Hints for catching bigger coarse fish

One of the best tips for catching fish, especially bigger than average fish, was that given to the late Richard Walker by his grandfather, writes Mike Winter.

One of the best tips for catching fish, especially bigger than average fish, was that given to the late Richard Walker by his grandfather. This was "imagine every fish has a gun and, if it detects you on the bank, it will shoot at you!"It is good to remember that during the summer months, when the waters are at their lowest and clearest, making it easy for fish to spot any activity on the banks or in the water.This is also the best time of year for the angler to do some 'homework' and very careful observation of the water in question. You must be sure that fish of the size you want to catch are present (not figments of the imagination of others!) and that they are present in reasonable numbers. It is impossible to catch what isn't living in the lake or river, to state the obvious!Club secretaries, syndicate leaders and even landowners are often good and reliable sources of information about their fisheries. In the past, I've spent as much time driving as I have fishing. For many years I was a member of the Christchurch Angling Club in Dorset. They have some wonderful waters from which I've caught some of my best fish - long stretches of the Hampshire Avon, Dorset Stour and Dorset Frome, along with numerous still waters from small estate lakes to huge 80 acre gravel pits.During my recent long illness, from which I am still recovering, I worked out just how much I was spending on fishing permits and diesel fuel. The result was that I decided to consult my fellow members of the Golden Scale Club that Chris Yates, our secretary, said "Runs like a donkey on Guinness."Although I'll never catch a bigger barbel, grayling, tench or crucian carp than I've caught before, I now don't have to drive more than 30 miles to catch carp, perch, eels, rudd and pike larger than any I've caught before. I won't have to spend nearly so much money and time driving, so allowing much more time for actually fishing.So, although I doubt I'll ever see another barbel over 12lbs in my landing net, nor the crucians or grayling over 3lbs, nor tench over 8lbs, there may be common carp between 30 and 35lbs, minor carp between 35 and 45lbs, eels to around 8lbs, rudd between 3 and 4lbs, perch between 4 and 5lbs and pike between 25 and 35lbs gracing my big landing net!It is not going to be easy to outwit such old and wily fish, but I've spent time doing my homework, verifying weights and chatting to fishery owners in person on the bank.More importantly, perhaps, I've seen fish swimming around that have almost made my eyes pop out! I now need to check all my tackle over very thoroughly, keep my fingers crossed and hope the Golden Scale pantheon will smile upon me from above!In due course, I will let you know, via this column, how I get on - for better or worse!

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