Fishermen are constantly trying to find ways to enhance their fishing experience and increase their chances of catching more fish.
The idea of Feeder Fishing was first introduced to me by my father at a young age, and it is a technique that I still use today. This fishing method will change the way you fish forever, and will greatly increase the size and number of fish that you catch.
What is Feeder Fishing?
Feeder Fishing is the practice of creating an underwater feeding ground, where numerous fish can come to have an easy meal. Think of it as an all-you-can-eat buffet for fish, with your baited hook sneakily tucked away amongst all the goodness.
General bottom-feeding species like Carp will continuously patrol the bottom looking for food, if there is more than one meal available, they will hang around to fully take advantage of their good fortune. This behavior will also attract other fish which can result in a feeding frenzy.
Feeder Fishing is not just about attracting fish to your fishing spot but keeping them there for as long as possible.
Types of Fish Feeders
The Open-End or Ground-Bait Feeder
These Feeders are available in various designs and sizes, from miniature smaller models for sensitive fishing in winter to larger designs that will hold in a fast-moving current.
This is my preferred choice of feeder for river fishing, simply insert your delicious crumb mix or ground bait and cast out. They are perfect for introducing ground-bait into your swim.
The Cage Feeder
The Cage Feeder is another example of an effective fish feeder. They are similar in design to the Open-End or Ground-bait Feeder, except for larger exit holes.
This feeder is ideal for summer and shallow water fishing and works well with ground bait, crumbs, and doughy bread mixture. What I like about this feeder is the cloud of feed it creates in the water, this attractive cloud is a result of the larger exit holes.
This is the quickest way to attract fish to your fishing spot. Unfortunately, due to the large holes, this feeder cannot be left in the water as long as others and needs to be rebaited regularly.
The Maggot Feeder
The reliable maggot feeder is also known as a “block-end feeder” or less formally as the “plastic pig”. This feeder design has been around for many years and is available in numerous designs and sizes, and each one is extremely effective.
Maggot Feeders are blocked on both sides to prevent the live bait from exiting the feeder too early. Do not overfill the feeder with maggots, there should be some space to allow them to wriggle around so that they can escape.
I have substantial success using this feeder and is also a great option for newcomers and children.
The Method Feeder
The Method feeder offers a clever design and operates differently from other feeders. Instead of running freely on the line, the flatbed design is permanently fixed into place.
You will need to ensure that your ground-bait is sticky and will adhere to the Method Feeder. Method Mix is a great product but simply adding an egg or two to your mix helps it to bind together nicely.
You can either place your baited hooks around two inches from the feed, or you can hide them inside. Once fish are aware of the feed, they will attack it and subsequently swallow your baited hook at the same time.
This type of feeder is highly effective but you will need to keep a close eye on your rod, if you aren’t around there is a chance that your rod could be pulled into the water. This is my favorite type of feeder, particularly when the fish are just out of reach.
The Pellet Feeder
This type of feeder is popular in commercial fisheries, each time it is cast out the feeder presents a small number of pellets to the fish. These pellets attract the fish to the baited hook.
I like to leave this fish feeding method up to the commercial fishermen, as I find it does not work so well in more natural environments.
Specialist feeders are also known as “Specimen Feeders”, these are the largest fish feeders available and have been designed for extreme fishing. They allow for a much greater payload and can be left in the water for longer periods.
Specialist Feeders are ideal for strong currents in large rivers. Due to the size and weight of these feeders, it is vital to correctly balance your hook size, feeder, line, reel, and rod. All tackle should be heavy-duty with special attention to the quality of your knots.
What equipment do you need to Feeder Fish?
What is a Feeder Rod?
Just like conventional fishing, there are numerous types of feeder rods available. They differ in strength, size, and sensitivity, and are well suited for any fishing conditions.
I particularly enjoy the medium feeder (all-rounder), this rod is versatile and can be used for numerous applications.
Light-Feeder Rods are also known as “Picker Rods” and work well with smaller reels and 4-6lb mainline (if targeting larger carp then I recommend a slightly heavier breaking-strain).
These are the smaller options available and are usually in the 7ft-10ft range with excellent fine tips. Light Feeder Rods are well suited for natural locations, short-range fishing, and commercial pools. This type of feeder rod offers exceptional accuracy when fishing the 20 yd – 30 yd zone.
Medium Feeder Rods are also known as “All Round Feeder Rods”. These types of feeder rods are longer and are available in 12ft-13ft options.
They are ideal for fishing rivers or big lakes, and for targeting species like chub, bream, carp, and roach. Medium-Feeder Rods work well with 4lb – 6lb line and can be used to fish with most types of feeders.
Heavy-Feeder Rods are also known as method feeder Rods. As the name suggests, this is a heavy-duty rod that can easily cast out the biggest of feeders. This rod allows fishermen to load more ground bait for better results.
The heavy-feeder rod should be used alongside a large heavy-duty reel, equipped with at least 8lb-10lb mainline. It is advisable to make use of a shock leader when fishing this tackle, this will assist when casting heavy feeders and strikes from large fish.
When feeder fishing a standard or conventional reel is ideal, the key is to correctly pair your reel to the rod you will be using. I recommend a 1000 fishing reel for Light feeder rods, 3000 if you happen to be fishing an all-rounder or medium feeder rod, and 4000/4500 if you are going big with a Heavy-feeder rod and specialist feeder.
What Line for Feeder Fishing?
When feeder fishing it is advisable to use a monofilament or fluorocarbon line. These types of lines are almost invisible underwater, are seriously strong but most importantly offer some stretch which you wouldn’t get when using braided lines.
This stretch will assist when casting out the heavy rigs, offer enough sensitivity to feel even the smallest bites, and absorb most of the shock when attacked by a large fish.
It is important to consider the feeder and target species when choosing a line, the smaller the feeder and target species the thinner the line. If you are fishing a heavy-duty tackle, then your line should be thicker and heavy-duty too.
Choosing the correct feeder depends on the species you are targeting, the conditions that you are fishing, and the type of tackle that you will be using.
Feeder Rods are offered with a variety of interchangeable tips. They have a test curve rating just like conventional rods, which are measured in pounds.
The stiffer the tip then the higher the test rating will be. Deciding on which tip to utilize often depends on the fishing conditions you are presented with.
If you are fishing a heavy feeder in a fast-flowing river, a firmer and stiffer tip is required. If you are fishing a calm lake or reservoir with a small feeder, then a flexible and highly sensitive tip should be used.
The primary function of a quiver tip is to provide bite indication, regardless of the fishing conditions.
There are numerous types of bait that one could use when feeder fishing. You could use specially crafted pellets, ground bait, live bait, and corn.
The most popular choice is ground bait, this type of bait is extremely versatile, performs well in the water, and can be made into a sticky texture with numerous additional scents and tastes to attract fish.
How to Feeder Fish
The practice of feeder fishing is relatively simple. Each feeder needs to be connected to the end of your main line.
Most have the ability to slide along the line. Others, like the Method feeder, are fixed to the line or rig.
All feeders need to be stocked with bait and it is important not to overfill the feeder when using live bait.
Once the feeder is stocked, it is then cast to the desired fishing zone and then I like to put my feet up and wait for some action. I like to take my time when mixing my bait.
I try to put as many tantalizing goodies as I can to entice the fish and really focus on offering a variety of feed. Take a look at the different types of feeders listed above for the exact methods for each one.
Feeder Fishing is a great way to increase the number of fish that you catch. There are numerous designs and sizes available, to cater to just about any bottom-feeding species. Some designs can be used with live bait and some designs can be used with ground bait, pellets, and corn.
When feeder fishing you will need a feeder-rod, reel, line, feeder, bait, and a rig.
The line most suited to feeder fishing is monofilament or fluorocarbon, these lines offer stretch which assists with casting heavy feeders and fighting large fish. The best bait to use when feeder fishing is maggots, ground bait, pellets, and sweetcorn.
The method feeder is my favorite option, it is simple to use, effective in getting bait to your feeding spot, and can be cast with considerable accuracy.
When fishing with live bait, the Maggot feeder is a fantastic option, just like the method Feeder it is simple to use, highly effective, and offers exceptional aerodynamic design and accuracy when casting.