Match fishing is all about creating edges, the more edges you have up your sleeve, the more time saved resulting in more fish in the net come the end of the day. Luncheon meat is a fantastic bait, especially on commercials for carp, however it has one big drawback, it’s soft and comes off the hook easily. This is great when fishing down the edge for a real lump, yet up in the water on the pole or on the feeder when carp are competing and creating a lot of false bites can be frustrating as a premature strike will result in time being wasted reeling in and having to re-bait. One edge I have created that has put loads more carp in my keepnet, simply by mimicking meat, is to punch a piece of boiled gammon steak as its texture is ten times tougher than good old Luncheon Meat but it looks, smells and acts almost the same. It’s also saltier, something I’m also convinced is more appealing. Placing this on a hair which has a bait spike attached or using a readymade hooklink such as the Feeder Leader Method Push Stops mimics the freebies fed around but withstands numerous casts, even captures. Give it a go it will save you loads of time having to re-bait and put loads more carp in your net.  

Today I’ve come to Churchgate Lakes in Essex for the very first time and have headed to the Bottom Lake which I’m told holds loads of carp. The swim I’ve chosen is round the back of the main island which I’m going to cast close too as this is where most of the F1’s and odd big carp seem to come from. The rod I’m using is the superb 10’ Sphere Bomb teamed up with the 930 MgTi reel loaded with 0.20mm Cenex Method Mono which is camou-coloured with high durability and fast sinking. Running on this is a 30g Hydrus Metal Method Feeder which is buffeted by a medium Connector Bead onto which I’ve added a four-inch hooklink created from 0.16mm Cenex Classic Mono. A size 16 barbless Sphere CPF LS hook tied knotless-knot style with a hair and Push Stop completes the hook length. 

Churchgate Lakes F1’s are big.

Feathering the feeder down reduces tangles.

Let’s see how today goes.

The first one is always nice.

"its texture is ten times tougher than good old Luncheon Meat"

Fed through the feeder is simply Champion’s Method Robin & Krill groundbait and I’ve stated using a kilo bag mixed with 600ml of water as stated on the packet before passing through a fine riddle a couple of times. To this I’m adding a kilo of dampened 2mm micro pellets, a combination that is irresistible to both carp and F1’s. I’m also going to catapult a few punched pieces of steak over the top of where I’m casting as this will attract any passing carp, draw them in and if they start showing up in the water will give me the option to switch to the pellet waggler for the odd bigger bonus fish.

The morning session was slow to start with, probably due to lots of other day anglers arriving, but the swim has slowly improved as the noise levels have dropped and I’ve been rewarded with plenty of big F1’s, odd carp and my standard goldfish that I seem to catch everywhere I go! 

Gary McClair

Every fish is fun when using the Sphere Bomb rod. 

Cenex lines and Sphere hooks, brilliant.

Constant feeding over the top gets the fish feeding.  

Champion’s Method Robin & Krill, great for the feeder.

Gary’s Tackle

10’ Sphere Bomb Rod

Sphere MgTi 930 Reel

Cenex 0.20mm Method Mono

Cenex 0.16mm Classic Mono

Hydrus 30g Metal Method Feeder

Sphere size 16 barbless CPF LS Hook

Medium Connector Bead


Gary’s Bait

Champion’s Method Robin & Krill

Gammon Steak

A few hours fishing resulted in these F1’s.