Autumn/Winter feeder fishing

Words: Chris Ponsford. Pictures: Lloyd Rogers

Seasonal changes

Just because the warmer weather is behind us, doesn’t mean that you have to hang up your feeder rod just yet, writes Korum’s Chris Ponsford

Firstly, thank you for clicking onto my little piece, I am very honoured you taking the time to read and look at Lloyds fine pictures.

This little tome is about making the changes from summer into winter, both in in our fishing techniques, tackle and not forgetting clothing, food and drink.

Back when dinosaurs walked our land and I was a little, thin slip of a lad gleefully thumbing through Bernard Venables classic Mr Crabtree goes fishing things were  very different. Just looking at Bernards hand drawn illustrations you can see, pipe in mouth, sports jacket and tie, old coat and hat, wellingtons, creel, one rod and reel and tin of maggots, or a few lobworms and cheesepaste.

Compare that to now, Transit vans, VW Transporters and enough kit to start a tackle shop, fishing station, countless holdalls of made up rods, buckets of bait, ground bait mixers and two hours to set up for a match.

Actually, I am not a fan of all this, sure its efficient once all set up, definitely comfortable but very expensive and bulky, but it’s a modern thing and the way things have evolved. As a retired gent of the parish I do find it daunting to lug down and carry in my venerable Volvo Estate, which is like me getting on in years but still going well and enjoying a day out.

Paring down on kit is a thing with me and very often pleasure fishing I don’t carry many rods or reels, a nice light modern float rod and lead rod is often enough, maybe a whip as well. What no pole you ask? well I haven’t used my pole for a year or two and have caught plenty of fish. For presentation it cannot be beat, but a waggler fished well is still awesome and doesn’t spook fish and can be cast way beyond pole range on Stillwater and Rivers.

One digresses. Those long hot days of summer, sat in a t-shirt, sweat on your brow with a fierce sun on your face are now gone as the chiller winds of Autumn and winter roll in accompanied by frosts in the morning, rapidly approaching as write this in November.

I really enjoy fishing for silvers through the winter, they are often very obliging even on the coldest of days when other species like Carp are shutting up shop, or not so ravenous in attacking the bait. Catching hundreds of pounds of carp is not my thing but give me a net of 20lb of Roach, Skimmers and Perch and I am a happy man.

This trip, accompanied by good friend and fantastic lensman, Lloyd Rogers, we went to Meadowlands Fishery just south of Coventry, an amazing venue of two lakes both stuffed with a big variety of fish and available on a day ticket. I had spoken to another chum prior to our visit, the famous Darren Cox, boss of Garbolino and regular winner here on matches. 

A good while back I popped over to watch him filming a piece for Garbolino catching skimmers on a micro cage feeder and fluro pinkies in winter and listen to his sage thoughts, Darren is absolutely one of the best match anglers in the world and one of the nicest guys you will ever meet, so time chatting and watching is always a thrill and very educating. 

There was a small match on the pegs I fancied, so following Darren’s advice, I headed down to an area round peg 25 on Lambsdown lake, just below the fishery office, a section with deepish water and ideal for winter. 

The plan was catch silvers on the micro feeder and light specialist feeder rod with small hooks and baits, expecting it to be hard after a chilly night and cold northerly wind blowing.

Now a word on gear needed. I love the Prestons Supera SL 11 ft, just perfect for casting up to 40 yds with light set up, and usually closer at 15 to 25 yds. There is a 10ft model which is also brilliant but I don’t have one yet, but it is top of my Christmas list. A small light fixed spool in 3000 size is perfect, with a spool for braid in .012 diameter and a spool of 5lb sinking mono will cover most eventualities. My favourite is a Prestons Centris 3000 with this set up.

The rod comes with several tips but today I used the 1oz tip. Skimmers can be very shy hence I carry braid and use it where allowed. It wasn’t needed this time as the fish fed confidently, but some days you just won’t see the shy bites on mono.

I love the tiny 15 gm cage feeders for this fishing in three sizes as they pack a real punch with high attract modern groundbaits which are very powerful without feeding the fish too much. Back in the old days it was all brown and white crumb, which still has its uses today.

Being lucky enough to be sponsored by Sonubaits I brought a simple mix that I thought would attract most fish, a bag of original match method mix and a bag of black roach, mixed together with pinkies, casters, maggots added as required. A tin of sweetcorn was opened, but didnt on the day produce bites. I regretted not bringing any worms, but I figured good old maggots and casters should do the biz. A few pots of various wafters are always in my bag and usually good for a few bites.

First job is to mix a bit of groundbait to give it time to absorb the water, then setting up the rest of the kit and fishing station.

I like a sliding feeder set up, feeder attached to a prestons quick change link, free running to three no 8 stotz, which sit directly above a twisted boom, to which an .010 mono hooklink is attached with a 16 or 18 hook. 

I have a few casts counting the rate of drop, and to check the bottom is not snaggy in my chosen spot, once I am happy, I clip up. measuring it on sticks behind me, or walking it to a spot behind and marking that. I also count the turns when I reel in to when the feeder is level with the reel as extra insurance if I hook a big fish and have to unclip in a hurry.

When I start fishing I overcast, stopping the cast just as it hits the clip letting it sink on a tight line, bail arm closed, rod tip under the water to sink the line.

First cast I will leave it five minutes to see if I can catch a fish or spot any line bites, and depending on that will cast more regularly to get a bit of feed out there. If the fish want a bit more bait, I will put a larger feeder on or even a straight lead if they are a bit shy. 

During this session I did put on a larger 30 gram Korum open ender as the peg got stronger as well as scaling up to a 14 hook with three dead reds or casters.

You need to wrap up warm with layers, I use an insulated Korum undergarment, and hoodie, quilted coat and waterproof top coat, double layered Prestons trousers and waterproof coat, fingerless gloves made by Damart, a warm woolen hat and insulated waterproof boots. Don’t forget a neck warmer too.

Winter fishing can be fantastic, get out and give it a go, and try Meadowlands as its great for winter action.