Squatts work well in winter at Woodland Waters
Journal angling correspondent Dave Coster has been concentrating on the local lakes at Woodland Waters during the Christmas holiday period and into the new year.
Despite often wintry conditions, there are plenty of spots on this big complex where it is possible to find shelter, especially in the heavily wooded areas.
On a recent trip to the Match Lake, Dave tried out a different approach, using a largely forgotten bait called squatts.
These are tiny feed maggots that come from the common house fly.
They were once very popular with anglers fishing canals and drains, particularly in winter. But over the years more and more people have been attracted away from these types of venues, switching to commercial fisheries, where good sport is almost guaranteed. Due to this change of habits, squatts almost disappeared off the scene.
Trends change however and there has been a gradual swing back to “natural” venues, as canals, drains and rivers are classed by anglers. This in turn has led to a demand for the tiny grubs again, which tend to activate fish into feeding better when the weather turns colder.
The local bait farm at Long Bennington has started producing them, while Lakeside Angling at Woody's has also been selling this bait.
Not having used squatts properly for many years, Dave tried adding some to dark groundbait, combined with scaled down pole tackle in the deep Match Lake. He was amazed to start getting bites straight away. He had forgotten how good this bait was at stirring lethargic fish into feeding.
However, this bait does tend to pull in lots of small stuff, so the trick then is to start putting in proper sized maggots or casters after the swim has come to life. Dave did exactly that and after catching plenty of small roach, perch and skimmer bream, bigger roach and hybrids moved in during the last hour of daylight.
+ You can see more of Dave Coster’s angling adventures on fishingmagic.com