Crucial Tactics - Jim Mathews

Jim Mathews has enjoyed a fish-filled May. The Essex all rounder has been targeting specimen crucians at a Surrey Stillwater and catching consistently throughout the month. Amongst countless and tench, Jim banked numerous crucians over the 3lb mark to a personal best of 3lb 14oz.

Fishing at various ranges of 15-40 yards, the crucian bites came in sporadic but short feeding spells, during which Jim would bank numbers of fish in quick succession before long periods of inactivity or the tench moved in. It made sense to make sure he was prepared for such a spell to occur at any time and making the most of them was crucial. One 90-minute burst saw nine crucians being led over the net cord along with a brace of 6lb tench.

The hardest part was getting through the tench, which could be voracious when the conditions looked good for a bite. Jim’s tactics revolved around the 24g Guru method leads with a combination 6mm pellet and plastic hook baits on a 4-inch link made from 4lb Drag-line. With the main line the same breaking strain, it was the perfect diameter for retaining confidence needed to bank big crucians and the hard fighting tincas. Perhaps the best example of the robust nature of Jim’s setup came in the form of the 32lb 4oz mirror that Jim also landed, despite the 25 minutes it took! Luckily, the size-16 hook and the Drag-line stood up to the task.

The next stop for Jim are some good bream from a water a bit closer to home.