Presuming that you have found the fish then big rudd aren't particularly difficult to catch. In all, there are four tactics which I commonly use for them, some pretty much text book stuff, others a little different. Never follow one method slavishly, each is designed to catch fish in certain circumstances and only those circumstances. Not only will you catch more fish by varying your methods, but I reckon you will have more fun too!

FLOAT FISHING

On the right water, float fishing at dawn and dusk can be deadly. Ideally, you are looking for quite deep margins with a good marginal growth of reeds. The rudd will live amongst the reeds and not venture far out into the lake during daylight. Ideally, you will have access to a boat, which will enable you to cast straight at the reeds, or even move into the reed beds if this is allowed. In the real world though we will be bank fishing. Remember, you are looking to put a bait tight to the reed line, so corner swims, small spits, anything that gives you a better casting position is welcome.

Obviously, if you are chucking a relatively cumbersome rig at a load of snags your tackle needs to be quite strong. Four pound main line is not over the top with a slightly lighter hook length. A dumpy peacock waggler gives plenty of casting weight, but causes little disturbance and casts accurately. Size 10 and 12 fine wire hooks are used as the fish will not put up that much of a fight. So, set your float somewhere between three feet and full depth. Put all but a number four shot around the float and the remaining weight about eight inches from the hook. Pinch on a large piece of bread flake (which should completely cover the hook) and cast as close as you dare. The beauty of this method is that because the hook is fully encased in the bait snagging up is rare. You can either feed small quantities of maggots or a little mashed bread. Either way, bites are likely to come in ones and twos as the shoals of rudd pass you by.

ON THE DROP

Another text-book approach. If your waters are not full of small rudd then continual casting of a small open end feeder can draw the rudd shoals to you. This method works well when fishing at ranges beyond the scope of float fishing. Normally I will use a quiver feeder rod fitted with the lightest tip. Six pound braided line and three pound hook length with hook size to match the bait are all attached. Tie on a small cage feeder, so that the feeder is on a twelve inch link and the hook length is around four feet in length.

The aim of this method is to keep a constant source of feed in the water to attract the fish and to allow the bait to fall slowly through the water column. Recast every couple of minutes to keep the stream of feed going - this is why I use a quiver rod rather than a bobbin, as it is easier to set the quiver tip. Expect bites immediately the feeder touches down. With it's lack of stretch, braided lines are ideal for this style of fishing, as you will know the second a fish picks up the bait. Like the first method though, this method is only suited to lakes which contain only large fish as you will get 'bitted out' by small ones attracted in their droves to the cloud of bait.

FLOATER FISHING

Without doubt, the most fun way to catch rudd is off the top. On the waters I fish this has led to a selective approach, which means I only catch the larger fish. I use large baits, Pedigree chum mixers are just about the right size. These I soften by running under the tap and then storing in a sealed bag over night. Once softened, the bait can be mounted on the hook so that the point stands proud. This can be a much more mobile approach as I do not start fishing until I can actually see the rudd feeding confidently on the mixers.

The rig is pretty uncomplicated. I use either a small carp controller float or a large Drennan loaded waggler. Line and hooks are as before. The only difference is that the hook length is made up in two parts. For two feet close to the hook I use 3lb breaking strain fluorocarbon which is water knotted to three feet of four pound line before reaching the controller. This stepped leader greatly reduces breakages caused by the hook length tangling around the controller.

POPPED-UP PATERNOSTER

This is not a method which is particularly enjoyable, but it is something that I have resorted to when faced with hoards of tiny rudd with only a few larger fish. Instead of using a traditional bait I use a 10-12mm pop-up boilie mounted on a short hair. This is fished on a four pound fluorocarbon hook length between four and ten inches in length. A one ounce bomb is then fixed to a two foot tail, to form a paternoster rig. Although I have used a feeder in the past, this again attracts ravenous small fish and it is amazing that you can catch fish on this rig so small that they cannot physically take the bait into their mouths. Generally, I will settle for scattering a little groundbait laced with maggots on a known patrol route and wait for the big rudd to arrive. Normally, you will only get a couple of chances, but these will be the biggest fish in the shoal.

Well there you go, nothing particularly revolutionary, because once you have got the location right rudd are pretty easy to catch. If you can find 'em, go get 'em, as a big rudd really is a sight to behold.