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AnglingTımes<br />




GUIDE TO<br />

FEEDER<br />

BIG<br />

VALUE!<br />

ONLY £6.99<br />






L IMI T ED<br />












Steve Ringer’s Ultimate guide to<br />

Feeder Fishing is produced by Angling Times.<br />

Contact us at Bauer Media, Media House,<br />

Lynch Wood, Peterborough PE2 6EA. Call<br />

01733 468000<br />


Written by Steve Ringer<br />

Editor: Richard Grange<br />

Art Editor: Peter McClelland<br />

Art Director: Hakan Simsek<br />

Photography: Lloyd Rogers<br />

Sub Editor: Nick Fletcher<br />


Print production: Andrew Stafford<br />

Printed by Stephens and George Print Group<br />


Editor-in-chief: Steve Fitzpatrick<br />

Managing Director: Patrick Horton<br />

Group MD: Rob Munro-Hall<br />

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W E L C O M E T O M Y<br />



IT WASN’T that long ago that fishing the<br />

feeder was viewed as an inferior way<br />

of catching, almost a last resort that<br />

required less skill and more luck than<br />

fishing the pole or waggler. Times have<br />

changed a bit since then!<br />

In fact, fishing the feeder has become a bit of<br />

an ‘in vogue’ thing in the UK and indeed across<br />

the continent with new feeder-0nly match<br />

competitions springing up every few months<br />

and more and more tackle companies producing<br />

feeder kit to keep pace with the demand.<br />

And I suppose I’ve been at the vanguard of<br />

this trend, having been lucky enough to be<br />

selected for the England Feeder Team in 2011<br />

and then be crowned World Champion in 2014.<br />

The feeder is a method I love, whether that’s<br />

casting a long way for bream at Ferry Meadows<br />

or plopping a tiny Method to the far side of a<br />

snake lake. What I love the most is that, like any<br />

way of fishing, there are lots of little things that<br />

you can do to get a bite.<br />

I’ve pooled my knowledge about the many<br />

aspects of feeder fishing alongside the best of<br />

my features from my Angling Times columns<br />

into this exhuastive bookazine and the finished<br />

product offers all you’ll ever need to know<br />

about using the feeder from catching carp on<br />

commercials to winkling<br />

out a few bream when the<br />

odds are against you.<br />

I hope you enjoy it!<br />



C O N T E N T S<br />

66-85<br />

TACKLE<br />



Know your Methods from<br />

your Hybrids with Steve’s<br />

at-a-glance guide<br />

10-11 S ET UP CORRECTLY<br />

Organise your peg to fish the<br />

feeder efficiently<br />

12-13 T HE RIGHT RODS<br />

When to use a 9ft bomb rod<br />

over a 13ft distance model<br />

14-15 R EEL CHOICES<br />

Put yards on your cast by<br />

selecting the right reel<br />

16-17 L INES & BRAID<br />

Tie mono to braid and<br />

discover the hooklength<br />

materials Steve uses<br />

18-19 A LL ABOUT HOOKS<br />

The only patterns you’ll ever<br />

need for fishing the feeder<br />

20-21 A CCESSORIES<br />

Gear up with the little bits<br />

and bobs to make your<br />

feeder rigs deadly!<br />


22-39<br />

42-43 H YBRID RIG<br />

Tie the perfect rig with this<br />

brilliant new feeder<br />

44-48 O N THE BANK<br />

See how Steve fishes the<br />

Hybrid in this great feature<br />

49-51 M INI HYBRID<br />

Keep on bagging in the cold<br />

with this toned down attack.<br />

52-53 H YBRID BAITS<br />

Why Wafters are the number<br />

one hookbait to use<br />


56-57 P ELLET FEEDER RIG<br />

Turn every bite into a<br />

guaranteed fish in the net by<br />

fishing this brilliant rig<br />

58-61 H OW TO FISH IT<br />

Steve proves that bream love<br />

pellets just as much as carp<br />

on mixed fisheries.<br />


How you can catch big<br />

weight by scaling down your<br />

feeder tactics<br />


68-69 B REAM FEEDER RIG<br />

The famous Ferry Meadows<br />

rocket feeder rig explained<br />

70-71 F EEDERLINKS<br />

Tie your own and eliminate<br />

annoying tangles<br />

96-107<br />

78-79 C AST FURTHER!<br />

Six simple fixes from Steve<br />

82-85 S CALED-DOWN CAGE<br />

Drop down to a cage feeder<br />

to get bites in winter<br />




A very special day with a<br />

new match record and a ton<br />

of big bream!<br />

110-113 I RISH BAGGING<br />

Full speed ahead for Irish<br />

roach at the World Pairs.<br />

116-119 K ING OF THE WORLD!<br />

Re-live how Steve became<br />

World Feeder Champion<br />

24-25 M ETHOD RIG<br />

How to tie Steve’s winning<br />

rig for this popular summer<br />

feeder attack<br />

26-30 P OP-UP METHOD<br />

Catch well in the summer<br />

with this unusual take on the<br />

traditional Method feeder<br />

32-36 W INTER METHOD<br />

Keep bites coming in the<br />

cold with top advice and a<br />

few simple tweaks<br />


On the bank with Steve in<br />

search of big bream<br />

76-77 T OP BREAM BAITS<br />

Bream love hair-rigged<br />

worms – find out why<br />

86-93<br />


How to put together this<br />

simple set-up for F1s<br />

90-93 M IGHTY MAGGOTS!<br />

The maggot feeder is not<br />

just for river chub, as Steve<br />

shows at Packington Somers<br />


98-101 T HE BOMB DEBUNKED<br />

Get the most out of the lead<br />

in this exhaustive feature<br />

120-121 F ISHING FOR ENGLAND<br />

What it takes to pull on the<br />

three lions fishing shirt<br />

...AND FINALLY<br />

122-125 W HERE TO FISH<br />

Fill you boots by visiting one<br />

of Steve’s top 10 UK venues<br />

for fishing the feeder.<br />

126-127 E SSENTIAL KNOTS<br />

How to tie the knots you<br />

need for safe feeder rigs<br />

38-39 M ETHOD BAITS<br />

What to put on the hook and<br />

around the feeder<br />

102-105 A NEW TYPE OF BOMB<br />

Get on the Impact Bomb this<br />

summer for big-fish action<br />

122-125 G LOSSARY<br />

Every feeder fishing term<br />

explained in detail.<br />



KNOW<br />

YOUR<br />


When should you fish a Method<br />

over an open-end? All is revealed...<br />

IT’S not only floats that can send<br />

your head into a bit of a spin when it<br />

comes to picking the right one to suit<br />

your fishing – feeder choice is just as<br />

perplexing, given the sheer number of<br />

types on the market.<br />

Years ago it was a straight pick between a<br />

plastic open-end for lake bream or a blockend<br />

for river chub, but the advent of commercial<br />

carp has introduced a whole new breed of<br />

feeders. They keep on coming, too, with the<br />

Guru Hybrid the latest feeder to hit the banks.<br />

Standard open-end feeders are sub-divided<br />

into cage, rocket and plastic varieties, so it’s<br />

no wonder that you can easily pick the wrong<br />

feeder before you’ve even wet a line.<br />

To help you make the right choice, over the<br />

next few pages I’ve broken down each type of<br />

feeder in my box and when it is best used.<br />

I store my feeders in a large<br />

box as this makes locating the<br />

right one a quick and easy job<br />

– no rummaging around here!<br />


This is a type of maggot feeder with the<br />

weight built into one end. That makes<br />

for a feeder that casts accurately and<br />

goes a long way in windy weather.<br />


I’ll pick a Method when I want to be<br />

attacking with my feeding in the<br />

summer and get lots of pellets into the<br />

peg when carp are the main target.<br />


Ireland’s big loughs seem to respond to<br />

this unique feeder. Brilliant for getting a<br />

quantity of particle baits to the bottom,<br />

especially chopped worm and caster.<br />


A cross between a Method and pellet<br />

feeder that’s a little more refined than<br />

both. Side walls stop the bait breaking<br />

away on the way down.<br />


I don’t use a pellet feeder that much<br />

nowadays but they do allow you to<br />

regulate your feeding precisely and are<br />

very good in late autumn/early winter.<br />


Great on winter venues when there’s a<br />

stock of mixed fish such as F1s, barbel<br />

and skimmers that are tuned into eating<br />

maggots rather than pellets.<br />



TACKLE<br />

On commercial fisheries, the Method or<br />

Hybrid feeder now rules the roost.<br />



O P E N - E N D<br />

F E E D E R S<br />


These massive cage<br />

feeders see the light of day<br />

when I want to get lots of<br />

groundbait and particles<br />

down quickly for bream.<br />


Lets bait out as it falls<br />

through the water, and<br />

is excellent for putting<br />

attraction in the swim when<br />

after roach and skimmers.<br />


Should you prefer to use an<br />

inline cage, these are the<br />

ones to pick. I use them on<br />

commercials when fishing<br />

for F1s and skimmers.<br />


A standard open end<br />

feeder but without the<br />

holes. This ensures that<br />

nothing comes out of the<br />

feeder until it hits bottom.<br />

B O M B F E E D E R S<br />


E E This is the open-end feeder<br />

that most of us will be<br />

familiar with. They still take<br />

some beating for bream,<br />

fished on a moderate cast.<br />


My standard bomb for carp work. The<br />

square shape casts very well, and with<br />

the supplied stem there’s the option to<br />

fish it as an elasticated version.<br />


When the carp want a bit of feed but<br />

not feederfuls, these bombs let you<br />

introduce small helpings of micro<br />

pellets alongside your hookbait.<br />


It’s not only the overall size of feeder<br />

that should dictate the feeder you pick<br />

– weight is just as important to ensure<br />

accurate casting each time.<br />



D I S T A N C E F E E D E R S<br />

TACKLE<br />


These are due out in the coming months<br />

and are a standard weight-forward<br />

rocket feeder for bream fishing. They<br />

also feature changeable weights.<br />


A real brute of a feeder for wild<br />

conditions – especially Ireland! Their<br />

shape helps with long casts while the<br />

cage means a quick release of bait.<br />


Effectively the same as the Kev Leach<br />

feeders but in a smaller size for shorter<br />

casts and when not too much feed is<br />

needed to keep the fish happy.<br />


The distance feeder that’s won me lots<br />

of matches at Ferry Meadows! With<br />

the weight built into one end, they cast<br />

superbly and are deadly accurate.<br />


Where permitted I will always opt to<br />

use an inline elasticated feeder. They<br />

offer security against hook-pulls when<br />

playing fish under the rod-tip.<br />

Match elastic<br />

strength to<br />

size of fish.<br />






Set up correctly and see your catch rate rocket with Steve’s advice!<br />

FEEDER fishing is not like using the<br />

pole or waggler, where you’re quite<br />

active throughout the day with<br />

casting and feeding – instead you’ll<br />

be spending a lot of time sitting still<br />

watching and waiting for the tip to be<br />

pulled round.<br />

It therefore figures that your platform to fish<br />

from should be as comfortable as you can make<br />

it, with everything you’re likely to need easy to<br />

get to and in its rightful place.<br />

Look at my feeder set-up and you’ll see differences<br />

from how you may organise your kit for<br />

fishing at 16m of pole, for example.<br />

Put simply, when the tip goes round I want<br />

to be able to focus on what the fish is doing and<br />

not be groping around for the landing net that’s<br />

up the bank behind me!<br />

4<br />

1<br />

7<br />

8<br />

6<br />

7<br />



TACKLE<br />


I actually use a second Reaper<br />

back rest to place my landing net<br />

1<br />

on. This keeps it off the floor,<br />

where it can too easily get broken or<br />

slide into the lake!<br />


You may see some anglers that<br />

are fishing the feeder position<br />

2<br />

their box at a slight angle off to<br />

the side so it points roughly in the same<br />

direction as the rod will out into the<br />

lake. I don’t do this – instead I have the<br />

box facing forwards as normal. This<br />

allows me to fish the pole later on in the<br />

day if I set it up, and also lets me net<br />

fish directly in front of me.<br />


A few years ago I would have<br />

popped the rod handle on my<br />

3<br />

side tray or my lap, but carp bites<br />

are fierce and can drag the rod in!<br />

Guru’s Reaper back rest actually grips<br />

the handle to prevent it being dislodged<br />

by a carp. A brilliant little gadget!<br />


How you angle the rod is down to<br />

personal choice but I like to leave<br />

4<br />

around a 45° angle. This still<br />

shows up bites, even from skimmers.<br />

Daiwa’s feeder rest is rock solid and the<br />

Guru Reaper rod rest allows me to place<br />

the rod in multiple positions so I can get<br />

the perfect tension.<br />


Over the course of a session you<br />

may need to up the size of feeder<br />

5<br />

that you are using or, if you’re<br />

unlucky, replace it after a crack-off.<br />

They’re too heavy to keep in the<br />

seatbox so I have a carry case packed<br />

full of feeders that I place behind my<br />

box. This lets me organise feeders so<br />

that I can find a specific one in seconds.<br />


In winter my tray probably won’t<br />

have many bait tubs on it but in<br />

6<br />

summer, especially at venues<br />

such as Ferry Meadows when I’m after<br />

bream, I can have several baits as well<br />

as groundbait on the go at once. As a<br />

result, I need a big stable tray to take<br />

this weight and take casters, worms,<br />

dead maggots, corn, micro pellets and<br />

meat. My tray is made by Fab Trays and<br />

is perfect for the job.<br />

9<br />

2<br />

3<br />


These are what will take up most<br />

of the space on your tray. I try to<br />

7<br />

use as big a bait tub as I can so<br />

that I can have as much bait as possible<br />

to hand. There’s nothing worse than<br />

running out of micro pellets and having<br />

to get off your box to find some more.<br />

I’ll also have things such as chopped<br />

worm scissors for bream fishing, baiting<br />

tools, disgorger and spare Hybrid or<br />

Method feeders made up and ready to<br />

go on the tray, along with my flask if the<br />

fishing isn’t very good!<br />


If you’re the sort of angler that<br />

wipes their hands down the front<br />

8<br />

of their trousers or top after<br />

landing a fish, do yourself a favour and<br />

get a decent quality hand towel. Having<br />

clean hands makes baiting up so much<br />

easier, especially when it’s cold and<br />

raining, and a towel is a godsend when<br />

dealing wih bream slime or for wiping<br />

groundbait off your hands.<br />

10<br />


This is placed on the opposite<br />

side of my swim to where the rod<br />

9<br />

is pointing, and basically clears<br />

more open water in front of me to net a<br />

fish without it trying to get behind the<br />

net. You can even use a keepnet as a<br />

basic rod rest if needed.<br />

5<br />


On so many matches nowadays I<br />

will set up more than one feeder<br />

10<br />

rod, and to avoid having them get<br />

tangled up in the grass or bankside<br />

nettles I use this smart rod holder<br />

system that slots on to my box leg. This<br />

can take three rods and can be angled<br />

to keep spare rods away from mischief.<br />



PICK THE<br />

RIGHT<br />

ROD FOR<br />

THE JOB<br />

Does a 12ft rod make any difference<br />

to your fishing? Steve reckons so...<br />

HOW times have changed! When<br />

I was a kid I had one feeder rod<br />

that could be used for everything<br />

from catching bream on rivers to<br />

throwing out a bomb with a bit of<br />

corn on the end for carp.<br />

Not today, though. That’s because every<br />

good tackle manufacturer now makes a range<br />

of feeder rods to achieve very specific jobs –<br />

such has been the changing face of fishing in<br />

the UK over the past 30 years.<br />

Commercial carp have played a big role<br />

in that, but on rivers and lakes we’ve found<br />

the need for longer and more powerful rods<br />

for bream and skimmers. The days of giving<br />

yourself a hernia trying to cast 60 yards with an<br />

11ft rod are thankfully no more!<br />

For casting up to 90 yards, a 13ft feeder rod<br />

will make the job so much easier, whereas a<br />

gentle lob with a small feeder would suit a 9ft or<br />

10ft bomb-style rod.<br />

Action needs to be considered when picking<br />

a rod. What I look for is backbone in the lower<br />

part to provide casting power, changing to a<br />

softer through action in the middle and tip of<br />

the rod to avoid lost fish on the strike.<br />

Too soft a rod and you won’t be able to cast<br />

accurately... too stiff and you’ll lose more fish<br />

than you land. Finding the balance is key.<br />

Picking the correct rod will make<br />

hitting your mark an absolute doddle.<br />


Just as you would<br />

when considering rings<br />

on the main rod, so the<br />

guides on a quivertip<br />

should be correct.<br />

Braid fishing requires<br />

bigger rings to let<br />

shockleader knots pass<br />

through, while straight<br />

mono fishing suits<br />

standard guides.<br />



TACKLE<br />


This is a very slender rod with no real<br />

casting backbone. It’s perfect for winter<br />

bomb fishing or for flicking a small<br />

feeder underarm to snake lake far banks<br />

in windy weather. It is incredibly soft in<br />

its action and so is ideal for F1 work.<br />


Very similar to the 9ft Tournament but<br />

with that extra foot of length to allow<br />

longer casts. I use this rod for much of<br />

my general commercial fishery work<br />

when casting to islands up to 30m away.<br />

or into open water.<br />


My favourite rod of the range. It is very<br />

versatile and can be used for carp work,<br />

although I think it is a brilliant roach<br />

and skimmer rod for use in Ireland – in<br />

fact, this is the rod that I used to win the<br />

World Champs at Inniscarra in 2014.<br />


We’re in the realm of the big boys now,<br />

and this multi-length rod is designed<br />

for long casts on commercials such<br />

as Barston Lakes or in Ireland, on the<br />

big loughs. I tend to use it almost<br />

exclusively at its 12ft length.<br />


When I need to cast a long way, this is<br />

the rod to do it! I can throw a feeder<br />

up to 90 yards at Ferry Meadows with<br />

ease and because of its power, it is best<br />

suited to big-fish situations as opposed<br />

to catching skimmers and roach.<br />


Relatively new, but a rod that I’ve<br />

already grown to love. This is a brute of<br />

a rod with lots of power and can cast a<br />

bomb or feeder a very long way. I use it<br />

a lot in winter at Boddington Reservoir<br />

when I’m after big carp.<br />

Pick each<br />

rod to do a<br />

specific job.<br />



WHY<br />

REEL<br />

CHOICE<br />


JUST as it is vital to pick a rod that’s<br />

suited to the type of feeder fishing<br />

that you plan on doing, so too should<br />

the reel that’s going to be strapped<br />

on to the handle be fully capable of<br />

getting the job done.<br />

This is something I’ve learned in the last<br />

decade or so, when I’ve found more and more<br />

of my feeder work requiring longer casts. A<br />

normal match-type reel hasn’t got the guts to<br />

go the distance. These smaller reels are built<br />

for trotting floats or casting wagglers up to 30<br />

yards. Beyond this they struggle.<br />

Fortunately, the big-carp world has stepped<br />

in. Carp anglers regularly cast over 100 yards<br />

and use massive reels to suit – so by slimming<br />

these ‘big pit’ models down to suit match<br />

fishing, we now have big reels for big casts.<br />

The difference they make is astounding.<br />

But if you don’t need one of these beasts for<br />

your feeder fishing, you can invest in a feedertype<br />

reel. This will share many of the traits of<br />

a mini big pit, but at half the<br />

size and price!<br />

From mini ‘big pits’ to beefed-up<br />

match models, they all play their part<br />

1<br />



The TDR 4012<br />

is my general<br />

feeder reel.<br />

2<br />

For big casts<br />

you can’t beat<br />

the Cast’izm!<br />

TACKLE<br />


RATHER than getting bogged down<br />

with several reels on my rods, I’ve cut<br />

my choice down to just two Daiwa models<br />

for all my feeder work both at home<br />

and when fishing abroad. Although both<br />

come in different sizes, I find that one<br />

size really does fit all!<br />

DAIWA TDR 4012A<br />

TDRs are legendary among float<br />

anglers in the smaller sizes and<br />

1<br />

the bigger 4012A is just perfect in<br />

terms of size, power and casting for<br />

much of my general feeder work on<br />

commercial fisheries and lakes. It packs<br />

a lot of winding power and I do get<br />

asked a lot why I use such a heavy reel.<br />

My answer is that I’m not actually<br />

holding the rod unless I’m playing a fish,<br />

so it doesn’t matter!<br />


Daiwa’s mini big pit reel is a bit of<br />

a beast, and that’s fine by me!<br />

2<br />

The cranking power is awesome<br />

and that makes it capable of battling big<br />

carp and bream at range, while the big<br />

spool produces less friction on the cast<br />

to let me throw a bomb or feeder a long<br />

way. This is the reel I use when I am<br />

chucking up to 90 yards at Boddington<br />

Reservoir or Ferry Meadows.<br />






GET ON THE<br />


From braid to mono, here’s how to make<br />

sense of line for feeder fishing use<br />

Braid fishing requires a<br />

shockleader to cut down on<br />

lost fish under the rod-tip or<br />

crack-offs on the cast. I build<br />

around four turns of 8lb or 10lb<br />

Daiwa Tournament ST into my<br />

rig to act as that vital cushion.<br />

AT FIRST glance, picking a line for<br />

feeder fishing can be a daunting.<br />

Do you go for mono? When does<br />

baid work? Is fluorocarbon worth it?<br />

The days of winding a spool of 4lb<br />

Maxima on to your reel and asking it<br />

to do everything are gone.<br />

I think that most of us understand breaking<br />

strains relative to the size of fish being targeted<br />

but there is more to it than meets the eye.<br />

Mono still rules the roost and is my mainline<br />

for 90 per cent of my fishing but there are times<br />

when braid is utterly dominant and occasions<br />

when a heavier mono shockleader built into<br />

your rig can help your fishing.<br />

Even hooklength materials can throw up<br />

questions in terms of diameter and the material<br />

you’re using in the first place, but I have some<br />

very simple rules that you can follow when the<br />

times comes to reload your reels with line.<br />

I’m happy to fish either Guru<br />

Pulse or Daiwa Hyper Sensor<br />

as mono mainlines as both are<br />

supple, tough and sink well<br />

after a few casts. Around 150m<br />

is ample to load on to a reel.<br />

Here’s a line that sees the<br />

light of day when I go over to<br />

Ireland fishing for roach and<br />

skimmers. Drennan Double<br />

Strength is very strong for its<br />

diameter, but incredibly fine.<br />



TACKLE<br />


1<br />

The first job is to create a loop in the<br />

braid. I make mine 1.5ins-2ins long to<br />

give some flexibility. Simply pass the<br />

braid back on itself to start.<br />

2<br />

Time to tie the loop off. I use the figure<br />

of eight knot and this is done to begin<br />

with by passing the doubled braid back<br />

over itself, as above.<br />

Fluorocarbon isn’t something<br />

that you’ll see a lot of feeder<br />

anglers using but in winter,<br />

when the water is clear, it plays<br />

a part for smaller fish such as<br />

skimmers and F1s. I wouldn’t<br />

use it for carp, though!<br />

Braid’s lack of stretch means<br />

that bites are magnified and its<br />

low diameter makes for long<br />

and accurate casting. I use<br />

0.10mm Guru Pulse 8 for my<br />

short-range work, Tournament<br />

Evo for longer casts.<br />

3<br />

Now pass the end of the braid<br />

underneath the loop that you have<br />

made and back to bring it through the<br />

loop. Pull tight to create the knot.<br />

4<br />

This is the finished loop. It has to be big<br />

enough to pass the shockleader mono<br />

through but the knot must be small<br />

enough to pass through the rod rings.<br />

5<br />

Take the shockleader mono and thread<br />

it through the loop. I like to have around<br />

four turns of shock leader on my reel<br />

when the feeder’s ready to cast.<br />

6<br />

Now it is time to tie the leader on to the<br />

braid. This uses a double tucked blood<br />

knot that will take into account any<br />

slippage of the knot when fishing.<br />

Guru N-Gauge isn’t just a line<br />

for making pole rigs from –<br />

it is also my main hooklink<br />

material for feeder fishing on<br />

commercials or for big bream<br />

work at home and in Ireland.<br />

7<br />

Once the double tucked blood knot is<br />

tied, I make sure that the tag ends on<br />

both the braid and mono are trimmed<br />

very short to help on the cast.<br />

8<br />

The finished knot that’s very neat, won’t<br />

cause tangles and can pass through the<br />

rod rings with ease when casting. It is<br />

also very strong and extremely flexible.<br />



Steve ties his hooks<br />

in advance and stores<br />

them on spools.<br />

M A K I N G T H E<br />

RIGHT<br />

HOOK<br />

CHOICE<br />

They’re the most important part<br />

of your rig, but are you picking<br />

the right one for the job?<br />

AS THE part of your rig that is in<br />

the most direct contact with<br />

a fish, it stands to reason that<br />

selecting the right hook is the<br />

most important choice to make<br />

when tackling up on the feeder.<br />

Because you are fishing at<br />

reasonable ranges, a lot of presure is placed<br />

on the hook during the strike and battle. You<br />

may also need to hair-rig baits in summer or<br />

scale down with small baits in cold weather.<br />

That means having a versatile selection<br />

in your hook box. I limit my selection to the<br />

following six patterns for my feeder fishing...<br />


My standard hook for roach and hybrid<br />

fishing in Ireland. The Series 18 is very<br />

strong for its size and I tend to use them<br />

in big sizes (10-14). Another bonus is<br />

that they stay sharp for a long time.<br />

KAMASAN B512<br />

For catching small fish at speed in<br />

Ireland the B512 is my favourite, as it<br />

has a long shank that makes unhooking<br />

fish so much faster. They’re also a very<br />

sharp and durable pattern.<br />



TACKLE<br />


When fishing natural venues for<br />

skimmers and when I want to hook baits<br />

normally (ie. not hair-rig them) these<br />

are superb in sizes 12 to 16.<br />

GURU QM1<br />

A legendary hook on commercial<br />

fisheries – an out-and-out carp pattern<br />

for hair-rigging pellets, boilies and<br />

Wafters. I use them in sizes 10 to 14.<br />


If I am fishing for more of a mixed<br />

bag on commercial fisheries (F1s and<br />

skimmers) then I change from the QM1<br />

to these hooks in sizes 14 to 18. Being<br />

eyed, they’re perfect for hair-rigging.<br />


A barbed hook comes into play on<br />

bream waters like Ferry Meadows, but<br />

it still needs an eyed pattern to hairrig<br />

worms or corn. I can’t fault these in<br />

sizes 18 and 16.<br />





Why those small bits and bobs can make such a difference<br />

FEEDER fishing is about much more<br />

than just a rod, a reel and a feeder.<br />

There are dozens of little accessories<br />

that can be used in rigs or employed<br />

to make the job a whole lot easier.<br />

A good feeder arm and rod rest head are<br />

essential, and a pair of distance sticks will<br />

ensure you’re fishing at the same range if you<br />

need to tackle up again after a crack-off.<br />

When it comes to rigs, I’ve got a boxful of<br />

little bits and pieces – some borrowed from the<br />

carp world – to help make my set-up as effcient<br />

as possible. They all have their part to play!<br />


This gripper-style back rest<br />

will hold the rod butt securely<br />

in place, stopping it being<br />

dragged in by a savage<br />

carp bite. It also adds to the<br />

overall stability when you are<br />

waiting for a take.<br />


S<br />

These let you make a<br />

note of the distance you<br />

are fishing at so if you<br />

have to tackle up again<br />

you know that you’re<br />

right on the money.<br />


Invest in a good quality feeder arm and<br />

you’ll immediately have a rock-solid<br />

platform to put the rod on – no more<br />

rods nodding like a donkey.<br />


With multiple positioning<br />

points you can get the<br />

correct tension in the<br />

rod-tip every time.<br />



TACKLE<br />


There is the odd occasion when I won’t<br />

want to band or hair-rig a bait in the<br />

normal way. These bayonets allow me to<br />

pierce a boilie or piece of meat quickly.<br />


Banded pellet is a deadly bait on the<br />

bomb or feeder. Guru’s Micro Bands are<br />

very strong and can take a battering<br />

and a 6mm pellet with ease.<br />


These are standard stops for securing<br />

hair-rigged baits in place. They’re<br />

especially useful for softer baits, and<br />

the small size makes them unobtrusive.<br />


Snap links let me change open-end<br />

feeders quickly, while lead clips help to<br />

create an anti-tangle rig when fishing<br />

with light bombs.<br />


I’ll pop a tiny piece of tubing into the<br />

hook shank when hair-rigging as this<br />

will keep the hair in place and increase<br />

the chances of a proper take.<br />


S<br />

Another type of bait stop, and one that<br />

is important for me when fishing for<br />

bream with worms. I can hair-rig with<br />

these and know that they are secure.<br />


S<br />

Some of my running feeder rigs will<br />

have a line stop to act as a secure buffer<br />

and to prevent the feeder from sliding<br />

down the hooklength.<br />


Another type of buffer on running<br />

rigs, these let me change hooklengths<br />

quickly so I can try a different hookbait<br />

without having to bait up.<br />



METHOD<br />

FEEDER<br />



Create the ultimate<br />

Method rig that’s 100%<br />

safe and hugely effective.<br />

PAGES 24 - 25<br />


Add a pop-up boilie to<br />

your summer Method<br />

attack and bag up!<br />

PAGES 26 - 30<br />


There’s no need to bin<br />

the Method in winter if<br />

you follow Steve’s advice.<br />

PAGES 32 - 36<br />


Make your decision an<br />

easy one by picking from<br />

these top hookbaits.<br />

PAGES 38 - 39<br />



FISH THE<br />

METHOD<br />

FEEDER<br />

Go positive for a big net of carp<br />

<strong>ANG</strong>LERS who fish commercial<br />

waters for carp will be familiar with<br />

the Method feeder, a very positive<br />

way of catching carp and F1s<br />

throughout the year but one which<br />

I believe works best in warmer<br />

weather when fish are at their most<br />

active – and hungry!<br />

In fact, the Method was the first style of<br />

feeder that I used for carp way back in the day<br />

on places such as Castle Ashby Lakes, fishing<br />

with massive Emstat and Kobra models that<br />

featured a central brass stem as the weight and<br />

which were all elasticated.<br />

This was the set-up I used to win the Fish<br />

O’Mania final in 1998 at Hayfield Lakes.<br />

Today, though, we now have the pick of inline<br />

or elasticated feeders and a range of sizes and<br />

weights to suit the water we’re fishing, but one<br />

thing remains the same.<br />

The Method is very positive and very<br />

attacking, letting you get plenty of feed into<br />

the swim over a session, making it ideal for<br />

catching lots of hungry carp.<br />

W H E N T O U S E I T<br />

For catching big weights of carp in<br />

warmer weather when lots of feed is<br />

needed to hold the fish in the swim.<br />

W H Y U S E I T ?<br />

The Method feeder allows you to<br />

place the hookbait in among the feed<br />

at long range so that when a carp<br />

breaks open the ball of goodies, it<br />

finds your hookbait immediately.<br />

H O W T O T I E I T<br />

1 Thread feeder on to the mainline.<br />

2 Take the line and create a 6ins<br />

twizzled loop that the feeder can<br />

slide down with ease.<br />

3 Within this twizzled length tie in a<br />

Guru Speed Bead, trapping it at the<br />

end of the twizzled loop.<br />

4 Run the feeder down the line so that<br />

it sits against the bead.<br />

5 Now attach your hooklink and hook<br />

on to the crook of the bead.<br />

Hook<br />

That’s a Guru QM1<br />

every time – it’s the<br />

perfect hair-rigging<br />

hook for carp, in sizes<br />

14 or 16.<br />

Hooklink<br />

Most fisheries insist<br />

of a minimum of a<br />

4ins hooklink and I<br />

fish with 0.17mm Guru<br />

N-Gauge.<br />

Speed Bead<br />

This acts as a buffer<br />

and lets me change<br />

hooklinks (and so use<br />

different hookbaits) in<br />

a matter of seconds.<br />



METHOD<br />


Stems<br />

When allowed, I<br />

would fish the Method<br />

elasticated using black<br />

or white Hydro based<br />

on the size of fish.<br />

Mainline<br />

Something tough is<br />

needed when casting<br />

regularly, and I pick<br />

Guru Pulse in 8lb<br />

breaking strain.<br />

Feeder<br />

Guru’s X-Safe feeders<br />

allow me to fish inline<br />

or elasticated. I fish<br />

the 36g size in most<br />

situations.<br />

Feed<br />

Nothing more than<br />

pellets, namely<br />

Ringers Method Micros<br />

dampened down to<br />

help them stick.<br />



I N T R O D U C I N G T H E<br />


Get on this new set-up that’s transformed Steve’s feeder fishing<br />

SOME of the best ideas in fishing<br />

are often the simplest, and Guru’s<br />

Method feeder clip most certainly<br />

falls into that category.<br />

This brilliant little device transforms<br />

a normal Method feeder into one that<br />

allows you to fish popped-up baits on it.<br />

Now, pop-ups are very effective when fished<br />

on the feeder but I’ve never felt they were being<br />

presented properly. The biggest issue I always<br />

had was keeping the hookbait in among the<br />

loose offerings. It always tended to move away<br />

due to both the stiffness of the hooklength and<br />

the fact that it was attached to the base of the<br />

feeder.<br />

The answer was, of course, to attach the<br />

hookbait to the middle of the feeder, therefore<br />

keeping it in the perfect position amid the loose<br />

offerings. This is where the Method feeder clip<br />

comes in.<br />



METHOD<br />

FEEDER<br />



Without the clip, you just wouldn’t get<br />

enough bites fishing a pop-up on the hook!<br />





Nothing more complex than an<br />

8mm or 10mm pink or yellow<br />

Ringers pop-up!<br />

METHOD<br />

FEEDER<br />


Fix the Method clip in the<br />

middle of the feeder to put the<br />

pop-up amid the pellets.<br />


Altering the clip leaves 2ins of<br />

line for the link, which speeds<br />

up how fast I get a bite.<br />


As always this is the reliable<br />

Guru X-Safe... the weight<br />

depends on how far I need<br />

to cast.<br />

Pink and yellow are top bait colours.<br />


The Method clip comes in two sizes, small and<br />

large, and is designed to fit the two sizes of<br />

Guru Method feeders that I use.<br />

It’s easy to attach and basically sits on top of<br />

the feeder’s bait platform in the middle of the<br />

feeder.<br />

The clip has a rubber slot in the middle which<br />

safely grips the hooklength, so that once a fish<br />

sucks in the hookbait it feels the bolt effect a lot<br />

quicker. The chances of a fish getting away with<br />

it are vastly reduced too.<br />

Once the fish is hooked, the line is pulled free<br />

from the clip so you are able to play the fish in<br />

the normal manner.<br />

The beauty of the clip is that it’s so easy<br />

to vary the length of your hooklength while<br />

maintaining perfect bait presentation.<br />


I still use a 4ins hooklength, as would normally<br />

be the case when fishing the Method, but by<br />

varying where I put the line in the clip I can fish<br />

with as long or short a hooklength as I want,<br />

depending on how the fish are feeding on<br />

the day. Where I’m looking to catch mainly<br />

carp from 3lb to well into double figures I use a<br />

4ins hooklength of 0.19mm N-Gauge to a size<br />

12 QM1 hook and pop the bait up 2ins from the<br />

feeder.<br />

When fishing a pop-up, and having<br />

experimented a lot, I like to start off a session<br />

with the hookbait popping up around 2ins from<br />

the feeder.<br />

Once the feed breaks down, this leaves the<br />

hookbait just clear of the loose offerings and<br />

it is therefore the first thing a fish will see as it<br />

approaches the feeder, massively increasing<br />

your chances of a bite.<br />

One in the<br />

net for the<br />

pop-up Method!<br />

A little tip when using the clip is to fish with<br />

a relatively short hair. If it is too long there’s a<br />

chance the fish will feel resistance before the<br />

hook is actually in its mouth.<br />

With a short hair (with the bait just sitting off<br />

the back of the bend) this can’t happen. Long<br />

hairs, in my opinion, are not suited to short<br />

hooklengths.<br />

In terms of what to fish on the hook, two of<br />

my favourite summer colours for carp are pink<br />

and yellow with the Ringers 8mm or 10mm the<br />

most productive sizes for me.<br />

Around the feeder go dampened Ringers<br />

Method micro pellets – I leave groundbait out<br />

completely when fishing for carp.<br />




1<br />

Add the device to the bait platform on<br />

your Method feeder with the rubber<br />

hooklength clip upwards.<br />

2<br />

Pull your hooklength into the rubber<br />

clip and set it at the height you want the<br />

bait to sit – 2ins is a good starting point.<br />

3<br />

Fill your mould with your chosen bait – I<br />

have pellets here – and create a small<br />

indentation for the hookbait to sit in.<br />

4<br />

Add more of your pellet feed to the<br />

mould so it fills the mould and covers<br />

your hookbait.<br />

5<br />

Push the feeder into the mould as<br />

normal, applying plenty of pressure to<br />

make sure the pellets stick to the feeder.<br />

6<br />

Remove the feeder. For more bait I put<br />

extra pellets in the mould and then pop<br />

the feeder back in for a second layer.<br />




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GET<br />

ON THE<br />

METHOD<br />

THIS<br />

WINTER<br />

Think the Method feeder is a<br />

summer-only tactic? Think again…<br />

MANY anglers think of the Method<br />

feeder as being very much a<br />

summer approach to catching<br />

on stillwaters. But, providing it<br />

is fished in the right manner, I’ve<br />

found it works all year round<br />

and it’s a tactic I’ve been using<br />

recently with a great deal of success.<br />

A lot of winter tip fishing is done with a<br />

straight lead and a single hookbait, and if you<br />

are on a shoal of carp this is a great way of<br />

catching them.<br />

However, there are times when it simply<br />

doesn’t work, and quite often I’ve chucked the<br />

Method feeder out and left it as a last resort,<br />

only to find that the tip goes around and I start<br />

catching fish!<br />

The benefit that the Method has over a<br />

straight lead and single hookbait is that the<br />

feeder offers that bit of extra attraction which<br />

might just be enough to get a bite or two.<br />

I’ve spent matches in winter solely on the<br />

Method, so don’t just think it’s a ‘get out of jail<br />

card’ trick to get a bite.<br />

Depending on the venue you’re fishing, you<br />

can make it work for you for the whole session –<br />

you just need to refine your approach and take<br />

the conditions into account.<br />

This will determine how you fish the feeder,<br />

the baits you use, and ultimately what you’ll<br />

catch.<br />


This is the first choice you have to make, and<br />

it’s all about taking the conditions into account<br />

before deciding which bait to put around your<br />

feeder.<br />

If it’s been a wet winter then many venues will<br />

be extremely coloured, and in such cases<br />



METHOD<br />

FEEDER<br />



I feel carp tend to rely more on their sense of<br />

smell than sight to find food.<br />

When the water is coloured I tend to opt for<br />

a mix consisting of mainly pellets with a small<br />

amount of groundbait, and will add flavour to<br />

boost the mix.<br />

You don’t need a lot of groundbait, in fact just<br />

three handfuls is often enough for two pints<br />

of wetted-down 2mm Ringers Method micro<br />

pellets. The groundbait just gives me that little<br />

bit of extra attraction and smell which the carp<br />

can home in on.<br />

As well as using groundbait I’m a big believer<br />

in flavouring my pellets, again just for added<br />

attraction.<br />


Normal winter conditions, however, mean<br />

clear water and in this instance things change<br />

in terms of bait. I will drop the groundbait from<br />

the mix as I feel its effectiveness is lost in clear<br />

water. Instead look to use micro pellets with a<br />

boost of colour.<br />

By adding just a pinch of Mainline’s boilie dye<br />

in either orange or yellow to the wetted-down<br />

micros I can enhance the colour of the pellets<br />

and give the carp something to home in on<br />

visually in the clear water.<br />

It also I feel gives me an edge over those<br />

around me – after all, if everyone is using the<br />

same pellets, why will a carp come to yours as<br />

opposed to someone else’s? That bit of colour<br />

in clear water can make all the difference,<br />

which is why this is a trick I use a lot.<br />


One of the reasons I use Ringers Method<br />

micros is that they take on flavour and colour<br />

really well. My favourite winter flavour for<br />

micros is Mainline’s Activ-8 liquid. This has a<br />

really meaty flavour that carp in the cold seem<br />

to love.<br />

I always add the Activ-8 once the pellets have<br />

already been soaked, rather than adding it to<br />

the water as some anglers do – this just dilutes<br />

the flavour and reduces the pulling power.<br />


Another additive I use in coloured water is Goo,<br />

but rather than soaking it into the pellets I add<br />

it to the feeder when I’m forming the Method<br />

ball and then seal it in with a layer of pellets.<br />

This gives a slower release of the Goo and<br />

therefore prolonged attraction.<br />

I’ve had most success with the Caramel<br />

Cloud and Tutti Frutti Power Smoke versions.<br />


A lot of anglers will tell you that on big waters<br />

such as Boddington or Clattercote Reservoirs,<br />

the further you cast, the more carp you’ll catch.<br />

Vary how far<br />

you cast to<br />

find the carp.<br />

Now, there will always be days when the carp<br />

can be at range, and under these circumstances<br />

it’s well worth learning how to cast in excess of<br />

80m. More often than not, though, you’ll find<br />

the carp a lot closer in.<br />

I well remember a match on Boddington<br />

where I fished at 70m-90m for the first three<br />

hours and managed just one carp. That left me<br />

scratching my head a bit.<br />

With little to lose, I dropped in at 45m after<br />

seeing others catch there and managed six carp<br />

for 48lb and a section win.<br />

I guess the message is that being able to cast a<br />

long way does gives you an extra string to your<br />

bow but location is everything, as is often the<br />

case with carp in winter.<br />

The quicker you can work out the right<br />

distance to fish, the more you’ll catch.<br />


1 2 3<br />


Hookbait choice is entirely personal<br />

but I catch loads of fish on the orange<br />

Allsorts boilie in both coloured and clear<br />

water. I have caught on other colours<br />

too, but orange is very much my go-to<br />

colour and having spoken to others they<br />

also choose this as their favourite.<br />


Instead of using a whole cylinder of<br />

meat I cut the piece into a disc using<br />

my baiting needle. This makes the<br />

hookbait smaller and easier for the carp<br />

to suck up. It’s also perfect for burying<br />

in a Method ball, as there is no risk of it<br />

being crushed – it is already flat!<br />


This is probably the best winter bait of<br />

all. I compress the bread so that it sinks<br />

and I then fish three pieces of 8mm<br />

punch on the hair. Once the bread is in<br />

the water it swells up, and as a target<br />

bait in clear water it really does take<br />

some beating.<br />



METHOD<br />

FEEDER<br />

Give each cast<br />

roughly 20<br />

minutes before<br />

winding in.<br />


I really can’t stress how<br />

important this is in<br />

winter. Nine times out<br />

of 10, if I’m getting a<br />

few bites a pattern will<br />

develop, and this will<br />

dictate how long I fish<br />

each cast for.<br />

As a rule I’ll kick off<br />

by fishing 20 minutes a<br />

cast and let bites dictate<br />

matters from then on.<br />

If I haven’t had a bite<br />

inside 20 minutes I wind<br />

in and repeat the process<br />

by casting to a new spot.<br />

Winter Method fishing<br />

isn’t about building a peg<br />

but more about trying to<br />

find the fish.<br />



Use a feeder that’s heavy<br />

enough to stay put once<br />

you have cast it.<br />


1<br />

Add a thin layer of pellet and<br />

groundbait mix to the mould and drop<br />

your hair-rigged hookbait on top.<br />

Ensure the hook is lying flat on its side.<br />

2<br />

I like to seal in a small amount of Goo<br />

liquid additive. I drop it directly on to<br />

my hookbait to give it added attraction<br />

once the feed has done its job.<br />

3<br />

Now cover the hookbait with more of<br />

your pellet and groundbait mix so that<br />

the mould is overflowing. This ensures a<br />

neat ball is produced each time.<br />

4 5<br />

Give the feeder an extra-hard squeeze.<br />

This will seal the bait to the feeder... the<br />

pellets will compress but then return to<br />

their natural state in the water.<br />

It’s now time to turn the feeder out of<br />

the mould. The Guru Speed Mould is<br />

made of flexible rubber so there’s no<br />

danger of the ball breaking apart.<br />

6<br />

The finished feeder is streamlined<br />

for long-range fishing if necessary,<br />

and packed with visual and flavour<br />

attractants – what carp could resist it?<br />



METHOD<br />

TIPS<br />

TEN TOP<br />

METHOD<br />

TRICKS<br />

Master the basics of Method fishing<br />


It never ceases to amaze me the number<br />

of anglers I see fishing the Method<br />

who leave the hookbait hanging out of<br />

the bottom of the feeder. The whole<br />

idea behind the Method is to get carp<br />

feeding on the loose offerings on the<br />

feeder, so it makes perfect sense to put<br />

your hookbait in among them.<br />


Choosing the right weight feeder is far<br />

more important than a lot of anglers<br />

realise. It’s absolutely vital that once the<br />

feeder hits the bottom you don’t move<br />

it. If the feeder moves, the hookbait<br />

gets pulled away from the loose<br />

offerings. When fishing into open water<br />

I use one as light as 24g. However, if I’m<br />

casting up to an island where it is likely<br />

that the feeder will be resting on a slope<br />

I will opt for 36g model.<br />


If allowed, I will always opt to use<br />

an elasticated feeder. The thinking<br />

behind it is that when I’m playing a fish<br />

the elastic acts as a shock absorber<br />

and helps to minimise hook-pulls,<br />

particularly when the fish is under the<br />

rod-tip and ready to be netted.<br />

2<br />

1<br />


As with any type of feeder fishing the<br />

key to success with the Method is to<br />

build a swim up by regularly casting to<br />

the same spot. The best way of doing<br />

this is to use the line clip on your reel’s<br />

spool to ensure you are hitting the same<br />

spot every time. I also try and pick an<br />

immovable marker to cast at.<br />


I use two types of hookbaits – ‘blend<br />

in’ and ‘stand out’. Blend in baits<br />

match the bait around the feeder. For<br />

instance, if I’m fishing 2mm pellets<br />

around the feeder I’ll use a 6mm hard<br />

pellet hookbaits. At the opposite end of<br />

the spectrum we have stand out baits<br />

such as mini fluoro boilies. These work<br />

because they are bright and highly<br />

visible to fish.<br />


Having experimented a lot I believe 4ins<br />

is the optimum for Method hooklengths.<br />

Such a hooklength is long enough<br />

to allow the hookbait to behave in a<br />

natural manner, which is important in<br />

terms of getting the carp to pick the<br />

hookbait up in the first place.<br />


I will always opt for 2mm coarse pellets<br />

around the feeder, as they are a safe<br />

option. I will however, always have<br />

some groundbait with me just in case.<br />

That way, if nothing is happening on<br />

pellets, I can easily switch to groundbait<br />

– whereas if pellets are right on the<br />

day, the fish will let me know within the<br />

space of a few casts!<br />

5<br />


Dead maggots are something of a<br />

forgotten hookbait for the Method, but<br />

that doesn’t mean they are any less<br />

effective. Normally, for carp, I like to fish<br />

three or four on a size 14 LWG whereas<br />

for F1s I will fish one or two on a size 16<br />

or 18 in the same pattern.<br />


When using the Method feeder in the<br />

margins I am always likely to be fishing<br />

at relatively close range, so a short rod<br />

is needed. With this in mind my choice<br />

is a 10ft Daiwa Tournament Quiver. This<br />

rod has a soft action which I find perfect<br />

for absorbing the lunges of big fish.<br />


As a guide, to kick off on a normal<br />

commercial I will look to cast every<br />

three to five minutes to start with to try<br />

and get some bait down. That means<br />

that when the carp do turn up I can hold<br />

them for that little bit longer. In the last<br />

hour you’ll often find the swim will be<br />

solid with fish, as by this time there is<br />

plenty of bait on the bottom and the<br />

fish will be properly on the feed anyway<br />

due to the time of day.<br />





Make this decision an easy one by going for pellets or boilies!<br />

THERE are a lot of baits that’ll catch<br />

on the Method feeder but I’d say 90<br />

per cent of the time I using either<br />

pellets or boilies in their various<br />

guises. That’s because of what I put<br />

around the feeder – pellets.<br />

A banded hard pellet is brilliant in<br />

summer but as the water cools, small boilies or<br />

Wafters take over thanks to their bright colours<br />

and their ability to be fished off bottom slightly.<br />

The decision is slightly easier when choosing<br />

what to make the ball of Method feed out of.<br />

I’d say 99 times out of 100 that’s plain micro<br />

pellets, only adding groundbait on venues<br />

where skimmers could play an important part.<br />

I’ll dye these micros too, especially in winter<br />

on clear water where turning them from their<br />

natural brown colour to a very visible yellow<br />

or red will complement perfectly the use of a<br />

brightly-coloured hookbait.<br />

Wafters offer a different<br />

presentation, with the bait sitting<br />

just off bottom. I use 8mm and 10mm<br />

sizes, with yellow and pink good.<br />

A selection of hardpellet<br />

hookbaits for<br />

the Method.<br />

When the carp are sitting off bottom,<br />

slipping an 8mm or 10mm pink or<br />

orange pop-up on to the hook will<br />

pick them off.<br />



METHOD<br />

BAITS<br />



1<br />

Put the micros in a bag and add a slug<br />

of Ringers yellow liquid.<br />

2<br />

Seal the bag and give it a good shake to<br />

coat each pellet fully.<br />

3<br />

After 10 minutes the pellets are ready –<br />

look at the difference dye makes (left)!<br />



HYBRID<br />

FEEDER<br />



Follow Steve’s step by<br />

step guide to create this<br />

deadly fish-catcher.<br />

PAGES 42 - 43<br />


All you need to know<br />

about fishing the Hybrid<br />

this summer.<br />

PAGES 44 - 48<br />


Think small and keep the<br />

carp coming with this<br />

scaled-down attack.<br />

PAGES 49 - 51<br />


Discover why the Wafter<br />

is so highly rated by<br />

Steve for the Hybrid.<br />

PAGES 52 - 53<br />



HYBRID<br />

– DOUBLY<br />


Mainline<br />

Because carp are the<br />

number one target,<br />

I wouldn’t go lower<br />

than 8lb Guru Pulse,<br />

even in winter.<br />

Carp feeder fishing enters a new era!<br />

FOR years, fishing the feeder for carp<br />

on commercial waters has revolved<br />

around either the Method or pellet<br />

feeder – that was until Guru came up<br />

with the Hybrid feeder which, as the<br />

name suggests, it a combination of<br />

the best elements of both pellet and<br />

Method models rolled into one.<br />

Since then, they’ve won hundreds of matches<br />

and have rapidly replaced the Method in my<br />

attack on commercials, whether that’s in high<br />

summer or the depths of winter.<br />

The principles of fishing the Hybrid are much<br />

the same as the Method, putting your hookbait<br />

right in amid the feed at long range but the<br />

Hybrid takes less feed and so comes into its<br />

own when you need to keep tabs on how much<br />

bait is being introduced.<br />

The ‘walls’ of the Hybrid also hold the bait in<br />

until it hits bottom, meaning that I can be 100<br />

per cent confident that the feed is in exactly the<br />

right place and not wafting down to the bottom<br />

after breaking up too early.<br />

Stems<br />

Should I be using an<br />

elasticated Hybrid I’d<br />

pick the stem with the<br />

heavier black elastic<br />

running through it.<br />

W H E N T O U S E I T :<br />

The Hybrid has proved its worth for<br />

catching big carp throughout the<br />

year in conjunction with big baits,<br />

although a smaller version is equally<br />

deadly for smaller fish and F1s.<br />

W H Y F I S H I T ?<br />

Similar to the Method feeder, the<br />

Hybrid lets you regulate the amount<br />

of feed going into the peg.<br />

H O W T O T I E I T<br />

1 Thread the feeder on the mainline.<br />

2 Take the line and create a six-inch<br />

twizzled loop that the feeder can<br />

slide down with ease.<br />

3 Within this twizzled length tie in a<br />

Guru Speed Bead, trapping it at the<br />

end of the twizzled loop.<br />

4 Run the feeder down the line so that<br />

it sits against the bead.<br />

5 Now attach your hooklink and hook<br />

on to the bead’s crook.<br />

Feed<br />

As with the Method<br />

feeder, I almost<br />

exclusively use<br />

dampened micros<br />

inside the Hybrid.<br />



HYBRID<br />


Feeder<br />

Match the weight of<br />

the feeder to how far<br />

you need to cast – 36g<br />

is a good starting<br />

point on many lakes.<br />

Hooks<br />

Baits will be hairrigged<br />

on the Hybrid<br />

so the Guru QM1 is the<br />

only choice, fished in<br />

sizes 14 and 16.<br />

Speed Bead<br />

Using this gadget lets<br />

me have hooklinks<br />

with different baits<br />

ready to be swapped<br />

over in seconds.<br />

Hooklink<br />

No more than four<br />

inches of 0.17mm Guru<br />

N-Gauge makes up<br />

my links and I’d rarely<br />

shorten them either.<br />





Splice together two of the most popular feeders on the market and you get this deadly fish-catcher!<br />

Hybrids are so good<br />

that I now rarely fish<br />

the Method feeder!<br />



HYBRID<br />

FEEDER<br />

EVERY now and again an item of gear<br />

comes along that you quickly realise<br />

is something very special and will<br />

help you put more fish in your net.<br />

TheHybrid feeder certainly falls into<br />

that category. For those of you who don’t<br />

know of it, the best way I can think of to<br />

describe it is a cross between a conventional<br />

Method feeder and a Banjo feeder – hence the<br />

name ‘Hybrid’.<br />

The Hybrid actually started from an idea that<br />

Guru brand manager Adam Rooney and myself<br />

had, and with the help of some design tweaks<br />

from top commercial angler Paul Holland we<br />

went about creating the perfect feeder.<br />

Months of testing followed and I can honestly<br />

say the results with it, for me personally, have<br />

been exceptional, starting with a winter match<br />

win at Boddington on its first outing.<br />

For me the Hybrid feeder ticks every box as it<br />

casts well, offers superb bait presentation, and<br />

is dead easy to load with bait.<br />

If I had to pick one key point, though, it would<br />

be bait presentation. The way the Hybrid works<br />

is that you get a little ‘bowl’ of pellets with your<br />

hookbait on top that carp simply can’t miss.<br />

I’m so confident in these feeders now that<br />

under certain circumstances I now prefer them<br />

to a Method. Apparently I’m not alone, as I see<br />

and speak to so many anglers who are converts<br />

to the Hybrid.<br />


Just like when I’m fishing the Method, I find a<br />

4ins hooklength to be the ideal length on the<br />

Hybrid feeder.<br />



Experiment<br />

with your<br />

hookbaits to<br />

get the best<br />

out of the<br />

Hybrid.<br />

Not only does it comply with most fishery<br />

rules, but it also gives the hookbait that little bit<br />

of extra movement to enable it to behave in a<br />

more natural way once a fish sucks it in.<br />

Hook size and line diameter depend on what<br />

species and size of fish I’m targeting.<br />

For venues like Barston Lakes, where I’m<br />

looking to catch a mixed bag of skimmers, F1s<br />

and carp, I will use a size 16 MWG to 0.17mm<br />

Guru N-Gauge.<br />

However, on bigger waters, like Boddington<br />

Reservoir – where it’s all about carp and the<br />

average fish is 8lb-plus – I’ll set up with a size 12<br />

QM1 hook to 0.19mm line.<br />


When it comes to hookbaits there are two<br />

distinct camps that they fall into – blend in and<br />

stand out.<br />

Blend in baits such as 6mm or 8mm hard<br />

coarse pellets are used to match the feed, and<br />

can work really well when the fish are proving<br />

a bit cagey and you can trick them into eating<br />

a hookbait which is masked among the loose<br />

offerings.<br />

Stand out hookbaits, such as mini 8mm fluoro<br />

boilies, work in the opposite way in that they<br />

give the fish a bait they can really home in on.<br />

However, the best hookbait of all for the Hybrid<br />

has to be the Ringers Chocolate Orange Wafter.<br />

This is a bait that has neutral buoyancy and<br />

when fished on a hair rig it will naturally sit a<br />

tiny bit off bottom and, more importantly, act<br />

very naturally to a feeding carp.<br />

Both types of hookbait can be extremely<br />

effective – it’s all about working out which is<br />

right on any particular day.<br />


The beauty of the Hybrid feeder is that it can<br />

be fished in pretty much any situation, ranging<br />

from shallow water tight to islands or in the<br />

margins to big, deep, open-water lakes. This is<br />

because it’s available in a range of sizes.<br />

Because the majority of the bait is enclosed<br />

inside the feeder, very little feed is lost on<br />

impact after casting, so even in deep water you<br />

can rest assured that your bait will hit the<br />

Match end tackle to the size of the fish.<br />




HYBRID<br />

FEEDER<br />


During testing of early<br />

versions one of the problems<br />

encountered was getting the<br />

bait to break down once the<br />

feeder was on the bottom.<br />

This is where Paul Holland’s<br />

advice came in. His idea was to<br />

put holes in the base and slots<br />

in the side. These helped to get<br />

the bait out, and gave pellets a<br />

bit of extra purchase to grip on<br />

to when being loaded.<br />


Getting the right size and<br />

weight of feeder for your<br />

fishing is crucial, and allows<br />

you to not only reach longrange<br />

spots but also to<br />

regulate the amount of bait<br />

that you’re putting in.<br />

I use all three sizes of feeder.<br />

The Mini weighs 24g and is<br />

perfect for winter on small<br />

waters. The Small version is a<br />

more general-sized feeder for<br />

year-round use and comes in<br />

24g and 36g weights.<br />

A ‘Big Bertha’ version, in both<br />

28g and 45g, allows you to get<br />

a lot more feed out, and it’s the<br />

45g size that I love for venues<br />

such as Boddington.<br />


The lip at the bottom of the<br />

feeder is raised. This makes it<br />

a lot easier to load and adds<br />

weight forward, meaning that<br />

accurate casting even at range<br />

becomes a little easier.<br />

You’ll notice the feeder has<br />

long stems too. All sizes are<br />

compatible with the X-Safe<br />

system, which means they can<br />

be fished inline or elasticated,<br />

just by changing the stems.<br />



bottom intact and you’ll be fishing effectively.<br />

The secret to getting the best out of this tactic<br />

is regular casting in order to try and build the<br />

swim up. Using ythe line clip on your reel plus<br />

a far-bank marker as an aiming point is vital to<br />

ensure you hit the same spot every time.<br />

Building the peg<br />

up will result in a<br />

bite every chuck in<br />

the closing stages.<br />


As a guide, to kick off on a normal commercial<br />

fishery I will look to cast every three to f ive<br />

minutes to start with in order to try and get<br />

some bait down into the peg early doors.<br />

That means that when the carp do turn up I<br />

can hold them for that little bit longer.<br />

What you will find when fishing in this<br />

manner is that you will get little bursts of fish –<br />

such as four quick carp, nothing for 20 minutes,<br />

and then three more fish in quick succession.<br />

In the last hour of a session you’ll often find<br />

the swim will be solid with fish. By this time<br />

there will be plenty of bait on the bottom and<br />

the fish will be properly on the feed anyway at<br />

this late stage of the day.<br />

This is a very positive way of fishing and it has<br />

caught me a lot of big weights already this year.<br />


1<br />

First job is to prepare the micro pellets<br />

for use. That’s done by dampening them<br />

down for a few seconds, as you’ll need<br />

them to stick into the feeder.<br />

2<br />

With bait prepared, I now take a good<br />

helping of micros and pour them into<br />

the feeder frame. Go overboard with the<br />

amount, as you’ll be compressing them.<br />

3<br />

Now squash the pellets relatively firmly<br />

with your finger to pack them into the<br />

frame, effectively creating a layer of<br />

micros in the base.<br />

4<br />

The hookbait is placed on top of the<br />

pellets and can even be pressed gently<br />

into them. A banded 6mm pellet is hard<br />

to beat in my opinion.<br />

5<br />

To complete the feeder, I now take more<br />

prepared micros and pop them on top<br />

of the feeder, but only squeeze them<br />

hard enough to create a dome.<br />

6<br />

The finished Hybrid! Once it hits bottom<br />

the gently-squeezed pellets will break<br />

down fast, revealing the hookbait. The<br />

bottom layer is next to break down.<br />



HYBRID<br />

FEEDER<br />



The scaled-down Hybrid packs a punch for winter carp, as Steve reveals...<br />

THERE is a massive misconception in<br />

fishing that as soon as it goes cold<br />

the feeder stops working – what<br />

nonsense!<br />

Okay, I have to admit that I’m a huge fan<br />

of bomb and single hookbait fishing on<br />

big stillwaters in the winter but there are<br />

times – especially on some of our commercial<br />

lakes – when the fish will respond to a bit of bait<br />

at range, just as they do on a pole line.<br />

However, you need to refine your approach,<br />

in particular paying attention to the size of your<br />

feeder, hooks, and lines, as well as the spots<br />

where you cast to.<br />

Get it right and there can be plenty of bites,<br />

and fish, to be had. Here’s how to get the best<br />

out of my micro feeder attack…<br />


When the water is cold and clear there is<br />

nothing worse than crashing a great big feeder<br />

into the lake – all it does is scare the fish.<br />

This is the time for a small, stealthy feeder<br />

and I’m having a lot of success using the Guru<br />

Mini 24g Hybrid.<br />

Not only is this a very small feeder, it’s also<br />

not too heavy so it won’t make a big impact as it<br />

hits the surface.<br />

The other point worth making is that the Mini<br />

Hybrid doesn’t carry lots of bait, and at this<br />

time of year I’m looking to put just enough bait<br />

in to catch a fish, rather than trying to build up<br />

a swim.<br />

The only change I make to the feeder itself is<br />

to remove the inline stem that it comes with<br />

and attach a small, elasticated ‘X-Safe’ stem<br />



In winter I will always cast into the deepest water<br />

available, as this is where you’ll find the carp.<br />



HYBRID<br />

FEEDER<br />

as I feel I lose less fish with elastic in the feeder.<br />

This is particularly the case when the hooked<br />

fish is around the net.<br />


Depending on the size of carp I’m likely to<br />

encounter I like to fine things down a little, but<br />

not too much! Take a venue where the carp<br />

run from 2lb-6lb... in this instance I’d fish a<br />

4ins hooklength of 0.17mm Guru N-Gauge line<br />

(6lb) to a size 18 Super MWG hook.<br />

I don’t see any need to go lighter than this as<br />

I want to land every fish you hook. There’s no<br />

point working hard for a bite if you can’t land it!<br />


Groundbait can work in the cold, but for me<br />

pellets are far more reliable. My first choice is<br />

2mm Ringers Method micros in particular.<br />

These are relatively low in oil, so easier for the<br />

carp to digest, and light-coloured to offer visual<br />

attraction too.<br />

They need to break down quickly, and being<br />

a blend of different pellets they are designed to<br />

do just that.<br />

If you are in any doubt as to how quickly your<br />

pellets are breaking down, it’s worth having a<br />

little tub of water on your bait tray which you<br />

can use to check the breakdown time.<br />


Hookbaits are all about colour! In clear water I<br />

want to give the carp a hookbait they can spot<br />

easily. My favourite is a 6mm orange Dumbbell<br />

Wafter, brightly coloured and very light so it<br />

just sinks under the weight of the hook.<br />

You don’t have to fish orange all the time, and<br />

if I don’t get an immediate response I’ll try a<br />

change. As a guide, in clear water I like to stick<br />

to four colours – orange, white, pink and yellow.<br />


It’s important to remember that areas that hold<br />

feeder fish in the summer rarely do so in the<br />

winter.<br />

When it’s freezing cold you aren’t going to<br />

Gear up<br />

correctly<br />

so you land<br />

every fish.<br />

Carp can’t<br />

fail to notice<br />

a bright<br />

hookbait!<br />

catch carp in inches of water against an island,<br />

but drop the feeder into deeper water and you<br />

just might!<br />

For example, in summer I would be casting<br />

tight across to far-bank rushes in the shallow<br />

water, but at this time of year when the water<br />

is cold and clear the carp just don’t want to be<br />

there.<br />

Instead I’m looking to target the deeper<br />

water, in this case the bottom of the far shelf<br />

or in open water, the main depth of the lake.<br />

The carp feel safer in the deeper water and as a<br />

result are more likely to feed.<br />

Another little tip on this subject is that in<br />

winter you have to try and find the fish. By all<br />

means clip up at the start, but it is pointless<br />

casting to the same spot every time if you are<br />

getting no bites or indications.<br />

If after a couple of casts you haven’t had any<br />

signs, look to take the clip off and cast to a new<br />

piece of water.<br />

Carp won’t move far in the cold, so it’s<br />

important you try and find them.<br />

When you do, bites are virtually guaranteed<br />

- the difference a few feet can make really is<br />

amazing.<br />


There’s no golden rule here, but one thing you<br />

definitely don’t want to be doing is recasting<br />

every two minutes, unless of course the tip is<br />

going round inside that time!<br />

Regular recasting just for the sake of it is a<br />

sure-fire way to spook fish in clear water.<br />

As a guide, providing I’m happy with the cast<br />

(as in where and how it’s landed) I will leave the<br />

feeder out for 20 minutes.<br />

In fact as the match goes on, if the fishing is<br />

hard, I will leave it out even longer.<br />

In the past I have found that in winter the<br />

longer the feeder is in the water, the more<br />

chance there is of getting a bite.<br />


1 2 3<br />

The first step is to cover the bowl of<br />

the feeder with a decent layer of your<br />

dampened micro pellets.<br />

I like to push the pellets into the bowl so<br />

I know they will get to the bottom even<br />

if the feeder doesn’t land quite right.<br />

Place the hookbait on top and add<br />

enough pellets to cover. The pellets<br />

should sit just above the edges.<br />





A bag of micros is the perfect partner for a Wafter<br />

THE Hybrid feeder isn’t that different<br />

from a Method in terms of the baits<br />

and feeds that I use, and looking<br />

back, I can limit my picks to just a<br />

handful – micros in the feeder and a<br />

Wafter on the hook.<br />

Whether I’m fishing in summer on<br />

waters such as Barston Lakes or waiting for a<br />

pull on Boddington Reservoir in winter, this<br />

combo gives me enormous confidence.<br />

Wafters, in particular, will outfish a pellet<br />

or a boilie every time, offering a more<br />

natural presentation to wary carp.<br />

To create sticky pellets I give<br />

them a good squirt of Mainline’s<br />

Stick Mix Liquid, then disperse<br />

it for an even coating.<br />



HYBRID<br />

BAITS<br />


1<br />

The Guru Pellet Strainer makes prepping<br />

micros so much easier! The micro pellets<br />

I use for all Hybrid and Method feeder<br />

work are Ringers Method Micros.<br />

2<br />

The strainer slots perfectly into a bait<br />

tub and into this I pour the dry pellets.<br />

Don’t overfill the strainer, though, or<br />

you’ll end up with water everywhere!<br />

Without a doubt the bait of the<br />

moment is the chocolate orange<br />

Wafter for winter and summer<br />

work. I use 8mm and 10mm sizes.<br />

3<br />

Add water to generously cover the<br />

pellets. If you wish, at this point you can<br />

also add any liquid flavourings to the<br />

water to seal them into the pellets.<br />

4<br />

Allow a few minutes for the water to be<br />

absorbed and then lift the strainer out,<br />

making sure to drain the water into the<br />

bait tub. Give it a good shake at the end.<br />

Natural-coloured pellet Wafters<br />

come into play in summer, or on<br />

waters that see lots of pellets.<br />

Again I fish 8mm and 10mm baits.<br />

5<br />

The micros will now be evenly wetted<br />

and start to soften. Pop them into your<br />

bait tub. You’ll find that they now don’t<br />

stick together in the tub in a clump!<br />

6<br />

A few more minutes to let the pellets<br />

stand will produce the perfect<br />

consistency to mould around a Method<br />

or cram into a Hybrid feeder.<br />



PELLET<br />

FEEDER<br />



Often overlooked, this<br />

set-up rules the roost on<br />

pellet-dominated waters.<br />

PAGES 56 - 57<br />


Steve shows that spring<br />

bream love pellets just as<br />

much as carp do.<br />

PAGES 58 - 61<br />


When autumn arrives,<br />

pick a tiny pellet feeder<br />

from the bag.<br />

PAGES 62 -65<br />



PELLET<br />

FEEDER<br />

POWER!<br />

Mainline<br />

With both carp and<br />

F1s likely, 8lb Guru<br />

Pulse will deal with<br />

specimen fish and<br />

regular casting.<br />

Get on this superb feeder attack now<br />

THERE are some waters that I fish<br />

where the Method or Hybrid feeder<br />

can be superceded by the pellet<br />

feeder, a totally different-looking<br />

approach that still aims to achieve<br />

the same job – putting the bait on a<br />

short hooklink right where the fish<br />

can’t fail to see it.<br />

But which waters am I talking about?<br />

Generally, I’d count fisheries with a high<br />

proportion of F1s that see lots of pellets fed<br />

either on the pole or waggler. Unlike carp, F1s<br />

need slightly more moderated feeding, often<br />

just a pinch on each cast to get a quick reponse,<br />

and the pellet feeder does this perfectly.<br />

You’ll struggle to cram much more than a<br />

small palmful of micro pellets into the feeder<br />

and as they are often smaller overall than a<br />

Method or Hybrid, they’re brilliant for casting<br />

into gaps in reeds against islands as they make<br />

less disturbance when landing.<br />

The pellet feeder is also a good pick in winter<br />

when appetites are lessened by the cold and<br />

tiny helpings of bait are the way to go.<br />

Stems<br />

When allowed I’ll go<br />

down the elasticated<br />

route, picking the<br />

white elastic unless<br />

fishing for big carp.<br />

W H E N T O U S E I T<br />

On waters where pellets dominate<br />

from spring to autumn, especially<br />

where F1s are the dominant species.<br />

W H Y F I S H I T ?<br />

Accuracy when casting to islands is<br />

unrivalled and the hookbait will ‘pop’<br />

out of the feeder as the bait breaks<br />

down – right in front of the fish.<br />

H O W T O T I E I T<br />

1 Thread the feeder on the mainline.<br />

2 Take the line and create a six-inch<br />

twizzled loop that the feeder can<br />

slide down with ease.<br />

3 Within this twizzled length tie in a<br />

Guru Speed Bead, trapping it at the<br />

end of the twizzled loop.<br />

4 Run the feeder down the line so that<br />

it sits against the bead.<br />

5 Now attach your hooklink and hook<br />

to the bead’s crook.<br />



PELLET<br />


Feeder<br />

The Guru Inline Pellet<br />

Feeder lets me fish an<br />

elasticated feeder in<br />

safety. The 28g model<br />

is just perfect.<br />

Hooklink<br />

This is made up of<br />

0.15mm Guru N-Gauge<br />

and I always use a<br />

short 4ins link for the<br />

pellet feeder.<br />

Feed<br />

Dampened Ringers<br />

Method Micros go<br />

into the feeder –<br />

occasionally I may add<br />

a touch of groundbait.<br />

Hooks<br />

On the pellet feeder<br />

you’ll be banding hard<br />

pellets or a dumbell,<br />

so a size 16 MWG lets<br />

me fish a hair rig.<br />



As the weather warms up<br />

bream will come to the feeder.<br />

S W I T C H T O<br />

T H E P E L L E T<br />

F E E D E R F O R<br />

EARLY<br />

SEASON<br />

BREAM<br />

Not just for carp, the pellet feeder<br />

can catch bream by the dozen!<br />

WHEN the weather begins to warm<br />

up, one of the first fish to start<br />

to come to the feed are bream<br />

– and if there’s one thing I know<br />

about bream it’s that they love<br />

‘yellow’ baits.<br />

Yellow groundbait, dyed pellets and<br />

meat and, of course, sweetcorn are the staple<br />

baits every angler needs to have on their side<br />

tray over the next few months as our stillwaters<br />

wake up and bream become the target species.<br />

I’ve learned a lot about catching early<br />

season bream in recent years and now have a<br />

three-pronged approach that works for me – it<br />

revolves around a groundbait feeder, the bomb,<br />

and even a pellet feeder.<br />

On standard commercials my bream set-up is<br />

normally a small cage feeder and a short,<br />

8ins hooklength in order to keep the hookbait<br />

close to the feeder itself.<br />

Over the years I’ve caught a lot of bream using<br />

this approach but always felt that it could be<br />

improved, and that got me thinking about the<br />

pellet feeder as a viable option.<br />

I have always felt that I want to get my<br />

hookbait close to the feeder as possible when<br />

bream fishing, and the pellet feeder allows me<br />

to do this compared to a cage or open-end.<br />

In fact I can bury my hookbait in the feeder<br />

itself, where it couldn’t be any closer to the<br />

feed. Perfect!<br />

The bomb comes into play during a session as<br />

sometimes bream can shy away from the feeder<br />

crashing in and a couple of casts with a light<br />

bomb can help you pick up a few shy fish during<br />

the day when the bites have tailed off. A simple<br />

change can make a huge difference.<br />

There are some big weights on the cards once<br />

the fish get on the feed, so grab your feeder rod,<br />

dig out your yellow baits and get catching…<br />


Fishmeal groundbaits are my first choice for<br />

bream, and my mix is made up of Ringers<br />

Original Bag Up with a little bit of powdered<br />

yellow dye added to enhance the colour.<br />

I’m a big believer in bream liking bright baits<br />

and the addition of the dye makes the mix really<br />

stand out on the bottom.<br />

Bream seem to love the colour yellow.<br />



PELLET<br />

FEEDER<br />



The perfect<br />

big bream<br />

spread for<br />

early season.<br />



A particle-rich mix is crucial when bream<br />

fishing, and I will add 2mm Ringers Method<br />

micro pellets which are wetted down with<br />

water prior to adding to my groundbait mix.<br />

I also add a sprinkling of yellow boilie dye to the<br />

prepared pellets.<br />

As they’re so small they allow me to put a lot<br />

of individual particles down, which helps me to<br />

hold the bream in the swim for much longer.<br />


I also add corn to the mix - being bright yellow<br />

it stands out and gives the bream something to<br />

home in on – plus it gives me another hookbait<br />

option. For the same reason I will also add a few<br />

larger expander pellets to the feeder mix.<br />

These bigger baits help stop the fish<br />

becoming preoccupied with one size of<br />

Ensure that your bream feed is packed with<br />

particles to hold big fish in the swim.<br />

I can’t fault the<br />

MWG hook for<br />

bream work.<br />

particle, which can lead to them ignoring your<br />

bigger hookbaits.<br />


Bream love to patrol around the bottom of<br />

shelves where food collects and they can get an<br />

easy meal. Therefore it makes sense to target<br />

them there.<br />

If I genuinely don’t know the venue at all I will<br />

always have a cast about with a bomb to try and<br />

build a picture of exactly what’s in front of me,<br />

things like drop-offs or depth changes. If I can’t<br />

find any variations on the bottom I’ll pick a<br />

comfortable distance and just fish it for the day.<br />


I always like to get a few feederfuls of bait out<br />

into the swim at the start of my session and use<br />

a large cage feeder to put out a lot of particles<br />

quickly. On a normal session I will look to put<br />

in six large cage feeders full of groundbait,<br />

expander pellets, micros and corn.<br />


I will empty at least two of the baiting-up<br />

feeders as soon as they hit the surface. This<br />

gives you a much bigger spread of bait as it falls<br />

through the water, giving the fish more room to<br />

feed over.<br />

The way to do this is to plug the feeder lightly<br />

then, as soon as it hits the water, shake the<br />

contents out.<br />


The 24g Guru X-Safe<br />

Pellet Feeder holds<br />

1<br />

enough bait and it<br />

heavy enough to cast<br />

accurately even in windy<br />

conditions.<br />


I’m trying to get a<br />

bream to take the bait<br />

2<br />

quickly so that means<br />

no less than 4ins of 0.15mm or<br />

0.17mm N-Gauge.<br />


3<br />

Even with the chance of<br />

a carp I’d go with a size<br />

16 Guru MWG pattern.<br />


Yellow is the key here<br />

so that means corn,<br />

4<br />

dyed meat discs or a<br />

yellow mini boilie. Corn is<br />

always my starting bait.<br />


Bream love groundbait<br />

so this forms the core<br />

5<br />

of my feed. To it are are<br />

added plenty of dampened<br />

micro pellets and a few grains<br />

of corn.<br />


I always bury the hookbait. The way to do<br />

this is to load the pellet feeder with a mix of<br />

groundbait and micros and then flatten the end<br />

with your thumb.<br />

I then place the hookbait on the flattened<br />

area and cover it with a little more groundbait.<br />

As the feeder hits the bottom the first thing<br />

to come free will be the hookbait, once the<br />

groundbait starts to break down.<br />


My 6lb mainline is tied direct to a 24g,<br />

small Guru X-Safe pellet feeder with a 4ins<br />

hooklength of 0.15mm or 0.17mm to a size 16<br />

MWG hook. Hooklength diameter depends on<br />

whether there are any bonus carp or tench in<br />

the venue. If it’s all bream then I’ll use 0.15mm.<br />



PELLET<br />

FEEDER<br />

1<br />

2<br />

5<br />

4<br />

3<br />


Hair-rigging your baits is vital to ensure better<br />

hook-ups, especially when using baits like corn.<br />

I hair-rig a single grain lengthways with the<br />

bait stop on the outside of the rounded end<br />

of the bait – this way the hook is left clear for<br />

better hooking potential.<br />


Switching hookbaits can really pay off when<br />

bream fishing, as they can be really picky. One<br />

bait I really rate is meat discs. I punch out<br />

8mm cylinders of meat and then cut them into<br />

narrow discs around 5mm long. These discs are<br />

dyed yellow and then hair-rigged.<br />


One of my favourite bream hookbaits is a<br />

yellow, 8mm Ringers Allsorts boilie fished on a<br />

hair rig and once on the bottom this looks just<br />

like a grain of corn and is therefore sucked in<br />

with confidence.<br />

The advantage the boilie has over other<br />

hookbaits is that it’s a lot more robust. If small<br />

nuisance fish are a problem this can be a big<br />

plus, as you can fish in confidence knowing that<br />

your hookbait is still intact!<br />


You’ll often find the first hour of your session<br />

can be quite slow when fishing for bream, but<br />

this doesn’t bother me and I actually prefer not<br />

to catch during this opening spell.<br />

Anglers often ask me how long they should<br />

be leaving the feeder out at this time. I reckon<br />

that around 10 minutes for each cast is fine, but<br />

if you’ve not had an indication then reel in, fill<br />

your feeder and go back out again so that you<br />

are building the swim up over time.<br />


Quite often you’ll find you’ll get a few bites and<br />

indications before the swim goes quiet again,<br />

and when this happens you have a decision to<br />

make.<br />

You can either sit tight and hope the bream<br />

come back and settle again, or you can top the<br />

swim up and try to pull them back.<br />

Personally I prefer the latter, so when it goes<br />

quiet I will put three more big cages of bait in<br />

and then cast the pellet feeder back over the<br />

top. Quite often this will provoke an immediate<br />

response as the bream come straight back to<br />

the feed and you’re catching again.<br />



The Mini Pellet Feeder<br />

drops just enough<br />

feeder into the swim on<br />

each cast.<br />

I N S T A N T A C T I O N<br />


How to catch big weights now by scaling down your tactics<br />



MICRO<br />

FEEDER<br />

IF YOU’RE out on the bank of your local<br />

commercial in autumn then doubtless<br />

you’ll notice the colour of the water is<br />

starting to drop out as the feeding of<br />

the fish slows down.<br />

For me that’s the signal to adapt my tactics<br />

and adopt a more ‘softly softly’ approach,<br />

especially when it comes to fishing the feeder.<br />

Instead of using big feeders to put plenty of<br />

bait in, it’s all about ‘less is more’, using a<br />

micro-sized feeder to put in just enough bait to<br />

catch a fish without spooking them.<br />

Rather than the Method or groundbait feeder,<br />

I often reach for Guru’s Micro Pellet Feeders.<br />

These are barely bigger than a pound coin and<br />

so are perfect for keeping both disturbance and<br />

feed going into the peg to a minimum.<br />

It might be getting colder, but there’s still the<br />

chance to catch big weights of carp from most<br />

fisheries – if you get things right, of course.<br />

This means limiting how often you cast so as<br />

not to cause too much commotion in the swim,<br />

as well as regulating just how much feed is<br />

going into the peg.<br />


As the name suggests, these feeders are<br />

designed for fishing with pellets.<br />

That isn’t to say groundbait can’t be used in a<br />

pellet feeder because it can, but I feel that in<br />



Always begin with a 6mm hard pellet.<br />

the cold pellets are a better option.<br />

The type of pellets you use is crucial. I prefer<br />

coarse pellets, as they are lower in oil than<br />

others and so are a lot easier for carp to digest<br />

in water that’s turning colder each day.<br />

I don’t think you can go wrong with Ringers<br />

Method Micros, as they are not only low oil but<br />

light in colour. This means they offer a visual<br />

attraction too, although any low oil pellet will<br />

do the job!<br />

In terms of pellet size, I like to use a mixture<br />

of 2mm and 4mm pellets and will mix them so I<br />

have two-thirds 2mm to one-third 4mm.<br />

By mixing the sizes of the pellets I feel it helps<br />

to prevent the fish getting too preoccupied on<br />

one size of food item. That can cause problems<br />

when you want to get the fish to pick up a<br />

Mix the pellet sizes to get bites quicker.<br />

hookbait which is bigger than the free offerings.<br />


There are a couple of bait types I have a lot of<br />

faith in for this approach.<br />

The first is either a 4mm or 6mm hard pellet.<br />

These are what I call ‘blend in’ baits as they<br />

match the pellets in the feeder and I believe<br />

they are sucked up by a feeding fish without it<br />

even realising until it’s too late!<br />

I will kick off on a 6mm bait but if I start to get<br />

a few indications (tiny taps and knocks) that<br />

suggest there are fish around the feeder and I’m<br />

not getting proper bites then I will switch to a<br />

smaller 4mm offering.<br />

A 4mm pellet matches the baits in the feeder<br />

that bit better, so if there are a few wary carp<br />

feeding, the chances of one making a mistake<br />

are a lot higher.<br />

My back-up hookbait is a single grain of corn.<br />

This works very differently to the hard pellets<br />

as it stands out and gives the carp something<br />

they can home in on.<br />

Normally I will just alternate the two baits to<br />

see what gets the better response on the day.<br />

As a rule, though, the harder the fishing, the<br />

more effective the corn is. I believe in the cold<br />

carp feed on sight a lot more, and therefore<br />

highly visible hookbaits come into their own.<br />


With the water being cold and clear, regular<br />

casting is very much a no-no as far as I’m<br />

concerned. Even a pellet feeder as small as this<br />

one going in can spook fish by repeated casting,<br />

so realistically it’s all about making every cast<br />

count and only reeling in when a carp is on!<br />

Of course, in practice that isn’t always<br />

possible but to kick off I would be looking to<br />

fish each cast for between 10 and 15 minutes<br />

unless I saw something that made me think I<br />

needed to cast more regularly.<br />

As the session or match progresses I might<br />

work out a bite time, for example between five<br />

and six minutes, and work around this but until<br />

I do I will keep any potential disturbance to a<br />

minimum by only recasting when I need to.<br />

Of course, being super-accurate is also vital as<br />

just one misplaced cast can spook the fish.<br />

Keep the feed amount<br />

minimal and the tip<br />

will keep going round!<br />





I use 8lb Daiwa Hyper<br />

Sensor. That might<br />

sound heavy for<br />

short-range work but<br />

with it being a low<br />

diameter line I find<br />

this negates any loss<br />

in presentation that<br />

8lb line might bring<br />

and gives you extra<br />

security for bigger fish.<br />


The feeders come in just<br />

one size and weight – 24g<br />

– which is ideal for shortrange<br />

work, casting either<br />

tight to islands or into open<br />

water on smaller fisheries.<br />

1<br />

MICRO<br />

FEEDER<br />



Fill the feeder with pellets before<br />

compressing them with your<br />

finger. That way, not only do they<br />

stay in the feeder but at the same time a<br />

flattish area is created on which to place<br />

the hookbait.<br />

2<br />

Position the hookbait at the back<br />

of the feeder before adding<br />

another covering of pellets to<br />

keep it enclosed.<br />

3<br />

Once the second lot of pellets are<br />

compressed into place the feeder<br />

is ready for casting.<br />


This depends on the size of<br />

fish I’m looking to catch. If<br />

the fish are predominantly<br />

2lb-4lb I’ll opt for 4ins of<br />

0.15mm Guru N-Gauge to a<br />

size 18 Super MWG hook.<br />

This is tied using the<br />

knotless knot, with a micro<br />

bait band replacing the<br />

conventional hair. If the fish<br />

were 4lb-8lb I’d step up to a<br />

0.17mm hooklength.<br />


Pellet feeders come inline<br />

but where allowed I prefer to<br />

fish them elasticated with a<br />

short stem pushed through<br />

the feeder with light white<br />

or heavy black elastic. The<br />

white elastic is spot-on for<br />

F1s and carp to 5lb, while<br />

for anything bigger I use the<br />

black elasticated version.<br />

The great thing about the X-Safe<br />

4<br />

elasticated system I use is that it<br />

features a clip at the top. This<br />

allows me to prepare feeders in<br />

between bites. It’s simply a case of<br />

reeling in and clipping on a new<br />

pre-loaded feeder to save time. The<br />

more time I can spend with bait in the<br />

water, the more fish I can catch!<br />




FEEDER<br />



Gear up with Steve’s<br />

distance feeder rig that’s<br />

won him lots of matches.<br />

PAGES 68 - 69<br />


Create the ultimate<br />

anti-tangle set-up with<br />

these clever links.<br />

PAGES 70 -71<br />


See how Steve does it on<br />

a bream-packed day at<br />

Ferry Meadows.<br />

PAGES 72 - 75<br />


What to put on the<br />

hook to catch slabs and<br />

skimmers on the feeder.<br />

PAGES 76 - 77<br />


Simple advice to help<br />

you chuck further and<br />

more accurately.<br />

PAGES 78 - 79<br />


When to use fishmeal<br />

over traditional sweet<br />

groundbaits for bream.<br />

PAGES 80 - 81<br />


Keep catching in winter<br />

by scaling down with this<br />

‘scratching’ approach.<br />

PAGES 82 - 85<br />



BREAM<br />

FEEDER<br />

SET-UP<br />

Shockleader<br />

Essential when using<br />

braided mainline and<br />

casting a long way.<br />

This line acts as a<br />

shock-absorber.<br />

Get on Steve’s no-tangle big slab rig<br />

OF ALL the different types of feeder<br />

fishing that I do, I’d have to say that<br />

groundbait feeder work for bream<br />

has changed the most down the<br />

years, both in terms of the rig and<br />

the way that it is fished.<br />

Twenty years ago, this would have<br />

involved using target boards and striking at<br />

tiny knocks on the quivertip with light lines<br />

and small hooks, but bream, especially big fish<br />

today, are very aggressive feeders that produce<br />

positive bites and which will take big hookbaits<br />

with complete ease.<br />

This now means fishing large hair-rigged baits<br />

alongside regular feed, fishmeal as opposed<br />

to sweet groundbaits, braided mainlines to<br />

help casting and bite registration, and weightforward<br />

‘rocket’ feeders that will cast up to 80<br />

yards whatever the conditions.<br />

All that said, my rig isn’t hard to tie and, more<br />

importantly, it is also very hard to tangle.<br />

This means that I can be confident that it will<br />

be fishing properly and not lying in a tangled<br />

heap after casting!<br />

Feederlink<br />

This prevents the<br />

feeder from tangling<br />

around the hooklink<br />

during casting. See<br />

p66/67<br />

Feeder<br />

For long casts nothing<br />

can beat a rocket or<br />

distance-style feeder<br />

with the weight built<br />

into one end.<br />

W H E N T O U S E I T<br />

For bream and skimmers that require<br />

plenty of feed at long distances<br />

throughout the year.<br />

W H Y U S E I T ?<br />

Groundbait and bream are perfect<br />

partners so you need a big feeder to<br />

build up a fed area over which a shoal<br />

of fish can graze for hours.<br />

H O W T O T I E I T<br />

1 Once your shockleader is tied to the<br />

braid mainline (see page 17), slide<br />

feeder and feederlink on to the line.<br />

2 Now slide a float stop on to the line<br />

below the feeder.<br />

3 Take the line and create a tightlytwisted<br />

loop of around six inches.<br />

4 Slide the float stop down to rest<br />

above the twisted section.<br />

5 Attach the hooklink to the twisted<br />

loop via the loop-to-loop method.<br />

Feed<br />

A mix of fishmeal<br />

groundbait, micro<br />

pellets, casters,<br />

chopped worm and a<br />

few pieces of corn.<br />





Twizzled loop<br />

Six inches of<br />

shockleader twizzled<br />

tightly creates a stiff<br />

boom so the hooklink<br />

stands clear.<br />

Hooklink<br />

Because big bream<br />

are the target, don’t<br />

go light – 0.17mm<br />

Guru N-Gauge is spot<br />

on for fish to 8lb.<br />

Hook<br />

I like to hair-rig baits<br />

and so I pick a size 14<br />

Guru MWG Barbed<br />

pattern used with the<br />

knotless knot.<br />




RIG T<strong>ANG</strong>LES!<br />

How to create my feeder link. You’ll wish you’d done it years ago!<br />

AKEY component of my bream and<br />

silverfish feeder rigs is the use of<br />

a feeder link – a short, stiff length<br />

of line that runs off the mainline<br />

with the feeder attached at the<br />

opposite end.<br />

The benefits of using a link are many<br />

and for me, it cuts down on tangles that can<br />

often happen when fishing with a paternoster.<br />

I also think that it results in a neater overall<br />

set-up and better presentation.<br />

Making your own links is very quick and<br />

easy - here’s how I do mine.<br />


1<br />

Take the length of line – I use 0.47mm<br />

Korda Mouthtrap – and thread a 0.6mm<br />

small double-barrelled crimp on to it.<br />

2<br />

Now pop a small plastic bead on to the<br />

line behind the crimp. Mine are from<br />

Hobbycraft and cost pennies.<br />

3<br />

The line is doubled back and passed<br />

through the crimp. Everything is pulled<br />

tight to leave the bead at one end.<br />

4<br />

Take a pair of pliers and firmly crush the<br />

crimp to trap the line, ensuring the bead<br />

is sitting snugly against the crimp.<br />

5<br />

This is how one end of the link should<br />

look. Try not to leave a gap that will<br />

allow the bead to move freely.<br />

6<br />

At the opposite end of the link thread<br />

on another crimp and then a snaplink<br />

swivel to attach the feeder to.<br />

7<br />

Repeat step 3, doubling the line back<br />

through the crimp and leaving the<br />

snaplink trapped tightly in place.<br />

8<br />

Crush the crimp with the pliers, being<br />

sure to hold the line tight so that a stiff<br />

boom is created to form the link.<br />

9<br />

And that’s it! The finished feeder link<br />

should have no movement in the bead<br />

or snaplink at either end.<br />



FEEDER<br />

E E LINKS<br />

A very short link of around 2ins-3ins<br />

is good for days when the fish are<br />

coming to the feeder to get at the<br />

bait. This link then puts the feeder<br />

very close to the hookbait and should<br />

result in a quicker bite.<br />

A very long link comes in handy for<br />

days when I want to put the feeder<br />

well away from the hookbait. In this<br />

instance, the link could be 10ins long<br />

– just make sure that it is not longer<br />

than your hooklength!<br />

This is a standard feeder link of<br />

around 6ins, and would be the one<br />

I’d use for most situations. The key<br />

here is to try and work out how<br />

positively the fish are approaching<br />

the feeder before making changes.<br />

“ A FEEDER LINK WILL CUT DOWN ON T<strong>ANG</strong>LES<br />




GO LONG<br />

FOR BIG<br />

BREAM<br />


Reach for the horizon with Steve’s<br />

distance attack that’s seen him<br />

break records on a favourite venue<br />

I’VE always had something of a love<br />

affair with Ferry Meadows Lakes near<br />

Peterborough ever since I was a kid.<br />

These vast gravel pits hold lots of big<br />

bream that don’t give themselves<br />

up easily, but they offer a handsome<br />

reward to the angler who gets their<br />

approach right.<br />

Thankfully, the lakes are now holding<br />

regular open matches, and these are among<br />

the highlights of my fishing year. Combine<br />

them with two-day mini festivals and big<br />

memorial matches and it’s no surprise that<br />

I’m a regular there throughout the spring<br />

and summer.<br />

One of my favourite feeder matches of all<br />

time was when I broke the match record<br />

for the lakes in a Steel City two-day event<br />

in 2016, a benchmark that has since gone<br />

again but which lives long in the memory as<br />

a special match to treasure.<br />

As a result, I get asked a lot both on<br />

the bank and on social media about my<br />

approach for fishing Ferry, where long and<br />

accurate casting is needed but where the<br />

bream can reach double figures.<br />

I could spend all day talking about this, but<br />

I reckoned it would be quicker if I boiled it<br />

all down to the six key things that form the<br />

bedrock of my bream attack at Ferry.<br />

BRAID<br />

If you’d have asked me five years ago about<br />

using braid for bream then my answer<br />

would have been very different – back then<br />

I never used it, whereas now I wouldn’t fish<br />

without it!<br />

In case you are wondering why I rate braid<br />

so highly there are two real benefits as far as<br />

I can see. First, and perhaps most obviously,<br />

bite detection is massively enhanced. With<br />

braid having literally zero stretch, any<br />




FEEDER<br />



Kev Leach’s feeders make short work of a<br />

long cast or an awkward cross wind!<br />

indication on the tip is magnified, meaning that<br />

even when fishing at distance bites tend to be<br />

very positive and as a result are far easier to hit.<br />

Second, braid is very low in diameter<br />

compared to nylon which makes a big<br />

difference in terms of casting distance. Because<br />

braid is so fine I use 0.10mm Pulse8. This flies<br />

through the rod rings and makes fishing at long<br />

range a whole lot easier.<br />


Most of my bream fishing at Ferry is done at<br />

distances in excess of 55m, so choosing the<br />

right feeder is vital.<br />

Of course, you can cast 55m with a normal<br />

open-end feeder but I’m a big believer in<br />

making things easier for myself.<br />

I tend to use a Kevin Leach feeder in either<br />

30g or 40g. In case you don’t know what a Kevin<br />

Leach feeder is, basically it’s a weight-forward<br />

cage feeder. The advantage with this type of<br />

feeder is that it flies a lot straighter and a lot<br />

truer, improving my accuracy no end. Guru is<br />

due to bring out its own range in the not too<br />

distance future.<br />

I always kick off on a big six-hole feeder with<br />

a view to getting a bit of bait down, and as for<br />

weight, I stick to either 30g or 40g - which one I<br />

choose depends on the conditions.<br />

If the wind is kind I will stick to 30g, but if I<br />

have an awkward cross wind then 40g is ideal<br />

for punching through it and making sure the<br />

braid is straightened on the cast.<br />


If I had to pick just one bait for bream fishing<br />

then without doubt it would have to be worms.<br />

To put it quite simply they have caught me<br />

more bream than I care to remember, and in<br />

years to come I have no doubt they will catch<br />

me a lot more!<br />

The only downside to fishing worms is<br />

that they have a tendency to either spin your<br />

hooklength up on the retrieve or, alternatively<br />

and without doubt more annoyingly, they have<br />

a tendency to go over the hookpoint and mask<br />

it, leading to lost fish.<br />

This used to be a real bugbear of mine, but<br />

that all changed when I started hair-rigging my<br />

worms. The advantage of hair-rigging is that<br />

the hook is left totally free, with little risk of the<br />

worm being anywhere near the hookpoint.<br />

On top of that the worm sits a lot straighter<br />

when hair-rigged so you don’t get anywhere<br />

near the amount of line twist when reeling in.<br />

One point regarding my hookbait is that<br />

I always like to fish two pieces of worm as<br />

opposed to one. I feel it makes the hookbait<br />

stand out that little bit better.<br />

It also means that it looks just like a couple of<br />

Dyeing<br />

your micro<br />

pellets<br />

yellow<br />

makes them<br />

stand out<br />

to fish.<br />

Dead reds aren’t such a<br />

good bait as worms.<br />

You can<br />

get away<br />

with big<br />

hooks when<br />

fishing<br />

worms.<br />




FEEDER<br />


Whenever the fishing is hard, the bait I<br />

always turn to is chopped worm.<br />

It gives out loads of fish-attracting<br />

scent which bream love, so if I’m<br />

struggling I will take the other loose<br />

offerings out of the feeder and pile in<br />

chopped worm.<br />

To keep the food value down I chop<br />

the worms into a very fine mush so I<br />

don’t overfeed any bream in the peg.<br />

That said, if I get the bream really<br />

feeding in the swim I will put more solid<br />

food offerings on the bottom.<br />

That means roughly chopped worm<br />

pieces of around an inch long. These are<br />

very similar in appearance to what I am<br />

fishing on the hook.<br />

pieces of chopped worm on the bottom, which<br />

arguably is even more important.<br />


I have always been a great believer in the fact<br />

that bream love bright colours, yellow in<br />

particular. If you think about it, some of the<br />

best bream groundbaits are yellow and corn,<br />

another bait that bream love, is yellow too!<br />

I think this all boils down to visibility, in that<br />

yellow baits give the bream something they can<br />

see and then drop down on. With this in mind<br />

I like to dye my feed pellets yellow, just to give<br />

them a boost in terms of colour.<br />

The way I like to do this is to take a mixture<br />

of 2mm and 4mm coarse pellets and then soak<br />

them in the normal manner. I cover them in<br />

cold water for 30 seconds, then drain the water<br />

off and leave them to stand overnight.<br />

Then, to add the colour, I just sprinkle on a<br />

little yellow Mainline Baits boilie dye and give<br />

the pellets a shake until they all turn yellow.<br />

GO LONG<br />

Like most match anglers I am always looking<br />

for an edge when bream fishing on big waters,<br />

and one such edge is to fish at distance so you<br />

are out past those around you.<br />

This way I will have my own water to pull fish<br />

from, as opposed to sharing it with the anglers<br />

around me.<br />

If you think about it, if I’m in a line of anglers<br />

all clipped up at 50m then it’s going to be hard<br />

to draw any fish in. If, however, I fish at 60m in<br />

that line then not only am I pulling fish from<br />

further out but from the left and right too.<br />

This might not seem that significant but at<br />

times it can make a massive difference, and<br />

turn a peg worth maybe 25lb into one that’s<br />

capable of 50lb-plus.<br />

To try and gain this edge, what I like to do is<br />

keep an eye on the anglers around me when<br />

they are clipping up before the start and then<br />

try and fish 5m-10m past them.<br />

How finely<br />

I chop the<br />

worms will<br />

depend on<br />

how the<br />

fishing is<br />

progressing.<br />

Hair-rigging<br />

pieces of<br />

worm has<br />

been a bit of<br />

a revelation<br />

to me.<br />




RECIPE<br />

FOR BIG<br />


Set the table for a big net of slabs<br />

with my spread of brilliant baits<br />

THE old adage of giving bream<br />

enough bait to keep them feeding<br />

still rings true, and on venues like<br />

Ferry Meadows my mix is made up<br />

of several ingredients.<br />

Chopped worm, corn, pellets, casters<br />

and, of course, groundbait all play their<br />

part, while for the hook I swear by hair-rigging<br />

two pieces of worm for catching really big<br />

bream. However, dead maggots are still good<br />

for smaller fish or when the going is tough.<br />

Even two bits of corn or a small yellow boilie<br />

can have their day – experimentation is key!<br />

1<br />

2<br />

1<br />


This is a simple 50/50<br />

split of Ringers Original and<br />

Dark. The Dark helps in clearer<br />

water and the mix should be on<br />

the damp side – not dry!<br />

2<br />


Even on big natural waters<br />

like Ferry Meadows, fishmeal<br />

rules! That means a groundbait<br />

to suit, plus the addition of<br />

micro pellets into the mix.<br />



BREAM<br />

BAITS<br />


- S T E P<br />


R I G I G<br />

WORMS<br />

4<br />

5<br />


I’ll chop my worms<br />

relatively fine to give off<br />

maximum leakage and scent.<br />

This works particularly well in<br />

clear water conditions.<br />

3<br />

5<br />

A<br />

Using a Speed Stop will not only anchor<br />

the worms on the hair for casting but<br />

also make getting them into position in<br />

the first place so much easier.<br />

4<br />


Only a sprinkling of corn is<br />

fed, simply to give the bream a<br />

taster. On the hook, I’ll fish two<br />

grains on a hair rig and always<br />

use the natural yellow colour.<br />

B<br />

Using the Speed Stop Needle, pierce the<br />

first worm through the top. I use around<br />

a third of a normal worm to make it look<br />

similar to the chopped worm feed.<br />

3<br />


Casters are used as a feed<br />

only and I add plenty of them.<br />

Dead maggots come into play<br />

for the hook when smaller<br />

skimmers are the target.<br />

C<br />

With worm number one in place on the<br />

hair, the second is pierced and threaded<br />

up into place. The stop can now be<br />

folded over to hold the bait securely.<br />



H I T T H E S P O T :<br />

ADDING<br />

YARDS<br />

TO YOUR<br />

CAST!<br />

Blast a feeder to the horizon with<br />

Steve’s six top tips for casting.<br />

THERE’S little point in having the<br />

correct rig, lovingly-prepared bait<br />

and groundbait and a good peg to<br />

fish if you can’t cast your feeder far<br />

enough in the first place.<br />

You may think that you can cast well<br />

and put a feeder out a long way but, trust<br />

me, there are always a few little things that can<br />

be added to your technique that’ll put 10 or 20<br />

more yards on the cast.<br />

On big waters where casting further than the<br />

anglers around you might be important, these<br />

little improvements will mean more fish.<br />

My casting has certainly improved since<br />

regularly fishing places like Ferry Meadows and<br />

Boddington Reservoir, where up to 90 yards is<br />

the required range.<br />

But even on fisheries where a more moderate<br />

one is required, casting correctly will not<br />

only mean greater accuracy but also a lot less<br />

pressure on your body.<br />

Think about it. Trying to force a feeder a<br />

long way with a bad technique will put undue<br />

strain on your back, shoulders and arms and<br />

inevitably lead to you casting all over the place.<br />

Do it right, and the process will be smooth<br />

and the feeder will land in the same spot each<br />

time. You’ll also get fewer tangles and a reduced<br />

chance of an embarrassing crack-off.<br />

The six tips on the opposite page are the key<br />

points that I recommend to anyone who asks<br />

me about casting further - and they don’t need a<br />

mega-expensive rod or a physique like Charles<br />

Atlas to achieve!<br />







TIPS<br />

Get the<br />

basics right<br />

and you’ll<br />

be surprised<br />

how far you<br />

can cast.<br />


This is the length of line between<br />

feeder and rod-tip before you<br />

1<br />

cast. If it is too short then you<br />

won’t achieve the force to cast far<br />

enough – around 5ft of line is ideal,<br />

allowing you to really compress the rod.<br />


I see too many anglers casting<br />

using just the hand and arm<br />

2<br />

holding the rod around the reel.<br />

This is wrong. Your other hand that’s on<br />

the bottom of the handle is just as<br />

important, as this should ‘pull’ on the<br />

rod as you cast, creating speed on the<br />

cast to propel the feeder further.<br />


When the cast is finished, the rod<br />

should be pointing directly to the<br />

3<br />

spot where the feeder has gone<br />

into the water. This will tell you that<br />

you’ve been accurate, and is achieved<br />

by following through with the rod in a<br />

straight line as the feeder flies through<br />

the air.<br />


When to release line from the<br />

spool mid-cast makes a big<br />

4<br />

difference. It should happen<br />

when the rod is roughly pointing to<br />

11 o’clock on an imaginary clock –<br />

12 o’clock will be the point immediately<br />

above your head. Let go too early and<br />

the feeder will go in a more upward<br />

direction, while too late and it’ll crash<br />

into the water 20 yards out!<br />


For really long casts you’ll have<br />

to stand up. This creates more<br />

5<br />

clearance behind you to get the<br />

right ‘drop’ between feeder and rod,<br />

and also allows you to use the weight of<br />

your body to propel the cast.<br />


Modern feeder rods are designed<br />

for casting a long way, so don’t<br />

6<br />

be afraid to put a lot of force into<br />

the chuck and fully compress the rod. It<br />

might look as though it’s bending<br />

alarmingly but that’s what it’s built to<br />

do – the rod won’t break!<br />



G R O U N D B A I T S<br />

IT’S ALL<br />

IN THE<br />

BLEND<br />

Use my fantastic four and bag up!<br />

GROUNDBAITS – now there’s a topic<br />

that could keep anglers talking for<br />

ages! From whether to use fishmeal,<br />

to how wet to make the mix or<br />

whether bream really need brown<br />

crumb, the options and possibilities<br />

as to what your pour into your<br />

bucket are virtually endless.<br />

We all have our own mix; the one we get on<br />

well with every time we go fishing. There’s<br />

nothing wrong with that, but you have to be<br />

willing to change, depending on the species and<br />

the size of fish that you are targeting.<br />

In my experience, big bream need something<br />

totally different from skimmers, while a roach<br />

mix won’t be right for catching F1s. On these<br />

two pages are the four mixes I most commonly<br />

use for feeder fishing. Many take in the same<br />

types of groundbait to help make your decision<br />

in the tackle shop that much easier.<br />

A fishmeal<br />

mix is used for<br />

bigger bream.<br />

B R E A M M I X<br />

YEARS ago you’d have taken<br />

nothing but a sweet groundbait<br />

plus brown crumb for bream<br />

fishing but now, even on natural<br />

waters, fishmeal is very much the<br />

order of the day.<br />

When fishing for big bream, my<br />

standard mix is a 50/50 blend of<br />

Ringers Original and Ringers Dark,<br />

resulting in a fishy groundbait with<br />

a darker edge that helps in clear<br />

water.<br />

This is mixed the night before to<br />

fully absorb the water, and should<br />

end up being on the wet side.<br />




MIXES<br />

M E T H O D M I X<br />

IF I’M being honest, groundbait<br />

doesn’t play much of a part in my<br />

Method feeder fishing. The only<br />

time I’ll add some is when I may<br />

catch some skimmers in among<br />

the carp and F1s.<br />

In this instance I’ll add Dynamite<br />

Baits Swim Stim Match Sweet<br />

Fishmeal in a ratio of 95 per cent<br />

pellets to 5 per cent groundbait.<br />

This should be mixed wet so that<br />

it binds the pellets around the<br />

feeder. Too dry and it’ll absorb<br />

moisture from the micros and it<br />

won’t stick to the feeder.<br />

S I L V E R F I S H M I X<br />

WHEN faced with a venue holding<br />

skimmers and roach in the UK, I’ll<br />

fish the cage feeder. This demands<br />

something different to my big<br />

bream or Irish silverfish mix.<br />

I go for 70 per cent Ringers<br />

Original for a fishmeal<br />

hit to 30 per cent Van<br />

Den Dynde G5, a sweet<br />

traditional silverfish<br />

groundbait. The G5 is<br />

added with an eye on<br />

catching those roach as<br />

they aren’t always keen<br />

on a full-on fishmeal mix.<br />

I R I S H R O A C H M I X<br />

IRELAND is stuffed with roach and<br />

my feeder mix is made up three core<br />

ingredients to suit the deep water that<br />

you’re often faced with.<br />

I use brown crumb, Dynamite Baits<br />

Silver X Bream and Frenzied Hemp Black<br />

Split in equal parts, to create a dark mix.<br />

This is mixed to end up being sticky so it<br />

gets down to the bottom without spilling out<br />

of the feeder too early.<br />





Keep on catching in the cold with this brilliant ‘scratching’ approach<br />



C A G E<br />

FEEDER<br />

THERE will be times in winter when<br />

water temperatures are low and<br />

the fish really aren’t in the mood<br />

to feed, but this doesn’t mean you<br />

have to wave the white flag and<br />

wait for things to warm up – all you<br />

need to do is rethink your approach<br />

and develop what match anglers call a<br />

‘scratching’ mentality.<br />

Combining smaller baits, less feed, light<br />

hooks and lines and a smaller feeder all add up<br />

to a method that will wring out a few fish from<br />

the peg in the most desperate of conditions. In<br />

this instance, catching anything that swims is a<br />

real bonus.<br />

For me, there’s nothing to beat the cage<br />

feeder if the venue I am fishing holds skimmers,<br />

roach, perch and the odd carp or F1. Silver fish,<br />

provided they are big enough, can soon make<br />

a decent net at the end of the day but landing<br />

a big feeder and large hookbaits that you’d<br />

normally use in summer on top of the fish will<br />

only result in a motionless quivertip.<br />

Decision-making is important too, and by<br />

this, I mean working out when to change the<br />

distance you are fishing at or what freebies you<br />

can or can’t introduce through the feeder.<br />

Put simply, there will be some fish in front<br />

of you on well-stocked fisheries such as<br />

Meadowlands near Coventry and they will<br />

want to feed at some point. It’s down to the<br />

angler to work out what’s right, and the cage<br />

feeder will give you the best chance of success.<br />

But why is the cage so good? Read on...<br />



Steve is a big fan of<br />

fluorocarbon hooklinks<br />

when the going is tough.<br />

Dead maggots and a few micro pellets<br />

are added to the groundbait.<br />

Changing<br />

feeder<br />

size can<br />

transform<br />

your catch<br />

rate.<br />

Lightly<br />

squeeze the<br />

feeder on<br />

hard days.<br />


The main difference between a cage feeder and<br />

an open-end version is that the cage has bigger<br />

holes from which the feed can exit. This is why<br />

it is so good in the cold.<br />

I know that before the feeder has hit bottom<br />

it will have begun to give off particles of<br />

groundbait and perhaps a few loose offerings<br />

into the water. This is useful, because in cold<br />

water the fish will be sitting just off the deck.<br />

They then see these bits coming off the feeder<br />

and follow the trail down to the lakebed where<br />

they will find the feeder and the hookbait. In a<br />

nutshell, the cage is all about putting attraction<br />

into the water.<br />

CH<strong>ANG</strong>ING FEEDER SIZE<br />

The cage feeders that I use are small Nisa<br />

models and despite their size, I can introduce<br />

more or less bait by picking a feeder with more<br />

or fewer holes. The four-hole model is my<br />

starter as this gets a reasonable dollop of bait<br />

down, but if I felt that the fish were backing<br />

off after I’d caught a few, this would tell me to<br />

change over to the smaller three-hole feeder.<br />

This not only lets me put less feed through it,<br />

but the smaller size will make less commotion<br />

when it enters the water, something that can<br />

spook roach and skimmers in clear water. A 22g<br />

model is heavy enough to cast where I want.<br />


On a well-stocked fishery I don’t see the need<br />

to cast miles provided that there is a decent<br />

enough depth in the first place.<br />

Should your venue see a lot of pole fishing<br />



C A G E<br />

FEEDER<br />

take place, casting a few metres past this point<br />

– say 14.5m or 16m – can be a great place to start.<br />

I’m a big fan of beginning by casting shorter<br />

in winter as this gives me the option to move<br />

further out as the day goes on.<br />

However, I would also keep an eye on anglers<br />

around me and judge where those that are<br />

catching are casting to. If I was struggling, I<br />

would follow them out to the same distance.<br />

The most important thing for me, however, is<br />

to try and fish in my own bit of water.<br />

By that, I mean that I will cast past or<br />

sometimes shorter than anglers near me. This<br />

way, I know that I won’t be competing with the<br />

others in trying to draw fish into the area.<br />


Although you may catch the odd big fish, I’d<br />

bet that most bites in the cold will come from<br />

roach, perch and small skimmers so fishing<br />

heavy tackle has no value. It’ll also mean fewer<br />

bites in the first place, which defeats the point.<br />

My cage feeder rig uses 4lb Guru Pulse<br />

mainline with the feeder on a feeder link<br />

running on the mainline, featuring a 6ins<br />

twisted section above the hooklink.<br />

The 18ins hooklength is 0.12mm Guru<br />

Fluorocarbon, which is invisible, stiff to<br />

prevent tangles and heavy, so that it lies on the<br />

bottom properly.<br />

Hook choice might surprise you in that I pick<br />

a size 16 Guru F1 Pellet. This barbless hook is<br />

surprisingly strong, yet light and super-sharp,<br />

but more importantly its shape perfectly suits<br />

the hookbaits that I plan on using.<br />


The cage feeder mix is 70 per cent Ringers<br />

Original to 30 per cent Van Den Eynde G5 to<br />

add a little sweetness, mixed on the damp side<br />

to ensure it stays in the feeder on the cast.<br />

Crunch time comes when deciding what to<br />

put in the mix. Chopped worm is one obvious<br />

option but I would hold my horses with this<br />

and instead begin by adding a sprinkling of<br />

micro pellets, dead maggots and pinkies.<br />

Worm is left out initially until I can be certain<br />

that the fish want it. In cold water, chopped<br />

worm can be like poison if the fish aren’t in<br />

the mood and can kill a swim before it has got<br />

going. My plan is to see which anglers around<br />

me are chopping worms and then, if they are<br />

catching, I will begin to add some worm.<br />

However, if I know that the venue I’m fishing<br />

responds to worm I can be confident enough<br />

to begin by feeding it. The worms are chopped<br />

very finely into a mush to kick out as much<br />

attraction as possible.<br />


I’m a big advocate of being deadly accurate with<br />

your casting but in winter, on the cage feeder,<br />

that’s only partically true.<br />

At the start I will be dead eye with my casting,<br />

especially with the opening three casts that see<br />

me using a slightly bigger feeder to get down an<br />

initial hit of groundbait and freebies before I<br />

then change back to a a smaller feeder.<br />

The early stages of a session demand accuracy<br />

using the reel’s line clip and a far-bank marker,<br />

but as the day goes on and the fish begin to<br />

show signs of moving about, being inaccurate<br />

can catch more fish.<br />

Often, a cast that is slid to the left or right of<br />

my main spot, only by a yard or two, can pick<br />

off a bigger fish that may have backed off the<br />

original area, so don’t be afraid to go off course.<br />


Silver fish are your main target in this situation<br />

and I’d pick three fluoro pinkies or double dead<br />

red maggot as my number one choices.<br />

The alternative would be a small segment<br />

of worm, but only if I was having success by<br />

feeding worm in the groundbait.<br />


When every bite counts, the smallest things<br />

about your approach can make a big difference.<br />

That’s true with the cage feeder with regard<br />

to how hard you plug the groundbait into the<br />

When bites are at<br />

a premium, the<br />

cage feeder will<br />

produce.<br />

feeder before casting.<br />

Normally, I would squeeze the mix in with<br />

plenty of force so I know that it will get to the<br />

bottom, giving off a few bits and bobs on the<br />

way down.<br />

But if the fishing is very hard and I feel that<br />

I need to make something happen, gently<br />

plugging the feeder means that the mix will<br />

disperse quickly, creating a cloud in the water.<br />

CH<strong>ANG</strong>ING LINES<br />

So when do you make the switch to a longer or<br />

shorter cast? It is easy to sit and think ‘they’ll<br />

turn up soon’ but this isn’t the answer in cold<br />

weather. You have to find the fish.<br />

If I wasn’t catching then I’d pay close<br />

attention to anglers that are, see where they are<br />

casting to and join them at this range.<br />

On the flipside, if I caught a few fish and bites<br />

then stopped, I would take a few turns off my<br />

reel and cast a little longer to see if the fish had<br />

backed further out into the lake.<br />



MAGGOT<br />

FEEDER<br />



Light lines and small<br />

hooks and feeders are<br />

the key to this tactic.<br />

PAGES 88 - 89<br />


A session at Packington<br />

Somers proves how good<br />

the maggot feeder is for<br />

cold-water F1s.<br />

PAGES 90 - 93<br />



NOT JUST<br />

FOR THE<br />

RIVER!<br />

Turn to the maggot feeder for F1s<br />

YOU may normally associate the<br />

maggot feeder with catching<br />

chub on a river rather than F1s on<br />

commercial fisheries, but when<br />

the cold weather bites hard and<br />

the name of the game is winkling<br />

out every fish that I possibly can,<br />

turning to a tiny maggot feeder will tip<br />

the balance in my favour.<br />

I know from fishing venues like Tunnel Barn<br />

Farm in winter on the pole, where F1s are the<br />

main species, that maggots are a million miles<br />

in front of pellets when it comes to catching<br />

consistently and so the same should ring true<br />

with a feeder rod in hand.<br />

Indeed, Packington Somers is one water I<br />

can think of where from November onwards<br />

the maggot feeder rules for catching F1s when<br />

casting to islands.<br />

I’ll also include a few of these in my bag on<br />

places like Tunnel Barn’s snake lakes, when I<br />

may need to cast a tiny maggot feeder across to<br />

pick off a few extra fish.<br />

Additionally, it comes in handy in very strong<br />

winds that can rule the pole out completely.<br />

W H E N T O U S E I T<br />

On waters with a good head of F1s<br />

and quality silverfish such as barbel,<br />

skimmers, roach and tench.<br />

W H Y U S E I T ?<br />

At certain times of the year, especially<br />

in cold weather, fish will turn on to<br />

maggots as opposed to pellets. In this<br />

instance, the maggot feeder offers<br />

them exactly what they want.<br />

H O W T O T I E I T<br />

1 Slide the maggot feeder and<br />

snaplink swivel on to the mainline.<br />

2 A float stop goes on to the line<br />

underneath the feeder.<br />

3 Six inches of mainline are then<br />

twizzled into a tight loop to create a<br />

stiff boom.<br />

4 Finally the hooklink is attached<br />

loop-to-loop style.<br />

Mainline<br />

This consists of Guru<br />

Pulse in 6lb breaking<br />

strain, as I wouldn’t<br />

expect to be catching<br />

many carp!<br />

Hook<br />

These should be on<br />

the fine side, and I<br />

can’t fault the Guru<br />

LWG in size 18 to take<br />

double maggot.<br />

Feeder<br />

Feeders range from<br />

large weight-forward<br />

models for long casts<br />

to tiny cut-down ones<br />

for use in the cold.<br />

Feed<br />

Not a tough one this –<br />

maggots! I’ll use reds<br />

and whites and go for<br />

the freshest bait that I<br />

can get hold of.<br />



MAGGOT<br />


Twizzled loop<br />

As with most of my<br />

feeder rigs, a six-inch<br />

twizzled loop is used<br />

to prevent tangles<br />

when casting.<br />

Hooklink<br />

Don’t go too heavy,<br />

given that F1s are the<br />

target. Around 0.11mm<br />

N-Gauge will get the<br />

job done.


MAGIC<br />

OF THE<br />

MAGGOT<br />

FEEDER<br />

The old school tactic that works<br />

as well for a big net of commercial<br />

carp as it does for river chub!<br />

Seek out the<br />

deeper water just<br />

off an island and<br />

you’ll find the fish.<br />

EVERY now and again a longforgotten<br />

tactic comes back to<br />

the fore, and in recent winters<br />

that without a doubt has been the<br />

maggot feeder – it’s a real blast from<br />

the past!<br />

In the cold, maggots are the number one<br />

bait as far as F1s are concerned and so it really<br />

shouldn’t come as a surprise that on venues<br />

such as Packington Somers, where there<br />

are a lot of F1s, the maggot feeder proves so<br />

successful to match and pleasure anglers.<br />

It’s not only a match winner. On pegs where<br />

it’s a struggle to even get a bite on a pellet or<br />

Method feeder the maggot feeder sees the tip<br />

pulling round on a regular basis and turns a<br />

blank into at least a few fish on the bank.<br />

And if I’m being honest it’s actually a really<br />

nice way of fishing, and one that I’ve enjoyed<br />

getting back into fishing – although I have to<br />

admit I had to raid the back of the garage, it’s<br />

been that long since I used them!<br />


There are loads of blockend feeders on the<br />

market but many of them are simply too big<br />

for what I want, so I set about making a few<br />

alterations to tailor them perfectly to my F1<br />

fishing.<br />

To begin with I only want to feed 8-12<br />

maggots a cast so I take some of the original,<br />

green Drennan Feederlink feeders and cut<br />

them down with scissors to a size that allows<br />

them to take much less bait.<br />

I also make a change to the weights they carry.<br />

The original base weights just aren’t heavy<br />

enough, so I take the leads off the Drennan<br />

Carp Feeder models as these fit perfectly.<br />

This way I can have a tiny little maggot feeder<br />

that has as much as 25g of weight on it, so that<br />

in a nasty cross wind I can still cast accurately<br />

to keep the feed tight.<br />

Of course, 25g is the exception rather than the<br />

rule. If the wind is kind I find 15g is about right,<br />

as this ensures I can still be accurate with my<br />

casts and keep any disturbance to a minimum.<br />

If you haven’t got any of the original feeders<br />

knocking around then from what I’ve seen the<br />

smallest of the Drennan Carp Feeders is the<br />

next best thing.<br />


Fishing a maggot feeder is all about building a<br />

peg rather than casting about looking for fish,<br />

so the line clip is key to ensuring that every cast<br />

lands on the same spot.<br />

Where to start? When the water temperature<br />

is low and I know the fish aren’t going to be<br />

too confident in the cold, clear conditions this<br />

means keeping away from any shallow water or<br />

islands and chucking into deeper water at the<br />

bottom of a far shelf on an island peg, which is<br />

probably 4m short of the island itself.<br />

In this deeper water carp and F1s are more<br />

likely to feel confident enough to feed, and if I<br />

need to chase them later on in the session I still<br />

have the room to do so.<br />

What normally happens is that I will catch<br />

a few before the fish back off. It can then be<br />

a case of simply taking a yard of line off and<br />

going further to keep in touch with the fish. in<br />

warmer weather I would chance casting up to<br />

the island where F1s, especially, may be but in<br />

this instance, a pellet feeder would be better.<br />



MAGGOT<br />

FEEDER<br />

A spot of DIY soon produces a feeder heavy enough to hit<br />

the spot but small enough to take just a dozen maggots.<br />



Fish pellets<br />

and you<br />

wouldn’t<br />

catch F1s<br />

like this!<br />


As far as bait goes it’s all about maggots, and for<br />

a five-hour session or match I find a pint-and-ahalf<br />

to be more than enough.<br />

I like to have a mix of whites, reds and fluoros<br />

as this gives me more options in terms of<br />

hookbaits.<br />

On top of the maggots I also like to have a few<br />

pinkies with me. These are mainly for the hook,<br />

but if it’s really cold and the fishing is rock<br />

hard I will put a few in the feeder just to try and<br />

entice an F1 or two into feeding.<br />


The way you feed might seem very simple with<br />

this approach, as most anglers just keep filling<br />

the feeder up every cast with the same amount<br />

of maggots.<br />

However, I prefer to mix things up somewhat<br />

and will kick off my session by feeding around<br />

10-12 maggots every cast and then take things<br />

from there.<br />

If I’m getting lots of indications and bites<br />

then I will up the feed and put even more<br />

maggots in the feeder.<br />

However if bites are few and far between then<br />

I will cut right back and put just 4-6 maggots in<br />

the feeder every cast. After all, there is no point<br />

in doing the same thing every cast if you aren’t<br />

getting any bites!<br />

Basically, fishing a maggot feeder is just like<br />

any type of fishing, in that you have to think<br />

about what you are doing and react to the fish’s<br />

moods on the day.<br />

Just filling the feeder up every cast will, of<br />

course, work if you are on a pile of fish, but if<br />

you’re on an average peg it won’t allow you to<br />

get the best from it. Varying the quantity of<br />

maggots in the feeder will.<br />


As far as hookbaits go, in the main it’s all about<br />

double maggot. The only real variable would be<br />

a combination of a red and a white, two reds, or<br />

a red and a fluoro.<br />

I find it’s well worth experimenting with your<br />

hookbaits, as finding the right combination<br />

can make a massive difference. As a rule I find a<br />

red and a white or a red and a fluoro best, as the<br />

little bit of extra colour from a lighter-coloured<br />

maggot seems to result in quicker bites.<br />

The only exception to this is when it’s really<br />

cold and the fishing is rock hard. Under these<br />

conditions I tend to catch a lot of really big F1s<br />

fishing double pinkie. I can only think pinkies<br />

work better because they are small and brightly<br />

coloured stand-out hookbaits.<br />


If I’m not getting any bites, a great little edge is<br />

to give the maggot feeder a quick twitch around<br />

30 seconds before reeling in.<br />

Doing this has two benefits – it helps to fully<br />

empty the feeder and it gives the hookbait that<br />

little bit of movement which can be all that’s<br />

needed to induce a bite.<br />

To twitch the feeder all I do is turn the reel<br />

handle slowly until the tip winds right round<br />

and then slowly drops back again.<br />

I don’t want to make the feeder move too<br />

quickly as this could potentially spook any fish<br />

in the swim, so I do it nice and slowly.<br />


When it’s solid, you can<br />

cram the feeder, but on hard<br />

days Steve may only half-fill<br />

the feeder with maggots.<br />

Clip up to keep<br />

the feed in a<br />

tight area.<br />



MAGGOT<br />

FEEDER<br />



2<br />

3<br />

1<br />


Many of my feeder rigs use a 6ins<br />

length of mainline that’s twisted<br />

1<br />

tightly to create a stiff piece of<br />

line. This doesn’t tangle and also helps<br />

to act with self-hooking as the feeder<br />

runs along it, hits the knot at the top<br />

and helps set the hook.<br />

4<br />


When the water is cold and clear,<br />

scaling down to a light hooklink<br />

2<br />

really does make a difference.<br />

That means 0.11mm N-Gauge matched<br />

to a size 18 LWG hook.<br />


To stop the feeder running down<br />

the hooklink I build a small float<br />

3<br />

stop into the rig, which offers<br />

minimal resistance to a fish taking the<br />

bait.<br />


My home-made feeder link<br />

prevents tangles by ‘kicking’ the<br />

4<br />

hooklink and hook away from the<br />

feeder. See pages ?? and ?? for how to<br />

tie these yourself.<br />

‘DIY’ FEEDER<br />

Taking a pair of scissors to the<br />

feeder body will reduce the<br />

5<br />

length and therefeore the<br />

bait-carrying capacity. I also remove the<br />

weight at the base and swap it for a<br />

heavier one, as found on the Drennan<br />

Carp Feeders.<br />

5<br />

Winter F1 fishing is all about<br />

light lines and small hooks.<br />



THE<br />

BOMB<br />


BOMB RIG<br />

Whether you fish inline<br />

or elasticated, this simple<br />

bomb rig is easy to tie.<br />

PAGES 96 -97<br />


Leger perfection with this<br />

feature that’s packed full<br />

of top advice and tips.<br />

PAGES 98 - 101<br />


Steve lifts the lid on this<br />

brilliant new method for<br />

warmer weather.<br />

PAGES 102 - 105<br />


Learn why high-visibility<br />

hookbaits can’t be<br />

beaten on the bomb.<br />

PAGES 106 - 107<br />




ALONG<br />

FOR CARP<br />

Mainline<br />

As big carp are the<br />

target, I take no<br />

prisoners with reliable<br />

and robust 8lb Guru<br />

Pulse.<br />

Turn to the lead when it gets cold<br />

THERE’S a lot of snobbery<br />

surrounding bomb fishing among<br />

anglers, as so many see it as a<br />

method that needs no skill. The<br />

angler simply slings out the rig and<br />

waits until the rod gets pulled off<br />

the rest – but as always, there’s a<br />

little bit more to it than that!<br />

In fact, fished correctly, the bomb can be<br />

every bit as effcient at catching carp as a feeder<br />

while enjoying the benefits of not introducing<br />

any bait into the swim. In unfavourable<br />

conditions this can wreck a swim before it’s had<br />

the chance to get going.<br />

Rightly, the bomb is seen as a winter method<br />

for presenting a single hookbait for the fish to<br />

find, and although that may seem like a massive<br />

leap of faith, there are plenty of things that you<br />

can do to get bites – as you’ll see in the features<br />

following these pages.<br />

But the bomb isn’t just for winter and I’ve<br />

had some big weights in August using the lead<br />

in conjunction with loosefeeding pellets over<br />

the top.<br />

So is the bomb really boring? Not a bit of it!<br />

W H E N T O U S E I T<br />

Although the bomb can work in<br />

summer, it is most effective in winter<br />

when fished with highly-visible single<br />

hookbaits for big carp.<br />

W H Y U S E I T ?<br />

Little, if any feed at all, is used with<br />

the bomb. The angler instead relies<br />

on that hookbait to be seen clearly by<br />

any fish swimming around.<br />

Feed<br />

Very occasionally I will<br />

fire out two or three<br />

6mm or 8mm hard<br />

pellets with a catapult<br />

over the top.<br />

H O W T O T I E I T<br />

1 If picking an elasticated set-up, the<br />

mainline is attached via a large loop<br />

to the top end of the stem.<br />

2 As the elastic runs through the<br />

stem, the lead is now slid into place.<br />

3 A Speed Bead is attached to the<br />

elasticated end.<br />

4 To finish, slide the hooklink over the<br />

crook of the bead.<br />



BOMB<br />

RIG<br />

Bomb<br />

Guru’s X-Safe Lead<br />

lets me fish either<br />

inline or elasticated,<br />

if allowed. I’d pick the<br />

⅔oz size.<br />

Speed Bead<br />

This acts as a stopper<br />

if fishing an inline lead<br />

and it lets me change<br />

over hooks and<br />

hookbaits in seconds.<br />

Hooklink<br />

In keeping with the<br />

strong mainline and<br />

big hook in this rig<br />

I use 0.19mm Guru<br />

N-Gauge.<br />

Hook<br />

A size 12 Guru QM1 is<br />

used as this is ‘sit and<br />

wait’ fishing – you<br />

don’t want to lose<br />

what you hook!<br />



When the leaves fall<br />

from the trees it’s time<br />

to get on the bomb.<br />



BOMB<br />


CATCH IN<br />

WINTER<br />

ON THE<br />

BOMB!<br />

Master this winning cold-water<br />

method with Steve’s expert advice<br />

AS SOON as the temperature starts<br />

to drop there is one method that<br />

always seems to come to the fore<br />

on commercials across the country<br />

– bomb and pellet.<br />

I’m actually not sure why the bomb is<br />

so effective at this time of the year but<br />

results don’t lie, and from November until it<br />

warms up I wouldn’t mind betting that it will<br />

win more matches than any other tactic.<br />

If you look at the way it’s fished, the bomb<br />

is actually a very negative way of fishing and<br />

maybe that’s why it works so well in the cold.<br />

After all, the fish are beginning to slow up<br />

their feeding at this time of year so they don’t<br />

want loads of bait, and the bomb tends to work<br />

best with a relatively frugal feeding regime.<br />

With the water also being clear on a lot of<br />

commercials the carp have started to back away<br />

from the bank, yet with the lead they are always<br />

within reach – something that can’t be said<br />

about the pole on bigger waters.<br />


On the bait front it’s all about feeding and<br />

fishing with 8mm hard coarse pellets.<br />

Which brand you choose is up to you, but I’m<br />

a big fan of Dynamite XL carp pellets. These<br />

are a low oil coarse pellet and being relatively<br />

light in colour I find them perfect for this time<br />

of year.<br />

I do like to give them a boost, though, and<br />

this comes in the form of Mainline Baits’<br />

Meta-Mino, an amino-based compound<br />

that has a really meaty smell which, in my<br />

experience, carp love.<br />

To apply the Meta-Mino all I do is add a splash<br />

to the loose pellets in the bait tub, pop the lid<br />

on and give the whole lot a good shake to make<br />

sure they all come into contact with the liquid.<br />

Once this is done I leave the pellets to dry for<br />

30 minutes before feeding. This of course can<br />

be done the night before if you want to save<br />

time and make sure the Meta-Mino has been<br />

fully absorbed.<br />




10mm PUNCHED MEAT<br />

This offers me something<br />

different to the norm, and<br />

with meat I actually glug it<br />

in Mainline Cell liquid just<br />

to give it plenty of attraction<br />

in terms of smell. I find<br />

when the water is coloured<br />

and visibility is reduced that<br />

meat can outfish pellets, as<br />

carp find it easier to locate.<br />


These tend to work best as<br />

an impact bait, being red in<br />

colour with a strong aroma.<br />

A quick chuck when it’s gone<br />

quiet with the Robin Reds<br />

often produces an instant<br />

response, because I’m giving<br />

the carp something a little<br />

bit different to what they<br />

have grown used to seeing.<br />

8mm HARD PELLET<br />

It will come as no surprise to<br />

know that my starting bait<br />

will be a single 8mm hard<br />

pellet. After all, I’m feeding<br />

8mm pellets so it makes<br />

perfect sense to put the<br />

same on the hair.<br />

A good<br />

glug of<br />

Meta-Mino<br />

liquid will<br />

pep up plain<br />

pellets.<br />

Step up the<br />

feed if those<br />

around you<br />

are catching<br />

by pinging<br />

in more bait.<br />


When it comes to feeding on the bomb I’m a big<br />

believer in feeling my way in, and this means<br />

I will kick off with just two pellets every 4-5<br />

minutes just to see what happens.<br />

I will also keep an eye on neighbouring<br />

anglers to see how they are feeding their swims<br />

and what sort of response they are getting.<br />

I learn a lot this way, and if the angler next<br />

door is feeding much more heavily than I am<br />

and catching then I can up my feed accordingly.<br />

If, however, he is struggling I can carry on<br />

feeding very little, safe in the knowledge that<br />

the fish aren’t coming to any amount of bait.<br />

I remember a day at Barston Lakes when I<br />

started off feeding just two pellets every five<br />

minutes, but after an hour I’d had just one bite.<br />

However, a carp angler on the opposite bank<br />

landed five carp in this time and after watching<br />

him for a bit it became apparent he was feeding<br />

heavily with boilies.<br />

As a result I upped my feed to 6-10 pellets<br />

every two or three minutes. That was enough<br />

to spur the fish into feeding and I caught almost<br />

straight away.<br />

The trick was to feed and then cast straight on<br />

top of the loose offerings. By doing it this way<br />

you know your hookbait will be right in amid<br />

the loosefeed rather than sat well away from it.<br />

This may seem obvious, but a lot of anglers do<br />

it the other way round – they cast out and then<br />

start feeding over the top, and as a result I feel<br />

accuracy is lost.<br />


It might seem obvious that you’ll be fishing<br />

on top of your loosefeed, as I have already<br />

mentioned – but if the fishing is rock hard I<br />

actually tend to find you’re better off fishing<br />

off the back of your feed, a little way past the<br />

area where most of the pellets are.<br />

Even when carp aren’t really feeding, they<br />

will still investigate bait small amounts of bait<br />

going in.<br />

They will then sit near the bait but not on it,<br />

and this is when fishing just past the loosefeed<br />

can produce when fishing on the bait doesn’t.<br />

Of course, if I start getting line bites I will<br />

drop back on to the feed to see if a few fish have<br />

settled on the bait. This will tell me that some<br />

carp are between me and the hookbait – with<br />

luck they’ll be over my original feed area!<br />



When<br />

you’re only<br />

fishing for<br />

a few bites,<br />

use tackle<br />

that’ll let<br />

you get the<br />

fish in!<br />

1<br />

4<br />

5<br />

2<br />

3<br />



BOMB<br />


I always use inline leads for my<br />

bomb fishing, as they offer great<br />

1<br />

anti-tangle and self-hooking<br />

properties, they cast well, and I can add<br />

elasticated stems to give me security<br />

when playing fish too. For short-range<br />

work, anywhere between 15m and 35m,<br />

I use the ⅔oz Guru Square Pears, the<br />

thinking being that with the water so<br />

clear, the less disturbance I can make<br />

when casting the better.<br />


Where fishery rules allow I<br />

remove the rubber insert that<br />

2<br />

comes in the leads and replace it<br />

with a small X-Safe Speed Stem so the<br />

lead is elasticated. Which elastic I<br />

choose depends on the venue, so where<br />

I’m looking to catch both carp and big<br />

F1s I opt for the heavy black elastic.<br />

The beauty of having an elasticated<br />

bomb is that it helps to prevent those<br />

annoying, and potentially costly,<br />

hook-pulls at the net.<br />


I always tie my hooklengths 75cm<br />

long for bomb fishing but will<br />

3<br />

then adjust the length I use,<br />

depending on conditions on the day.<br />

I may start with a long hooklength, but<br />

if it becomes clear that the carp are<br />

right on the feed I will then shorten the<br />

link to just 30cm. This way I’m putting<br />

the hookbait closer to the feed. If the<br />

fishing was harder, though, I would stick<br />

with the longer hooklength as I feel this<br />

gives a slower fall of the hookbait. This<br />

in turn can lead to more bites when the<br />

water is clear.<br />


Line diameter is also worth a<br />

4<br />

mention. When targeting ‘proper’<br />

carp I’m not a believer in fining<br />

right down, so my hooklengths for<br />

bomb work will be either 0.19mm or<br />

0.22mm Guru N-Gauge, to size 12 or 14<br />

QM1 hooks respectively. Which of the<br />

two combos I choose depends on the<br />

size of the fish, and for big carp that<br />

would be 0.22mm to a size 12, lowered<br />

to 0.19mm and a size 14 for smaller carp<br />

and the odd big F1.<br />

5 CH<strong>ANG</strong>E HOOKBAITS<br />

I always begin with a single 8mm hard pellet fished in a band<br />

and often don’t change from this – but there will be times when<br />

offering the carp something bigger will pull the tip round rapidly.<br />

This often seems to happen when the weather is cold and the<br />

fishing hard. Then, changing to a couple of 8mm pellets squeezed<br />

into a band or even hair-rigged gives the carp a much bigger bait<br />

that grabs their attention.<br />



Is it a feeder or a<br />

bomb? Who cares as<br />

long as it catches fish?<br />

MAKING<br />

A REAL<br />

IMPACT!<br />

Get on this brilliant bomb that will<br />

take leger fishing to another level<br />

NOW and again an idea comes along<br />

which makes you say ‘why didn’t I<br />

think of that myself?’ Over the past<br />

few years I’ve been using Guru’s<br />

‘Impact Bombs and to be honest,<br />

as soon as I caught a few carp on<br />

them I secretly kicked myself that I<br />

hadn’t sussed this trick out sooner.<br />

The bombs are basically like a flat lead with<br />

mesh in the middle – I guess you could say they<br />

look like tiny tennis racket heads – and the idea<br />

is that the mesh offers grip so that a helping of<br />

2mm or 4mm pellets will stay in place during<br />

the cast.<br />

As the name suggests, the pellets are designed<br />

to come off on impact with the surface and then<br />

fall through the water, dragging fish down to<br />

where your hookbait is. What could be simpler<br />

than that?<br />


There are five bombs to pick from, ranging<br />

from 2/3oz up to 2oz, so they can be fished at<br />

both long and short ranges. I have used them<br />

for short casts on snake-type lakes through to<br />

long 80m-plus chucks at Boddington Reservoir<br />

in the winter, so there really is nothing you can’t<br />

do with them!<br />

Impact bombs are at their best in what I<br />

would call ‘shallow’ water from 2ft to 8ft, due<br />

to the way they work in releasing the pellets on<br />

the surface. For deeper water I swap the 2mm<br />

pellets for the 4mm versions so that they fall<br />

that little bit quicker through the water and<br />

aren’t taken away by any tow.<br />


I prefer to use 2mm coarse pellets as they stick<br />

to the bomb really easily, but wetted-down<br />



BOMB<br />


3mm and 4mm baits will work too. The key<br />

is making sure that your pellets are properly<br />

soaked. If they’re too dry they’re likely to fly off<br />

on the cast.<br />

To prepare my pellets I pour them into a<br />

three-pint bait tub and cover them with cold<br />

water for around a minute. I then drain all the<br />

water off and pour the pellets into a big round<br />

tub so they are well spread out. The next step<br />

is to leave them to stand for a minimum of 30<br />

minutes, after which they should be ready.<br />

Some pellet brands stick better than others. If<br />

you are having problems with the stickiness of<br />

the pellets then add a squirt of Mainline’s Cell<br />

Stick Mix to the soaked pellets and that should<br />

solve the problem.<br />

The beauty of the Stick Mix is that not only<br />

does it help the pellets to bind, but it also gives<br />

them a great fish-attracting flavour.<br />

Another<br />

carp falls to<br />

the Impact!<br />




There are two ways to fish the Impact bomb.<br />

The first and most obvious is to just cast it out<br />

to the required spot and fish, treating it almost<br />

as you would a feeder. This can work very well<br />

when a full feeder load is a little too much to put<br />

in, but when the fish do want a little feed.<br />

While this works, and I have caught plenty of<br />

fish doing it, for me the bombs are at their best<br />

when fished just off the back of loosefed pellets<br />

pinged in over the top.<br />

What I like to do is loosefeed 8mm pellets via<br />

a catapult, and then fish the Impact bomb say<br />

5m past the line of the feed.<br />

The reason is that you’ll find a lot of carp sat<br />

off the back of the loosefed pellets, and by using<br />

the impact bomb I am able to pick these fish off.<br />

The extra bit of attraction of the micros<br />

falling through the water seems to help too, in<br />

effect giving the fish that little bit more in terms<br />

of attraction.<br />

I reckon that the Impact bomb comes into its own when carp are<br />

sitting off the back of an area that I’ve been loosefeeding.<br />






1<br />

Take the bomb and drop it into a tub<br />

of loose pellets, then squeeze between<br />

thumb and forefinger until the mesh on<br />

both sides is covered. I don’t mind if the<br />

bomb looks a little rough around the<br />

edges either!<br />



My choice depends on the<br />

size of carp I’m targeting.<br />

On lakes like Lambsdown<br />

at Meadowlands, the carp<br />

average around 6lb and<br />

doubles are common, so<br />

I use an 8ins hooklength<br />

of 0.19mm N-Gauge to<br />

a size 12 QM1 hook. The<br />

short hooklength gives a<br />

better bolt effect when<br />

a fish picks the hookbait<br />

up – the fish can’t move far<br />

before it feels the weight<br />

of the lead and hooks itself<br />

against it.<br />

BOMB<br />


SAFE RIG<br />

The bombs feature an<br />

oversized swivel on the<br />

top so they fit into a mini<br />

lead clip to allow them to<br />

be fished semi-fixed. You<br />

get the benefit of a bolt<br />

rig with the assurance that<br />

the lead will pull free if<br />

your line breaks.I swap the<br />

swivel that comes with the<br />

lead clips for a size 11 snap<br />

link swivel so I can clip<br />

hooklengths on and off<br />

when the need arises.<br />

2<br />

Bear in mind that the harder you<br />

squeeze the pellets, the longer they will<br />

take to come off. For short-range work<br />

I always find a light squeeze best to<br />

ensure a good proportion of the pellets<br />

come off straight away.<br />

3<br />

I sometimes put a little blob of Power<br />

Smoke Goo on the bomb mesh and then<br />

seal it in with wetted-down pellets. This<br />

way the Goo is only released once the<br />

pellets fall off, thereby introducing a<br />

lovely cloud into the swim.<br />


There are loads of different<br />

hookbaits you can use, but<br />

my favourites are 8mm hard<br />

pellets and punched meat<br />

in 8mm or 10mm sizes. Hard<br />

pellets are a great bait on most<br />

commercials – the carp see<br />

so many of them and they’re<br />

also relatively small fish-proof,<br />

which is better if silvers are a<br />

problem. Meat is a bait I love<br />

fishing with, as it has the habit<br />

of picking out the bigger carp.<br />




ON THE BOMB!<br />

In clear water, pick a hookbait that the carp can’t fail to spot<br />

THE nature of fishing the bomb, or<br />

straight lead as some call it, means<br />

that a single hookbait can be fished<br />

without any additional feed, relying<br />

on the curiosity of a carp to seek it<br />

out and wolf it down.<br />

While the bomb can work in summer,<br />

I think it really comes into its own in winter<br />

when the fish don’t want any feed, instead<br />

picking off a stand-alone hookbait when the<br />

mood takes them.<br />

For that reason, you have to offer the fish<br />

something that’s highly visual to grab their<br />

attention in clearish water. It can be a fluoro<br />

pink, yellow or orange boilie or Wafter, a couple<br />

of pieces of yellow corn or five discs of white<br />

bread punched out and fished as a stack.<br />

Regularly changing the bait colour is<br />

important. Something as minor as changing<br />

from a yellow mini boilie to a pink Wafter can<br />

trigger the feeding switch in those carp.<br />

Pick a bright yellow or pink colour<br />

if you plan on going down the<br />

boilie route on the bomb. An 8mm<br />

or 10mm bait is perfect.<br />



BOMB<br />

BAITS<br />


1<br />

Sliced medium white bread<br />

(Warburton’s is a good brand) can be<br />

used straight from the bag. No rolling<br />

or microwaving needed here!<br />

2<br />

Guru’s punches mean that you can cut<br />

out four or five discs and store them<br />

inside the cylinder. In terms of size,<br />

6mm or 8mm is about right.<br />

A banded 6mm or 8mm hard<br />

pellet would be a bomb bait I’d<br />

pick in warmer weather when I<br />

was loosefeeding over the top.<br />

3<br />

Take a baiting needle and pierce the<br />

bread discs on to it, pushing them well<br />

down. Now slot the needle’s hook on to<br />

the loop at the end of the hair rig.<br />

4<br />

Gently slide the discs off the needle<br />

and on to the hair. They can be slightly<br />

compressed to help. A bait stop is then<br />

added to hold things in place.<br />

Meat is overlooked for winter<br />

bomb work, but when dyed yellow<br />

and flavoured with Mainline’s<br />

Activ-8 it really stands out!<br />

5<br />

Bread will sit off bottom naturally but to<br />

make it pop up even more, swap one of<br />

the discs for a bright pink or white mini<br />

pop-up boilie that’s been cut in half.<br />

6<br />

I’d have two or three hooklinks on my<br />

side tray set up and ready to go with<br />

different ways of fishing bread. That<br />

way I can change over in seconds.<br />



MY BEST<br />

FEEDER<br />



100lb of big bream<br />

and a new match best -<br />

what could be better?<br />

PAGE 109<br />


Battling the weather in<br />

the wilds of Ireland for<br />

roach and hybrids.<br />

PAGES 110-113<br />


A roach a cast for five<br />

hours over five days - I<br />

was shattered!<br />

PAGE 114<br />


Third time lucky at<br />

Hayfield as the Method<br />

feeder came good.<br />

PAGE 115<br />


A weekend I’ll never<br />

forget - double gold<br />

on Inniscarra.<br />

PAGES 116-119<br />






RECORDS!<br />

Two-day festival is the pick of my Ferry Meadows matches<br />

OF ALL the venues I’ve written about<br />

in my Angling Times columns down<br />

the years, Ferry Meadows Lakes<br />

near Peterborough have probably<br />

grabbed more of the headlines than<br />

anywhere else.<br />

It’s a water I’ve fished since I was a<br />

lad with my dad Geoff and brother Phil and<br />

comfortably makes the top spot as my favourite<br />

feeder venue of all time. They’re big lakes that<br />

need long casts and plenty of patience, and<br />

while some pegs can be a guaranteed blank,<br />

when the venue is in form you can catch some<br />

huge bream and plenty of them.<br />

You need to get out into the water and do<br />

battle with the elements. You also have to gear<br />

up with the right rods and tackle to be able to<br />

cast 60 or 70 yards, so it’s not a venue for the<br />

faint-hearted.<br />

It’s been very kind to me in matches, with<br />

plenty of wins, but one stands out above all<br />

others – my win in the Steel City AC two-day<br />

festival in the summer of 2013 when I broke the<br />

match record with over 130lb of big bream.<br />

That record has since gone but at the time<br />

100lb was a massive weight from the lakes.<br />

The run-up to this match hinted that a big<br />

weight was on the cards as I’d caught over 100lb<br />

in an open a few weeks beforehand from a peg<br />

near the river mouth on Gunwade Lake. The<br />

bream were in the mood and I was confident in<br />




2013, FERRY MEADOWS<br />

Who can<br />

argue with<br />

a big net of<br />

slabs like this?<br />

my fishing, knowing that with a good draw and<br />

ideal conditions I could be looking at a very big<br />

net of fish indeed.<br />

The day of my record put me on the middle<br />

of the monument bank of Gunwade a couple<br />

of dozen pegs to the left of the river mouth, so<br />

in the right area – although I was aware that<br />

it could be a case of feast or famine. The good<br />

news was that if the bream were at home, there<br />

would be a good few of them to catch. The<br />

stamp of fish in this spot on the lake always<br />

tends to be bigger – you’re looking at an average<br />

of 7lb to 8lb!<br />

Bream of this size<br />

mean that not<br />

many are needed<br />

for a big weight.<br />

Conditions were bang on. In fact, you<br />

couldn’t ask for better bream fishing weather<br />

with a warm overcast day and a good wind<br />

rippling the surface. It all looked ideal.<br />

Now, if you’ve read my columns about fishing<br />

at Ferry you’ll know that I don’t like to catch<br />

in the first hour of a match and things went to<br />

plan on that front. Using the old favourite of<br />

hair-rigged worms on a Kev Leach distance<br />

feeder at around 50m where the water was at its<br />

deepest, I went an hour and 15 minutes before<br />

my first bite from a big bream.<br />

From that point it was, looking back, an<br />

easy match because I’d done the groundwork<br />

of getting some feed down without spooking<br />

the fish. The job would now be to keep the feed<br />

going in to keep the bream feeding.<br />

I even foul-hooked an 8lb bream in the tail<br />

that I swore was a carp, such was the way it<br />

fought on braid. I finished with 16 proper<br />

bream, the biggest weighing 8lb 9oz plus a rake<br />

of smaller fish, but at 3lb each I don’t think you<br />

could really call them small!<br />

I’d like to say that the fishing was technical<br />

with lots of clever changes and tweaks made to<br />

the rig and feeding, but that wouldn’t be true.<br />

All I needed to do was to keep my casting<br />

accurate and hold my patience when waiting<br />

for a bite. Often at Ferry you can go from<br />

catching to not getting a bite for half-an-hour or<br />

so and then, out of the blue, you’ll net another<br />

half-a-dozen fish in as many casts.<br />

I’ve caught bigger weights at Ferry since then,<br />

but breaking a record is always special – and<br />

made even better when you enjoy such an easy<br />

match into the bargain.<br />





WORLD <strong>ANG</strong>LING PAIRS<br />

IRELAND 2015<br />

It might look bang<br />

on for bream, but so<br />

many Irish waters<br />

are now full of roach<br />

and small hybrids.<br />

RAPID<br />

FIRE<br />

ROACH<br />

Irish feeder fishing isn’t all about<br />

bream – brush up on your roach<br />

fishing with Steve’s tips and tricks...<br />

IF THERE’S a week that I really look<br />

forward to in my crowded fishing<br />

calendar then it has to be the trip<br />

across the Irish Sea to take part in the<br />

World Pairs competition.<br />

Myself and brother Phil have fished this<br />

week-long extravaganza every year since<br />

Kevin Locke created it a while back, and were<br />

fortunate enough to win it in 2015, despite my<br />

van being written off and me ending up at the<br />

hospital after a road accident on the way to the<br />

fishing on the final day!<br />

But enough about that - what about the<br />

fishing? The beauty of the World Pairs is that<br />

because it is based around weight you never<br />

feel like you’re out of it and it’s even possible<br />

to win the whole thing in a day. That keeps<br />

everyone interested compared to a festival<br />

decided on overall points.<br />

The first-time Irish visitor may daydream<br />

about bagging 100lb of bream on the feeder,<br />

and while that’s still more than possible on<br />

some venues, for match anglers like myself<br />

a more viable and match-winning target are<br />

small hybrids and roach. Every lake in the<br />

country seems to be rammed with these.<br />

Because the Pairs is a weight match, every<br />

kilo counts, so getting an extra kilo or two out<br />

of a swim can make a huge difference come<br />

the Friday night presentation. When these fish<br />

are small, there’s certainly a way of fishing the<br />

feeder at speed and in such a way that you can<br />

catch enough of these tiddlers to compete.<br />

The pole does catch a lot of fish in this event,<br />

but with the weather in Ireland famed for<br />

being a bit ‘blowy’, you need to be a good feeder<br />

angler too. Here are the things that I believe<br />

have made a big difference to my Irish fishing...<br />





The window feeder comes into play later in the match.<br />


Something that’s always been apparent<br />

throughout the week of the Pairs is the<br />

importance of chopped worms. If the fishing is<br />

hard – and when I say ‘hard’ I’m talking about<br />

trying to catch 20lb of roach – then the best way<br />

to do it is to feed a lot of very finely chopped<br />

worms through the groundbait.<br />

This puts a lot of scent and cloud in the water,<br />

which in turn draws in lots of small roach and<br />

the odd big hybrid. So effective are worms in<br />

this situation that you can be biteless and then<br />

“ Putting in choppy can<br />

turn a lifeless swim into<br />

a bite a chuck!”<br />

within three casts of piling in fine choppy you’ll<br />

be getting bites again.<br />

This was never an opening gambit of our team<br />

but it was still a great way of getting a flagging<br />

swim going again and putting a few bonus fish<br />

in the net.<br />


Window feeders are very popular in Ireland<br />

but, unlike other anglers, Phil and I never<br />

started a match using them. Instead we found<br />

it better to bring them into play later in the<br />

contest when bites were starting to slow.<br />

Switching to a window feeder then would<br />

often produce an immediate response, mainly<br />

I believe because it went past where I had been<br />

fishing earlier in the day.<br />

You see, window feeders cast a lot better<br />

than a normal open-end feeder and this has<br />

the effect of making the braid between rod-tip<br />

and feeder that little bit straighter. In effect,<br />

this means I am fishing just past my feed. A lot<br />

of fish will sit just off the back of the feed as the<br />

match progresses, so a window feeder is a great<br />

way of picking them off.<br />

The other big benefit of window feeders is<br />

that they don’t give much off in terms of bait<br />

as they fall through the water. So if the swim is<br />

very deep and you want to keep the fish on the<br />

bottom they are a good option.<br />


Effective as worms were at bringing in roach,<br />

when it came to hybrids it was all about casters.<br />

Therefore, we really attacked our pegs early<br />

with these to try and get off to a flying start.<br />

To give you an idea of how much we were<br />

attacking, early on we were looking to feed<br />



two pints of casters in the first hour if we got a<br />

quick response. From then on, though, if bites<br />

slowed we might only feed another two pints<br />

for the rest of the match.<br />

On several days this attacking start worked<br />

a treat but when bites eased off we cut down<br />

the amount of casters we fed to take that into<br />

account. It was very apparent you couldn’t<br />

just pile casters in all day. There is no doubt,<br />

though, that attacking the swim early with<br />

casters seemed to pull a lot of fish into the area<br />

immediately.<br />


When looking to catch hybrids on the feeder<br />

then depth is without doubt the key.<br />

Hybrids like the security of deep water, so this<br />

governs where I decide to fish. The first thing<br />

I do when I arrive at my peg is have a good<br />

plumb around with a 1oz bomb to check what<br />

sort of depths I have in front of me, and to<br />

check if there any drop-offs.<br />

If I find lots of deep water close in I will look<br />

to fish short, whereas if it’s shallow close in and<br />

I’m looking to catch hybrids I will go long.<br />

It’s also worth pointing out that on places<br />

like Lough Erne, 10ft-15ft is actually shallow<br />

whereas the hybrids prefer 25ft-30ft, in my<br />

experience at least!<br />

So the lesson here is to carefully plumb your<br />

peg so that you have an accurate picture in your<br />

head of what’s in front of you and where you are<br />

going to fish. You definitely can’t go to your peg<br />

with a preconceived idea of exactly where you<br />

are going to fish. Chances are it’ll be wrong.<br />



One of the things you have to remember about<br />

Ireland is that not only are the surroundings<br />

wild but the fish are too!<br />

Therefore, chances are that most won’t have<br />

seen a hook so they aren’t hook or line-shy in<br />

the slightest. When it comes to roach fishing on<br />

Mincing<br />

worms to a<br />

pulp would<br />

crack a hard<br />

venue.<br />

the feeder I will think nothing of fishing a size<br />

10 hook to a 0.19mm hooklength.<br />

Better still, I will fish just a single maggot on<br />

the size 10. The best bit is that you also hit more<br />

bites when fishing a size 10 as opposed to a 12,<br />

as the fish find the 10 that little bit harder to<br />

deal with.<br />

A little tip for fishing a single maggot on a 10<br />

is to hook it either in the middle or thread it<br />

on. Both these ways will lead to an increase in<br />

your fish-to-bites ratio. If threading on a single<br />

maggot you can catch multiple fish on the<br />

At the weigh-in a<br />

dozen extra fish<br />

can make a huge<br />

difference.<br />





Piling in the casters early<br />

worked a treat for hybrids.<br />

The window feeder is popular in Ireland.<br />

same hookbait, which helps a lot in terms of<br />

effciency and speed.<br />


At times those hybrids would only feed<br />

for short spells, so it was important to cast<br />

regularly to keep some bait going into the swim<br />

and to ensure that something was there for the<br />

fish when they did arrive.<br />

By chucking every 90 seconds to two minutes,<br />

it was possible to keep a bit of a column of bait<br />

in the water close to the bottom.<br />

Speed is key<br />

to catching<br />

up to 20 kilos<br />

of these!<br />



MORE<br />

IRISH<br />

GLORY<br />

Skimmers were few<br />

and far between –<br />

this was an out-andout<br />

roach match.<br />

Inniscarra - a place I<br />

seem to get on with!<br />

O<br />

F ALL the venues<br />

I’ve fished in Ireland<br />

I’d have to say that<br />

Inniscarra Reservoir<br />

near Cork is the top of<br />

my list – It’s where I was<br />

crowned World Champion, and<br />

in the autumn of 2016 it saw me win the<br />

inaugural Sensas Feederfest event and<br />

the 10,000 Euro prize.<br />

This new event promised to be a real<br />

highlight of the calendar with that big prize,<br />

and English anglers travelled over to swell the<br />

attendance to over 100 – but If we thought<br />




FEST, 2016<br />

Inniscarra was going to be like it<br />

was back in 2014 on the Feeder<br />

Champs, we were wrong.<br />

Skimmers had been a key fish<br />

on the Worlds but practice had<br />

suggested that fishing for them<br />

would be a real gamble. If you caught them in<br />

numbers you were guaranteed a good weight<br />

but they weren’t well spread like before and it<br />

quickly became apparent that roach would be<br />

the fish to exclusively target.<br />

What helped in this respect is that most areas<br />

on the match offered you the chance to catch<br />

10 kilos of roach on each day. Working things<br />

out, that would mean 50 kilos across the week<br />

which should be more than enough to get close<br />

to winning.<br />

I was helped by the fishing I’d experienced<br />

in the World Pairs a month before in Ireland,<br />

where I drew a number of pegs that needed a<br />

small-fish feeder approach.<br />

This meant that I was comfortable and up<br />

to speed with the methods and way of fishing<br />

required – it was very different to traditional<br />

feeder fishing where you gave the fish a bit of<br />

time to find and take the bait.<br />

Practice was simply going to be a case of<br />

refining what I already knew about speed<br />

fishing for roach on the feeder, and going into<br />

the five days I was pretty confident provided I<br />

With roach<br />

the target,<br />

speed was<br />

essential.<br />

got half decent draws and enough fish to catch!<br />

Tactics revolved around fishing a small cage<br />

feeder with braid mainline and a large size 10<br />

hook baited with a single maggot. This sounds<br />

very crude, but you have to appreciate that the<br />

fish in Ireland are wild and don’t see hooks<br />

that often. Therefore, you can get away with<br />

massive hooks and the bonus is that you don’t<br />

miss many bites into the bargain.<br />

The rod wasn’t placed on the rest. Instead, I<br />

would cast, let the feeder settle but hold the rod<br />

and almost ‘wind’ the fish on to the hook.<br />

This was achieved only because the roach<br />

would take the bait almost as soon as the feeder<br />

settled and by turning the reel handle, you’d set<br />

the hook. Braid helped immensely to do this.<br />

Nor was any distance chucking needed. This<br />

would take up too much time winding fish in<br />

and instead I settled on a 20m or 30m cast. Bad<br />

spells also needed to be avoided and that’s why<br />

waiting five minutes for a 1lb skimmer was no<br />

good. In that time you could easily have caught<br />

that weight and more in roach.<br />

I finished with around 52 kilos to win – so<br />

roughly 10 kilos per day, as was my target, but<br />

I found it mentally draining fishing and very<br />

mechanical. It’s a style of fishing that we never<br />

do in England and I can see why some people<br />

don’t like it – after that week, though, I’m not<br />

one of them!<br />

10,000<br />

Euros and<br />

an armful of<br />

trophies –<br />

thanks very<br />

much!<br />





FISH O’<br />

THIRD<br />

TIME<br />

LUCKY!<br />

The victory that put me on the map<br />




FINAL, 1998<br />

ITHINK that any top match angler<br />

will have a match that they can point<br />

to which acted as a stepping stone<br />

towards them going on to achieve<br />

bigger and better things – and mine<br />

without a shadow of a doubt was<br />

winning Fish O’Mania in 1998.<br />

Before this final I was known on the local<br />

scene around Northampton and had made<br />

the previous two finals without troubling the<br />

£25,000 prize, but all that changed in five hours<br />

on the Islands Lake at Hayfield near Doncaster.<br />

My first appearance in the final saw me lose<br />

out to Dave Pimlott at Hallcroft Fishery by<br />

just 4oz and the following year at Hayfield, the<br />

late great Steve Toone and a lot of beer had<br />

something to do with me not performing to my<br />

full potential.It was a year when the carp didn’t<br />

feed and Kev Rowles won fishing for silverfish.<br />

In 1998, though, I was determined not to<br />

miss out. It’s still the case in the final today<br />

that drawing a good peg helps and I got one<br />

at Hayfield, one of the few offering a cast to<br />

the island on the feeder. I think that after two<br />

hours, the match was effectively over as I’d<br />

caught really well and no one else had.<br />

The match was exactly how I’d wanted it to go<br />

– no tangles, no lost fish, no casting into trees.<br />

What I planned to do worked brilliantly and the<br />

pressure was off before we’d got to halfway.<br />

It was all distance casting as the island was<br />

a good 80 yards away. Back then, the Method<br />

feeders I used were original Kobra models with<br />

brass loading stems. I caught on meat and dead<br />

maggots and won by a long way in the end.<br />

At that point I was the youngest winner of<br />

Fish O’ at just 21 and £25,000 was a lot of cash<br />

,as I was working in the late Bob Church’s<br />

warehouse at that point.<br />

MORE importantly, the win acted as the<br />

kickstart for my career and ensured that my<br />

name started to become known.<br />




FINAL,2003<br />

E B R O B A G G I N G !<br />

I PARTNERED my dad Geoff in<br />

the last Embassy final on the<br />

River Ebro in Spain in 2003 and<br />

although we didn’t win, I did catch<br />

over 80 kilos of carp on feeder<br />

and corn on the opening day to<br />

win £2,000! I remember the river<br />

at Flix responding to sweet rather<br />

than fishmeal groundbait, and I<br />

also remember drawing a snag pit<br />

on day two and catching nothing!<br />

Little did I know<br />

where that Fish O’<br />

win would take me!<br />



Finding the right<br />

depth for those<br />

bonus skimmers was<br />

absolutely crucial.<br />



WORLD<br />

CHAMPS<br />




IRELAND 2014<br />

HOW I<br />

WON THE<br />

WORLD<br />

CHAMPS<br />

Join Steve as he recalls the match<br />

that left him on top of the world!<br />

THERE’S no higher accolade you can<br />

achieve in any sport than being a<br />

world champion, and across one<br />

magical weekend in the summer of<br />

2014 I achieved just that by lifting<br />

the World Feeder Champs title.<br />

Twenty five teams took part in the<br />

event on Ireland’s Inniscarra Reservoir and the<br />

Preston Innovations England Feeder team ran<br />

wild as I took gold and Mick Vials the bronze<br />

medal, while the team of myself, brother Phil,<br />

Mick, Dean Barlow, Adam Wakelin and Rob<br />

Wootton scored an unbelievable 26 section<br />

points over the two days.<br />

It was a score which earned us a convincing<br />

team gold, and I was lucky enough to win my<br />

section on both days to claim the gold medal,<br />

but winning the World Champs isn’t just down<br />

to drawing well and having a bit of luck.<br />

Since I began my England career back in 2011,<br />

I’ve seen just how much goes into international<br />

fishing – from months of careful planning to<br />

logisitics, finding contacts, visiting the venue<br />

several times, and then spending days of hard<br />

practice to perfect our tactics.<br />



Communication between team members is<br />

essential to success, and this was especially<br />

the case in Ireland. We’d all made visits to<br />

the venue prior to the event and, pooling our<br />

knowledge, we discovered that fishing at the<br />

right depth was vital.<br />

Those who had caught the best had all fished<br />

at the same depth, which was a count of 12 on a<br />

one-ounce bomb.<br />

This depth never changed throughout the<br />

time we spent on the offcial practice week,<br />

and the great thing about it was that the right<br />

depth was at different distances from the bank,<br />

depending on where you sat.<br />



Practice showed us that joker rather than chopped worm should be the main feed.<br />

The reason the depth was so important was<br />

that it allowed us to catch all three key species –<br />

skimmers, roach and hybrids.<br />

We found that if we came short of the magic<br />

count and into shallower water the fish became<br />

smaller, and we couldn’t catch skimmers.<br />

Equally, if we went deeper (to a higher count)<br />

and the small-fish action dried up, all we could<br />

catch was skimmers and eels – and the eels<br />

didn’t count!<br />

None of the other teams cottoned on to our<br />

depth secret, even though we had dozens of<br />

people watching us during practice. We even<br />

stopped fishing this spot on several occasions<br />

so we didn’t give anything away.<br />


A lot of teams went down the route of targeting<br />

the skimmers after catching decent weights of<br />

them in practice. We found, though, that the<br />

Champion<br />

of the world<br />

– what a<br />

weekend!<br />

skimmers tended to drift in and out of the swim<br />

which meant long periods putting nothing in<br />

the net if you targeted these fish alone.<br />

Therefore we came up with a plan to fill in the<br />

gaps. Quite simply, when the skimmers were<br />

there we fished for them with baits such as<br />

bunches of bloodworm or redworms.<br />

When they weren’t about, rather than sitting<br />

and waiting we switched to a single maggot<br />

hookbait in order to catch hybrids and roach.<br />

It seemed<br />

wrong but a<br />

heavy, inert<br />

mix was<br />

ideal for the<br />

skimmers.<br />



WORLD<br />

CHAMPS<br />

It might sound simple, but it was a tactic that<br />

gave us a real edge. Come the weigh-in we had<br />

our skimmers plus 3-4 kilos of other fish on top.<br />


After a lot of experimentation we came up with<br />

a 50-50 mix of brown crumb and Sensas Magic,<br />

to which we added a little Sensas Pastoncino to<br />

give the skimmers something to home in on. To<br />

finish, a little black dye was added to take the<br />

edge off the colour of the mix.<br />

How the groundbait was mixed was also<br />

extrewmely important. If it was too dry you<br />

attracted too many small fish into the swim.<br />

For this reason we mixed our groundbait very<br />

wet so that when particles were added it was<br />

best described as being heavy and inert.<br />

This felt wrong, but was actually perfect as<br />

it allowed us to catch a much better stamp<br />

of roach and hybrids in comparison to other<br />

teams on the bank.<br />


In the World Championships you are limited to<br />

2.5 litres of bait, of which only half-a-litre can be<br />

bloodworm and joker.<br />

At the start of the offcial practice week<br />

chopped worm was key, but as the week<br />

progressed we as a team found that the<br />

skimmers, in particular, seemed to go off it.<br />

As a consequence of this, joker came to the<br />

fore and by the two match days we found there<br />

was nothing else the skimmers wanted to eat.<br />

The problem was, we only had half-a-litre so it<br />

was crucial to feed the joker at the right times –<br />

only when the skimmers were in the area.<br />

It was all too easy to keep piling the joker in<br />

and find that late in the match you had nothing<br />

left to feed.<br />


With the water being so deep a lot of teams<br />

went down the solid plastic feeder route,<br />

whereas we found a cage was best as it allowed<br />

the fish to actually see the bait inside the feeder.<br />

I used four- and five-hole Nisa plastic cages in<br />

either 28g or 44g. If there were a lot of fish in the<br />

swim we fished 44g but when they backed off<br />

28g was better, as it seemed the bigger feeder<br />

going in could spook fish.<br />

TACKLE<br />

Bearing in mind we were fishing at short range<br />

there was no need for long rods. As a result of<br />

this I settled on using 11ft Daiwa Tournaments<br />

with the power to chuck a heavy feeder but still<br />

soft enough to prevent hook-pulls.<br />

The rods were teamed up with 4000 TDR<br />

reels loaded with 0.10mm Matrix Submerge<br />

braid and 8lb Tournament ST shockleaders.<br />

In Ireland the fish you are targeting are wild<br />

and haven’t seen hooks and line before, so you<br />

can fish a lot heavier in terms of both hook size<br />

and line diameter. After practice I eventually<br />

settled on a 50cm hooklength of 0.148mm to a<br />

size 10 Kamasan B512 hook.<br />

This might seem a massive hook but it meant<br />

a lot fewer bites were missed, and fewer missed<br />

bites means more fish in the net.<br />

Although those skimmers were important, small<br />

roach were our bread and butter fish.<br />



W H A T I T T A K E S T O<br />

FISH FOR<br />


Think you could make the England<br />

team? There’s more to wearing the<br />

three lions shirt than meets the eye!<br />

IGUESS that fishing for England is an<br />

ambition that all young match anglers<br />

harbour at one time or another, but<br />

the reality is that for all but a small<br />

percentage, it will remain nothing<br />

more than a pipe dream.<br />

Up until 2011 I would have been in that<br />

category. True, I’d won some big matches<br />

and was a ‘name’ but much of my fishing took<br />

place on commercials, so actually fishing at<br />

international level was many, many miles away<br />

from becoming a reality.<br />

That was until the World Feeder Champs<br />

event was created. Tommy Pickering was put<br />

in charge of forming and leading a team and I<br />

was deeply honoured to be picked to fish the<br />

inaugural event in Italy the same year.<br />

If I’m being frank, it was all very sudden.<br />

No trials were held and I guess most of us<br />

were plunged in at the deep end with having<br />

to get our heads around the requirements of<br />

international fishing. I’d like to think that six<br />

years on, and with a load of medals under my<br />

belt, I’ve mastered it and World Champs week<br />

is now the absolute highlight of my fishing year.<br />

But what does it take to make the grade?<br />

Although I had done some team fishing<br />

before getting the call, it was nothing like<br />

I’d experienced before. At England level,<br />

everything we do is disciplined and regimented,<br />

with a chain of command that everyone<br />

adheres to. Every little aspect is pored over<br />

time and time again until we get it right.<br />

I suppose that this was the biggest eye-opener<br />

for me – the degree of detail applied to ther<br />

fishing. Whereas is the UK it would be easy to<br />

say ‘that’ll do’, this isn’t good enough when<br />

fishing against the rest of the world. There are<br />

meetings on top of meetings that leave nothing<br />

left to chance, and I think that professionalism<br />

is reflected in the medals that we’ve won.<br />

Being part of a team begins at the top with<br />

the boss. That’s Tommy Pickering, with Glenn<br />

Lawrence as his second-in-command. The<br />

buck stops with these two and they’re the men<br />

who make the tough decisions, pick the teams<br />

and dictate how practice sessions run – and, of<br />

course, make judgements in the heat of battle<br />

when the two matches take place. Managing a<br />

team is certainly something that I doubt I could<br />

do, so I take my hat off to Tommy and Glenn.<br />

Team boss<br />

Tommy<br />

Pickering<br />

has the final<br />

say in all<br />

decisions.<br />

From a fishing point of view, when the<br />

championships actually take place, you are<br />

kind of in your own bubble, concentrating<br />

on the water in front of you, so pressure as<br />

such doesn’t exist. This is where the man<br />

management qualities of the bosses kick in.<br />

I can remember day two in Holland on 2015<br />

when we won gold. I hadn’t caught after 90<br />

minutes but Tommy came to see me, he said: “I<br />

know you can catch a fish, you’ve been the best<br />

angler on the bank this week,” and left.<br />

That confidence from him, I think worked<br />

better than having him hanging around behind<br />

me waiting for the tip to go round.<br />

Of course, being part of a team means that<br />

you have to get on with the other lads. Any ego<br />

or prima donna behaviour is soon stamped out<br />

because to work successfully as a team you have<br />

to pull together as a team. We’re also a young<br />

team, and that’s good for the future.<br />

The days are long, often beginning at 6am<br />

and finishing with a meeting at 10pm, and in<br />

practice you may be told to fish a tactic that<br />

you know isn’t going to work. It’s only by this<br />

process of elimination that Tommy and Glenn<br />

can work out what to do.<br />

When we began as a team, Tommy said that<br />

we were fishing for gold, and no other medal<br />

was worthwhile. I didn’t agree, but having<br />

tasted gold I can see what he means!<br />

You have to go out with the aim of winning,<br />

otherwise why go through all that effort?<br />


WHAT MAKES AN ENGLAND <strong>ANG</strong>LER<br />


DUTY<br />

Teamwork is<br />

vital – there’s no<br />

room for egos!<br />

World Champs days can be long, with bait<br />

prep often beginning well before breakfast.<br />





1<br />

This is a real mixed fishery in<br />

every sense of the word as<br />

there are so many species that<br />

you can target, from monster carp to<br />

a big net of quality skimmers.<br />

As far as the feeder is concerned,<br />

long range fishing with either a<br />

Hybrid feeder in summer or bomb<br />

and PVA bags in winter will catch<br />

carp and F1s using high-visibility<br />

hookbaits such as Wafters.<br />

Bream anglers will find plenty of<br />

fish on a shorter cast using a cage or<br />

open-end feeder and dead maggots,<br />

or even a grain of corn.<br />

FAVOURITE PEGS: The point on the<br />

river bank (pegs 52 to 54), pegs 13 to<br />

20 on the same bank or peg 124 on<br />

the golf course bank.<br />

TOP 10<br />

FEEDER<br />

VENUES<br />

The waters that get Steve’s vote for<br />

brilliant fishing on the tip<br />



2<br />

Without a doubt my favourite<br />

bream water in the UK. These two<br />

lakes are massive gravel pits that<br />

reward the angler who can cast a fair<br />

distance – although in summer, a short<br />

cast will still catch plenty of skimmers,<br />

roach and hybrids.<br />

For those big bream, though, you’ll<br />

need to go the distance with a rocket<br />

feeder or big open-ender. My top<br />

hookbait is hair-rigged worms but<br />

maggots will catch plenty. If you want<br />

to go for quality, try a mini boilie or a<br />

couple of pieces of corn on a hair rig.<br />

FAVOURITE PEGS: On Gunwade Lake I’d<br />

go for 52 or 53, while on Overton, head<br />

for pegs 113 to 115.<br />



WHERE TO<br />

FISH<br />

Barston’s mixed<br />

fishing makes it a<br />

winner for me.<br />

Bream<br />

fans will<br />

love Ferry<br />

Meadows.<br />



3<br />

Arguably the highlight of any trip<br />

to Ireland is the chance to fish<br />

this massive water near Cork. It is<br />

very deep, but long casting is not<br />

needed on many of the sections.<br />

Fish in summer and you can expect<br />

skimmers and even some proper bream<br />

on the cage feeder with maggots and<br />

worms, but when the weather cools<br />

down, roach take over.<br />

Speed fishing with maggots then<br />

becomes the tactic and it can be a<br />

bite a chuck – hectic fishing but really<br />

rewarding when 20lb is on the cards.<br />

FAVOURITE PEGS: I can’t really pinpoint<br />

one area, but the Garden Centre and<br />

Greenway sections are always good.<br />



4<br />

I first fished here in a Feeder<br />

Masters Qualifier when I was as<br />

death’s door following a bout of<br />

food poisoning, but I still caught plenty<br />

of fish and one thing I did notice is that<br />

the bream and skimmers here are<br />

always on the move.<br />

That means that you can get bites on<br />

most pegs in the summer. The water is<br />

very shallow and coloured, so a cage<br />

feeder with plenty of chopped worm is a<br />

must to get some scent into the water.<br />

There are some big bream here, as well<br />

as lots and lots of smaller skimmers.<br />

FAVOURITE PEGS: The best advice I can<br />

give here is to keep an eye on match<br />

results and fish the winning pegs!<br />





5<br />



6<br />

One of the original commercial<br />

fisheries in the UK and still hugely<br />

popular with match and pleasure<br />

anglers, especially Phase One.<br />

These six lakes are not much to look at<br />

but all offer open-water chucks on the<br />

feeder and some have an island too.<br />

Many of these need a reasonably long<br />

It dosn’t matter whether you fish<br />

here in summer or winter, there<br />

are always bites to be had thanks<br />

to the big head of F1s in most lakes.<br />

For feeder fishing I would pick<br />

Molands Mere or Little Geary’s Pools.<br />

Both have an island cast on every peg,<br />

as well as open water. You don’t need<br />

to throw a long way, and the maggot<br />

feeder works well in winter, switching to<br />

the pellet feeder in warmer weather.<br />

Molands is home to some big carp<br />

and these can be caught on the bomb,<br />

fishing with large hookbaits.<br />

FAVOURITE PEGS: Scarecrow Point on<br />

Molands (pegs 43 to 48), while on Little<br />

Geary’s, go for pegs 7 to 12.<br />

cast on the Method feeder or bomb with<br />

pellets or corn. The carp are old and<br />

wise fish, and as a result are big.<br />

You can also expect lots of skimmers<br />

and some big bream in the summer on<br />

maggots or pellets.<br />

FAVOURITE PEGS: On Lake 2, peg A20<br />

is the flyer while I’d also pick pegs 5 and<br />

25 on Lake 4 for plenty of bites.<br />



7<br />

You’re looking at carp or bream<br />

here with the Lambsdown Lake<br />

offering more water to attack.<br />

The road bank offers deeper water<br />

at short range and, for bream and<br />

skimmers, a cage feeder with dead<br />

maggots at around 30m will do fine.<br />

If you want carp, though, you’ll need<br />

to cast further with Method or Hybrid<br />

feeder and pellets or Wafters, changing<br />

to a bomb in cold weather.<br />

FAVOURITE PEGS: Pegs 17 to 21 outside<br />

the car park are the most consistent for<br />

carp. For skimmers, try pegs 10 to 15.<br />



8<br />

I regularly make the trip down<br />

to Cornwall to fish the festivals<br />

at White Acres and of all the<br />

lakes on this massive site, the best<br />

for fishing the feeder is Twin Oaks.<br />

If you can get on the hot pegs<br />

then you’ll never stop catching carp,<br />

chucking tight up to the far bank with<br />

pellet or Method feeder and banded<br />

pellets or hair-rigged meat from<br />

spring through until autumn.<br />

However, for a pleasure session I’d<br />

say that you can expect a few pulls<br />

on any swim, especially if you fish<br />

later in the day when the fish will be<br />

at their most active.<br />

FAVOURITE PEGS: That’s easy! Twin<br />

Oaks pegs 14 to 17 are absolutely<br />

solid and have won loads of matches.<br />



WHERE TO<br />

FISH<br />



9<br />

The Carp Lake once held the UK<br />

match recod but now is all about<br />

catching big fish, and I mean big!<br />

You’ll be unlucky to catch a fish under<br />

10lb! In fact, I’d say that they are the<br />

hardest-fighting carp I’ve ever caught.<br />

With plenty of open water to go at,<br />

the Method or Hybrid feeder with big<br />

baits is very much the order of the day.<br />

In winter, I would change this to a more<br />

cautious approach with a bomb.<br />

There’s also a big head of bream in the<br />

lake that respond to cage feeder tactics<br />

with maggots or pellets.<br />

FAVOURITE PEGS: I’d always try to<br />

get on pegs 21 to 26 or 73 to 78 for<br />

guaranteed action in summer.<br />



10<br />

Big carp from a big water – what<br />

could be more exciting? ‘Boddy’<br />

is now an out-and-out big carp<br />

match and pleasure water with fish to<br />

15lb not uncommon, and I love fishing<br />

matches here in summer or winter.<br />

Distance casting is a must on the<br />

Hybrid or Method feeder or bomb, and<br />

chocolate orange Wafters are very much<br />

the bait of the moment.<br />

FAVOURITE PEGS: High numbers from<br />

peg 80 onwards are very consistent, as<br />

is the middle of the dam wall.<br />




KNOTS<br />

The top three that Steve uses for<br />

his feeder rigs, and how to tie them<br />

FOR all the love and attention that you<br />

may lavish on your bait and tackle,<br />

not to mention the time spent getting<br />

the fish on the feed, it will all amount<br />

to nothing if you can’t tie the right<br />

knots to construct your rigs.<br />

You’ll end up with a parted hooklink or,<br />

worse still, a broken mainline.<br />

Knots are always the difference between<br />

landing and losing a fish and on the feeder,<br />

when you are fishing at long range on big lakes<br />

or experiencing fierce bites from carp and F1s<br />

on commercials, what you tie has to be up to<br />

the job.<br />

Thinking about it, my feeder fishing tends to<br />

involve very few knots but each one is tried and<br />

tested, meaning that I have full confidence in<br />

them every time that tip flies round. They’re<br />

also easy to tie, even with cold hands.<br />

On these pages you’ll see how to tie the<br />

knotless knot for hair-rigging, a tucked halfblood<br />

for attaching swivels and snaplinks, and<br />

my twizzled loop that I use for most of my rigs<br />

on both commercial and natural fisheries.<br />

When you hook a<br />

big fish you must be<br />

confident in your knots!<br />

T U C K E D H A L F - B L O O D K N O T<br />

A<br />

B<br />

Thread the line through the eye of the swivel or hook.<br />

Make five to seven turns with the tag end around the mainline.<br />

C<br />

D<br />

Take the tag back to the turn nearest to the eye.<br />

Pass the tag through the loop, moisten and pull tight. Then pull<br />

the whole knot tight and trim the tag end.<br />


This is the knot I use for attaching snaplink<br />

swivels when fishing the mini lead clip. It’s the<br />

first knot my dad ever taught me!<br />



TYING<br />

KNOTS<br />

K N O T L E S S K N O T<br />

T W I Z Z L E D L O O P<br />

A<br />

Tie a bait band or loop for your hair rig at one end of<br />

the line. The knot shown above is best for fishing with<br />

a pellet band.<br />

A<br />

First create the length of the loop that you require.<br />

B<br />

Pass the opposite end of the line through the back of<br />

the hook’s eye and out the front. A small piece of rig<br />

tubing can go on the shank to keep the hair straight.<br />

C<br />

Take the loose end and make several wraps around the<br />

hook shank. WInd the end over the shank and poke it<br />

through the eye.<br />

B<br />

With the two lengths of line in between the finger and<br />

thumb of each hand, twist the line clockwise with the<br />

right hand and anti-clockwise with the left hand.<br />

D<br />

While holding the loop end in its desired position, pull<br />

the free end tight while working the wraps up to the<br />

eye of the hook through the back of the eye.<br />

C<br />

When you have around<br />

six inches of doubled line,<br />

tie it off with a normal<br />

overhand knot and trim<br />

off the excess.<br />

E<br />

Pull the end of the line to tighten the knot fully.<br />


For all my hair-rigging I use the knotless knot. The<br />

beauty of this knot is that it not only is it simple to<br />

tie but it also makes getting the hair length correct<br />

far easier. A little tip when tying is to always whip<br />

away from the eye closure to make sure there is no<br />

chance of damaging the line. Also, the line should<br />

exit the eye from the point side of the hook.<br />


This is a version of the standard loop but with a<br />

difference, as it’s twizzled! The twizzled loop is<br />

a favourite of mine for use on bream and Method<br />

or Hybrid feeder rigs. The main benefit of the<br />

twizzle is that it makes the loop stiffer and helps to<br />

prevent tangles. Some also say it’s stronger than a<br />

conventional loop.<br />






TERMS<br />

Make sense of common terms that<br />

you might hear on the bank but not<br />

have a clue what they mean!<br />

Action – Description of the<br />

A<br />

flexibility of a rod. Rods have a<br />

fast or slow action. Fast actioned<br />

rods are generally stiffer overall but<br />

bend more at the tip. Slow actioned<br />

rods are more flexible, with some<br />

flexing along their entire length<br />

Additive – Flavouring added to bait<br />

to increase its attraction, usually in a<br />

powder or liquid form<br />

Anti-reverse – Mechanism on a<br />

fixed-spool reel that prevents the reel<br />

from turning backwards<br />

Arlesey bomb – A pear-shaped leger<br />

weight available in a range of sizes<br />

Bail-arm – The wire part of a<br />

fixed-spool reel that guides the<br />

B<br />

line on the spool<br />

Baiting needle – Device used to mount<br />

baits on to a hair rig. It has a small hook<br />

on the end and a plastic handle<br />

Bankstick – A metal stick with a screw<br />

thread at the top, on to which rod rests,<br />

keepnets and pole grips can be fixed.<br />

Barbed hook – Hook with a small ‘barb’<br />

protruding on the inside of the point to<br />

penetrate a fish’s mouth. Barbless hooks<br />

have no barb, while some hooks have a<br />

tiny ‘micro barb’<br />

Big pit – A scaled-down version of a big<br />

carp reel used for casting feeders long<br />

distances<br />

Blend in – Hookbaits that are picked<br />

to merge in with the colour of the feed<br />

being introduced via a feeder<br />

Blood knot - Basic knot for attaching<br />

hooks and swivels<br />

Boilies – Round hookbaits made from a<br />

paste and boiled to harden them off. In<br />

dozens of colours, flavours and sizes<br />

Braid – A synthetic woven material used<br />

for mainline when bream and skimmer<br />

fishing<br />

C<br />

Caster – The chrysalis formed<br />

from a maggot<br />

Chopped worm – Worms that have<br />

been chopped with scissors to create<br />

hundreds of tiny pieces. A great<br />

additive to groundbait for bream and<br />

roach (pic below)<br />

Chuck – Colloquial term for a cast<br />

Cocktail – A hookbait comprising two<br />

or more different baits – especially<br />

good when targeting bream<br />

Commercial fishery – A stillwater which<br />

is well stocked with a mix of species and<br />

is used by day anglers and for matches.<br />

Most feature a range of on-site facilities<br />

such as a café, tackle shop and toilets<br />

Corn – Grains of sweetcorn for hookbait<br />

or feed. Natural yellow is best but other<br />

colours are available too<br />

Crack-off – Accidentally snapping off<br />

the rig when casting. Occurs mainly<br />

when feeder fishing at distance<br />

Dendrobaena – A commonlyused<br />

worm for hookbait and<br />

D<br />

chopping for feed. Commerciallybred,<br />

‘dendras’ are tough and will keep<br />

active for a long time<br />

Diameter – The measurement of the<br />

cross-section of line or braid. These<br />

commonly range from 0.10mm to<br />

0.20mm for feeder work, and the<br />

smaller the diameter, the finer<br />

the line<br />

Disgorger – Small plastic<br />

device used to safely remove<br />

a hook from a fish’s mouth<br />

or throat<br />

Drag – Device on a reel<br />

that regulates how easily<br />

the line can be pulled<br />

from the spool<br />

Drop – Another term for the<br />

distance between feeder and<br />

rod-tip before casting. The<br />

longer the drop, the further you<br />

will be able to cast<br />

Drop-back – Term used to describe<br />

a bite that causes the line to fall<br />

slack, such as when a fish picks up the<br />

hookbait and runs towards the angler<br />

Elastic – The shock-absorber<br />

fitted to the top section(s) of a<br />

E<br />

pole which is used to play fish.<br />

Elastic is also used in the stems of<br />

in-line feeders such as Guru’s Method,<br />

Pellet and Hybrid feeders<br />

Eyed hook – Hooks with an eye at the<br />

end of the shank, used for hair-rigging<br />

and also with thick lines in specimen<br />

angling<br />

Fast action – Rods which bend<br />

mainly in the top third, nearest<br />

F<br />

the tip. Applicable mainly to float<br />

rods<br />

Feathering the line – The act of placing<br />

your index finger on the lip of the reel’s<br />

spool during the cast to slow the exit of<br />

line and stop the rig from going too far<br />

Feeder arm – A solid attachment that’s<br />

fixed to your seatbox leg with a rod rest<br />

head at the other end. This creates a<br />

stable platform to rest the rod on at any<br />

angle you choose<br />

Fixed rig – When a feeder or bomb is<br />

fixed in place on the line – for example,<br />

an elasticated Method feeder<br />

Fluorocarbon – A fishing line often<br />

used for hooklengths (and mainlines in<br />

specimen carp fishing) which is heavier<br />

and slightly stiffer than standard<br />

monofilament and is invisible under<br />

water<br />

Freebies – Particles that are either<br />

loosefed or added to groundbait.<br />

Casters, pellets, chopped worm, corn<br />

and hemp are common examples<br />

F1 hybrid – Popular modern fish stocked<br />

into many commercial fisheries, which<br />

is produced by crossing a crucian carp<br />

with a common carp<br />

G<br />

Gape – The gap between the<br />

point of the hook and the longest<br />

part (the shank)<br />

Goo – Sticky additives in a range of<br />

colours and flavours. These give off<br />

a great cloud in clear water and are<br />

brilliant in winter<br />

Grinner - A very strong knot often used<br />

in rig tying<br />

Groundbait – Used as an attractor or<br />

a carrier of loosefeed, groundbaits are<br />

often fishmeal or breadcrumb-based<br />

Hair rig – A method of attaching<br />

hookbaits where the bait is<br />

H<br />

threaded on to a short thin<br />

section of line (the hair) which then<br />

hangs clear of the hook<br />

Hemp – The seed of a cannabis plant,<br />

sterilised so it won’t grow. When<br />

cooked it is especially good for roach<br />

and skimmers<br />

High-visibility – Boilie or pellet<br />

hookbaits in lurid yellow, pink, orange<br />

and green colours that can be easily<br />

seen by fish<br />

Hooklink/Hooklength – The trace of<br />

line tied to the hook at one end and<br />

connected to the mainline at the other<br />

Hook tyer – This is a small tool with<br />

wooden and metal prongs that is used<br />

to tie a spade-end hook on to the line<br />

Hybrid feeder – A new type of feeder<br />

for commercial carp that’s a cross<br />


L<strong>ANG</strong>UAGE OF FEEDER FISHING<br />


between a Method and pellet version<br />

Impact bomb – A bomb with a<br />

I<br />

small mesh section in the middle<br />

into which a few pellets can be<br />

added before casting<br />

Inline – A feeder, bomb or float with a<br />

central tube for the line to run freely<br />

through<br />

J<br />

Joker – Bright red larvae which<br />

are used mainly as a feed for<br />

small fish and can also be hooked<br />

Keepnet – A long fish-friendly net<br />

K<br />

2m-3m long, usually rectangular<br />

in shape, which is put in the water<br />

to temporarily retain the catch<br />

Knot picker – Metal tool with a narrow<br />

pointed end, which is useful for opening<br />

up a knot in the line or a tangle<br />

Knotless knot – As the name suggests,<br />

this knot doesn’t actually involve any<br />

tying as such and is used with eyed<br />

hooks for hair-rigging baits<br />

Lead clip – A device on carp rigs<br />

to hold the lead but release safely<br />

L<br />

it if it becomes snagged<br />

Line bite – A false indication on the float<br />

or quivertip caused by a fish brushing<br />

into the line<br />

Line clip – Clip on a reel spool used to<br />

hold the mainline, ensuring the rig can<br />

be cast to the<br />

same spot every<br />

time (pic right)<br />

Link legering –<br />

Legering method<br />

using large shot<br />

fixed on to a<br />

small paternoster<br />

instead of a bomb<br />

Loosefeed – Individual loose items of<br />

bait which are fed on their own<br />

Marker – Far-bank target you can<br />

M<br />

aim at when fishing the feeder to<br />

ensure repeated accuracy<br />

Method Feeder – A type of feeder with a<br />

frame for moulding bait around. Comes<br />

in either an inline or elasticated/fixed<br />

format<br />

Monofilament – A standard nylon<br />

fishing line. Some modern pre-stretched<br />

monofilaments are available in lower<br />

diameters for the given breaking strains<br />

and are ideal for pole fishing<br />

N<br />

No-knot – Another term for the<br />

highly popular knotless knot used<br />

when hair-rigging baits<br />

Peg – A numbered platform or<br />

swim on a fishery. Before a<br />

P<br />

match, the competitors ‘draw<br />

pegs’ to decide who fishes where<br />

Pellet – Small cylinders made from<br />

fishmeals that are compacted into a<br />

hard bait. Brilliant as a feed or hookbait<br />

in bigger sizes for carp<br />

Pinkies – Grubs which are slightly<br />

smaller than maggots and are used<br />

as hookbaits for small species.<br />

Often coloured<br />

fluorescent pink<br />

or red (pic right)<br />

Pop-up – A buoyant<br />

bait which is<br />

‘popped up’ off the<br />

bottom, anywhere<br />

from an inch to a<br />

couple of feet, when using a feeder or<br />

a leger<br />

Presentation – The art of offering the<br />

bait and the rig to the fish correctly and<br />

as naturally as possible<br />

Pull round – A positive bite on the<br />

feeder that causes the quivertip to<br />

lurch all the way round in an aggressive<br />

manner<br />

Punch – A device for making cylindrical<br />

hookbaits by punching out a section<br />

from a larger piece of bait, such as a<br />

bread or luncheon meat<br />

PVA (Poly Vinyl Alcohol) – A watersoluble<br />

material that comes in mesh<br />

or sheet form and is used to present<br />

a small parcel of loosefeed next to a<br />

hookbait<br />

Q<br />

Quivertip – Sensitive, painted<br />

end section of a feeder or bomb<br />

rod, used for bite detection<br />

Redworm – Tiny worms found in<br />

the top layer of animal waste<br />

R<br />

which make a great bait for<br />

skimmer bream<br />

Riddle – A mesh sieve which is used for<br />

tasks such as removing sawdust from<br />

maggots or draining water from soaked<br />

pellets<br />

Rocket feeder – With the weight built<br />

into one end, this feeder can be cast a<br />

lot further than a standard feeder and is<br />

very popular on bream lakes<br />

Running rig – The term for a fishfriendly<br />

leger rig which allows the bomb<br />

or feeder to run freely up the mainline<br />

with nothing obstructing it above<br />

Shockleader – A section of heavy<br />

S<br />

mono line used at the rig end of<br />

the mono or braid mainline to<br />

absorb the pressure of a long cast<br />

Silicone tubing – Hollow tubing which<br />

is threaded on to the shank of a hook to<br />

ensure a hair-rigged bait is presented<br />

properly<br />

Skimmer – A small bream of between a<br />

few ounces and 2lb<br />

Slab – The nickname given to a large<br />

bream<br />

Spade end – Standard hook for hooking<br />

soft baits and natural baits, which<br />

features a flat spade shape at the end of<br />

the shank<br />

Speed bead – A soft rubber bead<br />

that stops the feeder sliding on to<br />

the hooklink and allows the angler<br />

to change hook and hoolink sizes in<br />

seconds<br />

Stand out – Hookbaits that are coloured<br />

differently to what’s being fed, making<br />

them easy for fish to see and pick up<br />

Swingtip – A special kind of bite<br />

indicator which is rarely used these<br />

days. The tip is set to hang down from<br />

the rod end and when a bite occurs it<br />

rises upwards<br />

Swivel - Two tiny metal rings attached<br />

to a small metal body. Used as a<br />

connection for lines and feeders in rigs<br />

Target board – Square black<br />

board which is attached to a<br />

T<br />

bank stick and placed just past a<br />

rod-tip. Used to help the angler spot<br />

shy bites when using the quivertip<br />

Test curve – Rating given to a rod’s<br />

strength, particularly in big-carp<br />

fishing. It suggests the weight required<br />

to bend the rod-tip by 90 degrees from<br />

the blank<br />

Through action – A rod with a constant,<br />

forgiving bend throughout the blank,<br />

such as a feeder or specialist rod<br />

Turn – The distance taken up by one<br />

full rotation of the reel handle. Anglers<br />

often use ‘turns’ to describe the<br />

distance that they are fishing at on the<br />

feeder<br />

Venue – The generic term given<br />

to a fishing<br />

V<br />

location – a<br />

stillwater, canal or<br />

river<br />

W Wafter – A<br />

neutral<br />

buoyancy<br />

dumbell or boilie<br />

hookbait that when<br />

fished on a hair rig will<br />

‘waft’ just off the<br />

bottom (pic right)<br />

Watercraft –<br />

Common term for<br />

the ability to read<br />

a swim or venue, its<br />

features and weather<br />

conditions, and then<br />

apply it to where, how and<br />

when you are going to fish. Considered<br />

to be an important skill<br />

Window feeder – Popular in Ireland,<br />

this feeder has the weight at one end<br />

and a window slot in the side – great for<br />

fishing in deep water without releasing<br />

the bait early<br />

Zig rig – Another term for a<br />

pop-up presentation, where the<br />

Z<br />

bait is presented off bottom in<br />

conjunction with a simple bomb rig<br />


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