Originally Published in English.
The Mighty river Trent is absolutely packed with fish at the moment. Whether you want to catch a monster chub or barbel, bag up with roach, or catch a netful of dace, the fish are there to be caught and it really is a match anglers dream fishery. Today I am fishing a peg at Burton Joyce. The target is to catch dace, which run big here, and I am going to use quite a specialised feeder set-up, that is brilliant when you need to fish beyond float or pole range.
I’ve had a good plumb around and the river here is deepest at about halfway across – roughly 30 metres. The fish can be caught closer than this, but especially in a match, they will back off and being able to catch them efficiently further out is a massive edge.
Many anglers fight shy of fishing for dace on the feeder, thinking that they will miss a lot of bites and that it won’t catch them enough fish to win, but on the right day this isn’t the case. The secret is to get into a rhythm of casting, expecting an almost immediate bite, and using gear that enables you to land the dace quickly, without too many twisting off on the retrieve. Get it right and it can be very, very effective.
The Right Gear
This is a very active style of fishing. I will be holding the rod all the time and giving the feeder, at most, a couple of minutes before I retrieve and repeat the process. Regular casting is essential to build the swim up and attract enough dace to get them competing for the morsels of food. I use a pair of Sphere MH Feeder rods for this job. One is the 13ft 100g 390, which is my starting rod. If the fish are of a big average size and feeding hard then I will step up to the slightly heavier 14ft 100g 420. They are so light and sensitive that I can fish with them all day and feel most bites even before I see the tip move.
Reels are important in this style of fishing. You want to use a reel with plenty of cranking power, as this makes it much easier to retrieve the feeder against the flow. I use the Browning Black Viper Compact 855, which retrieves more than a metre of line which each turn of the handle, yet is very lightweight, essential when you are holding the rod all day.
The reel is loaded with 0.10mm Cenex Feeder Braid – again, another essential, as the lack of stretch in the braid means that I can feel the quick bites and strike faster than if I was just watching the tip. In fact, I tend to hold the line in my left hand (and the rod in my right), feeling for bites and enabling me to tighten or slacken the line slightly as required. Giving just six inches of line must shift the hookbait ever so slightly as this often brings an instant bite.
On the end of the braid I have a 6lb Black Magic Gold mono shockleader. This gives a bit of cushion on the cast and gives me something to tie the rig onto, so I am not cutting back the braid each time.

Use the right gear – a Sphere MH Feeder rod is combined with a Black Viper Compact reel.

Wrap the cage feeder is tape to ensure the bait gets to the bottom.

Use a hooklength of around one metre long.

"Catching big weights is all about getting into a rhythm."

Simple Rigs
My rig is dead simple to tie up. I am using one of the Browning Xenos Wire Specialist Feeders, but wrapping the mesh with black insulating tape to slow the release of bait from the feeder. The feeder is running on the shockleader between two float stops, with a twisted boom below this. The hooklength is made from 0.14mm Cenex Hybrid Mono to a size 12 Sphere Ultra Lite Feeder hook. You might be wondering why I am using such a big hook. If the dace are feeding confidently then it doesn’t put them off and ensures I land more fish. With a smaller hook you will lose some as they spin off it on the retrieve. By burying the hook inside the bait you can hide most of it quite effectively.
Get the Bait Down
The groundbait that I am using to seal the ends of the feeder is a combination of Champion’s Choice Black Magic and Champion’s Feeder Quick Skimmer. This has been mixed on the dry-side because I want the feeder to empty quickly once it has settled on the river bed. I am putting a real mixture of different baits in the feeder to keep the dace hunting for food. My mix consists of maggots, casters, some hemp and a small amount of roughly chopped worm. This also allows me to alternate hookbaits, which can bring more bites on tougher days.
Getting the feeder to the bottom with the contents intact, but then emptying quickly is critical. If the feeder empties on the drop then the bait will be washed downstream, taking the dace with it. The dace are really attracted by the particles though, so I need a constant stream of bait going in to keep them interested. Get it right and the bite should come within a few seconds of the feeder settling.
Slave to the Rhythm
Catching big weights of dace is all about getting into a rhythm. There is no time to put the rod down and wait for a bite. The feeder will empty it around a minute, and if I haven’t had a bite by then it is time to wind in and start the process again. Most of the time, if I do get a bite once the feeder has settled, then it will be a roach or perch, proving that the dace like intercepting the bait on the drop.
It is essential to have everything to hand. I have the groundbait bowl in front of me and a tub containing my particle mix inside this, making it very easy to load the feeder. I check the hookbait and replace it if necessary, load the feeder and recast. The line is set in the clip to ensure it goes down the same hole every time.
By using braid I can feel the feeder hit the bottom and keep a tight line by holding the braid in my left hand. Bites normally come within seconds, so be ready for a slight drop-back, or pull depending on how the fish are taking the bait.
This is a brilliant, incredibly engrossing way of fishing. With the dace averaging around four ounces you can put together a good weight in no time at all, making it a great card to be able to play when the fish are at range. It is great fun too, and the odd big bream, chub or even barbel can put in an appearance to really spice things up too. Why not give it a go on your local river?
Tom Noton
Browning Hotrods

The feeder is loaded with a small amount of chopped worm and caster.

Use a feeder that is heavy enough to just hold bottom.

The dace here are of a great average size.

Tom’s Gear
Sphere MH Feeder 390 13ft 100g
Sphere MH Feeder 420 14ft 100g
Black Viper Compact 855
Cenex Feeder Braid 0.10mm
Black Magic Gold 8lb Shock Leader
0.14mm Cenex Hybrid Mono Hooklength
Size 12 Ultra Lite Feeder Hook.
Xenos Wire Specialist Feeder
Tom’s Bait
1/2 kilo of dendrabena worms
Two pints of maggots
Two pints of casters
One pint of hemp
One bag of Champion’s Choice Black Magic
One bag of Champion’s Feeder Quick Skimmer

There is some brilliant sport to be had on the feeder.