How I win matches - Andy Bennett

This weekend saw me fishing both days at my local Partridge Lakes and on the Saturday I managed to draw a decent peg - after a few average ones lately it was very welcome.

I managed to finish third overall in the 48-pegger on the day with 58 fish for 55lb falling to pellets across and maggots down the track late on. Sunday was much better, though – I managed to win the 36-peg open with 71lb with all fish coming to maggots.

After a blank start on pelletsm the peg got stronger and stronger and my 39-fish total was one of my best days for a while, 27 of which came in the last two hours of the match to cap off a great weekend.

A lot of people ask the question: how do you stay consistent and get better? The best advice I can give them is to learn your own style of fishing and make it work for you.

By this I mean look at the target species you’re fishing for and try to understand the feeding habits and the way they feed. My fishing mainly revolves around fishing for a mixture of F1s, carp, ide and skimmers.

When targeting these fish I have a certain way I want to catch them – it’s not always the same as each venue is different, but for example the Ide feed very similar to carp in the sense that a lot of your bites come on the settle or on the drop when fishing on the bottom for them, so I always make sure I’m fishing the lightest float possible for them. F1s and skimmers can also be caught like this when using baits like maggots or caster for them.

But, when fishing with pellets, a bait that’s presented static is always better and for skimmers this can also be the best way, so depending on what baits are working best at a certain fishery, little changes in your rigs can catch you a lot more fish.

I could go on all day about the number of different ways to catch certain fish, but try to understand what’s happening under the water and accommodate how you feed your bait and present your rig likewise.

Rig-wise, I keep things really simple, with floats ranging from 4x8 up to 4x16 cover all my fishing from depths of 1-8ft. Line choice is the ever faithful N-Gauge and for mainline I use 0.15mm in winter to 0.17mm in summer.

Hook lengths are always 0.11mm in winter and 0.13mm/0.15mm in summer. There’s only one hook in summer I use and that’s the LWG, ranging from 20s to 14s in spring/summer. It’s now become my favourite all time hook for pole fishing as its shape and sharpness lends itself to any bait or species.

Shotting is again simple - I use spread bulks a solid bulk or a bulk and 2-3 droppers. Again, think how the fish are feeding - if they’re intercepting the bait allow for a slower fall, for example. If carp and ide are the target have your last shot 6-8 inches away from your hook. If you’re fishing a static bait like pellets, have a shot as close to the hook as possible, maybe four inches, to help see the bites quicker.

The main thing is feeding the right amount of bait at the right times to keep them interested, but remember - try to find your own style because if you’re trying to copy the angler on the next peg, chances are that you’re always going to be second best to him.

Fishing is as easy as you make it – I’ve not even scratched the surface here. What I’ll try to do over the next few week is to give you a more in-depth look at the approaches as it’s hard to explain it all at once!