Method feeder fishing for coarse fish is often regarded the most productive technique throughout the year.
The method feeder and the fishing style adjoined is extremely versatile and provides opportunity to fish various baits with perfect presentation every time.
Not only is method feeder fishing one of the easiest ways for catching carp no matter the season it is also pretty straight forward to learn with the right guidance.
Due to this, I believe every new and aspiring carp angler should be extremely well-educated on method feeder fishing. So, in this post I’m going to provide a full guide on how to fish a method feeder for beginner and experienced anglers a like.
The following topics are going to be covered which will get you catching some nice carp on the method feeder in no time;
- What you’ll need
- Mixing baits for moulding around feeder
- Setting up a method feeder rig
- Picking the best hookbaits
- Choosing the best peg and swim for your fishing session
- Casting the method feeder
- Difference between line bites and bites
- Tips and tricks
What you’ll need
Unsurprisingly, we are going to start with what you are going to need for a session fishing the method feeder.
Since you are here to learn how to fish the method feeder I would assume that you already have a basic feeder rod and a suitable reel to handle the size of fish you are going after.
If not, then I have written a few reviews on suitable feeder fishing rods that are ideal for your typical carp fishing venues. They both come in various lengths and will hold up great against fish up to around 25lbs.
If you don’t already have a rod and would like some suggestions then take a read at these reviews below to help you decide;
You will also need a suitable reel for fishing the method feeder but this is less specific than the type of rod you will be using. The type of reel will depend on a lot of factors like what size of fish you are targeting, how far you will be casting, how much line it will need to hold and even what size of line you will be using.
Personally I usually use 6-12lb line and quite often use the daiwa ninja reel which is ideal for the venues I like to fish.
The next thing you’re going to need to worry about is purchasing all the necessary components for the method feeder rig. Below you’ll find a list of everything you will need and you will begin to see where they are all required and how each component works throughout;
Mixing Feeder Baits
The first thing I do when I arrive at a venue to fish with a method feeder is mix up the feeder mix for moulding around the feeder.
As I’m sure you already know, a method feeder is used for casting and sinking loose bait to the bottom of the lake with your hookbait to help attract fish into your swim.
To ensure the bait moulded around the feeder reaches the bottom of the lake it must be mixed to perfection or it is extremely ineffective.
If you mix is too dry the mix will fail to bind together so there is a high chance it will break off during the cast or when your feeder hits the water.
If your mix is overly wet, it will fail to break away quickly or even at all when your feeder reaches the bottom of the lake. This will mean the carp can not group up and feed on a patch of bait and your hookbait can even end up stuck in this mixture which will render it completely useless.
But don’t worry I’ll show you quickly how you can make the perfect feeder mix every time below.
Myself and the majority of anglers will start mixing their feeder mix as soon as they get to the venue as this usually take around 15-20 of waiting time.
By doing this first the waiting time can be used to set up the rest of your tackle so less potential fishing time is wasted.
Typically, you’ll hear anglers debating if micro pellets or groundbait are best as feeder mix but I believe the answer to be pretty simple and it will vary depending on the time of year.
In the summer months I will use micro pellets when the fish are feeding more frequently and are more active in the water.
In the winter, groundbait seems to work best to attract fish into your swim but they will not be able to eat this and become full so the only option is to consume the hook bait. This will ensure you do not over feed a swim when the fish are feeding less.
You could also try the best of both by preparing groundbait and micro pellets separately and then mixing them together.
I will quickly go over how to mix up the perfect micro pellets for your method feeder fishing but if you are looking for some more in-depth information have a read at my full post on how to mix micropellets. For this you will need a large bait box with a lid with small holes.
1. Start by pouring around half a bag of micro pellets into your bait box and cover them with water from the lake or pond you are fishing. Now time 4 minutes if you are using 4mm micropellets or 2 minutes if you are using 2mm pellets.
2. Now put the lid tightly on the bait box and pour out the remaining water through the holes in the lid. Make sure you shake all the water out and they place to box back down upside down so any drips can still leave the container. Now set a timer for 15-20 minutes and continue to set up your tackle. After this time your micropellets should be perfectly mixed.
Mixing groundbait is slightly different’t but still relatively easy. For this you are going to need a large bucket and preferable a riddle. When mixing the perfect groundbait make sure you use a large bucket so you can get your hands in to give it a good mix. A large bucket allows you to mix enough to make sure all the corners are mixed in evenly and the water is distributed throughout.
1. The first step is to pour about half a bag into your large bucket. I would advise not to mix a full bag at once as you risk the mix trying out during the session before it is used. Next take a small container or bait box and scoop some water out of venue you are fishing. Add little bits of water (really not a lot at all) at a time and mix vigorously with your hands. Add water until the mix binds together when you squeeze and breaks back down easily when you then push your hands into it.
2. Leave the mix for around 15 minutes and then come back to test the bait as it will most likely have dried out significantly. What you squeeze a ball together it will probably not form into a ball so add a little more water and mix vigorously again. Squeeze the mix into a mix again to check the consistency. To test if the mix is perfect you should be able to break this ball in half without the two sides falling apart easily. Once you have made it to this stage use a groundbait riddle like the one in the picture above to run the groundbait through for consistency and to break up any lumps.
Setting up the Method Feeder Rig
The next step in learning how to fish a method feeder is setting up a basic rig. The process is pretty simple so I’ll give you a quick run down of how you can tie up a quick method feeder rig in less than 5 minutes.
If you are looking for a more in-depth look at how to set up this rig I have written a full post on setting up a method feeder rig if you want to learn some more.
1. Feed the line through the method feeder with the rubber tube section at the top facing towards the rod tip.
2. The next step is to connect a quick change bead to the mainline below the method feeder. To do this separate the two sections and slide on the top bulb shaped section as shown in the picture above. Make sure the large side is facing the bottom of the feeder.
3. Tie the other side of the quick change bead onto the main line using an “improved clinch knot”.
4. The final step is then to take a pre-tied hair rig from the packet and slide the loop over the notch in the bottom section of the quick change bead. Then push the top bulb section of the quick chance bead back over the bottom half where the hook length is attached to complete the rig and secure the hook length.
It really is as simple as that to set up the method feeder rig and shouldn’t take longer than around 5 minutes even for your first time!
Selecting the best hook bait
Now that your tackle is fully assembled and you feeder mix is sorted you’re going to want to select the best hook bait to attach to your hook length.
Realistically all the carp baits in the tackle shops will catch carp but there is definitely some clear winners that will see you hook into more fish throughout the year.
I’ve written a full post on the best hook baits for method feeder fishing but here’s a quick run down below.
So what exactly are they? Take a look at the list below;
Sweetcorn might seem like a strange one to new carp anglers but it really can be a game changer in terms of catching carp.
Its bright colour stands out in even the murkiest of water which can help to draw the carp’s attention and potentially take you hookbait.
Generic tinned sweetcorn also rich in sugar and salt which is excellent at attracting carp nearby carp.
Sweetcorn can easily be hair rigged for perfect presentation and less lost bites but it can also be mixed with groundbaits or pellets for that extra edge when fishing the method feeder.
Sweetcorn can be productive throughout the year but seems to be extremely effective through the warmer months when carp are more active and feeding heavily.
The list of the best hook baits for method feeder fishing wouldn’t be complete without boilies of course. If you don’t already know boilies are small balls of bait that are made by boiling a paste mixture; hence the name.
Different sizes, flavours and colours of boilies are abundant in tackle stores so it can be extremely difficult to know what to go for.
There’s a lot of factors that will decide what boilie you should opt for some of which are size of fish you are targeting, clarity of water, time of year and angling pressure on the water you are fishing.
Boilies are packed with ingredients that attract carp such as fishmeal, which work great in the spring summer and autumn when carp are feeding heavily, and amino acids which are proven to stimulate carp feeding so no wonder they seem to love them.
A massive positive of boilies is that they stay on a hair rig perfectly, don’t go soft and fall off and arent partial to being stolen by “nuisance” fish.
Pellets are quite overlooked as a hookbait for method feeder fishing when they really shouldn’t.
They are available in a wider range of sizes from 2mm and 4mm micro pellets all the way up to around 21mm for all types of fishing.
Unlike boilies pellets break down in the water which means they become soft and mushy and can stolen by nuisance fish or break off completely but as long as you change the pellet regularly this shouldn’t be an issue.
Pellets have a high oil content which is great for attracting hungry fish and the variety of colours gives the fish something to hone in on.
Just like boilies they are packed with protein which means once the carp start eating they quite often can’t stop which will keep the fish in your swim for longer.
Most pellets for hook baits come in “meaty” flavours and many anglers believe these flavours work best in the summer months but to be honest you will find they work all year round just make sure and scale down during the winter months and don’t over feed your swim as the carp will be less active.
Pop-ups are basically a variety of boilies but they still deserve there place in the best hookbaits for method feeder fishing.
The main difference to standard boilies is how they react in the water. Pop ups are buoyant so float up off the bottom which gives you an advantage when fishing weedy bottomed lakes.
The fluorescent colour of most pop ups acts as a beacon in the water to gain the carp’s interest and as it sits off the bottom the fish will find it hard to miss.
In my previous experience single pop ups fished without any loose feed around them can still catch you many fish.
This can save you quite a bit of money as you don’t need to buy pellets or groundbait to attract the carp in the swim.
Don’t get me wrong though fishing a pop up with loose feed in theory should catch you more fish.
Choosing the best swim and peg
The next step in learning how to fish a method feeder is to know how to pick the best swim and peg to give yourself the best chance of finding the fish and increasing your catch rates.
A swim is basically just the small area of water you plan on fishing and the peg is point on the bank you will be fishing from.
When choosing a swim and peg to fish there will be certain areas that will stand out as being more likely to have fish and some areas that don’t look as good.
These swims and pegs can vary throughout the year but as a general rule of thumb carp are often found near “features” on the water. Features are places on the lake where the carp feel safe sticking close to. You’ll find an example of features below;
- Reed beds
- The margins
- Overhanging trees
- Lilly pads
In the summer on warm days carp are quite often found in shallower water but in the winter months the chances are the fish will be in the deepest part of the lake.
When selecting a peg you should be looking for somewhere that is within easy casting distance to your chosen swim and with a clear area in front of you.
If you choose a swim with a lot of weeds or reeds around you the fish can run into these areas and get caught making them near impossible to catch.
Casting the Method Feeder
Casting a method feeder can be quite tricky as you should be casting to the same swim every cast but there is a few simple steps you can follow that will help you perfect your cast through practice.
I’ll give you a brief overview in this post but if you are looking for a full guide then check out my full list of tips and tricks for casting a method feeder.
When fishing the method feeder it is essential that you cast quite often to ensure your swim is full of free bait to attract the carp into your swim and keep them there.
There is no point in moulding feed around your feeder, casting it out and then leaving it until you catch a fish.
When I first arrive at the venue I cast to the same swim every ten minutes to ensure there is a large patch of bait for the carp to should up and feed on.
After this I usually leave the rod out for at least 30 minutes to give the fish time to find my hookbait.
If after an hour or two I have had 0 bites I will consider changing swim and repeat the process again to bait up this new swim properly.
Line bites are indications on your feeder rod that might look like real bites which can cause striking at a fish that doesn’t actually have your bait in its mouth.
Lines bites are when a carp or other fish touch your line which will cause your rod tip to bounce or twitch which to a lot of new carp anglers can look like a fish taking your bait.
When this is the case don’t get overly excited and pick up your rod as this will most likely scare the fish out of your swim and you will end up back at square one.
Instead, watch closely and wait for one of these fish to pick up your bait and run. This will mean your rod tip will bend dramatically and you’ll know without a doubt you have a fish on.
Line bites can be an extremely exciting indication that the fish are there and ready to be caught.
The more your rod tips moves with lines bites the chances are the more fish are in your swim.
Another thing to note when fishing the method feeder and any other method for carp is how to look after the fish when it’s still in the water but also on the banks.
The last thing us anglers want to do is cause any injuries to the fish which can result in fewer fish for us all to catch.
The first thing in limiting the chance of injuring fish is to use an inline method feeder. These feeders move freely on your main line hence the name.
If the fish breaks off while hooked the method feeder will slide along the main line and come free so the fish is not dragging around a feeder.
To be honest most feeders today are inline and there really is no need to use anything else.
Unhooking mats should always be used when handling fish on the banks no matter what size they are.
They provide a soft are to lay the fish on when unhooking and are usually made from foam material.
This will stop any scales on the fish getting damaged and will stop any injuries if the carp starts to struggle when out of the water.
A lot of venues will require you to fish with barbless hooks but for the ones that don’t I would still advise you use them.
Barbless hooks are far easier to remove from a fish’s mouth to prevent any damage when unhooking.
I understand people might see this as an issue as it could mean losing more fish but the benefits out way the cons.
I’m sure you are now well aware of how to fish a method feeder and realise that it really isn’t that difficult with a little of guidance.
The method feeder will always be one of the best methods for catching carp and I strongly advise you give it a go and let me know how you get on.
If you would like some more general tips take a read at this post of the top 14 feeder fishing tips.
If you have anything to add or any questions feel free to leave a comment below and I will get back to you ASAP.
Cheers Richard. Let me know if some of the info gets you into an extra few fish.