How to win at match fishing - 21 top tips

(Image credit: Angler's Mail)

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The Maver/Bag’em Baits-sponsored angler was a popular winner of the top individual title in Open match angling, having come close on a number of occasions.

Here, the Wirral, Merseyside-based star gives you 21 great tips to set you on the road to success.

1. Go light

Always fish the lightest lines you can get away with, depending on the size of the fish and the peg conditions. Fishing lines as low as 0.08 mm will get you more bites.

Have rigs at the ready. They can save so much time when in a match. The last thing you want is to be making a new rig just as the fish start having a proper chew.

3. Be prepared

Ensure you are fully prepared before every match. If all of your rigs, hook lengths, elastic and bait are ready, then you spend more time fishing, which will result in more fish in the net at the end of the match.

4. Scale down

In winter I like to use the lightest lines and most sensitive floats that the weather conditions and size of fish allow. I think this helps to get me more bites on the really hard days.

5. Be positive

In summer I like to use fairly positive floats and robust main lines. A positive and stable float will help to reduce liners, while a robust main line will make the rig more durable when catching big weights.

6. Crushers

I always feed some Bag’em XP crushed expanda when fishing pellets on the pole. It pulls in all types of fish but doesn’t feed them much, so they are more likely to take your hook bait.

7. Make some noise

If things aren’t going to plan then use a catapult to create some noise in your peg, this will draw fish from a wider area and create more competition for the bait you are feeding.

8. In the hollow

Apart from in snaggy pegs, I will always fish light, hollow elastics, such as blue or grey Maver Dual Core Extreme. When this is coupled with a pull bung, fish of any size can be landed.

9. On the Pulla

I use Preston Pulla kits on almost all of my top kits. They allow me to fish much lighter lines and elastics and help me to land fish quicker.

10. Pukka plumbing

Don’t rush plumbing your peg – it is the most important part of the session before the match starts. Every part of the peg must be searched to find all the variations in depth and any features that may not be visible from above the water.

11. Halve it

On snake lakes I will often start by fishing a single 6 mm bread punch at half depth, with no feed against any far bank features. This can catch a wary fish that may have been spooked if any feed had been introduced.

12. Lubed up

I always spray my reel line with elastic lubricant before I use it, as this helps the line leave the spool more freely and improves my casting.

13. Long 'n' wide

Use a long landing net handle and a wide mesh landing net. This allows you to net fish further out and more effectively, as the wide mesh lets the net move quickly through the water.

14. Clean up

Keep your gear clean. A clean pole will allow you to ship more smoothly and help  you to avoid tangling rigs.

15. Quality bait

Always use a good quality feed and hook pellet. Feed pellets should be uniform in size, light in colour and should be suitable for softening up without falling to pieces. Expanda pellets should also be able to be kept in water without excessive swelling or turning to mush.

16. Colour match

Always try to use an Expanda that matches the colour of your feed pellets or groundbait. This will get you more bites from wary fish.

17. Singles club

Using single hook baits such as maggots, bread and corn can catch huge bags of fish without feeding a thing, when freebies could potentially spoil your chances of catching in winter.

18. Be different

Experimenting with hooking baits in different ways can often help you to catch wary fish that have seen it all before. By side hooking a maggot or burying your hook in a piece of corn you can catch that extra couple of fish that could make all the difference at the weigh-in.

19. Spares

I always try to set up duplicate rigs before a match. This can save a lot of time on those days when you tangle your rig just as you start catching.

20. Go potty!

I like to use small Kinder pots for nearly all of my pole fishing.  They are great for feeding small amounts accurately in winter, or creating a concentrated area of feed when feeding with a catapult in the summer.

21. Gen up

Try to gather as much info as possible before fishing a new venue, or one that you haven’t visited in a while. It can save a lot of time and allow you to create a more detailed plan of attack before the match.