A Session of Two Halves -Steve Cowley


Street Squad member Steve Cowley heads back to his local River Ouse with a plan of attack in mind – did it work? Read on to find out…

Every now and again, you have a session where everything seems to click, I have recently had a trip to my local River Ouse where the end result was just that.

I had chosen an area, where I had unfinished business so to speak, where a resident shoal of patrolling bream move image1and tailored my approach to suit. This particular area is fairly wide and has a good lily bed, which is around 50-60m or so, over to the far side of the river. This is always a visual fish holding spot and has proven a very popular area in recent years, so being able to get on the peg you actually want can be tough at times. I arrived on the bank late afternoon, where luckily enough the area was angler free, so part one of the plan was complete. Part two was to lay the trap, with the hope of it being sprung later on in the evening.

My plan was to introduce a fair bit of groundbait and leave the area totally untouched until around 7pm, then soley concentrate all my efforts in this pre fed spot. My groundbait, is one I have used all season so far for my feeder fishing, which is a 50/50 mix of Bait-Tech Omen and Kult Sweet Fishmeal. I always pre mix my groundbait at home, when I have chance, to allow all particles to be fully absorbed and do any final touches on the bank. Even though I use a drill and whisk to mix my groundbait, I always put the whole mix through a maggot riddle as part of my final prep. The only other addition, other than free offerings, that I add is 1 pint of Soaked 2mm Bait-Tech Carp and Coarse Pellets. Not only does it add weight to the mix for pre baiting, but also gives the fish something else to grub around on. With the mix exactly how I wanted it, I separated it in half and added 250ml of chopped worm, the same amount in caster and half a tin of Bait-Tech Super Sweetcorn Natural. With all this blended in together I made up 14 Jaffa oranged sized balls and catapulted them toward the far side lily cover, enough to lay a carpet of feed down ready for the evening attack.

Whilst waiting for the evening to arrive, I decided to fish the slider at around 25m out.

Set up; 14ft rod with 6lb supplex mainline, 12gram Dino Slider Champion Bream float, 9inch 010 hooklength and a size 16 PR344 hook. Shotting was via a 10grm olivette which was sat on a meter length of 020 flurocarbon, which was joined to the mainline via a simple loop to loop. Directly below the olivette, I had around 10 number nine shot which act as a stiff link so as to effectively reduce the chance of the line wrapping over the olivette on casting. At the base of the flurocarbon, was a small micro match swivel, with a bulk of four number 8 shot direct above this and the hook length attached below. Once I had the float plumbed and set around two inches over depth, I made up another six balls again containing worm, caster and corn, and deposited them toward the chosen spot around the float. On the hook bait front I had red maggot, pinkie, caster, corn and worm.

Starting off with a double red maggot, I had a few missed bites before a small palm sized hybrid was swung to hand, a good enough start to me. Over the next hour, small skimmers and hybrids were willingly accepting the maggot, so I decided to swop over to a grain of corn just to see if any bit bigger sized fish maybe in the swim. The change brought an instant response from a few bigger hybrids and some proper chunky roach. I carried on swapping over hook baits over the next couple of hours from maggot and corn, but was itching to try the feeder line, so bang on 7pm the time had come to change.

My set up for the feeder was as simple as it gets. 12ft Frenzee feeder rod, 5lb mainline, a metre long 015 flurocarbon hooklength and a size 16 PR39 hook. I have recently swopped to flurocarbon when casting longer distances, as it has dramatically reduced any line twist on the hook length. I have chosen to use an eyed hook, as have been hair rigging the worm of late and I have definitely noticed a difference in hooking these better fish. For the hair rig I simply use a quick stop on a short hair, tied to the hook via a knotless knot. The feeder itself is attached via a short 2inch running link, that stops against a small gripper line stop which is butted tight up against a 4-5inch twizzled loop, which acts as a boom to keep the hook length away from the feeder. Casting this sort of distance, doesn’t require a massive feeder and in this instance I am using a 1oz Nisa medium plastic open ended feeder.

I had half a dozen fairly quick casts, just to get a little bit more groundbait into the area, before settling down for the evening. After a few small taps, around thirty minutes into the feeder session the tip slowly pulled round and a gently strike produces the welcoming resistance of fish number one, a 2lb bream. At least I knew a few fish had obviously been nosing in the area, so this fish was very welcome. A few more decent sized skimmers came to the net, before a better bream of around 4lb came safely to the net. As the evening started to draw in, the head torch came out as I had decided to fish an hour into dark, just to see if anymore better fish we’re willing to oblige. The hour turned into two, as the fish definatley liked the darkness better tonight and I ended the session with five bigger bream to 7.5lb and a very lively tench, that led me a right merry dance in the dark to say the very least, with the final bream falling dead on 11pm where I ended the session on a high.
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The actual session had been one of two halves, where it seemed everything had gone to plan.

Being able to catch a decent net of fish and stay busy on the slider, whilst waiting for the feeder swim to mature, was a perfect way to start. Carrying this on into the evening and catching some bream was a perfect ending to the evening. By laying a carpet of feed down at the start of the session, it gave the fish the confidence they needed. It’s not often everything goes according to plan in fishing, but this was just one of those days when it did………oooooosssssshhhhh

Tight Lines

Steve Cowley
Street Squad


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