Ben Wales discusses his best tips for starting on a new water which should help you get off to a flying start this spring!

Ben Wales discusses his best tips for starting on a new water which should help you get off to a flying start this spring!


Despite its downfalls, the internet can be your best friend when it comes to new waters. It can help you build up a picture of the venue without having even been there which will of course ensure you hit the ground running when you eventually come to the fishing part. Most lakes these days will have some form of information available online, with a lot of places having video content now, it is even better. Even the old-fashioned methods of networking other anglers are worth doing, especially on the more publicity shy venues. It was clear to me before I ventured onto the snaggy pit that I would have to do both to succeed, and I would always recommend people to do the same hen approaching any new water.


They say time is the most valuable commodity in life and in angling, there’s no doubt, the use of time and the actual timing of your sessions are both vastly important. I am in the fortunate position to work as a product developer in the industry, and as such part of my job involves me going fishing to test products. It’s fair to say I get more fishing time than a lot of people out there, but as far as my personal fishing goes, it’s fairly limited.

Like many anglers out there, other than maybe a trip away with the other half, my holidays are saved for a bit of extra angling. Each year, I plan my trips around really good periods that have a track record for producing hits of fish, this way I am never sat there wasting my time. Take my recent weeklong trip to the Snaggy Pit for instance, I knew the early spring would be a good time to get out there and the lake has a track record of being kind through that period. As such I decided to book a week around my birthday, and it paid off massively. Whether you aim for specific times of year that have a track record or even a specific moon phase, the timing of your trips is of huge importance.


Once you are in a fishing situation, locating where the carp are is of course a number one priority. Some of your prior research may reveal a few likely areas that correspond to the time of year, but apart from that it’s all down to using your eyes.

On the Snaggy Pit, we are in the fortunate position to be allowed to use boats. Using a boat cuts down the length of time it takes to find the fish, especially on a lake as big and disjointed as the Snaggy Pit. I drift around really slowly and with a pair of polaroids on you can see everything! From little glowing spots amongst the weed to the carp sat in the snags doing their best to hide away. By drifting around and observing the fish, I was able to pinpoint their entrance and exit points and then find spots right on their patrol routes.

If I didn’t have access to a boat then trees are the best bet, as the added elevation gives you a greater viewing window. Searching from the bank is a much longer process but it’s still possible, you just have to put the time and effort in.


Using a good quality bait that you are confident in is everything, and I know whole heartedly that I can put my faith in anything that Sticky produce along with a few tried and tested particles. Every lake is different and presents a new scenario and as such it is worth tailoring your approach to the venue you are fishing.

The Snaggy Pit is typical of most clear, shallow lakes, the bird life is an absolute nightmare! On places like this a mixture of bait, with a variety of sizes is the key, with a slight biased towards very small food items. By using small items such as 2.3mm pellets, chopped tigers and crushed boilies, it takes the birds a hell of a long time to clear you out. If I was to use whole 20mm boilies, they would clear my spots in minutes! Don’t get me wrong, I still put a few whole Manilla Active boilies in my mix, but there’s enough smaller items to keep the birds busy and ensure there’s always something down there for when the carp come along.