Beginners Guide To Feeder Fishing
There is no style of fishing i love more than the feeder. Whilst you don’t get the sensitivity of a float, i believe in many cases (not all) the feeder is the best way to tackle a water. There is almost no place you can’t cast to, no better way of getting loose feed into your swim, and above all no better feeling than seeing the rod tip rip around when you get a bite
There are a range of different feeders and weights ect for different situations you are likely to encounter whilst course fishing. I shall give you an over view of the feeders i carry in my tackle box and when i would use them.
Drennan Blockend Swimfeeders
These are great for rivers, both slow and fast paced water. I would use a 2-3oz weight on a more pacey larger river with a normal water level, such as the Middle Severn and 1-2oz on a smaller river such as the Teme. In floods its best to add another oz or two to what you normally would use. An easy way is to simply add a strip of extra lead that moulds around your feeder.
Kamasan Black Cap Feeders
These are available in a few different sizes and are generally much lighter than the Drennans. I typically use these with maggots or casters, even hemp when fishing a small pool, or short to medium range casting on a lake or gravel pit. If commercials are your thing i would definitely recommend buying a couple of these. I tend to use the medium ones in the summer and the smaller ones in the winter when less feed is needed.
Cage feeders come in all sizes and weights from huge 5oz flood water jobs to small half ounce maybe even less for still water fishing. The idea is to mix some groundbait up to a damp consistency, adding lots of freebies such as pellets, dead maggots, casters, corn, meat ect (tend not to use hemp, it dries the mix out too much). You then mould this into your feeder and as it hits the surface, water is able to attack it all over, so you end up with a big cloud of groundbait which attracts the fish in to your swim. You are left with your hook bait with loads of freebies for the fish to gorge on. Cage feeders are particularly popular with Bream anglers who need to deliver a lot of bait to keep the huge shoals feeding for long periods of time. In the winter if I’m carp fishing, ill mix a pure white crumb with no freebies at all, and fish with bread flake on the hook. The idea is the fish are drawn in but aren’t fed. I would recommend the plastic ones on a soft bottom, and metal ones on a hard rocky bottom.
As for weights to use, the same applies as with the Drennans. If you’re fishing a still water, half ounce for medium range, ounce for further. If your fishing a flooded river i’d opt for an openend feeder instead as I’ll explain later.
Open end feeders again, range of sizes and weights. To use these you need firstly to mix up some plain brown crumb, or whatever groundbait you wish, to a damp mix which you can easily form a ball with, but just as easily rub back to a crumb. This is used to plug each end of the feeder. To start with plug the bottom of your swim feeder with some of your groundbait. Next put some freebies in the feeder, anything you like really but personally I try and put two different freebies in so the fish don’t know what they are getting caught on. It also means I can alternate my hook bait. Next simply plug the other end so you have a kind of bait sandwich. This acts in the same way as the cage feeder, although the process is a minute or so longer, as it is not being attacked so viciously. When your fishing a moving water, the groundbait will be washed downstream, drawing fish into your swim. Same weights as with cage feeders. I’d use these over a cage feeder on a flooded river as they will get your bait to the river bed whereas a cage feeder may not.
Now slight difference here, whereas I’ve told you to mix only damp groundbait before now im going to stay mix a really sticky hard mix. You can even mould soft pellets insted. To Start of mould your soft pellets or ground bait around the feeder. Use only a short hooklink with either a large pellet or bollie as a bait and place this over the first layer of ground bait. Next add another layer covering the hook bait up. The idea with this one is the fish attack the ball and your hoobait is very close to all that loose feed.
There are generally two types of method feeder. Flat bottoms and round ones. The flat bottom ones are generally better for smaller casts and on flowing waters, whereas the rounded ones take more feed and are best suited to long range carp fishing.
Never buy the elasticated ones, they should be banned. If a fish gets snagged with one of those they aren’t getting out eaysily.
When im feeder fishing (except with method feeders) i tend to use size 10-18 hooks. Mainly 12′s to be honest. You don’t need massive hooks to catch big fish. Believe me lighter tackle gets more bites. For hooklinks I use 1-2lb less than the main line. Lenght wise, 30 cm on a pool seems to work fine and 90cm on a river where the baits being washed away a little. It’s not esential but it helps to use a swivel between your mainline and hooklink.
I ONLY EVER USE A RUNNING RIG! Unless your going to use safety rigs, which to be honest unless your carp fishing I wouldn’t bother, just use a running rig. If you get your mainline snapped on a snag or whatever, you won’t leave a poor fish carrying a feeder around with it. Also the fish feel less resistance, and again lighter presentations yeild more fish
Rod wise you want to try and get one with a range of tips. Lighter ones for delicate bites at short ranges, heavyier ones for longer range casting. 11ft ish is ample on a commercial water or small river, 12ft avon style for large rivers or 13ft quivers.
On rivers you want the tip of your rod nice are high. This way you tend to get less false bites from the current. On a pool or lake you want the tip nice and low to cut out problems from wind. Position the rod at a 45 degree angle so you can see bites most clearly. You want a slight bend in your rod so your tight to the feeder and see all the little taps and bites.
I hope someone finds this thread helpful. if theres anything I’ve missed out, which I am sure there is, please don’t hesitate to ask