Top matchman Nick Young reveals a new floating feeder which he claims is easy to use and will empty commercial carp waters. Is the Rocket as good as he claims?
With the water temperatures at their highest and fish cruising near the surface, anglers fishing ‘up-in-the-water’ are emptying Britain’s commercial carp pools.
If you fancy joining the catch action the good news is there’s a new gadget that has been purpose-made to maximise catches near the surface.
The new MAP Rocket Feeder is set to sweep the nation’s fisheries this summer.
Quite unlike anything else on the market, these floating feeders allow you present a rain of freebies that tumble through the upper layers around a hookbait, presented on a short hooklink.
To get evidence on how good this new gizmo is, we teamed up with Nick Young, at Worcestershire’s prolific Brockamin Pools, for a session on their Top Pool.
With a large head of carp to over 20lb and depths down to 12 feet, Brockamin seemed the ideal place to test Nick’s grandiose assertion that the new Rocket Feeder is the most revolutionary device since the conception of Method Feeder and something that will GUARANTEE to up your catch rate this summer.
Nick had made the claim, now he had to provide the proof..
HOW DOES THE ROCKET FEEDER WORK?
Arriving at Brockamin on a hot summer morning, we were greeted by Nick clutching his Rocket like a proud dad presenting his new child!
“Here it is,” he said, “...I’m telling you, it’s the business.”
It was instantly clear that the Rocket is essentially an open-ended feeder with a huge, highly buoyant nose cone stuck on the end of it.
Unlike most feeders, which sink to the bottom, this gadget is designed to float. Here’s how it works.
First you fill the feeder with bait like mixed particles, sweetcorn, casters, maggots, meat or chopped worms. You then plug the end of the Rocket with a small amount of groundbait.
When the feeder is cast into the water, it up-ends and the groundbait quickly collapses.
Once the plug of groundbait has been removed the feeder promptly empties its contents to rain through the upper layers.
With a short hooklink hanging below the feeder, so the hookbait is no more than a couple of feet from the feeder, the hope is that the fish will pick up the bait as they dive into the cloud of loosefeed falling from the inverted feeder.
Clearly the feeder does bear a similarity to the Baggin Waggler float which hit the angling scene a few years ago.
However, as Nick explained, the Rocket’s main advantages are it’s easy to fill, easy to cast and doesn’t rely on groundbait being moulded around its base, as a Baggin Waggler does.
As Nick put the Rocket through its paces at the Worcestershire water, it was clear that he could bait the feeder very quickly and land it on a six-pence every cast. It wasn’t hard to imagine this whipping the carp into a competitive feeding frenzy.
This tank test gives you a flavour of what happens when the Rocket hits the water. In this test we loaded the feeder with sinking pellets and capped it with brown crumb - the Rocket emptied in 40 seconds. The harder you squeeze the groundbait the longer the bait will be held inside the feeder, you can also use different baits as filling so they sink at different speeds. Maggots and dark casters will sink slower than large pellets. The Rocket feeder costs £2.99.
WHEN DOES THE ROCKET FEEDER WORK?
Through the summer and autumn months when the water is warm, carp spend much of their time cruising and feeding in the upper layers.
Due to higher water temperatures, carp are very active and will feed hard to grow and replace any lost energy.
This makes fish hungry and they will compete to get to food first. Greed can overcome natural caution.
“This is the main reason the Rocket feeder works on commercial waters,” Nick explained.
“Carp in these waters have learned to home in on a splash. They are on the look-out for a regular supply of feed hitting the water so they will flock to an area where the Rocket is repeatedly landing.”
Common sense dictates that this constant barrage of noise may sound like a recipe for disaster as no carp will hang around during such an aerial assault.
But realising that the noise of the feeder hitting the surface actually attracts the fish rather than spooking them, is THE key to understanding why you can catch ‘up-in-the-water’ using the Rocket.
“On commercial waters the fish see a lot of disturbance, so as long as there is food going in, the fish will hang around” Nick added.
HOW TO FISH THE ROCKET FEEDER
When fishing with the Rocket, Nick doesn’t fish his swim – he attacks it! The most important step to using the float correctly is that at the start of the session it must be filled and recast every 60 to 90 seconds.
This is the process of ringing the dinner bell.
For the first part of the session Nick became an angling machine. If he wasn’t loading the feeder with bait or casting it out, he was cranking it back to refill it again!
Once again this was to whip the fish into a feeding frenzy and it took less than an hour for the fish to start fighting for his food.
“It is crucial when fishing shallow that you keep a constant shower of free offerings cascading through the upper layers,” explained Nick, as he prepared to make a second cast in less than two minutes.
“This really is the key to this style of fishing. If you stop the deluge of bait, and leave the empty feeder sitting in the water for several minutes, the fish will soon disperse as there is nothing in the swim to hold them,” he added.
“The swim must be built up with regular baiting and you need to cast at least once every two minutes, or as soon as the feeder has emptied.”
But regular casting places other demands - to get the best from the feeder it MUST be cast accurately. Nick’s Rocket landed with pinpoint accuracy on every single cast.
By slipping his line into the clip on his spool, at the required casting distance, Nick carefully aimed at a marker on the far bank to focus his feed, and the fish, in a tight area.
“It’s important you hit the same mark to concentrate the feeding activity,” Nick said.
“Even though it’s a floating device, it is still a feeder so to keep catching accuracy is vital.
“You will need a fair amount of bait, but it doesn’t need to be an expensive method,” he explained.
“It doesn’t matter what you use as filling long as there is something constantly falling through the water.
“I generally use cheap sinking pellets that I buy in 25 kilo bags from animal feed suppliers. Plain brown crumb can be used for the groundbait.
“If you’re on a tight budget you can always pad out the feeder with some cheap pellets, rather than filling up with maggots, before capping it off with groundbait.”
Kicking off his session, Nick was soon into a constant rhythm of filling, capping, casting and catching.
The speed that the fish came up in the water to feed was incredible. After only half-a-dozen casts Nick caught his first fish, it was a plump 10oz roach that had just about managed to stuff his triple red maggot hookbait into its mouth!
Repeating this success Nick quickly put a dozen roach in his net before something more substantial grabbed his triple red maggot hookbait and hooked itself against the Rocket.
With his rod bending double under the strain of the fish, Nick demonstrated the value of using balanced tackle and was soon coaxing a 10lb-plus mirror carp over the rim of his landing net.
Following his own advice to accurately and frequently recast, Nick repeatedly latched into roach and rudd with regular interuptions from carp spicing things up!
With over 60lb of fish caught in under four hours Nick had certainly backed up his claim that the MAP Rocket Feeder is a revolutionary piece of kit for ‘up-in-the-water’ fishing.
Having watched his impressive performance, and witnessed first hand how dramatically the fish responded to it, there is no doubt in my mind that the Rocket is ready for blast off!
THE ADVANTAGES OVER OTHER SHALLOW FISHING METHODS...
When fishing ‘up-in-the-water’ with rod and line there are three techniques you can use – a waggler float, the Bagging Waggler or the Rocket Feeder. Here’s Nick’s summary of why the Rocket has the edge...
Disadvantages of the waggler:
>> You often need to fish beyond catapult range, so you can’t loose feed effectively.
>> The further out you feed, the more the catapult will spread the bait and the fish.
>> You can only accurately feed one type of bait at a time.
Disadvantages of the Bagging Waggler:
>> It’s a heavy float, which is hard to cast accurately.
>> Your groundbait must grip the float tightly enough for casting but breaks apart quickly once in the water.
>> A heavy-duty rod is required to cope with casting.
Advantages of the Rocket:
>> Easy to fill with one bait or a variety of offerings.
>> Light enough to use with a standard power/carp float rod.
>> Rate of bait release can be controlled by how hard the groundbait is squeezed into the feeder.
>> Don’t need to use any special groundbait or mix it to any special consistency.
>> Can use ‘un-catapultable’ or light baits in the feeder – such as chopped worm, 2mm pellets or liquidised corn.
>> Delivers a rain of freebies near the hookbait, helping to confuse and excite fish.