Catch Silverfish on a Large Lowland River

Originally published in English.

 

Today we are fishing a practise session on the river Great Ouse near Ely in Cambridgeshire. This is a pretty typical area of this big lowland river, which can respond to a number of different tactics. Today our job is to each fish a different tactic and see how the fish respond. Obviously, come match day, things can be very different, especially with the extra pressure more anglers puts on the venue, but this is a good opportunity for us to make some tweaks to our tactics and get it right on match day.

My job today is to concentrate on the pole line, trying to put together a net of silvers, and perhaps snare a bonus fish or two. I will also bait up a couple of other lines, more for the better, bonus fish, but let’s stick to talking about the pole line.

The river here is around 50 metres wide, with a distinct channel beyond the marginal shelf. Fortunately, there is a good depth at around eight metres, and the bottom is pretty level once we go beyond the ten metre mark, meaning I don’t need to fish too far out. This also gives me the opportunity to bait a couple of different lines at the start and, with a bit of luck, draw the fish in closer as the day progresses where I can catch them faster.

My opening gambit is to introduce six good-sized balls of groundbait at around 11 metres. This is a combination of Champion’s Feeder Black Roach and Champion’s Choice Canal. Into this I have put some dead pinkies, chopped worm and casters and have moulded the balls quite firmly, the aim to get them on the bottom before they break up. There are quite a lot of bleak and tiny rudd here, so I need my bait (and rig) to get down fast to avoid these.

Expect plenty of ‘net’ roach here.

I like a stable float because it gives more control on a typical windy day.

Use an olivette about 60cm from the hook to get the bait through the bleak that lurk near the surface.

The river channel is at a comfortable distance, giving me room to follow the fish out.

I use the awesome Sphere Zero G PT+ Pole.

My bonus fish line under this overhanging tree didn’t produce today.

"I want to have a nice concentrated area of bait that hopefully will draw the fish in."

I want to have a nice concentrated area of bait that hopefully will draw the fish in. These will probably mainly be roach, with a few rudd, skimmers and maybe a bonus fish thrown in for good measure.

As roach are my main target I will regularly feed a little hemp over the top of the groundbait. Hemp is less likely to bring the bleak in, and sinks quickly, so hopefully it will keep the roach interested. I will try hemp later in the day as if the roach switch on to it then I can expect a better stamp of fish on this hookbait.

If the bites slow down and I feel that the roach are drifting away I will top up the line with two more balls of groundbait, I’ll also play with what amounts of particles I add too as this can affect the stamp and catch rate. It can also be a good idea it rest a line for a while after topping up giving fish the chance to re-group and remain confident. In this way, I hope to ring out as many fish as I can over the space of five hours. With a second line at the same distance, plus a shorter hemp and caster line just for roach, I can mix it up and hopefully keep catching.

The swim is about ten feet deep, and I expect to catch the bulk of the fish hard on the bottom, so I have set up a positive rig that will get the bait down quickly. Also, the wind here tends to blow either up or down the river, so a reasonably heavy rig gives me much better control. I’m using a two gram float with a bulk olivette about two feet from the hook, and then three no.10 shot evenly spaced below this. The bulk will get the rig down quickly but the smallish droppers provide a slower fall in the killing zone – I can also bunch these up for an even more positive rig if it gets really good. I expect bites either in that bottom two feet as the float settles (or doesn’t), and then as I carefully work the rig once it has settled.

My rigs are made up on the excellent 0.12mm Cenex Classic Mono with a hooklength of 0.08mm diameter of the same to a size 19 hook. Light lines always mean more bites, but with skimmers bream and even the odd tench about 0.08mm will give me a chance without affecting my roach fishing.

It is a pretty typical Fenland day today. The wind is quite gusty downstream and the water quite clear. Even so, the bites have kept coming, only slowing down towards the end of the session. As expected, it has been a nice mix of fish, mainly roach, with the odd nice perch mixed in too. I did try a worm line for a better perch, or even a tench, but this has drawn a blank today. Oh well, next time!

It has been a really enjoyable and busy day. We have all learnt a few nuggets that will hopefully see us in good stead come our team match in a couple of weeks time on this venue. It has been interesting to see how the different tactics perform, with the pole line doing well.

 

Andrew ‘Mossy’ Moss

Rig control is important on a deep, windswept venue like this.

An initial bed of groundbait helps concentrate the fish. Top up if the bites slow down.

It has been an interesting and productive session.

Mossy’s Gear

Sphere Zero G F1+ Pole

Cenex Classic Line 0.12mm and 0.08mm

Size 19 hook

2 gram wire stemmed float

Olivette bulk with three no. 10 droppers

Mossy’s Bait

Champion’s Feeder Black Roach

Champion’s Choice Canal

Pinkies

Maggots

Worm 

Hemp

Caster


Bright Baits for Cold Carp

With the water temperature cooling, carp tend to shoal tightly, find them, drip feed them and then if you approach them in a stealthy manner you should catch them. Today I’ve headed to one of my favourite fisheries, Rolf’s in Oxfordshire, one I have fished extensively for years and if I’m right a fair share of the carp will be keeping warm, tight in a corner where a big lily bed is dying away. I could target this from a swim to the side but I need to get tight to the pads and with carp to well over 20lb possible its far better to attack the swim from the opposite bank, which is exactly where I’m heading. 

Drip feeding

To get the carp in a feeding mood I’m going to drip feed four of five 8mm fishery own, slow sinking pellets every thirty seconds right next to the lilies. This I will do whilst setting up and if all goes to plan when I make my first cast in around half an hour there should be a few competing for these. 

After feeding for half an hour, it was a carp a cast.

Bright critically balanced baits, just irresistible.

Pellet Bands – quick and easy.

Clipped up at all times, just don’t switch off.

Cenex Low stretch Mono, great for bite detection.

Cenex Hybrid Power Mono for super supple, strong and tough hook lengths.  

Soft, easy part and reliable Connector Beads.  

Connector Beads, simple to use.  

"the power of the rod will see the carp kitting and heading into open water."

Simple but powerful

Tackle for carp this big needs to be robust but balanced so I’ve opted for my Sphere Bomb rod but the version with 10% extra power. This rod is unbelievable and has been created from the highest quality carbon blank and fittings available to produce an ultra light, ultra slim rod that just makes you want to catch fish after fish. It has a soft action which allows light lines and small hooks to be used when needed, however the power in the butt section is amazing and couple this with the action is something big carp just can’t deal with. This is teamed up with a Black Viper Compact 845 reel loaded with Cenex 0.20mm Low Stretch Mono which has an incredible breaking strain of over 8lb for its fine diameter and is also extremely abrasion resistant which is required if a carp manages to skirt the outside of the pads. On the business end things are kept relatively simple with a 1oz lead placed on a Quick Change Swivel which runs on the mainline and is buffeted by a Connector Bead. The hook length, which is around fifteen inches is created from Cenex 0.18mm Hybrid Power Mono, again very abrasion resistant but also very supple, and has a Sphere size 14 barbless hook attached knotless knot style with a hair containing a 7mm Silicone Bait Band.

Slow sinking

Hookbait is simple, an 8mm bright pink wafter that I’ve checked in the margin before casting, as I want it to sink really slowly, just like the freebies that I have been catapulting around. 

A repeat performance

The last thing I need is for a carp to dive into the roots of the lily bed so although I’m casting tight to these I’m also clipping up as this will avoid disaster happening. The bend in the rod and minimal stretch in the line will give me a couple of feet to put the brakes on when the rod pulls round, and guess what it’s done this almost immediately. It’s really important when fishing clipped up to place the rod across your knee and only have a small angle from rod tip to bait. As soon as it pulls round the power of the rod will see the carp kitting and heading into open water. The first carp is a beautiful fully scaled mirror around 6lb but I have had them, on similar tactic to over 25lb in the past here so expect a proper chunk to turn up at anytime. It looks like it’s going to be an eventful day as the next cast see’s a repeat performance, yet this one is more of the average size you can expect from Rolf’s, a low double. Now for that twenty!

 

Michael Colsino

Michael’s Tackle

Sphere Bomb + 10% Power

Black Viper Compact 845

Cenex 0.20mm Low Stretch Mono

Cenex 0.18mm Hybrid Power Mono

Sphere size 14 barbless Beast Hook

Connector Bead

7mm Silicone Bait Band

Quick Change Swivel

1oz Lead

 

Michael’s Bait

8mm Pink Wafter

8mm low oil fishery own pellets

 

 

 

 

 

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Perfect touchdown next to the dying pads.

Rolf’s is famous for its big carp.


Gravel Pit Bream on the Window Feeder

There is some great fishing to be had on my local Kingsbury Water Park, and one of my favourite lakes on the complex is Bodymoor Heath Water; a large mature gravel pit with a good stock of bream. These slabs often feature in matches on the venue, and if you get your tactics right, can be caught through the day, enabling some impressive weights to be put together. This is classic bream fishing at its best, and although sport tends to slow down in the colder months, a considered approach can still catch some lovely fish. 

This is a shallow lake, despite its size, averaging around two metres deep. It is also clear of weed, so the fishing is relatively straightforward and it is possible to fish with quite light balanced gear, which can prove the difference between success and failure when fishing during the middle of the day. Bream being bream, they tend to be found at range, but there is no need to fish at extreme distances along the bank I am fishing today. I will set out to fish two lines, one at 25 metres, the other at 35 metres. Both rods will be clipped up to ensure that I hit the same distance every time. 

To begin with I will prime both lines by making two casts with a large ‘bait up’ feeder filled with caster, dead maggots, a little sweetcorn and a pinch of pellets, topped off with groundbait. This is enough bait to attract the attention of the bream, and get them browsing, without giving them too much to eat, which can make them difficult to catch. 

Waiting Game

Bream fishing can be a waiting game. It may take an hour or two for the fish to arrive, so it pays to be patient. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to lose confidence and not fish consistently. I use a timer to ensure that I recast regularly and to plan right through my session, as it is easy to lose track of time. Initially, I recast every five minutes for the first hour. This lays down some more bait and will inevitably create a little more spread. In hour two I switch to recasting every ten minutes, as I don’t want to overfeed, especially if I haven’t had any signs of bream in front of me. By hour three I may switch to recasting every 15 minutes, if the bream haven’t appeared. If I am catching though, or getting liners, then I will continue to recast more regularly. 

I am loading my Window feeder with a combination of casters and a little chopped worm. This is sealed with a pinch of my quite sweet fishmeal groundbait. I find the bream like a groundbait that has this sweetness to take the edge off the fishmeal. Because the water is quite clear I don’t want to put too much bait on the bottom. Just enough to attract the fish to my line and hold them a while is my aim. The Window feeder ensures the bait gets to the bottom in the feeder, giving a real focal point for the bream to home-in on. 

I will alternate hookbaits to see if one stands out. Two dead maggots is a good opening gambit. Three pinkies are also very good if the fish are a little finicky. I also have with me some red worms, collected from a muck heap. Whilst this might be an almost forgotten bait, they are absolute gold for bream and will often bring a bite when all else fails. 

The Window Feeder is easy to load and gives a tight patch of feed.

Today I am using a ‘helicopter-style’ set-up for improved accuracy.

A rubber stop holds the hooklength in place.

Red worms are a brilliant bream bait.

Sink the quiver tip to avoid drag on the line.

The Sphere Medium Feeder is brilliant for this style of fishing.

"From the heavy nods on the rod tip it feels like a good fish"

A big bream falls for the red worm hookbait.

I like to ensure I add the same amount of feed every cast.

Add some casters, before filling the window with a little groundbait.

Cold wind

There is a cold wind blowing down the lake this morning, so I am glad to be tucked slightly back. The positive is that the fish will feed more confidently with a ripple on the water surface. After the first couple of hours without any indications it is easy to lose confidence, but from past experience it is just a case of plugging away. When the bream arrive I will catch them. 

My rig is quite simple, although I have been experimenting with a variation on the traditional paternoster set-up. I have attached the hooklength to a Browning Feeder Connector Swivel, which allows me to change the rig instantly. The swivel is fished helicopter-style, running on the main line with two stoppers set about 12 inches up the line. The feeder is attached via a powergum link, which acts as a cushion for the loaded feeder on the cast. 

My hooklength consists of one metre of 0.13mm, 3.5lb breaking strain fluorocarbon to a size 18 Sphere Match hook. This might sound a little light when big bream are the target, but my gear is very well balanced, thanks to the superb action of the Sphere Medium feeder rod, which absorbs any lunges of the bream. With no snags or weed in front of me it is just a case of taking my time and slowly leading the fish towards the net. 

Fishing with quite fine lines and small hooks can make a massive difference to your catches. If you are getting line bites, but not catching then be prepared to scale down, fish lighter and try a smaller hookbait.

After swapping to a little red worm on the hook the tip of my Sphere feeder rod pulls round confidently and I am into my first bream of the session. From the heavy nods on the rod tip it feels like a good fish, and I am not surprised when a bream of about 7lb pop-ups in front of the net. It is a little bit bigger than the average stamp on this lake; a nice fish indeed. 

The next cast is almost a repeat performance. The feeder settles and shortly after sinking the line the tip pulls round confidently once again. This time the fish feels faster, with less weight to it, and so it proves as a fish of a couple of pounds finds its way into the waiting net. 

And as soon as the fish have appeared they are gone again. Despite ringing the changes that is it for today, with no more bites coming my way. All bream fishing, but especially on gravel pits, can be a game of nerves, but if you stick to your plan the rewards are there to be had.

Tight lines! 

Pat Cuddy

Pat’s Tackle

Sphere Feeder M 390

Black Viper MK FD50 Reel

0.10mm Cenex Feeder Braid

0.13mm Cenex Fluoro Carbon Hooklength

30cm Powergum Link

Size 18 Sphere Match Hook

30 gram Window Feeder

 

Pat’s Bait

Champion’s Feeder Big Bream

Champions Feeder Quick Skimmer

Champion’s Method Formula Fish

Crushed Pellet

Caster

Pinkie

Dead Maggot

Micro Pellets

Dendrabenas

Red Worms

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The head nods convince me this is a good fish.


Mix a River Roach Groundbait

Using the right groundbait can make or break your fishing on rivers, especially when silverfish are the target. What is needed is a mix that acts as a magnet for the fish, concentrating them where it is most efficient to fish, but without filling them up. The key elements are attraction, colour and composition. Get these factors right and you will maximise your catches on each line. 

I use a dark mix that the fish are willing to settle over, even when the water is clear. Champions Feeder Black Roach is perfect for this job, having a lovely dark colour and being very attractive to all silverfish, but particularly roach. You might be surprised to learn that I add Champions Choice Canal to the Black Roach to ensure that the balls hit the bottom before breaking up. Remember though, that the continental canals where the Canal mix was developed are much deeper and often have a quite significant flow than our canals, so they are more akin to our slow-flowing rivers and larger drains. 

Follow these simple steps to get the mix just right. 

 

Andrew ‘Mossy’ Moss

1 – Start off by adding a full bag of Champion’s Feeder Black Roach to your mixing bowl. 

2 – Next add a bag of Champions Choice Canal to the bowl and mix the two groundbait together well. 

3 – Slowly add water to the groundbaits. I use a large pole cup to do this so that I can control the amount of water added precisely. 

4 – Keep mixing the groundbait, ideally with a whisk, all the time. 

"I use a dark mix that the fish are willing to settle over"

5 – Leave the groundbait to stand for at least ten minutes so that all of the water is absorbed. 

6 – Riddle the groundbait to remove any lumps and to aerate it. Discard any lumps, do not try and force them through the riddle.

7 – That’s about it. You might need to add a tiny amount of extra water with an atomiser through the day to keep the consistency just right.

8 – Add some dead pinkie, finely chopped worm and a few casters as feed to the groundbait. 


The ‘Long-Line’ on Midlands Canals

The Midlands are criss-crossed by a huge network of canals that stand testament to the Industrial Revolution which began and flourished in this area. Today, the canals are as popular as ever, although it is leisure craft that ply these waters, rather than the working craft they were originally designed for. Most of us probably have a canal within east reach and they can provide some interesting and productive fishing right on our doorstep. 

I tend to specialise in fishing these canals, and have refined my approach to fit the demands of these venues. Make no mistake, they can vary in size, layout, and type of fishing massively, but today I want to look at a tactic that will work on a large number of different venues, with only very minor adaptions. 

I am talking about fishing the long-line, across to any far bank features, and at the base of the far shelf. Here there is often cover for the fish; perhaps overhanging trees, weedbeds, or most likely moored boats. Even in the turbid waters of the canal, these are fish-holding features that need to be targeted. 

Truth be told, I will fish several different lines in a match situation, but fishing across is often the most consistent. Here you will find predominantly silverfish, the size and species depending upon the stretch, but with perch and perhaps bonus fish mixed in. My tactics are designed to give a soft-touch approach, hopefully keeping the bites coming for as long as possible. 

Fishing at around 14 metres with my Xitan Z16 L Advance pole puts on the edge of the far bank moored boats, with the option to push across a little further later on in search of a few more bites. The bank here is piled, so there is less of a distinct shelf, compared to other canals. I have set up a 4×10 float with a wire through body. It is a quite delicate pencil shape that allows me to spot delicate bites. The shotting is spread out no. 10’s with the bait fished on the deck in teh hope of picking up a better stamp of fish. 

Cenex Classic Mono is my choice for for rigs and hooklengths.

I use a strung-out shotting pattern.

A slim float with a wire stem shows delicate bites.

"Introduce a tiny pot of feed every put-in"

I am introducing a tiny pot of groundbait with a pinch of pinkies each put in. The roach prefer a dark-coloured groundbait so I am using the Champion’s Feeder Black Roach, which I mixed at home the day before. In fact, I will keep any leftover groundbait and freeze it, ready for future sessions. I’ve mixed the groundbait so that it is fairly dry, but will get down without breaking up too much. You don’t get through much bait using this frugal approach, the aim is to keep the fish interested without giving them too much to eat and feeding them off. 

Bonus fish are likely to be better roach, perhaps a perch or a bream, but the bulk of the fish will be small silvers. To extract as many of possible it pays to fish relatively light. A 0.07mm hooklength of Cenex Classic mono to a size 22 hook is the order of the day. My rig line is 0.10mm Cenex Classic, and I have a no.3 solid elastic through the top kit. 

It doesn’t take long to start getting bites, but the average size of the fish is quite small. Probably around 20-30 to the pound, but at least the bites are coming regularly. As it is a Saturday there is quite a lot of boat traffic about today, and that means the canal keeps pushing through for a few minutes as the locks are used. I find it pays to stop feeding whilst the canal is flowing hard, as any bait will not end up where I want it. Instead, wait for the pace to die-down and then feed when you can be sure that the bait is staying put. 

The other problem today are leaves on the water surface. It has been quite windy and, as it is autumn, the water surface is covered with them. It is a bit frustrating, but by lowering the rig in as vertically as possible I am able to find small gaps and keep fishing. 

By alternating between maggot and pinkie hookbaits I have kept the bites coming all morning and despite the fish being on the small side have put together a decent catch. Searching around the far bank brought a few extra fish after the main line dried up. In a match situation I would feed several lines and rotate them to keep the fish coming as long as possible, but today it has been interesting just to see how many fish I can catch on the one line. 

A really enjoyable day, with plenty of bites, which just goes to show the quality of fishing on our amazing canal network. Why not give it a try?

Tight lines! 

Mark Roberson

The average stamp of roach on this canal.

Champion’s Feeder Black Roach is my groundbait of choice.

Most of the Midlands canals are a comfortable width. Here I can fish at 14m easily with my Z16 L Advance pole.

Mark’s Tackle

Xitan Z16 L Advance Pole

Cenex 0.10mm Rig Line

Cenex 0.07mm hooklength

Size 22 fine wire hook

4×10 wire stem, pencil float

 

Mark’s Bait

Champion’s Feeder Black Roach Groundbait

Pint of maggots

Pint of pinkies

Pint of squatts

Hemp

Introduce a tiny pot of groundbait and a few pinkies every put-in.


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


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

Hemp

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.


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

Hemp

Worm

Red Maggots 

Fluoro Pinkies

What a great morning’s fishing.


Catch Silver's Feeder Fishing on the Drop

We normally think of feeder fishing as all about catching fish hard on the bottom, but this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. Get your tactics right and it is possible to catch fish on the drop, which can be a much faster and efficient way of catching. Today I am on the river Great Ouse at Littleport; a typical wide, slow-flowing Fenland river. Several tactics will score on venues like this, from the short and long pole lines, to feeder fishing for bream, tench and big perch.

Our Hot Rods team fish numerous matches on rivers like this and one line that is exploited less is the far bank ledge for silver fish. It might seem counterintuitive to want to catch small fish across, as surely it must be quicker to catch them along your own margin. In a match situation though the fish can quickly disappear from the near-line and fishing across can enable more fish to be caught consistently over five hours, with double-figures achievable – enough for good points in a team competition.

The gear you need for this style of fishing isn’t particularly complicated, but it needs to be balanced to enable me to get into an unbroken rhythm that keeps me catching regularly. I use a Sphere 12’ (3.6m) Braid Special feeder rod, matched to a 40-size Quantum Vapor reel loaded with 0.08mm Cenex Feeder Braid with a 0.20mm mono shock leader approximately twice the length of the rod to take the constant stress of casting. The Sphere rod is particularly good for this style of fishing, the soft tip showing bites well and the forgiving mid-section cautioning the cast and reducing the number of fish that I bump off on the retrieve.

Rigs need to be simple and tangle-free. A 35gram Window Feeder Classic casts like a bullet and is easy to load with bait. I could use a lighter feeder, but the cross-winds common on the river mean that the extra weight makes it easier to stay accurate. The feeder is attached to the line using a 6cm mono link with a Feeder Connector Swivel enabling me to change hook lengths quickly. As for hook lengths, I am not fishing as fine as you might imagine, given though I am targeting small fish. A one metre 0.16mm Cenex Hybrid Mono hooklength is robust, and the diameter will help slow the sink-rate of the hookbait down a little. Using a reasonably big hook ensures I land more fish, with less coming off as I quickly bring them across the river.  Quite often I’ll have several hooklengths ready to go on the foam of my bump bar which allows me swap between hook and line choices quickly.

Wet your braided line to improve casting performance.

Feed a little chopped worm and pinkie through the feeder.

Plug the window feeder with explosive groundbait.

"A 35gram Window Feeder Classic casts like a bullet and is easy to load with bait."

Hookbait choice is either maggot or worm head. By using a relatively large hookbait I hope to single-out a slightly better stamp of fish, although it can be difficult to be selective when there are a lot of fish in the peg. Worm heads are also bullet proof and that speeds me up as I don’t have to change baits so often.

The secret to this style of fishing is to be constantly recasting. As soon as the hook bait comes to rest it is effectively not fishing and time to recast. I hold the rod and tighten up to the feeder as soon as it hits the water. Most bites come before the feeder has even touched-down, and the braid allows me to see these easily – for that reason I don’t use the rest, I want to be in touch with the feeder and hooklength all the time.

The Window Feeder releases its payload of cloudy groundbait, chopped worms and pinkies on the drop too, introducing enough bait to attract the fish and keep them hunting for more. In the gin-clear water I find a light coloured groundbait works well as a cloud and it literally explodes out of the feeder as it sinks. I will also only add particles when I feel I need to bring more fish into the peg, the groundbait generally holds them and I don’t want to overfeed or bites will slow and sometimes the stamp can actually reduce. You can find out about the groundbait mix I am using HERE.

When the conditions are right this is bite-a-chuck fishing. The fish might not be big, averaging a couple of ounces, but when you can catch 30-40 per hour it is possible to put together a decent weight. Certainly double-figures is well on the cards if the fish keep coming and if nothing else it allows the pole ,line to settle – which can make that better, or provide me with a quick start that gets me ahead of the game. You can also expect the odd better sized fish to put in an appearance. The rudd here can grow big and I expect a few eight ounce fish to appear through the day. Along with these roach, bleak and a few skimmers are likely, all competing for the bait as it falls through the water – I’ve had tench twice doing this as well, so it’s not a negative method at all.

Although I clip up the line to ensure the feeder hits the far bank shelf every cast I don’t cast to accurately to the same spot every time. I prefer to spread the casts out a little and keep the fish moving around. I find this keeps them active and interested for longer, drawing more fish into the peg. If I’m doing this I tend not to include particles – as I want that to all land in the same spot – so I may stick with neat groundbait.

Whilst it might not be a conventional way to fish a big river such as this, catching silverfish on the drop can be a really useful tactic, especially when the section is under match conditions and the fish have an uncanny ability to switch off. If you fish a similar big river, or perhaps a stillwater with a big head of silverfish then why not give it a go?

Kye Jerrom

This very simple feeder link helps avoid tangles and enables me to instantly change hooklengths.

Fish on the far margin shelf where the water is 4-6 feet deep.

You can put together a good weight of fish on the feeder.

Kye’s Gear

Sphere 12’ (3.6m) Braid Special Feeder Rod

Size 40 Quantum Vapor reel

0.08mm Cenex Feeder Braid

0.20mm Cenex Feeder Mono Shockleader

0.16mm Cenex Hybrid Power Mono Hooklength

Size 14 Sphere Feeder Lite Hook

35 gram Window Feeder Classic

 

 

Kye’s Bait

2 pints pinkies

250 grams chopped worm

1 pint maggots

 

1 bag Champions Choice No.1 groundbait

1/2 bag Champion Feeder Big Bream

1/2 bag Champions Choice Canal

Rudd are the main species I expect to catch on the drop.


Meat fishing, but not as you know it...

Match fishing is all about creating edges, the more edges you have up your sleeve, the more time saved resulting in more fish in the net come the end of the day. Luncheon meat is a fantastic bait, especially on commercials for carp, however it has one big drawback, it’s soft and comes off the hook easily. This is great when fishing down the edge for a real lump, yet up in the water on the pole or on the feeder when carp are competing and creating a lot of false bites can be frustrating as a premature strike will result in time being wasted reeling in and having to re-bait. One edge I have created that has put loads more carp in my keepnet, simply by mimicking meat, is to punch a piece of boiled gammon steak as its texture is ten times tougher than good old Luncheon Meat but it looks, smells and acts almost the same. It’s also saltier, something I’m also convinced is more appealing. Placing this on a hair which has a bait spike attached or using a readymade hooklink such as the Feeder Leader Method Push Stops mimics the freebies fed around but withstands numerous casts, even captures. Give it a go it will save you loads of time having to re-bait and put loads more carp in your net.  

Today I’ve come to Churchgate Lakes in Essex for the very first time and have headed to the Bottom Lake which I’m told holds loads of carp. The swim I’ve chosen is round the back of the main island which I’m going to cast close too as this is where most of the F1’s and odd big carp seem to come from. The rod I’m using is the superb 10’ Sphere Bomb teamed up with the 930 MgTi reel loaded with 0.20mm Cenex Method Mono which is camou-coloured with high durability and fast sinking. Running on this is a 30g Hydrus Metal Method Feeder which is buffeted by a medium Connector Bead onto which I’ve added a four-inch hooklink created from 0.16mm Cenex Classic Mono. A size 16 barbless Sphere CPF LS hook tied knotless-knot style with a hair and Push Stop completes the hook length. 

Churchgate Lakes F1’s are big.

Feathering the feeder down reduces tangles.

Let’s see how today goes.

The first one is always nice.

"its texture is ten times tougher than good old Luncheon Meat"

Fed through the feeder is simply Champion’s Method Robin & Krill groundbait and I’ve stated using a kilo bag mixed with 600ml of water as stated on the packet before passing through a fine riddle a couple of times. To this I’m adding a kilo of dampened 2mm micro pellets, a combination that is irresistible to both carp and F1’s. I’m also going to catapult a few punched pieces of steak over the top of where I’m casting as this will attract any passing carp, draw them in and if they start showing up in the water will give me the option to switch to the pellet waggler for the odd bigger bonus fish.

The morning session was slow to start with, probably due to lots of other day anglers arriving, but the swim has slowly improved as the noise levels have dropped and I’ve been rewarded with plenty of big F1’s, odd carp and my standard goldfish that I seem to catch everywhere I go! 

Gary McClair

Every fish is fun when using the Sphere Bomb rod. 

Cenex lines and Sphere hooks, brilliant.

Constant feeding over the top gets the fish feeding.  

Champion’s Method Robin & Krill, great for the feeder.

Gary’s Tackle

10’ Sphere Bomb Rod

Sphere MgTi 930 Reel

Cenex 0.20mm Method Mono

Cenex 0.16mm Classic Mono

Hydrus 30g Metal Method Feeder

Sphere size 16 barbless CPF LS Hook

Medium Connector Bead

 

Gary’s Bait

Champion’s Method Robin & Krill

Gammon Steak

A few hours fishing resulted in these F1’s.