Tony Curd’s Margin Fishing Tips
Now that warmer weather has arrived, MAP and Dynamite-backed matchman Tony Curd shares his bait tips for margin fishing on commercials this spring with reference to a recent session at Northamptonshire’s Wold Farm Fisheries…
Margin fishing plays a huge part on virtually every commercial fishery in the UK and when the water starts to warm up, we all dream of turning up to a peg which offers shallow water close to the bank for a mass-extraction later in the match or session! Quite often this isn’t the reality, whether it is due bankside vegetation keeping you from fishing close to the bank or just a steep gradient off the bank itself making it impossible to present a bait effectively.
So, what do you do when faced with a deeper margin swim, and how does your feeding have to change? In the ideal scenario, a groundbait approach would always be my number one choice when it comes to feeding, it has a big impact that draws fish quickly, masses of attraction and allows you to present a big, standout hook bait over the top as the main target for the fish to pick up.
When it comes to a deeper swim, groundbait will still work, there is no doubt about that, but it may cause you issues with foul hooking fish, liners and fish coming off the bottom. So for that reason I turn to an approach that includes a lot more particles, with pellets as the main feed as a substitute.
I recently visited Wold Farm Fisheries on the Islands Lake which is typical of the type of venue where this approach is needed. With an extremely steep drop off from the bank straight down into 5ft of water, the groundbait attack wasn’t going to be the one on this occasion! With this in mind I decided on feeding the fishery 2mm pellets as my main feed along with Dynamite XL Sweetcorn, another heavy bait which is well suited to deeper water.
To prepare the pellets and to give them a bit of a wow factor, I soaked them with the F1 Sweet Pellet Soak, which alters the colour of the pellets giving them a yellow tinge, along with a beautiful sweet flavour, perfect for a lake where mixed species are on the cards! Once the pellets have taken on the pellet soak and softened enough to be squeezed into a ball, I like to make sure everything is going straight to the bottom intact, to eliminate the possibility of fish coming up off the bottom and keep things as settled as possible to make getting bites all the more effective.
Dynamite’s Sticky Pellet Syrups are perfect for getting that extra bind to your pellets if you need it. Designed primarily for method feeder fishing, they’re also extremely useful for margin fishing too! I use the matching F1 Sweet version and within minutes, the pellets can be moulded into a solid ball which isn’t going to break up on the way down, delivering the micro pellets perfectly in deep water.
With the water being a lot deeper, short margin style floats aren’t required and something more suited to open water fishing is far better, with the depth being greater, a longer stem and also a heavier float – I prefer a minimum of 4×14, but if there was a lot of fish present I wouldn’t worry about stepping this up, keeping the rig in place and avoiding as many foul hooked fish is always priority when margin fishing so extra weight can always work in your favour.
To kick the swim off, I like to feed a large ball of pellets along with some corn, and gauge it from there, but as a general rule – the bigger the fish, the larger the quantities I’ll top up with, that could be another big ball plus corn after each fish, or if you’re catching a lot of smaller fish, topping up with smaller balls via a pole mounted pot each put in after each fish can be more effective.
Similarly, how long you’re waiting for bites can be a factor in deciding how to top up. If you’re only getting one or two bigger fish wandering into the swim, topping up with a big amount of bait could hinder the amount of bites you will get, so it’s just about balancing the size of fish, amount of bites and the amount of fish coming into your swim as to making a decision on how to feed.
Time to Try the Edge
After catching a load of fish out in open water fishing shallow, it was time to feed down the margin, just off the bank at the base of the slope where a flatter area could be found. One ball of pellets and a handful of corn was followed straight in with the rig, and it wasn’t long before the float bolted from sight. A decent barbel was a great way to start and as I’d fed just seconds ago, I decided to drop straight in again without refeeding and was pleased to catch another almost immediately.
The next drop in I had to wait longer for a bite, so I topped up with another ball and again. The bites were coming quickly with a mixture of carp, barbel, orfe, skimmers and brown goldfish all getting in on the action – this lake was a real mixed bag! With such a mix of fish I started feeding with the small pole pot after each bite as after a while of feeding larger quantities, the swim was established and the fish happy to stay around the area, drawn in by the regular introduction of a small ball and a few grains of corn.
The small fish did become an issue at times but by upping the hook bait to a double corn offering, I could keep the rig in place long enough for a bigger barbel or carp to come along and snaffle it!
So, there you have it, a few ideas on how to approach those deep margin swims. They aren’t ideal and can be challenging to get right but the rewards are there for the angler who thinks about their approach.