The best method for skimmers?

Long whip vs slider float

A visit to Larford gives Dave Healey and Sam Cochrane chance to test two very different tactics against each other. But which will work the best?

Words: Sam Cochrane Pictures: Lloyd Rogers

Dave Healey and I made the journey to the awesome Larford fishery. The weather was not ideal for our proposed head to head match, Dave opting to fish the long whip and myself on the slider two very different methods from the norm on Larford but, would they prove to be effective?  

We met with Phil and had a quick chat about where we would set up on the specie lake. With a hard frost the night before and a strong eastly wind we would certainly be up against it, even finding a peg amongst the bivvies was a challenge. 

Dave had mixed his groundbait up the night before and by the time I had dropped the van off and taken a short walk back he was pretty much set up good to go. 

I had opted to fish a fishmeal ground bait mixed 50/50 with some leam. The specie lake being up to 12ft deep in places and with a strong tow I wanted to ensure that my bait got to the bottom with bream being the target species. casters and live red maggots were the hookbait of choice also with some worms for the hook. 

Dave opted for the long whip approach. Something very often overlooked and something he feels gives an edge over the long pole if the fish are weary during the winter months. 9m to hand is definitely challenging in the wind however he stuck it out and got rewarded with little runs of roach then a few nice skimmers in between all falling to single maggot on the hook. 

A good quality whip waggler again with a carbon stem made by our to cut back on surface tow and the ability to sink the line vs a pole float setup definitely worked on this wind ravaged day! 

Dave fed a mix of Sensas brown crumb and fishmeal lake mainly to keep all options open as to what species would show knowing he had to keep fish coming if he was to stand a chance of turning me over on what can be a killer bream method, the long range slider.  

Dave say’s “don’t be afraid of using positive shotting patterns on this method as they often allow you to see hold up bites and make it far easier to read what’s going on” 

Larford is an exceptional water to catch silvers on from almost all pegs on the complex even in such though conditions 

As the day moved on it was clear it would be difficult, the wind picked right up and presentation was becoming difficult. Especially for the apprentice lion tamer (Dave) on the next peg with 9m of whip in the air. I had opted to use some sliders that had been made for me by John bull. A 4gram loaded with 10 grams down the line with a carbon stem. My rig is slighty unconventional but had no issues with tangles and at the end of the day that’s aim of the game. 

These carbon stem sliders cut through the wind brilliantly and with the first roach coming within 20 min we were off to a good start. I had initially fed the swim at 30m with 8 small balls of groundbait laced with caster and introduced through a catapult I would then look to top up the swim throughout the day depending on the fishing. I had opted for a meter long hooklength of 0.19 flurocarbon to aid with catching fish on the drop and I feel it gives a nice balanced presentation to the rig.

After the first hour of fishing the wind had picked up massively. With gusts up to 25mph Dave was struggling with presentation although it didn’t stop him picking up bream on his 14/15m line to my amazement. With the cold frost the night before the fishing was tricky and getting them to settle over the bait, Feeding a ball every couple of fish kept the bites coming. Daves opting for the same feeding pattern and catching well on maggots shorter but, had made a change after seeing some positive results from loose feeding later on in the day.

Larford for us today had been a great venue to try such tactics and we will be sure to go head to head again in the summer on the above mentioned methods or then again, we could try others as it definitely caters for all. 

Ohh and the all-important results. Dave had smashed me on total weight with 8 nice sized bream. My skimmers and roach didn’t compete but still a lovely days fishing the slider and whip. 

The All Round Angler has opened a new chapter for us both where we will look to bring information and great venues to feature throughout the year to support their ever growing fan base.