I’ve come to Harris Lake on the Marsh Farm Complex today to see if I can get among the crucians that reside here. Tactics for today will be groundbait on the Method Feeder, which is a deceptively simple tactic. In my mind the art of fishing the Method Feeder really comes down to two key points, the first is mixing the groundbait to the perfect consistency, the other is regular accurate casting to the same spot, so the use of a riddle for the groundbait and using the reels line clip are both extremely important.

First job on arrival is to get some groundbait mixed, and as its only going to be a morning session I’m going to mix half a bag of Champion’s Method Robin & Krill. 

A really useful instruction on the front of each packet of the Champion’s range of groundbait is a guide to the amount of water needed to mix a bag up perfectly. So, in this case, I’m adding half the amount needed for a full bag. A quick mix using a Groundbait Whisk and this is left for ten minutes to absorb the moisture whilst I set up. After ten minutes I give it another mix before running it through a fine Match Riddle a couple of times which removes all of the lumps, adds some air making it light and fluffy, and leaves a really fine mix which is perfect for the Method Feeder Mould. 

Cenex lines, try them, you will be impressed.

The rig, simple and free-running! 

Crucians love Robin & Krill.

Connector Beads create a strong quick-change link.

"On the business end is a 30g Hydrus Metal Method Feeder, which comes to rest against a medium Connector Bead."

Plastic fantastic

As for tackle today, and with crucians in mind, I’m keeping everything quite refined, so my trusted Browning Hotrod Bomb Rod comes into play teamed up with a Sphere MgTi 930 reel. As there is no need to cast far, no more than 25 yards, I’ve loaded it with Cenex 0.16mm Feeder Mono. 

On the business end is a 30g Hydrus Metal Method Feeder, free running on the mainline to keep within the fishery rules which comes to rest against a medium Connector Bead. These beads are brilliant as they allow me to swap hook lengths in a split second, testing out different baits if needed, or removing one instantly if damaged. As for the hook length I’ve made mine up using Cenex 0.15mm Fluorocarbon to a length of just three inches and attached a size 13 CPF LS hook knotless knot style to leave a short hair onto which either a plastic caster or piece of plastic corn will be mounted. 

It’s worth experimenting with hookbaits as crucians can have a preference that changes daily. However, if they don’t want the plastic caster then they rarely turn a blind eye to the corn. You can use a small piece of real corn but I’ve not seen any increase in the amount of bites, and unlike real corn that comes off and needs replacing, plastic stays put saving me loads of time during the session. 

Activating the swim

With everything set up its time to ‘activate’ the swim so I’m going to clip-up around one rod length short of the island in front, which puts the feeder at the bottom of its marginal shelf. With the line placed in the reels line clip I’m going to make six quick casts, leaving each one for ten seconds before sweeping the rod back, effectively placing a small amount of groundbait on the spot each time. I’m also going to feed an inside line and to get this going simply hold the feeder in line with the reel and swing it out half a dozen times to my left alongside a nice patch of water lilies. 

It’s a personal best

It really is worth checking out both the bottom of the island marginal shelf as well as the inside line as the crucians here, just like bait preference, show a preference on a daily basis where they are happy feeding. The conditions today are almost perfect, mild, overcast with a strong south west wind blowing, the only downside is I’m having to fish under an umbrella as its raining hard and doesn’t look like it’s going to stop all day! Unfortunately, the island line fails to produce in the first half an hour so it’s time to go down the edge and straight away the tip pulls round and I’m into my first crucian, which turns the scales to a pleasing 2lb 3oz. This is followed by another two pounder before the hook pulls on one and the swims dies. Back to the island spot but again they’re not there however swinging the rig alongside the lilies once again produces another crucian. It looks like it’s going to be a good day!

Justin Watkins

Specimen crucian fishing, love it!

Nailed in the bottom lip, where it should be!

Press, release and away we go.

A reliable line clip is paramount.

Justin’s Tackle

Hotrod Bomb Rod

Sphere MgTi 930 Reel

Cenex 0.16mm Feeder Mono

Cenex 0.15mm Fluoro Carbon Hook Line

Sphere Size 13 CPF LS Hook

30g Hydrus Metal Method Feeder

Hydrus Method Feeder Mould

Medium Connector Bead

Justin’s Bait

Champion’s Method Robin & Krill Groundbait

Plastic Caster/corn

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