Cosgrove Caster's - Method Feeder Tactics

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Today's blog is about getting the best from a truly devastating technique that many years ago anglers named 'The Method'.

A lot of anglers have recently been asking me about the ‘Method Feeder’ tactics that I use for most of my pleasure fishing and indeed in the matches as it is so effective.  

As far as hardware is concerned depending on the distance I’m fishing at I use either a 11’ or 13’ medium weight feeder rod with a heavy quiver tip as to be quite honest the bites using this style of feeder fishing are usually proper bites in the form of big pull rounds, a Shimano baitrunner reel, 'minimum' and I mean minimum of 8lb mainline and a flat method feeder, my favourite being the Guru elasticated X-safe versions. 

My favourite Guru X-Safe method feeders

Basically there are so many variations in method feeder groundbaits and pellet varieties and combinations that I can’t possibly mention them all here, but my favourite mix for carp, bream and tench is a 50/50 sticky fishmeal method groundbait of which there are loads in combo with micro 2 or 4mm carp feed pellets. In cooler conditions I may cut out the pellets all together but in warm summer conditions I may use just the pellets that depending on depth of the swim I may add some ‘Sticky Pellet’ as you need the bait to get to the bottom intact to be fully effective. There are also so many different hookbait combinations but my favourites are drilled pellets, match sized boilies particularly the latest ‘wafter’ type, sweetcorn and a section of ‘Pepperami’ meat, these baits are all hair rigged but another favourite dead red maggots are hooked on in the normal way usually in 3 and 4's.

Once you have all the required gear the tactic is fairly simple to use especially for carp, bream and tench, but there are one or two tips that I can pass on to help you get more from this devastating ‘Method’. The first one is the length of hooklink. A lot of anglers make the mistake of fishing a hooklink that is too long as is often the case using a more conventional feeder rig. For the method to be really effective it needs to be kept really short at about 4” long! The principal idea of the method feeder is that the fish attacks the ball of bait on the feeder and the hook bait is buried in this feed, when the fish takes the bait, using a really short hooklink creates a ‘bolt’ effect on the fish that runs off giving the classic rod pull round bite.

The method mould is filled with groundbait - the hookbait placed in and the feeder is then pressed upside down into the mould!

The feeder ready to be pressed out of the mould

Another question that is often asked is whether the bait should be buried or left hanging out of the feeder on the cast. I nearly always bury the hookbait, as I feel there are so many advantages. On casting everything is tucked out of the way and cannot tangle, especially useful if you are casting to an island with the potential of catching overhanging trees or the undergrowth. As I have said the rig cannot tangle and of course the bait is presented right in the middle of the pile of feed.

A perfect 'package' of bait ready to cast - note how the hookbait is buried within the groundbait/pellet ball

I personally like to use a method mould to create my ‘method balls’ as it’s just so convenient and easy to use. When using a mould, a lot of writers speak about putting the hookbait in the bottom of the mould first before filling the mould with feed. In theory when the feed is pressed out of the mould the bait is sitting on top of the ball. This look great, but in practice when the ‘method’ ball hits the water’s surface a little bait comes off taking the hookbait with it, making it less effective. I have much better results by filling the mould about 3/4 full before tucking the hookbait in then completely fill the mould. When the bait is pressed out it is presented deep inside the method ball. It stays together during the cast and when it hits the water it stays intact until it’s on the bottom when the feed ball breaks down presenting the bait right in the middle of the ball of feed - absolutely devastating.

Mick Wilson with a cracking Mallard lake bream taken on 'The Method'

For me accuracy in casting the method is crucial and even though I have a good casting technique I maintain tight accuracy by 'clipping up'. Once I have my chosen swim and in particular ‘the’ spot within that swim. I usually like to fish to a feature whether it be an island, a weedbed, or a line of marginal rushes. I firstly cast out to my chosen spot using just a plain lead or ledger weight of the same size as my feeder. I may be able to get the right distance first cast or it might take me a few casts but whatever its worth getting just right. Once happy I've cast to the correct spot I leave the lead in place and peel a few more metres of line off the reel so I'm holding my rod in a vertical position. I then put the main line in the reel’s line clip. If I’m feeling really OCD, at this point I'll measure the distance of my cast using my distance sticks to measure how many wraps the cast is! I'm now ready to cast out with my actual feeder. I always use a drop from rod tip to feeder of about 1m. Cast to the required spot and just before the cast hits the line clip I make sure that I lift my rod into the same vertical position, not only does this cushion the end of the cast but when reeling up this slack line it gives me extra turns of line on my reel just in case a good carp takes the bait and roars off against the reels clutch. Even then a few times a year I have to unclip as a particularly big or hard fighting carp needs to take even more line...... (very scary!)

A nice Canada Lake mirror carp taken on using the tips and tricks talked about above

I hope this blog has given you a few new ideas to turn this tactic into the truly devastating technique that it is!  

Tight Lines - Gary   

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Venetian Marina Whilton Caravan Storage Whilton Marina
Cosgrove Park. Main Street, Cosgrove, Milton Keynes, MK19 7JP.
Phone: 01908 563360 Fax: 01908 263615