Angling Times (UK) - - TIPS & TACTICS -

AT THIS time of year, fish­ing for bites is the name of the game on mixed fish­eries – so if you plan on fish­ing the feeder, your ap­proach needs to flex­i­ble to ap­peal to all species.

A small cage feeder hold­ing ground­bait and a lit­tle chopped worm and caster tamed with small hook­baits will get bites when a more pos­i­tive Method or pel­let feeder ap­proach won’t, but reg­u­lar cast­ing to build the swim up is es­sen­tial.

A small cage feeder is needed to help reg­u­late the amount of feed go­ing in but there’s no need to worry about us­ing a feeder with lots of weight – you won’t need to cast a long way. Typ­i­cally, a 30-yard cast into open wa­ter will be enough, pro­vided there’s enough depth. Around 6ft is per­fect in all but the cold­est of weather.

A run­ning feeder on the main­line stopped with a bead is as sim­ple as the rig gets, but lines and hooks must be able to cope with any bonus carp yet light enough to get bites from small fish. That means a main­line of around 4lb to a 3lb hook­link and a size 18 bar­b­less mag­got-style hook. Be­gin with an 18ins tail and only shorten this if you are get­ting and miss­ing bites as soon as the feeder set­tles on the lakebed.

A 10ft soft feeder or bomb rod will pre­vent crack-offs on the strike with big fish, but have plenty of soft­ness to ab­sorb lunges un­der the rod-tip when play­ing a carp or tench – al­though bites won’t be the pos­i­tive pull-rounds of sum­mer. In­stead you’ll get those clas­sic knocks and plucks to strike at and it’s a mat­ter of judge­ment as to when to strike. Let­ting the bite de­velop into a pos­i­tive af­fair is best.

On the hook you should be­gin with a sin­gle mag­got but be pre­pared to change this to a cou­ple or even a piece of

worm to tempt bet­ter qual­ity fish. On the feed front, a stan­dard sweet but fine ground­bait mixed on the dry side is fine. To this you can add just a pinch of chopped worm and caster on ev­ery cast, but don’t over­feed this combo.


RIVERS run cold and clear af­ter a spell of frosts and no rain. Most fish don’t play ball in these con­di­tions, perch will give you a bite when all else has fails, and the mag­got feeder is the rig to get it.

Ideal for in­tro­duc­ing small con­sign­ments of bait into tight spots where the fish lurk, you can fish sur­pris­ingly light tackle. With soft enough rods, you shouldn’t lose that many fish as a re­sult.

Perch love mag­gots in clear wa­ter and reds seem to outscore ev­ery­thing else. You’ll need to keep your cast­ing reg­u­lar and rea­son­ably ac­cu­rate to build up a small pile of feed in the peg. This has the ben­e­fit of pulling small roach and dace into the area, which in turn arouses the cu­rios­ity of the perch.

With win­ter all but here, you don’t need to go wad­ing in with big hooks and thick lines. A soft through-ac­tioned spe­cial­ist rod means that you can fish quite safely with size 18 or even 20 hooks as long as you don’t try and pull the heads off the fish. A main­line of around 4lb or 5lb cou­pled with a hook length of 0.12mm or 0.14mm low-di­am­e­ter line caps things off.

How big a feeder you use de­pends on the num­ber of small fish in the peg, which can soon wolf down a help­ing of mag­gots. If there are mil­lions of tiny fish, a big feeder will be needed to en­sure some bait is left over to keep the perch happy, but in very cold weather when ap­petites are low, a tiny cut-down feeder hold­ing just half-a-dozen mag­gots will get an in­di­ca­tion when noth­ing else will.

A sin­gle mag­got may look out of place for catch­ing big fish, but it will of­ten be snapped up when two or even three won’t. Go for reds, as perch seem to show a real lik­ing for this colour, es­pe­cially in clear wa­ter. Don’t be afraid to try a big­ger bait if small fish are a nui­sance. A lob worm tail in this in­stance can be par­tic­u­larly deadly.

Keep things sim­ple – a run­ning feeder stopped with a bead on the main­line will suf­fice. The feeder is at­tached via a quick-change swivel. Plas­tic cage feed­ers are avail­able in a va­ri­ety of weights and sizes. Pack one with sweet ground­bait to which is added a small amount of chopped worm. Mag­gots are a clas­sic hook­bait, but a piece of worm will catch big­ger fish.

The feeder runs freely on the main­line thanks to a rig ring stopped by a tulip bead. Use a soft rod and you won’t need to go too heavy, even for big perch. A sin­gle mag­got will of­ten catch when mul­ti­ples won’t, and red seems to be the favourtie colour.

A mag­got feeder is ideal for big perch.

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