Monday Top 5 - Surface Fishing Tips

In my humble opinion, there’s nothing better then catching a fish ‘off the top’. The pure visual nature of watching your bait be taken by a huge pair of lips is something that really gets your heart pumping, much more than waiting for the shrill of an alarm. Now. surface fishing can be tricky at times, so here’s a few choice tips to help you be a little more proficient in the art of surface fishing combat.

Feeding Frenzy

As with so much of fishing the key is feeding. If you feed correctly the fish will be like confident little Pacmen, hoovering up everything without caution. This makes them much more catchable, as they’ve somewhat thrown caution to the wind in a competitive feeding frenzy. The key to achieving this is to have your rod rigged up and ready to go, but to spend time feeding little and often until more and more fish start taking your surface baits. Keep this going until fish are taking regularly, and baits aren’t being let abandoned on the surface for ages. When the fish are practically waiting for your bait to land in their mouth, then it's time to cast in. Simply cast over the group of feeding fish, and draw your floating hookbait right into the feeding frenzy.

Riding High

Always ensure that your mainline and hooklength float. If either sink, then this will cause the hookbaits and overall presentation to look alien to the fish, causing them to spook. The simple way to do this is to choose a designated float fishing mainline and hooklength, and then apply a floatant, such as Gink. This ensures that your line is floating on the surface, and everything is primed for a take.

Self Hooking

Sometimes when you are surface fishing you can end up striking and missing fish, especially if you are freelining and the fish aren’t feeding aggressively. This can be resolved by using a bolt style controller float such as a Nash Bolt machine, which creates resistance on the take, setting the hook for you without the need for stroking. These awesome pieces of tackle are so good you can even leave your rod on the floor with the bait runner on or clutch loose, and then concentrate on feeding. when you get a take the fish hooks itself and you simply pick up the rod and play the fish in. Experiment with the length of line from the float to the hookbait, as this can need changing depending on how the fish are feeding off the top from day to day. As a rule the more fussy the fish the longer this length needs to be.

Mix and Match

Don’t just feed one size of floating bait. Use small pellets, dog biscuits and cat biscuits, all of which are different sizes and buoyancies. This, just like fishing on the bottom, gives a greater variety of options for the fish, and also ensures they can't grow wary of one specific type of bait that may contain a hook. The same goes for your hookbaits; try a piece of trimmed cork, a popup boilie, or even a fake, everlasting dog biscuit imitation bait. The key is to not be predictable. Also apply oil to your baits; this will help create a slick that will ensure there's no ripple to disrupt your vision of your hookbaits, and it also adds attraction.

Try Something Different

If you want to catch multiple fish on the surface, try fishing two over depth zigs side by side, and feeding your floating bait on top of them. Set your zig over depth by two inches and keep feeding over the top of them. You’ll keep your hookbaits in the correct area and you’ll find that you will get double takes, and be able to catch more fish with less casting and disturbance then you would have with traditional floater fishing tactics.

Overall, take advantage of the weather and increased day light hours, get out there, and give surface fishing a go. You won’t be disappointed.

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