Groundbait feeder rig for river barbel, chub and bream

This simple yet very effective feeder fishing rig is perfect for catching river barbel, chub and bream. It’s easy to make and can be used in deep sluggish rivers through to fairly shallow and swift flowing rivers.

The beauty of this rig is that it can be used to catch all of our larger river species, providing you use an appropriate bait and loosefeed to tempt them.

All you’ll need to tie this rig is a variety of different weight of feeders, some eyed hooks, some hooklength braid, strong mainline, a snap link swivel and a buffer bead.

Buffer beads are small rubberised sleeves that fit over half of a swivel. They can be found at all good specialist fishing tackle stores and are ideal for stopping your swivel from hitting knots and potentially weakening them.

The most important part – and often the most technical – is choosing the right weight of feeder. The feeder must be an open end type. Cage feeders simply release their load of groundbait too quickly, whereas open end feeders hold on to the groundbait until the feeder hits the river bed.

Getting the right weight of feeder requires a few experimental casts. Pick a feeder that you think might offer enough weight to hold still in the flow, cast it out and see if the feeder remains static on the bottom. Ideally you should choose a feeder that only just holds still in the flow – one that will easily dislodge and begin rolling if a fish were to pick up the bait and nudge the feeder out of position.

Two of the best baits for this rig are either large drilled halibut pellets or fishmeal boilies – bream, barbel and chub love them. But you could use maggots, worms, casters, sweetcorn, anything you wish.

The feed you put inside the feeder ought to match the hookbait you’re using. If you decide to use a halibut pellet or a fishmeal boilie on a hair rig, you will do best to use a fishmeal groundbait and pellets in your feeder.



A – Larger baits like pellets and boilies should be hair-rigged. You’ll need a strong eyed hook for this and the best way to tie a hair rig is to use the knotless knot.

If you intend to use more conventional baits, just choose a strong hook of a size to suit your chosen bait.

B – It’s your choice whether you decide to use a mono or a braid hooklength. If you decide to use a mono hooklength pick one that will cope with a barbel, so 6-8lb breaking strain will be ideal. If you opt for braid, chose a 12lb breaking strain.

C – Your loosefeed should match your hookbait. Fishmeal groundbait and pellets is an ideal match for boilies and drilled halibut pellets. This combination scores well for river specimens.

D – Your open end feeder should have enough weight in the lead to just hold still in the river’s flow.

E – Use a quick-release snap link swivel to attach the feeder, and a buffer bead to attach your hooklength.

F – Your mainline needs to be strong enough to cope with a big barbel, so choose 8lb or 10lb breaking strain.