There are some things in fishing that take a bit of practice to get right, and loosefeeding with a catapult while holding 13m-plus of pole is certainly one of them.
At first it can seem impossible, as the balance of the pole is all over the place, the feed isn’t accurate, or you end up getting in a right mess. I’d liken getting it right to a Eureka moment where suddenly, everything falls into place, and you’ve mastered it.
Practice is the only way to get it right, but that’s something you can do at home in the garden as well as on the bank. The mechanics of feeding on the long pole are basic, the hardest part being to learn to balance the pole. Do this, and everything else will quickly follow on behind.
One of the biggest mistakes anglers make is that they sit on their box at the wrong angle. Don’t sit so that you’re facing directly into the water with your knees in the same direction. Instead, create an angle so that legs and knees are pointing to around two o’clock in front. This creates more surface area of your thighs for the pole to be balanced across.
Having your side tray with the bait on it as close to you as possible is another must. You don’t want to be groping around or leaning over to pick up some pellets, as this will ruin the pole’s balance and also ruin your back!
Level your feet
Having the pole balanced is the first thing to get right. This not only stops you getting a bad back, but it keeps the pole dead straight and makes the process simple. Get your box at the right height so your feet are flat on the footplate.
Balance the pole
One arm, whether you’re right- or left-handed, should hold the pole and never move. Have your elbow at the balance point at the end of the pole and then place your forearm down the section you’re holding. Your hand then grips the pole.
Fill the pouch
With your free hand, pick the catty up, grip it with the hand that’s holding the pole and fill the pouch with the other hand. Then you swap over, with the pouch gripped in the pole hand and the frame in the free one. You’ll have to practise the action.
To feed, extend the arm holding the catapult frame to the distance needed, making sure it’s in line with the length of the pole. At all times, the pouch remains in one position. Extend the frame and then simply let go of the pouch.