Make Explosive Feeder Groundbait

Feeder fishing is not just about catching fish hard on the bottom. Often, when fishing for roach, rudd and other silverfish, it is much faster to catch them on the drop. We use this tactic regularly on the larger Fenland rivers, and it is just as effective on stillwaters too. In fact it works brilliantly on any venue with a big head of silver fish.

 

This tactic revolves around creating a cloud of particles in the water column that encourage the fish to feed confidently. Groundbait and small baits, such as finely chopped worm, and pinkies, are ideal for achieving this. The groundbait mix should be light so that it hangs in the water, and literally explode out of the feeder so that it is empty by the time it reaches the bottom. The mix I have put together to achieve this is a combination of three of the Champions range of groundbaits, namely Champions Choice Canal, Champions Feeder Big Bream and Champions Choice No.1. All of these are light groundbaits with a sandy colour – a bright groundbait works well as a cloud, whilst I generally use a dark mix on the deck.

 

This is an easy mix to put together, but like most groundbaits they will benefit from being prepared the night before fishing, or first thing before the start of a session so that the water has time to be fully absorbed, activating the groundbait.

 

Kye Jerrom

Use a combination of Champions Choice Canal, Champions Feeder Big Bream and Champions Choice No.1.

Start off with a full bag of Champtions Choice No.1.

Add half a bag of the Champions Feeder Big Bream.

Now add half a bag of the Champions Choice Canal.

"This tactic works brilliantly on venues with plenty of silver fish."

Mix the dry ingredients together thoroughly – I tend to use a groundbait whisk for this.

Slowly add water, whisking all the time to ensure the groundbait is thoroughly mixed.

Put the groundbait through a maggot riddle to remove any lumps and to aerate the mix.

Leave the groundbait to stand for as long as possible, to allow the water to be absorbed.

When I am ready to start fishing I use an atomiser to get the consistency spot-on.

The finished mix has a light fluffy texture and explodes out of the feeder creating a cloud.

Use chopped worm and pinkies in the feeder to add some food.

Load the feed and groundbait into a Window Feeder.


Catch Carp on the Hydrus Method Feeder

The Method Feeder has come a long way over the years, from the ‘hair-curler’ style feeders that started the whole thing off, to modern open cage feeders that provide the perfect ‘dinner-plate’ of bait for a hungry carp. Todays anglers have never had it so good. The range of feeders and baits to use with them has grown massively, but it is probably more important than ever to ensure that every part of your tackle and bait is right, especially in high pressure match fishing. 

I like to use a more open-style of feeder, such as the Browning Hydrus, which has raised ‘fins’ on either side that help hold the feed in place without giving the hook something to catch on. The base of the feeder also features dozens of raised dimples that give the pellets something to stick to. This is important, because the smooth surface of most feeders means that the pellets can easily be dislodged when the feeder hits the water, leaving you fishing with little or no bait around the feeder. 

Small 2mm pellets compact together better than larger pellets, staying on the feeder until it comes to rest on the lake bed. Choose a pellet that is a little sticky when using them with an open or flat feeder. I lightly dampen the pellets with water and after about twenty minutes they will have softened through and be ready to use. 

A little trick that I like to use is to ping a few 8mm pellets over the top of the feeder. About half a dozen pellets every couple of minutes is about right. The sound of the pellets will attract the carp and F1’s and the fast-sinking pellets will help to draw the fish down to the waiting feeder. 

The raised sides and dimples on the Hydrus feeder.

Damp pellets stick really well to the feeder.

Alternate hookbaits to see which the fish prefer.

"Drawing the fish away from the cover will once again ensure that I land them"

I am fishing the Beastie Pool here at Decoy Lakes near Peterborough today and, as the name suggests, the fish run big. There is no point using gear that is not up to the job, so I set my stall out to land everything I hook. A size 14 Sphere Beast hook to a 0.20mm Cenex Hybrid Power hooklength is more than up to the job. 

Rather than fish tight to the reed-fringed island in front of me, I am going to start at a little over three-quarters distance. Drawing the fish away from the cover will once again ensure that I land them, rather than watch as they bolt into the cover. It also allows me to follow the fish across if they back off the feed later in the day. The Sphere Bomb +10% rod is perfect for this style of fishing, especially when carp well into double-figures may be encountered. The extra backbone in the mid-section of this rod enables me to dictate the fight without being too heavy-handed. 

It has taken a while to get the first bite today. To be honest, the weather has been all over the shop and the fish don’t know whether to be cruising near the surface, or sitting deeper. Patience can be a virtue though and once I had caught one fish it was as if the door had been opened and more followed at regular intervals, including some nice mirrors and big F1’s. 

Whilst it can seem like a dead-easy tactic, there are still lots of little edges that can make a real difference to your catches. 

Jon Whincup

I use the Sphere Bomb +10% rod and MgTi 30 reel.

Ping pellets over the feeder to draw in more carp.

You don’t need many of these to build a big weight.

Jon’s Tackle

Sphere 10’ Bomb +10% Rod

Sphere MgTi30 Reel

Hydrus Method Feeder

0.26mm Cenex Method Mono

0.20mm Cenex Hybrid Power Mono

Size 14 Sphere Beast Eyed Barbless Hook

Jon’s Bait

2mm dampened feeder pellets

8mm Fishery Pellets

8mm Dumbell boilies

The brilliant Hydrus feeder.


Sphere Square Ergonomic Pole Protectors

Fishing a long pole all day can be tough work, especially if there is a cross wind continually buffeting the sections. One feature of Browning poles which makes fishing in these tough conditions so much easier are the Square Ergonomic Pole Protectors (SEPP’s) that fit the 13m, 14.5m and 16m sections. 

These short butts feature Browning’s unique square section technology, which gives them a distinct flat-sided profile with rounded corners. This is so much easier to grip and hold under the forearm, reducing pole movement and making the pole easier to use for extended periods. This allows me to concentrate more on the fishing, enabling me to fish more precisely for longer than ever before. 

The profile of the Sphere SEPP’s is slightly more rounded than some of the other Browning poles, which gives them the perfect profile in my opinion for maximum comfort. When the conditions are rough this makes a massive difference to how well I can fish. 

The Square Ergonomic Pole Protectors also have brilliant integrated EVA foam bungs that protect the ends of the sections from damage when shipping back. 

All in all, a brilliant innovation that has made a massive contribution to fishing the long pole. Make sure you try them out the next time you visit your local Browning Pole Stockist. 

Jim Hall

SEPP sections are just one of the unique features of Browning flagship poles.

The integrated skid bungs offer loads of protection.

The square-profile section rests perfectly under the arm.

"slightly rounded, these squared-off sections give maximum comfort."


Black Magic T/A Power Handle & Gold Net

With time, we discover how important it is to choose fishing equipment for our style of fishing and specific preferences. We pay attention to cost and quality. We attach to brands that delighted us and do not disappoint. While fishing for several years, some equipment has passed through my hands. At the beginning, I completed everything slowly, buying a platform, then a pole and other elements, step by step. With time, when I knew that fishing was an activity that I love, I invested in a better quality assortment. 

I am looking for an assortment that will meet most of my requirements, will be of good quality and finish, and will not cost too much. The landing net, consisting of a handle and a net, is a must-have for a float and feeder angler. In the last year I have visited carp and crucian carp venues several times. On these occasions I decided to use a set consisting of a Browning Gold large net and 4.4 metre Black Magic Take Apart Power Handle. The previous net handle I had was 3.5 mtres long. It was perfect for quickly netting small fish, which are worth their weight in gold, but I needed something longer that would give me more reach when trying to net larger fish.

My plan was to fish more for carp over the next two seasons, so I needed to find a handle with the strength and stiffness to handle these powerful fish. After a long reflection and on the advice of friends, this set was chosen. As well as doing the job, it looks really good too.

Black Magic Take Apart 4.4m Power Handle

This is a four-piece handle. The first three are covered with a carbon structure, giving a unique look and a feel of very high quality. On the lower section the surface is smooth compared to the upper ones. Take-apart handles have their supporters and opponents. I admit that at the beginning I was also afraid that one of the elements would come loose. After a year of heavy use, nothing like that happened. The rough structure means that the surface of the handle is not scratched. However, it is worth covering the blanks with silicone or Teflon spray from time to time to keep it looking immaculate.

The finish of the blank is really neat and oozes quality. The weight at a length of 4.4 m is 460 grams – not the lightest, but with the extra weight comes durability The transport length is 1.24 metre and we can store it loose in a bag without any worries.

Gold Net 

I chose the same manufacturer’s Gold Net Large landing net. The dimensions are 55cm x 45cm x 30cm. The mesh on the rim has 8x8mm meshes. The rim is distinguished by a copper color, perfectly matching the sublime details on the landing net handle. 

The two EVA foams on the frame are designed to keep the net close to the water surface without having to hold it in position. This is particularly useful when playing big powerful fish. The head is made of good quality material, the thread is also made of brass. 

The weave of the mesh allows for trouble-free removal of hooks if they should get caught. Strong mesh hems and additional reinforcements protect it against accidental damage.

Whilst designed as a carp net, I find this a great all-rounder.  Out of curiosity, I checked it more than once when it comes to fishing for smaller fish. It is extremely well balanced and passes through the water easily. 

It amazed me mainly with the quality of workmanship and I can whole-heartedly recommend this landing net combination. 

Tight Lines! 

Luiza Pyrzyńsk : Team Browning Poland

The handle is a four-piece take apart design.

I particularly like the machined screw thread and reinforcing.

The mesh is just the right size and resists hooks well.

"It amazed me mainly with the quality of workmanship and I can whole-heartedly recommend this landing net combination. "

This net combination has been perfect for carp like this.

This net and handle complement each other perfectly.


Sphere 10' Bomb +10% Rod

Most of my fishing, come summer or winter, is on commercial fisheries where casting accuracy is far more important and distance. In recent years there has been a definite trend towards using shorter rods for this style of fishing, which really enable you to get every cast on the money. Finding the perfect rod for this style of fishing has been quite a difficult task for me, with many being slightly too soft to land big carp quickly. Whilst others are slightly too powerful for the short casts being made. Fortunately, I have found the Sphere 10’ Bomb +10%, which is absolutely spot-on for this work. 

As the name suggests, this rod has 10% more power than the original Sphere Bomb. This subtle difference enables me to fish light bombs, though to medium-sized Method Feeders, thanks to the through-actioned blank. For fishing up to around 30 metres this is perfect. 

When you hook a big carp that is determined to get under the near margins and snag you up the blank simply allows me to apply pressure and let the rod do the work. It is amazing how many times the rod has slowed a carp to a dead stop and enabled me to lead it into open water. 

Like all of the Sphere range the fittings on this rod are absolutely top-notch. From the custom Fuji reel fitting, to the low-profile ‘skeletal’ guides, and the ergonomically shaped handle, everything has been carefully thought out to be the best there is. 

The ten foot length is perfect for this style of fishing. I like the way that I can tuck the rod down out of a cross wind, yet it isn’t too short that it makes it difficult to turn a carp that has kited sideways. 

Lighter 0.5oz and 0.75oz tips are supplied; ideal for winter work, with heavier 1oz and 1.5oz for feeder fishing. Spare tips are available right up to 5oz in carbon and glass. 

If you do any amount of short leger work on commercials then you seriously need to check out this rod at your local Browning stockist. 

Jon Whincup

The Sphere +10% has amazing reserves of power.

When accuracy is key this rod doesn’t disappoint.

Equally at home landing big carp as it is skimmers.

Match is with a bomb or Method feeder.

"If you do any amount of short leger work on commercials then you seriously need to check out this rod."

Top-quality Sea Guides are used throughout.

The custom reel seat is incredibly comfortable.

Four tips between 0.5oz and 1.5oz are supplied with heavier models also available.


Sphere Match Hooks

The Sphere Match is my favourite as once in, it stays in, due to its long tip and slightly in turned razor sharp point, the micro barb helps as well! Amazingly it’s very robust, despite its lightness and can easily handle that bonus lumpy carp that barges in on occasions whilst targeting other species. It really is what I would call an all-rounder, perfect when feeder fishing for delicate mouthed fish such as roach and crucians, but just as at home when fishing the pole or trotting a river for chub. 

This spade end hook comes in an extensive range of sizes, loose in packets of fifteen, from a size 18 right through to an 8. They also come on continuous ready-tyed looped spools in the same sizes. 

If you are looking for a hook that is versatile and reliable, here it is!

 

Andy Blay

The Sphere Match, my favourite.

The range covers both loose and ready-tied hooks.

Once they go in they stay in.

"it’s very robust, despite its lightness and can easily handle that bonus lumpy carp"


How to Catch Big Canal Bream

The Grand Union Canal in Bedfordshire is a fantastic silver fish venue, yet there are also some seriously big fish too, including carp, perch and bream. In fact, on some occasions you have to make that decision, whether to go all out for the big fish or stick to the consistent silver fish action. In most cases keeping to the silvers is the safer option, yet if you’re on a known bream peg and don’t go for it, you might just be kicking yourself come the end of the match. 

There’s nothing worse than picking a bream flyer and not really knowing how to get the best from it so it’s worth having a few practice sessions and that’s exactly what I’m going to do today, however it’s not exactly the best bream conditions! 

Straight on the bait

These bream rarely come down the track and seem to stick to the shallow water found on the far bank where there is usually lots of bankside cover and shade. Something I have found is usually, if there are any bream in the swim they are straight on the bait. Yet, this doesn’t mean baiting too heavily as once it’s in the swim, you can’t take it out, so it pays to bait cautiously to start with. Bearing this in mind, I’m going to introduce two firm balls of groundbait, whisked and finely riddled, created from a 50/50 mix of Champion’s Feeder Quick Skimmer and an all time canal favourite, Black Roach which contains some dead maggots, fluoro pinkies and a little chopped worm. As for hookbait, these bream tend to come to double red maggot, but it is always worth trying a piece of worm tipped with a fluoro pinkie or a couple of dead maggots if things aren’t happening. I will also introduce another ball of bait after a couple of decent fish, or if a boat has come through the swim, and have found that a small cupful of finely chopped worm can bring a quick response. I also like to catapult a few maggots over the float from time to time, but only do this when there is no flow. 

My favoured canal bream groundbaits

Xitan Microbore elastic, the choice of many.

Cenex Classic Mono line, great for pole rigs. 

"This stamp of fish can be found in many canals."

Keeping it simple

The far bank is 13.5m across and I’m using my trusted Sphere Zero-G F1 for this teamed up with Xitan Microbore Orange which has a 5-7 rating. My rig is kept quite simple, consisting of 0.13mm Cenex Classic Mono with a 4×12 float shotted with a bulk of no 9’s and a short 10cm 0.10mm Classic Mono hook length, to a Sphere Match size 18 hook. Before introducing any bait I had a quick plumb around and found that the top shelf, right under the overhanging cover, to have no more than 2ft 8’ which is where these bream are happy feeding. 

The action continues

It doesn’t take long for signs of fish in the swim and I’m soon lifting into a fish and watching the elastic stretch from the tip. It’s definitely a good bream, one that weighs around 4lb and, as expected, came to the double red maggot. A couple of skimmers around a pound soon follow before once again the elastic stretches and another big canal bream comes to the net, this one coming once again to the maggot. Soon after this I potted some chopped worm in, which definitely encouraged more action. The action continues well into the morning, yet once the sun removes the shade on the far bank and the boat traffic becomes unbearable it’s time to call it a day. It has been a brilliant mornings sport and just goes to show the stamp of fish that can be found in many canals. 

 

Gary Ford

A nice dark groundbait mix helps the bream settle.

A cup of worms often brings a quick response.

Simple rigs are all that are required.

Sphere Match hooks are perfect for the job.

Gary’s Tackle

Sphere Zero-G F1+

Xitan Microbore Elastic

Sphere Match hooks

Cenex Classic Mono

4×12 Pole Float

Gary’s Bait

Champion’s Feeder Black Roach Groundbait

Champion’s Feeder Quick Skimmer Groundbait

Red and Dead Maggots

Fluoro Pinkies

Chopped Worm

A couple of cracking GUC bream.


Sphere Feeder Ultra Lite Hooks

Have you ever experienced those frustrating sessions when you lose too many fish and wonder what’s going on. Dace fishing can be extremely frustrating, just hitting the bites can be difficult let alone having them fall of soon after. This is almost certainly down to the hook as some patterns just don’t suit their bony mouths and constant twisting in the water.  

One hook that does suit speed fishing for silvers, especially roach and dace, is the Sphere Feeder Ultra Lite range, not just an exceptional feeder hook but a great maggot pattern when float fishing. These hooks are razor sharp, very light creating the perfect presentation and once in, they stay in!

Available on pre-tied continuous spools containing eight micro-barbed hook lengths in sizes ranging between 8 and 18, these spade end hooks are ideal for silvers and although light are strong enough to land any bonus fish hooked. They are also available in the same sizes loose in packets containing fifteen hooks.    

Colin Sheppard

A razor sharp hook and a great pattern for float or feeder.

I lose very few fish with this hook pattern.

The ideal hook for river silverfish.

"These hooks are razor sharp and very light creating the perfect presentation"


Space Saver Carp Mesh Keepnet

I own quite a few keepnets, but the ones that I find I use more than any other are the Space Saver Carp Mesh models. These modern nets have proven to be really long-lasting and strong, making them ideal for the big carp found in many venues. 

I tend to use the fish-friendly carp mesh version, which is available in 2.5m, 3m, and 4m versions. The mesh has a lovely soft feel which I especially like. The top and bottom rings are made of alloy for added strength and I can report that the mesh shows no signs of wear in the corners – a common area of failure on many nets. 

The variable angle bankstick attachment has also been nicely reinforced and enables me to get the nets positioned perfectly on my footplate legs. 

As the name suggests, these nets don’t take up a great deal of space, and are remarkably lightweight too. For anglers that need to carry several nets you can pack these into a double net bag with room to spare. 

Often an unsung bit of gear that we all use, but one that has been thoroughly thought out to do its job with all of the common weak-points designed out to give a long useful life. 

Available in 2.5m, 3m and 4m lengths.

Jim Hall

I really like the strong bank adjustable stick adaptor.

The carp friendly mesh dries quickly.

"These modern nets have proven to be really long-lasting and strong."


RiverFest Fourth Place for Tom Noton

Browning Hot Rods angler Tom Noton had a brilliant result in last weekends Angling Trust RiverFest final on the river Trent, finishing in fourth place across the two-day event. Here is Tom’s account of the competition.

 

I’ve been looking forward to this final for weeks. Lots of preparation and hours on the phone to various anglers leading up to what was set to be a very interesting final. I put a lot of hours into preparation on the build up and it paid off. The trent is a special venue and definitely my favourite river. The field of competitors was very, very strong. The Angling Trust RiverFest and Dave Harrell did a great job of running a super smooth online draw the night before each day. I have to say it was great to watch the laptop as the names and pegs were getting drawn out. Here’s how I got on…

Day 1 

Peg A7 in the Ferry Field on the bend. Wasn’t somewhere I fancied much to be honest but I knew the roach were there earlier in the year. I set up the obligatory feeder rods for dace, waggler rods and the pole. The last rod out of the bags was a barbel/big fish rod… fortunately this came into play. After a difficult and incredibly wet first two hours a decent chub showed itself about 3 meters off the trees opposite. Another showed a few minutes later. After a fruitless visit to the perch line I was lining up for the big chuck across with proper gear on! A missed bite first chuck, second chuck I was into chub number one of about 2lb. It was a game of cat and mouse for the next 3 hours picking off the odd chub, biggest 3-4lb. At the weigh in I was super happy to tip 19lb 3oz on the scales. This was enough for 2nd in the Ferry Field behind angling legend Cameron Hughes with an impressive 26lb of roach from the end peg. Well done mate. I felt this was job done for the day as i was really trying to avoid a disaster in a difficult section.

Day 2

I was desperately hoping for a draw at the bottom of the rack where lots of fish had been showing the day before. Fortunately it was a good one in the shape of B68. Charlie Gooch had done the business off it the day before so after a pep talk on the phone I was ready and raring to go. I set up the kitchen sink for this. Feeder looked good with about 10 inches of flood water coming in. Pole was a little quick but fishable. Then I set up stick floats and whips. At the all in I chucked in six balls of ground bait and started on the feeder. A decent first hour saw me catch around 3-4lb of dace and roach. I tried the pole and caught straight away but then began missing bites. Alternating rigs and the long whips I kept a few fish coming but it didn’t feel quite right. Loose feed seemed best, but they were out of range beyond my ground bait. I lost my way mid-match a little, but came back strong on the stick float. Dave Harrell put it nicely saying that I ’needed to turn the screw‘ and with that I got out my biggest screwdriver and started to loose feed heavier and finished really well on the stick catching a good 4-5lb in the last hour. A day of ducking and diving saw me tip 20lb 9oz on the scales. 

I was chuffed with this in the end and felt it was enough for the frame. I was delighted to find out this was enough for 4th overall in the competition and a nice payday. Just ounces in front of my hero Wayne Swinscoe and agonisingly close to 3rd but Darren Frost pipped me by ounces – awesome display mate. A big well done to my mate Clive Fletcher finishing 2nd, simply brilliant. A well deserved win to angling legend and good mate Paul Cannon who stamped his authority on day 1 with a smashing bream haul. Well done that man. A worthy champ.

Now that’s all done with a special mention to a few people who helped me with everything on the lead up and during the match. MASSIVE thank you to Mark Halksworth who sat behind me all the way. There is nobody better for the job when it comes to river fishing, the man is brilliant and his knowledge of the river is second to none. I couldn’t of done it without him. Not forgetting team mate and best pal Craig Halksworth for being a top mate as per usual. Also my girlfriend for putting up with endless fishing chat 

Top bait as always from Nathans of Nottingham. Cheers Ben Dutton lad! 

It has been a great year so far, hoping to keep it going.

Tom with a lovely catch from the Trent on a practice session for this years RiverFest final.

"I was chuffed with this in the end and felt it was enough for the frame."