Poles have got stronger, lighter, stiffer and easier to fish with in recent years which is great, but has it made us all fish long, when really we should be fishing short? One angler who certainly thinks so is Ladies Fish O Mania champion Kayleigh Smith, we joined her at Woodlands Lakes where she showed us how to have great success on the short line.

Firstly what is the short line? I would say that anything from the near bank to about 1m out is classed as the margins and anything past 8m is classed as long, so by a process of elimination 1-7m is what I would consider to be the short line. Where you actually fish the short line though does vary a lot from fishery to fishery.

Kayleigh classes anything 1-7m as the short line

Underwater features:

Whenever I plumb up at the start of a session I’ll always plumb up and look for any underwater features that will dictate where I will feed my short line. The obvious one is the nearside shelf, on most modern commercials the bottom of the shelf is 3-5m and this is always a fish holding spot, it’s always important though to plumb around carefully and look for a hard bottom. You may find that the area at the very bottom of the shelf is very soft due to the amount of silt, if you fish here you can experience a lot of problems with the peg fizzing and foul hooking fish. What I will usually do if the bottom is really soft is just come back towards me around 6-12inches, slightly up the slope, where the bottom is firm.

Find the hard bottom and the fish will feed with confidence

If you’re on a venue like Woodlands, where I am today, there may not be an obvious shelf, then again I look for a flat area of hard bottom and I will usually fish slightly longer on this type of venue, around 6m as I find the fish naturally hang back a bit.