Imagine if there was presentation that allowed you to present a hookbait over any type of lakebed - even thick weed - leave a tight pile of freebies around your hookbait and the chances are no one else on your lake is using it.
Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Well if you delve into the back of your tackle cupboard you’ll probably unearth exactly what you need for this deadly set-up.
Around 15-years ago Method feeders were all the rage. Visit any day-ticket lake and compacted balls of groundbait could be seen being cast out from all pegs. But in recent years pellets and PVA in its various forms have seen the Method feeder all but resigned to the annals of carp fishing history.
One of the main disadvantages of PVA is that you are limited to which baits you can use. Anything that is too wet and not PVA friendly will cause your bag to melt before it hits the water. There are no such problems with a Method feeder. The only real limit to what you can add to your Method mix is your imagination. These allows you to create bespoke mixes that no one else on your water will be using.
Use a short supple hooklink like you would when fishing a solid PVA bag creates a bolt effect as any fish that picks up the hookbait will quickly come into contact with the full weight of the feeder and set the hook.
1) Baits such as a single grain of fake corn or a 12mm boilie work well on the Method
2) A 4in hooklink ensures that fish quickly come into contact with the full weight of the feeder
3) An anti-tangle sleeve helps to push the hooklink away from the feeder
4) Compacting bait around the frame enables you to present a bait over virtually any type of lakebed - even thick weed
5) The Method can be fished on either tubing or leadcore
Twenty years ago you’d never had thought of fishing pellets on a river for barbel, but today they’re the go-to bait for many anglers.
Nuisance species such as perch, roach and eels aren’t keen on pellets, so that lets the barbel angler fish in confidence, knowing that when the bite alarm goes off it should be their target fish on the other end.
Pellets can be used on the float, but it’s with a feeder that they work best, fished on a Method feeder or in an open-end where a mixture of micros, 4mm and 6mm halibut pellets are mixed with a little fishmeal groundbait, finished off with a hair-rigged 10mm or 12mm halibut pellet hookbait.
The fishy smell of the pellets draws the fish in, making the feeder effective on powerful rivers like the Trent and Severn.
1) Mixing pellets
The best catches come to those anglers giving the barbel a mix of pellet sizes to browse over. Invest in everything from micros to big 10mm or 12mm baits.
2) Method or open-end?
If your river is relatively slow in pace, a Method feeder can catch but, for strong flows, an open-end feeder can get more bait into the swim on each cast.
Worms – no perch angler would fish without them, and while the species will take a bait that’s drifting past them, when fishing to cover a static bait gets much better results.
Perch will tuck themselves under trees or close to snags, waiting for prey fish to go past, so popping a big lobworm right in front of them is an invitation too good to refuse.
A whole lobworm is a good, active bait, but two tail sections can be even better, as the broken worms give off attractive natural juices that spread through the water. Fish them on a size 8 hook with a simple running set-up using an Arlesey bomb – one of Dick Walker’s own inventions for tackling the lake of the same name – and a long tail of modern fluorocarbon line.
Feeding in this sitation is hard, but if you want to add some pices of chopped worm, make a few casts with a blockend feeder instead of the bomb.
1) free-running set-up
This streamlined lead is fished on a running rig comprising the bomb on a link swivel to a run ring. It’s topped by a tulip bead pushed into the swivel carrying the hooklink.
2) Arlesey bomb
This streamlined lead was developed specifically for perch fishing by Dick Walker for distance casting on deep lakes, but is now the go-to lead for many other scenarios.
3) Red maggot teaser
Two lobworm tails on a size 8 wide gape hook are the perfect medicine for specimen perch, but why not tip the bait off with a single red maggot for that extra bit of movement?
4) big bait for big perch
Perch do not chomp down on prey like pike, but ‘inhale’ it – and there’s not much their capacious mouths can’t take in. Two big lobworm tails will deter the smaller stripeys.
Setting up this pellet waggler rig couldn’t be easier if you think about how to get the best results from the rig that you are using follow our simple and easy steps to helping you tie one of these great pellet waggler rigs
1) Foam wagglers are relatively light so I fish them on 5lb Guru Pulse mainline to get maximum distance on the cast.
2) Purpose-built weighted adaptors for all three sizes of foam waggler mean you don’t have to put shot on light mainline, which could potentially damage it. These adaptors take the float down to the perfect level, and help it sit immediately.
3) A Guru pellet waggler snap link swivel allows me to change the size of waggler quickly and without fuss when the need arises.
4) To keep the waggler in place I use three small line stops. That way I can chop and change the depth without fear of damaging the line.
5) Below this I tie on a size 14 Cralusso Quick Snap Swivel which allows me to quickly change my hooklength while keeping everything neat and free from tangles.
6) For this type of fishing I tie my hooklengths 12ins long and for carp in the 4lb-10lb bracket I will use 0.17mm N-Gauge.
7) The hook will be either a size 16 or 18 super MWG pattern, depending on the size of pellet on the bait band. I’ll start with the rig set around 18ins deep with a view to coming higher in the water as the day progresses. I always prefer to start deeper, because that way I can get a better impression of what’s going on below the surface
During summer fish will often be stationed well up in the water, especially on deeper lakes where they will find a depth where the light-levels and temperature suit them.
At short range this situation is ideal for fishing a waggler rig with the shot well spread so that the hookbait falls at a slow rate, matching that of the free offerings.
But what if you are fishing beyond float range? On big rivers, reservoirs and large gravel pits, roach, rudd and bream will often not come within 30 metres of the bank. This is where the on-the-drop feeder comes into its own.
By using a long hooklength and a lightweight feeder the time it takes the rig to settle is extended, giving fish plenty of time to intercept the hookbait on the drop.
Bites can be expected at any time. It is not uncommon for the quivertip to never signal the feeder touching down, as a fish intercepts the bait in mid-water. Also, bites can be expected within seconds if the feeder does hit the bottom. There is no point in leaving the feeder once the rig has settled on the bottom.
Within a minute or so of casting, wind in, rebait and recast to keep a constant cloud of attractive bait falling through the water column.
Thread a Medium Grip Mesh feeder on to your mainline. Choose a feeder weight of around 14g-28g
Follow the feeder with two small rubber beads. These act as a shock-absorber cushioning the feeder on the cast
Fold over the last 30cm ofmainline and tie a large loop. Next, tie four further loops inside the large loop at regular intervals
Ensure that the beads and feeders come to rest on the uppermost knot. If they slide over, tie a second knot over the first
Cut off a 120cm length of hooklength. Use hooklengths of 90cm-180cm to vary the sinking speed of the hookbait
Tie on the hook using a spade-end knot where the hooklength line has been first passed through the eye of the hook
Once you’ve attached the hook, tie a figure-of-eight loop knot in the other end of the hooklength
To complete the rig, simply attach the hooklength to the mainline using a loop-to-loop knot
There are many different ways of catching carp up in the water, but one of the most effective is the Rocket Feeder.
As the name suggests, this is a floating feeder that is open at one end, enabling it to be filled with lightly dampened pellets or groundbait, which should be mixed so that it quickly exits the feeder once cast out.
Unlike other tactics, the Rocket Feeder is ideal for use with larger pellets, such as 8mm baits, enabling the angler to introduce sizable food items – ideal for larger carp. The feeder can also be cast long distances, thanks to its aerodynamic shape, so it’s useful when carp are beyond pellet waggler range.
The shape of the feeder means that it acts as a very effective bolt-rig when a carp takes the bait. In fact, it is essential to use strong line with this tactic to avoid being broken on the take. A minimum of 6lb is recommended.
Set the Rocket Feeder about 4ft above the hook then, as the carp become more accustomed to the stream of bait, move the float stops down so that the hookbait is just 2ft deep.
On heavily stocked carp fisheries the Rocket Feeder is an absolute winner at this time of the year. Get on it now!
Slide a float stop on to the mainline, followed by the Rocket Feeder, and then fix two further float stops to lock it in place
Adjust the float stops to lock the feeder in position. Having two stops below the feeder ensures that it will not move on the cast
The feeder should be locked about 3ft above the end of the mainline
Tie a figure-of-eight knot in the end of the mainline to form a small loop which you will attach the hooklength to
Use a four-turn grinner knot to attach the hook. Use a clear line a this is less visible when fishing up in the water
The hooklength should be 1ft long and attached to the mainline using a loop-to-loop knot. Attach the hookbait using a bait band
An important rig for any budding carp, tench or bream angler is the float ledger rig as it helps target species which prefer an absolutely static bait. Use strong line and hooks with this rig, and big baits such as worms, bread, or mini boilies.
A large bodied waggler is required as the buoyant stem is less likely to be pulled under by the tow. Bites are normally indicated by the float shooting under.
A good tactic is to find the bottom of the marginal shelf – where the bottom levels out – and then set the float slightly overdepth. Now, when you tighten up the line, the float will slowly sink down to the correct position and the line will be tight from rod to the leger weight.
If you find yourself fishing a lake this year with the wind blowing straight towards you, or from side-to-side, and holding position is proving impossible, then try out this very effective, but surprisingly underused rig to give you the correct bait presentation to encourage bites. Check out our step by step guide below and tie it yourself.
Trap the float on the mainline with two float stops. The float should be a large bodied waggler as this is more stable in undertow
Use a swivel leger weight of between ¹/2 to 2/3 ounce. This should be free-running on the mainline for sensitive bite indication
Thread a mini buffer bead on to the mainline and then attach a mini swivel to the mainline using a four-turn grinner knot
Tie a size 12 hook to 10 inches of 5lb hooklength line. Use either a grinner or through-the-eye whipping knot
You need to keep the hooklength short – about 4in-6in will be perfect. Tie the end of this to the mini swivel
The lead weight will sit just above the buffer bead, creating a bolt-effect. Adjust the float so that just the tip is showing
Roach are very obliging and will often give you a few bites when not much else is happening.
Legering is worth a go but the truly classic way to catch roach from a river is to floatfish with a waggler or stick, running the hookbait down the swim with the pace of the flow and loosefeeding regularly. Over time you can build the swim up so it draws more and more fish in. As a result, the fishing gets better and better.
Should you find yourself on a slow, deep river it’s time to turn to the pole. This is a very positive way to fish with a big float in conjunction with groundbait to get the bait down fast. It gets far quicker results than rod and line.
Water conditions play a big part in choosing your tactics. As a rule of thumb, colour in the water lends itself to feeding groundbait and fishing the pole, while gin-clear rivers are best approached with the float and loosefeed.
River pole rig
Offering precision feeding and bait placement, along with delicacy of presentation, it’s no wonder the pole is the number one choice of match anglers.
But the pole is also a very attacking method, should you be faced with lots of roach. You can get the bait down quickly using a big float, feed plenty and hit bites with more accuracy than with a waggler or stick float.
Better still, if you can get the fish at short range, a long pole or whip to hand can be quicker still!
Begin with maggots, ideally a single bronze maggot. This will get you quick bites, but have an eye on changing to something like a caster or even a grain of hemp later in the session to search out quality fish. Feeding hemp and caster will give you the best chance of catching on both, as the fish will become used to them over time.
River waggler rig
Few methods lend themselves to fishing a river better than the waggler. This float allows you to cover a lot of water, fish at different depths and present the bait well overdepth or just tripping bottom – it’s that versatile!
To truly search a peg out for roach, gear up with a straight thick peacock waggler that’ll let you drag line on the bottom to slow the bait down without it being dragged under.
This method, when fished with loosefed maggots, is brilliant and gives you the chance of catching a bonus chub or two as well.
River maggot feeder rig
Perfect for introducing small consignments of bait into tight spots such as overhanging snags where the fish lurk, the maggot feeder is also perfect for catching roach in clear river conditions when groundbait may prove to be a bit of a turn-off.
Regular casting, say every five minutes, will build up a stream of bait in the peg, which in turn will draw roach from downstream over time. When it works, the maggot feeder should produce bites within seconds of it hitting bottom.
No matter where you choose to fish this month, you can guarantee that your target species will come close to the bank in search of food now that the temperatures have risen sharply.
When this happens, the pole is an unbeatable item of tackle but the sort of rig you use with it will dictate whether you get just a few bites or have a session that you won’t forget in a hurry.
Paying careful attention to your terminal tackle and bait choices is vital if you want to make the most of your time on the bank, as is getting the subtle details such asshotting and float patterns spot on.
We reveal the five most deadly spring pole rigs that are almost certain to help you and your friends put more fish in the net.
The Worm Rig
GOOD FOR: Putting together big mixed bags of quality bream and tench on stillwaters.
TACKLE: Use a rugby ball-shaped float with 5lb mainline, a 4lb hooklength and size 14 or 16 hook.
HOOKBAIT: Half or a full worm will appeal to both species at this time of year.
The Maggot Rig
GOOD FOR: Quality roach that will only feed if the hookbait looks natural.
TACKLE: Keep it light with 3lb mainline, a 2lb hooklength and a size 18 or 20 hook.
HOOKBAIT: Red maggots will keep the bites coming. Alternate between single and double.
The Pellet Rig
GOOD FOR: Catching F1s and carp in open water swims on commercials.
TACKLE: A narrow float will help you spot every bite. Use 5lb mainline to a 4lb hooklength and a size 16 hook.
HOOKBAIT: Start with a 4mm expander, switching to a banded pellet if small fish show.
The Margin Rig
GOOD FOR: Catching the biggest carp and F1s in the lake, especially late in the session.
TACKLE: Don’t risk getting bust by a big carp and use 6lb mainline to a 5lb hooklength. A strong float with a thick tip is a must.
HOOKBAIT: Corn is unbeatable in the margins.
The Meat Rig
GOOD FOR: Fishing in open water for carp, F1s, big bream and tench on commercials.
TACKLE: A balanced rig helps catch all species. Use 5lb mainline, 4lb hooklength to a size 16 hook.
HOOKBAIT: A 6mm cube of meat will catch all species that are stocked in the fishery.
A waggler is the most versatile float of all, capable of catching fish from rivers, canals, commercials and massive natural lakes.
But within the waggler family there are groups of floats that have very definite roles to perform. These include the pellet waggler for distance fishingup in the water, and see- through plastic floats for use on gin clear waters.
At this time of year, when the weather can change drastically from one day to the next, being adaptable is the key to catching.
To make sense of the types of waggler, how the rig should be set up and the best baits and feeds to use, try these rigs that will cover just about every base over the next few weeks…
Insert waggler rig for silver fish
Fish can be caught on commercials at a range of depths in spring, so if there was one versatile float to pick it’d have to be the insert waggler. This rig is a simple to make waggler set-up for tackling a typical lake swim up to 8ft deep.
Waggler rig for tench
There are few more evocative sights in fishing than a float poised next to a patch of lilies, ringed by the tell-tale pinhead bubbles of feeding tench. This rig allows you to fish what’s known as the ‘lift’ method, using a large shot on the lakebed.
Pellet waggler rig
The pellet waggler rig is all the rage right now but how do you fish it? Well setting the pellet waggler up is easy to do and a brilliant option in May and June when the weather starts to warm up.
The helicopter feeder has become a mainstay for a great many anglers fishing for species as diverse as specimen roach, tench and carp.
This rig has two main advantages. It is very tangle-proof, especially when higher diameter line is used for the hooklength and also an effective bolt rig, meaning that most bites will be very positive.
Coupled with a maggot feeder, this is an excellent set-up for big roach. With a larger oval maggot feeder, it lends itself well to fishing for tench. The hooklength should be as short as possible, generally around 3in-6in, which can be quite tricky to tie, but persevere, because the resulting rig is well worth the effort.
The hooklength should be stopped just above the feeder, although not so close that the hook can accidently foul the feeder on the cast. As a general rule, the closer the hooklength is to the feeder the more bites you will get.
This is the ideal rig to tie if you plan to fish a ‘sleeper’ rod while float fishing, because generally the bites are unmissable. For this reason, it pays to use a reel with a freespool facility that can give line when a fish bolts away.
How to tie
Cut off 20cm of Power line. This hooklength should not be too fine to avoid tangles
Tie on the eyed hook using a through-the-eye whipping knot with 12 turns, for a great angle
Thread a Rig Sleeve on to the other end of the hooklength, tapered end towards the hook
Tie on a Micro Rig Swivel using a twice-through-the-eye four-turn grinner knot
Thread a soft Line Stop on to the mainline, which should be at least 6lb to avoid breakages
Thread on the hooklength swivel, followed by a second Line Stop leaving a 5mm gap
Thread another Rig Sleeve on to the mainline. Tie on swimfeeder using a four-turn grinner
Slide the stops and hooklength into position so that the hook rests just above the feeder
Knowing a few basic knots is a vital part of any angler's skills so we have come up with the top 5 essential knots that you will need to know on the bank-side. Knowing these five knots will really help you expand your angling arsenal.
Double 6ins of line and pass it through the hook eye like this.
Tie a single overhand knot in the loop.
Pass the hook or swivel through the loop.
Moisten and pull tight, ensuring the line is neat.
Once the knot is tight, trim the tag end.
Make a loop of line long enough to work with but not so long that you have to cut lots away when trimming off.
Create a simple overhand loop and pass the end of the line through it.
Make sure you pass the end of the loop twice through, like this.
Draw the loop tight and trim off the loose end. Wet the knot with a little saliva before tightening.
Lay the two lengths of line to be connected alongside each other.
Form a loop in both lines, giving you plenty of line to work with.
Pass the two free tags of the lines four times through the loop, like this.
Moisten and tighten carefully, making sure the knot tightens neatly. Trim tag ends to suit your rig.
The knotless knot
Tie a bait band or loop for your hair rig at one end of the line. The two-turn grinner shown above is best for fishing with a pellet band.
Pass the opposite end of the line through the back of the hook’s eye and out the front. A small piece of rig tubing on the shank will keep the hair straight.
Take the loose end and make several wraps around the hook shank. WInd the end over the shank and poke through the eye.
While holding the loop end in its desired position, pull the free end tight while working the wraps up to the eye of the hook through the back of the eye.
Pull the end of the line to tighten the knot fully.
If you can’t decide whether to use a bottom bait or a pop-up rig, then why not try a snowman instead... it’s the best of both worlds!
In essence, it’s a standard boilie threaded on to a hair rig, with a smaller pop-up threaded on after it. Once on the bottom, the pop-up stands proud, acting like a beacon to any passing carp. Such a bait arrangement allows you to mix and match your baits. For example, you could use a dull, fishy-flavoured bottom boilie, with a bright, fruity pop-up.
Snowman rigs are highly versatile and can be used with any lead set-up, and with just about any length or type of hooklink.
How to tie
Strip back about 6ins of the outer layer from the coated braid. Form a small overhand loop in the end.
Secure a small metal rig ring loosely in place with an overhand knot, just below the hair loop.
Set the rig ring about 1.5ins from end of the loop, then secure firmly with a second granny knot.
Position the rig ring opposite the hook’s barb, then attach the hook using a knotless knot.
At this point you can add a hook aligner over the eye of the hook. This will help with hook-ups.
Finally, add a few small ‘mouse droppings’ of tungsten putty to the hooklink to nail it to the deck.