Venue Factfile:
Twynersh Fishing Complex, Thorpe Road, Chertsey, Surrey
Paul Rogers 01932 570156
Nearby tackle shop: Davies Angling, Church Street, Staines, Tel: 01784 461831
Matches: Only during winter
Restrictions: All juniors under 15 years must be supervised by an adult. Barbless hooks only. No keepnets, radios, nuts or dogs. All carp to be returned immediately and unhooking mats must be used. Two rod maximum. No floaters on Pit 1. See on-site clubhouse any for further updates. No access to site after 6pm.
Directions: Leave M25 at Junc 11 and follow signs to Thorpe Park. Go straight across roundabout at Twynersh pub onto B388 Thorpe Road. Fishery entrance is 300m on right.

Few fisheries offer depths of any consequence and as a result the slider seems to have slipped into obscurity, having been replaced by the 'lazy' feeder method… that’s a shame, as it’s a rewarding and superb way to target fish on medium to deep venues if some simple basics are followed. However, there can be a drawback to this method... depth of water. Although many would say 8-10 foot is acceptable, its only when you fish in depths over 12 foot that this style really comes into its own and can prove a viable alternative to the feeder.

To demonstrate the effectiveness of this method we’ve teamed up with England International and Milo sponsored Simon Willsmore, who also happens to be part of the mighty Daiwa Dorking squad. 'Thirtysomething' year-old Simon, who has been attached to anglings top flight for many years, started his relationship with 'Milo' in the early nineties when he visited Milan on a gap year, after completing an engineering course at Heathrow. He ended staying there for SEVEN, learning some of the mighty Italians’ secrets, under Milo Columbo, so his credentials are impeccable. On his return to England he took up a post at Keenets before taking over the reins of Milo in the UK as their manager.

scenic4408.jpgscenic4408.jpgWe've chosen one particular fishery in the South where depth is not a problem, it's also home to ample supplies of big bream, roach, perch and tench, ideal fodder for the slider. The Twynersh complex, just outside Chertsey, Surrey, is an eight-lake natural gravel fishery offering a range of depths to suit all styles.

There’s a north-easterly wind, about 5-6 knots in strength, with an overcast sky interspersed with a few sunny intervals. Having chosen a likely looking spot on the Pit 4, based on some good pre-visit 'Intel', Simon starts to plumb up with a 7 metre Bolognese rod, which he then transfers the depth to his slider rig. Most other anglers use the bulk as the plummet and then add on the dropper distance once the depth is ascertained. In front he finds over 25 foot and exclaims “if we catch fish in this depth of water I’ll be surprised”. He eventually settles on an area just to the right on a sloping gravel bar, about 35 metre out and around 15 foot deep. While Simon sets up, the wind, although not strong, starts to swing round to the right, a irritating pattern which would be repeated through-out the session.

Bait for today’s session revolves around a mix of Senses Carp and Marine Pellet, 3.5 kilos in total. Simon prepares the groundbait on the soft side so that it breaks up in mid-water. He empties at least a pint of caster, a handful of sweetcorn and a few red maggots into half the mix and forms it into rugby ball shape balls with one hand. He then proceeds to spend five minutes bombarding the chosen spot, an area of approximately two square metres (give or take a foot!). He explains his strategy “I want the feed to spread out and lay a carpet on the deck. As there is no tow here I can safely prepare the mix on the soft side, but had there been any tow then I would have had to mix it harder to ensure it gets down to the bottom”. Hookbaits will consist of sweetcorn, caster and red maggot, nothing complicated.

Tackle consists of two 14’ Milo Helios Prestige rods and Zafir 2000 reels loaded with one of Milo’s prototype low-stretch-low-memory 0.16mm reel line, which Simon is testing. Originally developed for carp anglers in higher breaking strains, this prototype has now been produced in a lower diameter to see how successful it is for more general fishing. Having already proved it’s sinking ability with the feeder, it’s now the turn of the float. These will be a selection of Dick Clegg and Milo bodied sliders, taking between 3 and 5 swan shot. Each has a small brass insert for attaching to an adapter.

Simon’s first set-up is what’s referred to as English style. It’s a positive shotting method and involves the bulk shot (3 swan DC Britannia) positioned approximately 4 foot from a small size 20 swivel with two number 8 shot in between. This swivel has a dual role, acting both as an extra shot and also counterbalance against line kink, which can be a problem when fishing at depth and distance. Attached to this is a size 18 Milo T213 hook on 12 inches of 0.12mm Milo Ghost. Simon keeps all his hooks in handy magnetic boxes for easy access.

A second rod is prepared, almost identical to the first one, but this time with more bulk (5 swan Milo) and heavier droppers (2 x no.6). Another number 6 shot is placed 30” above the bulk, on which the float sits. This is what is referred to as the Italian style! Now you may be forgiven for asking how different is this? What can this rig possibly have that the other doesn’t? Simon’s answer was a little surprising, “I normally prefer to run the float off the bulk but if its really windy this Italian rig practically eliminates tangles when casting because the bulk is not in direct contact with the float, therefore the whole rig fly’s off unhindered. He adds “It really does look horrible as you cast out, but it’s brilliant in a head-on wind especially when fishing with worm!” he adds.

Because the floats have brass inserts, which help stabilise the float as its cast, Simon uses simple float adapters which are simply pushed onto the brass dowel (right). He explains, “you must however, press the insert all the way into the adapter to stop any unnecessary tangles. I 'doctor' these adapters by closing up the eye with a pair of pliers (left) so that the stop knot will not slip through. You can use others methods, such as a small bead with a fine diameter hole which allows the line to run through up to the stop knot." He then adds, "my simple sliding stop knot has longer tags left on as it goes through the rods rings better, whereas short tags generally tend to cause problems as they pass through the eyes and also on the reel spool.

Having established the distance and deposited his feed, Simon casts out an un-baited rig and marks the line with a special Sensas marker, this will ensure his float always remains in the area of his feed. You could use a white crayon if you cannot find one in your local tackle shop.

“Could be a bit of a wait here Dave” Simon says as he cast out his double caster offering. While waiting for signs of life over our fizzing feed we notice a few fish rolling around the lake, an encouraging sign of things to come perhaps!

We both sit around sorting ourselves out when Simon shouts “did that float go under then”? “I don’t know”, I replied, “I was looking elsewhere at the time”. Things were starting to look promising!

Over half an hour had elapsed when the float suddenly lifts and Simon strikes… into thin air, “look at that” he exclaims “I wonder if that was a bite or a liner?” And with that a bream rolls close to our spot. “Is that taking the mickey or what” he adds somewhat begrudgingly. Not seeming too perturbed he explains, “when bream fishing it’s not always a good sign to hit fish immediately in a session as this can prove counter-productive. I prefer to have fish settle gradually over the feed, gaining confidence”. He adds, “like feeder fishing, a quick response when ‘breaming’ is not always good thing”. But in my book the slider is far more interesting than the feeder.”

His double caster bait is untouched so Simon try’s double red maggot and re-casts, “I reckon we’ll catch now” he says in a more upbeat manner! We notice that this time the float has settled slightly more in the water, this Simon explains is because he’s set the rig a little more to the right where the gravel bar slopes down to over 20’, so consequently the float has settled in more deeper water and the swivel is now showing as weight.

Shortly after the float disappears and Simon pricks what he believes is a small fish, “we’ll be alright now”, he says with conviction, “it’ll be nice to pocket a few fish,” he adds. Simon retrieves a couple of turns of line and explains “I fed to the marked line and a little in front so when I’m on that mark I know my rig is at the back of my feed area. I don’t need to go passed that mark but I can come forward 3 or 4 foot and still be within my feed zone”.

We are now starting to get indications on regular basis as Fishery manager Paul Rogers arrives to check on our progress. I notice that Simon always changes his hookbait every time he reels in and ask why, “I don’t know really, it’s just something I’ve always done from my days fishing the Thames, whenever I miss a bite I always change the bait, even if it looks untouched… habit I suppose.”

It’s just gone over the 45 minute mark when the float lifts gently and Simon strikes, “yeeees”, he exclaims, “it’s a good fish, could be a carp” he says questioningly. It’s quite apparent this is either a big fish or a foulhooker! As Simon plays the fish the questions come to mind whether it’s a big bream, tench or carp as he’s never caught either in deep water before, so has no comparison as to how it may perform. The fish is brought closer and closer to the bank but always keeps deep so we cannot see what it is. Simon gets the beast within spitting distance but the depth a metre out is over 12 foot. “It’s possible that this could even be a tench”, Simon now adds “it’s fighting a bit too much for a bream”. We can clearly see the float lying on the bulk shot but the fish is some five feet below and staying there! “This is a decent fish”, Simon says and just then the rig comes flying out the water. “Your joking” or words to that effect is Simon’s initial response, “obviously foulhooked,” he then ruefully points out. The fish was on for nearly 8 minutes and left us wondering what else could be lurking in the depths!

An hour had elapsed so Simon catapults another few soft balls of groundbait to top up the swim. We don’t have to wait much longer as the float once more rises and dips and Simon strikes, “we’re on” he says and the 14’ rod bends encouragingly, “feels like a bream”. A few minutes later he guides a 3lb bream over the waiting net, “at least we won’t blank!” says a relieved Simon as he deposits his first bronze clad beauty in the net. “A common mistake many anglers make is to dump in more groundbait after that initial bream and risk spooking the shoal. A more cautious approach is to wait and see if more fish are forthcoming, if not, say after 15-20 minutes, then I would put some more balls in without fear of spooking any feeding fish”.

We’re now getting positive showings on the float, small dips and lifts, indicating positive activity around the hookbait, then the floats jumps up in the air and sinks below the surface, fish on and it only took 5 minutes… things are definitely forward bound now. This one’s slightly bigger than the last fish and its showing the major sign of spawning activity, nodules around the head. As another bream is hooked played and netted, Simon makes the comment:
"That’s three in just under 15 minutes, you don’t really need to go to Ireland, do you!

The rig is cast a little more to the left were the float settles down in the water more. Even with the hookbait now at dead depth we’re still getting lift bites, indicating that the fish are hovering in the bottom layer and not getting there noses down. Simon misses a couple of bites and wonders whether to upgrade his hook to a size 16.

There’s obviously lots of fish around the feed, sometimes taking on the deck, others taking on the drop. A brief spell of missed opportunities follows before Simon connects with another fish, which has done a deep throat job on the bait… “they’re now starting to get greedy” he quips. “I haven’t seen any fish roll for a while, they must be getting their heads down on all that grub” he says as he misses another bite. The float is moving all the time, prompting Simon to remark that perhaps the fish are bumping into the line as they jockey for position at the food table!

As the wind moves around Simon decides to try the Italian rod but after a blank 20 minutes it eventually produces a smaller fish of about 2lb+. Simon’s not happy about the weight, he believes 5 swan’s is just too much today, “it’s not right because I think its too positive, the fish are off the bottom and are coming down to feed and then coming straight back up, that’s why were getting lift bites but with all that lead down the line its too much for them. With that Simon reaches back for the English set up, shallows up a couple of feet and almost immediately the adjustment brings dividends with another ‘bronzy’ of about 3lb+ hitting the net.

We’re now past the 2 hour mark and holding 6 fish for over 18lb. A steady flow of fish to 4lb follow over the next hour, gradually edging us towards a respectable weight. Things are moving rapidly with fish starting to come on a more regular basis and talk shifts as to whether a ‘ton’ is on the cards. All of our fish are showing spawning nodules, which is surprising as the nights are still cold, even in the middle of May. We try a piece of corn, as a change from red maggot, and it results in a fish immediately bringing our tally after 3 hours to around sixteen fish.

The fluctuating light conditions are making the red tip of the float difficult to see so Simon takes out a black marker and covers the red tip. Its visibility is improved enormously and as if by magic the black tip disappears and another good fish is on.

The shoal is well settled over the feed, even though Simon’s putting in the odd ball over their heads. He decides that the fish are also keen to take on the drop so he moves the bulk shot another 2’ up the line making approximately 7 foot of drop from the bulk and returns to red maggot, believing that offers a more responsive and productive return, so re-baits with three and casts back out to the waiting shoal.

The ploys works well with fish to over 4lb taking the bait in the bottom 3 to 5 foot of water, things are looking good. So good in fact, that Simon is confident that in the end we’ll easily exceed the magical ton, which will please him greatly as he’s never caught a ‘100lb’ on the slider before, “I reckon we’ll have another 10 fish in ten chucks”, he confidently predicts. It proves a slight miscalculation because by the close of play he only manages 7 fish… but who cares! Simon broke that magic barrier in a session lasting four and a quarter hours, not bad considering he started somewhat apprehensively.

Simon was well impressed with the days sport and he extolled the virtues and pleasures of fishing the slider at Twynersh, “this has been an incredible days fishing” he remarked, especially as he stayed on for a further couple of hours and netted another 16 fish!

Simon points out that the slider is not necessarily just for very deep swims, you can use it on waters which are towing and in depths between 8-10 foot, “its brilliant when you want to get plenty of lead down the line, although I’ve never actually used it in a match in England” Simon somewhat surprisingly remarks, “one of the main advantages of the slider over the feeder, is that you have a clearer understanding of your swim because you’ve plumbed up and found were any shelf or bar is located. I think it’s much nicer to watch a float moving than a static feeder tip”, he added. Who'd disagree with that!

It’s definitely become the forgotten style in the UK, losing out heavily to the feeder, which for some is easier and, debatably, more productive. Perhaps in a future issue we will put that to the test and see how this neglected, yet most enjoyable form of fishing could measure up against a feeder!

Simon’s final parting words were “you don’t get many days like this, I can’t believe how many bream we caught,” he exclaimed… “I’ll be back!”