Fishing for carp and other coarse species of fish is becoming more popular year in and year out, with millions of anglers spending time on the banks regularly.
Carp fishing has become increasingly popular over the years and is a common hobby in the UK and across Europe.
Over the years, new methods of targeting these fish have been developed to take advantage of the carp feeding behaviours to give yourself the best chance of putting fish in the net.
One of the most common approaches for targeting carp and also other coarse species that inhabit the same waters is feeder fish.
It is common for new anglers to new anglers to learn about feeder fishing as the first method for targeting carp.
The idea behind the rig is fairly simple, and tying a feeder rig shouldn’t be too difficult if you follow the steps I will discuss below.
So, how to set up a feeder rig?
Keep reading, and you’ll find the simple steps.
What is Feeder Fishing?
Before I get into how to tie and set up your feeder rigs, it’s best to understand why feeder fishing can be so effective in targeting carp.
Carp are bottom feeders that will spend a lot of time swimming in the bottom layers of the water, looking for any food sources they can find.
Their downturned mouth and tastebuds of their barbells, pectoral find and highly adapt olfactory system, which is their sense of smell, means they are machines at finding edible items on the bottom, whether it’s natural or anglers baits.
Their olfactory system allows them to detect and track down dissolved substances in the water that is released from natural foods courses such as bloodworms and also oils, flavourings and amino acids that are released into the water from anglers’ baits.
Feeder fishing takes advantage of this method of carp finding food as they allow you to deliver a package of bait to the bottom of the water with your hook bait presented beside or on top of this free bait.
These small mounds of bait give the carp plenty to find, and once they have found the bait, it is common for them to feed comfortably before they hopefully consume the larger pieces of bait attached to your hook.
This is the general idea behind feeder fishing, but there have been many types of feeders developed that allow you to feed different kinds of bait effectively, and some are designed for use in deeper or shallow water.
Let’s take a quick look at these types of feeders.
Types of Feeders
Open Ended Feeder
The open-ended feeder is great for presenting a large variety of baits to the bottom of the water and is mainly designed for fishing deeper waters where you’ll want the bait to stay inside the feeder as it sinks in the water.
These types of feeders are generally made of plastic, are open at both ends and have small holes throughout the body.
Typically this type of feeder will be packed with groundbait as the primary bait that can be mixed with other baits to act as the binding agent, so it stays packed in the feeder.
You can mix small pellets and boilies, hemp and even maggots mixed through the groundbait.
If your groundbait is mixed correctly, it should hold all the bait together before it reaches the bottom, where it will start to break away and release the bait outside the feeder so the carp can start feeding on it.
Cage feeders are used in a similar way to the open-ended feeder and are generally made of plastic or a metal mesh.
These feeders are best used in shallower water as they have much larger holes to let the water into the bait mix and break it down faster in the water.
These feeders create attractive clouds of groundbait or other particle bait as they sink in shallow water.
You can use the same baits as feeder mix as the open-ended feeder but bear in mind that it will most likely start to be released from the feeder faster, so they are best used in shallower water.
Margot feeders, as you’d imagine, are primarily used for maggot fishing. They are made of plastic and are completely enclosed with a cap on the bottom you can open to fill the feeder with maggots.
They have small holes along the body that allows the maggots to start wriggling free to provide a constant supply of free maggots to any fish that come across this feeder.
Maggot feeders work great in the winter when the carps metabolisms have slowed considerably, and they are less likely to feed on more than one occasion throughout the day.
Bear in mind that maggot feeder fishing will encourage a lot of smaller silverfish to come into your swim and feeder on these maggots, so if you’re only in it for catching carp, then you should keep this in mind.
If the water is full of small silver fish, they can quickly consume all the free maggots before any carp come into your swim.
The method feeder is arguably one of the most common and effective feeders.
It is usually a plastic device of varying weight that comes with a specially sized mould to mould around micropellet or groundbait mixes, as you can see in the picture above.
These feeders allow you to present the hook bait on top of the free offering of bait and work as a great presentation to entice the carp into picking up your bait.
When fishing these types of feeders, you must ensure your baiting mixture of either micropellets or groundbait is mixed to perfection to allow it to reach the bottom of the water before starting to break away.
I’ve written posts on making these perfect mixtures if you’re interested in having a read:
How To Set up a Feeder Rig?
Now that you’ve got an idea of what feeders are, why they are effective and the types of feeders you can buy and use. Let’s get into how to set up the feeder rig.
Although all feeders are best in certain situations, the method for setting them up is fairly similar in all cases.
There are also many ways you can set them up but for this post, let’s take a look at the easiest method for setting them up.
The video below does a great job of showing the process that you can easily follow.
Setting up the method feeder requires slightly different steps, so I’ll also give you a quick tutorial on this if that’s the type of feeder you want to use.
Cage, Open-ended and Maggot Feeder Set-Up
- Take your mainline in two hands and twist the line together by twisting clockwise with one hand and anti-clockwise with the other. This will create a loop in the line, and you should continue to twist until you’ve created around a 6-inch length of twisted double line.
- Tie a figure of a 8 loop knot at the end of the twisted line.
- Thread on your feeder of choice and then pinch on a split shot that is better than the loop in the feeder to stop your feeder from sliding back off of your mainline.
- The next step is to tie your hook onto the lighter line with a half-blood knot.
- The next step is to tie a figure of 8 loop at the end of the hook link.
- Finish to rig but attach the loop on the mainline to the loop of your hook link by following the step in the video.
This rig should be fairly quick and easy if you follow the steps and is more than effective enough as a starting point for you feeder rigs.
Method Feeder Set Up
You can buy different method feeders, but you should always opt for an inline method feeder. This ensures that if your line snaps on a snag or a big fish, the method feeder will slide off the line and not stay attached to the fish.
Method feeders will generally come with suitable quick-change beads, but if they do not, you can easily pick them up at a tackle store or online.
You’ll also need pre-tied hair rigs for attaching to your method feeder rig. This method is the simplest for attaching effective hook links without tying them yourself, which can become quite challenging if you’re inexperienced.
1. Slide the mainline through the body of the method feeder with the rubber tubing closest to your rod tip
2. Split the quick change bead and then slide the top half onto your mainline underneath the body of the feeder. Make sure that the hole is pointing downwards
3. Tie an improved clinch knot onto the loop of the bottom half of the quick change bead, hook the pre-tied hair rig onto the bottom of the quick change bead and then push this into the hole of the top half of the bead to secure the hook link and complete the rig.
Hookbaits for Feeder Rigs
Now that you should know exactly how to tie various feeder rigs, the next step is to choose an effective hook bait and attach this to the rig.
Typically, anglers will use any of the following baits as hook baits, but there are others than can work just as well in the correct situations.
But the most common baits are:
I’ve written posts on all these baits and why they are so effective that you can read them if you click on the links in the list above.
Hair rigs are generally the best way to present these baits in the water, and as long as you buy pre-drilled boilies or pellets or tinned sweetcorn, you can attach them easily to the feeder rig.
You will need a bait needle for this, but you can pick them up easily in the tackle store or online.
These are the steps you’ll need to follow to easily attach the hook bait to your completed rig.
- Put the bait stop of the pre-tied hair rig onto the end of the baiting needle
- Push the bait stop and baiting needle through the sweetcorn or pre-tied pellet or boilie.
- Remove the bait stop from the needle and place it horizontally along the bottom of the bait.
- Pull out the baiting needle
Feeder fishing is arguably one of the most common and effective methods for catching carp and other coarse species.
Many feeders are developed for certain fishing situations and baits, so there’s always an option, no matter what bait mixture or bait you want to fish.
The set-up process for these feeder rigs can be simple, and there’s no need to overcomplicate by following the simple steps above.
I hope this post helps outline the basics of feeder fishing and how you can set up a feeder fishing rig quickly and effectively.