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Clive Branson Coarse Fish guide
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Clives 101 Coarse fishing Tips

This new page will be a selection of Clives top 101 angling tips



A cheap alternative to pole float winder anchors. Use any left over pole elastic, just a few inches and tie a loop either end and use as a cheap alternative to expensive pole winder anchors. Simply loop one end to line and the other to the winder.


Small drip feeder cup. When fishing the pole and want a small drip of feed going into the swim. Use a plastic kinder egg container bought from a local sweet shop. Simply make a hole either end of the cup ready to slip onto the end of the Pole. Before doing so, either make a few holes so that maggots can crawl out and drop into the swim. Alternatively cut a hole large enough for feed to drop out when shaking the pole. The plastic kinder egg can split in the middle for filling.


Keeping hooks rust free. Simply drop a few rice seeds into the hook box. The rice will absorb any moister present. Change the rice when needed.


Hook traces. It is so much easier when changing hook lengths to have them made up on a readymade trace. Tie them up at home and lay them on a rigid card, 10 inches by 8 inches. Use either a cereal package or cut a piece from a cardboard box. Simply cut a groove either end and attach the hook to one end and loop the other and attach. Mark the size of hook and breaking strain with a pen on the card next to the trace.


Keeps hook sharpened. A small emery cloth 2 inches by 2inches kept in the tackle box is an ideal hook sharpener. Alternatively use a small sharpening stone and with a few gentle rubs along the point of the hook will keep them sharpened. Especially when hooking the bottom of a stone based waterway.


Hooking more fish. By turning the hook slightly outwards and to the side will allow the point of the hook to penetrate a fishes mouth much easier allowing more hooked fish when striking.


Easy joints. Use candle wax on joints of the pole or rods, This will help to protect the joints as well as making them slip easier together or apart.


Stop line freezing in rod eyes. When winter fishing use a dab of glycerine to each eye on the fishing rod. This will stop the eyes from freezing up in cold winter conditions.


Loading line on to reels. When loading line onto a fishing reel, place the new spool of line into a container of water (small bucket or sink will do) attach new line to reel either by a loop or tie onto backing line. Manually whip a few loops of line around the knot before reeling on new line. The water in the container will clean the line as well as loading the reel spool correctly without twisting.


Disposing of line.
Cut up old or discarded line with a pair of scissors, into small one inch pieces before disposal.


Pole Cups.
Use tops of old canister’s as pole cups. Either fix to end of spare pole top or Glue a small spring attachment to bottom of the top. Fix to pole as a cheap alternative to a pole cup. Available in small sizes.


Unhooking eels. Hold an eel upside down with the use of the top of the keep net or landing net. This will subdue the eel whilst holding the wriggling eel still. Use a stompo disgorger for deep swallowed hooks.


Swimfeeders. Use plastic hair curlers as a cheep alternative. Simply apply a small strip of lead to the side and attach a swivel to the top.


Mini feeder. Use a strip of thick cellophane such as an x-ray sheet. Roll into a small cone. Attach a swivel to the top and swan shott in the top of the cone. A cheap and ideal mini groundbait feeder.


Plummet for snaggy bottoms. Roll a flat piece of lead around a strip of sponge and flatten. Pass the hook through the sponge. Use as a plummet. If the plummet gets stuck on the bottom simply apply pressure. The float rig will come away all in tact. A convenient and cheap way of not loosing the float rig in a snaggy swim.


Camouflaging a float. Simply paint the body of a float white. This will camouflage the float against a bright sky. Allowing shy feeding fish to feed under the float


Degrease fishing line. Place the fishing reel spool in a tub of water, add washing up liquid and leave to soak over night. This will degrease the fishing line and allow the line to sink. Ideal when waggler or ledger fishing.


Floating line. Use a flat piece of cloth dipped in Vaseline. Cast the line out and retrieve holding the cloth so that the line runs between pinched fingers. Alternatively purchase musclin from tackle shop and apply the same. Ideal for stick float fishing.


Hooking worms. Break the worm in half and hook the two pieces on the top. This will allow the juices to leak from the bottom of the worm whilst the natural wriggle will attract those feeding fish.


Hooking maggots. Hook a maggot from underneath the two eyes. This will allow the hook to face upwards so not to snag on the bottom. Whilst lifting up when striking into a fish.


Double maggot hooking. Top and tail the maggot when using double maggot. This will help stop twisting of line when retrieving.


Shy bites. Thread a maggot or worm up the shank of the hook when fish are biting shy. This will conceal the hook allowing fish to feed confidently.


Floating maggot. Introduce a small amount of water into a bait container, ¼ inch. Cut out a square in the lid. This will stop the maggots from crawling out when wet. Add a hand full of hook bait maggot. Within a few minutes the maggot will absorb moister and the maggot will become floating. Use these maggots as hook bait as they will counter balance the weight of the hook, making the bait more natural.


Sticky maggot. Clean your loose feed bait (Maggots) riddle them through a sieve. Introduce them into a ladies nylon stocking. Tie the end and wash them under a running tap. Dry them with a cloth or hair dryer. Place in clean bait box, add a couple of spoonful of Horlicks powder drink. The maggot will stick together allowing them to be moulded into a ball, ready for catapulting into the swim at long distances.


Groundbaiting Rivers. Add small stones or aquarium pebble gravel into bread-based groundbait. This will give weight to the groundbait which will sink quicker in a fast flowing river, allowing the groundbait to break up whilst on the bottom of the river.


Baiting up a flowing river. Use a carrot mesh bag, add a few stones into the bag as weight. Fill up with bait such as maggot, caster, worms, groundbait etc.. Tie up the end of the bag. Tie a heavy fishing line to the top, throw the bag into the swim where you expect to fish. Leave whilst fishing. Retrieve when required. Repeat process.


Catapulting correctly. Turn the folk of the catapult upside down before using. The cup or pouch of the catapult will rebound without hitting knuckles or the back of the hand.


Camouflaging a pole over the top of feeding fish. When the water is clear or fishing near the surface, paint the top sections of the pole white or light blue. This will act as Camouflage against the sky or cloud. Allowing fish not to spook.


Stopping rubbish or weed covering the bait. When fishing a swollen river a lot of rubbish can attach itself to the line slipping down and covering the bait. Simply place a bb shot 2 inches above the hook. The weed or rubbish will stop on the shot allowing the bait not to be covered. Also place the same size shot above the swimfeeder eliminating the same.


Degreasing a constant floating line. Wrap a sponge around the head of a rod rest top, with the use of electrical ties, add a few drops of washing up liquid to the sponge. Retrieve the line through the sponge by resting the rod on top of the sponge.


Landing big fish on light gear on rivers. When hooking large fish on rivers, play out the fish and guide the fish above you in the swim, add a little pressure and bring the fish over the landing net.


Snag in the swim. When hooking a snag in the swim, try pulling from the opposite direction to release. If that fails try adding pressure with the rod pointed straight at the snag.


Breeding gozzers or Extra large maggots. Use a carcase of a chicken with a little meat left on the bone. Add boiled eggs to the centre then fill completely. Place chicken in shade. Watch over with stick and repel all flies until the large blue bottle fly arrives. Allow them to lay eggs. Wrap up chicken in newspaper and leave in a dry warm place. Check after 5/7 days when maggots are large enough place carcase over a maggot sieve. Introduce soft bran to maggots keeping them soft.


Collecting worms. A quick easy and convenient way of collecting worms for fishing. Find a cut grass lawn, use a water can and introduce washing up liquid to the water. Sprinkle over a square meter at a time. Worms will come out of the earth, collect and wash them quickly in clean water then dry in peat or moss.


Making fishing paste. Half fill a container with fine fish pellet. Add the same amount of hot boiling water. Leave to soak until cool. Add egg yolk and food gluten. Mix with hands until soft paste is required. Mould into medium size balls and seal in plastic bags until required.


Turning casters golden. Place white turned casters onto a damp cloth. Wrap or roll them up and place into a fridge. Leave for a few hours. The caster will all turn into the same colour, place them in an air-tight container until use.


Keeping maggot fresh. After purchasing fresh maggot bait, riddle them clean through a sieve. Place into plastic bag, take out the air and tie up bag. Place them in fridge and keep until fishing day. Open bag a few hours before fishing, place maggots on sieve and wait until they revive. Dispose of dead maggot and use fresh bait.


Dead maggots. When dead maggots are required for fishing (Bream or eel fishing) Place maggots into pellet pump, extract air then place in freezer for an hour. Open pellet pump and place maggot in water until use. Alternatively pour boiling water over live maggot. (However this may make the maggot tough)


Catching small fry. When required to catch small fish minnows, fry etc.. (Winter league etc) Pinch small hook together until the gape is extra small. Cut head of maggot or pinky maggot place on hook. Fish with light line. Alternatively Use the yolk of a caster, dip hook into open caster bait and twist. The yolk will hang onto hook, place bait in front of fish in view.


Punched bread. When using punch bread as bait, place fresh slice of bread into clear plastic bag, seal and place into microwave for 30 seconds. This will make punched bread more pliable and stay on hook longer. Alternatively place slice of bread into plastic bag and hold open end over steaming kettle for a few seconds. Seal bag until use.


Mole Hill. Locate mole mounds in field close to fishing venue. Collect earth mounds, sieve though ally taking out stones, grass etc. Add to small amount of groundbait prior to fishing. Add small amount of water whilst mixing. This mix becomes almost a non feed groundbait, ideal for keeping fish in the swim longer.


Laxative. Add natural salt to groundbait which acts as a laxative to feeding fish. Catch rate should improve for the need of the fish to come back to ground-baited area.<>


Preparing Tares. When cooking tares for use, add a spoonful of bicarbonate of soda to boiling water before intruding the tare to the cooking pot. For an ideal black tare add black dylon die after cooking.


Preparing Hemp seed.
Soak un-split seeds in water prior to cooking over night. Add to boiling water in saucepan then add a few spoonfuls of bicarbonate of soda. For extra flavour When boiling add a few drops of honey    


Float tips. Colour fishing float tips for changing light and backdrops. Apply white tipex to tip of float when fishing a dark backdrop and when the Sun is shinning. For light backdrop and gleam on water colour float tip with a permanent black felt marker pen.


Stop groundbait from rolling away. Simply flatten groundbait prior to throwing into the swim. Ideal for moving waters such as Rivers and moving canals.


Loaded waggler floats. Wrap a lead wire around base of a waggler float to allow a self cocking float. Ideal for light presentation.


Bigger Squatts. Place a slice of bread that has been soaked in milk on top of the squat maggots in the bait box the night before fishing. The squats will feed off the bread and will enlarge the squatt magot ready for fishing.


Shotting up a pole float. Acquire a long cylinder from a chemist. The ideal size should be 24 inches high. Shot up float as required before placing on winder. Alternative to a long cylinder would be a large Lemonade bottle with the neck cut off.


Light Ledger. String onto the end of the fishing line a few swan shotts. Before tying off to the hook length. Space the shotts as required this will enable the weight to hold bottom of moving water. Add more shot as required.


Keeping worms fresh. When worms are in storage, either in a large container or large sack. Keep in either moss or light mixture of peat and earth. Place mashed bread within. The worms will feed from decaying food and keep fresh as well as growing


Picking up small hooks. When picking up a small hook from the tackle box, lick tip of finger and place on hook lift and the hook will stick, ready for tying on line. Alternatively use a small magnet to pick up hook from tackle box.


Keeping hooks tidy. Use a small magnet in each hook box to secure the hooks. This will stop hooks from dropping out of tackle box.


Holding bottom in a flooded river. Use a large 4-6oz round crab lead for holding bottom in a flooded river. Alternatively use a small breakaway lead or a flattened bomb. Flatten lead weight with hammer


Wash Odour away. Rinse hands in water prior to fishing. Ideally in the river or lake before handling hooks, bait etc.. This will take away salt, chemicals and humans smells that the fish may be aware of.


Air pressure. Keep an eye on a barometer for changes in air pressure. Sudden changes affect the way most fish feed. High pressure will spurt fish to feed, while low pressure changes will affect feeding patterns.


Try threading bait up the line. For bream and carp fishing. Hook the maggots in the middle and tread a bunch of maggots up the shank of the hook and then push them up above the hook. This produces a similar affect to a hair rig producing good quality bites from big fish.


Adding flavour to bait. Add flavour to bait, this will enhance the smell and flavour of bait encouraging fish to feed. Aniseed and hemp for roach, fish meal for carp, cheese for chub, sweetcorn or vanilla for bream, etc..


Attracting fish into the swim. Throwing a pebble or stone into the swim can attract fish to your bait. Simply throw a pebble or stone around your baited area this will have an affect of a ripple and sound and can attract fish into a swim.


Attracting fish when float fishing. Holding the line against the flow of a river or wind on still water can lift the bait off the bottom. This can attract fish and produce a bite.


Attracting fish on still water. When pole fishing, place tip on top of water and shake, this will produce a vibration that can attract fish to the area.


Sky lining. Fish are spooked by shadows on the water. Avoid walking on an open area above the swim. This will also apply to spectators who may inevitably walk up to an angler. Always crouch below an open sky line.


Colour in depth of water, Red is the most natural colour of most living natural food. Red colour can be seen in depth far greater than any other colour. Using red bait and ground bait in depth can produce more fish than any other.


Twitching. Either float fishing or ledgering. Try twitching bait by retrieving a few inches of line. This will produce movement to the bait and most fish will be attracted to a sudden movement.


Keeping unused groundbait. Unused ground bait can be frozen for future use. Simply put any unused mixed or damp groundbait into a sealed plastic bag. Take away the air and store in freezer. Un-frost before using by leaving out in warm area before using. Alternatively defrost in microwave oven.


Bait bags. Maggots or worms can be kept in a cloth bag or cloth pillow case. Using a cloth bag will allow the bait to breath and fit into any space in the tackle box or tackle bag. Hanging the cloth bag outside a moving car on a wing mirror can keep the bait cool when driving to the fishing venue.


Silkweed. Collect strands of silkweed from weirs and rockery in flowing rivers. Keep submersed in water in bait box. Wrap around the hook. Use, when Fishing moving waters.The most natural bait available for moving water, small worms live within the weed therefore fish associate this natural weed with food.


Temperature. Keep a thermometer in the fishing box. Make records of temperature drops. This will affect the feeding fish. Sudden drops will make the fish reduce their feeding. Whilst a sudden rise will make fish increase their feeding.


Hooking Hemp. The normal hooking method is placing the hook between the split where the cornel appears, the two halves holding the hook in position showing the point. Holding the hemp on the hook without the seed coming off during strike then use this method. Simply piece a hole either side on top of an under cooked hemp seed. Thread the hook through the hemp seed this will allow many fish to be caught on the same seed.


Keeping the Pole clean. Lay the complete pole on top of water and roll. Wipe the residue of water off with a dry cloth. Apply a silicone polish spray along the pole and polish with a dry clot.


Pulling stuck pole joints apart. This will take three people. One person will hold one end of the pole about 12 inches away from the stuck joint. The other person will do the same on the other part of the pole. Apply pressure by pulling. The third person will hold gently the middle part of the joint. Rotate in a circular motion and the pole joint will come apart.


Pulling stuck fishing rods apart. Hold each part of the stuck fishing rod just above the joint firmly. Hold them between the back of the legs and add pressure from the legs as well as the pressure from the arms.


Holding the bottom on a fast flowing river. Cast a heavy swimfeeder or ledger into the middle of the river straight in front. Sufficiently enough to hold bottom, (3-4oz) Let out a bow of line from the rod to the feeder/lead. Hold the rod in an upright position keeping as much line off the water as possible. Bites are projected by the arch of the rod straightening.


Making a maggot feeder float. Use a clear straight plastic waggler with long antenna. Super glue a small clear maggot-feeder (Without any weight) at the base of the float. Allow the top of the feeder to open for filling with bait. Slightly over shot the float allowing the maggot to escape into the water while the tip will raise slightly in the swim.


Making a groundbait waggler. Use a clear straight waggler with or without antenna. Super glue a small groundbait feeder to the base. Shot the float normally and fill feeder with groundbait. When the float is cast and settles in the swim the ground bait will empty from the feeder and fishing will resume.


Knot Picker. Carry a knot picker within the tackle box. Numerous usage such as knot picking, removing glue from float eyes, making holes in baits etc..


Disgorgers. Carry within the tackle box various disgorgers. Mini head disgorges are used on small hooks and small mouth of fish. Medium head disgorgers are used in conjunction with 16 – 14 size hooks. Large head disgorger can be used for larger hooks and fish such as Carp, Barbel, Perch. Deep throat disgorgers (Stompo) have an oval shape on the end and are used for hooks that are swallowed deeply by the fis<>h.


Forceps. Surgical forceps can be a useful tool within the tackle box. Used as a disgorger for large hooks embedded firmly within the fish. Can be used for applying  shots on the fishing line, useful for many other appliances.  


Unhooking. Hold the fish firmly and upside down. This will disorientate the fish and stop it from wriggling. Place disgorger on the fishing line above the entrance of the fish mouth. Move the disgorger down to the bend of the hook. Push the hook with the disgorger and pull the fish apart gently in one motion.


Unhooking large wriggly eels. Make a groove on the fishing bank the same size as the eel. Place the eel upside down in the groove. The eel will become dormant within a few moments and will lay still in the groove. Hold the head firmly against the ground with finger and thumb. Unhook with other hand or use a disgorger.


Reviving fish. Barbel, Grayling, Bream, Carp and Perch just to mention a few, can sometimes be distressed when caught or held in a keepnet over a period. If the fish shows distress then release the fish as soon as possible. Hold fish upright in the water and against the flow of the river if possible. Making sure that oxygenated water is passed through the gills before letting the fish swim away naturally.


Sinking line quickly. Place the tip of the fishing rod under the water about 12 inches. Quickly strike upwards and this will allow the line to sink quickly under the water surface. Use when skim is on the water and when wildlife is present.


Quick Rigs. When finished fishing, place stickfloat or wagglers on large plastic winders. Mark them on side of winder with size hook and shotting capacity. These can be reused for future fishing. Tie line from the rig to the main reel line, using a double hitch knot when reusing.


Waders and Wellington boots. Store away Waders and Wellington boots by stuffing crumpled up dry newspaper down the whole length of the boot. The paper will absorb any moister and keep the boot in shape.


Hair rig. Using hair rigs can produce a natural presentation and account for more bites. Make a small loop close to the hook when tying hook to the line. The small loop will hold the bait away from the hook. Push the baiting needle through the bait. (The baiting needle will have a small hook on the end.) Attach the loop to the small hook and pull the loop through the bait. Pass a small blade of grass through the loop and pull until tight.


Band attachment. Tie a small silicone band on the line close to the hook. Use instead of hair rig loop. Can also be used as a banded attachment on pellets and particle baits as well as worms etc..


Hair rig hemp.
Simply piece a hole either side and on top of an under cooked hemp seed. Thread and tie a cotton loop through the hemp seed. Hook the cotton loop and fish, this will also allow many fish to be caught on the same seed.


Quick sieving. Use the top of a micro landing net top as a quick sieve. Use by holding net with both hands. Swaying back and forth allowing the maggots to roll up and down net sieving off maggot sawdust or crumb.


Flat floats. Use a flat or rudder float when holding a float still in running water holding the bait static can produce bites in fast water. Over shot the float and hold back with either pole or rod. Lifting the tip of the float just above the surface. A very sensitive bite indicator.


Bouncing bomb method. When using a waggler at distance and the need to hold the waggler still against a wind drift use the bouncing bomb method. Tie a ledger to a length of line. Attach the ledger and line above the waggler allowing the distance of line greater than the depth. Use a long rod. Casting out with an over head cast the ledger will settle and hold the float still against any flow.


Know your depth. It is Important to know the depth of a venue. Always start fishing at full depth just on bottom. Most fish live near the bottom and feed off by scavenging. Laying on a few feet can also camouflage the line and create a more natural presentation. Adjust the presentation and come off the bottom as required


Plumbing the depth. Attach a plummet to the hook on the fishing rig.  Firstly guess the depth of the water. Cast or place the plummet in the area that is intended to fish. Move the float up or down the line until the tip is just above the water surface. Once established make a mental note. Then explore the rest of the swim with the same plummet attached. Building a mental note of the depth all around the swim.


Pole depth. Use a white tipex marker pen or brush. Mark the depth of the float against the top sections of the pole with a line. When moving the float up or down seeking the feeding fish. The depth can be easily restored by moving the float to the white mark on the pole. Use a black marker pen if pole is painted white.


Plumbing at distance. Set up the rig under shotted or without any shot on the main line. Pinch lightly a swan shot just above the hook or attach plummet to the hook. Cast out at distance adjust the float by moving it up or down the line until the exact depth is found. Finish off by adding the required shot to the line before fishing.


Loose feeding while holding fishing rod. Hold the rod at the reel base using the arm as a lever against the butt. Holding the rod with small finger and two index fingers, leaving the thumb and first finger to hold end of maggot pouch. Using the opposite hand, hold the catapult towards the area of the swim intended to feed and by moving that hand outwards stretching the elastic releasing the pouch from the thumb and forefinger. Hold the pouch again with same hand on the rod, fill pouch with bait with opposite hand and repeat process.


Holding pole for loose feeding. Rest the pole parallel against and along knee and leg using an elbow for balance. Hold the pouch of the catapult with the same hand as the pole. Using the opposite hand to hold the catapult stretch out towards the area at the tip of the pole and release the pouch. Refill by holding the pouch and placing the bait into the pouch and repeat. Alternatively sit on base of pole cross the legs and rest the pole into the cross where the legs meet, leaving both hands for catapulting.


Line clipping. Use the line clip on the spool of the reel for casting accuracy. Whether ledgering or float fishing. Cast out to the required area of swim, far bank, bushes etc.. Clip the line after casting. Overcast each time the clipped line will stop on the exact spot.


Pegging out keepnets. Use the loop on the base of keepnet to peg out a the net avoiding the net to collapse on the fish in the net. For windy conditions use a large stone to hold out the net in the swim. Alternatively tie a plastic shopping bag to the end, place keepnet out in the swim, the bag will fill with water holding the net static and full stretch in the swim.


Releasing fish from the keepnet. Gather the end of the keepnet toward the mouth of the keepnet, keep the fish submersed whilst doing this. Lift the net from the water leaving the fish at the mouth of the net. Hold mouth of net on surface of water and release fish unharmed.


Landing fish. Hold the landing net in one position in the swim, when the fish is ready for landing after being played out, guide the fish over the net whilst keeping the net firm and steady. Chasing the fish with the net will spook the fish and may possibly shed the hook.


Magical WD40.
Keep all moving parts on fishing box, levers, arms, legs, hinges and screws etc oiled with wd40 Keeping Reels smooth with wd40 spray. The spray repels water and avoids rust gathering, as well as keeping all moving parts lightly oiled   

Clives top 101 fishing tips are available in a fully illustrated eBook
Only £1.99


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