Pole feeder on the river

An art that seem’s to of been forgotten in the mists of time, but now with what seems to be turn back to the rivers these old tactics are making a come back.

The pole feeder can be a deadly method on the Soar especially on the Sutton Bonington stretch through the winter months. With the depth of around 12 ft and the possibility of extra water on getting the bait down and to stay where you want it is so important.

I used to fish the pole feeder a lot, with a few people asking about it in the shop of late i thought id put a bit of a scribble together on how i fish the pole feeder.

There’s a few schools of thought that you loose the sensitivity and miss bites due to fishing an all most tight line to the hook. There’s even a view that adding a light pole elastic in line to aid in bite detection. I can see where they are coming from and why it would work, but i don’t think you need to go to this if your rig is set up correctly. We don’t have a problem fishing the tip and that’s kind of what pole feeder fishing is.

So first off elastics 6 – 10 hollow 4 – 6 solid bear in mind you could pick up a better stamp of fish. Plus the added weight of the feeder, but you need the elastic to be soft enough to aid in setting the hook. Modern hollow elastics are great for this set up.

The Lolly pop or Flat float as they are also known are the ones to go for every time. These two floats are both hand made in 2.5 and 3 gram.


I don’t think you can get these feeders any more but Nisa feeders make Pole Feeders.


I even play’d about with making my own groundbait pole feeders out of an small cage feeder and a strap lead. Very crude but it worked back when you couldn’t get the mass produced ones.


Setting the rig up couldn’t be easier. I normally only fish about a 1 ft of line between the pole tip and float as i’ll want to be keeping the line tight and the float in check all the time. I’ll build the rig at home giving plenty of line if i’m unsure of the venue depth, this way i can cut back the line on the bank.

I used to attach the feeder paternoster style to the mainline, but this meant that changing the hook link length was a pain. These days i use the small version of the Enterprise Tackle Adjuster Links.


This allows me to adjust the hook link length when ever i like with ease, As a rule of thumb i’ve kept to around a 1 ft for the hook length. I’ve also found that by cutting the clear tube slightly longer on the hook link side you almost get an anti tangle boom effect. The Feeder is attached to adjuster link with a short length of line of a lower breaking strain to the mainline just in case of snags. I’ll also add a small snap swivel to the feeder so i can quickly change it if needed.


Getting used to fishing the pole feeder can take some time even more so if your fishing at a fair distance. By far the best way is swinging the rig out so as you can imagine if your trying to fish over 10 mtrs with say 12 ft of rig it’s not going to be easy.

I generally keep to fishing not much further out than the actual depth i’m fishing in, so going on a 12 ft venue id be fishing around 4 mtrs of pole i could fish 6 mtrs of pole but that would be about it.

The rig would be swung out slightly down stream while feeling for the feeder touching the bottom just like you’d feel for the bottom when plumbing up. Everything should go through the water smoothly so the flow picks up the hook length and keeps it down stream of the feeder. Almost imagine your fishing a stick and holding back an the end of the swim. The float should just sit nice in the water using the tension in the line to hold it steady in the flow. Only the bristle wants to be showing. Once you get used to fishing this way you’ll be able to dot the bristle right down so even the shiest of bites is shown.

As i mentioned above people talk about using bits of pole elastic in the line to aid from bumping or missing bites, but i can honestly say I’ve never come across this problem. If the float is balanced right and the pole is gentling holding the float back in the flow you’ll find every bite will pull the float under, 9 out of 10 times the fish will of hooked its self as the elastic in the pole will be acting as a bolt rig.

So go on give it ago get it right and you’ll find it a rewarding method on the pole. Don’t discount using it on the canal this winter either 😉


Hemp and Tare fishing with a twist of modern

People keep asking me about this one, only the other day I had someone in the shop. “Mind if I pick your brains”
Aye gone on then.
Hemp & Tare I hearing it’s doing well on the Soar? And I’ve heard your the man to ask about using JPz jelly pellets.

I thought I’d written about this method on both Facebook & my Blog but seems not, cause I can’t find it on here at all how odd!.

So Hemp & Tares. Proper old skool bait that all sorts of fish love and the fish in the Soar can go mad for it.

But it can be a pain to keep on the hook even more so if your trying to get your hook bait through to a better stamp of fish.
One of those day’s on the bank and they were just having it on hemp and tare but I just couldn’t keep it on the hook, light bulb moment, I’d got a Jar of them new Marukyu JPz Black Toughs in my box.


Had to be worth ago!
So splitting one in half I whacked it on the hook and fished it as if it was a Tare. I couldn’t believe it really as it was almost a fish a chuck, good size fish to.
Some times pays to think out side the box a little.



Quick afternoon in Sept down Soar Lane

After a few manic weeks in the shop and at home I had to find time for at least a few hours on the bank with my lad.

It was a fine Monday afternoon in Sept with a fair up stream wind on the river. Not that the pictures show it, but it was so much so that the near side was swirling back on its self. So close in float fishing was out, this being my normal starting point. I find it gives me a feel for what’s happening under the surface.
So looking across you could clearly make out that there was some flow from just over half to 3/4 across the river. Now a lot would think pole but for me this is a big NO, don’t get me wrong pole has its day but 13mtr pole in a wind fishing 13/14ft deep plus the added boat traffic, you got to be kidding.


So feeder it was.
There’s clear signs of small fish feeding and darting about above the far side shelf. In fact there were loads of them!IMG_1297.JPG

My plan of attack was going to be a bit hit and run as time was short and I wanted to max what I could do in that time. Almost a bit match stylie fishing for bites.

My basic feeder set up was a 15g open end feeder attached to an Enterprise Adjuster Link, I love these as it makes adjusting the hook link length so much easier. With small feeders you can get away with using pellet waggler adapters more on that another day.

Groundbait was a mix 50/50 of our own river mix and Roach and Skimmer mix. I wanted a mix that would bind just enough to hold in the feeder with plenty of free offerings but i also wanted to be able to ball some bait out over to the far margin shelf.

Why you may ask? from my past days of fishing the Trent I learnt that when there are loads of small fish about its well worth getting them in to a feeding frenzy. Two things happen the Bleak will be going nuts up in the water and there’s hundreds of them on the Soar at the minute, even though we don’t really want to be catching them. All the commotion in the water will draw other fish in to the swim naturally. You tend to find Perch show first, but these can be a very welcome start in building a nice catch up.

I bet not many of you have used one of these before.


Me old faithful Drennan Groundbait pult. Another reason why a wanted a slightly sticky mix is so the groundbait balls don’t break up during take off.

After banging out 4 good orange sized balls of groundbait in to the swim and a quick slurp of tea, i loaded up the feeder hooked two red maggots on to a size 18 crystal bend hook to a 6 inch hook link.

Casting dead ahead of me feathering the feeder down to the deck. I normally have my rod rest set low and at around 11 o’clock to the water. By paying out a line you create a nice bow in the line which means you can get away with fishing lighter feeders in faster flows. There are other variants ill add to this for different flow rates, boat traffic etc. But as rule i find keeping the tip as low as possible on this part of the Soar works well as you won’t need to worry about boats.

With so little flow fishing the bow was just not going to happen or work properly. So i set my rod at 2 o’clock to the water still fishing dead ahead. I can tighten up just enough so there is a slight bend in the tip.

Bang the tip springs back and then whacks round ‘Perch’ Next cast the feeder didn’t have chance to hit the deck before i could feel a fish trying to snaffle my hook bait while feathering down. another Perch bigger this time mind.

This carried on for about another ten or so casts Perch Perch Perch! well i kind of knew it would as this was apart of the plan.

I know the fish are there i can see them and by now i could see a few signs of some bigger fish taking freebies off the surface. Time to start adding Hemp in to the mix with a bit of Sweetcorn. Easily done by plugging the feed at one end add hemp and then plugging the other end.

Still with maggots on the hook i cast few feeders full out in to the swim.
A few knocks and bangs but nothing to show of, loads of fish still up in the water. Hopefully this is the sign that the Perch have moved off. Bang the tips shot round ‘dam it missed that’ recast same again! time for another tweek. A change of hook to a round bend this giving a slightly wider gape so i can fish a small bit of corn on the hook, hook length now a good 12″.

A few minutes wait see’s the first Skimmer in the net followed by a few more then a nice Roach very pleased with that. Things seemed to slow down a bit even with clear signs of fish over my baited area. A quick change over to maggots as a little tester saw Perch back again. Hmm..

I wonder corn a maggot combo! well seemed to do the trick but i was bumping fish? odd, quick check of the hook proved to be the problem blunt! how many people think to check their hooks for sharpness? Carpers are always banging on about sharp hooks, trust me i makes a big difference having sharp hooks.

Well after a great few hours and a few in the net Our friends the Swans were back and it was time for me and little man to get packed up and off home.


Maggots how do you keep yours?

One question I always get asked in the shop is “How long can I keep these Maggots for and what’s the best way”

Interestingly enough there’s more to keeping maggots than meets the eye.

A lot of you will know Thursday is the when we get our delivery from the local maggot farm.
Its 6:30am start for me that morning so I can get as much prepped and ready as i can ready for opening at 9:30.

So how do the maggots come from the farm? Well grotty and horrible to put it simply.


The photo doesn’t do it justice really.

From here on there is lots of sieving and then riddling to be done to get rid off all the unwanted nasties. This leaves you with a pile of crud. (great for the compost heap)


Now we have some workable maggots but we’re still not finished with them yet though. What else can be done you may ask.
Well next job is to run them through some fine sawdust to further clean more muck and damp off of them. After a nice brew they’re ready to re sieve to remove the saw dust only now will they be ready for the fridge.


When you are looking after maggots at home the best tip I can give you is ‘don’t keep them in a maggot box or plastic bag’  keep them in as bigger tray possible with out a lid.
Even in a fridge they will sweat this is only made worse if there’s a lid on the box air holes or not. I’m sure you’ve gone to open your maggot box at some point to find a foamy mess. This is because they’ve been sweating like mad.
Find a plastic tray that’ll just fit in your fridge. The bigger the surface area the better as the maggots will cool easier if they’re not crammed together.
Remember no lid
Ask your local tackle shop if you could have some maize flour also find your self a fine mesh sieve. You can generally find large flour sieve’s from the likes of Wilkos really cheap.

If you intend of keeping your maggots for a while it’s best to sieve them through with maize everyday to keep them dry and as fresh as possible.

What about fridge temperature?
As cold as possible once they’ve been in there for roughly 12hrs they want to be just moving but not frozen.
Frozen deads we touch on another day.

But what if you don’t have a fridge?
The way you look after them is basically the same. Large tray no lid and keep them clean with maize flour.
Your not going to be able to keep them as cold so they won’t last as long. A cool concrete floor is best and in the dark.


An afternoon on Soar Lane

Grabbed a few hours on the river this afternoon. Thought I’d go against my normal tactic on Soar Lane and fish the pole.
Bleak bleak and more bleak even with a 1.5g float olivett shotted no chance, nail by the dam things as soon as it touched the water.
So throw that to one side break out the feeder rod and hay presto we started catching Roach & Skimmers.
Menu for the day Our own Roach & Skimmer groundbait our Hemp & Sweetcorn.
Great couple of hours 🙂




Marukyu on the river?

*** TOP TIP *** We’ve just had this in from Scott Johnson of Soar Tackle, Feed the passion Catch the dream – who has been playing about with the new Luxus Active groundbait. Scott told us: “Luxus Active is what I like to think of as a new ‘old school’ groundbait. “Whilst it smells of lovely crushed roasted hemp, it’s also full of the latest additives. “I use it both on stillwaters and got to test it last year on rivers. On stillwaters for balling or cupping it gives a nice active cloud through the water with lots of little hemp particles to draw fish in. “On the river it’s an amazing feeder mix very much like the old school explosive mixes – but with added pull. Roach and chub seem to go nuts for it. “By adding a touch of liquid caramel or brasem you can make the mix less active and for me this seems to work well for skimmers. Give it ago I’m sure you’ll be impressed.” Luxus Active is available now in 2kg bags at £5.99.
Marukyu UK's photo.
Marukyu UK's photo.
Marukyu UK's photo.