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My Winter Tip - Jamie Foster

Having recently taken on the position of Junior Liaison Officer with PDAC committee,

I wanted to bring a little something into the monthly newsletters to try help the members put those extra few fish in the net, whether it be a pleasure session or a Match Scenario.

So to kick things off I want to share some tips that have helped me catch silvers throughout this winter even when the temperature has been below 0.

Winter Silverfish - How Light do you go?

A big thing this time of year is ensuring that you are keeping busy and catching some fish. Lots of things can contribute to your catch ratio at any given time during the year however winter is slightly trickier to get the most out of your swim. The four main points for me that make a difference this time of year are:

  • Float Choice

  • Hook Length & Hook Choice

  • Shotting Patterns

  • Feeding

The Floats

Starting with the float. If conditions are good and the weather allows me I will always opt for the lightest float I can get away with. I have recently been using a 4x10 (0.2 gram) chianti style float, the advantages to using this style is that it offers superior sensitivity compared to say a carp float at this time of year. I will tend to have two rigs set up for any given session, one that will be fishing on the bottom and one that will be used to fish through the water. As a rule of thumb, a good starting point to work out what float to use is the ratio of 1ft of water to 0.1gram of float weight. So, for example if you were fishing in 4ft of water then you could use a 4x14 (0.4gram) float.

Hook Length and Hook Choice

This time of year, when targeting silvers you need to be prepared to fish super light and delicate to ensure you hit those bites from the finicky silvers. There are plenty of ‘ready tied’ hooks available from tackle shops these days and they are always a great place to start if you do not have time to tie your own. You ideally do not want to be fishing anything heavier than 0.10 (2lb breaking strain) this time of year. A light hook length combined with a light wire gauge hook like a Black Gamma or Guru f1 Maggot are perfect for winter Silvers. I would look to be fishing anything between a size 18 and size 22.

Shotting Patterns

This time of year there is only 2 shotting patterns I will use. For fishing on the deck I will use a bulk and 1 or 2 droppers. As per the diagram to the left. The bulk ensures the rig gets down to a certain depth quickly while the droppers allow for a slower fall of your hook bait into the area of the swim where you are hoping to catch the fish.

The other type of shotting pattern I use this time of the year is the strung out style. By spreading your shot evenly throughout your rig this allows the bait to fall at a much more natural speed compared to the bulk and droppers.

This plays a massive part in my winter silver fishing as this is a great way to catch those big wary roach through the water. I would look to use the lightest float possible for this rig to ensure that the bait is falling naturally and giving the fish the best chance to see my bait.

Quick tip: when plumbing up my ‘strung out’ rig I do this with no shot on the line. This way when I find the depth I want to fish in I can ensure my shot are evenly strung out in the depth I am fishing which again will emphasise the even fall of the hook bait,


I do not go anywhere this time of year with out a pint of maggots and a handful of pinkies. The golden rule with feeding unless you are super confident in the venue you are fishing, is feed little and often. I have been on the end of some horrific days fishing that in hindsight I only have myself to blame due to overfeeding or feeding the wrong bait at the start.

If I don’t know the venue, I will always feel my way into a session by catapulting 5-10 maggots every 5 minutes to see if I can get a bite. This way you have not ruined your swim by putting 4 or 5 balls of ground bait in at the start of a session. You can not take out what you have put in.

When feeding loose maggots this will most likely bring the fish up in the water which is when you would want to be using your ‘strung out’ rig. By laying your rig to one side and in the loose fed maggots the hook bait will fall naturally through the water mimicking the free offerings.

Looking forward to the 2021/22 season I can confirm that we have an inter-club junior Match with Godalming A.C. The first round is due to take place on Saturday 15th May at Marsh Farm in Milford with the return fixture to take place on Saturday 25th September at Nyewood Ponds.

We have also got the 2021 Junior Open booked in for Saturday 31st July 2021.

Please drop me an email or a call if you wish to know any more information on any of the above.


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