Latest Issue February
Rich Wilby Features

What you learn as a fishery owner...

Owner of Norfolk’s premium fishery, Airfield Lakes, Rich Wilby reveals what he learnt from watching anglers fish when the venue was run as a day ticket

“There were a number of recurring mistakes I used to see whilst walking around Mustang Lake: (1) Too much noise. (2) Blunt hooks and most anglers seem to use hooks which are too big in relationship to their bait. (3) Not enough bait or too much bait. (4) Casting out at bite time (i.e. early morning) and (5) not watching the water.”

“When it came to features, the majority of the anglers on my main lake, Mustang, were drawn to the island - in fact, some wouldn’t even fish unless they could get a swim which gave them access to the island. For most of the year the island wasn’t the best area; I caught most of my fish on tuitions from the small corner swims. But the island seems to be what most anglers want, even if the fish were jumping in open water.”

“The most successful anglers on my lake would always walk around to try and locate the bulk of the fish. They would keep their rigs simple and come prepared with plenty of boilies. If the conditions were good, they would keep the swim topped up; if things are cold or not looking great, they would just fish for a bite rather than a hit.”

“Baiting up at the wrong time did ruin a lot of the angler’s chances. Okay, on some days you can rain boilies in all day and the fish will stay there, but on those still, calm days when the carp are grubbing about, the last thing they want is to be bombed with leads and bait.”

“There is definitely some truth in the classic “being different to the next guy will catch you more” quote. But I think it is the little things that make a difference. I don’t think it pays to try and be too clever and reinvent things. Just lengthening or shortening a Hair can make all the difference on a pressured day ticket lake. I think you need to be different but just in small ways.”

“My top five tips for anyone approaching a day ticket this spring/summer would be: (1) Go prepared with bait and tools to put it out with: a catapult, throwing stick, spod/Spomb and a bait scoop are all needed at times, so I would have all of them with me. (2) Move swims if a good chance comes up, too many anglers will not move when they should and can sometimes. (3) Ask the bailiff or owner what bait is working. It can sometimes pay to be on the going bait, even if you might not like it. (4) Some of the bites on day ticket venues can be finicky, so use your bobbins as indicators. Don’t fish mega slack lines unless you are fishing very short range. (5) Be nice and talk to other anglers; don’t be too proud or too shy to ask.”

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