Rig it Right - Big Pit Bream Feeder Rig

Originally Published in English.

Big gravel pits are daunting venues but follow the wind, especially when targeting carp and bream and if you can fish a feeder accurately at distance then you shouldn’t go too far wrong.

Constantly casting all day requires strong robust tackle, yet the rig used needs to be refined enough to get the bites, it also needs to be as tangle free as possible. 

John Pantry is no stranger to this type of fishing and has caught some massive bags of bream, as well as the occasional rogue specimen carp and won many a match on such a venue, so who better to ask about the rig needed to tackle these vast windswept lakes. 


John Pantry

  1. Thread a Xitan Supper Stopper onto the main line.

2. Next onto the main line is a Feeder Connector Swivel followed by another Stopper.

3. Pull all these together and position up the mainline.

4. Place a Snap Link Swivel onto the main line.

5. Trapping the Link Swivel within, create a four-inch loop on the mainline by tying a figure of eight overhand knot remembering to moisten and tighten down carefully.

6. Pull the Stoppers and Connector Swivel down against the knot.

7. Remove a hook length from the retaining spool.

8. Place the hook length loop onto the Feeder Connector Swivel.

9. Pull down the retaining sleeve on the Connector Swivel to secure.

10. Attach a Big Pit Feeder to the Snap Link Swivel.

11. The finished rig should look like this, great for bream and skimmers when using worm and maggots, just remember to reduce the hook length if deep hooking. 


Sphere 12’ Medium Feeder Rod

Black Viper Compact 845 Reel

Cenex 0.22mm Low Stretch

50g Big Pit Large Feeder

Sphere size 14 Ultra Strong Hook To Nylon

Feeder Connector Swivel 

Rig Stoppers

Catch Carp with Pop-Ups

First Published in English.


Have you ever found that when fishing tight to an island, quite often when retrieving the rig you find the hook and bait covered in foliage? It’s an annoying situation and one that will certainly cost you fish, however what I have found and had great success with when fishing for big carp and F1’s is to put a couple of shot onto the hook length then placing a buoyant hookbait in the band as opposed to a sinking one. This will pop the bait up just above the foliage and right in sight of any feeding fish.  

Marginal test

Make sure that you test the bait in the margin before giving it a go, making sure the shot is enough to act as an anchor and try moving the shot about as you will find this can make a massive difference. By using a Feeder Connector Swivel it’s easy to change hook lengths so you can switch between a standard sinking bait and this rig to see what works best on the day.

Tackle needed

The tackle I use when using this rig is the brilliant 10ft Sphere Bomb +10% Rod teamed up with the Sphere MgTi 920 Reel loaded with either 0.20mm or 0.22mm Cenex Method Mono. The rig itself comprises of a Pellet Feeder, usually a large 3.5cm one weighing 30g with a hook length made from Cenex 0.18mm Hybrid Power Mono down to a size 16 Sphere Beast hook tied knotless Knot style with a small Super Stretch Pellet Band attached. 

Give it a go, it solved my problems.

Craig Edmunds

Cenex Method Mono for my main line and Cenex Hybrid Power for the hooklength.

Sphere Beast hooks are brilliant for all sorts of carp fishing.

"A pop-up will keep the hook away from any debris."

Browning Pellet Feeders are perfect for introducing a small mouthful of bait in the spring.

The Sphere MgTi reels are silky smooth and strong, perfect for Method and Pellet Feeder fishing.

Craig’s Tackle

10’ Sphere Bomb +10% Rod

Sphere MgTi 920 Reel

Cenex 0.20mm Method Mono

Cenex 0.18mm Hybrid Power Mono

Size 16 Sphere Beast Hook

30g Pellet Feeder

Feeder Connector Swivel

Super Stretch Pellet Band 

Craig’s Bait

Bright Buoyant Dumbell Pellet 

Improve your carp fishing with a pop-up.

Rig it Right - Bread Disk Leger

An inline method feeder is a deadly rig when the fish in your swim are up for a munch, but what do you do to tempt a bite when they are in a lethargic mood and unwilling to get their heads down?

In winter this can often be what we are faced with and although you may have selected your swim carefully or pulled the hot peg out of the bag, simply tempting a bite or two could see you having a good day or framing. 

This is when you need to rely on a carp’s curiosity and popping a bait up such as a couple of bread discs, right in their faces, can often get the tip pulling round. 


Tim Bruce

  1. Slide a Super Stopper (float stop) onto the mainline (only if safe semi-fixed rigs are allowed). 

2. Then thread the in-line lead on. 

3. Break apart a Connector Swivel, thread the buffer end onto the mainline followed by the connector end.

4. Secure the Connector Swivel using a Grinner knot, remembering to moisten before tightening and then slowly pulling down.

5. With the lead resting against the Connector Bead unclip the Connector Bead.

6. Attach the hook length to the Connector Bead.

"A great presentation when the carp are mid-water"

7. Make sure the hook length is securely mounted within and clip together the Connector Bead.

8. To secure the bread discs, insert a Push Stop Needle into the Push Stop and push through the 8mm punched bread discs.

9. The finished rig should look like this. The Super Stopper (float stop) is positioned an inch away from the lead when its resting against the Connector Swivel and creates a safe, semi-fixed Bolt Rig.


6lb Black Magic Gold Mono

Feeder Leader size 14 Method Push Stop Hook Length

Connector Bead

1.1oz in-line lead.

Super Stopper

Mix it Right - River Feeder Groundbait

Originally Published in English.


When targeting silverfish, particularly dace, on the river Trent I need a groundbait that is sticky enough to hold well in a cage feeder, but which is quickly washed out once the feeder comes to rest on the bottom. What I don’t want is a mix that comes out of the feeder on the drop, as this will be quickly washed downstream, taking the fish with it. I also want a mix that allows me to pack as much feed, mostly maggots, chopped worm, and caster, into the feeder with just the minimum of groundbait plugging the ends. Fortunately, a combination of two of the excellent Browning groundbaits suits this job perfectly. 

I use an equal combination of Champion’s Choice Black Magic and Champion’s Feeder Quick Skimmer. The Black Magic is a really dark, classic-style silverfish groundbait that blends in really well with the bottom and has a pungent spicy aroma. In contrast the Quick Skimmer has a fine texture and a sweet aroma that the fish really like. The combination of the two produces a mix that  has a firm consistency, ideal for plugging a cage feeder. 

Here is how I go about mixing this groundbait. 

Tom Noton

  1. Use a combination of one bag of Black Magic and one bag of Quick Skimmer. 

2. Put the groundbaits in a large groundbait bowl and mix the two together really well. 

3. Slowly add river water to the groundbait mix. Take it steady, as you can always add more liquid, but you can’t take it out.

4. Ideally, use a whisk attached to an electric drill to really mix the groundbait well and break up any lumps. If you don’t have a whisk use your hands, and mix it really well. 

5. Once the groundbait has started to bind together and has been really well mixed run it through a maggot riddle to remove any later lumps.

6. Discard any lumps that are trapped by the riddle – These will be wetter bits of groundbait that can make the mix too soggy.

"Use equal amounts of Quick Skimmer & Black Magic."

7. Leave the groundbait to stand for at least ten minutes, It may well need a little extra water added as the mix absorbs the liquid. 

8. The finished mix should have a fluffy texture, but bind when compressed.

9. Fill the centre of the feeder with a mixture of maggots, chopped worm and caster. 

10. Plug the ends of the Xenos Wire Specialist cage feeder with a little groundbait. I wrap electrical tape around the wire mesh to ensure the bait isn’t released until the feeder is resting on the river bed. 

The feeder can be brilliant when the fish are beyond float range, or the conditions make float control difficult.

Silvers Up in the Water

First Published in English. 


I’m in my element catching silvers on the float and if I can catch these on running line then all the better. Today I’m at Southend Farm Fishery, close to Waltham Abbey in Essex. It’s one of the most consistent and fair silver fish venue I know where winter silver fish matches are usually won with well over 40lb of fish. It’s also a great carp venue, however these need to be avoided at all cost as they take up valuable fishing time trying to land them so feeding is crucial as if you over do it, you risk attracting these.

The main Match Lake is relatively deep, I’ve got just over 10ft in front at around twenty yards which is perfect for feeding little and often through a catapult, attracting the roach and getting then competing high in the water. The lake also contains lots of skimmers, bream and perch which also feed up in the water so you can see how easy it is to put a big weight together.

Cereal based groundbait

To get the bream into my swim I introduce six balls of groundbait, three being off a dry consistency as I want to create lots of cloud as they descend in the water and three mixed heavier with a little added black leam to add weight and get them to the bottom before breaking down. My groundbait mix is made up of half a bag of Champion’s Choice Black Magic to one bag of Gardon, both being cereal based along with some dead bronze maggots. Before adding water to the mix I will riddle it dry, removing any large particles then slowly add water and whisk two or three times to get the right consistency. There is a reason for using a cereal based groundbait and that is that it doesn’t attract too many carp into the swim like a fishmeal based mix would. Introducing groundbait into the swim at the start might sound strange, especially as I will be targeting silvers up in the water but I need to get the bigger skimmers and bream into my swim first before feeding in a way that will draw then up of the deck and feeding mid water. 

Cereal based groundbait will attract the silvers and keep the carp away, hopefully! 

A dozen or more casters will follow straight after each cast.

Keep casting to keep catching.

Today my swim is full of skimmers. 

"I am in my element today, it is a bite a chuck."

The Sphere 13’ Match rod, an anglers dream.  

Plenty of skimmers today.  

Feeding is the key to unlocking a swim.  

A brilliant team

My tackle for this type of fishing consists of the amazing Sphere 13’ Match rod teamed up with a Sphere MgTi 940 reel loaded with 0.12mm Cenex Classic Mono. The rod is extremely light and the reel silky smooth, a brilliant team when you will be casting every minute or less for the duration of a six hour match or practice session. At the business end I have a 0.08mm Cenex Classic Mono hook length with a fine wire barbless size 18 hook attached and my float, a 2g Insert Peacock Waggler that is attached to a float adapter trapped between a couple of Xitan Super Oval Stoppers. As for shotting this is simply a string of no9 shot, placed shirt button style with the gap slowly increasing as they get closer to the hook as this creates a much more natural drop of the hookbait that will be a single caster. 

Unlocking the swim

Having introduced the groundbait at the start it’s left to do its business whilst I set up and I can already see a few bubbles on the surface, a sure sign that there are skimmers and hopefully a few bigger bream feeding. It’s time to cast out and I’m starting quite deep initially, around six feet as it will take time to get the bigger fish high in the water. A normal session will see small roach caught but catapulting around a dozen casters on a little-and-often basis will attract bigger fish; it’s just a case of wading through these small fish at the start. As I feel my way into the session I will be slowly fishing closer to the surface and at the end of the session quite often will be picking bigger roach to over a pound, skimmers even bream just two feet down! Feeding really is the key to unlocking the swim and I will be casting first before catapulting a dozen casters over the top, it’s all about getting into a rhythm and working the swim all the time.  

Today’s been a typical session where an abundance of small roach slowly were replaced with a few net roach, more skimmers than usual along with the odd slightly better bream. My best match weight here is 55lb, a day when I found quality net roach in front of me from the start, yet today it’s been harder but with a good twenty plus pound of silvers for my efforts, I’m not complaining.


Paul Hyde

Casting to the clip then two turns of the handle puts me in the feeding zone. 

Cenex Classic Mono, strong and fine, great for this style of fishing.

Xitan Super Stoppers are ideal for locking float onto the mainline.

Casters and hemp with maggot as a backup.  

Paul’s Tackle

Sphere 13’ Match Rod 

Sphere MgTi 940 Reel

Cenex 0.12mm Classic Mono

Cenex 0.08mm Classic Mono

Size 18 fine wire barbless hook

2g insert peacock waggler

Xitan Super Stoppers

Paul’s Bait

Champion’s Choice Black Magic Groundbait

Champion’s Choice Gardon Groundbait




A cracking net of fish all caught up in the water.    

Rig it Right - River Cage Feeder

Originally Published in English.


This is the rig that Tom Noton of Browning Hot Rods uses to such great effect of on big rivers, such as the Trent, Wye and Severn. It works best on rivers with a reasonable depth and flow for dace, roach and perch, although don’t be surprised if the odd chub or even barbel puts in an appearance. Load the feeder with a mixture of Champion’s Choice Black Magic and Champion’s Feeder Quick Skimmer, with chopped worm, caster, hemp and maggot feed. Try fishing maggot or caster on the hook.

Tom Noton

1. Thread the Rig Stops and Clip Swivel onto a 6m length of the Black Magic Shock Leader with two stops below the swivel.

2. Thread the Feeder Connector Swivel onto the end of the shock leader below the Rig Stops.

3. Create a 10cm twisted boom with the Feeder Connector Swivel trapped at the bottom.

4. Use a medium-sized Wire Specialist Feeder with enough weight to just hold bottom. Wrap tape around the feeder to make sure the feed is not released until the feeder has settled on the river bed.

5. Cut off a 120cm length of 0.12mm Cenex Hybrid Power line to make up the hooklength.

6. Tie the Sphere Feeder Ultra Lite hook to the end of the end of the hooklength using a spade-end hook knot.

7. Tie a small loop in the other end of of the hooklength, this allows the hooklength to be changed instantly.

8. Attach the hooklength loop to the Feeder Connector Swivel.

9. Connect the feeder using the Clip Swivel. You can adjust the total distance between the feeder and the hook by moving the Rig Stops. 

10. Attach the shockleader to the main line braid using a double four-turn grinner knot. 

"A brilliant feeder rig for silvers on large rivers."


Xenos Wire Specialist Feeder

0.12mm Cenex Hybrid Mono

8lb Black Magic Line for shockleader

Size 12 Sphere Ultra Lite Feeder Hook

Feeder Connector Swivel

Quick Change Feeder Link

A Day After Dace

The first day of my mini break to Herefordshire to fish the beautiful river Wye coincided with a wet weather front and a quick glance at the river the night before saw it at least sixteen feet high, however we had been expertly informed that it was dropping fast and would be fining down nicely the following morning.

Catching at a quicker rate

As promised it was and everything looked perfect to set up two lines of attack. The first being my new Sphere Silverlite System Whip aimed at fishing 8m to hand in a depth of around 7’ of water. My second line of attack was my trusted Sphere 14’ Match Rod teamed up with a Sphere MgTi 940 reel loaded with 4.5lb Black Magic Gold Mono along with a 4.5g Scott Douglass bolo float that would be run down the inside crease. Both the whip and bolo would be fished on the same line, the whip enabling me to catch at a quicker rate to hand, with the bolo giving me the option to search the bottom of the swim should the fish drop down the peg.


Gauging the response 

Feed would be hemp and caster in generous quantities with a single caster on the hook in an attempt to avoid the millions of bleak that also seem to be thriving in the river. I mixed together two bags of Browning Champion’s Choice River and two bags of Black Magic groundbait but decided not to feed this from the off and gauge the response of the loose feed in an attempt not to attract the bleak.

Searching the peg

I decided to start on the bolo float to search the peg, this was set with a 4g olivette as the bulk with three no8 shot directly under the olivette and two no8 set four inches apart above an eight inch hook length of 0.16mm Cenex Hybrid Power Mono with a size 14 Sphere Match hook finishing the set up. This setup looked and acted perfectly in the crease which was about 8m from the bank. The first hour was hectic with the dace and roach responding to the hemp and caster loose feed, a nice run of quality roach up to 1lb from the inside glide preceded until the flow started to ease with the river continuing to drop.

The Sphere Silverlite Whip System was made for this type of fishing.

I started on the running line Bolo rig to locate the shoals of fish.

Feed maggots mixed with groundbait to get the bait down quickly and concentrate the dace shoals.

A medium-weight Bolo rig enables me to search the peg to begin with.

"The dace fishing here is incredible."

Far greater control

This marked the time to move on to the 8m whip line which gave me far greater control and enabled me to fish a lighter float of 3g, a slim line pattern was used to enable me to both run through and hold back the float at different intervals to entice a bite. The rig was set at 8m to hand on 0.16mm Hybrid Power Mono to a 0.14mm six inch hook length of the same material and once again a size 14 Sphere Match Hook completing the set up. This was my first outing with the Sphere Silverlite Whip and something I had been rather looking forward to giving a run out for some time. Due to the size and strength of the fish in the Wye I decided to use the hollow top kit and had elasticated the top section with a short length of Browning yellow 2.10mm Stretch 7 Elastic which has a rating of 8+, perfect for both providing a cushion on the strike and enabling me to swing dace up to 8oz to hand.


It’s fair to say the dace were queuing up on this line and the superior presentation that the whip provided enabled me to end the session with over 30lb of prime fit river Wye dace and roach.

Tim Bruce

I run Stretch 7 yellow elastic through the hollow tip of my whip in case of bonus fish.

Sphere Match hooks are perfect as they keep their points no matter how many fish you catch.

Tim’s Tackle

Sphere Silverlite System Whip

3g Float

0.16/0.14mm Cenex Hybrid Mono Line

Sphere size 14 Match Hook

Stretch 7 Elastic

Sphere 14’ Match Rod

Sphere MgTi 940 Reel

4.5g Scott Douglas Bolo Float

4.5lb Black Magic Gold Main Line

4g Olivette

0.16mm Cenex Hybrid Power Hook Length

Sphere size 14 Match Hook

Tim’s Bait



Champion’s Choice Black Magic and River Groundbait

Tim displays his cracking Wye catch of silvers. 

Chalk Stream Trotting

I love the competitive nature of match fishing and the banter on the bank, yet there are times when I need to get away from it all, go back to the days off old and just chill and if I can catch a few fish whilst doing so then all the better.  

In the deep end

Fortunately living in Berkshire I have numerous chalk streams that flow across the county and if you look hard enough you will find the odd free stretch. These are usually clear and shallow and to get the best from them it’s a case of getting my Black Magic thigh waders on and literally getting in! Travelling light with just a float rod, landing net and bucket containing bait and a small amount of spare terminal tackle is all that’s required and as I wade downstream it’s simply a case of introducing some bait, trotting through  a few times, catching some fish before moving on. These free stretches often pass through urban areas, yet by getting in the water you soon forget about the ‘hustle and bustle’ around and drift into a world of your own, right back at one with the natural world around, great for relaxing the mind, if not the body. 

Traditional trotting float

The tackle I take on these short roving sessions consists of my old and trusted Browning 13ft Ultra Light Legend float rod teamed up with a Sphere MgTi 920 reel loaded with 0.14mm Cenex Classic Mono. The rig is kept simple, just a traditional trotting float cocked with a 3g olivette and the hook length, which is created from Cenex 0.13mm Fluoro Carbon, has a single small dropper shot placed on it before finishing it off with a Sphere Match size 16 micro barbed hook. 

A grain or two

Usually all that’s required for bait, especially after the first frosts is a pint of maggots but today I’ve bought along some grains of sweetcorn as its early autumn and the minnows might just be a problem. A bait pouch is also an invaluable piece of kit as it allows me to feed effortlessly as is a disgorger that I hang on a piece of string around my neck and a peaked cap to block out and sunlight. 

The colder, the better

Today’s two hour session has produced plenty of fish including some cracking dace, grayling to over a pound plus one small trout and plenty of minnows that just seem to feed harder the more maggots that are fed so the sweetcorn did come into play in some swims. The bigger fish that move into these urban areas in the depth of winter and still to arrive and this style of fishing will just get better and better the colder it gets. If you want to clear the mind and catch plenty of fish this coming winter then it might be worth looking close to home as many tiny streams can produce more fish than you realise.    

Justin Watkins 

Standing in the clear water it really doesn’t get much better than this.

Simple baits, such as maggots and corn, are ideal for this type of fishing.

Grayling are often abundant in these small streams.

"You only need the minimum of tackle for this style of fishing."

Justin’s Tackle

13’ Ultra Light Legend Float Rod 

Sphere MgTi 920 Reel

Cenex 0.14mm Classic Mono

Cenex 0.13mm Fluoro Carbon Hook Line

Sphere Match size 16 Hook

3g Float


Justin’s Bait

Red & White Maggots


Use quality lines and don’t be tempted to fish too light. Fluorocarbon is brilliant for hook lengths in the clear water.

Rig it Right - Hydrus Metal Method Feeder

The Method feeder is a brilliant way of catching carp, F1’s and bream all year round. Simple to tie, tangle-free and deadly accurate, this is a set-up that you definitely need in your armoury.

Many commercial fisheries insist that all Method feeder rigs should be free-running, so that if a rig should be lost there is little chance of a fish being left towing a feeder around. Although it might appear that a running Method will create less of a bolt-effect, in practice it works really well and is just as effective as a semi-fixed feeder.

One thing to bear in mind is to use strong hooks and lines when Method feeder fishing. Not only are you likely to encounter some big fish, but constant recasting with loaded feeders can be quite a strain on the main line in particular. Bites are also often very savage, and once again, this will soon reveal any weaknesses in your rigs.

  1. Thread the Hydrus Method feeder onto the main line.

2. Tie a Quick Change Bead to the end of the main line using a figure-of-eight knot.

3. Tie a small over-hand loop in the end of a 25cm length of the Hybrid Mono hooklength line.

4. Tie on a size 12 Sphere Beast eyed barbless hook using a 12-turn knotless knot.

5. Tie a small figure-of-eight loop knot in the end of the hooklength, which should be around 12-15cm in length. Attach it to the Connector Bead.

6. The finished rig should look like this. You can use a small wafter, boilie, pellet or punched meat on the hair as a hookbait. Load the feeder with Method groundbait or soft pellets.

"The running Method is a very effective rig for commercial fisheries."


0.20mm Method Mono main line

0.16mm Hybrid Power Hooklength line.

Size 12 Sphere Beast Barbless Eyed Hook

30gram Hydrus Method Feeder

Medium Connector Bead

Hair Stops

Plunder Trent Silvers on the Pole

Originally Published in English

The middle to lower river Trent is booming at the moment with huge numbers of silver fish to be caught in many areas. One of the great things about the river at the moment is that you can pick and choose your tactics based on the peg that you are fishing. Generally speaking, the more depth and flow that you have close in the better a peg will respond to float tactics, whether that be running a stick float through, fishing a Bolo, or on the pole line that I will be fishing today. I wouldn’t say that todays peg is perfect for the pole, the deepest part of the river is further out, but for a great days fishing you can’t really beat the precision of the pole, and it is just such a lovely way to fish. 

I am on a peg at Burton Joyce today, which is pretty typical of the Trent around Nottingham. The main species to aim for are roach and dace, with a few perch thrown in for good measure. There is also the chance of a bigger bonus fish, particularly chub, but you can’t count on these. The rocky banks slope away quite steeply, and once you get past the weedy margins the depth levels out at about 2.5 metres by 13 metres. I will start off at this distance, as it gives me somewhere to go if the fish start to back off. 


I am not intending to start on the pole line, but I will introduce a little patch of feed that the fish will hopefully settle over and gain confidence, ready for when I want to use this line. With the hemp fishing in particular, the longer that you can leave the fish to settle the more confident they will be and the more bites you will hit. 

I’ve made up some really dark groundbait using the Champion’s Choice Black Magic and Champion’s Feeder Black Roach mixed 50-50. To being with, I will introduce two decent-sized balls of this mix, laced with some hemp and casters. I’ve compressed the balls fairly hard to get the groundbait down to the bottom before it starts to break up as I want it to act as a focal point in the swim. 

Feed a pinch of casters twice every run through.

Feed hemp, but don’t be in too much of a hurry to switch to it as a hook bait.

You can expect some cracking roach to show up on the Trent.


I am going to aim to catch fish by slowly running the float down the peg. A good starting pace is about half the speed of the surface, as this helps to keep the hookbait running in front of the line, and better matches the flow close to the bottom. Holding back slightly harder will cause the bait to rise off the bottom slightly and almost stop, often conjuring up an extra bite. 

My rigs are pretty straight forward and are designed to enable me to control the fall of the bait. Floats are a Chianti-style pattern that have a slim profile which cuts through the water perfectly and carry 4×14, split into no.10 shot spaced at 6cm intervals. By breaking up the shot I can adjust the fall of the bait. Bulking the shot up to get the bait down faster, especially if bleak in the upper layers are a problem, or spreading them out to give a more natural presentation. 

The rigs are made up on 0.14mm diameter Cenex Hybrid Power line, to a 0.12mm hooklength, terminating in a size 18 Sphere Match hook. Make sure you bury most of the caster inside the hook as this will bring more bites from the roach, especially when the water is clear. 

For this style of fishing I run solid no.6 elastic through the top kit of my Xitan Z16-L Advance pole. I have fitted a puller kit just in case I hook a bonus fish as this will enable me to tension the elastic quickly, giving me more control. 


With roach being my main target on this line I am going to feed a small pinch of caster and hemp twice each run through. Because of the bleak, which can be a right pain on some pegs, I will avoid feeding maggots. The casters sink a little faster, and being dark are less likely to be picked off by the bleak. 

The hemp is an obvious choice for roach, both as a feed, and if the fish get on it later in the session, as a hookbait too. Once the roach are confident on the hemp the average size of the fish will definitely be a bit bigger than with the casters, but it can take a few hours for them to get enough confidence to take it well. Go on to the hemp too early and you will either get less bites, or fat bites that are difficult to hit. 

I have some maggots with me as well, and these will come into play as another change hookbait should the bites on caster slow down. With regular feeding though I would expect the fishing to get better for at least the first couple of hours, before I need to make any changes. 


This morning I have started on the feeder, fishing half-way across the river, for a couple of hours before dropping back onto the pole line. I have kept feeding the float line the whole time with a pinch of casters and hemp every couple of minutes and I’ve not noticed too many bleak swirling on the surface, which is a good sign. I’ve been busy catching a decent dace almost every cast on the feeder, and it is easy to forget to feed the pole line, when you are as busy as this, but it is essential to keep the bait going in to build up this line. 

I could have stayed on the feeder, but as I am practicing today, I force myself to put the rod down and pick up the pole. First run through, with the rig plumbed to have the bait just tripping along the bottom, the float only moves about a metre before it pulls under confidently. Roach number one is soon in the net – a good start. 

With a slight upstream wind today presentation is pretty good and I am able to edge the float down the peg at whatever speed I choose. Soon I find the area where most of the bites are coming and I slow the rig down a touch when it gets to this spot. The roach vary in size, from a couple of ounces, up to about half a pound, lovely sport, only partially spoilt by a big pike that has taken up residence right in front of me! 

I suspect there could be more predators about, as the bites start to become a bit more sporadic after the first hour, which often happens if there is a big fish down there spooking the roach. The fish have kept coming though and a switch to hemp has made a difference too, with the fish getting noticeably bigger. The bites are really positive too, and despite me fishing with quite a long line on a top-four kit, so that I can run teh rig down the swim, I’m not missing many indications. 

The great thing with the Trent is that you can catch on so many different methods, with each peg being different. I must say though that for a really nice days sport nothing beats running a float through on the pole for me. These tactics will work equally well on other large rivers with a bit of flow too. Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed. 

Tom Noton

Browning Hot Rods

I use a slimline 4×14 float unless the conditions are really blustery, or the flow very strong.

Strung out no.10 shot allow me to adjust the fall of the bait through the water column.

Don’t fish with too short a line. I like to be able to run the float down the peg and search for extra bites.

"Switching to hemp will bring a better stamp of fish."

Tom’s Tackle

Xitan Z16-L Advance Pole

Cenex Hybrid Power 0.14mm rig line

Cenex Hybrid Power 0.12mm hooklength

Sphere Match Size 18 Hook

4×14 Chianti Pole float


Tom’s Bait

Two pints of casters

Two pints of hemp

One pint of maggots

One bag Champion’s Choice Black Magic

One bag of Champion’s Feeder Black Roach

The river Trent has some brilliant silverfish sport.