The ‘Method’ feeder aka the Flatbed Feeder has completely revolutionised feeder fishing on commercial waters over the past few years. Hook lengths are getting shorter and shorter with some anglers dropping this down to just an inch or so in order to get a quick bite and capitalise on the feeding frenzy which can be created in many of these heavily stocked venues.
Orchard Place Farm Fishery in Kent has a total of twelve lakes, three of these are classified as general/match lakes and I had the opportunity to fish the biggest of the twelve, Lake 6 which is heavily stocked with a mixture of species, my targets were mainly the F1 strain. F1’s are great fun, they tend to feed all year round and can be very obliging on far from ideal conditions, when other species simply refuse to feed.
I have used Sphere poles for many years with total confidence and enjoyment I was intrigued when Browning launched their flagship pole, the EXP Sphere Zero-G F1+. The question was, could they excel and produce a pole even better than before, and if so, could this benefit my angling and give me an edge or two over others, whilst at the same time bringing even more enjoyment and fulfilment into my fishing and reducing the achy muscles after having to fish long for hours on end.
I will be the first to admit that I have always demanded the best and when a product is updated, I need to get my hands on it straight away. If things don’t go to plan during a match I know that I can’t blame my tools but simply pinpoint the decisions I made during, realising which ones were right and wrong. For obvious reasons the words ultra light were the first ones that made me take note, could this pole be lighter than previous models, yes! Ultra stiff, with performance that does not deteriorate even at full length again raised my eyebrows, the purchase was a no brainer!
Get the swim active!
To do this I prefer to use the method feeder and I picked a swim which featured an island, as I was sure the fish would be doing their best to avoid the bright sunshine and heading for some cover. I made sure to cast regularly to activate the swim, especially at the start of a session. This is essential, as is accuracy, so after a few practice casts to gauge the distance a few inches from the island it was time to clip up and get fishing.
Sucking up the entire contents
Bait choice was simple, a single red maggot on the hook and a 50/50 mix of Champion’s Method Mussel Green and Formula Fish groundbait. This was mixed on arrival with lake water and allowed to draw in the moisture for a few minutes, before dampening down again, waiting a few more minutes before mixing using a groundbait whisk. With this I used a good scattering of dampened down micros, once the mix can be compressed in the palm of my hand and on releasing expand without breaking up, I know the consistency is correct and it will cling to the feeder. I also bought along some 6mm hard pellets, just in case I needed a switch but F1’s do have a love for maggots. Speed was of the essence and maggots offer just that without being detrimental to the time it takes to get a bite. No bait bands or fiddling around re-baiting, maggots can quite often also be good for more than one fish.
Creating a safe bolt rig
The tackle I used was a rod that I just cannot fault, the Sphere Bomb +10% I teamed this up with a Sphere MgTi 930 loaded with Black Magic Gold 0.21mm (8lb) mono. This style of fishing punishes a mainline repeatedly but this multi-purpose reliable line is abrasion resistant and deals with everything thrown at it. On the business end I chose a 20g Black Magic Method feeder but instead of tying the mainline direct to the swivel I threaded the feeder onto my mainline, through the swivel and then back through the feeder before tying a figure of eight overhand knot to secure. This doubling over of line simply gave me the security that the line won’t weaken near to the feeder. Although the feeder can pass easily over the knot above, it does produce some resistance and in turn is a safe bolt rig. The hooklink which attaches to the feeder swivel was short, around two-inches, consisted of a barbless size 16 Sphere CPF LS Hook and is made from 0.16mm (6.6lb) Cenex Hybrid Power Mono. All in all a robust set up that’s easily capable of withstanding and dealing with the big weights of fish we were fortunate enough to hook into.
Struggling to hit bottom
Having no other anglers targeting the island I wasn’t surprised that on the first cast, and moments after the feeder landing, a few liners revealed that the fish were active. After waiting a further sixty seconds I wound in and repeated the proces, four casts in and after a couple of indications, probably caused by a fish sucking in the contents of the feeder, the tip pulled round and the first F1’s came to the net. More followed! After just thirty minutes the feeder was actually struggling to hit bottom before the tip pulled round and another F1’s fell foul to the method. This continued in the same manor for the next four hours, I finished the day with upwards of 150lb of fish netted, it proved the point that the ‘Method’ is a tactic you simply can’t ignore.
- Sphere Bomb +10% Feeder Rod
- Sphere MgTi 930 Reel
- Black Magic Gold 0.21mm Monofilament Mainline
- Cenex 0.16mm Hybrid Power Mono
- Black Magic 20g Method Feeder
- Sphere CPF LS Barbless size 16 Hook
- Red Maggots
- Champion’s Method Mussel Green & Formula Fish Groundbait
- 2mm Micro Pellets
About The Author
Match fishing enthusiast
Match fishing for mixed species in the UK