feeder fishing for skimmers 1

Autumn Feeder Fishing For Silvers

Autumn Feeder Fishing For Silvers

Fishing for skimmer bream might not be everyone’s first choice but I love them and they can be life savers when the water temperature drops.

Open mind

Today I’ve come to a local club venue, one that regularly holds matches and where in the depth of winter bags of silvers can exceed 40lb, however anyone that has fished for skimmers will already know that they can be somewhat frustrating. One day they will be crawling up the rod, the next creating no pattern and registering the tiniest of bites. Knowing this is very important and you have to approach each session with an open mind as well as bringing along an array of baits if you want to get the best out of your peg.

Natural baits

The standard selection of hook bait I take when I know skimmers are the target consists of dead and live maggots, preferably reds, casters and worms. Pellets do pay a part in hookbait during the warmer months but once the water temperature drops I prefer natural baits, however I do add a few small pellets into the feeder along with chopped worms and a few dead maggots. The groundbait I tend to use early winter is Sonubaits Super Crush Green that I mix before leaving home with bottled water, before passing through a sieve a couple of times to make it light, fluffy and very fine.   

Timing casts 

At the start of each session I like to clip up and make half a dozen accurate casts simply to activate the swim. I then get into a routine of casting every three minutes and hope that the skimmers will turn up fairly quickly. When they do bites can come quicker than three minutes, however when the water is really clear and cold I may push each cast to a slightly longer period, yet with skimmers it’s more of when will they turn up than will they turn up so it pays to be positive. 

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Long and traditional

Bites can vary from steady pull rounds to the shyest of taps so I prefer to use a braided mainline and have loaded my Black Viper Compact reel with Cenex 0.08mm Sinking braid and have teamed this up with a 12’ Sphere Medium Feeder, the perfect rod for feeder fishing for skimmers. As for the rig it’s a simple running feeder set up with a few tweaks. Firstly I still feel that when skimmer fishing its best to have quite a long hook length and mine is a couple of feet of 0.16mm Cenex Hybrid Power down to a size 16 Classic hook which is the perfect size to allow me to alternate between worm, caster a double red dead maggot. Further up the line is a short twizzel boom and the free running feeder link comes to rest against a small Stotz shot that protects the knot to the twizzel boom. The feeder bead that runs on the braided mainline has a short length of stiff line from it down to a link swivel and both knots are protected with a short length of clear tubing. This acts as a boom and reduces tangles considerably and the swivel link allows me to swap from different sized feeders throughout the session. 

Peas in a pod

As expected today’s session has seen double red dead maggot produce most bites and as on many occasions the bites have been really shy but the braided mainline has exaggerated these allowing me to read the conditions and keep in touch with the fish. Unfortunately the stamp of skimmers has been quite small today and have been like peas in a pod, all around 6-8oz but once they got their heads down its been one a chuck letting me build a decent bag of fish.  

Tim Bruce

Tim’s Tackle

Sphere 12’ Medium Feeder Rod

Black Viper Compact Reel

0.08mm Cenex Sinking Braid

0.16mm Cenex Hybrid Power Mono

Size 16 Sphere Classic Hook

Xenos Jet Feeders


Tim’s Bait

Dead/Live Red Maggots



Micro Pellets 

Sonubaits Super Crush Green Groundbait

feeder fishing for skimmers 5
feeder fishing for skimmers 6
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sphere hook range 1

The Sphere Hook Range

The Sphere Hook Range

If you’re not aware of the Browning Sphere range of hooks then you really need to as soon as possible.

All eventualities covered

The range consists of six superb hooks that have been developed by some of the top feeder and match specialists to bring to you a hook that will cover every angling situation. My top two have to be the Beast and the Match as I tend to fish carp dominated commercials but if you prefer to fish for silver, feeder fish for bream, even spend most of your time on more natural venues then the Ultra Lite, Ultra Strong, Classic or CPF LS will have its place.

As its name suggest, well almost!

The Beast is everything it says, a hook that you can rely on when putting a big weight of hard fighting carp together, keeping its point and not bending out so one that will seriously save you time when needed. The barbless range comes with the option of eyed or spade end in sizes from 8 right through to a 16 with a popular size 13 as well. The barbed range is spade end only and comes in the same sizes 8 – 16. Made from black nickel it’s amazingly strong, yet it’s not made from a heavy gauge hook so has some finesse as well. It has the popular slight in-turned beaked point which is super sharp and once in, it’s not coming out! A great hook for pellet fishing and in these days when pennies are getting tighter they are amazing value for money and come in packets containing 15!

The all-rounder

The Match variety is another of my favourites, especially when feeder fishing for carp as it’s amazingly light in weight but super strong. The razor sharp hook point is longer than the beast ensuring a secure hook hold and reducing the chance of a hook pull when fishing at distance. It really is an all-rounder, a robust reliable hook that all pole, float, feeder anglers need to check out! Available in sizes 8 to 18, spade end and barbed only and once again in packets of 15!

Both the Beast and the Match are also available as pre-tied hooks to high quality monofilament on an innovative winder. Eight hook lengths on each winder so great for anglers that prefer ready tied hook lengths. 

Alex Reynolds

sphere hooks 2
beast barbless hooks

The Beast Barbless range is a firm-favourite amongst anglers looking for a very strong and robust hook, especially for carp and barbel.

sphere hooks to nylon

Most of the Sphere range are also available in these excellent Hooks to Nylon, supplied on a very easy to use spool that also keeps the line safe from UV rays.

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fish counter 1

Fish Counter

Fish Counter

A fish counter is an essential piece of kit, especially during carp matches when keepnet weight limits apply. Estimating the weight of each fish and then clicking the poundage up keeps you in touch with what you have caught and then when the limit is close another keepnet can be started.

It’s also useful in silver fish matches when you want to click up the total amount of fish being caught which can then be quickly converted into an estimated weight at the end of the match.

I’ve lost count of the amount of counters that I’ve dropped in a lake so this one is particularly useful as it has a standard male thread that can be securely screwed into a seat box or platform fitting. 

Tim Bruce

fish counter 2

Easy to click counter switch.

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Standard male thread for mounting on seat box/platform. 

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

Find out more about our team of anglers here.


Visit the Browning interactive product catalogue here.

Xenos advance rod butt

Xenos Advance Feeder Rods

Xenos Advance Feeder Rods - designed for the modern feeder angler.

If you are looking for a superb-quality feeder rod that won’t break the bank then check out the new Xenos Advance Feeder rods. Covering everything from medium range mini-feeder work for silvers, through Stillwater bream at range, right up to long-range Stillwater feeder and Method feeder tactics on the biggest stillwaters, there is something in this range for everyone. 

Built on exceptional 40 tonne carbon blanks, that combine plenty of backbone in the butt section, with a forgiving middle and tip, these rods cast extremely accurately, with the power to punch a feeder out, even in a cross-wind. The softer in the mid-section makes playing decent bream and carp a pleasure rather than a nerve-jangling chore! 

Perhaps the first thing that you will notice about these rods is the ringing pattern. Fitted with braid-friendly skeletal rings, the tips are fitted with large-diameter rings as standard. Because of the low weight of the skeletal rings this does not effect the action of the rod, but does increase casting distance. When fishing with braided main lines and shockleaders the connecting knot flies through the rings almost silently for much smoother casting. 

For anglers that prefer smaller rings, perhaps when fishing with monofilament main lines, standard tips are also available in a range of different strengths. 

Xenos advanced feeder casting
Xenos advance rings

Skeletal large diameter rings are used throughout to minimise friction and weight.

xenon advance tip

Tips are available in a range of strengths and with standard and large rings.

Xenos advance keeper ring

Handy keeper rings are fitted to the Xenos Advance rods.

Xenos advance reel seat

The lock-down reel seat are very secure and comfortable to use, and look great!

These rods look as good as they perform, with their custom-designed reel seats and optimised handles. The ergonomic shape of the reel seat provides a firm anchor point when casting without adding weight or bulk. The lower part of the handle is made from non-slip EVA, which is easy to grip even when caked in groundbait and slime. 

The 3.9m three-piece ML version is ideal for Stillwater feeder fishing with groundbait feeders up to around 40 grams unloaded, with an optimal feeder weight of 30grams unloaded. This is a brilliant bream rod, for medium range fishing, where the sensitive tips show up every liner and twitch. Supplied with three tips of 1oz, 1.5oz and 2oz, this is the perfect choice for the stillwater angler. 

Check out the full range of Xenos Advance Feeder rods in our digital catalogue here – https://tackle-box.eu/en/p/12218330

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

Find out more about our team of anglers here.


Visit the Browning interactive product catalogue here.

sphere match hooks to nylon cover

Sphere Match Hooks to Nylon

If like myself you prefer to use ready tied hook lengths and are looking for a true all-round hook that is equally at home when float or feeder fishing then you really need to try the Sphere Match Hooks to Nylon.

I first started using this when feeder fishing, but my faith in it has grown, and I now use it almost all the time, whether I’m feeder, pole, waggler or trotting a river for silvers.

What I love about these hooks to nylon is the unique winder concept which stores each and every hook length securely. The retaining spool has a silicone surface and a folding protective lip, safely enclosing all of the ready tied hooks and protecting your leaders against damaging UV light or being damaged in transit within your tackle trays. 

No more frustrating unwinding either as these are on a continuous loop and safely contained on the easy, no spill access spool. To release each hook length simply remove the first hook from its retaining slot and unwind until the next hook is revealed. Remove the first hook length and then place the next hook into the nearest retaining slot on the back of the spool, before letting the lip of the spool relocate tightly to the spool.

Each spool contains eight black nickel ultra sharp barbed hooks pre-tied on 100cm hook lengths. Hook sizes range between a size 18, which is attached to a 0.10mm (2.2lb) high performance monofilament, to an 8 which is attached to 0.18mm (6.9lb). 

Spade end loose hooks are also available in packets of 15 for those who prefer to tie their own hook lengths.

A true all-rounder and one I would highly recommend.

Justin Watkins

sphere match hooks to nylon spool

Sphere Match hooks are supplied either as loose hooks or pre-tied to 100cm of premium nylon.

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The unique spool system makes removing each hooklength very simple with no chance of tangles.

Watkins river roach catch

I use Sphere Match Hooks to Nylon for much of my silverfish fishing. They are a great hook pattern, that I find work well on both float and feeder tactics.

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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. 

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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


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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.

Ultra Lite Feeder Hook 1

Sphere Feeder Ultra Lite Hooks

For silverfish feeder fishing, with the chance of a big bonus fish, the Sphere Feeder Ultra Lite Hooks are my choice.

A lot of my feeder fishing on natural venues revolves around catching numbers of silverfish averaging a few ounces each, but of course the chance of a rogue lump or two as well. Hooks and hooklengths need to be relatively refined for this style of fishing, but not so light that the ever-present chance of hooking a decent bream, eel or tench is ignored or worse still wasted when light gear loses the battle. Whilst they cannot be relied upon, those bonus fish can mean the difference between winning and losing, so I need to capitalise on every opportunity.


Light hooks are great for presentation, and ensure my hookbait looks as natural as the particles it’s surrounded by, but of course everything on a feeder tends to require stepping up a bit.  My choice for this style of fishing is the Sphere Feeder Ultra Lite Hooks, which despite being exceedingly light weight, packs an amazing amount of strength – don’t be fooled by the larger sizes, these area great for bit baits and aggressive retrieves when you need to ensure fish stay on all the way back. This must be down to the Japanese wire and tempering process used, but also the shape too. Whatever the ‘secret alchemy’ used, they have proven to be extremely reliable for this style of fishing.


Another point (sic) worth mentioning are the points! These really are razor sharp, but last really well too, meaning I bump less fish and need to change my hooklength less often.


Hook shapes are a very personal thing, but I do like the slightly ‘wedge-shaped’ bend on these hooks that see the point facing very slightly towards the shank. This shape, combined with the straight point, goes in and stays in, meaning less lost fish when I am fishing at range.


Bait wise, this is an allrounder, but really is a great maggot hook, especially when fishing with two or three grubs. It also lends itself really well to fishing worm heads and bunches of caster too. The Sphere Feeder Ultra Lite Hooks are a great feeder hook that I use a lot.


Available in sizes 8 to 18


Kye Jerrom


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Find out more about our team of anglers here.


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Ultra Lite Feeder Hook 2

This is a light, but very strong hook, that is ideal for silvers, but with enough strength to land bonus fish.

On venues like the Ely Ouse, where there are a lot of silver fish on the far bank, this is the ideal hook. It will even land the odd bonus bream or tench.

Ultra Lite Feeder Hook 3

The slightly inturned shape helps keep small fish on the hook when winding them in on the feeder.

"My choice for lighter feeder fishing."

CK Micro Waggler rod 1

CK 9’ Micro Waggler

Having used the CK 9′ Micro Waggler rod for around 12 months now I can honestly say that it really does stand out and is an absolute joy to use. This 9’ two-piece rod is feather-light yet it tames big fish far quicker than longer more conventional rods.

It is also ultra slim, made from high quality carbon and weighs a mere 152g. It also has a short handle, specially shaped for comfort and speed, which allows me to cast and catch repeatedly all day.

Ideally suited to short to medium distance fishing. The CK 9′ Micro Waggler rod is exceptionally accurate and brilliant for speed fishing up in the water. Especially when bigger than average carp can be expected.

Another massive advantage is being a two-piece rod means that it can be transported and stored ready made up. The snag-free keeper ring is an additional nice touch.

Incredibly priced a just over £50 the CK 9′ Micro Waggler is a great value float rod just made for fun and speed. These days I just wouldn’t venture onto a carp commercial without it.

This is just one of a whole range of fantastic value CK rods that cover a number of different Commercial Fishery applications. From Method feeder fishing, to winter straight lead fishing. Match them with the brilliant Browning MSF fixed spool reels.


Be sure to check them out and grab yourself a bargain!

Filipe Passeira


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Find out more about our team of anglers here.


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CK Micro Waggler rod 2

Bob Nudd with a fantastic catch or Tidal River Yare roach.

CK Micro Waggler rod 3

Tim Bruce with a cracking early spring carp.

CK Micro Waggler rod 4

Andy Blay with a proper feeder caught bream.

"I wouldn't want to visit a Commercial without this great little rod."

How to Catch F1's Shallow

Commercial Fishing Tactics - Catch F1's Shallow

In this new video we join Filipe Passeira looking at his Commercial Fishing Tactics – Catch F1’s Shallow.


Alternating between two lines, one for F1’s on the long pole, and one short for silvers, Fil gets the best from his peg. In the end, the F1’s just keep on feeding, whilst the roach don’t really show. Even so, by alternating lines, Fil keeps putting fish in the net for the whole of his session.

By fishing two lines in front of him Fil can easily feed both lines, even when playing a fish. Hard pellets are the go to bait on the long line. Whilst maggots are fed on the inside to attract the roach.

By fishing the short line at the distance Fil breaks down his pole when shipping in, he can consistently feed accurately whilst catching further out.


If you are interested in catching more carp, F1’s and silvers on the shallow pole then this video is a must watch. Some great tips and tactics from our team Wickford angler.


Hit the play button below to watch the video : Commercial Fishing Tactics – Catch F1’s Shallow


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.

Browning Osset 2

Match Fishing with Browning Osset.

Team match fishing with Browning Osset.


Sunday we fished Paul Caygill’s national split across the New Junction and Aire and Calder canals. Excellent draw, as usual, so smooth and everyone straight off to our pegs. We were a little unsure of our draw, with a few iffy pegs that could catch us out. 

Anyhow, the team put in a blinding performance to cap off a great summer with an average of 11.5 points from the 10 anglers in a 14 peg section. This left us with 115 points and luckily enough to win the day with Drennan Barnsley a close second with 111 points! 

Well done to Paul Caygill on running another faultless 140 peg match. Always on point and does so well to make it run so smooth and keeping team fishing alive! 

Another point to mention which is very important to our team members and probably a lot of other anglers. Is Paul Caygill invited a Junior team of 10 to fish for free with the rest of the teams. Which is absolutely great to see so many young anglers having a go on a natural venue and all showed great talent for venues they don’t fish and will certainly be dangerous if they continue. Hopefully see them on the bank again and in the event next year. 

Last week we also managed to win the final round of the happy league, also ran by Paul Caygill, with the highest score of the year with a 98 point total. Which meant we kept our lead to win the league out right. 

Big well done to Michael Lodge for winning the individual league points again, always so consistent. 

Another big thank you to Paul Caygill on running the league. We are excited for next year, with a few matches on the river Trent. 

Big thanks to Browning for their support for another season. Now two weeks before we go again for the winter league, where we will be trying our best to get into the winter league final. 


Team match fishing with Browning Osset.


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

Find out more about our team of anglers here.


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Browning Osset 1
Browning Osset 2