Beat the wind with a feeder – Russell Shipton
When the wind rules out using a pole, Middy’s Russell Shipton reaches for a pellet feeder to accurately target swims tight to the far bank on snake lakes
WHEN the wind is howling and the elements are lined against you, it can seem almost impossible to fish the far bank of a snake lake. As you fish down the margins or a few sections in front, you’re likely to sigh in despair as you watch fish swirl tight over on the far bank – you’re convinced there is no way of catching them. That may well be the case on the pole, but reach for a pellet feeder and it’s a whole different ball game. Most of the tackle that you would use on an open water lake or when chucking to an island will still come into play, but there are a few changes you’ll need to adopt that’ll make the world of difference. Marukyu and Middy’s Russell Shipton never leave home without a rod and reel set-up when a snake lake is on the agenda. “I’ve lost count of the number of times that I have seen people unable to fish close to the cover because of the conditions, but by abandoning the pole you can come out on top,” explained Russell. “A pellet feeder is the ideal tactic to combat the wind and keep bites coming thick and fast.”
Find the shallowest water
The beauty of the pole is that you can delicately place a rig next to anything you like. Sadly, you don’t have that luxury with a feeder. You can be as accurate as you like when casting it over, but if you have a peg that is full of overhanging debris you aren’t going to get the presentation you need. “I always look for a peg with minimal snags such as reeds on the far bank. This enables me to get really tight over in the shallow water where the fish want to be. “If you chuck in front of the reeds you may think you are tight, but the reality is that the shallowest water is among those snags, and where your feeder has settled could be a couple of feet deeper,” he cautioned. Once you have picked a suitable swim you need to make the right tackle choices to aid accurate casting.
The short cast technique
Chucking a feeder less than 15m may sound extremely easy. It isn’t. It’s a skill much trickier to master than you first think. “When you cast a feeder you instinctively hold the rod out in front briefly after letting it go to help it reach the required distance. “But when fishing at such short range you need to cast and immediately sweep the rod back over your head so that the line hits the clip smoothly,” explained Russell. “If you don’t do that the line will hit the clip and the tip won’t cushion the impact. The feeder will bounce back into open water and land well away from where you intended it to.” A short rod makes this technique easier, and Russell relies on a Middy Arco-Tech 9ft-10ft F1 feeder to achieve his goal. His GFD4000 reel is loaded with 8lb Middy M-Tech mainline which has a small 30g Middy ‘The Wedge’ in-line pellet feeder threaded on to it. At the business end is a 6lb Middy Band ’Em Method hooklength pre-tied to a size 16 hook.
Build a rhythm
It would be easy to chuck out the feeder and hope for the best, but that lazy attitude wouldn’t be adopted when fishing the pole. If you were fishing with 14m of carbon you would be regularly lifting and dropping and keeping the swim topped up with bait – and that needs to be replicated on the feeder. “I won’t leave the feeder in the water for more than three minutes at this time of year. The regular top-ups of bait and the ‘plop’ of the feeder going in will attract fish from the surrounding pegs.” When it comes to hookbait choice it pays to be versatile. On some days a banded 6mm pellet that blends in with the dampened 2mm pellets packed into the feeder works best. On others something brighter and more blatantly visual such as a Marukyu JPZ is a better option. Rod-and-line tactics are given short shrift on snake lakes, but ignore the pellet feeder at your peril.
“A pellet feeder is the ideal tactic to combat the wind”
Casting accurately at 15m is trickier than it sounds. You’ll need to master the right technique