Two feeding tricks to get more bites on commercials

World champ Tommy Pickering explains why little and often feeding is the key to catching more fish

Two feeding tricks to get more bites on commercials

by Angling Times |

SOME rules in fishing work as well now as they did 50 years ago. The most important one, my own golden rule, is about feeding... little and often is always best.

But it’s up to the angler to interpret what the rules mean and put them into action. This is how I feed as the water starts to cool down.

Find the warmer water

Today I’m at Doncaster’s Alderfen Fishery, and I’m going to fish the pole. My first task is to work out where to fish. Generally, you need to target the deep water towards the middle of the lake, because deeper water stays warmer longer.

Later in the day, the fish may venture in closer, but I’ll kick off in the deepest water I can, looking for a level bottom or slight slope towards the middle of the lake. You need to be at a comfortable distance so you can present your bait well. Today this is just 9m out in 6ft of water.

Many anglers ruin their peg from the start by dropping in a big cupful of bait. From autumn onwards, a pole-mounted pot is your best friend – you can feed a tiny amount of bait, then gauge the response.

I’m using some of the new Fjuka Naturals Micros, plus a couple of other colours, so I kick off by introducing just 15 Micros, fishing the same on the hook.

I expect this to be too negative because it’s not that cold yet, but I need to let the swim tell me what to do. If the bait is snaffled up quickly, I can up the feed, but I can’t take bait out once I’ve put it in.

Within a minute of lowering my rig in, the float bobs and I net a good-sized roach. It’s not the carp I was expecting, but it shows that feeding fish are there, so I can up the feed.

Silvers can be useful weight builders and also create competition, which draws in bigger fish. If you stick to the little and often principle, you’ll catch these when they arrive.

Find the warmer water
Find the warmer water

The big fish move in

I switch to feeding around 20 Fjuka Micros, and after a nice bream and a couple more roach my float remains motionless. This tells me that bigger fish have moved in. Three minutes later, my float buries and carp No1 is hooked! Balanced tackle means I soon have a lovely 6lb mirror safely in the net.

This is when some anglers go crazy and pile in the feed. Instead I just repeat the process – 20 Micros and a single Micro on the hook. This lets me feel my way back into the peg.

The best way to up my catch rate is with a stand-out hookbait. My feeding stays the same, but instead of fishing a Natural Micro on the hook, I use a bigger 5mm hookbait. This means a big fish can find my hookbait more easily, so I catch more quickly.

Slipping a 5mm Natural on the hook works a treat, and a big 8lb mirror is in the net. A couple more follow before the bites waver, prompting a change.

A small pole pot lets you gauge a response
A small pole pot lets you gauge a response

Cutting back the feed

My aim is to get the fish competing by making sure that there isn’t too much bait in the peg at any one time. I want just enough bait to get a response.

A prolonged quieter period means one of two things.

Maybe the fish could have backed off, meaning I’d have to start a new swim further out to keep catching.

Or maybe there’s too much bait in the peg. So as soon as it goes quiet for longer than usual, I cut back the feed to see what happens. If you aren’t getting any bites, it’s important to keep feeding something, though, because bait falling through the water can get a response.

This time, after feeding just 10 Micros on my next put-in, I’m in action again and bites continue until it’s time to pack up.

A lot of people think my frugal feeding habits are because I’m a tight Yorkshireman! But hopefully today has proved there’s a lot more to it than that.

Follow my advice and you’ll get the best out of whatever this autumn throws at you.

Get your feeding right and you can take good nets
Get your feeding right and you can take good nets

Tommy’s Tackle

Autumn is a funny time of year – the fish can feed like they’re in winter mode, but they sometimes fight as though it’s the height of summer! I use 0.15mm mainline matched to White NuFish Zipp elastic. This allows me to scale down to 0.12mm hooklengths and still land what I hook. Shotting is my favourite ‘666’ formation – a bulk of No10s, a dropper 6ins below that, another 6ins below that, and finally a 6ins hooklength.

Roach show that there are feeding fish about
Roach show that there are feeding fish about

Why Fjuka?

I get loads of questions about why I favour Fjuka Bait for this sort of fishing, the truth being that it catches fish and is so adaptable.

Today, for example, I can feed the 3mm Micro 2in1 Baits. They attract every species of fish and, better still, I can use them on the hook too. So I can fish a tiny 3mm hookbait, which gets bites when bigger baits fail. If the sport is good, I can up the size of my hookbait, either by using one of the bigger 5mm or 10mm 2in1 baits, or making my own, by rubbing multiple pieces of Fjuka together. I caught my PB carp on this bait, so you can see why I’m super-confident in it.

I caught my PB carp on this bait, so you can see why I’m super-confident in it
I caught my PB carp on this bait, so you can see why I’m super-confident in it
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