How to fish the fast feeder

When it comes to catching small skimmers on a feeder, fast is best says Darren Cox. Here’s how to do it...

How to fish the fast feeder

by Angling Times |

Get your process right

By casting quickly and regularly, I soon develop a routine that’s never broken. I begin by casting the feeder and, once it hits the water, I put the rod-tip under the surface. With the bail-arm still off, I follow the feeder down until it hits bottom and the line goes slack, creating a bow. If I get a bite on the way down, I’ll feel the knock on the tightened line.

When things have settled, I then gently bring the rod back on to the rest to take up this bow without moving the feeder.

All the while, I’m still in contact with the feeder and ready to spot a bite. If you chuck out, put the rod on the rest and spend 30 seconds tightening up you’ll never spot a quick bite!

Get your process right
Get your process right

Go for mono line

Use the wrong set-up and you won’t catch, no matter how regularly you cast. I know that the fish will follow the hookbait down in the final few feet, sometimes taking it on the drop, so my rig gives me every chance of catching them.

The feeder slides on the mainline on a 4ins twisted length stopped with a small bead. I know some anglers swear by braid, but I prefer 4lb mono for small skimmers so I can strike hard into the bite. Hooklink is 0.10mm or 0.12mm Garbo Line and is 50cm long to begin with, so the bait has that slow fall. Once the peg kicks into life and bites are coming quickly, I shorten this to as little as 20cm.

Often you may notice a spot of skimmer slime just below the feeder, which is a clue as to how close to the feeder the fish are!

Hook is a size 16 or 18 Kamasan B911 F1 for tricky days, or a standard B911 for days when it’s solid.

Go for mono line
Go for mono line

Choose wire

When picking a feeder, I always go for a wire cage because this lets the feed spill out quickly and, importantly, close to the lakebed. A 25g feeder is perfect in terms of enough weight to cast accurately, and it also gives enough weight to wind the tip against quickly so I can see any fast indications.

I begin on the smallest capacity feeder available and only step up if the fishing is really good and it becomes obvious that the peg needs more bait.

Choose wire
Choose wire

Make a plume

The groundbait mix is the important thing here, and I use a 50/50 blend of Mainline Method and Thatcher’s Original.

These are mixed dry so that when I add particles like chopped worm, the consistency won’t change. Having a dry mix will create that plume of feed in the water just off bottom, which will draw fish in. What I add to the mix depends on the response of the fish, and I start with just a dozen particles made up of casters, dead red maggots and dead fluoro pinkies.

Chopped worm is great in mild weather, and I’d pop a pinch into each load along with a few micro pellets but, in very cold weather, I’d go for just dead maggots, pinkies and casters.

Make a plume
Make a plume

Fish dead mags

For the hook I swear by dead baits because these are super-soft, almost like a home-bred gozzer which bream love!

Two dead red maggots or three dead fluoro pinkies are my main hookbaits, as these are highly visible to the fish as they fall though the water. A redworm can be a deadly change, especially for a bigger fish.

Fish dead mags
Fish dead mags
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