A Day on the Pole – Steve Cowley


I recently paid a visit to the Middle Level drain, for a short session along a stretch commonly known as crooked chimney. With the pole being the order of the day I was hoping this venue would provide a bit of shelter from the wind.  On arrival the drain looked in perfect nick and the wind was slightly of my shoulder, so hopefully this wouldn’t hamper proceedings too much.

Setting up on the peg, I noticed the odd small fish topping so was hoping a few fish might be in the area.

Set up, pole at 13m using two rigs. Rig 1: 2grm Dino Long Bream float, 0.10 main line, a 6 inch 0.09 hook length and image1size 20 PR333 hook. The float itself, has a very long body and stem also the tip itself is fairly long. The tip has a small bulb on it which aids stability in the windy conditions today, making it the perfect pattern in this depth of water. This is shotted with a 1.75grm Olivette and four small dropper shot, I also have a number ten shot directly below the float to act as a depth marker. The elastic of choice on this set up, is a soft set yellow hydro, which is the equivalent to a 5/6 solid latex, the rig is set three inches over depth.

Rig 2: 1.5grm Dino Azzurri float, 0.10 mainline, 6 inch 0.08 hook length and a size 20 PR333 hook. This rig was set dead depth to start with, but would be used to come off the bottom should it be required. Shotting was a 1.25grm olivette and four number 10 dropper shot, the elastic used on this set up, was a soft set number 6 pure latex.

Groundbait mix for the session was a 50/50 mix of Bait-Tech Pro Natural Dark and Pro Natural Extra.  I always mix my groundbait the night previous where I can, as I believe the more time given to soak up all the particles contained within the mix the better. All I do once on the bank, is dampen the groundbait down slightly before giving it a final blitz with a drill/whisk and put the whole mix through a maggot riddle. By doing this, I am left with a perfect fluffy mix which holds together firmly yet breaks down quickly once on the bottom. To the groundbait mix for the initial feed, I add a small amount of pinkies and caster, before forming 10 Jaffa orange sized balls and throwing them into the swim slightly down stream off the pole tip. On the hook bait front I have red maggot, fluro pinkies, casters, a few worms and a tin of Bait-Tech Super Sweetcorn Natural.

image3Starting off with a double pinkie on the hook, second drop in resulted in a 10oz hybrid a perfect start. Each drop in I was getting indications on pinkie if not a fish, be it a roach, small skimmer or hybrid, with most fish averaging 2-5oz.
I swapped over to maggot to see if the better sized sized that were obviously there in the swim and the fish remained the same sort of size, so decided to stay on the pinkie.  The sun then eventually broke through the clouds and was dead in front of me, which with the ripples from the ever gusting wind, made seeing the float very difficult to say the least.  To combat the lack of sight, I started to feed a new line half way down the swim, which I loose fed with sweetcorn. I quickly swapped to a bigger size 18 hook and the change was instant. Better sized 5-6oz roach were willingly snaffling the corn hook bait and even managed several Rudd that intercepted the bait on the drop.  Once the sun went behind the clouds again, I went over the groundbait line again but this time with corn instead of pinkie. I had to wait a small while longer for the bites, but as before the roach and now a few hybrids were coming to hand.  As the bites slowed slightly, I topped up with three balls of groundbait, which I still added a few casters but replaced the pinkies with corn.

Straight away after the topping up, the fish responded as before and it was a bite if not a fish each put in. This was the pattern for remainder of the session, each time bites slowed slightly, a couple balls of groundbait and the fish gainedimage4
confidence once again. Also by chopping and changing the rigs, from hard on bottom and a foot off the bottom, I was able to stay in touch with the fish. I ended the session dinner time, where I had a cracking mixed net of roach, hybrids, skimmers, a few rudd and perch absolutely brilliant session on the pole. Bait-Tech Pro Natural Dark/Extra had proven once again to be a winner of a mix and it’s easy to see why it’s my go to mix for the pole. The addition of the Pro Natural Extra, provides the extra weight to the mix which is perfect for carrying the loose offerings contained in each ball. The whole mix is packed full of goodness and when you can see the fish are full of the groundbait when being unhooked, it’s shows they are a fan of it too.

If you haven’t used this groundbait mix before, get into your local shop and grab a couple of bags as you too will be like the fish……hooked.  ooooosssssshhhhhh!

Tight Lines
Steve Cowley
Street Squad


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