Ian Roper Features

5 Common Mistakes Made At Linear Fisheries

What are the most common errors anglers make on Linear? We ask one of the key bailiffs, Ian Roper…


1: Choosing where to fish before leaving home
“Time and time again I see anglers turn up, only then to leave immediately because their chosen swim is occupied. I also see anglers fish particular swims, regardless of time of year, just because they watched a video that was filmed there. Come with an open mind, always. With eight lakes available on a day ticket to choose from, you’ll always get a chance of a bite over a 24-hour period. If you’re unsure, ask the bailiff!”

2: Turning up first thing on a Friday or Saturday
“As many of you know, we get very busy in the run-up to a weekend. At times I see anglers jump out of their vehicles and head for a swim just because it’s empty (for perhaps similar reasons as we’ve people panic-buying of late). It’s a dilemma perhaps: should they arrive early and get a choice of swim, or come later and just take a chance. Why Linear works so well with anglers I think, is that we don’t have a set time for arrival and leaving; anglers come and go all the while. It’s always best to take your time to walk the lakes and to talk to other anglers. This is easier, later in the morning when anglers are up and about… at 7 a.m. most are still asleep and don’t want to chat!”

3: Jumping into a swim that’s just done a big hit
“Our lakes are famous for having a large head of carp, but that doesn’t mean that they’re easy. Following Tom Maker or Kev Hewitt into a swim after they’ve had 40-odd fish doesn’t mean you’re going to pick up where they left off. Yes, we all know the fish shoal up in certain areas in the winter, but they get pushed around. They’re possibly the most pressured carp in the country, and getting into the area - as opposed to the swim - is the important thing. I’ve seen anglers blank so many times after following others into a swim, not because of their lack of ability - well okay, sometimes! - but mostly because the fish have moved off due to the pressure they’ve been subjected to.”

Following Tom Maker or Kev Hewitt into a swim after they’ve had 40-odd fish doesn’t mean you’re going to pick up where they left off

4: Tactics 
“If only I had a pound for every time I’ve seen anglers getting it wrong at the start of their session! All our bailiffs will offer advice. We walk around the lakes, watching what everyone’s doing and what they’re catching on. We’re aware of whether they’re on the bottom, over bait or bags, on single hookbaits, or casting out Zigs. We share that information… we actually want you to catch!

“Time and time again we’re asked, “What’s he catching on over there?” Only to hear after we’ve explained, “Zigs? Oh, I don”t use Zigs…”

“Zigs and bags catch the majority of the fish, the former in the spring when the water’s warming up and everything’s beginning to emerge and hatch. You’ll see the gulls going crazy… get the Zigs on! Be confident though, and fish them on all of your rods, in different colours and at different depths.

“Interestingly, I’ve seen a change with the Zigs. Since we banned the spodding of maggots, it’s obviously limited the number going into the lakes. I believe that when maggots were being introduced in such large quantities, a good number of carp would then pass them, and to such an extent that the discharge would be suspended in the water column. Then, Zigs would work all the time. Now however, the effectiveness of a Zig is more dependent on hatches at certain times of year. Always watch the water!”

5: Heavy Baiting 
“It horrifies me when I walk into a swim and see the amount of bait some anglers bring. Yes, there are times when you really can’t put enough bait out, but there are many more occasions when putting a large bed of bait out at the beginning of a session will kill your swim. Always start with a softly-softly approach. Put out bags or singles while you get sorted out and set up. Then sit and watch the water and figure out what’s happening. You’ll usually be able to establish what mood they’re in from their behaviour.

“Another mistake I see is anglers coming to fish Brasenose with loads of bait, only to then head off to one of the other lakes and to fish it like there are 2,000 fish in front of them… They spod the granny out of it! This not only ruins their session, but also those of the anglers around them. Different waters require different approaches. I always suggest watching our DVD (available on YouTube), before you visit, should it be your first time on a particular lake.”

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