Some people love it, others… not so much! Whatever your own personal view is, mugging is undeniably a match-winning tactic through the summer months on the right venue.
It may appear to be a simple method, see a carp, flick a pellet in front of him, catch carp and repeat. But if you ask any of the anglers who really excel at mugging, you will quickly find out that it is the small tweaks, which make the biggest difference. With this in mind, we caught up with mugging maestro, Dan White at the stunning Viaduct fishery in the midst of a recent heat wave to find out his top five mugging tips!
Tip 1 – Think about hook baits
Everyone has their favourite hook bait for mugging, most will be either be using a straight pellet, wafter or maybe even a bit of meat. All will work on their day and finding the right one can be the difference between bagging or nicking the odd bite.
I always like to carry a selection with me, but the biggest thing to bare in mind is the sink rate of each bait. Wafters will obviously sink a lot slower so are perfect for those slow moving fish, basking right in the upper layers, often not really in a feeding mood. A wafter gently floating past its nose will often be enough to tempt a bite. If they are a lot more active and charging around the peg, slightly deeper in the water, then a 6mm or 8mm Catalyst Pellet will get down a lot quicker into it’s eye line.
Tip 2 – Target the groups
Next is picking the right fish to target, as a rule of thumb a single fish will generally be a nightmare! They have time to inspect the bait and decide if they want to eat it, a lot of the time they will opt to leave it no matter how well presented it is. Add a few of his mates into the equation and suddenly with the extra competition, they will be a lot more willing to snatch at a bait to make sure they get it before another in the group does.
The same goes for the speed which they are moving, if they are meandering about, sucking the odd leaf off the surface, they will be very catchable, if they are motoring through the peg at a hundred miles per hour… it’s probably not going to happen so easily so time might be better spent on another method.
Tip 3 – No shot down the line
Unlike most rigs, you don’t want any shot down the line, you want that hookbait to be falling as naturally as possible. Bulk it all right under the float to get the perfect presentation, shotting like this also helps you to accurately swing the rig. One thing I have been doing differently recently, is rather than using a string of number 8 shots for example, I prefer to use a single shot matched to my float, this gives a much nicer ‘plop’ as it hits the water, just like a pellet would helping to trigger those carp into eating my bait!
Tip 4 – Vary the depth for spooky fish
If you are constantly getting fish looking at baits and refusing them or spooking as the bait lands, a great tip is to set the float a lot deeper than you need to be fishing. What you are trying to achieve here is separation between the hookbait and float, as more often than not it is the float which will spook them!
By setting it at three feet deep, you are a lot more likely to get a take of fish that have had rigs swung at them all summer. Obviously it does mean your bite indication isn’t great, so in these situations I like to watch the hookbait rather than the float, so a nice light coloured wafter that you can see, like our Fruit Zing ones are ideal. As soon as that white shape disappears you know it’s time to strike!
Tip 5 – Pay attention to shadows
This is a really important one, you need to remember that carp will spook off shadows, be it a bird, an angler or a pole. We’ve all seen the surface erupt in summer as the local goose decides to fly overhead, that is exactly the same reaction you will get if they see your poles shadow!
So always approach a fish from the left or right, depending where the sun is to avoid going over them with the shadow from your pole. If you are at the ‘wrong’ side to do this, then ship back in and out again at the correct angle. With this in mind, if I am not actively ‘targeting’ a fish, then I prefer to ship back two thirds of the way to avoid having a 16m shadow over my peg whilst I’m looking for my next potential victim!