Successful feeder fishing hinges on accurately priming a tight area with loosefeed. Father and son team Tony and Joe Skinner are your guides
Feeder fishing is a style of angling that incorporates the use of a device filled with feed. Regular casting will feed the swim, so you can quickly build up a specific area with a lot of bait to draw and hold fish and make them easier to
catch. At least, that’s the theory. But, there’s more to the tactic than simply chucking out a feeder and hoping for the best. Get the basics wrong and you risk spreading the shoal and catching little. To nail down the golden rules of feeder fishing, we joined father and son team Tony and Joe Skinner at their local commercial venue, Manor Farm Leisure, near Evesham, Worcestershire (www.manorfarmleisure.co.uk) for a tutorial. Here’s what they told us…
Choosing the right rod
Modern feeder rods come in a range of lengths, typically from 9ft-15ft. The main consideration to take into account is how far you will need to cast and what weight you be casting. Longer rods cast bigger distances and have more backbone, making them perfect for big stillwaters, large rivers or bream fishing at long range. When it comes to commercial waters, shorter, softer rods are ideal as you will generally need to cast no further than 20-40 yards. Shorter rods tend to cast more accurately and are easier to handle in tight commercial swims. “Ideally, you would have a couple of rods of different lengths, but if money is tight, I’d suggest an 11ft model will make for a competent allrounder,” said Tony.
All of a quiver
Bite indication when feeder fishing comes from the movement of the quivertip. Selecting the correct tip for the session and prevailing conditions is therefore paramount. Tips come in two materials – glassfibre and carbon. The former is usually thicker and softer – superb for silverfish – while carbon is thinner and has a more progressive action. Selecting what tip rating to use is dependent upon the strength of the wind/tow and the weight of the feeder needed to cast the distance you are looking to fish. With tow, if the tip is too light it will get dragged around, making bites harder to spot. Conversely, if the tip is too heavy you risk moving the feeder when you tighten the mainline up to it. Also, shy-feeding fish can be put off by the resistance created by a heavier tip. “I find that anything between 0.5oz and 1oz covers 99 per cent of my commercial fishing work. I like to fish as light as I can get away with, because I feel the lighter you fish, the better the presentation and the more bites you get,” said Tony.
The size and weight of the feeder comes down to the conditions on the day, the distance cast and the amount of feed you want to put in. A lighter feeder will make fewer disturbances when it lands, but if it is windy, it will be more affected, which will ruin your accuracy. However, a heavy feeder – 2oz-plus – will overload a soft rod with a light quivertip. “The tackle/feeder needs to be ‘balanced’,” said Tony. “Decide what you want to achieve before selecting a feeder for the day. “If you are casting 15 yards, a 10g feeder may be enough. If you’re bream fishing at 60 yards on a reservoir you might need a 2oz feeder. But, you will ideally have to step up the weight and length of your feeder rod to cope with this.” The size of feeder purely depends upon how much loosefeed you want to introduce each cast. “I prefer to start small, so I can gauge the fish’s response,” said Joe. “The more bites you get, the more casts you make and the more feed you introduce. By starting with a large feeder, you could kill the swim in the first half-dozen casts.” Casting Accuracy is essential. You are looking to place your loosefeed in a tight area, every cast. If you can’t hit the same spot you are on a hiding to nothing as the loosefood will be too scattered, spreading the shoal as a result. Choose a permanent far-bank marker – a tree for example. Then, by placing the mainline in the line clip on your reel, when you cast, if you hit the clip, the feeder will go the same distance every time. And as long as you cast directly at your marker, you will land on the same spot. “A lot of anglers cast with the rod over their shoulder, causing the feeder to go all over the place,” said Joe. “To cast correctly, hold the rod in front of your face. Your right hand should determine direction while the left puts the power into the cast (vice-versa for left-handed anglers). “Get down to a field or a lake, without bait, just the feeder attached and practice to gain confidence until you can hit the same spot. “Feeder fishing, like all disciplines of angling, is primarily about using correctly-balanced kit and ensuring you are accurate. If you are not placing the hookbait over the loosefeed, how can you expect to successfully catch?