FEEDING a swim correctly at the start of a winter roach fishing session can make or break your catch, according to match ace Mark Pollard.
You need to think how you are going to deliver it to the swim. The Dynamite and Matrix-backed star uses five different methods of feeding, and here he reveals where and when each one comes into play.
“If you are fishing at a range that can’t be fed easily by hand, but a steady trickle of bait is required, then a catapult will play a big part in your strategy.
“If you have a fairly deep swim and you are targeting roach, it is far better to try to get them feeding shallow, as it will then take a lot less time for the float to go under once the rig has settled.
“Keeping a regular trickle of bait going through the water column will eventually bring the silvers shallow – even on really cold days – and introducing 10 maggots or casters every minute is ample.”
“Bigger species such as carp and F1s will be sat well away from the bank now, but you can guarantee silverfish will be at close quarters.
“A regular trickle of maggots and casters is needed to get roach shoals competing, and the easiest way to do that is by hand. As a rule of thumb I will feed 10 maggots or casters every minute or so.
“Feeding by hand also works on a ‘throwaway line’ close to the bank for bonus fish later on. Trickle in a few grains of corn or pellets throughout the session and it could produce a few key bites in the dying stages.”
BIG POLE CUP
“Feeding with a big cup provides pinpoint accuracy and more often than not that is key to getting a few bites.
“Make sure you don’t overdo it at the beginning – too much bait can kill a swim in an instant. Introduce something like 50-60 pellets or maggots over each line at the start and don’t add this amount again unless bites completely tail off.
“A big cup is also ideal for feeding balls of groundbait when you want the pile of feed to be concentrated tightly.”
“There’s no better way of guaranteeing that your bait gets to the bottom in flowing water than using a bait dropper.
“It is particularly useful when fishing worm and caster for big perch or chub, when you feed a decent quantity from time to time, as opposed to styles where a little and often approach is required.
“Use a bait dropper in very deep swims on stillwaters to get every morsel to the bottom where the bigger fish are.”
SMALL POLE CUP
“Almost every top kit I have set up will have a small pole cup on the end, and I will usually add bait to the swim with it after every fish.
“The amount needed to top up at this time of year when fishing for carp and F1s is minimal – five to 10 pellets, maggots or grains of corn is more than ample to help get that next bite.
“Make sure your cup is as close to the pole tip as it can be so that you are feeding directly over the top of where your rig is sitting.”
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