1) Method v Hybrid - Which is better?
I’ve lost count of the number of big catches I’ve taken on the feeder in the summer months. Until last season those catches were almost exclusively on the Method feeder, but now I use two styles – the Method and the Hybrid.
Regular readers will know that since the Hybrid feeder came out I have fished with little else, as I feel it offers the best hookbait presentation you can get. Owing to the raised sides your bait is protected on the cast, but once it breaks down there is nothing for the hookbait or loose offerings to get stuck on.
In my opinion the Hybrid is at its best fishing for one fish at a time, whereas a Method is all about building a swim to catch a lot of fish. This is simply down to the fact that it holds a lot more bait than a Hybrid can.
2) In-line or elasticated?
I use both but will usually err towards an elasticated feeder with either Black or White Hydro, elastic, depending on the size of the fish I’m likely to catch. When the fish is under the rod top the elastic does the work and helps to prevent, or at the very least minimise, hook-pulls.
With no elastic in the feeder, when a fish shakes its head the feeder shoots up the line. When it comes back down the ‘bounce’ can be enough to make the hook fall out. I could use a softer rod, but over the course of a season I just feel elastic causes me to lose less fish. An elasticated feeder permits quick changes so when I’m waiting for bites I can make more feeders up. Then when I catch a fish I can clip the feeder I’m using off and clip a loaded feeder on.
3) Think heavy
Choosing the right weight of feeder is far more important than a lot of anglers realise. It’s absolutely vital that once the feeder hits the bottom it doesn’t move. You have to realise that if the hookbait gets pulled away from the loose offerings, the whole benefit of this style of fishing is wiped out.
The size of your feeder is also important, because this determines the amount of bait you’re putting in. Some days you need to hold back, while on other days you need to get out as much feed as possible in a short period of time to hold the fish in your swim.
I use three sizes of feeder – Mini, Small, and Large – in various weights. When fishing in open water on small lakes, in winter, or when I only want to feed a small amount of bait, a Mini in the 24g size is perfect. The Small version is a more general-sized feeder for year-round use and comes in 24g and 36g weights. I pick the heavier version for longer casts.
A ‘Big Bertha’ Large version, in both 28g and 45g, allows you to get a lot more feed out and it’s the 45g size that I love to use on venues such as Boddington, where 90m-plus casts can be needed to reach the shoals.
4) Easy rigs
There’s nothing difficult about setting either rig up. If I’m clipping my feeders on and off I thread a Method feeder ‘tail rubber’ on to my mainline and tie a 3ins loop in the end of my mainline using a double overhand loop knot. Clip your feeder on and slide the tail rubber down on to the stem of the feeder – job done!
For inline feeders, thread the feeder on to your mainline, tie a 6ins twizzled loop in the end with a Speed Bead trapped inside, slide the feeder back down the line so it sits against the bead and then add your hooklength. Simple!
5) Short hooklengths rule
On both the Hybrid and Method, I find a 4ins hooklength ideal. This gives the hookbait extra movement so it behaves more naturally when a fish sucks it in. Hook size and line diameter depend on the species and size of fish. On venues where I’m looking to catch a mixed bag of skimmers, F1s and carp I will use a size 16 MWG to 0.17mm Guru N-Gauge.
On bigger waters, like Boddington Reservoir – where it’s all about carp and the average fish is 8lb-plus – I’ll set up with a size 12 QM1 hook to 0.19mm line. Both are tied with a knotless knot so I can hair-rig my hookbaits
6) Bright or blend-in hookbaits?
Hookbaits fall into two camps – blend in and stand-out. Blend in baits such as 6mm or 8mm hard coarse pellets are used to match the feed and work well when the fish are proving cagey. You can trick them into eating a hookbait which is masked among the loose offerings.
Stand-out hookbaits such as mini fluoro boilies, bright wafter boilies, and bread discs in winter, work in the opposite way. They give the fish a bait they can really home in on and are great when there are a lot of fish in the peg.
7) Pellets... The must have feed
A question I get asked a lot concerns what to put around the Method. What’s right on one day can be wrong the next, but if I’m in doubt I will opt for 2mm coarse pellets – all fish love them!
I will always have groundbait with me, as if it isn’t happening on pellets I can make the switch. You can also give pellets a dusting in groundbait – I normally use Dynamite’s Swim Stim Sweet Fishmeal. This is something I do if there are a few skimmers mixed in with carp and F1s. On the Hybrid it’s 2mm pellets every time for me!
8) To bury or not?
Going back a long time, I actually used to fish a Method feeder with the hookbait hanging out a couple of inches from the payload. However I noticed that I would sometimes get indications which didn’t result in bites.
This got me thinking. The idea of the Method feeder is to get fish eating the pellets or groundbait that’s on the feeder, so leaving your hookbait out actually made very little sense.I did a bit of experimenting and it seemed I got twice as many bites when burying the hookbait, so that’s what I do!
9) Try a pop-up on the method
The new Method feeder clip I’ve been using allows you to fish popped-up baits. Pop-up are very effective on the feeder but I’ve never felt they were being presented properly. The clip attaches the hookbait to the middle of the feeder in the perfect position amid the feed.
I still use a 4ins hooklength but by varying where I put the line in the clip I can fish with as long or short a hooklength as I want.The hookbait, an 8mm or 10mm orange boilie, pops up around 2ins from the feeder. Once the feeder breaks the hookbait is the first thing a fish will see as it approaches the feeders
10) How often to cast?
On a normal commercial I will cast every 3-5 minutes to start with to get some bait down and hold the carp once they arrive. You may find that you get short bursts of fish, then nothing for 20 minutes, then three more in quick succession.
In the last hour the swim may well be solid with fish as by this time there’s plenty of bait on the bottom and the fish are properly on the feed due to the time of day. This is a very positive way of fishing, and it has caught me a lot of big weights.