Bank Fishing

My whole approach to the banks is one of mobility. Rather that waiting for the fish to come to me, I go and find the fish. For this to become practical it is essential to travel light. Roaming the banks also means avoiding "hot spots" since it is very unlikely that you will get a place. The only time you are likely to be able to fish them freely is very early in the morning or the last thing at night.

Anglers often become blinkered in their approach. It is not uncommon to see anglers staking out a claim. They take their tackle and leave it in their chosen spot so as to stop others from fishing their area. Even when sport is slow they are hesitant to move. "Just in case the fish come on".

Sod that. If there are no fish there, then I go and find them. It is possible to wait all day long for the fish to swim past your flies, only to discover at the end of the day that they had no intention of doing so. The blame is always directed towards the fishery management. I blame the anglers.

However I do appreciate this approach in other anglers, it tends to allow me to fish with plenty of freedom. The more water I cover the more likely I am to find feeding fish. If you do find a good spot then I would encourage you to keep quiet about it. There is nothing more frustrating than, having found a good spot, discovering that next time you decide to fish it, you fail to be able to find space to wet your line.

If you put in the hard work to find fish, keep quiet and you may find the fish there for a month or so. Tell only people whom you can trust and they may help you out when you are struggling.

I share the best information with about six regulars and also with visiting anglers. I always try to avoid telling those anglers who think it their duty to inform all others of my successes. I have made that mistake in the past. Underhand, I know, but absolutely essential if you are to get the best from your fishing.

I also have the same approach with joke-flies. I remember having a particularly good April with a white and green tadpole. I was fishing a popular area and an angler asked to see the fly. I showed him and asked for his discretion. Unfortunately, this obvious fell on deaf ears, since the next time I came along, to my absolute amazement (and horror) every angler was fishing white and green tadpoles. It transpired he had made quite a small fortune in marketing the fly. It lasted for about a week. By than every fish had seen about sixty of these damn things and wanted nothing to do with them.

I have always been careful to keep one summer method under my hat (until now). Literally four other anglers on my water knew of it. It is the muddler trick (see later). I believe its success is due in no small part to the quietness we had surrounding the method. If it had not been for me being the first to come across its value I would not even be talking if it.

On the return cards we are asked to name the successful fly. "Nymphs" is all we call it in this case. Another thing worthwhile doing is to hold back your successful return cards until the best fishing is over, otherwise anglers are going to come looking for you. If the fishery has return-card boxes spread around the water, drive to another one and deposit your card there! If you wear a waistcoat with a fly patch then stick the most unlikely looking flies in there.

All a little unfair perhaps, and I hate doing it (honestly :-) ) but I have discovered that there is absolutely no way of avoiding it and still getting the best fishing. When dealing with anglers with integrity, the willingness to offer information and the desire to find fishing without having it offered on a silver plate, I will react in kind. Beginners should also be given all the help you can give. I say this for two reasons (1) I was offered unstinting help as a novice and (2) anglers who are given good honest advice become friends.

One last thing, I never tell a bare-faced lie. Being enigmatic is one thing, throwing people a curve is another. In my book, lying is out.

Which brings me to....


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