Q I’m never sure what depth to start fishing at when targeting fish shallow, what is your starting depth?
A This does depend somewhat on the time of year and the depth of the venue that you’re fishing. In summer I’ve found that on the vast majority of venues fishing any deeper than 18 inches results in foul hooked fish. With this in mind I usually start around 12 inches but if the fish are really feeding well I’ll shallow up to around 6 inches and at this depth the fish usually hook themselves. So you don’t even have to worry about striking!!!
Q What size pellets do you use when shallow fishing and does the size of pellet really matter?
A I think the size of pellet really does play a part in your catch rate when fishing shallow. When targeting carp I will always use a 6mm hard feed pellet. When fishing a venue where f1’s are the target species I will feed 4mm pellets. I will always match my hook bait to the size of pellet that I’m feeding.
Q I keep hearing shallow fishing referred to as “slapping” is this still the same method?
A Slapping and also tapping are not methods in their own right but more a description of a technique used when shallow fishing. Both are used to replicate the sound of pellets hitting the water and fool fish into taking your bait.
Slapping: This is when you lift your rig from the water and flick your pole causing the rig to slap back onto the water. You get three distinctive sounds, from the float, shot and hook bait. This sounds like pellets hitting the water and the fish are instantly looking for food. You’re pellet being the only one in the water usually gets taken straight away.
Tapping: In much the same way as slapping the idea is to replicate the sound of feed hitting the water without actually introducing and more pellets. Tapping is just that, you delicately tap the tip of your pole on the water surface to mimic the sound of the feed pellets.
In both instances it’s still important to feed regularly to hold the shoal of fish in the swim
Q Do you think fishing light will get me more bites when fishing shallow?
A Unless I’m targeting very small f1’s I don’t usually fish light when shallow fishing. The idea of fishing shallow is to get the fish competing aggressively for food, this should result in positive bites and therefore using light tackle shouldn’t have any additional advantage. With this in mind I will usually use a stronger 0.18 line and a strong size 16 to give me the best chance of landing anything I hook.
Q Is there and easy way to feed while holding the pole as I struggle to do both?
A Feeding while holding the pole does take practice but I never fish the pole without a pole support. This makes holding the pole so much easier and I’m sure helps me to put more fish in the net. I really can’t understand why more people don’t use them for this style of fishing.
Shallow fishing can result in some huge catches and some stunning fish just like this lovely Ghost carp.