone to land bonus fish.

For hook bait I used dead red maggots, three at a time to pick out the better stamp of fish and avoid bits, you can buy frozen from the tackle shop, but i prefer to freeze what I have got left over, and in my opinion work just as well as ones bought and coated or dipped in all manor of stuff. The key is to bring small amounts with you, as once defrosted they don't last longer than one or two sessions in my opinion, so to save waste this time of year I use small freezer bags to split them up into one session bags.

My method ground bait choice for all year round fishing is the Sonubaits range, in the Winter or cold start or end of seasons it is a dark mix I go for, as the dead red maggots stand out well against it. It mixes and blends well, I find this time of year I will use a pint and mix with half pint of water to give me the consistency I like, making sure to riddle it before use to get rid of lumps and help the longevity of the mix before needing to add more water, if you only mix one pint this time of year, you will either go through it and need more, or have a small amount left over, mixing a large amount and if the fish are not having it, you will be left with waste, which is costly and in my opinion method mix does not preform very well after freezing, not like other non method mix types of ground baits you can use over and over.

Filling the mold for this time of year, I want to keep the ground bait light and fluffy, I don't pack the mold, I put just enough in just to the surface, so when I press the feeder in, the ground gait is neat and compacted, and when in the water is breaks down to give a a neat small pile of feed. If you pack to much in the mold, it can get stuck in the mold, if it does that just give the mold a clean, and apply less ground bait. Excess ground bait around the feeder caused by over filling, will cause drag on the way down through the water and might cause your mix to start breaking down and being pulled off the feeder as it  falls through the water.

In this picture you can see the maggots exposed, with them being dead and lighter than other method hook baits, you run the chance of them becoming detached from the feed bed, and sitting off or even underneath the feeder on the bottom, or getting moved by tail wash resulting in less bites.

As you can see in this picture, the maggots are covered with a very small layer of feed, so but a small layer of bait in the mold, add your maggots, then the rest of your bait over the top and compress with the feeder, in this picture you can see a little excess bait at the top of the feeder, I usually trim this with my thumb nail so there is less chance of the problem I mentioned in my earlier picture.

With all techniques of angling, practice is the key, always working towards the best and most efficient tactics that work for you as an angler, to put put more fish in the net. The choice of venue and peg is always as important as the tactic your going to practice of use, if you look at the picture below you can see the peg I chose had plenty of choice to chuck the feeder, from both sides of the island and the island point, good margins both sides and two areas of open water, this gives the angler choice if the fish a not playing in one area of the swim.

Big thanks to Lloyds Meadow fishery Chester for the use of their Kingfisher water and Warrington Tackle and Guns for their support with tackle and bait. Remember the above feature is just to give you an idea of what I use and how I like to fish this method in the colder months for the better stamp of fish while they are not actively feeding. I managed some lovely Chub, Skimmers and decent Roach, plus plenty of Roach between 4-6oz. If you want me to feature anything in the future that you are struggling with, please feel free to drop us a message either to our facebook page or email. Some of the fish are in the pictures below, and remember confidence in what you are doing and using will help you put more fish in your landing net, if you ever see us out and about in the North West pop over for a chat.