Originally Published in English

A line that is often overlooked when fishing a big river is just beyond the marginal slope. Often, there will be the odd better fish patrolling here and, especially when the river is carrying a bit of extra water, dropping in here can put a few extra pounds in the net in no time at all. 

Whilst you could run a float through on this line, I often prefer to fish a flat float here. The lollipop shape allowing me to hold the hookbait still, and wait for a better fish to pick it up. Generally speaking, the flow is slightly less the closer in you fish, making presentation easier, so a I will plumb up carefully and fish as short as I can beyond the marginal slope. 

You can often need a big float for this set-up. Today I can get away with about 5 grams, but in the past I have fished big floats carrying upwards of 15 grams. Go as big as you need to get the bait down and hold it steady. The rig is very simple. Most of the bulk is in the form of an olivette set about two foot above the hook, with a couple of dropper shot equally spaced below this. I will fish a few inches over-depth to ensure the bait is on the bottom and static. 

This line is all about catching a better stamp of fish. These could be nice perch and roach, or decent bream, the odd chub, or even a barbel, so there is no point in fishing with light gear. Rigs are made up using 0.18mm Cenex Hybrid Power line to a 0.16mm hooklength of the same. Baits are going to be quite big, so a size 12 Sphere Ultra Strong hook is my choice. I want to land every fish I hook and so the top-two is fitted with pink Microbore elastic, which combined with the strong gear gives me more than a fighting chance. 

Often I will drop onto this line later on during a match, once the fish have had a chance to settle. To begin with I introduce two bait droppers of maggot and casters, maybe a bit of chopped worm too. This might not sound like much bait, but I just want to give the fish a focal point, so don’t go too heavy. 

Don’t be afraid to use a big float, it is essential that the rig is stable in the flow.

A bump bar makes it much easier to hold the pole steady.

Use an olivette set about two feet above the hook.

"The Sphere Ultra Strong hook is perfect when expecting bigger fish."

Hookbait is invariably a piece of worm, or worm and caster. These baits will catch just about everything with fins, and have a tendency to pick up a better size fish too. I will top up with the small bait dropper if I find the bites start to slow down on this line. You normally won’t be able to keep it going the whole match, but a bit more bait can revitalise things for a while. 

This is nice comfortable fishing. Using a bump bar I can rest my Xitan Z16 L Advance and hold the float very still, which is important with the flat float. The distance is also really comfortable to fish, and if you have been running a float through further out for a few hours it can be a nice rest to drop back on this line for a bit. 

Today I have left this line for a couple of hours whilst starting out longer. To be honest, the bites were still coming regularly further out as it is just a pleasure session as there is less pressure on the river, but I also wanted to try a few other things today as these practice sessions are not all about bagging up. 

First put in the big float settles and then slide majestically under. A firm strike and the elastic shoots outs as a better stamp of fish puts up a spirited fight. It turns out to be a decent perch, followed the next put in by a nice roach. The bites come regularly, and you can definitely see that the fish are a better stamp on this line, as you might expect. 

So there you are, a useful tactic on any big river really, especially when the conditions are a bit rough and fishing long can be hard work. Whenever I am fishing a match on the river you can normally find a flat float set up on my roost, as it is a useful way of putting a few better fish in the net. 

Tom Noton

Start off with two bait droppers to kick-start the line.

Use a big bait to select the better fish.

The Sphere Ultra Strong is my hook of choice.

Tom’s Gear

Xitan Z16 L Advance Pole

Pink Microbore Elastic on a Duo kit

0.18mm Cenex Hybrid Power rig line

0.16mm Cenex Hybrid Power hooklength

Size 12 Sphere Ultra Strong hook

5-20 gram flat float

Small Bait dropper

Tom’s Bait

Pint of casters

Half a pint of maggots

400 grams Dendrabenas