15 top feeder fishing tips

Top 15 Tips For Feeder Fishing - (Cage, Maggot & Method Feeder Tips & Guide)

Feeder fishing is becoming a very popular tactic in the angling world these days due to its versatility to catch a number of different species.

Whether it's coarse fishing on your local lake, Carp fishing, a big pit or River fishing for Barbel, feeder fishing is very much a viable option for you.

With its increased popularity comes an increase in the different types of products, tactics, and methods to deploy under the feeder fishing umbrella.

15 of the best feeder fishing tips

This article takes you through 15 top tips that are proven to put more fish on the bank. We will help you choose the right equipment, and plan of attack for you to be successful on your next feeder fishing trip.

Let's get into this...

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Strapped for time...


We start this article by going through some basics on feeder fishing. If you are in a rush and want to just read the top feeder fishing tips then please skip to this by clicking the bottom below...

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What exactly is feeder fishing?

Feeder fishing is a type of angling that uses a 'swim feeder' as a tool to cast whilst feeding your swim at the same time.

The original swim feeder was made of plastic and had holes in it to allow bait such as maggots to crawl out and feature around your hook bait.

The feeders were weighted in a variety of weights depending on how far out you intended to fish.

plastic, maggot feeder

The original plastic maggot feeder

What are the different types of feeders for feeder fishing?

As stated above the original swim feeder was made of plastic and was mostly designed for maggots. The evolution of feeder fishing has led to many different feeder types being available on the market today. These include the following:

  • Cage/Open End Feeder
  • Method Feeder
  • Method Mould
  • Plastic Feeders
  • Distance Feeders
  • Pellet Feeders
  • Maggot Feeders
  • Window Feeders

You can check out more detail on these different types of feeders from our recommended fishing tackle shop here.

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Top Feeder Fishing Tips

So you have decided that feeder fishing is your choice for your next session or two. Check out the following 15 tips that will help get the most out of your feeder fishing and hopefully see a lot of fish on the bank...

1. Choose the right feeder rod

Now, feeder fishing covers a wide spectrum of water types, fish species, and fish sizes. So before you take a trip down to your local tackle shop to invest in the best feeder rod you can afford, be sure where you are going to be fishing and what fish species you are likely to be fishing for.

To put this into context, the following 3 scenarios of feeder fishing are suited to different rod types.

a) Feeder fishing for coarse fish on a commercial fishery

This is arguably the most common type of feeder fishing used by anglers today. This type of feeder fishing is best suited to a rod that has a good balance of strength and subtlety.

The rod needs to be strong enough to handle harder fighting fish such as Tench or F1 Carp but subtle enough to not bump off smaller silverfish.

These rods also typically come with a selection of different quiver tips as a form of bite detection.

Our favourite rod for this type of general feeder fishing is by far the Daiwa Airtity X45. You can check this out here...

Airity X45 Feeder Rod

Fishingtackleandbait.co.uk
as of 20 October 2021 21:42

b) Fishing for Barbel on a river

The Barbel is a hard-fighting fish most often found in rivers. With its torpedo-shaped muscular body and its ability to use the current to its advantage, when feeder fishing for Barbel, a strong rod is very much the order of the day.

A quiver tip is still a good form of bite indication and dependant on the swim you are fishing, you may need a small river tripod to help elevate the rod tip over any riverside vegetation.

A rod like this version from Prologic is ideal for feeder fishing for Barbel...

c) Method feeder fishing for big carp

The method feeder tactic is an exciting and popular method used by many fishermen in the angling world today.

The tactic aims to exploit fish that are in a feeding frenzy, attracted by the big splash of the method feeder hitting the water and the morsels of food that spray from it.

In recent times, carp anglers have seen the benefit of this type of fishing and are now using it to great effect.

One thing that is apparent with carp anglers, however, and that is they still love to use their 2 rods on a rod pod with bite alarms. 

In this scenario, a mid-range quiver tip rod is not well balanced with this sort of setup. A stronger, carp rod is more the ticket with the Daiwa Black Widow being a good, cost-effective option. 

Black Widow G50 Carp Rod

Fishingtackleandbait.co.uk
as of 20 October 2021 21:42

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2. Choose a suitable feeder fishing reel

Similar to feeder fishing rods, choosing a suitable reel for feeder fishing is equally as important.

Reels are complex pieces of kit with numerous parts in them. The nature of feeder fishing means that you will probably be casting out more often than other types of fishing, especially if you are using the method feeder tactic.

Choosing a feeder fishing reel that is up to the task will ensure you can efficiently cast, reel in, and play fish comfortably. 

If you are using specimen carp fishing tactics then a baitrunner or a big pit reel may be the best option.

For the majority of feeder fishing, however, we thoroughly recommend the Intensity feeder reel from Preston Innovations. Check it out here...

Intensity Feeder Reel

Fishingtackleandbait.co.uk
as of 20 October 2021 21:42

3. Use a suitable mainline

One of the most overlooked pieces of fishing tackle I see anglers oversee is their fishing line.

Overlook this though at your peril as it won't be long before you have kinks, loops, and knots all stopping you from casting as far and inevitably losing you fish due to crack-offs.

In most feeder fishing situations, a good monofilament mainline is what you need with good elasticity and a strong enough breaking strain.

We really like the Preston Innovations Reflo sinking feeder line in either 4 or 6lb breaking strain. You can check this out here...

Preston Innovations Reflo Sinking Feeder Mono Line 150m

7 new from £5.99
Amazon.co.uk
as of 19 October 2021 23:41

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4. Choose the correct feeder

As we stated earlier in the article, there are many different types of feeders on the market today, and choosing the right one can be a minefield.

To simplify things, we have created the following table to suggest a typical situation of when to use a particular feeder. 

FEEDER TYPE

IMAGE

WHEN TO USE

Cage/Open End Feeder

cage feeder

Coarse fishing on still waters. Fill with particles mixed in a stiff ground bait.

Method Feeders

Fishing for Carp on still or slow-moving waters. Fill with a very stiff mix with particles. A great tactic for when the water is warm and the fish are feeding well.

Method Mould Feeders

Method Mould Feeder

Fishing for Carp on still or slow-moving waters. Fill with a very stiff mix with particles. A great tactic for when the water is warm and the fish are feeding well.

Plastic/Maggot Feeders

Maggot Feeder

Good all-round feeder to use on still waters and rivers. Designed to be used with maggots. A good tactic for feeder fishing in winter.

Distance Feeder

distance feeder

You can purchase most feeder types with more weight with a streamlined design to fish at distance. 

Pellet Feeder

pellet feeder

Mostly used on still and slow-moving waters. Good to use in all seasons especially when the fish respond to pellets! 

Window Feeder

window feeder

A good option for winter fishing or when the fish do not respond to a lot of loose feed. Also a popular feeder type for river fishing.

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5. Choose the correct feeder fishing rig

Alongside choosing the correct feeder for your fishing circumstances, equally, you need to choose the correct way to fish with.

Typically a method feeder would be fished inline. This is simply where the mainline threads through the centre of the feeder and then secures onto a swivel with your hook link on.

inline method feeder rig

A typical inline feeder fishing rig

For all other types of feeder fishing, we use a classic paternoster style rig which has good anti-tangle properties as well as having the advantage of great bite detection.

Check out this short video showing how to tie this rig...

Video courtesy of Angling Direct

6. Use the best hook bait for feeder fishing

The whole point of feeder fishing is to get ground bait and/or loose feed next to your hook bait with an aim of attracting fish into your swim.

To ensure your hook bait looks as natural and as close to the free offerings as possible, we recommend matching your hook bait to the bait you are using in your feeder.

When method feeder fishing, smaller hook baits tend to work better with particles such as maize or pellets being a good choice as well as small (12mm boilies).

Maggots and pellet are a great choice for general feeder fishing but be sure to have a good amount of these offerings in your ground bait mix.

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7. Use a suitable feeder fishing ground bait mix

So, what is a suitable feeder fishing ground bait mix?

Firstly, unless you are using a pop-up or a zig rig, you are likely to be fishing on the bottom when feeder fishing.

Your ground bait mix, therefore, needs to be of a sufficient consistency that will get to the bottom of the water you are fishing and not just break up and dissipate from the impact of the cast.

Having said that, you don't want the mix too stiff so that it never actually breaks down and just stays stuck inside your feeder.

As a general rule of thumb, you need a mix that will squeeze and hold together in your hand but then also break up fairly easily when poked.

The exception to this rule is if you are using the method feeder when the fish are competing for food.

In this instance, you would ideally have your ground bait consistency slightly stiffer so it holds around the feeder on impact to the water.

The reason you want this mix is that when carp are in a feeding frenzy and competing for food they will purposely bash into the feeder on impact to release the particles to quickly eat.

Your setup should mean that your hook bait is buried within the feeder so when the fish release the food, one of them is your hook bait.

There are bait company's that produce ground bait that is designed specifically for different types of feeder fishing. 

For example, this product from Dynamite baits is one of our favourite mixes for both method and open-end feeders...

Dynamite Baits Marine Halibut Method Mix

11 new from £5.99
Amazon.co.uk
as of 19 October 2021 23:41

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8. Choose a suitable swim for feeder fishing

It should go without saying that when choosing a swim for feeder fishing you will want to find one that has a lot of fish in front of it.

Before you pick a swim, it's always best to do a lap or two of the water and look for signs of fish.

This may be in the form of swirls, bubbles, or, if you're lucky, fish jumping out of the water.

If signs are limited then local knowledge of swims that have produced on previous occasions is a good bet.

Also looking for features such as islands, lily pads and rushes would be a good option as they are known fish holding spots.

On featureless water, choosing a swim where the wind is blowing into can be a good (albeit uncomfortable) tactic as fish can follow the direction of the wind at times.

A final consideration when choosing a suitable swim for feeder fishing is the ability of casting.

There is a possibility that you could be casting often so ideally, you don't want a swim that has overhanging trees and vegetation that can easily be caught up in.

feeder fishing top swim

A great feeder fishing swim

9. Ensure your setup is well organised

As previously mentioned, feeder fishing can be associated with fish in a feeding frenzy and, as such, there can be a need to cast often.

If you're lucky and well organised you could catch a lot of fish.

So ensure you have everything to hand in your swim from your bait to your tackle box, disgorger, landing net, catapult, towel, etc.

Also, ensure your seat box and rod rests are all secure and at the right angle to maximise your comfort and enjoyment of seeing a lot of fish on the bank.

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10. Load the feeder correctly

I touched on this point when discussing choosing the correct ground bait mix.

It's important that you have the right consistency of mix for it to survive the impact of the water and get to the bottom next to your hook bait.

In addition to having the right mix though, you need to ensure that the feeder is loaded as full as it allows but also in a balanced, streamlined shape.

This allows for a more accurate cast that won't stray due to an unbalanced feeder.

a well filled method feeder

A well filled method feeder ready to go

11. Perfect your casting accuracy when feeder fishing

Talking about accurate casts, this is actually a key skill that is required to be successful at feeder fishing.

The accurate you are with your casts, the more bait is built up in your swim. A constant trickle of bait going into the same spot starts to attract more and more fish.

The more fish that are attracted, the more competition there is for food.

The more competition there is for food, the faster fish will attempt to eat any morsels available to them.

This will inevitably include your hook bait.

If done right and the conditions are good, you should be in for a good session.

Top tip: - Use your line clip on the reel to ensure you get a consistent distance that way you only have to concentrate on the direction of the cast.

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12. Cast often when feeder fishing

One of the key advantages of feeder fishing is the ability to build up your swim with a slow and steady stream of ground bait throughout the course of your session.

This is only possible though if you actually cast often.

As a general rule of thumb, if you haven't had a bite after 15 - 20 minutes then you should re-cast, but stick to the same spot.

How often should you cast a method feeder?

Method feeder fishing is slightly different from general feeder fishing as it aims to get fish attracted to the splash of the feeder hitting the water and the association with this and food being available.

The ultimate goal of method feeder fishing is getting carp to compete and 'bump' your feeder as soon as it hits the water. It does this to release the food (and your hook bait) quickly so it can eat it before its competitors.

So with this goal in mind, it's best to re-cast a method feeder every 5 - 10 minutes if there is no action.

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13. Fish with a tight line

When feeder fishing, the most common form of bite indication is through the use of a quiver tip.

The quiver tip is designed purposely to be very flexible and 'whippy'. The reason for this is so you can easily see bites even from smaller fish.

This is only possible, however, if you are fishing with a tight line.

Ideally, you need a very slight bend in your quiver tip after you have set your rod down to maximise the bite indication.

fish a quiver tip with a tight line

Keeping the line tight for the quiver tip

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14. Know how to identify line bites when feeder fishing

As mentioned throughout this article, when feeder fishing, especially with a method feeder, your aim is to get the fish into a feeding frenzy.

This really is an exciting situation to be in as you can literally get a bite with seconds of casting.

The caveat to this however is you tend to get lots of line bites as fish try and position themselves quickly.

Knowing how to distinguish a line bite from a proper bite is key to getting more fish on the bank.

A line bite tends to be a short, sharp pull on the quiver tip or bobbin with a quick return to nothing.

A proper bite, however, is a pull or a spring back of the bite indicator that is followed by a continuous movement of the rod, indicator, or line. In this circumstance, you should strike immediately

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15. Be prepared to move

Now when we say be prepared to move, we don't mean after 30 minutes of no activity.

If, however, after 3 hours of casting often and building up your swim with bait, you still haven't any sign of action then you should move and try a different swim.

You could always return after a period of time to the original swim to see if fish have moved in.

To be successful sometimes it's best to move to the fish rather than wait for the fish to move to you.

Final Thoughts

With the ever-increasing popularity of feeder fishing in the angling world, being one step ahead of the competition can really improve your success rate.

The 15 top tips on feeder fishing in this article will help gain an advantage not only over other anglers but also the fish themselves.

Tight lines!

If you need any fishing tackle please consider visiting one of our recommended online fishing tackle shops.

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