Tony Curd writes about Colemans Cottage session

There are many snake type lakes around the country these days and are key parts of commercial match fishing. Typically, most anglers attack snake lake type venues with a pole approach and on most venues it’s the most effective way of approaching a match.

While I was fishing matches at Colemans Cottage Fishery, Witham, Essex I was coming up against a few problems as the water close to the small islands down the middle of the lake is extremely shallow in the summer months – less than a foot in places. This obviously presents the problem of foul hooking due to the fishery being solid!

Various feeding methods were attempted and shallow methods just weren’t quick enough, as on this venue you have anglers with 2 different schools of thought, some fish the margins for bigger fish, they may not catch for several hours but when they do owing to the size of the fish they can build a weight very quickly. Other anglers play the numbers game fishing long to the islands and short on the pole, this is the approach I take 90% of the time and my results have been very encouraging due to a radical way of approaching the matches after my problems that I have already mentioned.

I’ve always been a believer in fishing to your strengths so after a couple of frustrating days, the pole was left in the rod holdall and only one method feeder rod was assembled – a method I’ve always been very confident in on any type of commercial fishery. Some thought it was madness, but that match opened peoples eyes and it is now widely used at the venue such is its effectiveness, the first match I used it on – which incidentally was on a very un-fancied peg in normal circumstances due to being very shallow across – was amazing and I had a fish on my first cast and my last for a weight of 225lb, more than 100lb ahead of 2nd place! Since that day I’ve won many matches at the venue with weights up to 290lb all coming on the method feeder.

My approach for this style of fishing is very simple, the tackle I use has one common theme – It’s strong! These fish are crazy and will take you around the islands and break you if you aren’t geared up for the job and for that reason I tackle up with an 8lb Guru Drag-Line mainline, and a 4 inch 0.22 Guru N-Gauge hook length to a size 14 QM1 hook which I change to a 12 once I start bagging. I use a small Guru In-Line Method Feeder and the reason for that is not only that you have a bait limit to fish to but if you’re fishing for lots of fish a smaller feeder is a better option as you’ll get bites faster. If I was fishing for a few big carp in 5 hours I’d be on a big feeder and leaving it in for a fair while waiting for a bite. With this style you are in and out all the time leaving it in for no more than two minutes at any time.


I set the feeder up on a 10” twisted loop of line which the feeder runs on, this is a great way of setting the feeder up for this type of fishing as it makes the line behind the feeder a bit heavier and cuts down on liners, the other benefits being the line rubbing on the rim of the landing net which can cause damage during the course of a match, it also helps if you get caught out and a fish pulls for the island, giving you a bit of security from getting cut off.

Bait application is a huge part of feeder fishing and under standing what is going on in front of you is massive to getting the most of out your peg. I’ve already touched on the depth here and you must take this into consideration as the session evolves. For feed to put around the feeder I simply prepare 2mm Bait-Tech Premium Pellets by filling a bait box with pellets and covering with water until you can just see water through the pellets, put the lid on and leave to soak. These are done in half an hour and have softened ready to moulded around the frame of the feeder.

Going back to assessing how the depth affects what you feed – at this venue there are loads of fish and in the shallow water you’ll see tails and swirls over where the feeder has landed. This obviously sends small baits like micros everywhere and not where you want it, around the feeder! To combat this problem I simply soak some 4mm Premium pellets for a few minutes and put these around the feeder instead of the micros, these are much heavier than micros and tend to stay on the bottom instead of getting washed around the swim and causing liners. All this means you won’t be getting bites as quick as you should be. When action slows, back on with the micros to draw the fish in again.

Hook baits are simple, as when fishing the pellet method feeder the best bait is unsurprisingly – pellets! My most successful bait is undoubtedly a banded 8mm Premium Pellet, changing to 6mms from time to time as a change bait. I see no reason to use any other hook baits when fishing in this way.

As I’m fishing to a bait limit I always bring a bag of my favourite Bait-Tech Special G Gold in case I run out of pellets it’s a great mix to use on the method as it has a superb quick breakdown. I’ve never ran out of bait yet fishing in this way and its very rare to use more than 2-3 pints due to the fact you’ll be catching a fish every cast!

My session today has been typical of the matches I have fished here recently, I start off by clipping my feeder up with a 1oz bomb on the central bar next to one of the islands at 14.5m – its best to use a bomb to mimic the weight of your feeder as if you don’t the feeder will go much further once you’ve put bait on it. Casting in with an 8mm premium pellet on the band, the rod is constantly knocking and eventually a fish rips the rod round and its game on!

After several casts fish start swirling at my bait and I’m catching a fish a cast, changing over to 4mms around the feeder speeds my bite time up and everything goes like a dream for the rest of the session, changing back to micros once everything settled down a bit to build it up again, there is no point in having hundreds of fish in the swim as you cant catch them all at once! At the end of the session my nets contained around 150lb of carp and another 60lb of barbel and F1’s, an awesome days fishing in any ones book. Get out and give this approach a try on a commercial snake lake near you!

See more photos of Tony’s session on Facebook, click here or watch footage that was taken on this day.

3 Responses to Tony Curd writes about Colemans Cottage session

  1. michael clements June 16, 2013 at 10:54 am

    Hey,i am led to believe method fishing is NOT allowed at colemans cottage

    • Tony Curd June 19, 2013 at 8:12 pm

      Hi Michael

      I have fished at Colemans in Open matches for the last 5 years, and the in-line Method has always been allowed, what isn’t allowed is the use of elasticated method feeders. Please if you feel like you need more clarification on fishery rules, check their website or give them a call on 01376 516383 .

      Best Regards

      Tony Curd

  2. Rob July 17, 2014 at 9:23 am

    What lake was this fished on?

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