Carp expert Colin Davidson explains a simple way to fish the highly effective Method feeder.

Method feeder fishing a cracking tactic to get those indicators moving where there are numbers of carp to go after, big fish included.

Developed with the rise of commercial pools,  Method feeder fishing puts a great big ball of groundbait in front of fish.

It needs to be attacked, shaken and pecked away from the feeder for carp to get at the feed.

Encouraging competitive and almost obsessive feeding will, at times, almost make carp pounce on a Method ball, falling conveniently for a hook bait fished alongside the groundbait ball.

Some anglers swear by the Method feeder, but most flirt with the tactic and give up in favour of bags and sticks, finding it harder and messier work.

Those who persist find  Method feeder fishing is an approach with all manner of possibilities. It’s one that will trip up carp, from easy to crafty, on waters big and small.

Some venues are more suited to the Method than others. Method balls can and do catch very big fish, but the tactic is best where there are good stocks.

The more carp, the more competitive feeding tends to be, and the more aggressively fish respond to a big ball of feed, pouncing on it before their shoal mates.

Most day ticket venues fit the bill, but many more natural venues with a big head of 20s and even 30s can also be productive, so keep an open mind.

There’s a huge selection of feeders for Method feeder fishing. They range from smaller match-style flatbeds, to big plastic-framed ‘carpy’ versions that will hold a proper carp coconut of groundbait.

Get the groundbait right and feeder fishing becomes easier.

Vitalin original dog food, in the yellow bags, still makes the easiest base for a Method mix.

It’s as cheap as chips, attractive in its own right, binds well and holds a huge quantity of other additives.

I use it for around 50 per cent of a mix, and make the rest up as I go along, tinkering until I find something carp respond well to.

Mix your dry ingredients together in a round mixing bowl.

This is 50 per cent Vitalin, 25 per cent spod mix and 25 per cent mixed small pellets.

I know a spod mix doesn’t seem a logical Method ingredient, but this stuff makes a really rich, well textured and attractive groundbait.

An old bait box or, better still, horse feed scoop makes it easy to keep track of what’s in the bowl, so you always get the same mix.

Start adding water – lake water not tap water – and work the groundbait vigorously around the edges of the bowl, ensuring the water is well mixed through.

Keep adding little and often until your mix squeezes together to form a firm ball between your fingers.

Method mixes need to be a bit on the stodgy side; carp should have to work for it to get it off the feeder, but it also needs to be firm enough to stay in place during the cast and on splashdown.

Some will say it’s over done, but a tin of tuna flakes in sunflower oil finishes the mix off with a nice rich, fresh-fish smell.

You’ll get a much stronger feeding response to a Method mix with tuna in than without.

Add this last, working it round the bowl so that the fish flesh is well broken up and distributed.

Once your groundbait is finished, keep the lid on the bucket or the zip top closed to stop it drying out.

End-tackle is simplicity. Thread the line through the in-line Nobbler, add a hook length swivel and then stick a few blobs of putty up the line to keep it nailed down to the lake bed.

A 4-5 in. braided hook length with a small hook is more than adequate.

Hook baits are best kept small. Good choices are mini boilies, plastic, Peperami, maggots or meshed pellets.

I have largely avoided purpose designed feeders and stuck to flat in-line leads.

I’m sure they offer better hooking than feeders and are less conspicuous than a plastic frame when bait has fallen off or been eaten away from the feed ball.

Put some of your groundbait mix in the palm of your hand, put the lead on top and then cover it with some more groundbait.

Squeeze the groundbait around the lead, rotating the ball of feed so that it is moulded and squeezed evenly around the lead.

If the bait won’t squeeze into a ball and stay put, the mix is too dry.

If it leaves you with sticky hands and won’t hold its shape, the groundbait is too wet.

Don’t go mad with the size of the ball; make it too big and it will be like trying to cast out a pregnant pig!

A well-shaped Method ball the size of a satsuma but more streamlined is about right.

Make sure the ball is moulded centrally around the lead so that it casts true, and the line behind the Method ball exits the centre of the bait.

If you get this wrong the line will slice through the bait as you cast it and it will fall off – probably onto your head.

A Method ball is heavy and more cumbersome to cast than straight lead end-tackle.

Stick to 15 lb main line to prevent crack-offs and use a steady, gentle lob, aiming the Method ball high rather than punching it.

A minimum of 2.75 lb test curve rods is advisable, and for ranges above 50-60 yards 3 lb rods are suitable.

Landing the feeder in the same spot is essential to get the best from the tactic, so use a marker of electrical tape and your reel’s line clip to land on a sixpence every cast.

Method feeder fishing is ideal for warmer water  when carp are busy and active.

It’s a positive approach rather than a cautious one, so make up half a dozen to a dozen balls of groundbait and introduce them in the same area as the feeder with a decent groundbait catty, then use the feeder to top up.

Keep the balls as round as possible and uniform in size to make accuracy easier.

It’s easy to gauge interest when Method feeder fishing, because carp nosing or shaking the Method ball around will give you rattles and jumps on the bobbins that register on the alarm.

It’s great fun because it gives you an insight into carp being in the swim and prepared to feed.

Ignore the small rattles, lifts and drop backs – when a carp gets the hook bait you will get a proper bite and be in no doubt.

If you get indications that then tail off without a take, you’ll need to reload with groundbait and cast back out.

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Top 10 Method feeder fishing tips

  1. Take plenty of dry ingredients so that you can mix more Method mix together if you have a bumper day.
  2. There are lots of additives to experiment with in your groundbait, from nut meals such as roasted peanut and tiger nut to spices such as chilli powder.
  3. Don’t add particles such as hemp or pigeon mix to Method mixes – they dry out and float.
  4. If your feeder is being rattled around but no takes come, try changing hook baits until you find action.
  5. Get into a routine of regular casting, even if a swim is quiet. Method feeder fishing is a busy tactic if you want to get the best from it.
  6. Don’t worry about the splosh that a loaded feeder makes when landing; it isn’t perceived as frightening to carp in the same way that a lead crashing in puts them on edge.
  7. Tucking the hook length into the Method ball so that just the bait and an inch or two of link are proud of the groundbait can win extra takes.
  8. Think about where you are fishing your feeders. They can easily be rolled down steeply shelving island margins.
  9. Loaded feeders flatten weed and can be fished confidently in the green stuff, where carp are less cautious.
  10. Don’t forget a towel, to keep hands and rod butts from getting absolutely plastered in Method mix.
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