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Autumn/Winter Skimmer Fishing

We have already had our first frost and for those of you who have been out on the bank I’m sure you can tell the fishing is starting to change as the fish prepare to settle into full winter mode.

This time of year can offer some of the best silverfish sport and here at the PDAC we are lucky that there is such a head of silvers in Nyewood. Our members have recently reported bags of silverfish to 40lb +. So hopefully the information below can help you put a few silvers in the net over the next few months.

When going out to specifically target skimmers 9 times out of 10 the first thing you will need to consider is your ground bait. There is such an array of different companies and flavours on the market you can be slightly overwhelmed when walking into tackle shops if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

These days bait companies have a comprehensive list of ingredients and other information available on their packaging. I tend to set my stall around 2 types of feed. A fishmeal based and a pellet based option. For me personally I tend to steer towards the Sounubaits F1 dark mixed with either Thatchers or Super Sweet.

If I want to incorporate a pellet-based approach into my session I will look to be using either 2mm pellets, soaked 4mms and sometimes even a dashing of milled pellet. Sonubaits have just released a new 1mm micro pellet which looks like it could a great addition to the range and something that I will hoping to try when im next out.

The Bait

My bait tray will usually consist of having the following during a session for skimmers.

• Maggots

• Dead Maggots

• Fluro Pinkies

• Dead Fluro Pinkies

• Worm

• Caster

• Expanders

Unless you know the venue you’re fishing I would advise to ease your way into the session as you do not want to put a load of bait into the swim to find you have overfed it before you even begin to fish it.

If I was choosing to fish with Maggots and pinkies I would look to measure out and how many ‘dead’ offerings I would add to my ground bait mix. Once measured I would then look to move some of the mixed ground bait into a separate bowl to ensure I still have’ neat’ ground bait I can use in case the fish don’t want the free offerings on the day. Its all about not putting all of your eggs in one basket. This means you can keep ringing the changes to find out what they want.

As a rule of thumb when I look to start the session, I will feed a positive line and a negative line. The positive line with 2 or 3 balls laced with free offerings and then a cup of loose ground bait over the top.

The negative line a slightly small sized ball of neat Ground bait. If this was a match scenario, I would then look to fish either a short line or a feeder for the first hour and let the fish come and settle on the 2 lines I have just fed.

The positive line to be fed at 10 o’clock and negative line to the right at 2 o’clock. I would typically look to start at around 11/13m out on the pole.

Look to start on the negative line and see if you get any indications. You would hope that you would get a relatively quick response. Once you get your first couple of bites The key is then when and how much to start topping up.

Sometimes it can be a little ball or even a little nugget fed from a toss pot every 2nd or 3rd fish. Then as the session progresses a look on the positive line will hopefully yield a few bigger skimmers which are great weight builders.

As for the hook bait I would look to fish either dead maggots/pinkies on the hook or try and expander. Worms can also be a great skimmer bait so as mentioned above always worth having a few on the side tray.

What to do if your bites dry up?

Its not uncommon for the fish to back off or slightly move off the feed when targeting skimmers. I would recommend just feeding your ground bait just short of where you are going to fish. Then this gives you the upper hand by fishing just past the bait and the option to drop back onto the baited area.

Another tip would be to also not be opposed to fishing to the left or right of the bait.

This can usually pick a few of the bigger fish out who are grazing just off the bait.

Finally, don’t be afraid to push out another section as they may have backed off completely.

If anyone is out on the bank and catches a nice bag of silvers over the next months be sure to send them into us and we can share on the website and social media.

Tight Lines Jamie

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