Reach the unreachable, with Andy Power.
Andy Power explains how a long-line attack can help you reach fish that otherwise might prove uncatchable…
So, you’ve drawn a peg with an island 20 metres away and a favourable wind off your shoulder… how would you approach it? You could fish the feeder, and maybe you’ll catch early but potentially spook the fish from the limited water in front of you. Or the waggler may be a good option, particularly with a difficult wind.
Better still, you could long-line it with the pole, a deadly but underused tactic in my opinion. Today you find me on Acorn Lake at the famous White Acres Fisheries, where I am going to show you the basics of this simple but rewarding tactic.
As with most kinds of fishing, the key to success with long-lining is much to do with feeding.
I always have a few rigs in my box specifically for this tactic as, although this scenario doesn’t come along that often, it definitely helps to have the right setup to help you present your bait efficiently. Ideally I believe you need a round-bodied float to help you control the rig, a short carbon stem to allow the float to follow the bulk in flight without tangling, and a short, thick tip that cocks quickly and is highly visible when fishing 18 to 20 metres out.
Such a float is not available on the market so I doctor my own using PB Inter 2 floats. I simply chop the carbon stem in half, then cut the bristle down to a 5mm stump and glue a 2mm hollow float bristle around an inch long in place over the top (these hollow tips are available from most tackle shops). This gives me the perfect float for the job, and I carry them from 0.4g up to 1.5g, on lines that are five metres long, to cover me for all conditions or distances. Picking the correct size float can be trial and error until you can swing the rig comfortably.
These rigs are then shotted with an Olivette as a bulk with two No10 droppers. Main lines are usually the lightest I feel I can get away with, typically 0.13mm Reflo Power. The thinner the main line, the less wind resistance it has, giving me a better presentation. Also, placing float silicone halfway up the bristle can reduce tangles when the rig does, unfortunately spin through the air on the cast.
This requires a little thought, as it’s obviously impossible to do accurately in the conventional way. To plumb up I do it as if I was fishing a waggler; it helps to initially undershot the float, to help it sit above the plummet and not at an angle. When I swing the plummet I try to let the float land on top of it so the rig is sitting vertically, then adjust the float until it is just visible. I can then fine-tune this if I feel the need with an AAA shot, instead of a plummet, as this will allow the rig to sit straighter.
Today I have elected to fish in two-and-a-half feet of water against the island, which puts me around two feet away from it. With the nights still being bitterly cold I think this is an ideal depth for fish to feed confidently, especially as this shallow water should soon warm up in the bright sunshine today.
The length of the rig is then fine-tuned after plumbing by making a few practice casts and trimming the rig down until the float lands on the required spot with a tight line behind the float.
Andy's doctored floats make the perfect swingers!
Casting or swinging your rig into place can require a bit of practice if you have never done it, but essentially it’s quite easy. When you ship out try lifting the pole as you ship out to create momentum to flick the rig out; if you don’t then hit the required spot simply swing the rig back and forth in a pendulum motion until you gain enough momentum to make the cast.
By dropping the pole at the last moment you straighten the rig out and feather it down to minimise disturbance. Also, by keeping the line straight between pole and float, there is less slack to pick up on the strike, meaning you hit more bites
Bigger carp like this often hug the sanctuary of an island!
This can be a little awkward with so much line; I like to ship back to my top four or five as soon a possible, keeping the pole tip low, maintaining pressure on the fish, then as it is within netting range I lift the top five to try and keep the fish’s head up.
With bigger fish I always have the option of using my side puller while still playing fish on a top four or five. You may be tempted to use heavy elastics to make up for the extra line, but I believe this is wrong. Striking with so much line requires a big strike, causing a lot of pressure on the hook-hold, so lighter hollow elastic reduces this risk.
Today I’ve opted for a No10 Dura Hollo, which allows me to just net small carp and F1s on a top five without the use of a Pulla, but is soft enough not to pull out of them on strike.
Ideal baits for this tactic are maggots and casters; using maggots on the hook can be great for when you need to fish a little overdepth to hold the bottom, as fish seem to hold on to them for longer, giving you time to see the bite. However, depending on the venue small nuisance fish can be a problem with these baits, which is when I turn to pellets or meat.
Pellets can be great in the warmer months particularly when the fish are coming shallow, and make a great attractive noise when loose fed. However, bites can be harder to hit unless you can present them close to dead depth in perfect conditions.
Meat can offer a few more advantages; it quite often picks out the bigger fish and it sinks very slowly. This can be a great advantage as it allows the fish more time to intercept the bait on the drop. A lot of the bites with this tactic come on the drop, so a slow-sinking bait may give you that edge.
I have an island around 20 metres away, so I have opted to set a 0.8g rig a little longer than my top four for the spot I intend to feed, and also a 1g rig with a little extra line to search the peg left and right, and for a bit more stability and casting weight for when the wind gets up.
Today I’ve started the session by feeding… nothing! By placing the olivette just under the float to give myself a slower drop with a 6mm piece of punched meat on a hair and Quickstop I’ve managed a few early bonus carp and F1s without feeding. The sound of my olivette hitting the water seems to create an attractive ‘plop’, and by dropping the rig in the same place twice I create a double plop, which seems to draw the fish to my hookbait, similar to slapping when fishing shallow.
I then start to loose feed three to five 6mm cubes of meat every couple of minutes, which gets a few fish competing. As the session goes on, though, it’s clear I cannot keep plundering this line as the fish back off after I hook one. I then start a new line at 16 metres at an angle towards the open water to my right, again with 6mm meat but using a Cad Pot for accuracy.
I continue to pick off F1s by potting just five pieces and waiting for a bite. All the while I loose feed meat on the island swim to let them gain confidence again in the quiet water.
When I do go back on the long line the sport is brilliant – the fish are really feeding confidently with plenty of F1s, carp and even a goldfish gracing the net! After a cold winter it’s finally nice to get fish competing for bait again, roll on the summer!
Andy's Swinging Secrets!
1. Different size floats help Andy swing different distances and cope with variable conditions.
2. Light lines and small hooks help fool wary fish and with balanced tackle everything can be landed as long as enough time is taken.
3. Punched meat is great for swinging because it sinks really slowly, which gibes fish plenty of time to intercept it.
Angler File -
Sponsors: Preston Innovations/Sonubaits
White Acres Fisheries
Location: White Cross, Newquay, Cornwall TR8 4LW
Contact: 01726 862519
Always try and keep a tight line between pole tip and float, to help hit bites and control the rig.
Placing the bulk under the float gives a slower fall, but placing it at half depth will reduce tangles.
Using strong butt sections or a mini extension will protect your pole from damage from what can be a demanding tactic.
Carry spare No4 or even No5 sections to help you swap easily between rigs.
No10 Dura Hollo
Doctored 0.8/1g PB Inter2 float
0.13mm Reflo Power main line
0.11mm Reflo Power hooklengths, size 20 PR36 hook, with a Quickstop on the hair