We normally think of feeder fishing as all about catching fish hard on the bottom, but this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. Get your tactics right and it is possible to catch fish on the drop, which can be a much faster and efficient way of catching. Today I am on the river Great Ouse at Littleport; a typical wide, slow-flowing Fenland river. Several tactics will score on venues like this, from the short and long pole lines, to feeder fishing for bream, tench and big perch.

Our Hot Rods team fish numerous matches on rivers like this and one line that is exploited less is the far bank ledge for silver fish. It might seem counterintuitive to want to catch small fish across, as surely it must be quicker to catch them along your own margin. In a match situation though the fish can quickly disappear from the near-line and fishing across can enable more fish to be caught consistently over five hours, with double-figures achievable – enough for good points in a team competition.

The gear you need for this style of fishing isn’t particularly complicated, but it needs to be balanced to enable me to get into an unbroken rhythm that keeps me catching regularly. I use a Sphere 12’ (3.6m) Braid Special feeder rod, matched to a 40-size Quantum Vapor reel loaded with 0.08mm Cenex Feeder Braid with a 0.20mm mono shock leader approximately twice the length of the rod to take the constant stress of casting. The Sphere rod is particularly good for this style of fishing, the soft tip showing bites well and the forgiving mid-section cautioning the cast and reducing the number of fish that I bump off on the retrieve.

Rigs need to be simple and tangle-free. A 35gram Window Feeder Classic casts like a bullet and is easy to load with bait. I could use a lighter feeder, but the cross-winds common on the river mean that the extra weight makes it easier to stay accurate. The feeder is attached to the line using a 6cm mono link with a Feeder Connector Swivel enabling me to change hook lengths quickly. As for hook lengths, I am not fishing as fine as you might imagine, given though I am targeting small fish. A one metre 0.16mm Cenex Hybrid Mono hooklength is robust, and the diameter will help slow the sink-rate of the hookbait down a little. Using a reasonably big hook ensures I land more fish, with less coming off as I quickly bring them across the river.  Quite often I’ll have several hooklengths ready to go on the foam of my bump bar which allows me swap between hook and line choices quickly.

Wet your braided line to improve casting performance.

Feed a little chopped worm and pinkie through the feeder.

Plug the window feeder with explosive groundbait.

"A 35gram Window Feeder Classic casts like a bullet and is easy to load with bait."

Hookbait choice is either maggot or worm head. By using a relatively large hookbait I hope to single-out a slightly better stamp of fish, although it can be difficult to be selective when there are a lot of fish in the peg. Worm heads are also bullet proof and that speeds me up as I don’t have to change baits so often.

The secret to this style of fishing is to be constantly recasting. As soon as the hook bait comes to rest it is effectively not fishing and time to recast. I hold the rod and tighten up to the feeder as soon as it hits the water. Most bites come before the feeder has even touched-down, and the braid allows me to see these easily – for that reason I don’t use the rest, I want to be in touch with the feeder and hooklength all the time.

The Window Feeder releases its payload of cloudy groundbait, chopped worms and pinkies on the drop too, introducing enough bait to attract the fish and keep them hunting for more. In the gin-clear water I find a light coloured groundbait works well as a cloud and it literally explodes out of the feeder as it sinks. I will also only add particles when I feel I need to bring more fish into the peg, the groundbait generally holds them and I don’t want to overfeed or bites will slow and sometimes the stamp can actually reduce. You can find out about the groundbait mix I am using HERE.

When the conditions are right this is bite-a-chuck fishing. The fish might not be big, averaging a couple of ounces, but when you can catch 30-40 per hour it is possible to put together a decent weight. Certainly double-figures is well on the cards if the fish keep coming and if nothing else it allows the pole ,line to settle – which can make that better, or provide me with a quick start that gets me ahead of the game. You can also expect the odd better sized fish to put in an appearance. The rudd here can grow big and I expect a few eight ounce fish to appear through the day. Along with these roach, bleak and a few skimmers are likely, all competing for the bait as it falls through the water – I’ve had tench twice doing this as well, so it’s not a negative method at all.

Although I clip up the line to ensure the feeder hits the far bank shelf every cast I don’t cast to accurately to the same spot every time. I prefer to spread the casts out a little and keep the fish moving around. I find this keeps them active and interested for longer, drawing more fish into the peg. If I’m doing this I tend not to include particles – as I want that to all land in the same spot – so I may stick with neat groundbait.

Whilst it might not be a conventional way to fish a big river such as this, catching silverfish on the drop can be a really useful tactic, especially when the section is under match conditions and the fish have an uncanny ability to switch off. If you fish a similar big river, or perhaps a stillwater with a big head of silverfish then why not give it a go?

Kye Jerrom

This very simple feeder link helps avoid tangles and enables me to instantly change hooklengths.

Fish on the far margin shelf where the water is 4-6 feet deep.

You can put together a good weight of fish on the feeder.

Kye’s Gear

Sphere 12’ (3.6m) Braid Special Feeder Rod

Size 40 Quantum Vapor reel

0.08mm Cenex Feeder Braid

0.20mm Cenex Feeder Mono Shockleader

0.16mm Cenex Hybrid Power Mono Hooklength

Size 14 Sphere Feeder Lite Hook

35 gram Window Feeder Classic



Kye’s Bait

2 pints pinkies

250 grams chopped worm

1 pint maggots


1 bag Champions Choice No.1 groundbait

1/2 bag Champion Feeder Big Bream

1/2 bag Champions Choice Canal

Rudd are the main species I expect to catch on the drop.