Meaty Margins

by Alan Gallagher



After watching Danny Fairbrass on thinking tackle spodding out his munga mix it got me reflecting on my own fishing. Specimen anglers have great success fishing over large amounts of bait with a lot of thought to the attractants and food content, its fish holding capabilities its location and the carps reaction to this. Why can't this be applied to match fishing, well simply it can and after using this tactic for a while and winning a few brown envelopes I am willing to share my match mix and how I fish it. Thinking back to a specimen approach amounts of bait must be relative as match anglers are targeting numbers of fish and not that big fish chance also the size of those fish have to be considered but all carp are greedy and food content can be that edge we are always looking for.

The mix has to be based on something that I feel confident in using and for me that has to be meat in its many forms. Luncheon meat has and is a staple for match anglers everywhere but 4,6,8mm cubes are so regularly used that the fish must be wary of a carpet of these. By pushing all my meat through a riddle I have made a dramatic change to its look and created much more surface area for its attractants to leak from keeping all of its qualities yet keeping the fish guessing. Next is a couple of tins of flaked tuna in brine, I add the brine too. Salt is used as a preservative in a lot of food and is probably the strongest flavour so its not waisted. Next is Bait tech krill and tuna method mix, this mix binds well and is heavy which lends itself to my application. Last but not least is pellets in 4 and 2mm, these break down at different rates and give the impression of bait that has been in the water for longer like a washed out bait. To mix I put all the ingredients together and mix so it is even when dry, the water content is from frozen hemp water that I have reserved when cooking and bagging up my hemp. This mix is made 24 hours before the session, I add enough hemp water to form a dry paste that after resting will break up in your hands and lay heavy on the bottom.



When you break up the feed you will have some lumps which I leave, I now replicate this with a paste made from some extra riddled meat and ground bait to provide a hook bait to present. The fish will be confident feeding on the larger lumps and having a predetermined consistency of paste to fish with keeps me ahead of the fish. The consistency of paste is up to you but I fish this as soft as possible. How to feed as unlike the carp boys I don't have a spod rod with me but potting it in the margins loose works very well. I do use its sound to my advantage and drop the bait in from a height, I feel this is a huge advantage as the sound , pulling power of the food content and the fact it looks like its been in the water a while gets the fish feeding with confidence and creates competition quickly. One of the frustrations of ground bait in the edge is that the fish can be consumed by it and getting them to take a hook bait can prove impossible at times but as your paste is effectively the ground bait you are using this behaviour becomes a fish catching advantage.

Location is much easier as your peg is your peg and under match rules you are working with what you have. I have chosen a peg at Frasers Fishery in Little Downham that is perfect. These man-made commercial fisheries are often made in the same way and lots of margins have the same properties. The attractive reed lined corner is a fish holding feature but often make the soft paste hard to fish as you need a flat area to present the paste on. The reeds as attractive as they are, are often planted on the ledge that I am looking to fish leaving a slope that the paste rolls down and off the hook. Instead I look for bare bank like you would against an island, this allows me control over the rig and a platform to feed on plus I can get close to the edge and hide the pole over there heads if I need to.

My rig for this is slightly different to my paste a 2+2 as a lot of fish in shallow water means liners. The float is an in line strong thick tipped pattern in a 0.1 gram size. Its fished on 3.6 to 3lb line with a size 12 hook to house the big lump of paste that acts as an anchor with no shot down the line. I plumb this up at dead depth and then add half the length of the float again. This makes the float cock to the side a bit and point at the paste when you get a positive sharp pull it will be clear that its a bite but having your float like this makes all the little liners much more obvious and helps you to work out what's going on sub surface. Getting the fish away from the others feeding is important and with you set up like this its clear to see if you will be pulling the fish from the margin or setting the hook and following it out of the swim by how the float moves.



Feeding is something you have to work out but as a rule I put a bit in to start and then never feed with the rig in the water. When the hooked fish bolts I think the feed gets scattered over a larger area from the disturbance but by potting in again before your paste is in pin points these fish again allowing you to get amongst their hungry mouths and keep lining them up and reduces the chance of foul hooking. Today my session has been text book with a fast response and a swim that builds getting stronger as the feed goes in, I couldn't feed enough today and estimate my catch to be around 70lb after 3 hours.

All the best



Alan Gallagher is sponsored by Miracle Baits.


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