During the warm summer months when fish are eager to feed due to their faster metabolism, there is one fishing method which works particularly well in warm weather & that's the inline pellet feeder. In recent years many of the top tackle brands have been producing inline feeders designed primarily for match fishing heavily stocked commercial venues for fish such as a carp. They aren’t just the tool of the match angler though, as they also provide great sport when pleasure fishing.
For a day's feeder fishing I went to Pool Bridge Farm on the outskirts of York. Pool Bridge is typical of many commercials across the country & has 5 lakes available on a day ticket. For this session I opted to fish Horseshoe Lake which has a good head of carp & a mixture of other species including bream, chub, crucians, perch, roach & tench.
I arrived at the venue around 8am & had a walk around to see if I could see any signs of fish moving or feeding. The first thing I noticed on my walk round was the number of Willow trees surrounding & dipping their branches into the water, these spots screamed fish & I certainly wanted one of these to be featured in my swim. It was whilst looking at one of these trees situated on the island that I noticed a number of dark shapes under the surface cruising past - this was enough evidence for me to set up in a swim opposite. From the bank I could easily cast to the willow, but also have the option of fishing towards the island & along its edge extending away from me, with both areas being a relatively short cast of 30yds.
I set up a Drennan Series 7 Puddle Chucker which is perfect for this type of short distance feeder fishing. I coupled it with a small Shimano 750FB micro reel loaded with 6lb line. To the main line I threaded a 15g Drennan Inline flat method feeder & tied a double overhand knot to create a loop which was then attached to the handy connector at the base of the feeder. My hook length was three inches long & made from 4lb line to which I tied a knotless knot to a size 14 Kamasan barbless hook.
With rod ready to go & the sun breaking through the intermittent white clouds, it was time to get some bait in the water & get the fish feeding. I loaded up the feeder with Sonu baits 2mm pellets which I had wetted earlier with hemp juice - this is the water left over from boiling hemp, which I find a great additive for softening pellets or mixing groundbait.
I wanted to kick start the swim off with a generous amount of feed, so I loaded the feeder with pellets with no hook length attached – without a hook attached it lessens the chance of snagging on bank side vegetation when gauging distance, had my hook length been attached, my second cast would of seem me snagged on the island vegetation!
I cast five times with a loaded feeder to the edge of the island, once the feeder hit the deck, I slowly moved the feeder back towards me to help empty its contents. This also gave me a good indication of the layout of the bottom & showed that a slope descended away from the island, which was indicated by the slackening of line as the feeder moved down the slope. Once the swim was baited I let it rest & sorted myself out with a bacon & egg butty from the onsite cafe.
Back at my peg I could already see signs of swirling fish activity close to the island, so having eaten my sandwich I fired a couple of pouches of corn & hemp towards the island. I quickly attached my hook length to the inline connection and then baited up my hair with two kernels of corn & compressed pellets around the feeder using the mould.
Once cast to the desired spot I tightened the line so the quiver tip had a noticeable curve along its tip to aid bite indication. Within seconds of the feeder coming to rest, I was getting the tell tale movements on the quiver that fish were brushing the line, no more than 30 seconds after setting the rod down, the tip on the rod rest rattled & bent round violently to indicate a run. I lifted into the bite & felt a surge as the fish moved off at speed from the island, the drag on the reel responded with its comforting clicking sound as the fish took a couple of feet of line from the spool. The fish stayed out in open water moving slowly from right to left, but didn’t take long to bring under control, and I soon had a common of around 4lb in the landing net – what a great start, first cast, woohoo!
Over the next few hours I caught a number of small carp between 2 & 3lb plus a dozen or so roach no larger than 8oz on corn & luncheon meat before the swim went quiet - it was at this point I decided to target the overhanging willow branches at the end of the island.
Every 15 minutes over the last couple of hours I had been catapulting pouches of hemp & corn to the willow & was confident that I would have a rapid response to this loose feeding as soon as I got the feeder in the water. No more than a few minutes after splashing the feeder next to the willow, the rod tip slowly curved round & I lifted into a bream of about 3lb, it didn’t put up much of a fight & after a quick photo it was soon back in the water.
The bream were feeding hard & no matter what type or size of bait I tried, I couldn’t tempt any fish other than bream. I suspect this feeding may have been a result of the weather beginning to turn, the sky was now filled with grey clouds and last night’s prediction of rain on the weather forecast was beginning to look like a good one.
For the next hour I was catching a steady stream of skimmers around the 1 & 2 pound mark from under the willow branches, even when I cast further along the island towards my first feed area, I was still connecting with bream.
One of the skimmers I caught had a deformed tail, but judging by its general condition it didn’t seem too affected by its disability, especially as it put up a more spirited fight than any other bream caught on the day!
Not long after the rain started to come down, both areas went quiet, I decided to give it another hour under the brolly in the hope that the rain would ease off or the fish would come back on the feed, but nothing was stirring apart from the occasional small roach, so I decided to pack up.
It had been a thoroughly enjoyable session with pretty consistent action throughout. The carp were great fun on a light rod, and the bream obliging when the carp went off the feed. My only disappointment was the fact I didn’t get a few tench, but to compensate I did get a kingfisher sitting on a branch 10 yards away watching me packing up, so I couldn’t complain too much!
Adam - HC Fishing.com