METHOD FEEDER CARPING!
Mainline's John Kneebone explains why this quick and simple method needs to be part of your approach...
There are always so many new ideas and styles of fishing for carp being brought forward that we as anglers are really spoilt for choice when it comes to kit and advice on using it. You could even say that this has generated more interest in fishing for carp over the years and in turn increased its popularity. More people fishing is nothing less than a good thing in my eyes, although it could also be said that you’re now fishing against the angler in the next swim as much as you are the carp. As ‘angling pressure’ becomes another obstacle to conquer, especially on busy day-ticket venues. Luckily, the continuous evolution of tackle and trends also means that some winning techniques fall under the radar, and even become forgotten about. For me, Method feeder fishing for carp is certainly one of these forgotten winners, which can therefore provide an edge or two – let me explain…
One of the many advantages of Method feeder fishing is the instant attraction streaming out to the sensory organs of the carp as soon as the feeder hits the water. This is created in the main by the number one ingredient used in making the tactic work – groundbait! Containing fine, powder-like crushed particles of food and feed inducing stimulants, high quality groundbaits are able to disperse a huge, attractive signal throughout the water column not just instantly, but over long periods of time as well. What’s more, groundbaits can also be used to create a carpet feed along the bottom, installing a smell, taste and high level of attraction within the lakebed. Again encouraging carp to investigate the area and feed. Adding a liquid attractor is also dead easy to do, easily absorbed by the groundbait and quickly released in water – increasing the attraction levels even further.
Sounds good eh? You bet, but yet groundbaits let alone the great tactics that can be utilised and combined are certainly underused in my opinion. Pellets particles and boilies would probably be at the top of most angler’s bait lists mine included, and rightly so. Superb, proven baits that carp love, which leads to another plus point of using groundbaits – they are great carriers of other baits. So what I mean is other baits such as particles, corn, pellets and boilies can all be included in your groundbait mix and easily balled-up and fired out by catapult say, as well as moulded around your Method feeder. I actually really like to do both – feeding a few balls of bait around the Method feeder all similar in size, shape, taste and smell, making it difficult for fish to distinguish which is which, and pick out anything to be wary of. In some ways it doesn’t get much better as far as tactics go. Highly attractive balls of food, containing everything a carp could want that are super-quick and easy to put together and dispatch!
HOW TO SET-UP THE METHOD FEEDER
QUICK AND SIMPLE!
Okay so the plus points of massive attraction levels are plain to see, but the advantages don’t stop there. No, there are a many more, although perhaps the coolest thing is just how quick and simple it is to make the mix and then load your Method feeder ready to cast. In essence you are creating a presentation very similar to a solid PVA bag i.e. a compact cast-able package of bait, but without the PVA. So minus the sometimes fiddly process of gripping and loading the bag at the same time, and better still, there’s no need for dry hands and taking care in keeping everything dry and PVA friendly. The result is a much more simplified and speedy process.
So the first thing to do is put your groundbait/Method mix together. What you’re looking to achieve here is a light fluffy mix that will bind and hold together around your feeder and vitally do so while you cast, but also easily crumble back to a fine mix. This means that once the feeder is on the lakebed your mix will quickly breakdown and release its attractive qualities. So it’s important not to overload your groundbait/Method mix with too much ‘other’ bait so there’s not enough fine mix to bind it all together. As a rule of thumb I’d go for a 50/50 mix between groundbait and everything else (pellets, boilies, corn etc.) you add. It’s then also important to consider how other baits might effect the texture of the mix. The natural liquor from corn and hemp for example is a fantastic attractor, but will obviously add moisture and wet the mix. Pellets and broken boilies on the other hand can absorb the added liquids and dry out the mix.
Now don’t go thinking this is getting complicated because it really isn’t. The safeguard against getting the mix too dry or too wet is simple – just make it up in small amounts and add your liquids a little at time. You can simply use lake water, but you’d really be missing a trick here, as the moisture needed to bind the mix provides the ideal opportunity to add some liquid attraction. Full of natural sweeteners and attractants the syrups and Stick Mix Liquids from Mainline are perfect for the job – not only adding taste and flavour to the mix, but dispersing feed inducing stimulants into the water column and appealing the sensory organs of the carp. As you build the mix occasionally squeeze it together to check it will bind. Once you get to the point where the mix will bind strongly, but still easily revert to crumb it’s ready to go!
HOW TO MAKE YOUR METHOD MIX
TOP TIP - MIX YOUR LIQUIDS FIRST
You’ll need some lake water to make-up your Method mix and the addition of some liquid attraction from a syrup or a Stick Mix Liquid like the new Belachan Black I’m using here is also a great idea. Now each liquid varies in it’s consistency, the lake water is very thin and the Stick Mix Liquid is considerably thicker, so each can vary the mix consistency differently. To make things a lot easier when building-up the mix, a great tip is to mix your liquid additives with a little lake water before you start your mix. This makes it a lot easier to slowly build-up your mix adding the combined liquid a little at a time until the perfect binding texture is achieved.
RIGS AND TACKLE
As I’ve said Method feeder fishing really is a quick and simple tactic, and the rigs and kit used continue to complement that theme. Similar to an inline lead modern carp Method feeders work the same way; you simply thread them onto your leader or main line. Personally I like to keep things simple by using a short length of anti-tangle tubing. With the feeder in place, again I keep things simple with the hooklink – just a short length of braid tied with a Knotless-Knot to form a Hair Rig. You can pretty much use whatever hookbait you like, although I do prefer to use a nice bright hookbait that contains some buoyancy – so a wafter or pop-up that will sit-up and standout above the feed. With Sweetcorn commonly used within the mix I’ve found the new Mainline Toppers perfect for the job. Highly visual and high attract in flavour, but also corn-like in their shape and size, one on the Hair or a couple in a mini stack complement the presentation perfectly!
The short rig, say 4-6 inches then keeps the hookbait nice and close to the feeder and groundbait when carp are grubbing about. You can actually conceal the hooklink and hookbait within the groundbait when you load the feeder. Again guaranteeing the hookbait stays close to the feed, but also preventing tangles in the process. The design of the new Korda Bait-Up feeder also ensures that the hookbait always remains on top. One of three fins is weighted meaning it will always rest that side down, so as long as you place the rig within the groundbait on the opposite side of the feeder it will be presented perfectly.
HOW TO LOAD THE METHOD FEEDER
Because the hookbait is initially concealed prior to the groundbait/Method mix breaking down presentation is pretty much guaranteed in a number of situations; clean gravel, clay or silt and even chod and light weed. The only thing I’d really stay clear of is heavy weed. With this level of versatility, it also means that Method feeder fishing is not just a tactic for chosen spots, but also a great tactic for casting to area’s of showing fish. A ball of groundbait releasing food items onto the lakebed, as well as attractive scents and particles going up into the water column difficult for active fish to ignore.
Of course the Method feeder really comes into it’s own when fishing well stocked waters such as the one I’m fishing today – Thorpe Lea. There’s absolutely stacks of carp in here, the lake is understandably busy and anglers are catching all around the lake. So it really is a situation where I want to not only pull fish toward my hookbait quickly when the fish are in my area, but I also want to keep those fish in the swim too. What’s more when I do receive some action I want to get a fresh presentation back into the feeding zone as quickly as possible. The Method feeder allows me to do exactly that!
Yes, I’ve been Spombing out a slightly sloppier mix to my feeder mix during lulls in the action (although I’ve kept to the same ingredients), but I’m also building that feed with the contents of the feeder each time I cast too. So if I chose to, I could easily recast at regular intervals to build a feed across the lakebed, without using the Spomb. Although best of all, after landing fish despite wet hands etc. I’ve been able to quickly reload the feeder and get it back onto the spot. On occasions enjoying another take literally within seconds of the recast – now that’s a winning tactic. Simple, efficient and one that I suggest you certainly don’t ignore!