chub fishing 1

Float Fishing with Bread for Chub

Float Fishing with Bread for Chub

One of my highlights of each winter is heading south to sample the fantastic coarse fishing on Hampshire’s River Test. In particular, float fishing with bread for chub.

Predominantly a game river, many beats open their doors to the hoards of coarse anglers willing to pay for an expensive day ticket and go in search of one of our most graceful and obliging winter species, the grayling, and I’m one of them! 

Plan B

Don’t get me wrong, on a frosty bright day, when the rivers running crystal clear  you just can’t beat catching ‘The Lady of the Stream’, however once booked, if the river conditions aren’t favourable and it has a tinge of colour then it’s worth having a plan B, and for me its trotting bread for chub.

Key areas

Chub swims often reveal themselves on grayling days with the odd accidental capture, yet if I didn’t know a stretch of river the two areas that I would look for first are drop offs, where shallow water abruptly drops away into deeper water, or creases, where fast and calm water meet, often found directly below wooden structures to increase the flow, at the back end of a pool or where the main flow is directed past an object in the water such as a fallen tree or bank side bush. 

Use your loaf!

If allowed, bait choice would always me maggots, lots of them but unfortunately the beat I fish ban worms and maggots as the owners want to protect the salmon and if catching salmon parr, which love maggots, can be avoided then it has to be a good thing. Sweetcorn is an option, especially when grayling fishing but the next best bait to maggots, for chub has to be bread and you just can’t beat a couple of loaf of Warburtons. Bread mush is an option, but I prefer to liquidise a whole loaf, crusts as well, the night before and feed a small ball at a time through the swim. The other loaf is kept simply as hookbait.  

chub fishing with bread 2

Resist the temptation

It’s really important not to be greedy when float fishing for chub, even when using maggots, and its worth getting the chub competing before making the first cast by feeding a small ball of liquidised bread every few minutes. By doing this, in a swim that contains chub, you are almost guaranteed a chub first trot through and if you can repeat this process and resist that immediate next cast, then sport should be steady all day.

Avoiding an abrupt end

Something worth remembering when chub fishing is, if you are allowed its worth retaining chub in a keepnet, not for too long though, as returning them into the swim will see an abrupt end to sport as a disturbed chub returns to the shoal and spooks them. Unfortunately retaining any fish on most game beats is banned so if this is the case then its best to return each fish fifty yards up or downstream.

Refined but robust

Chub are masters at finding any bank side vegetation so tackle used must be refined enough to get a bite but robust enough to extract each and every fish hooked. Float control is also vital as if the bait is passing through the swim quicker than the flow then it will be simply ignored so a 15ft, even a 17ft will provide that extra control. I use the fantastic Sphere 15’6 Spiced-Tip River Rod and team this up with MgTi 930 Reel loaded with Black Magic Gold 0.17mm/4.50lb mono. Although length is important when choosing a rod, its weight and action is also vital as it needs to be light enough to hold all day, the Sphere 15’6 weighs just 175g and has an action classified as ultra-fast and stiff, ideal for picking the line and hitting those bites, yet its soft forgiving 50cm solid carbon tip is perfect when using fine lines and small hooks. Reel choice is also important and in some most cases, especially when grayling fishing, a centerpin just can’t be beaten, yet many of the chub swims here on the Test mean trotting close to the far bank and this is where a fixed spool reel comes into play, just ensure its small enough so that your finger can cover and trap the line coming of the front of the spool. As for the rig itself this consists of a big float, one that is man enough to dominate the swim. Big traditional stick floats are ok, but on these fast flowing, often turbulent swims I prefer alloy stems and you just can’t beat Dave Harrell No1 Alloy Stem Avon’s and I keep a range of sizes to hand from 2g right up to 6g! To shot these floats I use an inline olivette, the same weight as the float (these floats take a bit more shot than stated), and trap it above the hook length with two No6 shot. The hook length, which is usually around twelve to eighteen inches and created from Cenex Hybrid Power Mono is attached to the mainline on a simple loop-to-loop basis and apart from a further No6 and two No8 spaced evenly to the hook the rig is finished off with the non-forgiving, sharp and reliable Beast in a size 12.

chub float fishing tackle

Hybrid Mono hook lengths and Beast hooks give me total reliability. 

chub float fishing olivette

Use an olivette to create a tangle-free bulk shot.

chub float fishing reel

Sphere MgTi fixed spool, perfect in this situation thanks to its brilliant line-lay and precision front drag.

Don’t forget

Two vital items of tackle are a bait apron which contains the bait and avoids constantly bending down and a peaked cap which makes spotting bites easier due to it blocking any unnecessary glare off the water.

Tricky one

For today’s session I’ve picked a reliable but extremely tricky swim, one where rapid shallows drop away into deeper water. It would be great if the chub were on the near bank but the bank side cover on the far bank mean that’s where they live. The rivers faster than normal and carrying some colour so although I’m confident of catching, it’s not going to be plain sailing but certainly far more productive than if I were to fish for grayling!

Bare hook reward

Can you believe it, whilst trotting through with a bare hook and getting my depth set I’ve hooked a chub, fair and square in the bottom lip. Things go to plan with a number of chub gracing the net in the first couple of hours before a dull in action but persisting a further four cracking chub fall in as many casts before two more late in the day send me home a very contented angler.

Chomping at the bit!

Can’t wait for a return; maybe for a grayling session next time, but how can I ignore such a fantastic chub swim.

Colin Sheppard

chub float fishing

Colin’s Float Fishing for Chub Tackle

Sphere 15’6 Sliced-Tip River Rod

Sphere MgTi 930 Reel

3g Alloy Avon Stick Float

Inline 3g Olivette

Black Magic Gold 0.17mm/4.50lb Mono

Cenex Hybrid Power Mono 0.12mm/3.70lb Hook Length

Sphere Beast size 12 Hook

No 6 and No8 Split Shot

Colin’s Bait

Two loaves of Warburton medium sliced bread  

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chub float rig 1

Float Rig for Chub

Float Rig for Chub

Float fishing for chub with big baits such as bread and meat, is a brilliant way to spend those cold winter mornings. Simple, robust gear is all you need in a float rig for chub, and in this article Colin Sheppard looks at the gear he uses when fishing fast flowing rivers for winter chub with bread.

float rig for chub 1

  1. Firstly make sure you use an abrasion resistant mainline, I use Black Magic Gold 0.17mm / 4.50lb.    

float rig for chub 2

2. Thread four rubbers onto the line, a big one first followed by three small ones.  

chub float rig 3

3. Choose the right float, one big enough to dominate the swim, a 4g Alloy Avon is often my first choice.  

chub float rig 4

4. Attach the float with the big rubber that goes over the tip and then pulled down to the floats shoulder.  

chub float rig 5

5. Pull the three small rubbers onto the alloy stem. Three rubbers stop the float moving on the strike or whilst playing a fish. 

chub float rig 6

6. The first rubber is positioned at the top of the stem.  

float rig for chub 7

7. The second float rubber goes in the middle of the wire stem. 

float rig chub 8

8. The third float rubber goes at the bottom of the wire stem. 

chub float rig 9

9. Thread an inline olivette onto the mainline. If I’m using a 4g float, I use a 4g olivette.

chub float 10

10. Using a figure of eight knot create a loop in the mainline.

chub float rig 11

11. Lock the olivette onto the mainline with a no6 shot either side.

chub float rig 12

12. Choose the right hook length and hook, Sphere size 12 hooks to nylon are great, especially when using bread.

chub float rig 14

13. Remove a hook length from the spool and reduce the length of this to around eighteen inches and create a loop using a figure of eight knot.

chub float rig 16

14. Place this loop through the mainline loop. Then pass the hook through the hook length loop. Pull straight and tighten down.

chub float rig 18

15. Add a no6 shot around twelve inches up the hook length.

chub float rig 19

16. Add two no8 shot, evenly spaced between the hook and larger shot.

chub float rig 20

17. The final rig, robust enough to land any chub in the fast flowing, shallow swims. 

chub float rig components


Black Magic Gold 0.17mm/4.50lb Mono

4g Alloy Stem Avon Float

Four Float Rubbers

4g Inline Olivette

Sphere Beast size 12 to 0.16mm Hook Length

No 6 and No8 Split Shot.

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SPHERE MATCH hooks to nylon

Sphere Match - Hooks to Nylon

In this new short video England International Rory Jones takes a look at one of his favourite hooks for natural venues – the Sphere Match, and why he chooses hooks to nylon for much of his river fishing.


Hit the play button below to watch now.

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straight lead rig

Straight Bomb Rig

Rig it Right: Straight Bomb Rig

Although the Pellet Waggler and fishing the Bomb complement each other, especially on commercial fisheries that are carp dominated, there are times when the Bomb will out-fish the Waggler. One is obvious, simply because the carp just don’t want to come up in the water, another is it takes time to get the fish feeding confidently up in the water so the Straight Bomb Rig is a great method to start a match of with whilst pinging in pellets to tease them into rising up in the water.

Justin Watkins


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straight lead catch
straight lead rig 1

1 – Thread a small Quick Change Swivel onto the mainline. I use Cenex 0.20mm Feeder Mono.

straight lead 2

2 – Using a six -turn Blood Knot attach a medium Connector Bead, remembering to moisten and test once pulled down.

straight lead 3

3 – Remove around twelve inches of 0.18mm Cenex Hybrid Power Mono to create the hook length.

straight lead 4

4 – Attach a silicone Pellet Band to one end of this line with a six-turn Blood Knot, moisten and tighten carefully as not to kink the line.

straight lead 5

5 – Passing the hook length through the back of the eye, thread on a size 14 or 12 Sphere Beast Barbless Hook.

straight lead rig 6

6 – Create a short hair and trap the line against the hook.

"ideal, when the carp want a bait hard on the deck."

straight lead rig 7

7 – Whip the hook length approximately seven times around the shank of the hook.

straight lead rig 8

8 – Pass the tag end, once again, through the back of the hook.

straight lead rig 9

9 – Moisten and tighten down.

straight lead rig 10

10 – The end product should look like this.

straight lead rig 11

11 – Using a figure of eight overhand knot create a loop in the tag end.

straight lead rig 12

12 – Moisten down and tighten.

straight lead rig 13

13 – Attach the hook length, which should be around ten inches to start with, to the Connector Bead.

straight lead rig 14

14 – Attach a 1/3oz (10g) Square Bomb Lead to the Quick Change Swivel.

straight lead rig 15

15 – You can always use a ready tied hook length if preferred such as a Feeder Leader ‘Method’.

Autumn Roach Fishing

One of my favourite ways of spending and autumn day is in search of roach on the pole.

At this time of the year a dark groundbait with plenty of activity is the best choice for roach.

The Black Roach and Quick Skimmer groundbaits go well together and are ideal for autumn roach fishing.

Lifting and dropping the rig a little can often bring more bites from the roach and perch as it mimics the sinking loose feed through the cloud of groundbait.

The Xitan Z6-2 pole is a great all-rounder, and although I normally use it for carp fishing through the summer, it is equally good for more delicate roach fishing.

If you want lots of bites on the pole this autumn then roach are a great fish to target, and simple tactics are all you need.

Have a great autumn’s fishing.

Tight lines! 

Martin Siwon

netting big f1 carp

F1’s Down the Edge

If you love catching big F1’s then you need to get yourself down to Lake 6 on the Orchard Farm Fishery complex in Kent. It been a while since I last fished here but what a return it’s been, as the fish have just got bigger and seem to be more plentiful than ever. This is a great venue to look at one of my favourite tactics – catching F1’s down the edge.

F1’s will move to the feed

Arriving early and knowing that the wind was forecasted to pick up to gale force as the day progressed along with the chance of the odd heavy showers I decided to head to the road bank with the wind of my back for some respite and enjoy the warmth of the sunshine for most of the day. These pegs have always been some of the best on this venue and with few other anglers around and knowing that these F1’s really do move to the feed knew it was the right choice.  

As close to perfection as it gets

Tackle for the session consists of the fantastic EXO Sphere Zero-G F1+ rigged up with a pulla kit and Xitan Microbore 2.3mm blue pole elastic which has a 9-13 rating. If you’re looking for a pole that’s incredibly light and stiff then you need to check this one out, it really is as close to perfection as it gets. You don’t need a complex rig for F1’s down the edge, keeping things really simple and making sure all the components are robust and reliable, capable of withstanding big hits if you’re on the fish is much better than going delicate. My rig today consists of a 0.35g float placed on Cenex Classic 0.16mm line with four number 8 soft shot to cock it. These are positioned together just above a four-inch hook length which is once again Cenex Classic in a 0.12mm diameter and onto this I’ve tied a size 16 Sphere CPF LS barbless hook.

hooking two maggots

F1’s love maggots, especially in the winter, and they are my first choice of bait for both feed and hookbait.

maggots in pole pot

Use a small pot to feed maggots on a little and often basis.

margin f1 pole fishing

When you hook a fish guide it away from the margins.

Make the most of the margin

A quick plumb along the margins reveals a nice area at just 5 metres in 2ft 11inches of water which has plenty of cover and offers some shade from the sun. Believe me, being able to fish down the edge here and catch is a real treat as during a match these fish tend to move away from the margins into open water and numerous lines need to be feed and rotated in order to get the best from a swim. Today with minimal disturbance from other anglers I know that these fish will move close in, all I need to do is keep a few maggots constantly falling through the water and once they arrive it should be a really enjoyable and action packed session. The best bait by far for F1’s is maggots, they absolutely adore them and even in the height of summer when pellet does come into play, maggots will still be difficult to beat. Feeding on a little-and-often basis is the key here and I’m simply going to feed a dozen maggots through a small feed pot every put in. If I start to foul hook fish then I will reduce the amount of maggots and if this fails try up in the water but hopefully this won’t happen. 

Low to the water

First put in and after tipping the freebies in and slowly lowering the rig over the top the float sails away. Using a short line from pole tip to float means all that’s required is a slight lift before the elastic begins to extend and I’m into my first F1. Weighing around 2lb 8oz, it’s   the average size here now but they have been caught to nearly 8lb! Hooking and playing a fish is another area that makes so much difference in building a big weight. As soon as I hook a fish I keep the pole low to the water and draw the fish away from the feeding zone and into open water. When the pole is straight out in front it’s simply a case of shipping it back on the rear rollers whilst all the time keeping the tip close to the water. When the fish is close in its time to unship the top sections and then, and then only lift the pole vertically. What will happen next is the F1 will come up in the water and splash on the surface before bolting away and if your quick you should be able to net them first time on most occasions. 

Cenex classic mono

Cenex Classic Mono is incredibly reliable and has a very accurate diameter.

Xitan microbore elastic

The blue Xitan Microbore Elastic is just right for winter F1 rigs.

f1 carp winter pole rigs

Use simple, robust rigs with a sensitive tip for winter margin fishing for F1’s.

bulk pole rig shot

I use a bulk of four no.8 shot on my winter F1 rigs.

sphere CPF LS hooks

The Sphere CPF LS barbless hook is my choice for maggot fishing.

"The fishing today can only be described as incredible."

Incredible fishing

The fishing today can only be described as incredible as nearly every put in has produced an F1’s, it must be black with them in my swim, and it’s easy to see why you need over 200lb on occasions to frame here. As predicted the weather does take a turn for the worse with the wind increasing around lunchtime and at one stage I had to make a dash to the car when a storm front blew over. Fortunately this soon passed and the sun came out once again, drying everything out and in the meantime letting me get my fill with more F1’s and with well over 150lb of fish already netted I’ll be heading home a very contented angler.


Tight lines!


Garry Cooper

margin fishing with sphere pole

Look for a flat bottom and some cover along the margins for the perfect spot to fish.

sphere camo top kit

On bright days look for any shade as the F1’s will fed more confidently here.

netting big carp on pole

Big fish can be landed easily when the slow down in the winter.

Garry’s Tackle for F1’s down the edge

EXO Sphere Zero-G F1+ 

Xitan Microbore Blue Pole Elastic

Cenex 0.16mm & 0.12mm Classic Mono 

Sphere CPF LS Size 16 Barbless Hook

0.35g Pole Float

Small Mini Cup

Size 8 Soft Shot

Garry’s bait for F1’s down the edge

Red maggots

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winter f1 catch

Stillwater bream feeder

Stillwater Bream on the Feeder

I love feeder fishing and throughout the colder month’s bream, a reliable winter species, become my main target on stillwaters. Today I’ve come to Northlands Park, a shallow day ticket venue in Basildon, Essex, and will be fishing the Café Lake which is a mixed fishery but more importantly it contains a good head of silvers and regularly produces bumper bags of Stillwater bream on the feeder. 

Stillwater bream love the deeps

When it’s really cold I instantly head for the deeper area of the lake, which is around 6ft deep, as this is where the bream will be held up and if there’s a brisk south west wind blowing even better. Ideally I would prefer to have this wind in my face, however today it’s just too cold and strong, so I have decided to fish of the back of it, with the aim of casting into the main body of the lake. 

Little bream feeder fishing edges = big advantages

Tackle for today consists of my trusted 11’ Sphere Feeder Rod, a brilliant rod for this and coming in two sections means that I can have it made up and ready to go straight away. I’ve teamed this up with a Black Viper NK FD reel, a big reel some would say for this type of fishing but as I’m only using a small feeder the benefit of its large spool is it allows me to cast a long way effortlessly. This is loaded with Cenex 0.18 (6lb) Feeder Mono, a line that has a really smooth surface, which once again aids casting, is off medium-stretch; sink’s well, is supple and highly abrasion resistant, perfect for feeder fishing and the punishment it will go through from regular casting. The reason for using a small feeder is it make minimal disturbance when entering the water, something I think is really important on shallow lakes and one that gives me a big advantage over other anglers. On the business end I’m using what’s known as a Twizzle Boom set up, two loops one of which has been twisted along with a further smaller standard loop tied to the end of my mainline. Above these two loops is a short boom that comes to rest against an Oval Super Stopper. This short boom contains an Easy Snap Swivel onto which the feeder is attached. Twizzle Booms reduce tangles and can be bought already made, such as Browning Feeder-Rig II, as well as the Feeder Boom Link. Hook lengths, attached to the lower loop, are made from Cenex Fluoro Carbon Hook Line in either a 0.13mm or 0.15mm diameter, are on average eighteen inches in length and have either a size 16 or 18 barbless Sphere CPF hook attached. These hooks are extremely sharp and are perfect for baits such as maggots, casters, pinkies and worms.  

bream feeder fishing 2

Find the right spot and be accurate

Before fishing the first thing I do is to have a lead around to find out what lies in front of me. I use a Sphere Bomb Rod to do this and simply attach a small lead, cast out and feel what the rod transmits back through it. Feeling the lead down will give me an indication of the depth and this light, sensitive rod will tell me what the lake bed is made up off. Ideally I’m looking for an area of relatively firm silt as this will not only hold natural food like bloodworm in the winter but also give me good presentation of rig and hookbait. Once I have found the spot I will be targeting I simply use Marker Sticks to find the same distance on my feeder rod, before clipping the line in the reel seat so I can constantly hit the same area throughout the session. 

sphere match hooks

Light, sharp hooks are essential as the bream are quite timid at this time of the year.

Cenex fluorocarbon line

I use Cenex Fluorocarbon for my hooklength, which is normally around 18 inches (45cm) in length.

bream feeder rig

Easy Swap Swivel for quick feeder change.  

A stillwater bream feeder fishing banquet

Bait today consists of a live and dead maggots (hook bait), pinkies (for when the going gets tough), casters (mainly for feed in the feeder), 2mm pellets (which are added to the groundbait) and corn (to pick out bigger fish). Groundbait is the ever reliable Champion’s Feeder Quick Bream with around 25% Black Roach added which darkens the mix down. 

"Tackle for today consists of my trusty Sphere feeder rod."

Lay the table for stillwater bream on the feeder

Having found the area to target and clipped my feeder rod to the desired distance, today its around 30m, the next job is to ‘lay-the-table’ and get some feed into the swim in order for the bream to home in on. Using the feeder rod I simply add a larger capacity feeder, plug one end with groundbait before adding some dead/live maggots before plugging the other end. This is cast to the desired spot, left for a few seconds to empty before repeating a further five times. Once done it’s simply a case of attaching a smaller feeder and the hooklink, baiting with a couple of red maggots and casting out. Sometimes you will have to wait for the fish to arrive, on others bites will come straight away and on other occasions a switch of hookbait or altering the hook length will work, it’s simply a case of working out how and what they want as quickly as possible. One thing that is important is regular casting, even if bites aren’t forth coming, probably every three or four minutes, as this keeps the swim topped up. If the bream are really on the bait it’s a good idea, from time to time throughout the session, to switch to a Streamline Window Feeder as this introduces lots of particles and will keep the bream grubbing around, but don’t overdo it, a couple of casts then its back on the cage feeder.  Another small tip is if the swim slows up its worth unclipping, pulling a couple of feet of line of the reel before clipping up again. This little trick has worked wonders for me and often keeps the bream coming.

If you have a shallow lake, like Northlands Park near you, why not get the feeder rod out and give my approach a go, I’m sure you will be rewarded.


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browning black viper line clip

Always use the line clip on your reel to maintain the same distance every cast.

streamlined window feeder

Streamlined Window Feeders are great for introducing only a small amount of bait very accurately.

winter bream

Bream will feed right through the winter and are a great target on many still waters.

Filipe’s Stillwater bream feeder tackle

Sphere 11’ Feeder Rod

Black Viper MK FD Reel

0.18mm Cenex Feeder Mono Mainline

0.13mm or 0.15mm Cenex Fluoro Carbon Hook Length

Sphere CPF LS Barbless size 16 or 18 Hook

Big Pit Mini 15g Feeder

Streamline Window Feeder

Filipe’s Stillwater bream feeder bait

Champion’s Feeder Mix Quick Skimmer

Champion’s Feeder Mix Black Roach

2mm Coarse Pellets

Live/Dead Maggots




National Feeder Squad Qualifiers 2021

On the first weekend in November the annual qualification sessions for the feeder national team took place. This year the participants competed on the Lateral Canal in Horn, Holland. This navigable canal is between 4 and 5.5 m deep, is considered extremely fair, and offers anglers level fishing spots. Overall, teh canal has really excellent fishing conditions. Many thanks at this point, once again, to Thorsten Küsters, who liaised with the Dutch association. With the support of Frank Zocher, Peter König organised the qualifiers on the bank.

The aim of the national team qualifiers, is to spot anglers who might be eligible for participation in next year’s World Cup. In addition to the results of the anglers, emphasis is placed on their flexibility on the water, tactical knowledge, professionalism and teamwork. Social skills, in particular, are an important factor for a functioning team.

Here is a little insight into my preparation and experience in qualification rounds one to four.


In preparation for the qualifiers, Thorsten Küsters organised a match on November 1st, in which over 40 anglers took part in the same section on the Lateral Canal.

Since I had never fished there before, I approached the competition with an open mind. I looked for the deepest point, which was at 24m, and cautiously fed some bloodworm and casters. The conditions, which were affected by the local lock activity, allowed fishing with a 30g Qpen end feeder. It quickly became apparent that there were not many fish to be caught on this line.

In the first half of the match I was able to catch six small bream and one perch on bloodworm and small worms. In the second half I was unable to catch a single fish. I wasn’t really satisfied with 850 grams in six hours. My neighbour to the right won our sector with 3.4 kg. He fished much more negatively, and further out than I did. With this experience in mind, I prepared my tackle for the four qualifying rounds accordingly.


For fishing on the canal I needed rods for distances between 24m and 40 m, and for short range work at 10m and 15 m.

Here I decided on my specially developed Silverlite feeder rods in lengths of 3.15m and 3.50m. This range of rods is perfect for canal fishing because it has the necessary sensitivity to outsmart cautious fish with fine hooks and lines and to land them safely. The use of braid was necessary for better bite registration. So I took my Black Viper Compact reels loaded with 0.10mm Cenex Braid and 0.25mm Quantum Red Salsa as the leader line.

When it came to hooks, it was clear to me that small, lightweight hook models would be important. In addition, it is always important to use hooks that are as thin as possible when fishing bloodworm on the hook. Our Ultralite hooks from the Sphere Range in sizes 16 and 18 were ideal from my point of view, so I tied enough leaders with our 0.11mm Cenex Fluoro Carbon. 

The feed consisted of Champions Choice Feeder Mix Quick Skimmer and Black Roach in a ratio of 1 to 1.

Since I had already used a lot of my holidays for competing in the World Cup in France this year, I had no opportunity for further practice days with other anglers during the qualification week.

First round on Thursday

In the morning the sectors and fishing spots were drawn by lot. For this purpose, the 18 participants were divided into three sectors, with the anglers staying together in the respective sectors for all 4 days. Only the peg numbers were changed daily. Since I have been a member of the national team for ten years, I know very well that the first day is very important. I fished with great concentration at a distance of 32 m and tried to take into account my experience from the match on Monday. Hoping for some bonus fish, I knew a 2-3kg weight would mean a good placement. In the first two hours I was able to catch a few small bream again. From what I could see not many fish were being caught in my sector.

I was hoping for a bonus fish to really boost my weight. In the third hour I finally got a good bite and was able to catch a 600 gram skimmer on three large bloodworm. Since I didn’t get a single bite on the long line after that, I decided, just like my neighbour, to fish for small 30 grams roach amongst the stones close to the bank. Catching small fish kept me building my weight. In the end, the national coach weighed 1900 grams for me, which was enough to win the sector on day one. The perfect start!

Second round on Friday

Since I had seen the day before that the small fish close to the bank were a safe bet, I wanted to take less risk on day two. I reduced the fishing time on the 32m line and increased the fishing time close to the bank. In the first round there are many who had waited for a bonus fish and did not get one. I calculated that I could get around 3-4 kg of fish together just by concentrating on the small roach. In addition, tI could catch fish much faster close in than on the 30m lane because of the boat traffic. In total, I fished for small fish for three hours with large bloodworm. For two hours I tried to catch a bonus fish, again at 32 m, which unfortunately never came. I caught all the fish short and finished with 1980g, which was enough for second place in the sector. The first place winner beat me with 2200g including a large bonus perch. Overall, I was still satisfied!

Third round on Saturday

On day three I just wanted to fish the 6m lane and catch everything that came along. I didn’t want to waste valuable time on non-existent bonus fish like the day before. For some reason my plan didn’t work out because I hardly caught any fish in the stones. The number of bites was significantly worse than the two days before. In addition, an unexpectedly large number of bonus fish were caught in our sector. Florian Hinz caught a carp weighing 2kg and a 2kg bream. Two other anglers were also able to catch bonus fish weighing over a kilo. So I had to change my tactics and also fish the long 32m line, where all the big fish were caught. I didn’t find my way into the match and didn’t catch any bonus fish. With 1200 grams I was fourth in the sector and, of course, I wasn’t satisfied. Overall, a confusing day, it was completely different from all the days before.

The final day on Sunday

I decided to fish more courageously and to fish for bonus fish continuously on the long line. The day before gave me pause for thought and showed me that there were more bonus fish to catch than on days one and two. I fed some casters and jokers with our little Xenos Speed Feeder. In the course of the match I saw that the little roach had moved from the margins and into the deeper water. Fishing at 32m was not only suitable for the bonus fish, but also for the small fish too. All in all, this worked out very well for me. Regular recasting every two minutes ensured regular bites. With 2900 grams I won my sector again and finished the qualifiers as the winner of Sector C.


National team fishing is always very difficult and can get very intense. After all, it’s about being nominated for a World Cup. There is a great risk that conflicts and competitive behavior will arise, which can severely weaken a team. I therefore view the organisation of such events as rather critical. The trust placed in me by those responsible means many times more to me than the result of four days fishing, which can distort my annual performance and which take place in waters that often do not do justice to the World Cup waters. However, I accept the current regulations and have therefore always qualified for all of my six World Cup appearances.

Not only fishing for my nation, but also representing it internationally as a role model and sportsman has always been a great task and pleasure for me. It’s a mindset and isn’t just about technical and fishing skills. It’s about the team, about the flag on your chest.

The mental aspect cannot really be emulated by anyone who has not already sat on the bank for his nation. Keeping a cool head in the team structure and holding back emotions during the training week in the event of poor training results is not something everyone is born with. So far, all of the World Cup teams I have been allowed to fish in have been very professional. So it was always a pleasure. We have many good anglers in Germany and the selection of venerable sportsmen in the current national team is quite abundant. Great anglers who have already done a lot for our nation! Therefore, I am not worried that Germany will not be represented in the Ukraine in the best possible fishing and human terms in 2022.


Tight lines! 


web cover f1s live

Autumn F1's - Match Fishing Live Video

In this new video we join Justin Watkins at Warwickshire’s Tunnel Barn Farm and follow his progress ‘live’ through his match.

With the first frost of the year having occurred the night before, how will the lake fish, and how will Justin adapt his tactics to the tough conditions?

Watch to the end of the video to find out if Justin can turn a good draw into a lake-winning weight.

How To Fish Snake Lakes 1

How To Fish Snake Lakes

The popularity of Snake Lakes, especially with match anglers, has increased massively in recent years, and the one at Puddledock Farm in Essex is a classic example. Many are stocked with a mixed variety, especially the more common silver fish we are use too, some have species such as barbel and ide which offer consistent sport throughout the colder months but here at Puddledock its really an all out carp venue. In this article I will look at how to fish Snake Lakes.

Look for the mud bank

Every swim here is almost identical with a uniform depth and cover down the near side margin and across to the far bank which in this case is around 15m, however some swims do stand out and they are the ones with a clean mud bank on the far side, the ones you wish to draw in a match but rarely do. For today’s session I have headed to a banker swim, peg 29 which is a bit of a walk but does produce bigger than average carp and often weights that frame in matches. 

Critical depth

It’s been cold overnight and the chill in the air indicates winter is just around the corner. This will affect how to fish snake lakes. I’m a little apprehensive just how it will fish but I’m going to approach it in the same way I would a routine match, but expect that I may have to make a few changes throughout the session. That mud bank on the far side will be where I start and first job is to have a good plumb around to find not only the depth, ideally between 12 -14 inches tight to the bank, but an area where I can present a bait effectively. The reason I’m looking for a certain depth is at 12-14 inches the carp don’t have the depth to mess around meaning bites are nice and positive.  Deeper swims will see carp intercepting bait at all depths creating loads of false bites and foul hooked fish, frustrating and time consuming.

Totally reliable

The rig I’m using for the long line consists of a strong 0.4g homemade rugby ball shaped float connected using two rubbers to Cenex 0.18mm Hybrid Power Mono and I’ve placed a no12 shot directly below this to stop the float moving along with six no8 just above a 3’ Classic Mono hook length. Finishing of the rig is a size 16 barbless Sphere Beast hook with a band directly attached which retains a 6mm hard pellet. One other important addition to the rig is two no8 back-shot attached above the float which keeps the float pinned into position and the elastic I’ve chosen for this line is the No 10 white Stretch 7 Hollow, ideal for carp in the 2lb – 10lb range. 

how to fish snake lakes 2

Always start across to a clean mud bank if possible.  

sphere beast hooks

Sphere Beast Hooks are my choice when carp fishing.

snake lake bait

Bait, micros, 6mm pellets with maggot and groundbait as backup. 

"I look for a clean line across to start with."

commercial pole float

Robust floats are needed and a yellow tip stands out against the mud. 

commercial pole float stotz

A bulk of no8 placed above the hook length.  

How To Fish Snake Lakes 2

Back shot keeps the float pinned in place.

Under control

I’ve also recently switched over to using the one piece Skyline kits that are ideal for this type of fishing, strong, rigid and along with a side pulla gets even the biggest fish under control quickly. They also have depth measurements every four inches which allows me to adjust the rig if needed but also return to the initial plumed depth instantly.

One bite at a time

Having plumed the depth it’s time to head across and feed the swim. This is where many get things wrong and introduce too much feed using a large pot. What this simply does is gets too many fish into the swim which simply leads to prolonged fights from foul hooked fish, many of which are lost at the last moment. What I try to achieve is to get just one or two carp in the swim at any one time and do this by feeding a small kinda pot of micros, just enough to entice that positive un-missable bite. If I don’t get a bite after a few minutes I simply ship back in and feed again with another pot of micros. Don’t press the micros into the pot to firmly, what you want is when releasing these for them to fall out in a steady column above the hookbait. Keep repeating this and it won’t be long before there are signs of carp in the swim, the float sails away and the elastic extends from the pole.  

Instant action

Quite often it takes a little while to get a bite but today first put in and a good fish around 6lb comes to the net. The action continues as an even bigger fish falls a few minutes later but after a dozen fish during the next couple of hours bites slow up, time to start feeding the margin. 

Down the edge

The chilly overnight temperature has certainly toughened things up, it’s certainly not fast and furious like the summer months, yet a switch down the edge starts to produce bites, not on top of the shelf but at the bottom which shows they’re not that keen on coming up in the water. 

The rig down the edge is almost identical apart from a 4×12 float; 4’ hook length, bulk of no10 and a short hair to a bait band along with Xitan blue Microbore Elastic through the top kit. Feeding this line is different as whilst continuing to fish the far bank I start trickling in a few 6mm pellets by hand, just enough to draw a few carp in and start feeding confidently. The reason I found the fish in deeper water was whilst testing the shallow margin I noticed bubbles coming up further out, so keep your eyes open at all times, especially as the seasons change. 

The rain and wind has started to increase and having landed plenty of carp to nearly 10lb I’m happy with what I’ve learnt, winter is on its way and those shallow marks are getting tougher.  I hope this has been useful and given you an insight into how to fish snake lakes.

Alex Reynolds


Keep up to date with all our latest match news here.

Find out more about our team of anglers here.


Visit the Browning poles website here.

stretch 7 elastic

Stretch 7 Hollow, great for the Skyline Kits.   

browning Xitan SLK 1 piece kit

Skyline kits, perfect for commercial carp.  

commercial pole float locking shot

Put a small shot under the float to ensure the float can’t move when playing powerful carp.

Alex’s Tackle – How to Fish Snake Lakes

Sphere Zero-G PT+

Skyline Kits

Cenex 0.18mm Hybrid Power Mono

Cenex 0.16 Classic Mono

Sphere Beast barbless size 16 hook

Stretch 7 Hollow/Xitan Microbore Elastic

.4g/4×12 handmade float


Alex’s Bait

Micro pellet

6mm Hard Pellets


Dead maggots

Alex Reynolds carp

The carp here can run big and often you will find the better fish right on the mud line.