As part of Dan O’Neill’s River Whispers series, Anthony O’Neill is back this week and has some tips for when you get to a lake or river for the first time. Tips that are quite useful for beginners and get the angling mind turning…

When I get to a lake or river that I haven’t fished before I like to plumb the depth to find the bottom or deep spots in the swim. It’s the first thing I do when I get there. I always start fishing on the bottom first.

If it’s quiet or I don’t get many bites I move my lead shot up further away from the hook so my bait falls a little more gently to the bottom. Fish sometimes take it quickly when it falls like that.

If that fails I will shorten up about 6 inches so it’s not fully on the bottom. I also like to drip feed which means I throw in a few free offerings of bait every 3 to 4 minutes depending on how the fish react.


I love to catch Tench because they fight really hard and they are a lovely colour. There are a lot of gudgeon around also and I like to fish them with a 12ft whip. I use sweetcorn mostly this time of year and luncheon meat. I find for Tench that if you crush a few strawberries in a pot add some sweetcorn and boil it that it works very well. It toughens the sweetcorn and makes it very sweet smelling. I have used blueberries and raspberries also but find strawberries to work the best, it makes your hook bait stand out on a bed of bait. An adult helps me when I’m boiling things so its best you do the same.

Beginners Tip: Plumbing the depth

A plumb bob is a lead with a small piece of cork attached to the bottom. You put your hook through the loop at the top of the lead then sink the point into the cork at the bottom. The lead will be too heavy for your float to support, so it sinks. Keep adjusting the float until the tip is visible that way you know when your on the bottom of the lake or river bed. If the float floats or lays on its side then adjust the float down towards the hook until the tip of the float is visible. When at a new fishery start by fishing the bottom and working your way up. The further away from your hook your last lead shot is then the more naturally the bait will move through the water column once the last lead shot settles. I usually fish the last lead shot 6 inches above the bait then adjust for a more natural drop or put it closer if i want to hit the bottom quicker.

Go fishing…

South East Casting

Address Thomastown Kilkenny Ireland Mobile Phone: +353857652751