WHEN BREAM AREN’T IN THE MOOD TO PLAY
England Feeder team man Rob Wootton shows how his speed approach for small fish on the tip can build a weight
NICE as it is to catch a big bag of match winning bream, pegs and weather conditions don’t always make it possible!
My first open match at Staunton Harold reservoir in Derbyshire recently went like a dream, and I won it with 85lb 11oz of slabs to 6lb. But I returned to the venue with Angling Times a week later and couldn’t get a bite off one!
I don’t know if it was because it was a bright, hot day or if there simply weren’t any bream in front of me, but I quickly realised that I had to drastically alter my approach if I was to put a respectable catch together.
Feeder fishing at speed for small fish is something we do a lot of in Ireland and at the Feeder World Championships, and it’s a great way of getting out of jail.
My usual ploy on a big lake or reservoir is to feed a long line at a distance of 50m-60m for bream, putting several big feederfuls of bait here. Then I’ll start on a much closer small-fish line at anything between 20m and 40m, depending on depth and conditions. It’s best to build this swim up gradually, rather than giving it a hit of bait as you do on the bream line! Then it’s a case looking to see if bream start to get caught by others, so you can change lines if they do.
Perch, roach and small skimmers or hybrids are generally the targets on a close line. That means fishing and feeding finely-chopped worms, casters, pinkies and dead maggots. Small feeders are the order of the day, usually three or four-bar cages. I like the Nisa plastic type in a 28g size. Cage feeders produce a really nice cloud to draw fish in and I use them for most of my ‘traditional’ feeder work. The other model I use is a Window feeder which is very quick to load and fish with, as you can tighten down to it very quickly. The bait goes through a ‘window’ in the side and it’s good in deep water – you don’t get the cloud you do with a cage feeder, though.
The key is to cast every 60 seconds to get the bait and cloud in, and lots of bites come on the drop too as the hooklength settles. I’ll start with a 1m hooklength, reducing this if I miss bites to as short a length as I can get away with without compromising bites.
My gear is slightly on the crude side, a size 10 to 14 Kamasan B512 and a 0.14mm Shimano Exage hooklength. This way you’ll connect with far more bites and be able to speed-fish more positively. There will be fewer tangles and spin-ups too.
Braided mainline is a must for me, with an 8lb mono
“Feeder fishing at speed for small fish is a great way of getting out of jail”
shockleader included. It makes everything more direct and there’s no mistaking bites. Even though I might only be fishing up to 40m I use a 12ft Shimano Beastmaster Commercial CX to make casting comfortable.
The rig is a standard running feeder rig with a paternoster feeder link housing the feeder.
My groundbait is a sweet mix of Dynamite Silver X Bream, Frenzied Hemp Black (to darken it off a bit) and brown crumb.
A bream mix will typically contain a lot more fishmeal.
I prefer to fish tiny sections of dendrobaenas on the hook as small fish tend to hold on to them longer than other baits.
You don’t need bream for a winning weight. I don’t use too fine a line or hook. Hookbait – a dendrobaena fragment.
You don’t get a cloud in the water with this pattern, but it’s very quick to load and fish with. WINDOW FEEDER Small fish tend to come on my 20m-40m line. This 28g Nisa pattern is used for most of my ‘traditional’ feeder work and clouds the water nicely. CAGE FEEDER