​​​​​​Just How Shallow Are You!?
Pole Fishing|January 2018
 ​​​​​​Just How Shallow Are You!?

As temperatures drop, a shallow approach may seem out of the question. Guru and Dynamite Bait star Ben Hagg disagrees and explains why dropping that bit deeper can reignite a ‘shallow’ approach...

Mark Parker

Shallow fishing is one discipline that many anglers get consistently wrong. In fact, as water temperatures begin to drop this statement becomes increasingly more true.

The main problem is that they start the session on the deck until they begin to get line bites and missed chances. At this point, most try fishing for a few minutes at 12 inches deep, catch nothing, decide the fish aren’t really shallow and so go back to struggling to catch off the bottom again.

Of course, during the summer months this look at what many would class as shallow can often produce a few fish, so many will persevere.

The problem is, in a 6ft deep swim, like today for example, fishing like this you have just missed out a huge chunk of mid-layer water where the fish are feeding well and confidently, even in cooler water conditions.

“Too many anglers associate the words ‘shallow fishing’ with meaning that you need to fish at a depth of 18 inches or less, regardless of whether your swim is two feet or 20 feet!” said Dynamite Baits-sponsored Ben Hagg.

“The correct way to look at shallow fishing is to think that as soon as you set your rig to fish off the bottom, even by one inch, you are technically shallow fishing. And so, if you don’t work the individual depths of the water correctly, you will never maximise your catch.”

Ben is an angler who likes to view the water in front of him in 3D, not just ‘on the bottom’ or ‘just under the surface’.

For the 26-year-old Glastonbury-based rod, the rule is if you’re getting indications on the float, then the fish are obviously in the swim. This means they will be competing with each other for food and due to this competition they will start to come off the bottom to intercept your loose feed, hence the amount of line bites you are getting.

This is as true as the temperature drops as it is in the height of summer, albeit to a lesser extent.

This is particularly pertinent when fishing for F1s. Even in the depths of winter they will feed when every other fish seems to have turned off.

For Ben, there are simply no excuses for sitting biteless because you are fishing your hook bait overdepth.

To demonstrate, Ben invited the cameras to spend the day with him at Hillview Lakes near Tewkesbury where the young Dynamite Baits and Guru ace set about emptying the water in front of him.


Even though the majority of stillwaters are filled with bottom feeding fish like carp, F1s, bream, tench and even barbel, these are overly stocked venues and the fish have learnt that if they do not compete for food, they go hungry.

Although it seems best to target these species with an ‘on the deck’ rig, all fish will feed up in the water if it allows them to be the first to the free feast.


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January 2018