Black Magic Feeder Rod Holder

If you have ever found your spare rods and reels snagging each other, then this new roost is for you. Designed to hold four feeder or float rods, even if they are fitted with modern 50-size long distance reels, this roost holds your gear securely and adequately spaced to eliminate tangles. 

The soft moulded foam design will protect delicate blanks, whilst the L-shaped design means that the rods will not blow off the roost, even in the strongest of winds. Fitted with a standard screw thread they can be either attached to your box, many side trays, or used on a separate tripod, depending on you preference. 

A really well thought-out design that is just right for the modern rod and line angler. 

Pat Cuddy

Browning West Midlands

This rest holds the rods at a sensible distance apart.

The L-shaped EVA foam cut-outs stop rods from being blown off in strong winds.

If you set up multiple running-line rods then this is the ideal rest.

"Just right for the modern feeder angler"

Catch Carp on the Pellet Bomb

This year I have managed some great results at Messingham Sands Fishery near Scunthorpe. Winning weights here are normally made up of big, fighting fit carp, which like their grub. The lakes at Messingham are full of fish of all shapes and sizes, so it has been important to find tactics that are selective for the match-winning carp. 

Fortunately, the carp here like their grub, and one way of selecting the carp is to use big baits. Whilst on most fisheries 8mm pellets are about as big as we go, at Messingham the carp love the big 11mm fishery pellets and these are a mainstay of my approach. To get the best from these big baits requires some simple tactics that are worth trying on your local fisheries when trying to single-out those bigger carp. 

Straight Lead

One of the easiest and best tactics to use with big pellets is the straight bomb. This gives me at least one more line to fish beyond the pole, and can often produce plenty of fish, especially on days when the wind is causing problems with presentation on the pole. 

Every swim here on the Island Lake at Messingham has features to fish to, but rather than fish too tight to these I like to fish slightly away from cover. By feeding three pellets twice every 45-seconds I can attract the carp and draw them away from the snags. This gives me a much better chance of landing every fish I hook. I fish with the anti-reverse on have the rod pointing at about 45 degrees to my spot. This means that the rod will buffer the fish as they bolt off once hooked and help get them under control even before I have picked up the rod.

Watch the tip for line bites indicating carp are present.

Cenex Hybrid Power is a brilliant carp line.

A hard fighting carp on the pellet.

"The carp respond to the sound of the big pellets"

Balanced Gear

With the carp here running well into double-figures it is essential to use strong, well balanced gear. The first thing I would suggest is to always fish off the clutch, rather than back-winding. I set the clutch to give line grudgingly when the rod is bent into its full curve. By doing this I can concentrate on playing the fish hard and guiding them away from trouble under a constant pressure. The Sphere Bomb +10% is the ideal rod for this tactic as it cushions the lunges of a big fish without being so soft that I can’t play the fish hard. 

Lines and hooks need to be well up to the job. When big weights are on the cards any weak link will be found out simply because of the general wear and tear. Load up with the hugely abrasion resistant and fast-sinking 0.20mm Cenex Method Mono main line. Carp are not particularly line-shy when it is hard on the bottom, so use a strong 0.18mm Cenex Hybrid Power hooklength. The hooklength is around 30cm long, terminating in a size 14 Sphere Beast Barbless hook. I use a bait band to attach the 11mm pellet, fishing this on a short hair to the back of the hook. The Beast pattern is perfect for hair rigging, having just the right shape to ensure that they stay really well. 

Bomb size depends upon the distance being fished, but 20 grams is a good starting point. You can go lighter when the conditions are good, but if there is a cross-wind then it pays to use a little more weight to maintain accuracy. I use a Quick Change Bead to connect the main line to the hooklength. This bead also acts as a buffer for the inline lead, meaning I don’t need any other beads or components on the line. 

Use an 11mm Banded pellet to a Sphere Beast hook.

An inline lead is stopped by a Quick Change Bead.

Keep Feeding

Regular feeding is essential for this tactic. Forget to feed and the fish will drift away and the bites will dry up. I feed three 11mm pellets at a time. Feeding twice and then waiting for 45-seconds before feeding again. Some times the carp will come up in the water and start swirling at the pellets as they hit the water. This is a good sign as it means that there are plenty of fish competing for the bait. As the lake is relatively shallow I am not too concerned about the fish coming up in the water, plenty more will still be close to the bottom. 

Ignore any taps and bangs on the tip. Proper bites will either see the line fall slack or the tip drag round hard. It is then simply a matter of picking the rod up and start playing the carp. I keep the rod top parallel with the water as you can often lead the carp in without them really fighting too hard. Only lift the rod when the fish is close in and ready to be scooped into the waiting net. 

As well as feeding regularly, I also like to recast every two or three minutes. Most bites from carp come very quickly as they grab the hookbait soon after it has settled. If I have to wait longer than this then the chances are the bait will be picked up by a small tench or bream. The carp don’t seem to mind the splash of the lead going in over the heads. In fact, I think at times it helps attract them. 

Get into a routine of casting and feeding and soon the carp will turn up. Often a shoal of fish will move in and you will catch two or three fish in quick succession before they drift off. Don’t worry about this, as long as you keep to the routine they will be back and you will keep catching. On a good day really big weights can be achieved using this simple tactic. Even on days when the weather is making other methods difficult, the pellet bomb can be your ‘get out of jail’ card. Why not give it a try? 

Tight lines! 

Jim Hall

Regular recasting is important as most bites come quickly.

A reel like the Sphere MgTi with a seamless drag is essential to land carp quickly.

Action can be fast and furious with some seriously big carp.

Jim’s Gear

Sphere 10’ Bomb +10% Rod

Sphere MgTi 30 Reel

0.20mm Method Mono

0.18mm Cenex Hybrid Power Hooklength

Sphere Beast Size 14 Hook

Large Bait Band

Medium Quick Change Bead

20gram Inline Bomb

Jim’s Bait

11mm Fishery Pellets

Sphere Large Multipocket Bag

There is luggage and then there is exceptionally good luggage, and that’s exactly where I place every product in the Sphere range.

Modern day match anglers carry everything, and I’m no exception as every match, festival or venue brings along different challenges, and that means taking every rod, reel and bait so you can adapt and compete to the top of your ability. The Sphere Large Multipocket Bag is big with a huge main compartment that swallows up everything along with three wide zipped outer pockets giving easy access and more capacity for additional kit. Made from top quality specialist PVC material and the best fittings available you can forget about broken zips and wear on weak points as attention to detail has been looked at, addressed and fixed meaning there will be no early retirement here, just years and years of reliable service!

The wipe clean, tough carbon effect material will have heads turning and its dimensions mean it sits on a barrow perfectly. Along with its capacity it comes with a load of additional innovative features such as carry handle on the side which makes lifting onto a barrow effortless and the plastic base runners, which eliminates wear, and carry handles mean that it can be pushed/pulled and positioned in a vehicle easily. Reinforced corners, wipe clean inner and padded, adjustable shoulder strap are additional top quality features.

If you are an angler that demands the best, then look no further.

Also available in an 85 litre compact size.

Andy Blay

The best luggage I’ve ever had. 

Carry handle, a brilliant innovative touch.

My gear stays dry in the worst conditions.

Top quality fittings.

Massive capacity to swallow up all my kit.

Padded adjustable shoulder strap.

"If you are an angler that demands the best, then look no further."

Feeder Fishing for Barbel

On the second day of my mini Herefordshire getaway and due to the heavy rain fall in the Welsh hills the river had risen again and was still rising, so on advice of the very helpful and knowledgeable bailiffs that control the river we decided to see if we could get amongst some of the river Wye’s barbel as the river levels were not conducive to fishing either the bolo and whip methods we had enjoyed the day previous.

No room for weaknesses

These conditions did allow me to try out the 13’ Black Viper III 140g Feeder Rod fished with the 3oz tip and paired with the Black Viper Compact 845 reel, loaded with Black Magic Gold 0.23mm mono. With the river running hard a 4oz feeder was needed fished on a considerable bow to hold bottom in an attempt to put down a nice bed of feed, high in smell and attractions for the barbel to locate. A Sphere Beast size 12 hook was tied knotless knot style to a four foot hook length made from 0.20mm Cenex Hydro Power Mono allowing for a punched meat pellet to be presented on the hair.

Safety conscious

The feeder was set to run on a doubled up eight inch length of line between two rubber stops that would slide off the line in the event of getting stuck in one of the many snags, ensuring the fish could go free without being tethered to a big 4oz feeder.

Laying the table 

Distance wise and due to the height, pace and debris coming down the river I fished this line on a short chuck on the inside crease at about 10m from the bank. Bait choice was 12mm punched luncheon meat on the hair with a mix of halibut pellets, hemp and 6mm luncheon meat with a large dosing of halibut pellet oil for added attraction and a little Champion’s Choice Formula Fish groundbait for binding placed within the cage feeder.

A big Wye barbel.

Silky smooth and a pleasure to use.

Time to deliver a carpet of feed. 

The first one is always special.

"I had a further three barbel with the last fish weighing a staggering 9lb"

A Wye nine 

Fishing was slow to start with, but after a bite-less first hour of casting out every five minutes a large drop back bite signalled a fish on and a very powerful battle ensued, these river barbel in the flood water go off like a steam train and you definitely need strong reliable tackle, and after a great fight a pristine 7lb river Wye barbel graced the landing net. Over the next couple of hours I had a further three barbel with the last fish weighing a staggering 9lb, the fight was sensational and the Black Viper rod and reel combo soaked up the powerful runs and lunges and had the back bone needed to steer these large powerful fish away from the many snags that reside in the river.

For my first trip to the river I was very impressed with how well it was kept and how amazing and varied the fishing was. I am already planning my next visit.

Tim Bruce

Tim’s Tackle

13 Black Viper III 140g Feeder Rod

Black Viper Compact 845 Reel

0.23mm Black Magic Gold Mono

Sphere Beast Size 12 Hook

0.20mm Cenex Hydro Power Hook Length

4oz Cage Feeder

Tim’s Bait

Luncheon Meat

Halibut Pellets


Halibut Pellet Oil

Champion’s Choice Formula Fish Groundbait

A great days fishing.

Black Viper III rod a proper barbel tamer!

Sphere Beast hooks, strong, sharp and reliable.

Punched meat, great in a flooded river.

Black Viper Compact 845 Reel

I’ve been using the Black Viper Compact 845, which is slightly smaller than the Compact 855 for around a year now and can confidently say it’s a top class all-round feeder reel. I have to admit though; I was a bit concerned recently if it was up to its next challenge, barbel on the mighty river Wye, especially when I arrived to find it raging through after loads of overnight rain, however it performed perfectly and helped me land a number of specimens to over 9lb.   

It has loads of features, the most notable being the long-cast spool that takes an amazing 200m of 0.20mm line and retrieves an incredible 99cm per turn! The spool also features two line clips which are totally reliable and allow the line to be removed easily if required when fishing clipped up. Weighing just 420g this reel is compact but oozes features such as 8 ball bearings, a gear ratio of 4.6:1, and something I love, a line guard that eliminates line slipping behind the spool. The reel has a silky smooth clutch which is easily and finely adjusted due to the large surface front drag switch. The line lay is perfect, all down to the Wormshaft Oscillation System ensuring pin-point accurate casting every time and the stainless steel Easy Grip Handle, Large Line Roller with Anti-twist System and Thick Bail Arm create a incredibly balanced reel that feels simply perfect. 

An ultra modern feeder reel that will no doubt continue to perform for many years to come.  

Tim Bruce

Large surface front drag for instant fine adjustment.

Perfect line lay.

Stainless steel shaft and EVA easy grip handle.

A Wye nine pounder, the perfect test for this reel. 

"The line lay is perfect."

Line capacity clearly shown on spool.

Unique line guard stops line catching on the back of the spool.

The perfect reel for modern feeder fishing for big, powerful fish.

Tough Tripod

A quality tripod is an essential for holding your roosts steady, especially when there is the chance of a strong crosswind. Whilst they might not be the lightest, I really like these all metal Browning Tripods. You will be hard pushed to find a stronger support out there, and they have proven to be extremely tough. 

All three legs offer infinite adjustment, up to a little over three feet (1 metre) in height, making it easy to cope with uneven banks, as well as being able to get your roosts up high and out of the way of bankside vegetation. The central column is also height-adjustable, giving even more lift when required. 

The thumb screws are very chunky and easy to use, even in the cold. The screw thread will accept all roosts and rod rest heads, making it very versatile too. A really useful piece of kit. 

Pat Cuddy

The all metal design is very strong indeed.

The leg adjustment is really positive.

A very robust piece of kit.

"This tripod really lives up to its name."

Sphere Match 390

Ever since I first picked up a Sphere rod I have to admit that it felt and responded better than any other rod I have ever used. The latest addition to my armoury is the Sphere 13’ Match rod and it doesn’t disappoint as it, like all the other rods in the Sphere range built using the finest fittings and the slimmest, lightest, high-modulus carbon blank available. 

The first thing I noticed when using this rod for the first time was just how light it was, just 149g and the slim blank made casting effortless. It was perfection in my hands but little did I know the best was jet to come, as when the float dipped and the first fish was hooked I could feel everything right into my hands, something I have never experienced before and all down to the unique ergonomic weight reducing handle. I just didn’t want the fight to end but inevitably it did, I just had to cast back out and catch more! 

Fitted with Fuji reel seat, special ultra low friction SIC guides, the lightest and best available, and boosting a medium through action this rod is just a joy to use, and as marketed, they are ‘out of this world’.

This is the ultimate all-round match rod; perfectly at home trotting a stick float down the river as it is casting a waggler on a big stillwater to delicate fishing down the edge.

Available in both 13’ and 14’ these are just part of the vast Sphere rods that you just have to get your hands on.

Colin Sheppard

Ergonomic weight reducing handle, transmits everything.

The beautifully sculptured handle is brilliant.

The ultimate all-round match rod. 

"The Sphere range are designed to be the best that money can buy."

Xenos Wire Pro Cast Feeder

This stainless steel model has a thermoformed plastic coating to make it more impact resistant and give it a longer life expectancy.

The weight at the end of the cage gives great stability, it casts easily and with accuracy, thanks to its aerodynamic shape.

Filling the feeder is very easy to do. Put one finger behind the weight and use another to compress the feed. This makes it faster to load than many other feeders.

The cage quickly releases the bait thanks to the wide mesh. When retrieving the weight is positioned backwards creating minimal resistance in the water.

Available in a wide range of weights from 30 grams to 70 grams, covering medium to long range feeder fishing.

The colour blends in well with the lake bed, ideal when carp, tench and bream are the target species.

I use a simple rig that is tangle-free and very reliable. 

The feeder sits against two float stops above the hooklength swivel. I can adjust the length of the hooklength depending upon the mood of fish fish. 

My favourite groundbait mix with this feeder when targeting bream is equal amounts of Champion’s Method Formula Fish and Champions Choice Big Bream. 

Good fishing!

The Pro Cast Feeder is easy to load and casts very well.

A great swim feeder for catching big fish at long range.

This is the simple rig that I use.

"Available in a wide range of weights from 30 grams to 70 grams"

Dacron Connector

Creating a neat, no fuss connection between your elastic and rig can significantly cut down on tangles. Dacron Connectors have become increasingly popular for this job, particularly with the modern trend to use hollow elastics, which are thicker than traditional solid elastics. Not all connectors are created equally though, and I find these brightly coloured Dacron connectors just the job, especially with my regular Stretch 7 hollow and Cenex Microbore elastics. Not only are the beads soft enough to pull easily over the chunky knot that you get when tying hollow elastics, but they butt-up nicely against my Xitan PTFE bushes. 

The Dacron loop is just the right size to make attaching your rig easily. All in all, this is a very well thought-out product that does the intended job perfectly. 

Jim Hall

Each pack contains four connectors.

A really neat, no fuss, connection between your elastic and rig.

A really well thought out design.

"All in all, this is a very well thought-out product"

Catch Canal Silvers

The Grand Union Canal is always a venue that I love fishing and today I’m at The Globe Public House stretch controlled by Luton Angling Club. In the past I’ve had some really big bags of specimen bream fishing right across against the far bank features, however today with the bright conditions I’m going to target the silvers down the track.

Natural fall

I’m targeting these using what I consider the best all-round pole on the market, the Sphere Zero-G PT+ and have set up two top kits teamed up with Xitan 1.3mm Microbore elastic, both almost identical with 4×14 pole floats but with contrasting shotting patterns. The first has a strung out bulk of no9 with two no10 droppers on a four-inch hook length. This rig is really designed to get the bait down when the locks are open and the canal has some tow on it. The other rig has the shot strung out giving a much more natural fall of the bait, great for the bigger silvers and used when there is little or no movement through the swim. Both rigs have been created using Cenex 0.10mm and 0.08mm Classic Mono line along with Sphere Match size 18 hooks.

Heavier than maggots

Hook bait for today is predominantly maggots, reds and Fluoro pinkies, yet I also have some worms just in case it’s slow going on the silvers and I feel that there may be a big bream or two on the far bank. Groundbait consists of a 50/50 mix of Champion’s Feeder Black Roach and Quick Skimmer, mixed with a groundbait whisk and then passed through a fine riddle a couple of times to create a very fine fluffy mix. I’ve also got some hemp with me and have added a small amount to the groundbait, along with a few pinkies, and used to lose feed over the top every put-in. Feeding is very important and the hemp really comes into use when the locks open and the canal starts to flow as its heavier than maggots and gets down to the bottom quicker. This is a time when it’s not good to feed maggot as these simply head off out of your swim in the flow and potentially take the fish with them, so the rule of thumb here is to feed both maggots and hemp when the canal is still and just hemp when it starts to flow. Being heavier hemp also stays in your swim after a boat has gone through, so it gives me confidence that there is always some loose feed down on the deck in every situation.

Microbore green – A great elastic for the canal. 

Use a strung out shotting pattern.

Hemp is a great roach attractor.

Kick start the swim with groundbait.

"with a double figure bag of silvers by lunchtime I’m going to be heading home a happy man. "

Creating a cloud

Having plumed up and found the depth, which is around 4ft, it’s time to kick start the swim and to do this I cup in three hard balls of groundbait plus one soft ball. The hard balls (simply compressed more) get down to the bottom before breaking up, however the soft ball breaks up as it falls through the swim, creating a cloud and getting fish into the swim quickly. I will also introduce another hard ball if bites don’t continue after a boat has passed through. 

Double figure bag

The session is going to plan with plenty of small roach, perch, gudgeon and odd better skimmer showing from the start but as the morning progresses and with the canal becoming busier with Narrowboat activity I have had to switch from the strung out shot rig to the bulk. At first this hasn’t effected the fishing but as the morning progresses, the sun gets up and this activity increasing understandably so the fishing has become somewhat tougher and I’m having to work harder and harder to keep the fish coming, however with a double figure bag of silvers by lunchtime I’m going to be heading home a happy man. 

Alec Roberts

Sphere Match hooks, great for canal silvers.

Black Roach and Quick Skimmer mixed 50/50.

The best all-round pole on the market. 

Alec’s Tackle

Sphere Zero-G PT+ Pole

Xitan Microbore 1.3mm Green Pole Elastic

Cenex 0.10mm & 0.08mm Classic Mono Line

Sphere size 18 Match Hook

4×14 Pole Float   

Alec’s Bait

Champion’s Feeder Black Roach & Quick Skimmer Groundbait



Red Maggots 

Fluoro Pinkies

What a great morning’s fishing.