For years, the best way to get bait into your peg early on when fishing the feeder was to make several quick casts with the biggest open-end that you had in your collection.
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Fast forward to 2018, and the past 12 months have seen the rise of the ‘bosher’, an over-sized cage feeder designed to get a massive hit of groundbait and particles into your swim in no time at all. The theory borrows from the world of specimen carp fishing, where spods are used to do the same thing.
Just four or five casts with the ‘bosher’ can get several pints of feed down, an amount that would take up valuable fishing time if using a much smaller feeder. Provided the weather stays mild, laying down a big bed of feed still plays a significant part when fishing big open lakes for bream, skimmers and carp.
These fish prefer to graze over a big bed of bait, whether the water is cold or not, and the aim is to give them that big pile of feed then fish a tiny feeder over the top. The opening hit draws the fish in and subsequent regular but much smaller amounts get them feeding.
It’s an approach I’ve used a lot this year at home and abroad. It works on a similar principle to balling in a lot of groundbait on the pole. After the bombardment, a good hour is needed to let things settle down and for the fish to find the food.
This is time well spent, and all things being equal you may not need to bring the ‘bosher’ into play again for the rest of the match, relying instead on that little feeder to keep things simmering away nicely. If another bait injection is needed, then a couple of ‘boshers’ will give you a quick impact and get you catching again.
What is a ‘bosher’?
This feeder is effectively a massive cage feeder capable of carrying a lot of bait. It doesn’t cast that well, and you certainly can’t manage a good chuck using your standard feeder rod, so you’ll need a separate bit of kit.
This is like a spod rod and many anglers, myself included, have a carp-style rod with plenty of backbone for heaving the ‘bosher’ out to beyond the 60m mark. Braid and a shockleader are also important to go the distance and clipping up is also key. There are a range of sizes so pick the one that has enough lead to get to where you want.
Once you’ve decided where to fish and picked the right-sized ‘bosher’, the next job is to decide how much feed to put in and what this is made up of. It’s almost December, so we’re not talking 20 feederfuls, and I find five loads to be ample to start.
Rather than letting the feeder settle on the bottom and then empty, though, I empty each feeder out high in the water, well before the thing settles, so that the feed falls over a larger area.
This creates the bed over which the fish can graze.
Enter the ‘thimble’
With the ‘bosher’ having done its thing and an hour passing to let things calm down, it’s time to fish. The worst thing that you can do is go in over the feed with a big open-end or cage feeder as this will only spook the fish, especially in clearing water.
There’s no need for a feeder this big either, as enough bait will be in the swim already. Instead I use what I call a ‘thimble’ feeder, a tiny cage with just three holes along its length. This makes minimal disturbance and gives the fish just a taster of feed on each cast, normally that 2mm dampened pellet mix.
With winter coming, you need to be thinking about scaling down your tackle, but not so much that you may lose any bigger fish that are hooked, especially carp.
On a typical mixed fishery I’ll gear up with 8lb Middy M-Tech mainline to a 12ins hooklink of 0.14mm to 0.16mm Middy Lo-Viz finished off with a size 14 eyed KKM-B hook to let me hair-rig the hookbait.
At all times I use a running rig as this is 100 per cent safe, letting the feeder slide along the mainline, stopped above the hooklink by a couple of Middy Slot Shot with a short link of twisted line below to cut down on tangles.
If the peg shows signs of dying completely, putting in two more ‘boshers’ of bait can promote another run of bites.
This is no different to potting in a couple of balls of groundbait if fishing the pole, but before I picked up the ‘bosher’ rod I’d certainly consider casting a metre past where I’ve been fishing, or even off to one side, to see if the fish have backed away slightly.
If they have, the response should be reasonably instant.
Because I’m feeding pellets and corn, it makes sense to use both on the hook. This means a single grain of corn or two 4mm expander pellets.
Expander pellets are not commonly used in the feeder, but in colder conditions, and especially for skimmers, they are much better than a hard pellet.
Just ensure that your finished pellets are a little tougher than they would be for using on the pole, so that they can withstand the force of the cast.
Particles or groundbait?
There are two schools of thought as to what to put into the ‘bosher’. Although groundbait is very good, I’ve found, even at this time of year, that pellets and corn catches me a bigger stamp of fish.
For that reason I’ll introduce a mix of different-sized pellets and some corn. Even on natural waters, the fish are used to seeing these baits.
A good mix are 2mm Dynamite Baits Swim Stim and F1 Sweet pellets, dampened to help them stick inside the feeder, plus the same amount of bigger 4mm Swim Stim pellets and a sprinkling of corn.
A sweet fishmeal groundbait is still worth bringing along and using if the day is particularly hard or the fish are very small.