Match-style cage feeder
there are few more classic ways of catching bream than the cage feeder fished at range on big lakes. It’s the go-to method for match and pleasure anglers alike and still accounts for numerous big match wins, despite the advent of the Method feeder.
At this time of year, fishing for bites is the name of the game. A tidy net of smaller skimmers plus the odd proper bream is more than welcome, but if you plan on fishing the cage feeder, you have to first think about how much bait is going into the water.
There’s no place for piling in lots of bait at the start as you would in the summer – a more gradual baiting up attack will reap rewards and that means making just a few early casts to deposit three or four loads of groundbait and freebies into the swim and then then relying on each cast to top the peg up.
Running or fixed?
Fishery rules may dictate whether you can use a fixed rig such as the one shown here. If both are allowed, the choice if 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. It 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.
A) Top baits
Ringing the changes on the bait front is an important skill to master. Double red maggot makes a good starting bait, but a worm or even a grain of corn can pick off the bigger bream. Dead maggots are equally good, especially on silty waters, and don’t forget double caster as a super bait if you are feeding plenty in the feeder.
A 50cm hooklink is good for starters. If you are getting bites but missing 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.
C) Groundbait and goodies
If your venue sees a lot of pellets fed, add fishmeal to your groundbait mix. A 50/50 split of sweet bream groundbait and fishmeal will work, but modern sweet fishmeal groundbaits will do the job for you. Darker groundbaits work better in clear conditions. On a commercial, add micro pellets. On natural lakes casters, dead pinkies and finely-chopped worm are best.
D) Cage feeder
A metal cage feeder is heavy and can be cast a long way. The contents empty fast, especially useful in shallow water. On deep lakes, you may be better using a plastic open-end with fewer holes for the feed to get out of. Pick a medium model of a weight that allows you to reach the distance you want to fish at.
E) Looped boom
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 that will ensure the hooklength sits at an angle away from the feeder on the cast.