On larger rivers it is very common to see anglers fishing straight across the river, often casting at far bank features, such as overhanging trees, or perhaps weed beds in the far margin. Most anglers will plump for a feeder or ledger weight large enough for them to cast the distance and hold position with ease. The rod can then be put in a rest and even when debris begins to collect on the line the weight will keep the bait in position. Unlike downstream ledgering, where we can put the weight on a link and effectively isolate it from the rest of the rig, the same is not true when ledgering across the current. If you use this rig now you can imagine the weight being opposite the angler on a tight line with the hook length dangling downstream in-between. When a fish picks up the bait and moves downstream it will not only feel the weight of the lead, but also the drag on the line and the rod tip.

The first change that you will need to make to your set-up is to create some extra slack in the set-up so the fish is not in direct contact with the rod top. Do this by pointing the rod at an angle of about 45 degrees downstream and pay out a few turns of line so that a bow is formed. Now, when the fish moves off with the bait, the lead will shift and the tip will spring back as the line goes slack. To make this set-up more sensitive it is essential to balance the weight to the current so that it only just holds. By doing this, when the fish moves off with the bait, the weight will be dislodged giving a slight dip on the tip followed by a massive drop-back. Getting the weight just right takes a little bit of time. The simplest thing to do is to tie a weight to the end of the main line and try a few casts with no hook to catch. Gradually add or remove weight until the correct balance is achieved.

Finally we come to ledgering upstream of the anglers position. The set-up in this instance is mush the same as we have seen before, except that the rod can be moved back out so that it is at ninety degrees to the bank. Upstream ledgering is also about getting the balance just right, but we now have another factor, acting in our favour. Once again have a few trial casts so that the weight just holds. Now cast out, put the rod in the rests and tighten up the tip. Keep on tightening until the weight shifts. Now you can use the combination of the current and the tautness of the line to balance the weight precisely. Bites will again be seen as a slight tremble followed by a massive drop-back as the weight shifts position.

Although they have almost disappeared from use, balanced ledgering techniques can bring a whole new dimension to your fishing and are so much more involving than casting out and waiting for a chub or barbel to hook itself. Other variations on this theme can also be developed, such as the rolling weight, where the weight can be dislodged easily, allowing the whole swim to be searched as it bounces downstream. There is no doubt that fish often take moving baits more confidently than static ones, so a balanced approach can give you not only greatly increased sensitivity, but also a whole new way of presenting a bait to finicky fish.