Many natural stillwaters up and down the country contain a great head of roach and skimmers, which make a great target, whether you are match or pleasure fishing. Often, these fish will be found right from the margins, to the far horizon, and to catch consistently for five hours can mean fishing several different lines. Whilst you can catch fish faster close in, often a more consistent line will be at range on the feeder, although you have to be able to fish accurately to build up the peg when fishing at distance.

Using the right gear is important when fishing the feeder as it will help massively with accuracy if you can fish easily at distance. Today I have set up a couple of Sphere 13’ Medium Feeder rods, which are ideal for ranges of between 30 metres and 60 metres with the smaller feeders needed for roach fishing. The rods are matched up with Black Viper Compact reels (what size – 045) loaded with 0.08mm Cenex Feeder Braid. Braid makes such a difference to feeder fishing at range. Instead of bite detection being rather wooly, the non-stretch braid shows every indication on the tip, enabling bites to be hit with a much greater consistency. The ultra fine, but incredibly strong braid also makes casting so much easier. The line literally comes off the wide spool of the Black Viper reel with hardly any friction.

The business-end of the rig is very simple. My hookbait is going to be mainly two red maggots, although I may go down to a single maggot if the fish are a little finicky. A size 16 Sphere Feeder Lite hook is ideal for maggot fishing, and as the name suggests, this lightweight hook sinks slower through the water, giving a better presentation. I am expecting most bites to come on the drop or soon after the hookbait has settled, so anything I can do to increase the hang-time of the bait will bring more bites. There is no need to fish especially fine hooklengths for roach when you are expecting to catch on the drop. In fact, a slightly thicker hooklength will sink more slowly, as it creates more resistance, giving more time for a bite on the drop.

Experiment with the length of the hooklength, although around a metre is normally a good starting point. Going shorter can bring faster bites and help hook fish when they are feeding hard, so is something I often try once I am catching regularly.

Hookbait choice for the day is going to be red maggots.

A few quick casts allow me to lay down some feed to attract the roach.

A dark groundbait is best for roach in clear water as the fish will feed more confidently over the top of it.

"This is a lovely active form of feeder fishing."

I use a simple rig with a free-running feeder, to a 12cm twisted boom and two Stotz stopping the feeder. A Feeder Connector Swivel attaches the hooklength.

Start with a one metre hooklength, but be prepared to shorten it if bites are coming quickly, or lengthen it if the fishing is a little tough and most fish are taking the bait on the drop.

The Big Pit Mini Feeder is the ideal size for roach fishing and is available in a range of different weights, depending upon the distance I need to cast.

I will recast every few minutes to begin with, just to get a little bit of bait into the swim. By picking a far bank marker, in this case a tall tree, and clipping the braid in the line clip on the reel I can ensure that I am fishing as accurately as possible. I have picked a spot at about 45 metres, which is a comfortable distance to fish, even if the wind picks up. There is nothing worse than fishing long and finding that the conditions worsen forcing you to fish less accurately, or drop shorter.

I am using a 30 gram Mini Big Pit Feeder. This is a great design for releasing the quite dry groundbait quickly, with most of the bait leaving the feeder as it sinks through the water. These feeders also create almost no resistance on the retrieve, making winding in to rebait less of a chore. With some feeders you can feel like you are playing the feeder as much as a fish, but not with these ones. If the wind picks up a good little trick it to switch to a Browning window feeder, these cast better in the wind and ensure you can still hit you’re clip!

The feeder is filled with a nice dry groundbait mix made up of Champion’s Choice No.1 – a classic groundbait for silverfish, and the lovely Champion’s Feeder Black Roach. I add just a few pinkies and maggots to give the roach a little bit of feed, but mostly it is the groundbait that will attract them.

Once I cast out, get the rod tip under the water and carefully sink the braid without moving the feeder. A bit of ripple on the water actually helps the braid to cut through the surface tension. Often, bites will come within seconds, so I just rest the rod on the front rest and hold it, expecting a quick bite. This is especially likely once the roach arrive in numbers and often it can be literally seconds before I get a bite.

This is a lovely, active way of fishing and if you want to improve your feeder fishing, particularly your casting accuracy, then it is ideal as you will certainly be making plenty of casts! Today I have been fishing for just a few hours on a big wind-swept gravel pit, and even though the bigger bream haven’t put in an appearance, I still have double-figures. Why not find a pit or reservoir near you and give it a try?

Chris Wright

Groundbait choice is very important, I rely upon these two.

Recast every few minutes to keep a cloud of bait falling through the water.

Using a braided main line means that I know exactly what is going on at the hook end, thanks to the near-zero stretch.

Chris’ Gear


Sphere 13’ M Feeder Rod

Black Viper Compact 45 Reel

0.08mm Cenex Feeder Braid

0.20mm Black Magic Mono Shock Leader

Cenex Hybrid Power Mono 0.16mm hooklength

Size 16 Sphere Feeder Lite Hook

30 gram Big Pit Mini Feeder



Chris’ Bait


Two pints of maggots

Pint of pinkies

Champion’s Choice No.1

Champion’s Feeder Black Roach

Stillwaters, like this big gravel pit, can produce some great roach sport.