The Winning Formula

Match Fishing’s Joe Carass has something on his chest that he needs to get off!

 F1s, F1s, F1s, I’ve got bloody F1s on the brain at the moment. I go to sleep thinking of F1s and I wake up, still thinking about them. Yes I am totally obsessed by them!

I think they get a bit of a bad rap. I hear no end of ‘star’ names slagging the poor little devils off and I can’t really think of a logical reason why. For the masses they are a species that offer lots of bites and a realistic chance of a great days sport on every trip. Yet some of the purists see the little golden friends as nothing more than vermin.

But why? They present a unique challenge as far as I am concerned and have left even the finest anglers our sport has to offer, tied up in knots! On some days they can be incredibly easy to catch, in the height of summer they can seem determined to get caught. Yet on other days they play hardball and become unbelievably frustrating.

Their habits intrigue me, swimming around in balls, a safety in numbers kind of instinct if you like. But this can be their downfall as once a ball is located in the winter; you can usually go on to snare the ringleader and all his mates.

Fickle feeders, F1s often give you the tiniest of indications. A perfectly presented pellet is often their downfall but you must be aware that the smallest dip of the float can see you hook a big ‘leatherback’ squarely in the top lip.

The conundrum then begins when a Method feeder is cast into an F1 venue. They must forget how fickle they are because an F1 bite on a Method usually see’s you ‘rescuing’ your rod. How the same species can give you two contrasting bites never ceases to amaze me.

Incredibly frustrating though some sessions can be, there are other days where an F1 match can run like clockwork. Catch a few fish, move to a new swim and start again. Repeat for five hours and a potential match winning net is on the cards. Their predictability in this situation is often their undoing as the angler stays two steps ahead. But for the most part, they continue to tie anglers in knots!

I think what I like about them most is the challenge they present throughout the winter months. Every single time you ship out, you are in essence fishing a mini match. What you feed, or don’t feed, on every ship is crucial and is basically starting your match from scratch every time.

How they just ‘arrive’ in your swim is another mystery. Much like roach on a winter’s day, a swim can go from being lifeless, to being absolutely solid. I think light levels have a lot to do with how and when roach and F1s feed in the winter. Something definitely changes that triggers them into feeding.

F1s have definitely done more good for our sport than harm and I just can't see where the argument about them being vermin comes from. There may be some venues that stock them that are less than picturesque, but the fish themselves? They are brilliant!