Sphere Cool Bait Bag

Keeping my bait in tip-top condition is very important to me, especially when I am using a lot of delicate (and expensive) baits like worms and casters. A quality cool bait bag is an essential in my book as there is no greater edge than having the best bait. 

The Sphere Cool Bait Bag is just right for me. The size means I can load it with six large bait boxes, or around a couple of gallons of bait, along with some cold packs when the weather is really hot. The bag has nice thick insulation to keep the temperature as stable as possible. 

Like all of the Sphere range this bag is made to last. The zips are nice and chunky and I really like the heavy-duty material which has a smart-looking weave effect. After several months of use the bag is showing no signs of wear and tear, even though it has a tough life. 

There’s not much more you can say about a cool bag, other than this one does the job perfectly. 

Jon Whincup

The Bait Bag has a foil lining and internal insulation.

The material is really hard-wearing and built to last.

"Like all of the Sphere range this bag is made to last."

Perfecting the Pellet Waggler

The Pellet Waggler is certainly a method through the warm summer months, when the carp are up in the water that wins more than its fair share of matches and its one that I’m keen to perfect this summer. Unfortunately the venues around me where this method can be used are limited, so today I’ve headed down to Essex to a venue where the pellet waggler scores highly, Churchgate Lakes. 

Conditions are perfect, hot and still and there’s plenty of carp cruising around, all I need to do is get some feed going in and I should be able to get a few competing in the swim. Patience is needed, especially here as this venue is deeper than most and its best to target the odd cruiser before taking a fish from the main feeding zone as being inpatient can do more damage than good. The key in activating a swim is to keep the feed going through the water columns on a little and often basis. Feeding too heavily can drag the fish down on the bottom; feed too little and attracting fish into the swim and getting them competing won’t be achieved. Every day and venue is different so it really does pay to feel your way into each session and be prepared to practice as much as possible in order to suss the place out. I’m feeding 8mm pellets and catapulting five or six every couple of minutes, however the fish aren’t responding as positively as I would like and there are a few bubbles starting to appear which means some of the pellets are reaching the bottom. This behaviour is probably down to the venue being extremely busy, many are still furloughed and it’s the summer holiday, looks like everyone has taken up fishing this year! A little tip is if a, or a group of carp cruise into the swim, up the feed as this often stops them in their tracks, gets them feeding and in turn attracts others. This is exactly what I’ve just done and it’s bought me my first carp of the session. Something else you will find is when the carp are really on the feed bites can be brutal, the three foot twitch so to speak, but on other days bites can be very finical and you need to strike hard and fast at them. This method isn’t for the lazy angler, the more you work the swim, then usually the more you will catch, so remember feed cast, feed cast, feed cast every couple of minutes at the most!

Make sure you set the clutch.

Constant casting is key to this method.

It is quality not quantity today.

"Conditions are perfect, hot and still and there’s plenty of carp cruising around"

The tackle I’m using is quite robust as continuously casting and on occasions playing fish after fish will take its toll. The rod I’m using is the 11’ Sphere Pellet Waggler. I’ve teamed my rod up with a Sphere MgTi 930 loaded with 0.16mm Cenex Hybrid Power Mono, a great all-round line. On the business end I’m keeping things nice and simple with a loaded 6g float locked in position using three medium Xitan Oval Super Stoppers. I use one Stopper above the float and two below, the two being used so they don’t move on the strike. I also leave a gap of around half an inch between so the float can lay down when casting, it simply makes casting easier. Although the Stoppers lock into position, they can be moved under finger force which allows me to alter the depth I’m fishing, something that is critical and needs to be done throughout every session to find where the fish are most comfortable intercepting the slow sinking bait. A rule of thumb is most fish will come deep at the start but as competing for the pellets increases they will rise in the water and can be taken really shallow. As for the hooklink I’m using a pre-tied Feeder Method barbless size 16 hook-to-nylon with a pellet band into which an 8mm pellet is placed quickly and efficiently using  Band Aid Forceps. 

Although the fish aren’t coming fast and furious, I’m keeping up with others around me and seem to get little bursts where two or three carp will be landed before a period of quietness. Fortunately the fish I’m catching are of a good stamp, a couple haven’t been far of double figures so today’s it quality not quantity. I can take that!

Garry Cooper


Simple, but effective tackle.

Simple banded pellet.

Band Aid Forceps makes bait fixing easy.

You need balanced tackle to land big carp.

Garry’s Tackle

Sphere 11’ Pellet Waggler

Sphere MgTi930 Reel

Cenex 0.16mm Hybrid Power Mono

Feeder Method 0.18mm size 16 hook-to-nylon with pellet band

6g Pellet Waggler Float

Xitan Super Stopper Oval (medium)

Garry’s Bait

8mm Low oil Pellets

A sample of the quality fish on offer here.

Hyper Carp XTR Landing Net Handle

A crucial part of landing big carp quickly is having a landing net that is up to the job. Not only does it have to be strong enough to scoop big carp constantly, but it needs to be stiff enough to enable precise manoeuvres, even when using heavy carp nets. Over the last year I have been very impressed with the Hyper Carp XTR Landing Net Handle, which has been more than up to the job of landing carp well into double figures easily.

This is an extremely stiff handle, enabling me to scoop carp quickly, often before they realise what is happening. Yet, unlike many stiff handles, it doesn’t feel delicate or brittle in any way and has taken some serious abuse in its stride. I particularly like the reinforced wrap which gives extra reassurance that this handle is well up to the job. 

If you fish a variety of different venues the 4m length, three piece design, will come in very useful, and although it is not designed as a featherweight handle, it is perfect at full stretch, thanks to that rigidity. 

The bull-nosed male joints are another nice feature, along with the reinforced machined fitting they give maximum strength in all of the high-stress areas. There are even alignment markers that ensure the pole has maximum strength and rigidity when assembled.

Landing net poles have a tough, unsung life, but are absolutely crucial pieces of kit. If you are looking for a brilliant all-rounder then look no further than the Hyper Carp XTR. 

Jim Hall

The Hyper Carp XTR is really stiff.

Bull nosed joints on each section.

Alignment markers on the sections.

Reinforced screw fixing.

"If you are looking for a brilliant all-rounder then look no further than the Hyper Carp XTR."

CK Carp Wand

Short rods are all the rage at the moment and are perfect for carp commercials when fishing at short to medium range. I have most of the CK rods as they are so good and my CK Carp Wand is often the first out of the bag when feeder fishing at ranges up to 25m. Ultra slim and made from the very latest advances in carbon, this 8’ rod is light weighing just 157g, has a forgiving through action, is extremely accurate, features top quality fittings throughout and has plenty of power in the middle reaches needed for constantly catching big fish. The snag-free keeper ring is a nice touch and being two piece means it can be stored made up and ready to go as soon as I arrive at the fishery. 

Supplied with a 1oz and 1.5oz tip it really is a versatile rod which is extremely useful in tight swims or when fishing from a platform.


Fil Passeira

If you’re a fan of short rods, check this one out!

Catching these all day is effortless.

Plenty of power to tame oversized fish. 

"a versatile rod which is extremely useful in tight swims ..."

How to Catch F1’s Shallow

One of my favourite summer tactics is catching fish on the long pole shallow. It is a deceptively simple technique, but one that requires practice to get into a rhythm and put a good weight together. On some days it will be a bite and chuck, whilst on others it can take time to get the fish feeding confidently, which makes for some interesting fishing. 

Today I am fishing the Beastie Lake at Decoy Fisheries and my main target will be the lakes stock of big F1’s and skimmers. I am sure there will be the opportunity to mug the odd proper carp as it cruises through my peg, which will be a nice bonus. 

The plan is to fish at 14.5 metres. This is a comfortable distance to fish all day, which is important as one of the keys to this method is pole control. Fish too long and you will struggle to fish comfortably, especially if there is a cross-wind, and that will lead to tangles and missed bites. As today is a pleasure session and there are no anglers on the adjacent pegs there is no reason to fish further than this. 

Banded 6mm pellet as hookbait and the same fishery pellets as feed.

I use a size 18 Sphere Beast hook.

A small super-strong Dibber float.

Use a Dacron connector to pink Microbore elastic.

"My rig is dead simple and designed to avoid tangles and enable the bait to have a natural fall through the water."

My rig is dead simple and designed to avoid tangles and enable the bait to have a natural fall through the water. Through past experience I know the fish on this lake like to feed in a top two feet of water; a bit deeper than on many lakes, so I’ll set the rig to fish at this depth. I use Cenex Hybrid mono in 0.20mm for the rig body. This is a very tough and quite stiff line, ideal for avoiding time wasting tangles The hooklength is the same line in 0.14mm to a size 18 Sphere Beast hook. A small bait band holds the 6mm fishery pellet tight to the bend of the hook. 

I’m using a sturdy 0.4 Dibber float with three no.8 shot right under the float and two no.10 shot strung between the float and the hook. I like to have a couple of small shot down the line to give a nice fall through the water. Most bites will come as the bait is falling through the water, and I’ll slap the rig every minute or so to keep the bait sinking and also to attract the fish. 

I’ve got the pink Xitan Microbore elastic through the top kit of the pole to a Dacron connector. This is a nice soft elastic, rated 7-9, ideal for this sort of work, and with the puller kit I can exert just the right amount of pressure on the fish. With this balanced kit I expect to lose very few fish, be they skimmers or double-figure carp. 

Bait wise, this is really simple fishing. It is important to keep a steady trickle of 6mm fishery pellets going in. I like to feed about every thirty seconds with roughly eight pellets at a time. Try to get into the habit of feeding even when you hook a fish, or the bites slow down, as this will draw more fish in and keep the bites coming. 

When a big carp cruises through I will normally have a quick go for it. Try to guess where the carp is heading and drop the hookbait in front of it. Some times, perhaps most of the time, they will ignore it, but you don’t need many of these bigger carp to boost your weight significantly. 

It has been a funny old day. The weather has gone from bright sunshine one minute to heavy downpours the next. The warm water temperatures mean that the fish are happy to be in the upper layers though and the bites have kept coming at regular intervals. As always, I’ve caught a few and missed a few, and it has been an enjoyable mornings fishing. 

Whether you are new to pole fishing, or an old hand, give shallow fishing a go. It’s great fun and is also a brilliant way of improving your pole-handling skills too. 


Jon Whincup



Jon’s Tackle

Sphere Zero-G PT+ Pole

Rig line 0.20mm Cenex Hybrid Mono 

Hook length 0.14mm Cenex Hybrid Mono

Size 18 Sphere Beast hook

Dibber Float

Pink Cenex Microbore Elastic


Jon’s Bait

4mm Feed Pellet

6mm Banded Pellet Hookbait

A nice bonus carp hits the net.

Get your set-up right and you will be much more efficient.

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Keep feeding every few seconds, even when playing a fish.

The awesome Zero-G PT+ pole means I can fish comfortably all day.

Cenex Fluoro Carbon Line

Edges in angling are everything, creating confidence in the mind and placing more fish in your net. 

Using Fluorocarbon hook lengths will give you a massive edge, especially when fishing clear venues for sight feeders, yet finding one that knots up well and is supple enough, especially in the finer diameters, not to lose any bait presentation can be tricky. Well not any more as Cenex Fluoro Carbon Hook Line provides all these and so much more, so if your waggler fishing for roach, trotting a chalk stream or on a canal in the depth of winter then you need to check this range out. 

It’s also brilliant as a leader or hook length when feeder fishing in clear water conditions.

Available in the following diameters on 50m spools – 

0.11mm 1.25kg/2.70lb

0.13mm 1.60kg/3.50lb

0.15mm 2.10kg/4.60lb

0.17mm 2.95kg/6.50lb

Justin Watkins

Cenex Fluoro Carbon Hook Line, create that edge!

Fantastic when trotting clear streams for sight feeders.

"Using Fluorocarbon hook lengths will give you a massive edge."

Sphere MgTi 30 Reel

Since joining Browning last year some of the products that have really stood out for me have been the reels, and in particular the Sphere MgTi. For the money, these have some exceptional features that set them apart.

I use the 30-size reel alongside my Sphere 10’ Bomb +10% for catching carp on the feeder and straight lead and they make the perfect combination. The incredibly low weight of this set-up belies the quality and carp-stopping power it has, enabling me to land big carp quicker than ever before.  At just 250grams the 30-size reel really hits the spot for both leger and float work. 

Line lay on the Sphere MgTi is excellent.

The line clip works faultlessly.

EVA grip and machined alloy handle.

"For the money, these have some exceptional features that set them apart."

The carbon fibre drag on these reels is absolutely silky-smooth, ideal if you like to play fish off a tight clutch. Alternatively, the lack of play in the machined handle means that backwinding is a lot more precise than on many reels. You can let the reel do the work without worrying about whether it will give line at their crucial moment.

Talking of precision, the line-lay is superb, thanks to the two-speed spool oscillation and stainless steel main shaft. This definitely aids accurate casting, thanks to the smoothness that the line leaves the spool. I know many anglers worry about damaging their main line when clipping up to give consistent distance, but the ‘line-friendly’ clip on the Sphere really lives up to its name and I don’t hesitate to use it when needed.

It might be the least important factor of all, but the reel looks awesome too. A real masterpiece of design that sets off the Sphere rods perfectly. The Sphere MgTi reels really are a quality piece of kit that I am proud to own.

Jon Whincup

The Sphere MgTi has really impressed me.

The Method Feeder for Crucian Carp

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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Black Magic FB 35 S-Line Compact Roller

Fishing tight busy canal banks with an expensive pole like my Sphere Zero-G F1+ can be hazardous. Side shipping is a must as you can’t have you eyes everywhere at once and if you decide to ship behind, well you’re taking a big risk. 

The Grand Union Canal is a typical canal, busy and with the standard tight grassy verge to set up on. Standard pole rollers can be a bit too wide so this is where the Black Magic FB 35 S-Line Compact Rollers come into play. I always take two with me and these create a safe, sturdy platform to ship my pole down the bank, out of the way of walkers, joggers, cyclists and the narrow boats ‘rush-hour’ as they start their morning journey once the locks open. 

Weighing just over 1kg, around half the weight of more conventional rollers, and with a width of just 35cm these compact rollers are ideal for placing on my trolley making the often long walks to a swim that little bit easier. They are also good for uneven banks as all the legs are adjustable, extending between 25 and 40cm and the soft EVA rollers give my pole complete protection.   


Gary Ford

Two create a sturdy safe platform for side shipping.

Soft EVA rollers for total protection.

Adjustable legs for uneven banks.

Tight banks, but the pole is out of harm’s way.

"All the legs are adjustable, extending between 25 and 40cm and the soft EVA rollers give my pole complete protection."

How to make Method Mussel Paste

Doing something slightly different will create edges which can massively transforms your catches and match results.

One little trick I’ve been doing recently which has started paying me back is to create a paste using, the already brilliant Champion’s Method Mussel Green Groundbait. I mix this up the night before a match as it does take time to get the correct consistency and adding a little good quality hemp oil will create a paste that F1’s and carp, as well as most other species can’t resist. I like to create a consistency that literally hangs of the hook, great for fishing down the edge and the fishy aroma will draw fish in from great distances.  

Give it a go, you will see your catch rate increase.

Ryan Lewis

Mussel Green Groundbait, it’s a fish magnet!

Add hemp oil and you have a great paste.

Carp and F1’s love paste.

Something different can work wonders.

"Doing something slightly different will create edges which can massively transforms your catches and match results."