Commercial fisheries are about so much more than carp these days, with bream and skimmers becoming an increasingly common target for match and pleasure anglers alike.
The pole is a great way to catch them if conditions and your swim allow, but the feeder is still hard to beat for keeping a few fish going into the net.
However, you’ll not need the long distance stepped-up kit of the summer months on big lakes and reservoirs to catch them. Instead, a more refined scaled-back rig will get the job done, along with feeds and baits that give a definite nod to the commercial carp scene.
On venues such as Meadowlands Fishery in the West Midlands the skimmers happily live alongside the carp and can fill in the blanks otherwise spent waiting for a carp to find the bait. Soo follow our advice here and add some bream to your match catch…
1) Running or fixed?
Fishery rules may dictate whether or not you can use a fixed rig such as the one shown here. If both are allowed, the choice is yours. A running rig will tangle less and sees the feeder run directly on the mainline, stopped just above the hooklength. A fixed rig can result in a better bite and more bream hooked, and involves trapping the feeder inside a 6ins-8ins loop in the mainline. The feeder can still run, but will stop when the rig is pulled a certain distance by a fish picking the bait up. In this instance, it’s possible that the bream will hook itself.
2) Cage feeder
A cage is better than a plastic open-end feeder. It is made of metal and so is heavier and can be cast further with more accuracy. The contents will empty quicker too, useful on shallow lakes. In deeper swims you’ll be better off with a plastic open-end with fewer holes for the feed to get out. Pick a small model to start, as you don’t want to put in lots of bait, and go for a weight that allows you to comfortably reach the distance you want to fish at.
3) Looped boom
Whether you go for a fixed or running rig, to cut down on tangles with a fixed rig, tie several small loops in the mainline immediately below the loop that the feeder sits in. This creates a stiff ‘boom’.
A 50cm-long hooklength is good for starters. If you find that you are getting bites but not connecting with them, shorten the link by 10cm at a time until you hook fish. Going longer can work on harder days or if you think that the fish are sitting just off bottom and watching the bait fall. A tell-tale sign of this is a sharp tap on the quivertip just as the feeder settles.
5) Top baits
Ringing the changes on the bait front is another important aspect to master. Single or double red maggot makes a good starting bait, but a redworm can work wonders on tricky days. Dead maggots are equally good, especially on silty waters, and a bait that can work on commercials is two or three small, hair-rigged expander pellets.