How to Catch Silvers to Hand

First Published in English.


Every winter, more and more silver fish venues seem to be cropping up on my match schedule and it’s the anglers that are speed fishing for roach and skimmers to hand that seem to be dominating the top spots, so it was time to purchase Browning’s new Sphere Silverlite System Whip and put it through its paces. 

Too big to swing

Having fished the flick tip to hand for roach and toughly enjoyed the experience earlier in the week it was time to head to another venue, one equally full of silvers, however with the chance of a carp or big bream barging in on the action I needed to elasticate one of the hollow top kits just in case. The venue, Lodge Pond controlled by Farnham Angling Society is teaming with silvers and after scratching around on the Kennet and Avon Canal the previous week I was looking forward to swinging in a fish hopefully every put in, however I knew sooner or later something a bit too big to swing would come along. 

Into position

Tackle had to be thought through prior to the session so I decided to run Xitan1.9mm Microbore Pink, which has a 7-9 rating through the No 1 and 2 sections and fish at 6m to hand. The rig consisted on 1g Tamgi pole float, with the tip blackened out placed on a Cenex 0.16mm Hybrid Power Mono and cocked using a 0.6g inline olivette plus three No 8 and one No 11dropper shot that I’d placed on a short six inch 0.12mm Hybrid Power hooklink with a Sphere size 18 micro barbed Feeder Ultra Lite hook completing the set-up. I’d also added a single No 8 back shot above the float for extra stability. The reason for using a 1g float, even on this shallow venue, is that it can be swung out into position easily and is still delicate enough to show up the slightest of bites associated with skimmers. 

If they were like this every cast.

Microbore elastic, just in case. 

Weight builders.

"Every drop in resulted in a bite within seconds"

Little and often

As for bait I’d bought along both casters and maggots, the casters intended to pick out the bigger fish if small fish became problematic on maggot plus a bag of Champion’s Feeder Quick Skimmer for obvious reasons. Three balls of groundbait, which had been run through a fine riddle a couple of times was introduced from the off with the intension of loose feeding maggots or casters every put in for the entirety of the short session.

Perfect performance

Straight away it was obvious that the swim contained loads of small roach that were just smashing the maggots to bits so immediately I switched to casters, slowly increasing the feed in the hope of drawing in some bigger roach and skimmers. Every drop in produced a bite within a couple of seconds and it wasn’t long before the elastic started to stretch from the tip as a small carp powered off but the pole coped with the situation perfectly and the first bonus fish was in the net. Even though the bigger roach and skimmers didn’t show in any great numbers I’d still put together a really enjoyable double figured bag in just a couple of hours and the Sphere Silverlite System Whip once again performed perfectly in every situation.

Justin Watkins

The perfect caster hook.

The perfect line for pole rigs.

I’m glad I’ve still got a few of these.

Inline olivette and tiny droppers.

Getting in the rhythm.

Not bad for a quick two hour session.

Justin’s Tackle

Sphere Silverlite System Whip

Cenex 0.12mm & 0.16mm Hybrid Power Mono

Sphere size 18 Feeder Ultra Lite Hook

0.6g Inline Olivette and No8 & 11 Shot. 

Xitan Pink1.9mm Microbore Elastic.

1g Tamgi Pole Float.

Justin’s Bait

Champion’s Feeder Quick Skimmer groundbait



Mix a Roach Feeder Groundbait

Catching roach and skimmers at range can be a very useful tactic on larger, natural venues where often the fish will be beyond pole range. For this type of fishing I will often use a nice dark groundbait that breaks down quickly and which contains little feed. This is ideal for use with a Window feeder filled with maggot or caster, allowing me to attract the fish whilst adjusting the amount of feed used. The Window Feeders cast fantastically well, so I can clip up and fish very precisely, building up the swim over the course of a session. Window feeders, as the name suggests have a mall open window that helps bait leave the feeder quickly – a smear of groundbait across the ‚window‘ is all that’s needed to hold loosefeeed in the feeder but as soon as it’s hits the water it starts to disperse – these are great feeders for fish that feed at varying depths, especially roach, rudd and hybrids. Here is the groundbait mix that I use for this style of fishing

The no.1 is a medium-fine groundbait that is the ideal base for the mix. Roach really like the taste of this groundbait and it can mixed from very dry so that it explodes out of the feeder, to slightly damper to bind it better. The Black Roach is a very dark groundbait loaded with spicy additives that roach love.

Chris Wright

Add the two bags of groundbait to a large mixing bowl with a flat bottom. A bowl like this makes mixing the groundbait much easier.

Thoroughly mix the two groundbaits together. This will help to avoid lumps and inconsistencies in the groundbait.

Slowly begin adding water to the dry groundbaits. Remember to take it easy as you can always add more water, but you cannot take it out.

Because I am fishing with a Window feeder I keep the groundbait nice and dry so that it quickly breaks down once the feeder has settled.

"Use a mixture of Champions' Choice no. 1 and Champion's Feeder Black"

Use a maggot riddle to break down any lumps in the groundbait and to give it a fluffy consistency.

Don’t be tempted to push any lumps through the riddle. These will be too wet and sticky, so are best discarded. 

The finished mix is nice and fine, perfect for filling the Window feeder. It will release plenty of attraction, but not fill the roach up. 

The result of a couple of hours fishing with the feeder and this groundbait mix.

Black Viper Compact Reels

First Published in English

Feeder fishing has been revolutionised in the past few years by the widespread use of larger reels for this style of fishing. Not only has this given a big increase in the distances that can be comfortably fished, but the greater cranking power makes retrieving heavy feeders from these distances really easy. 

My reel of choice for much of my feeder fishing is the Black Viper Compact 855. Browning reels are synonymous with quality, and this model has proven its reliability time and time again when fishing the river Trent and other big rivers. 

I particularly like the excellent line-lay on these reels. I use braid almost exclusively for my feeder fishing. If the line isn’t coiled perfectly you will soon know about it, as any imperfection will lead to bedding in and snatching on the cast. Best case, this will cut down on distance, worse case it can lead to crack-offs. The Black Viper really excels, with line-lay that is hard to beat.

One thing that I often notice with other reels is that cranking in a big, often heavy feeder can put a lot of strain on reels and they soon develop a bit of slack where the gears begin to wear. Not so on the Black Viper, this has proven to be as tight today as it was straight from the box. The large handle and strong gears also mean that it is easy to retrieve a big feeder, and it is no longer a chore. 

These reels have large, but shallow spools, ideal for braid fishing, as they don’t need miles of backing. They are also light and compact, as the name suggests. I like to hold my rod most of the time when feeder fishing and using a heavy reel can be very tiring, but the lightweight of these reels balances with my 3.90m and 4,20m Sphere Feeder Rods perfectly. In fact, I would say they make the perfect set-up for big river fishing. 

This style of fishing is not for everyone, but if you want to be competitive in modern feeder fishing then you need to be using reels that are up to the job, so make sure to check out the Black Viper Compacts. 

Tom Noton

The line-lay on this reel is absolutely on point.

Cranking power is incredible with these reels.

Combined with the Cenex 0.10mm Feeder Braid and 8lb shock leader.

"The best long range feeder reel that I've used."

Hot Sport on the Wag 'n' Mag

It’s been fifteen years since I last fished Bowsaw Lake in Hampshire. Back then it was full of small silver fish but I’ve been hearing some good rumours that things have changed and the fish now fight back. Even better is it’s the perfect place to head to for some guaranteed cold water action as it contains lots of still water chub and I’m told the best tactic for these is the waggler and maggot, a technique that seems to have been forgotten about in recent years. Time to get the waggler rod out and go and see if the rumours are true?

Look for the snags

Chub, just like there river cousins, love snags and I’m told that one swim in particular here is a banker chub swim, as it has a bush partly in the water of the side of the island. My only concern this morning is its too mild, yes its February and I’m complaining about the temperatures which is into double figures, the problem being is I’m half expecting to be beaten up by the lakes population of carp. On the positive side their isn’t too much wind, which can cause major problems with not only feeding but casting alongside this snag. 

Feed, cast, feed, cast.

Fishing the waggler is all about feeding then casting, not casting then feeding as the chub are more likely to take the maggots as they fall through the water and my objective is to mimic these freebies with my hookbait. Once the bait is on the bottom, the chances are a carp will be hooked and potentially spook the chub for a while, so it’s going to be cast, cast, cast. Whilst setting up it’s a good idea to catapult a pinch of maggots into the swim from time to time as this will hopefully pull a few chub away from the sunken tree, get them feeding confidently and hopefully will provide me with some early action. 

Regular helpings of maggots are all you need for this method.

Use a loaded waggler that is heavy enough to easily overcast your spot.

The brilliant Hybrid Mono won’t let you down.

Keep it simple

Another very important point when it comes to waggler fishing, all fishing in fact, is to set up so you’re sitting comfortably, which means adjusting the legs of my Black Line Seat Box so its level, then positioning a rod rest so when the rod butt is placed over my knee the tip is just in the water. Balanced kit is also paramount and with the chub running to over 4lb and plenty of double figured carp that will barge in on the action you need tackle strong enough to strike, get them of balance and before they head to the snag, steer them into open water. The rod I’m using is an 11’Black Magic CFX Waggler, ideal for the job with its parabolic action and power in the middle reaches to land anything that swims here. I’m teaming this up with a 920 Sphere MgTi reel loaded with Cenex 0.14mm Classic Mono which is recognised as being one of the strongest fine diameter lines available. It’s all about keeping things simple at the business end, strong enough to deal with whatever’s hooked but at the same time keeping things finesse enough to get plenty of bites. Float choice is very important and I prefer to use floats with a built in loaded bulk at the base, ones that are almost self cocking, needing just a small amount of shot to drop the tip so it’s just showing. Not only do these types of float cast like a dark, the lack of shot on the line means that there are very few weaknesses. The float is locked on the mainline by two Xitan Oval Super Stoppers and either side of these is a single small shot. The only other shot is a small number eight around six inches from the Sphere CPF LS size 16 barbless hook which is connected to a Cenex 0.12mm Hybrid Power Mono hook length. 

Unbelievable action

Having plumed up and set the depth to the exact depth of the swim, around three feet, it’s time to make my first cast, and after sinking the line get ready to watch the float, but I only have to for a couple of seconds as it disappears and the first fish is hooked. In the net she goes and it’s my target species, a chub weighing around 2lb 8oz. I can’t quite believe what happens over the next two hours as fish after fish graces my net including another four chub, ten carp to around 14lb along with one tench and a radioactive goldfish! In total I estimate the catch at over 60lb, not bad for a couple of hours on a February morning! 

Waggler fishing is all about keeping things simple, being active throughout the session and more importantly, especially in the depth of winter, choosing a venue that contains the species that will respond to it. It’s been a while since I fished the waggler but I have to admit this has been, not just eye opening to just how effective this method is, but has also been one of my most enjoyable sessions for a while. If you have a venue such as the fantastic Bowsaw Lake near you, I urge you to get the float rod out and give the Wag ‘N’ Mag a go. 


Justin Watkins

The Sphere CPF LS Hook is my choice for the Wag ’n‘ Mag.

Keep casting – most bites will come on the drop, so give each cast no more than a minute.

The Sphere MgTi is my choice of reel for big fish, thanks to its awesome build quality.

The action is fast and furious once the fish arrive.

The average size chub today.

Expect big carp to also put in an appearance.

Justin’s Tackle

Black Line Seat Box

Sphere MgTi 920 Reel

Black Magic CFX Waggler

Cenex 0.12mm Hybrid Power Mono

Cenex 0.14mm Classic Mono 

Sphere CPF LS Barbless Hook

Soft Shot

Xitan Super Stopper Oval

2g Loaded Insert Waggler


Justin’s Bait

Red and white maggots

Just part of todays catch.

Gold Landing Net

Originally Published in English.


These distinctive gold framed landing nets have unique, innovative EVA floatation tubes on the frame making them so much easier to lay on the surface when preparing to land a fish. Coupled with a fish friendly 6mm mesh (8mm on the large/extra large size), strong spreader block and brass thread the Gold Net range come in three sizes including a popular extra large size, great for those commercials when big carp expected. 

Teamed up with Black Magic T/A Power Handle it makes a great set up that’s very light, strong and stiff making it  easy to manoeuvre at those vital moments when speed is needed to those bonus fish.

Available in three sizes  

Medium – Width 45cm Height 38cm depth 28cm 

Large – Width 55cm Height 45cm depth 30cm

Extra Large – Width 60cm Height 50cm Depth 35cm

Jamie Burt

The spreader block and metal frame are incredibly strong.

The buoyant foam means the net won’t sink when I am concentrating on playing a big fish.

"great for those commercials when big carp expected. "

Catch Down the Track

Originally Published in English.

I guess we all get drawn into the trap of spending most of our time fishing to either near or far bank features on canals. Yet, below the surface, the fish aren’t always influenced by what is happening above the surface, with the contours of the canal playing much more of a role in their location. This can be especially true when the temperature drops in winter. Now, the fish will often be found in the deeper central channel of water, where they feel more comfortable. This especially applies to fish like bream, big perch and better stamp roach – fish that can be a massive bonus to your match weight, but which can also be a bit of a gamble to target. 

Today I am fishing a peg on the Worcester canal that contains a real mixture of fish. There are a lot of small roach here, but also some much better fish, including decent bream, big perch and even some carp. I have set my stall out fishing the centre of a turning bay, which is a noted bream area. The banks on both sides are lined with stone, so there isn’t a lot of feature above the surface. The canal is also quite busy today with boats, so it will something of a challenge to catch some better fish. 

Plumbing up I find that the bottom flattens out around six metres from the bank, so my plan is to fish at around 8 metres; a nice flat area at about maximum depth. This is where I think the bigger fish will feel comfortable feeding. This is also a nice comfortable distance to fish when you are not expecting too many bites. Fish long and you will find that your mind wanders and your presentation will suffer. There is no point in making life difficult for yourself so fish as short and as comfortably as possible.

My main approach will be with chopped worm and caster to attract the bigger fish.

Just a tiny pinch of casters is enough.

Pick a comfortable distance where the canal bed is level.

To attract them, I have introduced some roughly chopped worm and caster to begin with and will then feed 5-6 casters over the top every so often to hold the fish. Feeding can be an issue with this approach because every so often the canal flows hard when a lock is opened. I don’t want to overfeed, but if I feel that the bait has been washed away then it is a good idea to introduce a little more feed with a tiny bait dropper. 

I will vary the hookbait between caster and a piece of worm. I am not looking for lots of bites, but these baits will help me single-out the better fish. Maggot or pinkie will catch more fish, but they won’t be as big. 

My rigs are very simple. It pays to not fish too light. A decent perch can put up a decent fight, bream less so, but they are not particularly tackle-shy. I use a 0.09mm Cenex Classic hooklength to a size 18 hook. The float is a nice 4×14 with the bulk of the weight down to aid stability and to keep the bait static on the bottom. I will also fish about 4-inches over-depth to help keep the bait still and hard on the bottom.

This style of fishing can be a bit of a waiting game. You have to be confident that the fish will turn up, which normally they do. A couple of nice roach early on lift the spirits and these are followed by some quality perch and a decent bream. Unfortunately, there has been a lot of boat traffic today and the canal has been flowing hard at times, which I am sure has reduced my chances, but that is canal fishing for you. 

At the end of a few hours fishing I am really happy with a nice catch of quality fish, proving just how good the fishing can be on many of our canals. 

Dave Ward

"Expect quality rather than quantity when fishing like this."

My faithful Xitan pole is perfect for this style of fishing.

Take your time and let the elastic do its job when you hook a decent fish.

Most of the fish today were ’netters‘.

Dave’s Tackle

Xitan Z12 Revolution Pole

Cenex Classic Mono 0.10mm Rig Line

Cenex Classic Mono 0.009mm hooklength

Size 18 hook

4×14 float

Dave’s Bait

0.25kg Dendrabena worms

Pint of casters

Pint of maggots

Pint of pinkies

A brilliant mornings fishing.

Xitan Combi Bait Bag

Originally Published in English.

Keeping delicate baits, such as worms, casters and maggots, in top condition can make a big difference to your catches. I am fastidious about how I store and prepare my bait and a quality cool bag is a must-have for keeping my bait in top condition. 

I particularly like the Xitan Combi Bait Bag because not only does it have the capacity to hold all of the bait I need for a match, but has some handy pockets for bait additives, towels, and other items that I need to have to hand. 

The main foil-lined and insulated compartment is large enough to accommodate eight large Browning Bait Tubs and a couple of ice packs in hot weather. Spare bait can be stored in here with the lid closed during a match, keeping it cool and in good condition. 

Next to the main insulated compartment is a smaller compartment that is ideal for carrying bags of groundbait and tubs of additives, such as maggot binder, groundbait dyes and flavourings. Like all of the compartments, this one has a nice wipe clean lining and a three-sided zip, which makes it easy to get to the contents.

The size and features of this bag also lends itself to be used as a compact holdall too, not just as a bait and bits store.  Used like this it’s deal for commercials, canals and feeder fishing – it’s such a versatile bit of kit!

On the outside are two large pockets that are ideal for all those bits and bobs that need to be carried along with your bait. Towels, bait droppers, and catapults live in here. 

Like all of the Xitan luggage, this bag is made from a really tough wipe-clean material in a smart black and red livery. All of the handles and zips are very strong and look like they will give years of service. 

All in all, a brilliant bag that allows me to organise all of the bait that I need for a match and keep it in top condition. 

Kye Jerrom

This is a great bag for carrying all my bait and accessories.

The wipe-clean material is very tough and looks smart.

Strong zips are used all round.

"The main compartment is large enough to accommodate eight large Browning Bait Tubs."

Browning Vest

First Published in English.

These smart new insulated body warmers are just the job to wear over a jumper or hoody on colder days or as a mid-layer under a waterproof jacket. The insulated design keeps the core body warm, whilst not restricting arm movement, so there is no impediment to casting, or shipping a pole. 

Finished in a wipe-clean black polyester, they look the business too, and compliment the rest of the range of Browning clothing perfectly. A really useful jacket on cooler days.

Pat Cubby

These ‚Body Warmer‘ style vests are great for cold days.

I like the smart black finish and Browning printing.

Layer up, with a vest over a fleece, adding a waterproof jacket for wind and rain protection.

"It keeps me toasty warm on even the coldest day."

Sphere Pro-File Pole Rollers

Originally Published in Dutch.

These cutting edge rollers not only have a super-stable frame, but are equipped with some brilliant innovations, such as the silky-smooth, ball bearing rollers.

Due to the ball bearings, the rollers turn very smoothly, so there is hardly any resistance when shipping the pole. Each roller has ramped edges that keep the pole from falling off the rollers. This is especially useful if the pole needs to be un-shipped in two parts when there is not enough space behind the fishing spot.

These rollers also cope brilliantly with high banks, as they can be set very low simply by removing the standard legs and using the using the short legs instead.

The telescopic legs mean that the rollers can be set to the perfect height, which is especially important it you are using two rollers to ship back a long pole. Uneven banks can also be easily dealt with, giving you the perfect position every time.

Another neat little feature are the spirit levels, which make it so easy to set the roller level perfectly flat. 

Be sure to check out these fantastic rollers in your local Browning stockist.


Harrie Poels

"This year Browning have two new pole rollers in their range."

Xitan Z16 L Advance Pole

Originally Published in English.

If you fish a wide variety of venues, as I do, then a pole that can handle a wide range of tactics is essential. Very often, this means buying a pole that can handle fishing with heavier gear for hard-fighting carp, at the expense of having the poise for more finesse fishing on canals and rivers. Fortunately, I believe there is an answer, in the form of the Browning Xitan Z16 L Advance. 

Most of my fishing is on the Midlands canal circuit. Often bites are at a premium, and you need a stiff pole that can enable you to fish comfortably for the full five hours right across at 16 metres. The long section design of the Z16 L Advance gives it incredible stiffness, yet cuts weight without compromising wall strength. As standard it comes as a true 16m package, but this can be increased by using the supplied parallel top-kit no.2 to give you 16.7 metres, or by adding parallel butts, taking the pole to 18 metres and beyond.

The top kit configuration is interesting. The long long section length of 1.9 metres allows for the use of one-piece top kits as standard, increasing stiffness and balance, by virtue of removing a joint at the most critical position. The one-piece kits also allow elastics to run more smoothly, increase strength, and cause less ‘bounce’. Standard SLK top kits can be used if you prefer, and feature the unique duo bush system, allowing a wide range of elastic diameters to be used.

As with a number of Browning’s top-end poles, the Z16 L Advance has woven reinforcement at the ends of each section for increased strength. You will also find section alignment points on each section that can be felt, meaning there is less need to look at the sections as you ship in and out. 

Another feature well worth of mention are the Xitan Square Pole Protectors (XEPP’s) which fit the 13m, 14.5m and 16m sections. These unique square profile short butts, are incredibly comfortable under the forearm, and give increased grip when the inevitable cross-wind blows. Incorporating an EVA skid bung, they also help protect those expensive butt sections from damage as you ship in and out. 

I could wax lyrically about my Z16 L Advance for hours, but the fact of the matter is you won’t know how good this pole is until you pick it up. So go check it out at your nearest Browning Pole Specialist Retailer. I guarantee you will not be disappointed, even when you put it against other poles costing considerably more. 

Tight lines! 

Mark Roberson

A superb, responsive pole, ideal for a wide range of venues.

The Square Pole Protectors are very comfortable and give great stability.

The sections are reinforced for extra strength.

"If you fish a wide range of venues this is the perfect pole."