Xenos J-25 Slow Sinking Feeder

This innovative feeder has given me a major edge in many a match allowing me to catch carp from the off, leaving others anglers around playing the catch up game. 

Before revealing my edge let’s take a quick look at the Xenos Feeders which come in three sizes (J-25, J-28 and J-32) and have weighted heads at the front ranging from 30-80g which can be easily removed and altered. Whether you want to deliver a small payload a long way out or a big pay load in close, these feeders are extremely versatile and cover most situations, but there’s also a floating ball shaped head that fits these feeders that not only allows carp to be caught off the top but more importantly can be adjusted to sink at different speeds catching them from every depth within the swim. 

To make this floating head sink all you do is to remove the plug from the small hole within and add split shot. The more you add, the quicker it sinks but the most deadly decent I have found is to critically balance it so it sinks mega slow, just like the pellets placed within the cage and the one next to your hook. 

I know it all sounds too good to be true, in fact many will be saying ‘that won’t work’ but until you have tried this you just won’t be aware of what you’re missing out on.  

Colin Sheppard

Fully interchangeable feeders.

Adding weight will adjust the speed the feeder falls through the water.

Fully loaded and ready to go.

My secret weapon, revealed!

Catching while other around struggle.

If you have a deep commercial full of carp nearby, you really need to get on the Slow Sinker!

"The feeder can be balanced to sink incredibly slowly."

Xitan Carryall

If ever there was a piece of luggage that lived up to its name then this is it. The Xitan Carry All has a capacity of over 100 litres, meaning I can load it with all the gear that I need and, along with my seatbox, it sits perfectly on my barrow, making getting to my peg a cinch. 

Like all of the Xitan luggage range it is made from a really hard-wearing material that has a wipe clean finish. Perfect for muddy banks. The Carry All is has soft internal padding, which means it doesn’t collapse when only half loaded. This makes it much easier to find those items that always manage to end up at the bottom of the bag. 

The carry handles at each end are a nice touch, making lifting the bag on and off my barrow, and loading it in the car very easy, even when it is fully loaded. The base also has runners on it, which protect the base from damage. 

Like all of the Xitan luggage range the zips and stitching are built to last. Given the superb quality, I was surprised by the reasonable price. Expect many years of faithful service from this well thought out range.

Smaller items can be stored in the two end pockets and the larger front pocket. All in all, there is a place for everything in this cavernous bag, making getting organised just that little but easier. 

Dimensions – 72cm X 37cm X 45cm

Tight lines! 

Mark Roberson

The Xitan luggage have a really smart wipe-clean finish.

The end carry handles are really useful.

The pockets are just right for a range of smaller items.

"Like all of the Xitan luggage range the zips and stitching are built to last"

A great carryall for all my gear.

Plenty of room for all my gear in one bag.

Gravel Pit Bream on the Window Feeder

There is some great fishing to be had on my local Kingsbury Water Park, and one of my favourite lakes on the complex is Bodymoor Heath Water; a large mature gravel pit with a good stock of bream. These slabs often feature in matches on the venue, and if you get your tactics right, can be caught through the day, enabling some impressive weights to be put together. This is classic bream fishing at its best, and although sport tends to slow down in the colder months, a considered approach can still catch some lovely fish. 

This is a shallow lake, despite its size, averaging around two metres deep. It is also clear of weed, so the fishing is relatively straightforward and it is possible to fish with quite light balanced gear, which can prove the difference between success and failure when fishing during the middle of the day. Bream being bream, they tend to be found at range, but there is no need to fish at extreme distances along the bank I am fishing today. I will set out to fish two lines, one at 25 metres, the other at 35 metres. Both rods will be clipped up to ensure that I hit the same distance every time. 

To begin with I will prime both lines by making two casts with a large ‘bait up’ feeder filled with caster, dead maggots, a little sweetcorn and a pinch of pellets, topped off with groundbait. This is enough bait to attract the attention of the bream, and get them browsing, without giving them too much to eat, which can make them difficult to catch. 

Waiting Game

Bream fishing can be a waiting game. It may take an hour or two for the fish to arrive, so it pays to be patient. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to lose confidence and not fish consistently. I use a timer to ensure that I recast regularly and to plan right through my session, as it is easy to lose track of time. Initially, I recast every five minutes for the first hour. This lays down some more bait and will inevitably create a little more spread. In hour two I switch to recasting every ten minutes, as I don’t want to overfeed, especially if I haven’t had any signs of bream in front of me. By hour three I may switch to recasting every 15 minutes, if the bream haven’t appeared. If I am catching though, or getting liners, then I will continue to recast more regularly. 

I am loading my Window feeder with a combination of casters and a little chopped worm. This is sealed with a pinch of my quite sweet fishmeal groundbait. I find the bream like a groundbait that has this sweetness to take the edge off the fishmeal. Because the water is quite clear I don’t want to put too much bait on the bottom. Just enough to attract the fish to my line and hold them a while is my aim. The Window feeder ensures the bait gets to the bottom in the feeder, giving a real focal point for the bream to home-in on. 

I will alternate hookbaits to see if one stands out. Two dead maggots is a good opening gambit. Three pinkies are also very good if the fish are a little finicky. I also have with me some red worms, collected from a muck heap. Whilst this might be an almost forgotten bait, they are absolute gold for bream and will often bring a bite when all else fails. 

The Window Feeder is easy to load and gives a tight patch of feed.

Today I am using a ‚helicopter-style‘ set-up for improved accuracy.

A rubber stop holds the hooklength in place.

Red worms are a brilliant bream bait.

Sink the quiver tip to avoid drag on the line.

The Sphere Medium Feeder is brilliant for this style of fishing.

"From the heavy nods on the rod tip it feels like a good fish"

A big bream falls for the red worm hookbait.

I like to ensure I add the same amount of feed every cast.

Add some casters, before filling the window with a little groundbait.

Cold wind

There is a cold wind blowing down the lake this morning, so I am glad to be tucked slightly back. The positive is that the fish will feed more confidently with a ripple on the water surface. After the first couple of hours without any indications it is easy to lose confidence, but from past experience it is just a case of plugging away. When the bream arrive I will catch them. 

My rig is quite simple, although I have been experimenting with a variation on the traditional paternoster set-up. I have attached the hooklength to a Browning Feeder Connector Swivel, which allows me to change the rig instantly. The swivel is fished helicopter-style, running on the main line with two stoppers set about 12 inches up the line. The feeder is attached via a powergum link, which acts as a cushion for the loaded feeder on the cast. 

My hooklength consists of one metre of 0.13mm, 3.5lb breaking strain fluorocarbon to a size 18 Sphere Match hook. This might sound a little light when big bream are the target, but my gear is very well balanced, thanks to the superb action of the Sphere Medium feeder rod, which absorbs any lunges of the bream. With no snags or weed in front of me it is just a case of taking my time and slowly leading the fish towards the net. 

Fishing with quite fine lines and small hooks can make a massive difference to your catches. If you are getting line bites, but not catching then be prepared to scale down, fish lighter and try a smaller hookbait.

After swapping to a little red worm on the hook the tip of my Sphere feeder rod pulls round confidently and I am into my first bream of the session. From the heavy nods on the rod tip it feels like a good fish, and I am not surprised when a bream of about 7lb pop-ups in front of the net. It is a little bit bigger than the average stamp on this lake; a nice fish indeed. 

The next cast is almost a repeat performance. The feeder settles and shortly after sinking the line the tip pulls round confidently once again. This time the fish feels faster, with less weight to it, and so it proves as a fish of a couple of pounds finds its way into the waiting net. 

And as soon as the fish have appeared they are gone again. Despite ringing the changes that is it for today, with no more bites coming my way. All bream fishing, but especially on gravel pits, can be a game of nerves, but if you stick to your plan the rewards are there to be had.

Tight lines! 

Pat Cuddy

Pat’s Tackle

Sphere Feeder M 390

Black Viper MK FD50 Reel

0.10mm Cenex Feeder Braid

0.13mm Cenex Fluoro Carbon Hooklength

30cm Powergum Link

Size 18 Sphere Match Hook

30 gram Window Feeder


Pat’s Bait

Champion’s Feeder Big Bream

Champions Feeder Quick Skimmer

Champion’s Method Formula Fish

Crushed Pellet



Dead Maggot

Micro Pellets


Red Worms

Find a Retailer

The head nods convince me this is a good fish.

Mix a River Roach Groundbait

Using the right groundbait can make or break your fishing on rivers, especially when silverfish are the target. What is needed is a mix that acts as a magnet for the fish, concentrating them where it is most efficient to fish, but without filling them up. The key elements are attraction, colour and composition. Get these factors right and you will maximise your catches on each line. 

I use a dark mix that the fish are willing to settle over, even when the water is clear. Champions Feeder Black Roach is perfect for this job, having a lovely dark colour and being very attractive to all silverfish, but particularly roach. You might be surprised to learn that I add Champions Choice Canal to the Black Roach to ensure that the balls hit the bottom before breaking up. Remember though, that the continental canals where the Canal mix was developed are much deeper and often have a quite significant flow than our canals, so they are more akin to our slow-flowing rivers and larger drains. 

Follow these simple steps to get the mix just right. 


Andrew ‘Mossy’ Moss

1 – Start off by adding a full bag of Champion’s Feeder Black Roach to your mixing bowl. 

2 – Next add a bag of Champions Choice Canal to the bowl and mix the two groundbait together well. 

3 – Slowly add water to the groundbaits. I use a large pole cup to do this so that I can control the amount of water added precisely. 

4 – Keep mixing the groundbait, ideally with a whisk, all the time. 

"I use a dark mix that the fish are willing to settle over"

5 – Leave the groundbait to stand for at least ten minutes so that all of the water is absorbed. 

6 – Riddle the groundbait to remove any lumps and to aerate it. Discard any lumps, do not try and force them through the riddle.

7 – That’s about it. You might need to add a tiny amount of extra water with an atomiser through the day to keep the consistency just right.

8 – Add some dead pinkie, finely chopped worm and a few casters as feed to the groundbait. 

Browning CC Feeder Seatbox

There are many models of seatbox available, with so much more choice now than even a few years ago, with a huge spread in prices between models and brands. The sheer choice available can be confusing to the angler looking for a new box, but there are some key points to look out for. 

One of the key elements to consider is comfort. We are going to be spending a long time sitting in one position, so it is essential that the seatbox provides the right sitting position. Look for boxes that allow the height of the seat to be adjusted easily to match your height. Good upholstery on the seat can also make a big difference. 

The combination of accessories and draws that you choose will depend upon the style of fishing and the amount of gear that you need. It is worth thinking carefully before deciding on the trays, draws and other accessories that you require to ensure that everything has a place. Also make sure that the box system that you choose has a good range of add-ons available. 

My choice of box is the Browning CC Feeder Seat Box. This is the flagship model of the top of the range Xitan competition seat boxes. The structure was designed with innovative applications in mind. Comfort in use is provided by a wide and stable frame. The diameter of the legs is 25 mm, and is very rigid while fishing, even when I have to go deeper into the water. 

The platform is easy to carry, compact and lightweight. There is a lot of space under the upper cassette for attaching cassettes and other necessary accessories. With a wide range of different cassettes available, so that box can be tailored to your own needs. 

Six telescopic legs with adjustable feet, as well as spirit levels on each side of the platform, allow me to easily and quickly level the box, even on uneven terrain. The knobs are made of a solid material, their shape allows for easy adjustment. The design and livery of the platform matches the entire series of Browning products from the Xitan series. 

I have had this seat box for two years. Despite lots of use, I can confidently recommend this seat box as it has really stood the test of time. The legs are still stable, nothing has rubbed off. The retractable footrest is practically in the factory condition. There is no play in any of the components, giving me total confidence to set this box up even in deep water.

The stable and compact structure is convenient to carry and transport. Now I cannot imagine fishing without a comfortable and safe seat box. It has become a piece of kit that I can really rely upon, being extremely comfortable and a pleasure to use. 

Best regards,

Paweł Daab.

This seatbox provides a very stable fishing platform.

A full range of accessories can be added to this box.

I particularly like that the seat height can be adjusted independently.

"A seatbox that meets the expectations of a feeder angler."

Space Saver 90 Quick Dry Keepnet

Sometimes the simplest things in fishing make the biggest differences! Just by placing the robust angle-adjustment connector bracket on the narrow side of a keepnet means that more nets can be positioned in front of you during a match, something that’s important on bagging waters when weights of over 300lb are commonplace and 50lb net limits are imposed!

Made from a Quick Dry Mesh material this net is very fish friendly, almost eliminating fins being caught up and being dark keeps the fish within calm. The top and bottom rings, which take the most punishment during carp bagging matches, are made from metal with the middle rings made from sturdy plastic. These nets are really light and fold down to just a couple of inches meaning that numerous nets can be packed away and transported in my Sphere Large Multi Net and Tray Bag.


(L) 3.0m x (W) 50cm x (H) 40cm  

Also available in two sizes, with mounting in the normal position, in lengths of 2.50m and 3.50m, both 50cm width and 40cm height.  

Justin Watkins

The threaded adaptor is on the short side of the rim, giving room for more keepnets in front of you.

All of the fittings are extremely strong.

The soft mesh is very fish friendly.

These nets dry really quickly.

"Made from a Quick Dry Mesh material this net is very fish friendly"

These nets are available in three different lengths.

The angle-adaptor is very well made and locks securely.

Black Viper MK FD Reel

Feeder fishing tackle has made many massive advances in recent years, as this style of fishing has become so popular right across Europe. Who would have thought, for example, that we would have a Feeder World Championships? Browning have been at the forefront of feeder fishing gear for many years, and one of the areas where they excel is reels. 

Recently, I have been using the new Black Viper MK FD reel, which has been designed with long-range feeder fishing in mind. This 50 size reel, can add metres to your cast, thanks to the large spool and worm-shaft gearing which gives exceptional line-lay. Perfect for modern braided feeder lines. The machined alloy spool has been specially designed for fine diameter braided lines, with a shallow profile that doesn’t require huge amounts of backing. This shallow spool profile actually helps save weight, giving a very well balanced setup when combined with 13 foot (3.9 metre) and 14 foot (4.2 metre) feeder rods. 

When fishing at range you also need a reel that retrieves line quickly. This makes regularly recasting much less of a chore, and means less time is wasted each time you want to refill the feeder, or change hookbait. The retrieve on the Black Viper is just right, and the specially designed rotor imparts very little line twist too. 

This is a reel that feels very solidly built, with no slack in the handle, or spool. Everything is tight and responds instantly, just as you would expect with Browning’s engineering. For long-range feeder fishing it has few equals. 

Tight Lines! 

Pat Cuddy

An incredibly well built reel that will give years of service.

Tjis reel balances perfectly with longer feeder rods of 13ft or 14ft.

The line-lay is exceptional.

"This is a reel that feels very solidly built"

The ‘Long-Line’ on Midlands Canals

The Midlands are criss-crossed by a huge network of canals that stand testament to the Industrial Revolution which began and flourished in this area. Today, the canals are as popular as ever, although it is leisure craft that ply these waters, rather than the working craft they were originally designed for. Most of us probably have a canal within east reach and they can provide some interesting and productive fishing right on our doorstep. 

I tend to specialise in fishing these canals, and have refined my approach to fit the demands of these venues. Make no mistake, they can vary in size, layout, and type of fishing massively, but today I want to look at a tactic that will work on a large number of different venues, with only very minor adaptions. 

I am talking about fishing the long-line, across to any far bank features, and at the base of the far shelf. Here there is often cover for the fish; perhaps overhanging trees, weedbeds, or most likely moored boats. Even in the turbid waters of the canal, these are fish-holding features that need to be targeted. 

Truth be told, I will fish several different lines in a match situation, but fishing across is often the most consistent. Here you will find predominantly silverfish, the size and species depending upon the stretch, but with perch and perhaps bonus fish mixed in. My tactics are designed to give a soft-touch approach, hopefully keeping the bites coming for as long as possible. 

Fishing at around 14 metres with my Xitan Z16 L Advance pole puts on the edge of the far bank moored boats, with the option to push across a little further later on in search of a few more bites. The bank here is piled, so there is less of a distinct shelf, compared to other canals. I have set up a 4×10 float with a wire through body. It is a quite delicate pencil shape that allows me to spot delicate bites. The shotting is spread out no. 10’s with the bait fished on the deck in teh hope of picking up a better stamp of fish. 

Cenex Classic Mono is my choice for for rigs and hooklengths.

I use a strung-out shotting pattern.

A slim float with a wire stem shows delicate bites.

"Introduce a tiny pot of feed every put-in"

I am introducing a tiny pot of groundbait with a pinch of pinkies each put in. The roach prefer a dark-coloured groundbait so I am using the Champion’s Feeder Black Roach, which I mixed at home the day before. In fact, I will keep any leftover groundbait and freeze it, ready for future sessions. I’ve mixed the groundbait so that it is fairly dry, but will get down without breaking up too much. You don’t get through much bait using this frugal approach, the aim is to keep the fish interested without giving them too much to eat and feeding them off. 

Bonus fish are likely to be better roach, perhaps a perch or a bream, but the bulk of the fish will be small silvers. To extract as many of possible it pays to fish relatively light. A 0.07mm hooklength of Cenex Classic mono to a size 22 hook is the order of the day. My rig line is 0.10mm Cenex Classic, and I have a no.3 solid elastic through the top kit. 

It doesn’t take long to start getting bites, but the average size of the fish is quite small. Probably around 20-30 to the pound, but at least the bites are coming regularly. As it is a Saturday there is quite a lot of boat traffic about today, and that means the canal keeps pushing through for a few minutes as the locks are used. I find it pays to stop feeding whilst the canal is flowing hard, as any bait will not end up where I want it. Instead, wait for the pace to die-down and then feed when you can be sure that the bait is staying put. 

The other problem today are leaves on the water surface. It has been quite windy and, as it is autumn, the water surface is covered with them. It is a bit frustrating, but by lowering the rig in as vertically as possible I am able to find small gaps and keep fishing. 

By alternating between maggot and pinkie hookbaits I have kept the bites coming all morning and despite the fish being on the small side have put together a decent catch. Searching around the far bank brought a few extra fish after the main line dried up. In a match situation I would feed several lines and rotate them to keep the fish coming as long as possible, but today it has been interesting just to see how many fish I can catch on the one line. 

A really enjoyable day, with plenty of bites, which just goes to show the quality of fishing on our amazing canal network. Why not give it a try?

Tight lines! 

Mark Roberson

The average stamp of roach on this canal.

Champion’s Feeder Black Roach is my groundbait of choice.

Most of the Midlands canals are a comfortable width. Here I can fish at 14m easily with my Z16 L Advance pole.

Mark’s Tackle

Xitan Z16 L Advance Pole

Cenex 0.10mm Rig Line

Cenex 0.07mm hooklength

Size 22 fine wire hook

4×10 wire stem, pencil float


Mark’s Bait

Champion’s Feeder Black Roach Groundbait

Pint of maggots

Pint of pinkies

Pint of squatts


Introduce a tiny pot of groundbait and a few pinkies every put-in.

Black Magic Feeder Rod Holder

If you have ever found your spare rods and reels snagging each other, then this new roost is for you. Designed to hold four feeder or float rods, even if they are fitted with modern 50-size long distance reels, this roost holds your gear securely and adequately spaced to eliminate tangles. 

The soft moulded foam design will protect delicate blanks, whilst the L-shaped design means that the rods will not blow off the roost, even in the strongest of winds. Fitted with a standard screw thread they can be either attached to your box, many side trays, or used on a separate tripod, depending on you preference. 

A really well thought-out design that is just right for the modern rod and line angler. 

Pat Cuddy

Browning West Midlands

This rest holds the rods at a sensible distance apart.

The L-shaped EVA foam cut-outs stop rods from being blown off in strong winds.

If you set up multiple running-line rods then this is the ideal rest.

"Just right for the modern feeder angler"

Catch Carp on the Pellet Bomb

This year I have managed some great results at Messingham Sands Fishery near Scunthorpe. Winning weights here are normally made up of big, fighting fit carp, which like their grub. The lakes at Messingham are full of fish of all shapes and sizes, so it has been important to find tactics that are selective for the match-winning carp. 

Fortunately, the carp here like their grub, and one way of selecting the carp is to use big baits. Whilst on most fisheries 8mm pellets are about as big as we go, at Messingham the carp love the big 11mm fishery pellets and these are a mainstay of my approach. To get the best from these big baits requires some simple tactics that are worth trying on your local fisheries when trying to single-out those bigger carp. 

Straight Lead

One of the easiest and best tactics to use with big pellets is the straight bomb. This gives me at least one more line to fish beyond the pole, and can often produce plenty of fish, especially on days when the wind is causing problems with presentation on the pole. 

Every swim here on the Island Lake at Messingham has features to fish to, but rather than fish too tight to these I like to fish slightly away from cover. By feeding three pellets twice every 45-seconds I can attract the carp and draw them away from the snags. This gives me a much better chance of landing every fish I hook. I fish with the anti-reverse on have the rod pointing at about 45 degrees to my spot. This means that the rod will buffer the fish as they bolt off once hooked and help get them under control even before I have picked up the rod.

Watch the tip for line bites indicating carp are present.

Cenex Hybrid Power is a brilliant carp line.

A hard fighting carp on the pellet.

"The carp respond to the sound of the big pellets"

Balanced Gear

With the carp here running well into double-figures it is essential to use strong, well balanced gear. The first thing I would suggest is to always fish off the clutch, rather than back-winding. I set the clutch to give line grudgingly when the rod is bent into its full curve. By doing this I can concentrate on playing the fish hard and guiding them away from trouble under a constant pressure. The Sphere Bomb +10% is the ideal rod for this tactic as it cushions the lunges of a big fish without being so soft that I can’t play the fish hard. 

Lines and hooks need to be well up to the job. When big weights are on the cards any weak link will be found out simply because of the general wear and tear. Load up with the hugely abrasion resistant and fast-sinking 0.20mm Cenex Method Mono main line. Carp are not particularly line-shy when it is hard on the bottom, so use a strong 0.18mm Cenex Hybrid Power hooklength. The hooklength is around 30cm long, terminating in a size 14 Sphere Beast Barbless hook. I use a bait band to attach the 11mm pellet, fishing this on a short hair to the back of the hook. The Beast pattern is perfect for hair rigging, having just the right shape to ensure that they stay really well. 

Bomb size depends upon the distance being fished, but 20 grams is a good starting point. You can go lighter when the conditions are good, but if there is a cross-wind then it pays to use a little more weight to maintain accuracy. I use a Quick Change Bead to connect the main line to the hooklength. This bead also acts as a buffer for the inline lead, meaning I don’t need any other beads or components on the line. 

Use an 11mm Banded pellet to a Sphere Beast hook.

An inline lead is stopped by a Quick Change Bead.

Keep Feeding

Regular feeding is essential for this tactic. Forget to feed and the fish will drift away and the bites will dry up. I feed three 11mm pellets at a time. Feeding twice and then waiting for 45-seconds before feeding again. Some times the carp will come up in the water and start swirling at the pellets as they hit the water. This is a good sign as it means that there are plenty of fish competing for the bait. As the lake is relatively shallow I am not too concerned about the fish coming up in the water, plenty more will still be close to the bottom. 

Ignore any taps and bangs on the tip. Proper bites will either see the line fall slack or the tip drag round hard. It is then simply a matter of picking the rod up and start playing the carp. I keep the rod top parallel with the water as you can often lead the carp in without them really fighting too hard. Only lift the rod when the fish is close in and ready to be scooped into the waiting net. 

As well as feeding regularly, I also like to recast every two or three minutes. Most bites from carp come very quickly as they grab the hookbait soon after it has settled. If I have to wait longer than this then the chances are the bait will be picked up by a small tench or bream. The carp don’t seem to mind the splash of the lead going in over the heads. In fact, I think at times it helps attract them. 

Get into a routine of casting and feeding and soon the carp will turn up. Often a shoal of fish will move in and you will catch two or three fish in quick succession before they drift off. Don’t worry about this, as long as you keep to the routine they will be back and you will keep catching. On a good day really big weights can be achieved using this simple tactic. Even on days when the weather is making other methods difficult, the pellet bomb can be your ‘get out of jail’ card. Why not give it a try? 

Tight lines! 

Jim Hall

Regular recasting is important as most bites come quickly.

A reel like the Sphere MgTi with a seamless drag is essential to land carp quickly.

Action can be fast and furious with some seriously big carp.

Jim’s Gear

Sphere 10’ Bomb +10% Rod

Sphere MgTi 30 Reel

0.20mm Method Mono

0.18mm Cenex Hybrid Power Hooklength

Sphere Beast Size 14 Hook

Large Bait Band

Medium Quick Change Bead

20gram Inline Bomb

Jim’s Bait

11mm Fishery Pellets