Shallow Tips With Stu Conroy

England ace Stu Conroy shares some great tips for bagging up this summer.


In recent weeks I’ve had some great results fishing ‘up in the water’ or targeting the really shallow water across to islands, with no fewer than ten 100lb catches, including two 170lb weights!

Stu Conroy and his essential tackle for shallow work.

This is mainly due to the warm weather, although the new Crystal Dibbers have really been a revelation to my shallow fishing. I think the unobtrusive nature of their design allows the fish to compete higher in the water without being spooked. As a result, the bites are more aggressive so more fish are hooked or hook themselves.

I’ve been amazed to keep catching for long periods as shallow as eight inches, with fish flashing and swirling through the feed without any concern for the rig! These floats also sit really well on the line with very few ‘wrapovers’ when shipping in and out with a really short line between pole tip and float.

I’ve mainly been using the smallest 0.2g size for F1 fishing. I’ve also had some big fish off the top with ‘mugging’ tactics, using the slightly bigger 0.3g version.


Get Mugging!

Try a 0.3g Crystal Dibber for ‘mugging’ bigger carp.

Mugging is a term given to catching bigger cruising fish near the surface that ordinarily avoid any free offerings. When a single hook bait is dropped in front of one of these fish, though, it sometimes cannot resist! This is more common when two or three fish are cruising together.

Long lines are the order of the day with this tactic and about 6ft of line is about right. This keeps the pole tip well away from the fish, which should result in more takes. Try to keep a tight line to the float, too, as this will also result in more hooked fish.

Crystal Dibbers are perfect for mugging as the fish are so high in the water and can very easily be spooked. The long line is the reason I fish with a slightly heavier float, as the extra weight allows me to swing the rig to the desired spot.


Shallow Fishing For F1s

A 0.2g Crystal Dibber is perfect for F1s.

The bulk of my catches recently, however, have been made up of F1s fishing more conventionally with a 0.2g Crystal Dibber. I like to set up two or three rigs for variable depths; all with as short a line as I can get away with between pole tip and float. This helps to hit more bites.

Short 10cm hooklengths allow a simple bulk of three of four No11 shot to sit just above the hooklength. This is very important as having the bulk below halfway between the hook and float keeps tangles to a minimum. If it’s above halfway, the rig is out of balance and you could spend more time untangling the rig than actually fishing!

My hooklengths are normally 0.117mm Supplex tied to a size 18 Drennan Silverfish Pellet hook or a Silverfish Hair Rigger when using banded pellet. When ‘mugging’, this is stepped up to 0.16mm and a Wide Gape Pellet hook. Hook size is determined by the hook bait but a 16 is a good general choice.


Feeding Myths

Constant feeding is not aways best.

This biggest myth connected to fishing shallow is the misconception that you need to feed ‘all the time.’ This is totally untrue! Regular feeding is more essential when feeding smaller baits like maggots, casters or small pellets but there are many ways to feed when fishing shallow. My advice is to vary your feed to gauge how the fish want it on that particular day, especially when fishing for bigger carp. Often, stopping feeding can result in a bite; tapping or slapping the rig can also result in a fish when regular feeding just isn’t working.

Constant feeding will get fish in the swim, varying your feed and presentation will get them on the hook!


The Mud Line

Wait for visible signs of fish before dropping onto the ‘mud line’.

Targeting the far-bank ‘mud line’ on my local venues, such as Heronbrook, Brookside and Cudmore has also been lucrative recently. Here I’ve been using a 0.2g Crystal Dibber and feeding a mixture of carp groundbait and my deadly liquidised meat!

You can tell when the fish have arrived as they start humping and swirling in clear view. This allows you to fish other lines, then nick a big fish now and again from this ultra shallow ‘mud line’.

Stu Conroy with a great net of F1s.

The trick to not foul-hooking these fish is to feed slightly back from the far bank, then present your hook bait tight across. I also leave a bit more float showing with this tactic, so I can pick out a proper bite from a liner. Bites are often very fast and will bury the float with a bit of float ‘stuck up’!

Give the Crystal Dibbers a go while the sun is still shining and see if you can catch a ton!