A location lesson for Linear Fisheries
Tom Maker reveals all his secrets...
Tom Maker is a hybrid of all anglers. A big fish angler, a day ticket expert, a carp-match pro, a European specialist and a short-session master. He made the finals of the junior British champs three-out-of-four and made it four-out-of-four in the adult version. In one year he caught 189 fish, including five forties and 84 thirties from his previous syndicate, and he’s one of the most successful anglers ever to walk the bank of the Linear Fisheries complex. Put bluntly, Tom Maker is one hellavua angler! Thankfully we managed to pin him down for five minutes to quiz him on his location and feature-finding knowledge when it comes to fishing on that very complex…
Q: You turn up at Brasenose, St Johns, or any of the Linear lakes for that matter, it’s rammed and you’re slotting in where you can. How do you go about locating a spot to fish? What distance, depth, lakebed type, etc., etc. are you looking for?
“The biggest element to look for when slotting in, is to find a spot within your peg that you can present bait on. By this I mean an area of clean ground where I know my rigs are going to be working effectively and my bait is going to be sitting proud, not in a heap of weed or being swallowed by thick silt. Another key factor is the range I am fishing at. With the fish naturally wanting to get away from the pressure, I am always (where possible) trying to fish further than the guys either side of me. Now I’m not looking to go silly range past them, just enough so any fish that are out long will come into contact with my baited area first.”
Q: Same scenario, but this time you’ve managed to set-up on some fish. Do you fish singles to start with and then get the leading/spod rod out later when they’ve backed off, or would you risk the disturbance to get a bed of food out there to try and hold them?
“Whenever I am fishing Linear I will always start by getting the leading rod out, regardless of how many fish I am on! These are pressured carp and are not spooked by leads. I want to make sure I find the best spot possible and get some bait on their heads. The chances are, if they are crashing in front of you then there’s a number of fish present and the best method to catch them is to give them some bait.”
Q: From what you see at Linear, what are the key elements anglers get wrong most of the time when it comes to location/spot finding?
“A lot of people go to Linear with one particular lake in mind which is a massive mistake; the complex has seven different day ticket lakes, all of which hold a pretty impressive stock. By going with an open mind, the likelihood of getting into a peg that has some fish in front of it is massively increased, rather than just setting up on, say St Johns because you caught one from their five years ago. Another big mistake I see people making is trying to fish beyond their means, trying to cast to the horizon and bladdering bait all over the place. If you’re not a massive caster and distance is an issue, then simply fish shorter and more accurately and let the fish come to you.”
Q: When fishing on the bottom, do you never split the rods up - i.e. two on a spot and another elsewhere in the swim (or just off the baited area), or do you always fish three rods tight together? And does this approach differ depending on which lake you’re fishing?
“My primary attack is to fish all rods on one area, as tight as I possibly can, but I do feel this has cost me the opportunity of catching the bigger fish, as I feel they feed differently and away from the shoal fish. That said, over the past year I have been reluctantly chucking one off to the side of the baited area, although the line angle does play havoc with my OCD!”
Q: When fishing on Hardwick/Smith - a lake which is renowned for being like an egg box, how precise/picky will you be then when it comes to locating a spot to put all your rods on?
“I have found the biggest factor to catching carp off the deck in Hardwick is to find a piece of water that is 14ft deep or less. Although the lake is very up and down, it does have a lot of areas that are very flat and relatively shallow, and because the lakebed is very much made up of clay, when the weed grows, the clear spots and shallow clay bars are very easy to find. If I find that I am in a swim where it is extremely deep, fishing solely Zig Rigs out into the deep water can be a devastating method! There is only a couple of pegs that are extremely deep so my biggest tip for fishing Hardwick is don’t be afraid to get the marker rod out, have a good feel about, and really map out the water in front of you!”
Here are Tom’s won’t-leave-home-without-them essentials
1. Sweetcorn: it’s one of Tom’s must-have baits, regardless of where he’s fishing.
2. Tom likes his hookbait to kick out attraction and Sticky’s Peach and Pepper Pop-Ups tick all the boxes.
3. New Peppers Indian menu! “They make
4. I like to fish with serious precise, angling with three rods
on a spot, so distance sticks always feature in my fishing.
5. Good quality boilies are a must and I opt for Sticky’s Krill.