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ISSU io t a v o n in n o prest
















ISSUE 5 | Winning Pegs

welcome to Winning Pegs 2016 from Preston Innovations The free magazine that brings you all the latest product news as well as hints, tips and advice from the very best anglers in the business


elcome to the 2016 issue of the Winning Pegs magazine. In this edition we bring you world class instruction from the likes of Des Shipp, Tommy Pickering, Lee Kerry, Andy Findlay and Adam Wakelin to name just a few. We cover a wide range of tactics and methods on various venues, showcasing our new innovative products.




editor Scott Geens deputy editor Frankie Gianoncelli with help from Andy Power & Lee Kerry designer Helen Holloway uk address Unit 1, Highbridge Court, Stafford Park 1, Telford, Shropshire TF3 3BD Tel 01952 290520 Fax 01952 291974

Keep up to date with all of the latest news and product information at

One of our most notable moves in 2015 was the unique collaboration with Toray Industries. The worlds leading carbon fibre supplier and prepreg manufacturer. This partnership has produced the Response pole range, which has put Preston Innovations firmly back in the pole fishing market. The new Response pole range covers all bases, the M50, M70 and M90 offers something for everyone. Watch this space for more additions to the range in 2016.

We’ve not just been working on poles this year, though. We have a wide range of new products for you in the following 84 pages, including three new Absolute seatboxes, a new range of Competition Pro Rollers, DF Boots and many more. Preston Innovations are also extremely proud to be associated with the all conquering England World Feeder Team, who brought home yet more silverware. We’ve also unveiled sponsorship of a new feeder competition, in the form of Feeder Masters which is already proving to be very popular. We believe that our diverse and vast product ranges offer something for every angler. You’ll find lots of hints and tips, as well as insights into the minds of the best anglers in the world. So, sit back and enjoy the latest edition of Winning Pegs.

t t o c S e ens G

european distribution centre Primo Distribution B.V., Kelvin Ring 27B-29, 2952 BG Alblasserdam, Netherlands Tel 0031 78 6999593 Fax 0031 78 6999594

All Preston Innovations products are covered by intellectual property rights. Specifications and prices are correct as of February 2016. All specifications are approximate and may vary or be modified.

Scott Geens Preston Innovations Brand Manager

2016 Preston Innovations Limited


number 1 in match fishing 03

cover: Tommy Pickering, Lindholme Lakes photo: Frankie Gianoncelli



on the cover





Des Shipp runs us through the basics of chopped worm fishing on commercials

Andy Findlay shows us his top ten tips for cold water carping

Lee Kerry talks us through his silver fishing tactics on commercials

Tommy Pickering on the basics of fishing for F1 with pellets

get out the wrigglers

carping in the cold

slay some silvers

life in the fast lane

anglers 026

minutes from £65k Frankie Gianoncelli’s viewpoint from the exciting Match This Final


power of the pellet waggler Andy Power shows how devastating the Pellet Waggler can be

new products


behind the scenes Delve into Adam Wakelin‘s preparation for commercial fisheries


the response is here A new precedent in high performance pole technology


see the world clearly in black & white


feeder masterclass With Neil McKinnon on method and pellet feeder fishing

The all new Absolute Seatbox range


stay ahead of the competition The new Competition Pro luggage range


smooth operator 3 radically redesigned Competition Pro Flat Rollers


48 hours to gold Find out how the England Feeder Team retained their World Championship title


Preston Innovations | NEWS



P re ston


E x pa n s ion

Product Development Co-ordinator Local lad and commercial talent Robbie Griffiths has recently joined the team as a Product Development Co-ordinator. He has a vast amount of experience in the trade and will provide a fresh dimension to the product team. We have a massive launch coming in 2016 and Robbie will no doubt have an input into the design and development of new products in future years.

Media Co-ordinator Frankie Gianoncelli already had a strong connection with the company as a sponsored angler, pushing himself and the company forward. We were overjoyed to welcome Frankie on board and join the team in a full time position at our Telford base. Frankie joined the team in early 2015 and has proved to be a vital asset pushing the company forward. Preston’s Brand Manager Scott Geen’s said:, “We are over the moon to have Robbie and Frankie join our team. Both men are known throughout the industry and have the qualities which will allow them to slot seamlessly into our existing team. Having two anglers of their calibre can only be a good thing for the company.”

Preston and Torayca Partnership We are thrilled to announce a unique collaboration with Toray Industries, the world leading carbon fibre supplier and pre-preg manufacturer and the end product of this partnership has far exceeded our expectations. Many of you will have heard, seen and used our new range of flagship Response poles. These poles have been in development for over 18 months with Scott Geens and Des Shipp heading up the operation, so its no wonder the range is so good! The Response poles have become the fastest selling pole range we have ever produced. We love the poles, and its obvious that you, the anglers love them too! Read more about the Response poles on pages 12-13 and be sure to check our website for more additions to the range.

Match This Final The £65,000 Match This competition has quickly become one of the most popular events in the match fishing calendar. Preston’s Frankie Gianoncelli, Andy Power and Ben Sharp managed to qualify for the big money final. One of these stars came very close to picking up the life changing prize. Check out page 26 to find out the full story.

NEWS | Preston Innovations

Gold For

three new signings

Feeder Team

for preston innovations

Preston’s E n g l a nd The Preston Innovations England Feeder Team managed to secure another gold medal on the Terneuzen canal in Holland. Tommy Pickering’s feeder lions retained their World Champion status on a very tough Dutch venue. See page 79 for an in depth report from the 2015 World Feeder Championships.

Zac Brown

John Harvey

European Growth

preston b a c k f e e d e r masters We are thrilled to announce a new collaboration with Feeder Masters, a new feeder initiative which has proven to be extremely popular amongst feeder anglers. In fact, most qualifiers sold out within hours of release! Keep an eye out on prestoninnovations. com for the latest Feeder Masters news and results. number 1 in match fishing

We’re thrilled to announce the appointment of Pascal Vermeulen who joined the team as European Director. He has the responsibility for expanding our brands in continental Europe. His vast knowledge and experience has already proven advantageous for Preston Innovations. We’re extremely confident that the brand will continue to grow even further in the future with Pascal at the helm.

from Croydon, Surrey age 32 occupation engineer best match weight 296lb fave venue River Mole fave method Pellet Waggler or traditional Waggler fishing for chub tackle I wouldn’t be without Dura Hollo Elastic size 10 & Absolute Station seatbox angling achievements All England Pole Champs winner aged 14; Mega Match This Champion 2013

from Risca, South Wales age 30 occupation electrician best match weight 317lb fave venue Bristol Avon fave method Shallow carp fishing tackle I wouldn’t be without Offbox Pro Mega Roost Kit & Hollo Elastic sizes 11 & 13 angling achievements FishOMania finalist 2015; Welsh International

Jonathan Jowett from Ramsbottom age 40 occupation Decorator best match weight 225lb fave venue Any Big Lake in Ireland fave method Catching Roach on Long Pole tackle I wouldn’t be without Black Absolute Station and Response M90 angling achievements King Of Clubs, King Of Lakes. 2 Carrigalan Festivals, Kaman British Open Champion, Angling Trust Wigan Winter League individual league winner 07

Get Out The Wrigglers | DES SHIPP




Anglers have become pellet mad on commercials nowadays, but one neglected bait is worms. But, it shouldn’t be, worms can be unbeatable and more often than not they’ll produce the goods and outscore other baits. Don’t get me wrong, I love to fish with pellets and meat like everyone else, but worms just seem to always come up trumps and catch me everything that swims. They’re extremely versatile and can be used in several ways to suit different fish and situations. No matter where I’m fishing or what I’m fishing for I’ll always take a bag of worms with me. They are my get out of jail bait and one that I’ll always

try if I’m fishing at an unfamiliar venue. Worms are one of those baits that works for me everywhere I go. Whether its on a lake, canal, river or commercial, I’ll always have them on my side tray. Today I’ve come to the famous Weston Pools in Shropshire, to run you through the benefits of these little wrigglers.

Tackle For Worms

I always try and keep my tackle and set up as simple as possible, it’s far too easy to get confused about different floats, lines and hooks, but if you follow my simple advice you won’t go wrong.

Having confidence in your gear is massive! If you have the slightest doubt that you’re using the wrong gear, or you think it will let you down it will affect your end result. I always use tackle that I’ve got 100% confidence in, gear than I’m certain wont let me down. Positive rigs and thicker lines are essential for worm fishing, they minimise tangles massively. You’ll just get into tangle after tangle if you use faffy rigs and thin lines. I use Reflo Power as a main line for all of my commercial pole fishing, no matter what bait I’m fishing with or what fish I’m targeting. It’s incredibly durable and never lets me



ESSENTIALS Pole Des swears by the new Preston flagship pole, the Response M90, made exclusively with 100% Torayca High Modulus Japanese Carbon Fibre.

Elastic Des uses size 10 and 12 Dura Hollo Elastic which boasts increased wear resistance, ideal for warmer conditions.

Float Des’ choice of floats are 4x12 Prototype and 4x16 PB Carp 5. Two floats to cover shallow and open water fishing.

Hook & Line Size 16 PR 434 hook teamed with 0.15mm Reflo Power to a 0.14mm Precision Power hooklength.

Catapult Des uses the Matchpult, purposely designed for natural baits like maggots and casters, as well as meat or corn.

down. However, I prefer Precision Power for my hooklengths, its really supple and strong, gripping around the hook perfectly. On the float front, two of my favourite floats for my commercial worming are the PB Carp 5, for depths of three foot plus and a new prototype float with a pear shaped body and carbon stem for anything shallower than three foot. Hook choice is one of the most important factors to consider in fishing, one of my favourite hooks for worm fishing is the ever reliable PR 434 in an 18, 16 or 14. It’s subtle enough for silverfish, but will also cope with any bigger carp and F1s I’m likely to hook. I keep my elastic choice simple number 1 in match fishing

Top Tip # Worms

are a fantastic bait, but they can leave you in a tangled mess if you’re not careful. To combat tangles I use a tiny Mini Match Swivel to attach my hooklength to the main line. This stops the hooklength spinning up and benefits presentation.

too. A size 6 Slip Elastic is perfect for silverfish and small F1s, but I’ll step up to a size 8 or 10 Dura Hollo Elastic if I’m fishing for a mixture of F1s, carp and silvers. If I’m targeting bigger carp with worms I won’t hesitate to step up to a size 11 Hollo Elastic, or even a size 13.

Luggage The Monster EVA Bait and Tackle Bag is Des’ ideal storage solution for his tackle, bait and waterproof clothing.

What To Feed?

Knowing what, when and how to feed is crucial in fishing. If you master the art of feeding you’re on to a winner. I feed worms in several ways and combine them with different baits to make them even more effective. I’ll run you through a few of my favourite ways to feed them.

Clothing Constructed from our highest ever specification waterproof material, Des keeps warm and dry in his DF20 Bib & Brace. 09

Get Out The Wrigglers | DES SHIPP

How to Mix Des’s Guano


Start off by putting some micro pellets into a tub and fully cover them with water to soak.


Pour the soaked pellets into the peat mixture and add a bit more water until your mix starts to form a mushy consistency.



C ATC H E S a few snaps from a successful day netting well over 200lb!



You’ll be left with fine dark peat, this is a great fish attractor and forms the base of the mix.

Chop up some worms, around ½ kilo will be enough for a session and add to the mix.


Now add some casters, corn, hemp and any water if needed, until you can form a sloppy Guano ball.

Groundbait & Worm Cocktail

The groundbait and worm cocktail is a great way of fishing with worms. It’s my preferred feeding style for commercial silvers, bream and skimmers absolutely love it! It’s great for fishing in deep water, the groundbait adds weight to the chopped worms and helps it get to the bottom. The cocktail is so simple to make too. Start by mixing up a 1kg bag of groundbait, I’ve found that Sonubaits Match Method Mix is best for the cocktail. It is full of fishy attractants and has a lovely natural colour. Try not to over wet the mix as the worm juices will add a lot of moisture, mix it on the dry side and add any additional water once you’ve added your worms.




Riddle the peat off of the worms into a separate bowl.

Riddle off any peat and bits of rubbish from your worms, so that you’re left with just neat worms. Finally, you’ll need about ½ kilo of finely chopped worms and chop them up with a good pairs of worm scissors. Once chopped, mix it into the groundbait and that’s it, the cocktail that fish can’t resist.

The Guano

Top Tip # If I’m targeting bigger fish in deeper water, I’ll add some extra particles to the cocktail, like casters, hemp and corn. This gives me a much richer mix that’s perfect for bigger specimens.

T he ‘Guano’ is basic all y a concoction of several baits mixed into one big mess. I’ve been using the Guano for many years now and have kept it as quiet as possible because I know how impactive it can be. It can be fantastic in the heat of summer, fished up to islands or in the edges. Worms, hemp, casters, micro pellets and peat form the Guano. Definitely worth a try this summer.

DES SHIPP | Get Out The Wrigglers every day. The best rig by far was a 0.6g PB Inter 3 with 0.15mm Reflo Power main line, a 0.14mm Precision Power hooklength to a 16 PR 434 hook. Half a worm was the stand out hookbait, the barbel in particular seemed to love big pieces of worm. I matched this rig to a size 10 Dura Worm Slop Shallow fishing plays a big part Hollo Elastic, combined with a Roller to my commercial attack, especially Pulla Kit. This elastic is soft enough for F1s, but powerful in the summer and enough for barbel autumn months. and any rogue carp. In fact, I pocketed The Guano mix the £25,000 has worked a treat, Parkdean Master potting in small Final fishing with balls at 13 metres worms shallow! via a Medium Soft F1s in particular CAD Pot has been love the ‘ Worm the best line and Slop’. They can’t feeding style by resist nailing a lb a mile. piece of worm or After a couple of a single caster des shipp hours I was forced to lowered into the lingering cloud of the worm slop. To fish shallow as there were way too many make the Worm Slop start by putting fish in front of me to fish on the deck. I ½ kilo of chopped worms into a bowl. switched to the new prototype float Add a pint of casters and about 2 pints with the same hooks, line and elastic of peat, mixing throughly. You can then as the deck rig and started to feed the add water to the mix until you get a Worm Slop. The sport was unbelievable, sloppy porridge consistency. The best I had an F1 every cast for about two way to feed the Worm Slop is either hours, again with a worm hookbait. I decided to spend the final hour by hand if you’re fishing short, or with a Soft CAD Pot so you can lower your in the edges using the Guano mix and hookbait right in the middle of the slop. was greeted by yet more ravenous F1s and barbel, which just goes to show the versatility of chopped worms. You Weston Wonders This was my first visit to Weston can literally fish them anywhere in your Pools and it certainly won’t be my peg and bag up. Weston Pools has proven why it’s last. Today’s session has been brilliant, it’s been red hot and the fish have regarded as one of the best fisheries been crawling up the bank. I’ve in the country. In five hours fishing I caught a chunky Weston barbel or had amassed well over 200lb, in fact an F1 mosts casts. I’ve tried several I think it was closer to 250lb. I just baits throughout the day like maggots, wish it was 100 miles closer to home! Anglers up and down the country pellets and corn, but the fish here love worms, they didn’t want anything else. stick to safe and cheap bait options I think its because they don’t see it like pellets, meat and corn. However, I’ve found that a worm head, or even half a worm is the best hookbait for the Guano. Although, if the sport is really good I won’t hesitate to step up to a full worm. Don’t be afraid to give the Guano a try, you’ll be amazed at how effective it can be.


number 1 in match fishing

if you go with a different approach and use a bait that the fish don’t see every day, you can give yourself an edge. Worms might not be as cheap as a bag of pellets or a tin of meat, but trust me the rewards are there for the taking. So, the next time you pop in to the tackle shop, pick up a bag of wrigglers and don’t forget to give the Guano a go! A REAL MIXED BAG, SHOWING THE VERSATILITY AND EFFECTIVENESS OF WORMS ON COMMERCIALS 011

The Response is Here | RESPONSE POLES


Response We are thrilled to announce a unique collaboration with Toray Industries, the world’s leading carbon fibre supplier and pre-preg manufacturer. The Toray group has been supplying carbon fibre to some of the worlds leading companies for over 90 years and there isn’t anything they don’t know about carbon. We are absolutely delighted to be associated with such a fantastic company with bags of experience and knowledge in the carbon fibre industry. The unique partnership between Preston and Toray will no doubt continue to expand and develop the pole fishing market. Toray’s global stature in the Aeronautical and other industries speaks volumes and the Torayca branding is universally accepted as a mark of quality and innovation, already used by such prominent sporting outfits as Team Sky’s Tour De France team whose bicycle frames are manufactured from the same raw materials as the Response range. These poles have been in development for over 18 months with input from the likes of Des Shipp, Tommy Pickering and Lee Kerry. The M90 is a true all rounder, whether bagging on a commercial, long lining on a river or speed fishing for small fish the Response M90 can do it all. It is ultrastiff and responsive with impressive strength reserves that belie its lightweight and balanced construction resulting in the most complete flagship pole we have ever produced. The new Response pole range covers all bases, from the M50 to the M90, there really is something for everyone in this fantastic range.




RESPONSE POLES | The Response is Here



3 Mini Bi-conical Extensions

Pre-fitted PTFE Bushes

Des Shipp

Roller Pulla Kits

Kupping Kit & Kups


M5016m pole M7016m pole

M9016m pole

++ 2 x Match Top 2 Kits (2.4m) ++ 4 x Roller Pulla Power Top 2 Kits (2.4m) ++ 3 x Mini Bi-conical Extensions ++ Monster Response Pole Holdall ++ EVA Alignment Cones with PTFE Bushes ++ Kupping Kit and Kups

++ 3 x Match Top 3 Kit (3.95m) ++ 2 x Match Top 2 Kit (2.4m) ++ 6 x Roller Pulla Power Top 2 Kit (2.4m) ++ 3 x Mini Bi-conical Extensions ++ Monster Response Pole Holdall ++ EVA Alignment Cones with PTFE Bushes ++ Kupping Kit and Kups

number 1 in match fishing

++ 1 x Match Top 3 Kit (3.95m) ++ 2 x Match Top 2 Kit (2.4m) ++ 4 x Roller Pulla Power Top 2 Kit (2.4m) ++ 3 x Mini Bi-conical Extensions ++ Monster Response Pole Holdall ++ EVA Alignment Cones with PTFE Bushes ++ Kupping Kit and Kups

Response Monster Pole Holdall


Carping in the Cold | ANDY FINDLAY


Carp fishing guru, Andy Findlay covered his top feeder fishing tips in last year’s Winning Pegs Magazine. Well, this year he’s back with another instalment of ‘Carping in the Cold’, where he reveals his




ANDY FINDLAY | Carping in the Cold

Pellets, But Not As You Know It!

One trick that I’ve been keeping up my sleeve for a few years is fishing a lassoed pellet, but not as you know it. Pellets are an incredibly effective hookbait, especially hard pellets. I never felt like hair rigging a pellet was quite right, I would miss loads of bites and lose lots of fish using a lassoed pellet on a hair rig. But, if you want to fish a hard pellet hookbait there aren’t many alternatives. This lead to the birth of the lassoed pellet. I simply tie a piece of 0.10mm Reflo Power around a pellet and trim off the tags right next to the knot. I’ll then hook the piece of line attached to the pellet and then its ready. The perfect way to fish with hard pellets on the bottom. You miss hardly any bites and lose far less fish than a typical hair rigged pellet.

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Feature Hunter

Carp congregate where they feel most comfortable, especially in the winter. This might be a bush on the far bank, a water inlet or any bank side vegetation. Carp live in and around features, mainly for cover and the water temperature is generally a few degrees warmer than open water. So, it’s a case of searching around the different features in your peg to find them. If you can find a feature, you will find a carp.


Corn Skin

Corn is my favourite winter carp hookbait, particularly Sonubaits F1 Corn, whether I’m fishing on the pole, bomb or the feeder. One neat little trick to try when fishing with this popular bait is to squeeze the kernel out of the grain, so you’re just left with a yellow corn skin. This falls much slower through the water and entices the carp into taking the bait. It can often get you a bite on those rock hard winter days.

Don’t Feed


One thing that has amazed me is how effective not feeding can be. This might sound quite strange, but not feeding can often be the best attack. Carp don’t have much of an appetite in winter, so they aren’t going to be attracted to piles of bait scattered around everywhere. Sometimes a single hookbait dropped right in front of their nose will have a much better chance of getting snaffled.

Keep Your Eyes Open

If you’re really struggling on a difficult day, one tip that might just get you an extra bite or two is to be on the lookout for signs of fish. How many times have you been sitting there bite less and you’ve seen a carp surface literally meters away from you? The fish won’t come to you in the winter, you have to go to them. It’s a trick I picked up from carp anglers, they regularly cast their rigs to fish that they have seen crash out of the water. You’ll be amazed at how often you get a response. Simply start a new line close to where you’ve seen signs of a fish and go from there. This can often lead you to a massive shoal of cold water carp!

number 1 in match fishing

5 015

Carping in the Cold | ANDY FINDLAY

Go bright!

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Potting Perfection

The Soft CAD Pots offer pinpoint feeding accuracy. Ideal for feeding small amounts of bait in the winter months. The CAD pots come supplied with several sprinkle caps which are perfect for drip feeding in bits of bait. I modify the cap by cutting out one of the ridges. This makes it easier to tap the bait out, but still keeps them retained in the pot when shipping out. Generally, in the colder months I’m very cautious with my feeding. Two or three pellets or a couple of grains of corn will be more than enough to induce a bite. Fish’s metabolisms are much lower in winter, they don’t have to feed as often as in summer. In my opinion, drip feeding in a few bits of bait each cast is the best feeding strategy for winter carp.

Beef It Up For Carp

The water in commercial fisheries is usually much clearer in the winter, making a visual hookbait much more effective. I’ve found that bright white or yellow colours are the most productive. Carp are suckers for a few punches of bread, a grain of corn, or even a Pineapple Band’um.


I fish heavy main lines in the winter when I am fishing for carp. I won’t hesitate to use 0.17mm and even 0.19mm main lines, matched to a lighter hooklength. I believe that the fish can see thicker line, and you might be thinking that surely you don’t want them to see it? Well, that’s exactly what I want. I think that the fish see and swim around the line, which ultimately reduces liners and foul hooked fish. The thicker main line is also much heavier and less likely to be wafted around by big commercial carp. There’s nothing worse than patiently waiting for a bite and striking into a liner, which results in a foul hooker that will most likely come off. I’d much rather sit for longer knowing that when my float buries I’ll hook the fish in the mouth and have a much better chance of landing it.

Stealth Approach

Whatever time of the year, when fishing for carp I will always be as quiet as possible. Even when approaching my peg I will not drop my box on the platform loudly, I do everything slowly and take my time. You will rarely see me rushing or banging things around. I’m a firm believer that fish can hear everything. Something as simple as shouting over to the angler at the side of you can spook fish. Carp are naturally wary, until they are competing for food, and in the winter they don’t have to compete as much as they do in the summer, so you need to be quiet. The next time you get to your peg, remember to quieten down, you might be affecting your swim before you’ve even started.

Plan A, B, C....










10 2016

Having a few options up your sleeve is vital when carp get into winter mode. Unfortunately, you can’t just fish one line and expect to catch a pile of fish from one spot, winter carp fishing doesn’t work like that. I have multiple swims in different areas and at various depths of my peg. I might only feed a couple of spots at a time, keeping the other areas of my swim ready for when I need them, which increases the likelihood of finding and catching fish. Every day is different and the fish will feed at several areas of your peg, so having options will give you a much better chance and is also a good way of priming up one swim whilst fishing another. This gives you another option if one swim goes quiet.



Start off by emptying the Stiki Method Pellets into a round bowl. Usually one bag will be more than enough for a session.

Now add just 150ml of water to a full bag of pellets. Mix thoroughly, ensuring that every pellet is covered in water.


Andy Findlay

Match Fishing ace

The pellets are ready to use straight away, perfect for the method, banjo or pellet feeder!


Absolute White Edition This box is aimed at the angler that wishes to tailor their seatbox configuration to their own exact specification. Therefore, it is supplied as a basic, stripped down version with the option of adding the required amount of winder trays and drawers suitable for the individual. Complete with tried and tested 30mm leg configuration, ergonomic handwheel design and solid covered footplate with handy ‘triple start’ handwheels for ease of assembly, the box now boasts a redesigned carbon-friendly pole retaining strap, new captive internal leg design, improved detachable shoulder strap as well as threaded inserts on two of the six legs. Sporting a striking white frame with contrasting trim and graphics this really is the box to be seen with on the bank.

#FEATURES ++ Lighter Aluminium construction ++ Carbon-friendly pole retaining strap ++ Integral spirit level ++ Removable quick lock footplate ++ Detatchable shoulder strap ++ Under seat storage for hooklength boxes (not included) ++ Captive internal telescopic legs ++ 30mm profile legs (2 with threaded insert) ++ Anti-snag hand wheels

#SUPPLIED WITH ++ 1 x 26mm Shallow Unit (with sliding runners) ++ 1 x 26mm Shallow Unit (fitted to frame) ++ 1 x Lid with Handle ++ 2 x OffBox Pro Snap-lok Short Keepnet Arms ++ 1 x Shuttle Adaptor




see the world clearly Absolute Black Edition This new premium seatbox takes over from the previous Absolute Station and brings with it all of the features that have made it the must have seatbox for many anglers. Its sturdy construction and modular configuration have ensured that it is not only practical and durable but adaptable for all angling situations. Maintaining the robust 30mm leg configuration and ergonomic handwheel design, as well the solid covered footplate which is now lockable in any position and utilises handy ‘triple start’ handwheels for ease of assembly; the box now boasts a redesigned carbon-friendly pole retaining strap, new captive internal leg design, improved detachable shoulder strap as well as threaded inserts on two legs and is supplied with two fully loaded winder trays. Sporting a new stealth-like all black appearance the box comes complete with a seatbox cover and shuttle adaptor providing the discerning angler with the perfect ‘ready to fish’ flagship seatbox.

#FEATURES ++ Integral spirit level ++ Lighter Aluminium construction ++ Carbon-friendly pole retaining strap ++ Under seat storage for hooklength boxes ++ Removable quick lock footplate ++ Detatchable shoulder strap ++ Concealed front drawer ++ Captive internal telescopic legs ++ 30mm profile legs (2 with threaded insert) ++ Anti-snag hand wheels #SUPPLIED WITH ++ 1 x Deep Side Drawer Unit ++ 1 x Concealed Front Drawer Unit ++ 1 x Winder Tray including 26cm winders ++ 1 x Winder Tray including 18cm winders ++ 1 x Lid with Handle ++ 2 x OffBox Pro Snap-lok Short Keepnet Arms ++ 1 x Shuttle Adaptor ++ 3 x Hooklength Boxes ++ 1 x Seatbox Cover 019


The majority of my fishing nowadays is focused around the feeder, particularly on natural venues at home and abroad. Being involved in the England Feeder Team has taken my fishing to a new level. I have enjoyed one of my best seasons ever thanks to a finely tuned feeder approach. I’ll run you through a few of the key lessons I have learnt about this surprisingly straightforward, yet incredibly versatile tactic.


I use this rig for all of my feeder fishing, both in the UK and on international duty. It is simply a free running rig which is based around a small paternoster Feeder Bead Link that keeps tangles to a minimum. This feeder link runs down on to a 6 inch twisted loop of line stopped by a number 8 Stot, to which the hooklength is then attached. This twisted loop acts as a stiff boom and kicks the hooklength away from the feeder through the cast. Incredibly simple, but most importantly tangle proof and reliable!

Rod & Reel Choice

Lots of anglers think about the fish they are going to catch when choosing rods and although fish playing action is very important, it is secondary to the most important aspect of feeder fishing, which is to consistently put the feeder where the fish are feeding. Before choosing your rod and reel, you need to analyse the conditions and the distance you’re intending to fish. Ultimately my rod and reel choice revolves around quality kit that I know wont let me down! With this in mind you need to choose a rod and a reel thats up to the job, so don’t under gun yourself. The UK is renowned for its changeable weather conditions and you still need to reach your feed area and you need to reach it comfortably. So, always give yourself that bit of extra power reserve to assure perfect presentation every cast.

England International and Preston backed star Mick Vials shows you how to become a better feeder angler!

mick’s rod & reel choice guidelines 20-40M














natural water feeder master

MICK VIALS | Natural Water Feeder Masterclass

Braid Tip Always use a shock leader when fishing with braid. T his shocker reduces the force against the feeder and ultimately eliminates crack-offs. I use two rod lengths of 8lb Reflo Powermax, when I am fishing with braid.

number 1 in match fishing


Natural Water Feeder Masterclass | MICK VIALS

WHICH FEEDER? I tend to stick to four patterns for the majority of my natural water feeder fishing.

Wire Cage Feeder Load Groundbait & particles Range 20-60 yards Species Bream, carp & tench

My first choice for short to medium chucks. Particularly effective on shallow venues like still waters, canals, slow moving rivers and shallow reservoirs. This feeder can be used pretty much anywhere, it lends itself to a wide variety of fish and baits.

Dutch Master Black Bullet Feeder Load Groundbait & particles Range 70+ yards Species Carp, bream, tench, chub & barbel

Specifically designed for fishing at extreme distances due to the unique design. It casts like a bullet once you have a balanced set up.

Distance Cage Feeder Load Groundbait & particles Range Up to 60 yards Species Carp, bream, tench, chub & barbel

This is the first feeder out of my bag when I am fishing on big open windy reservoirs. The lead is bottom mounted which means it casts brilliantly and also sinks very quickly, making it an ideal feeder for deep venues and species like bream and skimmers that come up to the surface, which can often result in fish loss.

Open Ended Groundbait Feeder Load Groundbait & particles Range 20-60 yards Species Everything

This is my preferred feeder when I am using a dry groundbait, usually for skimmers and bream. Be careful not to use too sticky a mix with a plastic feeder, it can easily clog up and not release as intended. Although a plastic feeder does contain your mix so it gets to the bottom where you want it, lending itself to deep venues. 022


Mono or Braid?

Line and braid have two different purposes and suit different situations, venues and fish. I’ll run you through the benefits of the two and give you more detail when to use one over the other.

Braid Benefits


What bait to use, particularly what groundbait has confused anglers for years. Well it shouldn’t, it’s incredibly simple. If I am targeting small fish I will almost always use a sweet groundbait, and if bigger fish are the quarry I like to use a fishmeal based mix. Fishmeal Fishmeal groundbaits have become more and more popular over recent years. Bream especially love fishmeal, but if you’re targeting skimmers, roach and smaller bream a sweeter fishmeal works really well too. The Sonubaits F1 gives you the best of both worlds, a sweet smelling mix with a high fishmeal content. Sweet I will almost always use a sweet cereal based groundbait like the new Supercrumb range when targeting roach, perch and hybrids. It seems to get a much better response from smaller fish, but it can still attract the bigger bream and skimmers.

Sensitivity I often target smaller fish on natural venues, they’re great weight builders, but they can be very shy biting. Braid is far superior to mono when it comes to bite detection and the lack of stretch in it helps magnify even the smallest of indications. Improved Casting Braid hugely improves casting due to it’s thin properties. It has much less drag than thicker mono, meaning you can get away with using a lighter feeder, rod and reel. Distance Braid helps you keep connected to your feeder when fishing at long distances. Mono becomes too stretchy and bites are ‘dulled down’ because Mix Consistency of the distance between the feeder I alter the dampness of my and your rod. groundbaits to suit the conditions I am faced with and the fish I am targeting. I will always use a damp mix Mono Benefits If there is even the chance of a bigger when I am roach fishing with sweet fish, I will switch to a monofilament groundbaits, to make sure I keep the main line. It gives me much more safety fish down on the bottom. A dry mixture and has a lot more stretch in it that will can hang up in the water columns, withstand the powerful lunges from big which can draw fish away from where fish. I use mono extensively on rivers you want to catch them, on the bottom. I prefer to use a dry mix when I’m and any venue that’s home to bigger targeting bonus fish like bream and specimens. Reflo Powermax is the perfect skimmers. The dry mixture spreads feeder reel line. It’s strong, durable on the bottom and gives the fish a and covers all of my mono feeder bigger area to graze over. requirements. It’s wide range of sizes means I can use it from 3lb In the Feeder for casting at long distances on If you’re targeting big fish, introduce reservoirs, right up to a 10lb main large particles like roughly chopped line for big river fish. worms, F1 Corn, casters and pellets. If

you’re targeting smaller fish, introduce smaller particles like maggots, hemp, casters, joker, pinkies and minced worms.

Hookbait Choice

Hookbait choice can be a minefield at times. There are endless options, but like all of my fishing I keep hookbait choice simple. One massive lesson I have learnt about feeder fishing is that certain fish require different hookbaits at different times of the year. I’ve found that smaller hookbaits are the most effective in the winter time. Single and double maggot, casters, pinkies and even bloodworm work really well. In contrast, bigger visual hookbaits are the way to go in the summer months. Baits like corn, pellets, redworms, casters and maggots outscore smaller hookbaits. There you have it, a few of my key feeder tips to help you catch more on the feeder in 2016!

MICK VIALS | Natural Water Feeder Masterclass





Mick’s shorter rod choice is the Absolute 11’ 6” Super Feeder, a real gem of a rod thanks to its forgiving action. It is ideal for targeting skimmers and bream with either open ended or method feeders, as well as bomb fishing in winter where the soft through action works perfectly with light hooklengths.

Mick’s rod for targeting big fish is the 12’ 8” Dutch Master Method Feeder. With increased length and a more powerful blank this rod offers greater casting ability. A proper fish playing action has been retained, enabling fish of all sizes to be retrieved with minimum fuss.



For targeting smaller fish, Mick teams his Absolute rod with the PC-R Competition 4000 reel. The perfect reel size for small to medium chucks.

For distance fishing, Mick uses the PC-R Competition 5000 reel, which is perfect for big chucks as the larger spool size lends itself to long distances and heavier feeders.

t h g i l t o Sp


Mick uses an Open Ended Feeder on his short rod, the semi-flexible feeder link helps to reduce tangles by making the feeder stand away from the rig.


Mick keeps his bait in Monster EVA Groundbait Bowls. Available in 3 & 5 litre


Mick protects his bait from the elements by using the Monster EVA Mega Bait Station. The lid can be propped up at various angles for a tailored setup.


On the longer rod, Mick uses a Distance Cage Feeder, the lead is bottom mounted to improve casting accuracy in crosswinds.

Now with a striking new metallic blue finish, the Absolute Compact Blue Edition comes complete with a redesigned deeper integral base, 30mm leg configuration, a redesigned carbon-friendly pole retaining strap and new captive internal legs.



Smaller hookbaits and loose feed are much more effective for small fish. Mick likes to use casters, minced worms, maggots and pinkies.

In contrast, bigger fish demand larger hookbaits and loose feed. Baits like worms, pellets, Sonubaits F1 Corn are Mick’s staples.




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Economical and practical, the Competition Pro range will cover all of your luggage requirements

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COMPETITION PRO HIGHLIGHTS number 1 in match fishing 025



times so I wasn’t too sure what to expect, but like any big qualifier you take your chance and hopefully pull out a peg that gives you half a chance. One thing that you have to remember in these big money events is that only one person qualifies, giving the phrase ‘second place is the first loser’ even more structure. You need to be positive and fish to win, wherever you sit! I had a lovely match from peg 11 on Little Geary’s pool, catching F1s on a method feeder, shallow and down my Qualifying The Match This Final has always edges to finish with 118lb which was seemed to slip under my radar, but enough to secure me a place in the with the massive prize up for grabs I £65k final, on my first ever attempt! thought I would give it a shot. So, my first ever Match This qualifier would Practice be at Packington Fisheries, in Meriden. The Match This Final is hosted on I have fished Packington a handful of Larford Lakes in Worcestershire, again 026


Top Tip # Try

feeding both edges for F1s, usually if you just fish down one side you will suffer from quiet spells which will affect your catch rate. Catch a fish off one side and prime the other ready for the next chuck.

a venue that is completely alien to me, having never fished there before. However, I went down to Larford several times before the big day, both practising by myself and on open matches to gain as much information as I possibly could. Fishing in a match situation is much more beneficial than practising on your own. You need to know how the venue responds to angler pressure and the feeding times of fish.

The Triple Threat

I kept my attack simple, covering a few different lines to keep my catch rate ticking over with plenty of options to try throughout the match. I always try to stick to a three line approach on commercials, whether I’m fishing for £60 or £65,000!


minutes from

Plan A:Pellets Short Plan B:Feeder

I caught a few fish short with pellets on a couple of practice matches. It’s a line that could throw up a few big carp at some point during the day so it was certainly worth feeding. My tackle for the first line started with a 0.4g PB Inter Series 2, to 0.15mm Reflo Power main line, a 0.13mm hooklength and a size 16 PR 434 hook. This was matched to a size 11 Hollo, a nice soft elastic that stretches for miles. Feeding on this line was pretty simple. I would feed about twenty 6mm fishery feed pellets via a medium Soft CAD Pot with either a Sonubaits 6mm Super Expander or a hard 8mm Fin Perfect Feed Pellet. number 1 in match fishing


There was a lot of fish to be caught on a feeder during the practise matches, I found 30 metres to be the best distance. The fish sit out beyond pole range during the early stages of the match making them virtually impossible to catch on the pole, until they decided to feed closer in. Mainly because the carp in Larford are big old fish that have seen it all before. I had three rods set up, all utilising a 10” 6’ Mini Plus Feeder rod to a 4000 PXR Pro reel, loaded with 6lb Reflo Power Max. The three rods were set up with a 30g Inline Banjo Feeder, a 30g Inline Flat Method Feeder and a ¾oz Match Cube Lead. 2mm fishery feed pellets and Sonubaits Match Method Mix were

by Frankie Gianoncelli

prepared for the feeder line. Having the two set up it gave me the freedom to swap and change. I also had 8mm pellets, dead maggots, meat and White Chocolate Semi Buoyant Band’ums on my side tray, giving me lots of hookbait options.

The most effective edge mix for the match lake was 85% Sonubaits Supercrush Expander and 15% Margin Carp. I found that a big bunch of maggots or a couple of grains of F1 Corn were the two best margin hookbaits.

Plan C:Edge

This was one of the most important matches of my life, I needed a good start to swot away the butterflies in my stomach. Well, the match kicked off in the worst style possible, it was painfully slow. Two lonely skimmers fell to my short pellet line but it was so difficult to try and muster a bite, let alone put something in the net. Kerry Kirkwood was the only angler that seemed to be putting a few fish together a few pegs to my left. Apart from that, there was little to report.

The final line was by far the most crucial in my arsenal. The margins are one of the most productive lines on commercials nowadays. Big edge fish can get you from zero to hero in the final stages of a match, especially at Larford. My gear for the edge specimens was a 4x14 Durafloat Plus 6, 0.19mm Reflo Power mainline, a 0.17mm hooklength to a size 12 PR 456 hook and a size 15 Hollo Elastic.

12:00pm 027





Unfortunately the second hour followed on a similar path. There were clearly no feeding fish in my peg. I was praying that by alternating between my short and feeder line I would start to get a few indications. I did consider changing tactics when Jon Whincup to my right was starting to catch a few small stocky carp on a long pole with pellets. But, everything that I have learnt about commercial fishing is to be patient and give yourself a chance of building up a line. Swapping tactics can often do more harm than good.


The fish were still reluctant to feed and morale was draining by the minute. Although some positive words from my bank runner, Lee Kerry, helped to keep me motivated. “You’re comfortably last in the match,” Lee said. Not exactly what you want to hear in a match of this magnitude! Out of sheer desperation, I decided to cast a lead into the middle of the lake. To my amazement my tip flew round straight away and I instantly thought I had been missing a trick and wasted the first two hours of the match fishing in the wrong spot. Well, it turns out that fish didn’t fancy

Frankie’s essentials 028


feeding either. I foul hooked a small ‘stockie’ in the tail. However, I tried to remain upbeat as no one was running away with it so I still had a chance of clawing it back. I just needed the fish to play ball.

Hopefully, this was a sign of things to come. It was like someone had flicked on a light switch, the fish were having a chomp! I was soon playing another fish, followed by another three Larford chunks. I suddenly jumped from last to a potential £65k contender, in just 15:00pm The first painful half of the match thirty minutes. seemed to last for an age, but there were some positive signs. There 16:00pm seemed to be a few fish coming out Peter Upperton a few pegs to my around the lake. right was also having a burst of fish. I decided to have a long spell on He was bagging up down the edge, my short pellet line. Then, totally out so I thought that a change of tactics of the blue my float buried and I was was in order. soon playing my first carp. It was a I had been feeding half a pot of my big Larford common of about 9lb. edge mix with a few dead red maggots

Roller Pulla Kit



Frankie uses the Response Roller Puller Kit which is specifically balanced yet deceptively strong to match his Response M90 pole.

On his short rig, Frankie uses size 11 Hollo Elastic, while on his edge rig he uses size 12 Dura Hollo Elastic.

The good allround PR 434 in size 16 on his short pellet rig. While the strong, light weight PR 456 in size 16 suits his edge rig.


individual results 1ST 2


3RD 4














for the past thirty minutes and I was instantly greeted by signs of life. My float settled for five seconds before getting ragged under with a mirror carp of about 5lb. Well, the final 45 minutes of the match was electric. I nailed eight carp down my right hand edge in the final stages of the match, including a big common of about 13lb that I hooked with seconds to go. Unfortunately, Pete carried on catching down his edges and looked a firm favourite to walk away with the Match This honours.

The Weigh In

The scales arrived and I was

Top Tip # Try hooking a bait band directly on to the pellet, this is a much better way of fishing with hard pellets on the bottom. You lose far less fish and connect to a lot more bites.

pleased to put on just short of 41kg, which was leading the final with only a few more anglers to weigh in. Not bad considering I had 5lb three hours in! Unfortunately, Pete was one of the anglers still to weigh and my gut feeling was spot on, he weighed in just short of 49kg and took the title. It’s a shame the carp didn’t turn up thirty minutes earlier, or we had another thirty minutes fishing. Although I couldn’t beat myself up too much, I pulled it back and pushed him as close as I could. Congratulations to Pete, he fished an amazing match and showed his class. Thankfully, I had a cool £5,000 second place cheque to help soften the blow!


The Match This Final was a fantastic match to be involved in, an experience that I will never forget. One thank you that I have to mention is that of my bank runner, Lee Kerry. He was fantastic and without his support and guidance I doubt I would have even made the final let alone finished in second place. I’ve already got my Match This tickets booked for 2016, so hopefully I can get in the final again and put all the valuable lessons I’ve learnt to good use. Don’t get me wrong finishing second does hurt, but I certainly don’t feel like the first loser!






0.15mm Reflo Power to 0.13mm hooklength on the short pellet rig and 0.19mm Reflo Power to 0.17mm on the edge rig.

Frankie protects his Response pole by using the Mega Pro V Roller which provides the most stable set up possible.

With its innovative reversed top ring, Frankie can fit up to 5 Space Saver Keepnets when used with a Pro Tool Bar.

Designed to give maximum protection from the elements, the DF20 Bib & Brace keeps Frankie both dry and comfortable.

Frankie’s took Sonubaits Supercrush Expander, Margin Carp groundbait, 6mm Super Expander Pellets and F1 Corn.

number 1 in match fishing 029

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For the base layer, Frankie is wearing the Preston 2 Piece Underwear and Thermal Fishing Socks. Both guarantee to keep you warm in the most extreme fishing conditions along with total comfort.


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number 1 in match fishing 031

Power of the Pellet Waggler | ANDY POWER

Power Pellet Waggler OF THE



ANDY POWER | Power of the Pellet Waggler

free offerings, fooling the carp into thinking its safe to eat. Likewise, try twitching the float to lift your hookbait just after you feed.

Keep Feeding!

Remember to keep feeding, even when you hook a fish there is no reason to stop feeding. By feeding while you’re playing a fish, you’re lining up your next bite and hopefully resulting in more fish in your keepnet. The pellet waggler has to be one of my favourite and most rewarding tactics. It’s an active method of fishing where the harder you work, the more you get out of it. Much more satisfying than sitting behind a rod tip waiting for it to go round! It can be a devastating method when fished in the correct manner. I’ll run you through a few of my top pellet waggler tips, which will hopefully give you a bit more of an insight into making this deadly tactic even more effective.

Ten Second Rule!

To get the most out of the pellet waggler you need to be active, constantly feeding and casting. The majority of fish in commercial fisheries nowadays have been been caught countless times. So, to succeed on a tactic like the pellet waggler you need to outsmart them. Gone are the days of just firing in a pouch full of pellets and sitting there waiting to get dragged in. Since we are fishing up in the water, it’s important to keep the hookbait falling through the water column, mimicking the loose fed pellets. A fish will rarely take a static suspended bait. Therefore, I’ll not leave the float still in the water for longer than ten seconds. I will either twitch the float by

Andy favours PR 36 hooks and PB Inter Poly floats for his pellet waggler work

flicking the rod tip to induce movement of my hookbait, or recast to let the bait fall through again.


Hookbait Change

The obvious hookbait choice is pellets identical to the loose feed. However, I have been having a lot of success recently by trying various different hookbaits throughout the session. A quick change of hookbait regularly gets you an extra bite or two in between quiet spells. Some of my alternative hookbaits are boilies, maggots, 8mm Krill Pellet O’s, meat, corn or a Semi Buoyant Band’um. Meat and Band’ums are great hookbaits, they sink a lot slower due to their buoyant properties and give you that extra few seconds in the kill zone. Their bright visual colour increases the likelihood of a carp picking out your hookbait. Having several hookbait options up your sleeve is essential as it gives you more scope to experiment, you need to maximise your chances of getting the most from your peg.

There are no set rules when it comes to feeding, it all comes down to how the fish want it on the day. So, varying the amount and frequency that you feed can really pay off. It’s important to constantly keep pellets falling through the swim, a little and often feeding style is best, this keeps the fish competing for the loose feed and doesn’t overfeed the swim. I have a simple feed routine that’s worked really well for me in the past. I’ll start a session by feeding up to six 8mm pellets every minute or so. This creates a lot of noise and draws fish into the peg. Usually, I’ll catch three or four early fish before they back off. When the fish back off and bites slow down it can help to cut back the feed to just two or three pellets now and again. This will increase the competition between fish and give you another boost. How Deep? My feed pellet is nearly always 8mm Even though the fish may be feeding Fin Perfect Feed Pellets, which offer only inches below the surface, it can plenty of noise that fish will home in on. be important to set the float two or three feet deep. This length kicks your The Feeding Process hookbait away from the float, which Another edge can be to feed just can often spook fish when it splashes before you cast, by doing this you are too close to the hookbait. Again, it’s a letting your hookbait fall in among the case of experimenting.


C ATC H E S Shows just how devastating using the pellet waggler can be! number 1 in match fishing 033

Power of the Pellet Waggler | ANDY POWER

Unloaded Floats

My unloaded pellet waggler set up is very simple, I start by tying a loop in the mainline around 1½ inches, and slide some fine pole silicone over the top of the loop to protect the light mainline from shot damage. I then attach the hooklength via a loop to loop connection.

Loaded Floats

I alter my rig for loaded floats slightly, I start by tying a 6 inch twizzled loop in the 4lb main line. I then slide a Pellet Waggler Float Stop Kit over the loop. This doubled section protects the line from damage should any tangles occur. Again, attaching the hooklength with a loop to loop. Fishing too deep can increase foul hookers and missed bites. In fact, some bites don’t register on the float due to the amount of line between your hookbait and float, so its all about finding the right length on the day. On the other hand, fishing too shallow can spook fish and reduce bites. Or, simply not get your hookbait down to the depth that the fish are feeding at.

Loaded or Unloaded

I would say that 90% of my pellet waggler fishing involves using unloaded floats, these don’t dive down as much and offer less disturbance than a loaded float, which in turn results in more bites. Fish on commercials can be very coy to the sound of the float entering the water. My preference is to use wagglers made from foam, such as the PB Inter Poly Wagglers, typically in 2 or 3g. These cock much quicker than other types, meaning you’re fishing quicker. There are times when I prefer loaded wagglers, particularly when its really windy or for big open water venues. This is when the Dura Pellet Wagglers come in to play, these are great for casting a long way and the disks included help the float to stop diving too much.

Andy’s Theory

My theory for the pellet waggler is simple, fish light and you’ll catch more fish. I almost always use 4lb Power Max Clear for my main line. You might think that a 4lb reel line is way too light but I’ve found that this lighter line aids casting and greatly improves my rig presentation, ultimately resulting in more fish in the net. There shouldn’t be a problem using this light set up, as long as you set your clutch and balance your rod and hook size to the fish that you’re targeting. This lighter reel line allows me to get away with using the lightest float I can for the given distance, which in turn gets me more bites from pressured commercial fishery carp. If you’re not confident in using light lines, I recommend you step up to 5lb.



Hook and line choice can give anglers a real headache. There’s thousands of different hooks and lines on the market nowadays, but my advice is to use tackle that you can rely on and that you’ve got confidence in. I use 0.15 or 0.17mm Reflo Power tied to either an 18 or a 16 PR 36 hook, depending on the size of fish. These are tied with a band on a hair, tied with a knotless knot. Where I have the band is also really important, I usually position it just below the end of the bend of


My pellet waggler set up for both loaded and unloaded floats is very straightforward. I try and protect the main line as much as possible, due to the light material. I’ve been using two set ups for both styles of pellet wagglers for as long as I can remember, and they’ve never let me down.

Andy’s essentials 034

Top: The pellet waggler often picks out the bigger specimens Bot tom: Another carp falls to Andy’s power ful pellet waggler attack



Main Line

Andy uses the 12ft Mini Plus Pellet Waggler, it has a through action that absorbs every lunge when playing but is forgiving enough to avoid hook pulls.

Andy teams his Mini Plus rod with the PXR Pro 4000, which features a lightweight aluminium body, quick release push button spool and precision front drag.

For Andy’s mainline, he uses 4lb Reflo Power Max Clear. It is strong, tough, reliable and perfect for use in clear water and float fishing.

ANDY POWER | Power of the Pellet Waggler


the hook. However, if I am missing a lot of bites or losing fish, I’ll try a longer hair between the hook and hookbait. This extra hair length can sometimes make all the difference, but it depends how the fish are feeding on the day. It gives me another option and might put an extra couple of fish in my net, which is never a bad thing. All of my hooklengths are tied to six

foot and trimmed down for the depth that I need on the day, which saves me a lot of preparation time. I tie a set of hooks at six foot and that’s it, I don’t have several different lengths of the same hook. The Hooklength Spool System is ideal for rod and line hooklengths, especially longer lengths. I’ve got one box that covers all of my commercial fishing, job done!

Rod Choice

With my light line approach you need a soft rod that will cushion the lunges of big fish, especially at the net. Generally for up to 30 yards I’ll opt for the Mini Plus 11ft Float, anything further I’ll use the new Mini Plus 12ft Pellet Waggler. So there you have it, a few pellet waggler tips that’ll put more fish in your net. Get out there and give it a go!






Andy’s choice of hook is the popular PR 36 in size 16. This barbless eyed hook with an out-turned eye is ideal for hair rigging for match carp.

Andy uses the Dura Pellet Waggler 10mm Slim, it is more sensitive and suitable for days when the buoyancy of a thicker float will result in missed bites.

Made specifically for feeding pellets, the flat bottomed pouch of the Pelletpult ensures the pellets are tightly grouped when feeding.

Andy uses 8mm Fin Perfect Feed Pellets which can be used straight from the bag or softened in water. The number one choice of pellet for our anglers.

Andy’s uses 8mm Krill Pellet O’s and White Chocolate and Pineapple Semi Buoyant Band’ums as his hookbaits.

number 1 in match fishing 035


Dutch Feeder s r e a st M

Holland is renowned for producing some of the finest feeder anglers in the world, two of their best are Theo Ljirek and Arnout Van De Stadt.

Arnout and Theo know a thing or two about feeder fishing, and their results on the international stage prove it. Three of their achievements include gold, bronze and silver World Championships team medals! They’ve ventured over for a rare trip on the River Trent to give us an insight into what makes this Dutch pair so successful.

most top feeder anglers Theo keeps it simple. For the majority of his river fishing he will use a carbon tip and alter the size of the tip to the weight of feeder he’s casting, or the fish he’s fishing for. Carbon tips have several benefits when it comes to river fishing. Firstly, fast flowing rivers can put real strain on your tip and one of the main benefits of a carbon tip is that it doesn’t bend over as much as softer glass tips. This improves Tip Choice Some anglers can get easily bite indications for both drop backs confused about tip selection, but like and normal pulls. Carbon tips also 036


blend into the rod blank much better improving casting and fish playing action, as opposed to a glass tip which has a much more ‘tippy’ action. Finally, a carbon tip gives you extra casting and fish playing power, which is essential for big rivers like the Trent. The majority of rivers in Holland are fast flowing and full of rocks and underwater snags this extra power is vital for landing big, powerful fish like barbel, bream and ide. There are times when Theo prefers a glass tip, the main benefit being its

sensitivity. They’re also much softer and lends itself to still waters and slow moving canals and rivers when you don’t need a powerful carbon tip. The softer tip also shows up finicky bites from small fish and reduce hook pulls, especially when the fish are banging around the net.

Feeder Mixes

Fishmeal now plays a big part in the matches in Holland, so it was no surprise to see both anglers using a fishmeal based mix. A combination of Sonubaits Bream Feeder and F1 Green is their mix of choice for the session. “This mix works exceptionally well in Holland. I’ve caught hundreds, if not thousands of bream on it. If the bream here are anything like the ones in Holland, they will love it!” says Arnout.

Braid or Mono?

Mainline choice is a big factor to consider when feeder fishing and one that can often confuse a lot of anglers. Some may think it is a simple case of chucking in a bit of lead and any old


ARNOUT VAN DE STADT & THEO LJIREK | Dutch Feeder Masters reel line will do. If only it was that simple, but there are many variables to think about. Both anglers had two rods set up, one with a braid reel line and the other with a monofilament. Their reasoning was simple and logical, neither Theo nor Arnout had seen this river before and had no idea what they were fishing for, or going to catch. Braid and mono have different benefits, so by having the two set up they’re not restricting themselves to one or the other. They use the t wo mainline

materials for different sizes of fish. It’s their preferred choice for when small fish are on the cards. The lack of stretch in braid means that even the smallest of bites show up positively on the tip, and more often than not the fish will hook itself against the rod tip. However, one of braid’s failings can be its lack of stretch. That’s when they’d go down a mono route. Mono is much better for bigger fish, the stretch in the material really helps cushion the lunges of big fish and reduces the risk of hook pulls. Although mono has its


Sweet Tip #Arnout is a big fan

of sweet smelling mixes for bream and skimmers. In fact, he often adds a good helping of icing sugar to make his mix even sweeter.


flaws, its additional stretch isn’t ideal for bite registration, especially at long distances. It’s trial and error on the day, monofilament and braid lines both have their place, so make sure you set up both and cover your options!

Bream Hookbaits

Dutch feeder hookbaits appear very similar to English hookbaits. The pair both brought baits like maggots, casters and corn, but one bait that Theo and Arnout clearly love is worms. Worms are one of the most commonly used feeder baits in Holland, similar to England. Hooking the bait was pretty straightforward, they would simply nip the head of the worm off and thread the hook into the broken segment. To finish the bait off they would top it off with a caster or a maggot, which stops the worms from masking the point of the hook. One hookbait that both anglers favour are redworms. “Redworms are particularly effective fished in pairs and even in threes. It’s one bait that I wouldn’t be without wherever I’m fishing, or what species of fish I’m fishing for,” said Theo. Small fish were a real problem at the beginning of the session. A bunch of maggots worked well to get around this, but the session was totally turned around when Arnout switched to a corn hookbait. Theo then followed suit and both anglers were soon bagging up on Trent bream. Both anglers had simple thoughts when it came to hookbait choice. The hookbait needed to be large enough to avoid the attention of small fish and allow it to be in the water long enough for a bigger fish to find it. Hence, Arnout’s quick decision to switch to a more robust and visual hookbait.

chopped worms are full of juice that can easily change the consistency of your groundbait. This additional moisture can potentially ruin your mix and cause it to jam up in the feeder and not release the bait as intended. Well, to get around this Arnout chops his worms and then drains all of the juice off with a fine sieve. He then grabs a pinch of the drained worms from the sieve and adds it to the groundbait as and when he needs it, much like adding a pinch of casters or maggots. This draining technique doesn’t alter your mix consistency and allows you to fish with chopped worms without that pesky juice.

Chopped Corn

Corn is a widely used bait in the UK, but we rarely decide to get a few kernels out and start to chop them up. Well that’s exactly what they do in Holland. Arnout stressed how effective chopped corn can be for bream and skimmers. “Chopping corn allows us to feed small amounts of corn without overfeeding the fish. But, still introducing nice visual particles into the swim.” It was clear to see that the more chopped corn Arnout fed, the quicker he’d catch. Especially with a corn hookbait.

Accuracy Matters

Accuracy is essential in feeder fishing, the days of counting reel turns are long gone as it is simply not Drain Them Theo and Arnout have a unique accurate enough and you’re limited way of introducing chopped worms to using the same size reel to ensure to the groundbait. As we all know, you are counting the same reel turns.

# A few stunning catches from a successful day number 1 in match fishing 037





Pass the hook through the hooklength loop


This will create a large loop, like this


Pass the reel line through the loop created and slide it towards the reel line knot


Tighten the loop around the reel line


Slide it into place so it sits against the knot



Measuring Sticks on the other hand MEDALS, MEDALS, MEDALS! are much more efficient and give you ultimate confidence that all of your rods are fishing in exactly the same place. They are widely used in the World Feeder Championships, in fact it was the first thing out of Arnout and Theo’s bag. The key advantage of using Measuring Sticks are their versatility, you can be using a completely different rod and reel, but still be fishing in the The lighter feeder also reduces fish same place. loss, as a heavy feeder banging up and down the line is more likely to pull the Give It Some Bow Holland is full of fast flowing rivers hook out of the fish’s mouth. that require heavy weights in order for the feeder to hold to the bottom. One Hooklengths way of getting around this is to form One key difference in both of a large bow in the line to help keep their setups is a unique hooklength their feeder in position. This bow is connec tion. T hey f avour t his formed by peeling line from the reel connection style over the popular once the feeder has hit the bottom. This large bow takes some of the force away from the feeder and means that a lighter model will stay in position. The aim of the bow is to get away with using as light a feeder as possible. The bow in the line creates a critically balanced set up. Once the fish pick up the bait, the balance is disrupted and the feeder moves which results in a bite. Bites are a little different from normal when using the bow, they usually register as positive drop backs. If you do get a normal pull, then it will be much slower and more deliberate. Both Theo and Arnout agree that they miss far fewer bites with this set up.

loop to loop attachment. They use a single loop that is lassoed around a double overhand knot in the main line. It’s not too dissimilar to how a pole rig is attached to a dacron connector. B o t h s aid t h a t t h e y h a v e experienced a lot of tangles using a loop to loop attachment when reeling the feeder in. Whereas, this join makes the hooklength hang much straighter than a loop to loop connection. Theo talked to us about the benefits of this connection, “This may look a little unconventional, but trust me, this is a super strong connection that’s neat and tangle free.”

Dynamic Duo

It was a fascinating insight into how the Dutch internationals go about their feeder fishing. Theo and Arnout’s meticulous feeder approach has certainly opened our eyes. Every aspect of their approach is considered and, importantly, fairly simple stuff. They have lots of confidence in their attack, its served them well in the past so if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it!



To mix the secret Dutch feeder mix start off by emptying a bag of F1 Green and a bag of Bream Feeder into a bowl.

Then, add water to the mix until you get a fluffy, sticky consistency. You will need to riddle the groundbait to remove any larger lumps.

Once you have riddled the mix you will have a fine and fluffy particle rich mix that’s perfect for all of your bream feeder fishng.


#Monster Feeder Chair We have recognised the growing demand for chairs to use for feeder style angling, developing a chair which incorporates adjustable legs that can be used with the OffBox range of products to offer a complete fishing station. With its comfortable, generously padded and reinforced cover the chair offers the ideal posture for feeder fishing. Using the vast array of existing OffBox accessories to customise your fishing station, you can not only fish more efficiently, but keeping your gear organised will help you to stay on top of your game.

#Onbox Series Five Backrest 2D By popular demand we have added in to the OnBox Series Five range the Backrest 2D. Utilising the OnBox Folding Back Rest Seat which provides comfort and support whilst allowing you to fish normally with a rod or a pole, the box contains all of the usual OnBox features and comes complete with two OnBox modular units and two OffBox Pro Snap Lok Short Keepnet Arms. #Padded seat available separately, compatible with Onbox and Space Station seatboxes with plastic locking clips. 040


take your seats


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#Onbox 360 The revolutionary hybrid seatbox features a fully 360 degree rotating seat with cushioned backrest, a wide footprint, extending leg system and an integral EVA side tray as standard. The 360 will allow you to fish from the comfort of a chair whilst maintaining all the functionality of a conventional seatbox. You can still use all the usual OffBox accessories, and store tackle items. Ergonomically-designed, the back rest folds down when not in use plus it is shaped to allow easy casting as well as the shipping back of pole sections. #Footplate available separately

number 1 in match fishing


The Secret to Success | SAM SIM


Su cc ess SECRET TO

by Sam Sim



Ladies Fishomania Champion and England Ladies International Samantha Sim is arguably the most consistent and in-form female angler in the country. The West Sussex based pro won the 2015 Ladies Fishomania final, for a fourth time. Making her the only angler to have ever won so many finals! Although it’s not just Fishomania titles Sam has to her name, she’s also won gold, silver and bronze team medals at the Ladies World Championships, an outstanding record at the Ladies National, including individual and team gold medals, plus lots of open and team match victories.

SAM SIM | The Secret to Success

We caught up with the Preston backed star for an insight into the life of a female angler What are you future angling goals? To be the best! I’ve always wanted to be the best female angler in the country. I’ve grown up idolising anglers like Sandra Scotthorne and Wendy Locker, so you could say that my main goal is to be the best that I can be. I’m quite a driven person and when I have a goal, I’ll work very hard to achieve it. I’d love to qualify for the main Fishomania title, that would be an amazing title to scoop. I’ve applied for several tickets this year so hopefully you will be watching me in a different final this year. I’m really looking forward to this year’s World Championships in Spain as well. Hopefully, we will be bringing home another gold medal. When and where did you fish I’d absolutely love to win an individual your first match? I was only three years old when my gold medal and be up there with the dad and I fished a family pairs match at best in the world. But, for now I’d a local lake run by Haywards Heath A.S. settle for another team gold. I can’t remember too much about it, but I know that we won the pairs event. My What’s it like being an England life in match fishing was probably sealed International? I’ve been involved with the England there and then. Hundreds of matches followed and I fell more in love with Ladies for seven years now and the experiences and knowledge that I’ve match fishing after every one. gained from fishing abroad has been invaluable. I’ve travelled all around the Is it difficult being a female angler in a male dominated sport? world, fishing in South Africa, Portugal, Many people think that women Slovenia, Holland, Italy and Belgium. can never be as good as men, in all Not bad for a lass from Worthing! sports. Well, I’m very lucky in a way, I’ve always grown up with anglers Talk us through your Fishomania so, I’ve never really been seen as experiences? Winning last year’s Fishomania a woman. That might sound quite strange, but they don’t see me as a title was really special for me, I fragile woman that can’t hold her own. became the only angler to have I’m just seen as ‘Sam the angler’ and I won the event four times. The wouldn’t have it any other way. I love Fishomania Final is a fantastic this sport and just because I’m not a experience and to hear man doesn’t mean that I should be your name crowned as the champion, will treated or seen any differently. I’ve competed against and beaten never get old. some of the best anglers in the world and just because I’m a woman doesn’t mean I can’t hold my own against the boys. Don’t get me wrong you need to take some of the blokes with a pinch of salt and I wish I had some ear plugs some times. But, I love the match fishing scene, I wouldn’t swap it for anything, even shoes! How did you get into fishing? I didn’t really have a choice, fishing is in my blood, I don’t think there’s a member of my family that doesn’t fish. My grandfather used to be the bailiff of Passies Pond and I used to spend hours there helping him and catching fish. He used to have a local tackle shop too, so I’ve always had some sort of involvement with fishing. My friends at school used to love going to concerts and shopping, but all I could focus on was preparing for my next fishing session. All three of my kids love fishing too, my eldest Billy regularly wins the junior open matches at the same club that I started fishing at.

number 1 in match fishing

Living in West Sussex doesn’t make my fishing any easier as the majority of the bigger events like Fishomania and the Ladies National are usually held in the Midlands or the North. Although winning a Fishomania Final makes all the travelling worthwhile. What’s your best angling moment? T hat’s got to be the team gold we won at the Ladies World Championships, in Slovenia. I’ve never experienced a feeling like it, it just made me realise why I go fishing and why I put all of the effort into it. My good pal Emma Pickering won an individual gold medal too, that was the icing on the cake. I was over the moon for her, and the team. All of my individual successes were trumped by the feeling of being crowned World Champions. The fishing was unbelievable and the scenery was spectacular. It was just an amazing experience that will be very hard to beat. Well, that is until we win our next gold! 043

Behind the Scenes | ADAM WAKELIN

Behind the

Scenes with




ADAM WAKELIN | Behind the Scenes


WE DELVE INTO ENGLAND FEEDER INTERNATIONAL ADAM WAKELIN’S PREPARATION AND TACKLE CHOICE FOR COMMERCIAL FISHERIES. GETTING A ‘BEHIND THE SCENES’ INSIGHT INTO WHAT MAKES THIS IN FORM ANGLER SO SUCCESSFUL. Commercial fishing plays a massive part in my fishing throughout the year. The match scene has never been stronger and I need to make sure I’m prepared as well as I can be and that I am using the best gear available to remain one step ahead. The first area of my commercial attack that I will run through is something that has become very important to me and my fishing, both in the UK and abroad.


Being involved with the England Feeder team has taught me many valuable lessons when it comes to feeder fishing, one of them being the importance of feeder choice. It’s a lot like choosing the right pole float, you need to make sure you’re using the right feeder for the bait you’re using and the fish that you’re targeting. I keep my options to a minimum when it comes to feeder choice, I use feeders that I have 100% confidence in.


Having lots of different hooklength options is crucial, I like to use the same hook on several different grades of line. This gives me the freedom to find the optimum hook size, length and diameter. I keep all of my pole hooklengths in either an All-Round or Small Hooklength Retaining System. The majority of my carp fishing is done with eight inch hooklengths as I don’t want the bottom shot too close to the hook, as this increases liners and ultimately foul hooked fish. When my float goes under I want it to be a proper bite in the fish’s mouth. I prefer to use four inch hooklengths for F1s due to the finicky nature of the species. F1s can suck in your hookbait without you even knowing, so having a short hooklength helps magnify everything that is going on below the water. I use two different lengths for commercial silverfish. I like four inch lengths for when I am bagging or fishing for small skimmers with pellets, and I will use an eight inch hooklength for bigger silverfish like bream, tench, perch, etc. My longer feeder and waggler hooklengths are kept on Hooklength Spools when I am fishing with lengths of 50cm and above. I use the Method Hooklength Retaining System for all of my short feeder hooklengths and the longer Feeder Hooklength System for all my typical 30-50cm bomb and pellet waggler hooklengths.

Winter ■■ Carp and F1s - Doubled up 4 Slip, 8 Dura Hollo, 10 Dura Hollo, 11 Hollo ■■ Commercial Silvers - 5 and 6 Original Slip Elastic and 8 Dura Hollo

Summer ■■ Carp and F1s - 8 and 10 Dura Hollo, 11, 13, 15 and 17 Hollo ■■ Commercial Silvers - Doubled up 4 Slip and 8 Dura Hollo

Get Connected

M y t wo f avourite ways of attaching my elastic is with a Slip or Dacron Connector. I will opt for the Slip Extreme connectors for the majority of my solid elastics. These small connectors are a neat way of fishing with lighter solid elastics. I use a Dacron Connector for all of my hollow elastics. The large orange Dacron caters for the majority of my commercial hollows, but I will step up to the XL blue for thicker elastics.


There are hundreds of different sizes and ranges of elastic on the market nowadays, but I try to keep my elastic choice simple and use durable, reliable elastic that I know is up to the task.

Protect It

Inline Sticky

Inline Flat Method

Inline Banjo

The Sticky Feeder is a great method when fishing in depths of four foot plus. I have a lot more confidence that the pellets will remain intact and get to the bottom as intended.

Responsible for thousands of match wins across the world, it’s an unbeatable tactic when used correctly. I usually fish the method feeder in shallow water, up to depths of four foot.

A great combination between pellet and method feeders. Perfect for F1s and carp in autumn and spring, it’s also really effective in deep open water as the pellets get to the bottom in one piece.

number 1 in match fishing

I have been using the double sleeve on my elastic for several years, it’s such a simple idea and I was amazed at how much it protects it. I will use this on my thinner elastics, usually up to size 13 Hollo. See my six step guide on page 69 to fitting this neat little sleeve. 045

Behind the Scenes | ADAM WAKELIN A DA M ’S TO P S I LV E R S H O O KS


PR 434

PR 412

PR 490

PR 456

PR 27

PR 478

The PR 434 is a real all-round hook and is brilliant for F1s, carp and silverfish. It’s a cracking bagging hook and will land virtually any fish when it’s used with a balanced set up.

This is my go-to hook for commercial silverfish. It’s surprisingly strong and is more than capable of landing any bonus fish. It is especially good with baits like maggots, casters and pinkies.

Brilliant hook for skimmers, especially when I’m fishing with expander pellets. It’s razor sharp, has a really thin wire and the wide gape also helps to grip the hookbait and keep a good hook hold.

One of the strongest hooks in my box, it’s perfect for catching big weights. It has an extremely wide gape which lends itself to big hookbaits. The ultimate hook for catching big powerful carp.

This hook is superb for hair rigging and equally effective when hooking baits directly. The PR 27 is extremely sharp and unbelievably strong. Great for carp, F1s and skimmers.

The PR 478 is very similar to the PR 456. It has a wide gape which caters for big baits like meat, pellets and worms, but it is much thinner which suits both F1s and carp.

My Favourite Hooks

Hook choice in my opinion is one of the most important factors to consider. I have a few different hooks for certain situations that cover all of my commercial match fishing.


I use floats, line and shotting patterns that I have confidence in and use a selection of tackle that will cover all of the potential tactics I’m likely to fish. This lets you concentrate on the most important part of fishing, catching fish! Rig preparation is very important in my fishing, I like to have plenty of options with me when I arrive at my peg. The majority of my matches are fished against the best of the best, so I can’t afford to be underprepared.



Pull It!

I use either a Roller Pulla Kit or a Pulla Bung for all of my commercial pole fishing. Whether its on my lightest or heaviest elastics. They allow you to use a much lighter, stretchier elastic as you can gain control of the fish once it’s at the net. I have caught some huge fish on thin elastic and I doubt this would have been possible without a pulla kit or bung.

ADAM WAKELIN | Behind the Scenes




PB Inter Series 2


Dura Float Plus 6

PB Carp 1

PB Carp 5

Certainly one of the most versatile floats in my arsenal. The majority of my winter F1 fishing is done with a Chianti, it’s great for maggots and pellets. In my opinion, there isn’t a finer silverfish float.

Again this slim, round bodied float is extremely versatile. I use the PB Inter Series 2 for all of my deep water commercial work, especially useful for catching carp, F1s and silverfish.

I have been testing out a new slimline pear shaped prototype, it is very versatile. A true all rounder that serves several purposes. Keep your eyes peeled for this little beauty!

This float covers the majority of my shallow water carp fishing, particularly in the margins and up to islands. Two of my favourite sizes are 4x12 and 4x10. Incredibly strong and reliable!

The short bulbous body makes a fish attracting noise and the bright tip is really easy to see. The wide range of sizes covers my shallow fishing for carp, F1s and occasionally silverfish.

The perfect float for big carp in deep water. Ideal for baits like meat, corn, pellets and worms. The pear shaped body and thick visual tip gives the float supreme stability when fishing with big baits.

Shotting Patterns


For the majority of my commercial rigs, I stick to three simple shotting patterns. The first is a bulk and two droppers, I place the first dropper next to the loop of my rig, then position my next dropper six inches above the first one. Place the bulk of the rig five inches above the second dropper and you’re good to go. I use this when I’m fishing in depths of four foot and above. The next pattern is a simple bulk next to the hooklength loop. This is my choice for shallow fishing, margin work and fishing up to islands. My final pattern is a simple spread bulk, which involves spacing shots an inch apart in the final part of the rig. This is great for pellet and deep water F1 fishing.

My Favourite Floats

Two things that I look for when choosing a float, is versatility and durability. I will very rarely use a specific float for one individual type of fishing. I like to use floats that have a wide range of sizes, to cover different situations, venues and fish.

In conclusion

It’s no coincidence that the same anglers consistently win on commercial fisheries. It’s like anything in life, the more you put into it, the more you will get out of it. So, make sure you prepare well for each match and have plenty of options up your sleeve. Remember to keep things simple and use gear that you have confidence in. It will definitely put more fish in your net!


number 1 in match fishing 047

South African Success | ANGELO DE PASCALIS


Sout h African

success by Angelo De Pascalis

South Africa is one of the most picturesque and exotic places on Earth. So, naturally I jumped at the opportunity to go and fish in the South African Preston Innovations Feeder Festival. I ventured over to South Africa with my good friend and England Feeder Manager, Tommy Pickering. A 10 hour flight flew by and we were soon greeted by South Africa’s leading feeder angler Adrian Van De 048


Heaver. This was my first visit to South Africa, I was hoping that the fishing would be as good as the company and the scenery.

The Setting

The venue we would be fishing was called the Vaal Dam, on a stretch known as the Jackie Leonard, which is located 56km south of Johannesburg. It’s South Africa’s second largest dam with more than

500 miles of shoreline and spans over three provinces.

It Takes Two!

The Feeder Festival was a pairs event, a draw was held on the night before the two-day festival to find out who we would be fishing with. 28 pairs turned up for the first ever South African Feeder festival, a great turn out considering that the match scene in South Africa is nowhere

ANGELO DE PASCALIS | South African Success near what we’re used to in Europe. Luckily, I had drawn local talent Neville Foord, who has an amazing record at this venue and throughout the country. His local knowledge will be invaluable. The draw for each individual section is quite unique, one angler in the pair would be drawn in A or B section on the first day and would then swap to C or D for the second day. Thus, the angler who drew in C or D on the first day swap to A or B on the second day. Neville and I had a quick team talk the night before the festival and we both agreed that we would need between 45-60 fish to guarantee a top three position. We learnt over the past ten days fishing that the resident mudfish would feed for the first couple of hours and then seemingly vanish, only to turn up again in the final hour. But, like many venues around the world, it’s all about making the most of feeding fish and finding out the most effective way to catch them. Hopefully, we could see off early favourites Tommy and Adrian.

35 or 40g was the best feeder for the job, matched to a 12” 8’ Dutch Master Method Feeder rod and a 4000 PC-R Competition reel. Hook choice was a PR 355 in sizes 12, 14 and 16 depending on how good the fishing was. Lines were also pretty straightforward with 6lb Powermax and a 0.15mm or 0.17mm Reflo Power hooklength, depending on the sport.

ourselves into a strong position. Tactics, feeding and distances was all set and ready to go. The first days fishing was quite strange, the venue fished completely differently from how it had done in practise. Bites were hard to come by and only a few anglers further to my right were catching. Fortunately, the fish turned up after a couple of hours and I managed to catch a nice net of around 40 muddies at 14kg 850g. This was second in the


Bait Choice

Our groundbait mix for the Dam was 50% Sonubaits Bloodworm Fishmeal, 30% Supercrush Expander and 20% brown crumb. The key to the mix was the bright red colour and the high fishmeal content. The target species was a fish called the mudfish, or ‘muddies’. Typical feeder baits like maggots, corn, casters and worms accompanied the groundbait mix. The Vaal Dam muddies loved worms! Chopped worms and casters was by far the most effective bait for feeding, combined with a worm or double worm hookbait.

Local Knowledge

Both Adrian and Neville were incredibly helpful over the two weeks leading up to the festival. Their advice on rigs, tactics and terminal tackle was absolutely bang on. In fact, we didn’t stray from their advice once throughout our whole trip.

Terminal Tackle

Gear for the Vaal Dam was relatively simple, we have a lot of similar venues in Italy and the tactics and tackle are virtually identical. The only thing that is different is the species of fish we would be targeting. An open-ended plastic feeder in number 1 in match fishing

Day One

Both Tommy and I had been treated like celebrities over the past ten days, hopefully we could produce the goods and live up to their expectations. I drew B7 for the first day of the festival and Neville was on D14, only a few pegs away from Tommy. Apparently, we were in two favourable areas of the 15 peg sections, so we needed to knuckle down to put

section, which I was pleased with considering the slow start. Worm was by far the best hookbait for me, tipped with a single maggot. It’s just a shame they didn’t turn up ten minutes earlier, I only missed out on winning the section by 500g. Local guru Neville fished brilliantly, he came second in his section with just over 15kg. Putting us in a fantastic position going into the second day. We were leading the festival with four

points which was three points clear of Tommy and Adrian who were lying in second.

Day Two

The final day in any event is always the most crucial. We were in the best position possible, which is all you can ask for after the first day. I drew myself on C3 and Neville on B9. Interestingly Tommy was on B10. Would the young gun local expert be able to pip the feeder legend? I had a great start to the match, bagging around 25 fish in the first two hours for about 9kg. Strangely, the next couple of hours were much slower, the fish seemed to switch off my double worm hookbait. A quick change to double casters and even treble casters quickly got me another boost of fish. Alternating the feeding and hookbaits between worm, casters and maggots until the end of the match kept my catch rate ticking over. I finished with a total of 55 muddies for the exact same weight as yesterday, 14kg 850g. Unfortunately, C section fished slightly better than yesterday so I ended up third in the 15 peg zone. However, I did manage to beat Adrian who was hot on our tails. Neville fished his heart out and managed to catch 65 muddies for a total weight of 19kg 200g, just pipping Tommy’s 18kg 960g! Last year, if someone had told me that I would win a festival in South Africa, I wouldn’t have believed them, well that’s exactly what we’ve just done. Neville and I had won the Preston Innovations South African Feeder Festival. We finished on eight points, which was six points clear of Tommy and Adrian who claimed second. I must thank Adrian and Neville for their hospitality, they were true credits to the sport and South Africa. I’ve been very fortunate in my angling career, I’ve fished at some fantastic venues and locations around the world, but South Africa smashes them all, it truly is a remarkable place! The two-day Feeder Festival has been a breath of fresh air, I’ve had the time of my life and enjoyed every second. As match anglers we often get consumed about winning and beating those around us and it’s far too easy to lose sight of the real reason we started fishing, to enjoy ourselves! 049

Feeder Fishing Masterclass | NEIL McKINNON

Feeder fishing has become one of the most effective and commonly used methods on commercial fisheries



We join former Fishomania Champion Neil McKinnon, at the prolific White Acres Fisheries in Cornwall, for a masterclass in method and pellet feeder fishing.



NEIL McKINNON | Feeder Fishing Masterclass

On its day, the feeder is unbeatable and hands down one of the most effective methods in my arsenal. I’ve come to the famous peg 16 at Twin Oaks, a peg that has probably caught more fish on the feeder than any other in the country. So what better place to run you through the fundamentals of the pellet and method feeder.

Pellet vs Method

Both tactics are very effective, but there’s certain situations when one will be more effective than the other. Generally, if I’m fishing in 3 foot and below I’ll use a method feeder. I’ve caught more fish on a method feeder than any other tactic, it’s such a simple and easy way to catch fish once you get the basics right. If I’m faced with a far bank island or a shallow lake I’ll always choose a method feeder above anything else, because of the presentation it offers. Your feed and hookbait is totally open to the fish, they can get at it from every angle. But, it can release your feed too early if you fish with it in deep water. So, if I’m fishing in depths of 4 foot plus, I’ll opt for a pellet feeder. It just gives me more confidence that the bait will get to the bottom in one piece. Due to its design, the pellet feeder plugs in the feed and hookbait more securely than the method feeder, which is essential for deeper water.

Feeder Choice

One of the most important aspects to feeder fishing is feeder choice. You need to have 100% confidence that you’re using the correct feeder, but there’s certain factors that you need to take into consideration. The first is size, this determines how much bait you can fit on to the feeder, and ultimately feed each cast. Too big a feeder could overfeed the swim, but if its too small, you might not be introducing enough bait. It’s all about finding a balance and working out what’s right on the day. I use the small and large 30g Inline Flat Method Feeders for all of my method work. If I’m fishing for F1s and small carp I’ll use the smaller size, but if I’m fishing for bigger carp or expect a red letter day, I’ll go for the larger one. The Inline Sticky Feeders, again in the small and large 30g models are my favourite pellet feeders. The perforated design of the feeder grips the pellets and allows water to push the bait out once it’s on the bottom. Another key factor to consider when you’re picking a feeder is that a dull natural colour will catch you more fish. Both of my feeder choices have a neutral camouflage colour, this blends into the bottom and is less obtrusive to the fish.


The 30g weight is also very important, it gives me enough weight to cast out comfortably, but it doesn’t smash into the water like a house brick. It keeps the feeder stable on sloping islands too, which is crucial. As Tommy Pickering always says, don’t move the feeder! number 1 in match fishing 051

Feeder Fishing Masterclass | NEIL McKINNON

My Set Up

I’m a big believer that if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it! To make my simple feeder setup start off by attaching the feeder to the main line. Then tie a Quick Change Method Bead to it and attach the hook length. This is my generic setup for all of my commercial feeder fishing, whether its method, pellet or bomb fishing. Incredibly simple, but very effective. I use the 10ft 6’ Mini Plus Feeder for the majority of my commercial feeder fishing. It’s a lovely rod and extremely versatile, it can handle any larger specimens that I’m likely to scrap with, but it’s soft enough for smaller carp and F1s. This is matched to a PXR Pro 4000 reel, loaded with 6lb Reflo Power Max. Hook choice is the most important factor in feeder fishing, and fishing in general for that matter. I always turn to the ever faithful PR 36, it’s incredibly strong, sharp, reliable and versatile, everything you need from a hook basically. My hooklength choice for feeder fishing is Reflo Power, 0.15mm and 0.17mm which covers most of my commercial feeder hooklengths.

Give it Some Slack

I see lots of anglers fishing with a tight line from their rod tip to the feeder, I don’t think its the best way to fish the method or pellet feeder. A slack line is much more effective. I can see liners and taps on the tip with a slack line, whereas if my line is constantly stiff I don’t know if there is a fish in my peg. A slack line also helps keep the feeder right where you’ve cast it, but even the smallest liner and tap on the rod tip can move your feeder out of place if you fish with a tight tip.

Bait Dilemma

Lots of anglers get confused about what baits to use on the feeder, but it’s very simple in my opinion. It’s either pellets, groundbait, or a combination of the two. Pellets are my favourite bait for the method and pellet feeder, the new Sonubaits 2mm and 4mm Stiki Method Pellets, in particular. Another thing a lot of people stumble on is preparing pellets for feeder fishing, 052



Top Tip # The Quick Release Method Mould’s are essential for the method feeder and very easy to use. It gives you the perfect moulded method, with the same amount of bait every cast.

but it really is very straightforward. The 2mm Stiki Method Pellets are foolproof, start off by putting a pint of pellets into a bait tub, add a ¼ pint of water per pint of pellets. Then pop on the bait box lid and give them a good shake around, making sure all of the pellets are covered in water. Leave these for about 15 minutes and check them every now and again to see if they’re sticky enough. But, that’s it, they are now ready for the method, or the pellet feeder. I told you it was easy! Another bait I’ve got a lot of confidence in is groundbait. There are occasions when it can surpass pellets, big carp in particular are suckers for it. The groundbait I always turn to is the tried and trusted Match Method Mix, I’ve got so much confidence in it, it never lets me down. A 50/ 50 mix of pellets and groundbait has been working really well for me too. It’s a great combination of the two baits, and gives me the best of both worlds. It’s definitely worth trying in late summer/autumn time, when the weather starts to cool off.

Hook Baits?

A 6mm or 8mm pellet is my first choice on the method or pellet feeder. A 6mm pellet and the softened Stiki Method Pellets is a deadly combination. I’ve had a lot of success using other hookbaits like Band’ums, boilies, meat, corn and dead maggots, but everyday is different. Fish can be remarkably picky, so its all about trying various options until you find

that killer hookbait. I have a simple rule for hookbait choice on the method and pellet feeders. If I’m feeding pellets on the feeder, I’ll use a pellet hookbait. Whereas, if I’m feeding groundbait or the 50/ 50 mix I’ll tr y other hookbait options. Fish feed so confidently on pellets and more often than not a pellet will be a lot more effective than other hookbaits. But, there are those days when fish want other hookbaits, that’s when you need to have other options up your sleeve.

The Session

I can see why everyone raves about this notorious peg, it’s absolutely solid with fish. I’ve had a carp most casts, ranging from 4 to 10lb. I’ve finished the session with about 120lbs of prime Cornish carp, in just a few hours fishing. It’s easy to see how you can amass the big weights that this peg is famous for. Casting as tight as possible to the far bank with a method feeder was by far the best tactic on the day. I think that’s mainly because I was fishing in a couple of foot of water, which supports my pellet versus method theory. Shallow water suits method feeders, deep water suits pellet feeders. The method and pellet feeder never lets me down. It’s a winner up and down the country, as long as you employ my simple and effective feeder approach I’m sure it’ll be a winner for you too.

NEIL McKINNON | Feeder Fishing Masterclass

SAVE YOURSELF SOME TIME Designed to provide a safe semi-fixed bolt rig, with the added benefit of being able to change your hooklength quickly, Neil ties a Method Feeder Quick Change Bead onto all of his feeders.

SMALL BUT MIGHTY This session, Neil uses 30g Inline Method Feeders and 30g Inline Sticky Feeders. This 30g weight is very important, it increases feeder stability and ensures it stays put, exactly where you cast it.

POWER UP Neil ties his main line using 6lb Reflo Power Max. This line is designed with built in stretch, it is exceptionally strong and supple.

t h g i l t o Sp

BAND ‘EM Purpose designed to stretch and grip your hookbait, Neil uses the new Micro Dura Bands.


BAND ‘EM Neil keeps his PR 36 hooks safe in his Small Hooklength Retaining System.

SMALL BUT MIGHTY Neil’s choice of rod is the Mini Plus 10’6” Feeder, it has a little more backbone to assist ‘punching out’ a feeder. It also retains the fast-taper, fish playing action which helps to eliminate hook pulls. Neil pairs this rod with a PXR Pro 4000 reel. The push button, quick release aluminium spool delivers precision front drag. Complete with 6 stainless steel bearings, striking red design and a lightweight aluminum body.


NEIL’S 50:50 A 50:50 mix of Sonubaits Match Method Mix and new Fin Perfect Stiki Method Pellets is Neil’s winning feeder combination, teamed with a Band’um hookbait.



Two Beats One It’s best to use two rollers when fishing at lengths of 13m plus. This balances the weight of the pole and eliminates the risk of the pole sections breaking.

Weigh It Down In extremely strong winds it’s worth attaching a heavy weight to your roller via the supplied carabiner clip. This keeps the roller stable and reduces the chance of the wind blowing it over. You can use a bucket of water, a rod bag or any heavy weight, simply clip it on to the clip provided.

Lay It Down The new lay flat design on all three of our Competition Pro Rollers gives you the added option of laying your rolling on the ground. This is very effective when you’re faced with steep banks behind you. This also increases roller stability and reduces the risk of the roller falling or being blown over. 054


They wil l cover al l pole fishing requirements and provide stability and reliability.

Roller Bearings

Ensuring that even the most prized carbon pole remains safe every time it’s on the bank. The inclusion of Roller Bearings and hard wall inner tubes in all of the individual horizontal rollers ensures the smoothest performance possible, the selflocking leg design makes the assembly of the roller quicker and more efficient and the new lay flat design is extremely stable when flat on the bank providing the ultimate low-level roller. All rollers feature a spirit level for optimum positioning which will prevent pole sections from sliding on uneven banks and the extending legs give the roller increased height to clear any bank side obstruction whilst retaining stability due to the solid structural design. The shorter upright rollers are vertically fixed which eliminates the risk of damage associated with folding versions and makes it effortless to set up. All rollers in the range come with a compact padded bag.

Spirit Level

Self-Locking Telescopic Legs

Fixed Upright Rollers

Lay Flat Design


a range of three radically re-designed rollers featuring a host of forward thinking technologies

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number 1 in match fishing 055




We put your questions to our panel of star anglers to help you solve your angling problems and catch more fish


How do you go about setting up so quickly before a match starts. One hour isn’t a long time? Simon Playle One thing that I have learnt over the past few years is that you need to have a set routine that you follow on the match you’re fishing. This routine increases efficiency and ensures you’re ready and waiting for the starting whistle, instead of scrambling around in a mad rush. Breaking each process down keeps you on top of the limited time and makes setting up that little bit easier and importantly, quicker. Scott’s Set Up routine Stage 1 - My set up routine begins with positioning my box on the platform or bank side, ensuring it is completely level. Stage 2 - I will now add all of my accessories to the box, such as keepnets, side trays, rod rests, bait waiters, etc. Stage 3 - Once my box is ready to go, I will prepare any bait that I need for the match. For example, soaking pellets or mixing groundbait. Stage 4 - When the bait is prepared, I will assemble my pole rigs and any rods required. Remember, if you’re stretched for time, try and keep things simple with a few rig options. Stage 5 - Once the rigs and terminal tackle is ready I can concentrate on the bait I’m going to be fishing with. This might involve putting the finishing touches to the groundbait or pellets and putting all of my various baits into bait tubs. Stage 6 - Now the routine is complete and I’m ready to go. 100% ready for the match ahead. Scott Geens


What are the best ways to combat strong winds when pole fishing? Jay Robertson Wind can be a pole anglers worst nightmare. I dread to think of the amount of times wind has affected my fishing. There are a few ways to combat really strong winds, a Pro Pole Support gives you additional support and takes some of the strain away from wrestling against the tornados. Another tip to try is to use a wire stemmed float, they are much heavier than carbon or fibreglass stems, giving the float much more stability in the water. The shape of your float can also make a massive difference to your rig presentation. I will always opt for a round bodied pattern, as opposed to a slimmer version as the round bulbous shape is much more sturdy and increases rig stability. Additional line is also worth trying, when fishing the pole in extreme winds I add extra line between the pole tip and float, this allows your rig to remain stable when the tip is blowing from side to side. Likewise, to the bottom half of the rig, I will increase the amount of line by a few inches on the bottom. You’ll be surprised at the difference this little alteration can have. Des Shipp 056


Top Tip # If you’re really struggling to get ready in time for a match, you can prepare your bait at home. I often mix groundbait and soak my pellets the night before a match to give me a few extra minutes.




What is the best way to set up a method feeder and what bait would you recommend? James Maguire The method feeder has quickly become one of the most commonly used tactics on commercial fisheries. It’s caught me thousands of carp in the past and it really is surprisingly easy to set up. See my simple guide below. I recommend trying three different feeding styles for the method feeder. The first is the ever reliable pellets, 2mm Stiki Method Pellets, combined with a pellet hookbait or double dead red maggot is a devastating tactic, both on commercials and natural venues. The next option is groundbait. This is my favoured style when I’m targeting carp. Sonubaits Match Method Mix is my favourite groundbait for the method, this sticks easily to the feeder and it’s very easy to prepare. But, most importantly fish love it! I can use a variety of different hookbaits with groundbait, such as meat, corn, maggots, boilies or Band’ums. Another tip to try is mixing the two together. A 50/50 groundbait and pellet combo is brilliant for when you’re targeting both carp and F1s. This is a particularly effective bait for autumn and early winter when the water temperature starts to drop. Tommy Pickering


Top Tip #If your pellets or groundbait is sticking in your method mould, try sprinkling a pinch of dry groundbait on the base of the mould before you put your bait in. Your bait will never stick in the mould again!

Tommy’s Method Feeder Set Up


You will need 6lb Reflo Power Max reel line, a 30g Inline Flat Method Feeder and a Korum Quick Change Bead.


Now tie the Quick Change Bead with a simple figure of eight knot.

number 1 in match fishing


Thread the reel line through the rod rings and pass the main line through an Inline Flat Method Feeder.


Your bead will then be ready for your hooklength.


Take a Korum Quick Change Bead and thread it on to the main line. This allows you to change hooklengths as and when you want.


Then attach your hooklength and hookbait and mould your feed around the feeder via a Quick Release Method Mould. 057




I would like to know how to feed, what to feed and how much in a winter carp match? Joe Walton The sport in winter is usually much slower than the warmer months, so there’s no need to feed large quantities of bait. The fish’s metabolism is much lower due to the cold water temperature. Winter fishing is all about feeding small amounts of bait and patiently waiting for a bite. As opposed to the summertime when you get dragged in from start to finish and heave it tons of bait. My typical winter feeding approach would be to feed two or three bits of bait at a time, in several spots. This might be a few pellets, maggots or grains of corn. I always work on the mentality that you can put it in, but you can’t ever take it out. This is especially important in the wintertime when overfeeding can simply wipe out your swim. Andy Findlay


Q A Top Tip #A Feeder Bead gives

you the flexibility to change feeders as and when you see fit. Simply snap the link swivel to swap feeders.

What is the best groundbait to use when fishing with bloodworm and joker. Also, when would you fish leam and soil? Debbie Bransgrove Bloodworm and joker is one of my favourite baits to fish, I use it on most of my winter fishing on canals, lakes and international events. Two of my favoured groundbaits for these little red soldiers are Sonubaits Supercrumb River and Black. The River forms the base of the mix and I add some Black to darken it for the clear winter water. I will never feed groundbait alone, I will always mix either soil or leam to it which makes the mix heavier and helps the groundbait break up when it’s on the bottom. A lot of people get confused about leams and soils, but they’re incredibly easy to use and understand once you know their purpose. They’re basically a carrier, they help carry baits like groundbait, bloodworm and joker. Soil is my go to carrier for fish like roach and perch on canals, lakes and rivers. It’s heavy properties get your lose feed to the bottom right where you want it. I would opt for leam when targeting bigger fish like skimmers, bream and F1s. Leam creates a big fish attracting cloud once its on the bottom that big wary fish feel comfortable feeding in. Lee Kerry

How can you stop hooklength spin ups when feeder fishing at range? Steven Turner Spin ups are a common occurrence when feeder fishing, especially when you’re fishing with baits like worms, maggots, pinkies and casters that naturally spin through the water when reeling in. This causes the hooklength to spin up into a big mess which can severely affect presentation. One way to avoid spin ups is to use a Mini Match swivel to attach your hooklength to the main line. This neat little trick is a sure way to get around spin ups. I’ll run you through my six step feeder set up for natural venues. Adam Wakelin

Adam’s Feeder Set Up


To make Adam’s feeder set up, you will need a Feeder Bead Link, a Korum Braid Stop, a Mini Match Swivel, a feeder and reliable reel line.


Tie a six inch twizzled loop in the main line, below the Feeder Bead and Braid Stop. Then slide the braid stop down to the twizzled loop. 058



Once I have thread the reel line through the rod rings, I’ll attach a Feeder Bead on to the main line.


Attach a size 12 Mini Match Swivel to the loop. This is done by threading the loop through and back over the swivel.


I will then slide on a Korum Braid Stop which holds the feeder bead in place.


Finally, attach your hooklength to the swivel and you’re ready to go. A tangle free feeder set up!


There’s hundreds of bait additives on the market and I often get confused about which ones to use. I fish on commercial fisheries, usually with a feeder, what additives do you recommend? Phillip Mitchell I’m not usually a fan of additives, but I have been using the new Sonubaits Lava for a few months now and I was blown away at how effective a little glug of Lava can be. Adding a squirt of the Krill Lava has been working really well for me this winter. It just gives me another option and little trick to try. Definitely worth a go on pressured venues and in colder weather when bites are scarce. Neil McKinnon



ON METHOD FEEDERS Give your feeders a boost with a squirt of Lava. The fish attracting cloud draws fish in your swim and holds them there for longer.


What is the optimum depth for shallow fishing for carp and F1s? Pete Morley I have a theory on the optimum depth for shallow fishing. It’s fairly straightforward in my opinion, I always try and fish as shallow as possible. But, I will always kick off a session on the bottom. Even if I think that there are hundreds of fish shallow at the beginning of a match. Starting off shallow can often be detrimental to your catch rate, as it can spook the fish. It’s a lot like going down the edge too early, you can catch one or two fish but you won’t catch another for the next hour. If I get a load of liners, missed bites or I start to foul hook a lot of fish on the bottom I will have no hesitation to come shallow. My starting shallow depth is always half depth. So, if I am fishing in six foot of water I will start at 3 foot. Then, if I continue to get liners and missed bites I will come shallow to half that depth. Usually I will end up fishing literally inches deep, which is the perfect scenario as I find that I miss fewer bites and foul hook far fewer fish, ultimately putting more fish in my net. Andy Power

number 1 in match fishing

ON HOOKBAITS Transform an ordinary hookbait with a glug of Lava. Giving it that killer edge.

Top Tip # My favourite shallow rig for both carp and F1s is a PB Carp 1, with a simple bulk next to the hooklength loop. I use durable main lines, usually 0.17mm Reflo Power.

ON GROUNDBAIT Try adding a generous glug of Lava to your groundbait. Very effective when fishing in the margins, the massive cloud keeps fish grubbing around for longer. LAVA AVAILABLE IN:

• Bloodworm • F1 • F1 Green • Krill • Pineapple • • 24/7 • Cheesy Garlic • Code Red • Halibut • Spicy Sausage •

Riverfest Final 2016 | MICHAEL BUCHWALDER

Wye Wonder?

Michael Buchwalder‘s account of the 2015 Riverfest Final on the river Wye, in Herefordshire



MICHAEL BUCHWALDER | Riverfest Final 2016

clearly knocked the bleak and the other Wye residents on the head. I did have a good burst of action in the second hour, though. I was catching a bleak a chuck and I was on my way. Small dumpy bleak are great weight builders and can often guarantee you some sport on a difficult day. I caught 607 bleak in exactly two and a half hours, it was fantastic fishing really considering the amount of water in the river. All of a sudden the bleak had seemingly vanished, I couldn’t get a bite. Then, the mystery was solved, a small mink popped up right next to my float. The bleak had been spooked by this menacing mink! There was just over an hour to go and I had been priming up the longer line, leaving it as long as I could to give myself a chance of building up the peg. I dropped on the 8m line with a 6g PB Inter Bolo float, matched to a 6m Medium-Light Bolo rod. I had two 10oz dace in as many chucks and thought I would be in for a frantic last hour. Day One Strangely, I only managed to take The first days draw was kind to me. I pulled out peg 83 which was a good area that gave me a chance of catching both bleak and a few bonus roach, dace and chub. A short bleak line with maggots and a bolo line at 8 meters with groundbait, worms and casters formed my attack. My mix for the bolo line combined five bags of Supercrumb River and four pints of soil, aka the ‘stodge’! This was no place for light groundbaits, this river demanded a manly mix. So, on to the bleak line. Usually you have to alter the depth regularly when bleak fishing as they move up and down due to the decreasing size of the shoal. With this in mind, I had two 3m Absolute Whips with 4x14 Preston prototype floats set at about two foot deep. Then, another two 3.5m whips eight dace and 10 roach over this with 4x16 prototypes set a bit deeper bolo line in the final stages for about 5lb. Feeding regular small balls of to cover a few options. the stodgy mix filled with worms and casters and a worm hookbait Showtime I started my feeding bombardment seemed to get the best response. by throwing in eight balls of stodge Worms are a fantastic bait to use packed with worms, casters and when you’re fishing on flooded rivers. The first day was won by Lee maggots. I kicked off the match bleaking and before I knew it an hour Edwards who caught 22lb made up had flown by and I had only managed of bleak, dace, roach and a big chub. I to put about a handful of bleak in finished day one with 17-6-0 which put the net. The fishing was incredibly me in eleventh place out of 72 anglers. difficult and the extra water had Interestingly, only 6lb separated the Qualifying for the Riverfest Final is a yearly goal of mine, I love travelling up and down the country battling for a place in the £12,000 final! My 2015 campaign started at the river Trent at Burton. To my amazement I managed to book a place in the final on my first qualifier of the year, with just 5lb 8oz! To say that the river Wye is a man’s venue is a bit of an understatement, it’s like being thrown into the lions den! The Wye has been in amazing form leading up to the final. Bleak have been coming out in their thousands, with anglers catching well over 40lb in open matches. There was the odd barbel and chub knocking about too, but the angler that could combine both bleak and bonus fish would stand a great chance of becoming the river king. A flooded river can go one of two ways. It can either send the fish into a feeding frenzy, or be a total wipe-out. Hopefully, for me it would be the first.

number 1 in match fishing

top 11 anglers, so it was still all to play for!

Day Two

On the final day, we were greeted by eleven foot of extra water. Definitely the highest river that I have ever fished in, but that’s part and parcel of being a river angler. Peg 36 was my day two draw. Not a peg I fancied if I’m honest, but it did have a big slack, which is usually home to shoals of refuging bleak and had an outside chance of throwing up a bonus fish. I was in two minds when I arrived at my peg, if the river fished well I would surely slip down the pecking order if I MICHAEL FAVOURS A HEAVY MIX ON A FLOODED RIVER


decided to go on an all out bleak attack. However, if the river fished as hard as it did yesterday a bleak match could be the best way to go. Well, I decided to try to combine the two, the safe short bleak line and a pole feeder at 8m comprised my two line attack. The pole feeder would give me a chance of bagging a bonus fish or two, but I still had the bleak line to fall back on if the river fished hard. I stuck to the same whips and rigs as the first day, covering two different lengths and various depths.

My pole feeder was fed with the same stodgy river and soil mix as the first day, with the addition of a few Sonubaits 4mm Cheesy Garlic Halibut Pellets just in case there was the odd barbel and chub knocking about. Tackle wise, I used a medium 80g Wire Cage Feeder to cope with the powerful flow. Matched to 0.21mm Reflo Power mainline, a 0.19mm hooklength to a 12 PR 355 hook and size 16 Dura Hollo elastic, proper man gear! 061

Riverfest Final 2016 | MICHAEL BUCHWALDER

All In!

I fed the two lines virtually identical to the first day. I decided to start off on the pole feeder to see if a bigger fish had been attracted to the initial noise, giving my bleak line time to mature. Ten bite-less minutes ticked by and I decided that a change was in order. I was soon catching a bleak every chuck on my 3m whip, quickly reaching 150 in the first hour. It wasn’t anything to shout about, but at least it got me off to a reasonable start. The second and third hours followed a similar path, I just kept putting fish in my net. Worryingly, the fish would drift off every now and then and I suspected that something seemed to be disrupting them. Believe it or not, I had another mink splash up by my feet. Well, I wasn’t going to let this one mess up my day. A firm tap on the minks head with my whip soon spooked it away and I was soon back into the bleak marathon. The word on the bank was that Tom Lane on peg 98 was heaving barbel

out left, right and centre and looked a firm favourite to take the honours. Although Richard Tomala was hot on his heels catching a bleak every cast. I kept my head down and knew that a 10-15lb bag of bleak would most likely see me in the frame. Similar to the first days tactics I was priming the pole feeder line for the final stages. A quick look revealed an indication straight away, there was clearly a fish there. Then, all of a sudden my pole tip smashed round and I was playing what felt like a proper Wye unit. I continued to play the beast for about five minutes and then for no apparent reason it was stuck in some sort of snag. I pulled as hard as I could and tried everything to free the fish from the snag. Unfortunately the main line gave way which left about two foot of line hanging from my pole tip. After a few heated words and serious head shaking, I quickly set up a new rig and rushed back on to that line. All the time pondering about that illusive fish, which was most definitely a big Wye barbel. Regrettably, nothing else came from that line which was very disappointing. I had to retreat back to the bleak line, plugging away until the final whistle. I finished my 2015 River fest campaign with a total of 696 bleak for 12-2-0, which was a lot more than

I had originally estimated. Would this My 29-8-0 two-day total was be enough to make the frame? enough to finish sixth out of the 72 anglers. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit disappointed about that The Results Tom Lane put in a great display of lost fish, which would have certainly river fishing, bagging nine barbel for pushed me up a couple of places, 43-0-0. This gave him a total weight but that’s river fishing. I thoroughly of 44lb 10oz which was enough to enjoyed the two days fishing and take the 2015 Riverfest honours. Just finished with a great result, on an pipping Richard Tomala’s 42lb effort. equally great river. MICHAEL’S DAY TWO NET OF BLEAK


1 062







Lobworms are a deadly river bait, especially on a flooded river. Half a lobworm has caught me hundreds, if not thousands of fish on flooded rivers.

Another favourite hookbait that I swear by is two pieces of worms, cut a worm in half and hook the two sections. Simple but incredibly effective.

Flooded rivers can be incredibly murky, this is when a visual hookbait will come up trumps. Three or four pinkies, or a couple of disco maggots works a treat.

this is how we






Slay Some Silvers | LEE KERRY

Lots of anglers neglect some fantastic silver sport on commercial fisheries and become obsessed with F1s and carp. However, most commercials are absolutely rammed with silvers and they can play a very influential role come the weigh in. No matter what sort of angler you are, getting bites and netting fish brings enthusiasm to us all. Carp and F1s can be good fun, but they are not always the most reliable feeders. So, whether it is filling the void during the quieter times of the session, or maybe your sole target on a cold winters day, the dependable commercial silver fish seem the obvious target.

Bait Dilemma?

Before you get on the bank, you have to think carefully about the bait needed to target these fish. I don’t like to confuse things too much by having loads of bait options, but I am convinced that there are three different types of bait choices to target different types of silver fish.

Maggots and Casters

These two live baits are a staple for me when it comes to targeting silver fish. You don’t necessarily need both, one or the other is sufficient. Personally, I prefer casters to feed as hookbaits, but I like to have a few maggots with me just to try as an alternative hookbait. The reason live baits like this are so good is that roach in particular love them, and as a result they become very competitive trying to eat them. This competition is not only important as it makes fish lower their guard, but the action and disturbance from smaller fish can trigger the bigger roach, skimmers and bonus fish such as tench or F1s to get in on the action too. Yo u d o n’t h a v e to g o w i t h casters, maggots on their own

can also work well and can last for multiple sessions.

Worms and Casters

A mixture of chopped worms and casters has stood the test of time and is a brilliant bait for silverfish. Everything eats worms, so a worm and caster combo works really well when you’re trying to put together a mixed bag. I finely chop about a pint of worms and mix the two together, roughly a pint of each will be more than enough for a session. This wormy caster mixture can be fed by hand, through a catapult or in a small Soft CAD Pot.


The other bait that I wouldn’t be without for silverfish is pellets. This is bait that’s associated with carp and F1s, but skimmers also absolutely love them. In fact I’d go so far as to say they’re the most effective bait for this species! A big claim when you consider more traditional baits such as worms, casters, or maggots. These baits can be good, but pellets have become such an obsession for skimmers and bream that they cannot be ignored. It’s easy to get confused about what pellets to use with so many

Slay Some

Silvers with Lee Kerry



LEE KERRY | Slay Some Silvers

different sized pellets available nowadays. But, through experience I have found that if your main target is skimmers under 1lb, then 2mm Fin Perfect Feed Pellets seem to be the best for feeding. When bigger skimmers are the target, then 4mm Fin Perfect Feed Pellets allow you to be that bit more selective. I have also found that soft pellets rather than hard ones make the difference with skimmers. It’s

number 1 in match fishing

important that they keep their shape, but are soft all the way through. The way I prepare them is very straight forward, the night before my session I simply empty the pellets into an air tight bag and fill the voids around the pellet with water. I then tie the bag right down onto the pellets so that there is no excess water above the pellets and leave them in the fridge overnight. By the morning the pellets will be soft all the way through, perfect for

shoals of feeding skimmers. This trick works with both 2mm and 4mm pellets. Then for my hookbait, I simply take a handful of Sonubaits 4mm Super Expander Pellets and prepare them in the same way as the feed pellets. These expanders are perfect for skimmers, F1s and carp, they soften up all the way through, but still retain their structure.

silverfish. Two mixes that work exceptionally well are Sonubaits Match Method Mix and Sonubaits F1. These two pellet based mixes are usually associated with carp and F1s, but silvers can’t get enough of them. Groundbait is incredibly versatile and can be used with all of the above silverfish baits. They’re great for holding fish in the swim and don’t actually contain a lot of bait, so they Groundbait Groundbait is a great bait for don’t overfeed the swim. 065

Slay Some Silvers | LEE KERRY



WAYS TO HOOK WORMS & CASTERS Banded Caster Most effective when fishing shallow, your hook is always exposed, meaning you hit a lot more bites and it seems to have a very good hook hold, reducing lost fish.

However, I prefer to feed maggots and casters by hand, so this limits the distance to around 5-6m depending on the conditions. This is important however as the bait must be fed regularly, so the convenience of feeding by hand encourages regular feeding, even if you are fishing different lines further out.

Put A Stop Through It You can catch 10-15 fish on a single piece of worm as it doesn’t get damaged. Very effective when fishing shallow or in shallow water down the edge or across to an island. Double trouble I have caught hundreds of fish on double worms as it can be irresistible to big fish. Use it down the edge on commercials fished over groundbait and casters. Old school Single and double casters can be deadly on their day. Casters are probably my number one bait for catching everything and it works everywhere. Knick it Start by knicking the head of the worm, probably the most common and simplest way to hook worms, but it works! It leaves the majority of the hook showing, giving you a great hook hold.


Rig Choice

Rig size is dependent on depth and presentation requirements. Today I am faced with just over 4ft of water on both lines. Both baits and feeding strategies have a part to play on my rig choice though. First of all on the short line. With bait being constantly loose fed, many Where To fish? Once you have your baits ready, of the fish take the bait as it falls or the next decision is where to fish. For me, silver fish are best targeted THE CHIANTI, THE ULTIMATE SILVERFISH FLOAT on the pole. The distance I feed the two different baits is dictated by the feeding patterns. Bait like worms, casters, pellets and groundbait will be fed through a pot. This means that I am not limited to distance and can fish at a length where the fish feel comfortable. For today’s session that’s at 13m. I’ll always feed a few grains of Sonubaits F1 Corn every now and then, this can often tempt a bigger specimen into feeding and gives me an alternative hookbait option.

just after it settles. With that in mind I want a light rig that falls through the water slowly. A 4x12 chianti fits the bill perfectly. This light float allows me to space out around 5 No.10 shot at 4 inch intervals above a 5 inch hooklength. This give a constant fall of the bait, not too quick, but steady enough to encourage the fish to take the hookbait. This float is attached to 0.11mm Reflo Power main line, and 0.09mm Reflo Power Hooklength to a 18 PR 412 hook. This light set up has to be balanced with light elastic, for me there is only one choice, No 5 Original Slip. The key to this elastic is having it through a full top two of your pole. It means you can comfortably control roach, but the extra elastic is there to help land any bonus fish that come along. Pellets require a totally different style of presentation. As the bait is introduced through a pot, fish are targeted purely on the bottom, which again is reflected in the rig. This time a heavier 4x14 Chianti is used with a small spread bulk of No.10 shot only 1 inch apart above a 5 inch hooklength. Lines and hook remain the same, but this rig allows total control of the pellet nicely over the feed. I up the elastic to a No 6 Slip, this gives me a bit more power just in case I snare the odd F1 or carp.

The Session

I’ve come to Partridge Lakes, in Warrington to show you what you could be missing if you neglect the reliable silverfish. The hardest decision on any session is choosing where to start. I always like my swims to settle down. My usual commercial plan is to feed the swims for an hour or so, whilst targeting carp and F1s. But, as soon as these lines slow down I’ll bring my silverfish lines into play and keep some fish going in the net. To kick the long pole line off I show the fish my intentions straight away by introducing a full pot of soaked 2mm Fin Perfect Pellets, followed by a full pot of Match Method Mix. These are spread

L E E ’S E S S E N T I A L S






Made exclusively with 100% Torayca High Modulus Japanese Carbon Fibre, the Response M90 sets a new precedent in high performance pole technology.

Lee uses Original Slip Elastic for commercial silverfish. Even some of the biggest fish can be tamed when used in conjunction with a Pulla Bung.

Lee’s choice of floats are the ever popular Chanti. He uses a lighter 4x12 version for his short line and a heavier 4x14 float for his longer pellet line.

LEE KERRY | Slay Some Silvers out to allow the shoal of skimmers to graze confidently. Slightly different to tapping in 10 pellets for an F1! The short line, however, requires a different approach. I start by simply throwing 50 casters every 2 minutes. This should build up a steady stream of feed until I go on it. Slipping a caster on, it’s a great sign as bites start immediately from small roach. With lots of bites on the drop I make the decision to up the feed to around 100 casters, but slightly less regularly at around every 3 minutes. This works well and by fishing 2 inches over depth, the fish start to come with some big roach muscling in on the action. Single caster is the best hookbait for a steady stream of fish, but double maggot brings an odd big roach, with one approaching 1lb. After 1.5 hours missed bites become a problem and the shoal is clearly unsettled. It’s definitely time to move lines, so shipping out to 13m I fill a Small Soft CAD Pot with 2mm pellets and wait for the response. It feels like I am fishing on a completely different lake because bites on the pellet are small indications, but every one results in a fish hooked! On the caster line you do tend to

number 1 in match fishing

suffer from missed bites as the fish dart around competing for the falling bait. On the pellet line, the fish seem to graze steadily on the bottom, so bites are small movements, but a clean take of the bait. For two hours the fishing is brilliant. I mess around with the feeding, experimenting to find the most prolific feeding style. But, without doubt the best way is to feed half a pot of 2mm pellets and Match Method Mix. Catch two or three fish and then repeat the process. This two line attack gives me a couple of different options. I can put together some quality roach on casters short. As well as some weight building skimmers and the odd bonus fish too,

on the long pellet line. A few rogue F1s and tench decide to crash the party. They gave me a good run around, but I soon had them under control with a balanced set up and the use of a Pulla Bung.

The Result

I’ve had a cracking days fishing, the silver sport has been magnificent. Its been a lot more exciting than catching a handful of carp. This session has proved what can be caught with two simple but effective methods as I’ve amassed well over 40lb of prime silvers. So, the next time you find yourself with a quiet spell, target some silver fish. You might be surprised!



Offbox Pro


Lee uses size 18 PR 412 hooks, ideally suited to caster, maggot and worm fishing; and size 16 PR 434 hooks, a great allround barbless carp hook.

Lee makes sure that he has his bait close to hand by using the Offbox Pro Multi Bait Waiter which accepts many combinations of bait tubs.

Lee’s winning bait combination for commercial silvers is Sonubaits Match Method Mix, mixed with 2mm and 4mm Fin Perfect Feed Pellets. 067


How to to How

Elasticate a Roller Pulla Kit

Keeping your elastic in better condition for longer

















To elasticate a Roller Pulla Kit you will need elastic, a Diamond Eye Threader and a Pulla Bead .

Now, take your Diamond Eye Threader and put it through the Roller Pulla bush hole in the side of the top kit.

Start to pull the Diamond Eye Threader and elastic which is currently hanging out of the Roller Pulla bush.

Then you will need to tie a simple figure of eight knot on the end of your elastic.


Start off by threading your elastic through the number two section of the Roller Pulla Kit.

Start to push the Diamond Eye Threader down, angling it to the bototm of the kit.

Pull the Diamond Eye threader and elastic right through the Roller Pulla bush.

Tighten the knot, making sure you lubricate it to prevent any damage. Now pull the knot through the Pulla Bead.

Position your kit vertically and drop the elastic down the kit. The elastic will naturally drop down to the bottom.

You will then be left with both the elastic and the Diamond Eye Threader hanging at the bottom of the top kit.

Retract the elastic from the threader and slide a Pulla Bead through the threader. Making sure you go through the bigger hole diameter.

Once you have pulled the elastic through the bead simply trim the tag ends with a pair of scissors.

Let the elastic drop down to the bottom of the top kit, leaving several inches hanging out of the bottom.

Take your Diamond Eye Threader and thread it on to the elastic. Nipping it tight into the end of the threader.

Now, thread your elastic through the Diamond Eye threader and pull it through the Pulla Bead.

Pull the bead and elastic down to the Roller Pulla bush. Then simply thread the elastic through the number one section and attach a Dacron connector.



there is something for everyone in the Roller Pulla range

Pro Type / Universal


DWA new!

Response new!

Internal diameter: 22mm

Internal diameter: 18.5mm

Internal diameter: 18mm

Internal diameter: 18.5mm






Fit a Hooklength

A simple six step guide to fitting a hooklength in a hook box





Start off by pulling your hook over the peg in your hooklength box.

Trim the tag off close to the loop, leaving a few mm to avoid the knot slipping.

Wrap your line around the required hooklength peg, making sure you have plenty of line play with.


Once you’ve wrapped the line around the peg grab your line with your thumb and index finger, gripping it tightly. Then lift it over the peg.


This loop will will form your hooklength loop. The next step is to tie a simple figure of eight knot.

Then take your hook and put it on the peg and pull your hooklength loop on the original peg.

Fit the Double Sleeve Protect your elastic with the ingenious Double Sleeve!













Start off by threading your elastic through your top kit, leaving several inches of elastic hanging out of the first section of the kit.

Push the section of elastic down the threader and thread onto the main elastic in the top kit. Remember to moisten it to avoid damage.

Now you will need to thread the section of elastic back over the knot you have just created.

number 1 in match fishing

Cut off an inch piece of elastic from the elastic that is hanging out of the bush.

You will have to pull the section of elastic firmly in order to pass it over the elastic in the top kit. Keep the elastic lubricated whilst pullling it over.

Take a Dacron Connector and lasso it around the double sleeve, pushing it tight up to the knot.

Take a Diamond Eye Threader and thread it through the inch piece of elastic.

Once you have thread the section of elastic, thread it down the elastic, leaving a few inches for the knot.

The final stage is to take your Diamond Eye threader and thread the bead over the dacron and knot. Making sure you completely cover the knot.

Thread it all of the way through so you have the gape of the threader through the inch piece.

Tie a simple figure of eight knot, making sure the section of elastic is closest to the bush. Again, lubricate the knot to avoid any burn damage.

The finished article should look like this. The double sleeve is the perfect way to protect and preserve your hollow elastics. 069

Best of Both Worlds | ED WARREN


TIPS FOR RIVER FISHING BY SCOTT GEENS Float away I always use Reflo Power Max Clear for all of my float fishing on rivers and will not hesitate to treat it with floating line spray to enhance its floating capabilities.

Stop the twist Use a Mini Match Swivel attached to your hooklength to eliminate line twist.

Smooth operator Fill your reel to the lip of your spool to allow your line to peel off more smoothly and avoid dragging your float off course.

Slow it down On fast water don’t be afraid to drag some line and shot on the bottom when fishing waggler or stick float. This will slow the rig down and alter your presentation which can fool bigger and warier fish.

Search your peg Visualise the trail of bait you would have if you were loose feeding whilst float fishing and try to emulate it by casting onto the same line but further down the peg.

Understand your peg Take the time to plumb your peg carefully and build a mental picture of its contours.

Feed, feed, feed A favourite tactic of mine is to feed a combination of bronze maggots and Sonubaits Tinned Hemp.

Cap off feeder Fish a small Quickload Feeder with the cap off, it produces a hybrid type of feeder which will allow you to introduce small amounts of loose feed plugged with a tiny bit of groundbait.

Long tail To combat hard fished rivers, try increasing the length of your hooklength. Up to 6ft or longer can be deadly as the fish back off the feeder and it provides a natural fall for the hookbait.



Best of


I have grown up fishing on rivers and canals and they offer some fantastic days fishing once you get the basics right and understand the fundamentals of how to attack them.

ED WARREN | Best of Both Worlds I’ve come to the Stratford Upon Avon in Warwickshire today to show you how effective pole fishing can be on rivers. Lots of anglers associate rivers with stick floats, wagglers and feeders, but one tactic that continues to work very well for me is the pole. The superior presentation and feeding that the pole provides can lead to some great results. I’ll run you through my approach to two of my normal river set ups targeting both small and big river residents.

Top Tip # The final stages of the match are often when the bigger fish feed, so try feeding bigger particles in the final part of the session. This can often pick out the bigger specimens.

Terminal Tackle

I have two generic river set ups, one for smaller silverfish like roach, dace, skimmers and hybrids, and another for bigger bonus fish like chub, bream, tench, barbel and even carp.

Silvers Rig

I’ll kick off with my elastic choice, one that I wouldn’t be without is Original Slip Elastic, especially sizes five and six, these are great elastics for river silvers. This is matched to 0.14mm Precision Power mainline to a 6 inch 0.8mm hooklength. This is combined with a PR 322 hook in a size 18 or 16 depending on hookbait size. Usually, an 18 is best for smaller silverfish, but a 16 is better for bigger silvers like A RUGBY BALL SHAPED POLE FLOAT WILL COVER MOST RUNNING WATER APPLICATIONS


skimmers and bream. Float choice is very important when you’re river fishing too, I choose the size of my float depending on the depth of water I am fishing in. I stick to a simple rule when it comes to choosing float size, I use 0.1g per foot of water. So, if I was fishing in 10ft of water I would use a 1g float. The shape of float is also crucial, I use a round bodied float for the majority of my river attack. The round body doesn’t ride up when you hold back on the float, giving your rig perfect presentation every run through.

Bonus Fish Rig

Lots of rivers in the UK hold bonus fish, like the species I mentioned earlier. They are pretty tricky customers and not easy to catch. I use a big round bodied float for big fish, or a flat float in extremely strong flow. The main concept behind fishing for big river fish is to have a stable bait on the bottom, so a big heavy rig with a visual buoyant bristle is essential when you’re fishing with large hookbaits. I use the ever-reliable PR 355 hook, this is very strong with a wide gape that’s perfect for large hookbaits like lobworms, maggots, corn, etc. I prefer sizes 13, 15 or 17 Hollo Elastics for bigger river fish, this stretches a long way and locks up when I need some pulling power. Don’t use light lines either, there’s nothing worse than hooking a big powerful river fish and being broken because you haven’t used strong enough line. You need to give yourself a chance of landing everything you’re likely to hook.

from the losers, and means the difference between having a good session and one to forget. Rivers are very temperamental, even the slightest change in the weather can affect how a river fishes and what river you’re faced with. I have found groundbait is an effective way to attack rivers for silvers. Smaller species are attracted to the small particles in groundbait and will often hold fish in your swim and keep bites coming for the duration of the day. I use a sweet groundbait for silvers, the new Supercrumb range is perfect, the River in particular. It carries your loose feed down to the bottom and then breaks up giving you a nice bed of feed to fish over. Feeding for bonus fish is done in two ways depending on the depth of water. Usually, I am fishing with heavy baits like worms, casters and hemp, so I want my bait to get to the bottom and stay there. There’s no point in feeding loose bait out of your cup, your bait will just drift downstream and out of reach. I use either a bait dropper or soil as my feeding style for bonus fish. Both of these feeding styles carry the loose feed to the bottom.

Where To Fish?

Target the main flow of the river for silverfish. Smaller silvers live in the flow because a lot of natural food drifts downstream and the fish will sit in the flow to avoid the risk of being snaffled by predators. However, I do like to target bonus fish on the short nearside ledge or in the edges on deeper rivers. Big bonus fish inhabit the nearside ledge to avoid Feeding There’s endless feeding options boats, target smaller fish and search and this often divides the winners for natural food. number 1 in match fishing 071

Pole Fishing on Rivers Explained | ED WARREN


Natural baits are much more effective for silverfish on rivers. Some of my favourites are worms, casters, maggots, hemp, pinkies and even bread when the weather gets cold

chopping a few maggots up too, this often tempts perch and eels into feeding. I have had a chunky roach most chucks on my longer line, I found feeding regular balls of groundbait

Top Tip


# Whenever you’re targeting bonus fish, leave the swim an hour or two before fishing it. These bigger fish can be very cagey at times and you can spook them if you go on a line too early.

and the river becomes clearer. My bonus fish staples include worms, hemp, casters, maggots, corn and occasionally pellets. Big heavy baits are best for bonus fish as they’re highly visible and sit stable on the bottom.

The Session

The Lido section on the Warwickshire Avon is a great stretch of river, full of typical river silvers and bonus fish. There’s a bit of extra water on the river today so I have had to adapt my rigs to suit the extra flow. You need to be able to adapt and have every eventuality covered when you’re fishing on rivers. I started off the session by feeding ten balls of Supercrumb River, Bream and Black, in 50%, 30% and 20% quantities. I packed the groundbait with worms, casters, dead maggots and pinkies, along with a few handfuls of hemp. The swim is about 30m wide and around six foot deep, but with the additional water I decided to up my float sizes to a 1.5g, 2g and 3g prototype round bodied float. This float is perfect for river fishing, it has a nice round body with a bright hollow tip and long wire stem which keeps the float stable in the flow. I used a heavier 4g prototype float with a thicker bristle and size 13 Hollo Elastic for the short bonus fish line. I fed four bait droppers full of worms, casters and maggots. Try 072



filled with casters and maggots kept bites coming all day. I left the short line for a couple of hours, hopefully gaining the fishes confidence. I was greeted by a 1lb perch on the first drop, followed by a hard fighting eel. These bonus fish are essential and they can be easy to catch, if you follow my simple advice. I decided to keep alternating between the two lines, which is often a great way of keeping your catch rate ticking over. I finished the session with about 20lb of quality river residents. There’s a lot of different ways to target rivers, but on it’s day the pole is unbeatable!









A darker mix is much more effective when fishing in clearer water, therefore a 50/50 mix of Black and Lake fits the bill perfectly. Baits - maggots, casters, worms, pinkies

This is my go to mix for natural venues and commercial silverfish. Try adding some leam or soil to make this mix even heavier. Baits - maggots, casters, worms, pinkies









I always turn to a Bream and Lake combination for the majority of my feeder fishing. It is a great mix for bream and skimmers. Baits - maggots, casters, worms, corn

A heavy, stodgy mix ideal for really deep venues, it’s worth adding leam or soil in extreme depths. Perfect for roach, perch, bream and skimmers. Baits - bloodworm, joker, casters, maggots, pinkies

Life in the Fast Lane | TOMMY PICKERING

Life in the Fast Lane

Tommy Pickering on the basics of fishing with pellets, for one of the most popular fish, the F1



TOMMY PICKERING | Life in the Fast Lane F1s can give anglers a real headache, they’re incredibly cute feeders and often get the better of us. One bait that I wouldn’t be without when targeting these crafty critters, are pellets. Pellets have become the norm for thousands of anglers up and down the country. They might seem like a pretty straightforward bait to use, but trust me there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye. It’s a surprisingly complex tactic. I’ll run through a few of the key rules that I follow, to try get the most out of this prominent bait.

Expander Pellets

The 4mm size is great for winter and spring, when the water temperature drops. However, I’ve found that 4mm pellets can easily be snaffled by silverfish in the summer and autumn months due to the pellets’ soft texture. So, I often step up to a 6mm to steer clear of pesky silvers. Sometimes a 6mm expander can get plagued by silvers too, if this happens I’d swap to a more robust hard pellet that can withstand the attack from silverfish.

Preparing Expanders

Take a handful of Super Expander Pellets and pop them into a pellet pump. Fill the pellet pump with water and start pumping the air out of them until every pellet sinks. I leave the pellets soaking in the water for one minute per mm of pellet, so 4 minutes for 4mm pellets, 6 minutes for 6mm. After the required time has passed, I drain off all of the water, then pop the soaked and pumped expanders into a freezer bag and keep it on my side tray. I can then take out a pinch at a time as and when I need them. This keeps the pellets as fresh as possible, ready for those hungry F1s.

One of my favourite hookbaits for F1s are Sonubaits 4mm and 6mm Super Expander Pellets, F1s can’t resist these soft barrels of ‘pellety’ goodness. They fluff up to a nice size and, importantly, grip to the hook exceptionally well as they retain their structure and don’t crumble into a mush. If your pellet is coming off after shipping out or missing a bite, then you need to look at using a different pellet, or changing your preparation process, which I’ll run you through later. Lifting and dropping your hookbait is an important factor that you need to incorporate when fishing with pellets for F1s, so you want Softened Pellets a pellet that will stay on the hook for Micro pellets are a fantastic bait for as long as possible. F1s. Feeding softened 2mm Fin Perfect

Feed Pellets with a Uni CAD Pot, combined with a 4mm Super Expander Pellet has caught me thousands of F1s. It’s one of the most commonly used tactics and feeding styles for F1s during winter and spring. They’re incredibly easy to prepare, all you have to do is put some 2mm Fin Perfect Pellets into a bait tub, around a pint will be more than enough. Completely cover the pellets with water and leave them to soak for two minutes. Similar to the expander rule, I always leave the pellets soaking for one minute per pellet size in mm’s. It’s really important to soak micro pellets, dif ferent pellet batches often float and adding water ensures that they all sink. I also like the soft spongy texture that the pellets form. I think they’re much easier for the fish to eat, as opposed to a hard coarse pellet. A pellet naturally swells up when it’s in the lake, so soaking them makes them appear like they’ve been in the water for a long period of time and are therefore are safe to eat. Softened micro pellets can also be moulded around a method feeder or a pellet feeder, two fantastic ways of catching F1s. Soaked micros really are incredibly versatile and a deadly bait for F1s all year round.

How to Mix Tommy’s Expander Pellets


Start off by filling a pellet pump with water, then add a handful of Sonubaits Super Expander Pellets.


Now put the expander pellets into a small freezer bag. Compact them into the corner of the bag, making sure all of the air is removed.

number 1 in match fishing


Leave the pellets to soak for five minutes before pumping. Then pump the pellets several times until every one sinks.


Leave these in the bag for an hour or two. Then you’ll be left with the perfect expander pellets with a soft and spongy texture.


Drain off all of the water once the pellets have been pumped, making sure all of the excess water is drained.


Expander pellets are one of my favouorte F1 hookbaits. Follow this simple preparation and they’ll quickly become yours too. 075

Life in the Fast Lane | TOMMY PICKERING


F1 T I P S

Hard Pellets

Hard pellets are another bait that are definitely worth trying for F1s. 4mm and 6mm pellets are the only two I’d ever use. They make a loud plop on the water, attracting fish from far and wide. Don’t be too lavish with the pellets though, in all my years fishing for F1s with pellets, I’ve found that a little and often approach is the most prolific. Hard pellets make great hookbaits too, especially in the warmer weather. I fish these with a Micro Duraband on a hair, tied with a knotless knot to a PR 27 hook in a size 18 or 16.

amount of feed also increases the by feeding with a pole pot. A great likelihood of the fish finding and eating little trick that can put an extra few my hookbait. fish in your net, especially on tricky venues, or in the spring and autumn months when the fish aren’t feeding Catty-Pot Combo Sometimes combining the two is as confidently. the best way to go. If there aren’t any clear signs of fish in my peg I won’t Give it a Go hesitate to pick my catapult up and There you have it, the basics of ping a few pellets to create some fish fishing with pellets for F1s. It’s one attracting noise. of the simplest baits to fish with Once I start to get liners, miss bites once you get the basics right. Never and generally feel like there’s a few underestimate the power of pellets, it’s fish in my peg, I’ll stop catapulting and the number one F1 bait for a reason. concentrate the fish in a tighter area They’re addicted to them!

Feeding Pellets

Dot the float down for finicky bites

Feeding pellets is very simple, but if you neglect the basics of feeding them you could be setting yourself up for failure before you’ve even set foot on the bank. The pellets I feed for F1s are 2mm, 4mm and occasionally 6mm Fin Perfect Feed Pellets, where allowed. There are only two ways to feed pellets for F1s in my opinion. That’s with a catapult or via a CAD Pot. Both feeding styles have their place and serve different purposes.


Catapulting pellets can be a fantastic feeding approach. Pinging pellets has become a very popular method. This little and often pinging approach can be a great way of fishing for F1s, both on the bottom and shallow.

Remember to lift into F1s, not strike

Tommy favours a little and often feeding approach for F1s 076


Potting Pros

Potting pellets is probably one of the most commonly used feeding techniques associated with F1 fishing. The pots you use can make a massive difference too, I prefer the Micro Uni CAD Pot for all my winter and spring pellet tapping. I will step up to the small size in late spring and the medium in summer. Generally, I’ll never feed anymore pellets than this, even in the heat of summer. It’s not about the quantity of pellets you feed, it’s all about monitoring how the fish are behaving in your peg. I’ll cut back on the feed if there are too many fish in the swim. Foul hooking and losing fish is a clear sign that you’re feeding too much bait. Reducing the


TOMMY PICKERING | Life in the Fast Lane

RELIABLE HOOKS Tommy uses the good allrounder barbless carp hook PR 434 in a size 18, it can be used in a varierty of situations and is suitable for most baits.

STAY DRY Featuring hard wearing rubber soles and fully waterproof neoprene uppers, the DF Boots offer Tommy year round comfort and insulation. Available in sizes 7-12 (EU 41-47)



Tommy teams his DF Black Hoodie with his Celsius Thermal Bib and Brace, making the perfect comfort combination.

With its innovative reversed top ring, Tommy can fit up to five Space Saver Keepnets onto his Pro Tool Bar. The unique orientation of the net also helps with the easy transfer of fish from landing net to keepnet.

t h g i l t o Sp

LINE Tommy’s line is 0.13mm Reflo Power to 0.10mm Precision Power.

TOTALLY TAILORED Tommy uses the new Absolute Station White Edition so that he can tailor his seatbox configuration to his own exact specification.

ON A ROLL Tommy makes sure his Response M90 is in safe hands by using the Competition Pro XL Flat Roller. Featuring roller bearings, hard wall inner tubes in all horizontal rollers and a spirit level for optimum positioning, means that Tommy has the smoothest performance possible. Competition Pro Flat Rollers available in 3 sizes

Striking white frame and contrasting trim


PERFECT PELLETS Feeding softened Sonubaits 2mm Fin Perfect Feed Pellets combined with 4mm Super Expander Pellets has caught Tommy thousands of F1s.


48 Gold hours to


Find out how the all conquering England Feeder Team stamped their authority as the best feeder team in the world. England Feeder Team Manager, Tommy Pickering, recalls his account of the 5th World Feeder Championships in Holland.

The Setting

Linking Ghent in Belgium to the port of Terneuzen in the Netherlands, the Ghent-Terneuzen canal, also known as the ‘Sea Canal’ is an intimidating venue. The canal is 200 metres wide and 60 foot deep in the middle, a little different to the canals we’re used to in the UK. This venue is home to typical canal residents like roach, bream, pearch, rudd, skimmers, ide and hybrids, as well as a few uncommon species like dab, flounder and mullet due to the canal’s link with the North Sea.



The Team

When I first became involved with the England Feeder team my goal was to win a gold medal. Having done that last year, my goal now is to hold on to it! Unsurprisingly, I announced an unchanged team for this years Championships. Mick Vials, Phil Ringer, Rob Wooton, Adam Wakelin, Dean Barlow and individual World Champion Steve Ringer formed the squad. I’m fortunate enough to have some fantastic feeder anglers in my team, they just get better every year.

The Practise

We had a lot of time to practise for last years World Championships in Ireland, in fact we formulated a detailed plan several months prior to the event. This years preparation proved to be a bit trickier, a few of the lads had fished the venue before, but no one really knew a great deal about it. Fortunately for us, there was a European Feeder Challenge held on the canal a few months prior to the Championships. The fishing was really difficult in

areas, one or two bites would be all some anglers could muster. However, this challenge was invaluable for our preparation. We sussed out a few crucial tactics to use and became more familiar with the canal in general. This is essential when you’re fishing on an unfamiliar venue. Three of the most important factors in fishing are tactics, feeding and tackle. So, if we could work out the most effective ways to do all three we’d have a great chance of winning a second gold medal.


L AND 20 1 number 1 in match fishing





WORLD FEEDER CHAMPIONSHIPS 2015 | 48 Hours to Gold 079




PRO FEEDER ARM BY TOMMY PICKERING The Pro Feeder Arm has become one of the most versatile and valuable pieces of tackle that I use. It’s incredibly stable which is very important and its Snaplok versatility gives me the freedom to change rests. It covers all of my feeder fishing both in the UK and abroad.

SHOCKLEADER KNOT BY ADAM WAKELIN When fishing with light monofilament main lines and braid you run the risk of cracking off on the cast. To eliminate any chance of crack off’s I use a thick durable shock leader to cast off. This shocker is made up of durable 8lb Reflo Power Max tied to the main line with an allbright knot.

ACCURACY MATTERS BY MICK VIALS Accuracy plays a massive part in feeder fishing. I use Measuring Sticks to gain pin point accuracy. They are invaluable when I am fishing with two or more rods, counting reel turns simply isn’t accurate enough. This way I can guarantee that each rod is set to the exact same distance. 080


Official Practise

We had five official practise days to get all of our tackle, feeding and tactics sorted. This might sound like a lot of time, but when you’re faced with a tricky venue like the Ghent Canal you need all the time you can get. The first few days of official practise were extremely challenging. It was rock hard in areas, the total opposite to last years Championships in Ireland. Our tactics were very simple, one line short at 20 metres on the bottom of the canal shelf and another line at 50 metres, just before the main channel of the canal. The canal was very a strange venue, all of a sudden the fish would just decide to feed and several anglers in a small concentrated area would start to catch. But then five minutes later the fish would spread back out and anglers would be left none the wiser. This is where feeding and distances becomes very important. We needed to make sure we had the correct feed and quantity of feed in the right places, to make the most of these short bursts of action. The final practise day can leave anglers full of confidence, or full of doubt. All of my experience and involvement with various England set ups has taught me that the final day is arguably the most important day for a team’s morale. Thankfully, we had a brilliant final session, all of our anglers caught a netful of fish which gave us a much needed confidence boost. Dean Barlow was the top performer on the final day of practise. He had a cracking days fishing, taking 7 bream GROUNDBAIT SELECTION HELD THE KEY TO SUCCESS


and a net full of roach, pearch and hybrids to finish with 13kg over four hours. Interestingly, Dean caught all of his fish on his short line, proving what this venue and a shorter line can throw up. Myself and England’s Assistant Coach Glenn Lawrence noticed that a lot of the other teams were fishing much further out into the main channel of the canal, up to 80 metres. We ruled this out straight away due to the immense boat traffic. Well, I say boat traffic, what I mean to say is ship traffic! Cruise liners and massive sand barges regularly journey up and down the canal, I’ve never seen anything like it. These ginormous barges and ships totally wipe out any bait on the bottom, which isn’t ideal when you’re trying to build a swim.

Distance Matters

Measuring distances is crucial in the World Championships, and in feeder fishing in general. As a manager I need to know that all of my anglers are fishing in the same place. I can then guarantee that our team plan is being employed by every angler. The Preston Measuring Sticks provide you with ultimate accuracy, you’ll be amazed at the difference this will have on your feeder fishing.

Day One

Six anglers form the England Feeder team, but only five can fish in the Championships. Dropping an angler is always a difficult decision to make but I had to go with my gold medal winning team from last year, which

WORLD FEEDER CHAMPIONSHIPS 2015 | 48 Hours to Gold meant that the talented Rob Wooton would be my reserve angler, ready to step in if we needed him. With 26 countries fishing in the fifth World Feeder Championships, the sections would be split into two 13 peg zones. These mini sections can either make or break your chances of success, it would be a disaster if we had an angler in the wrong half of their 26 peg section. The draw always plays an influential role in team fishing, especially on hard venues. It only takes one or two bad draws and thats it, game over. Luckily, the first days draw looked favourable, we had avoided the iffy areas of each section. Although, what looks like a good draw can actually turn out to be the opposite. The truth is, no one really knew what was a good peg and what was a bad one, its all about lady luck. This fishing was very difficult, as expected. Fortunately for England, four out of our five anglers had caught a fish. If we were to have any chance of retaining our title we needed all of our anglers to catch. Adam Wakelin was the only angler yet to catch himself a fish. Adam was in a very tough area, but like I said to the team and to Adam, there’s no point in panicking when things get tough, if it was easy, everyone would do it. Steve and Phil Ringer, in A and D sections were catching roach and skimmers regularly, as was Mick in E and Dean in B. All four of them were putting in a commanding performances and looked in comfortable positions. It was all looking rosy, apart from one little hiccup, Adam was still blanking.


There was about 45 minutes left of the first day, I could feel my heart sinking lower and lower as each minute ticked by. I went down to offer Adam a few words of wisdom, a confidence boost, but then all of a sudden he strikes into a fish. A few nervous moments flew by, but he held his nerve and caught the most important fish of his life, a roach around 8oz. That single fish had shifted momentum, we had gone from an average first day to a great one in the blink of an eye, we ADAM’S VITAL ROACH SECURED INVALUABLE TEAM POINTS FOR ENGLAND

were in the race! Mick, Phil and Steve had all fished brilliantly winning their sections, quite comfortably in fact. Dean finished fourth in his 13 peg zone and Adam’s lonely roach put him seventh. This was a great result, one that could have been much worse. We finished the first day in joint first place with France and Hungary, on 14 points. It’s easy to get carried away at times like this, but we needed to keep a level head. As I told the team, it’s only half time, now the real work starts.

Day Two

We were in an amazing position, you can never win it on the first day but you can sure lose it on the second. Today was the day that mattered, at the end of the four hours one nation would be crowned World Feeder Champions 2015. Day two’s draw looked fantastic apart from one peg, Adam’s A9 draw looked very dodgy. A1 to A5 were very good pegs and anything higher than these five looked to be in danger. We really needed Adam in the other fairer half of A section. Hopefully, he could produce another miracle. You could feel a real tension on the bank, teams and anglers knew number 1 in match fishing

how tight it was. France and Hungary could smell blood and they were ready to snatch our title away from us. The match kicked off in typical Ghent Canal fashion, anglers up and down the stretch were sat bite less waiting for the first burst of fish to settle on their feed. The first English angler to catch was Mick Vials from C section, he scooped his net under a bream of around 3lb and rocketed himself up the section, putting him in an outstanding position individually and earning us some valuable team points. At the halfway stage, Mick, Dean, Phil and Steve looked to be in the top 3 of their 13 peg zones. The only danger was Adam in A section, he was as low down as seventh, even eighth. Something had to happen, we needed another miracle from the Preston star. Unfortunately, the majority of the French anglers had drawn in the other half of the sections, which meant that we didn’t really have any influence over those sections, and to make matters worse the French anglers in those mini zones were all in the top three of their sections. The match wasn’t panning out as I had hoped, France were clearly beating us. They were putting in some great displays and looked to be edging ahead. Our title was slipping from our grasp and there wasn’t much we could do about it, just hope and pray that it would go our way. The canal was obviously suffering from the pressure an event like this brings and all of the anglers were struggling to make a line work for any period of time. The final hour of the competition flew by, we needed a shif t in momentum. It seemed as though England’s fate was pinned on Mr. Wakelin, yet again. Mick, Phil, Steve and Dean were doing all they could, it was just Adam’s draw that looked to be our only stumbling block. We needed him to jump from eighth to second, if he didn’t we wouldn’t win the gold. As the clock ticked down, second, by second I could feel our title slipping away. There were literally seconds to go and I just had a feeling that we had fallen short, but then I heard a call down the radio. Adam had just netted a 2lb bream with literally seconds to go, had he done it again, would he be England’s saviour? 081



final team scores 1ST









The Results

I’ve never felt as sick or as nervous in all my life waiting for the results to come in. The word on the bank was that we had beaten France by ½ point. We had done the improbable and pulled it back from the brink of defeat. As soon as I heard about Adam’s last gasp bream I just felt like we’d done enough, too many factors had swung our way. Either way, whether we had won or lost, it was an amazing match to witness. The results came in, we had done it, we were once again World Feeder Champions. Or so we thought? Controversially, France requested one full section to be reweighed, due to the tight result. We were all on top of the world, cheering and laughing with joy and then an official told us that the results were yet to be confirmed. As you can imagine when there’s literally ½ a point between being crowned champions and runners up, we were all on a knife’s edge. Eventually, after several tense minutes we were finally announced as World Champions. We had beaten France by just ½ a point, which was unbelievable really. To top it off, Mick 082



managed an individual bronze medal for the second year running. He continues to show what an incredibly talented angler he is, a true credit to the England Feeder team. There were so many outstanding performances over the two days, the anglers fished together and pulled through as a team. I’ve never come across a more confident and determined bunch of anglers, they all knew exactly what they had to do and they did it. What an amazing experience to be involved in, it truly was one of the highlights of my fishing career. It’s easy to see why England are regarded as the number one fishing country in the world, we have some exceptional anglers who give 100% dedication to the team. I have achieved so much in my angling career, including an individual gold medal but nothing comes close to the feeling I had when they announced England as World Feeder Champions for the second year running!



Join us next year as the World Feeder Fishing Championships 2016 travels to Novi Sad, Serbia.







D E C N A L A B •








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Preston Innovations Winning Pegs 2016  

Welcome to Winning Pegs 2016 from Preston Innovations. The free magazine that brings you all the latest product news as well as hints, tips...

Preston Innovations Winning Pegs 2016  

Welcome to Winning Pegs 2016 from Preston Innovations. The free magazine that brings you all the latest product news as well as hints, tips...