Autumn Feeder Fishing - Richard Howland

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Autumn Feeder Fishing - Richard Howland

With the start of autumn finally upon us, I was undecided of where to fish and what to fish for on my day off. As I've said before I'm not one for sitting behind motionless carp rods if I'm just fishing for the day, so I would be taking the Drennan feeder to wherever I eventually decided to fish.

Having fished the previous week on a small lake which is part of Sittingbourne Angling Club, and caught carp, tench, and roach, I was tempted to go back there, but by the end of the working day I had made my mind up! One of the Mid Kent waters, which is called The Bird Lake, holds some cracking roach and rudd which, because it's a carp lake, hardly ever get fished for. I had fished it back in June and caught fish to over 2lb I knew there were fish in there - you can read my blog post on my previous session here: 

With the gear loaded in the car at 8am Thursday morning, I had seen the good lady off to work with the promise of being back in time to cook tea. Muskett, my faithful fishing companion, was sitting by the car, just in case I forgot to take him! I did one final check to make sure I had everything packed (the most important being coffee and sandwiches) and the dog in the car before I began the short drive to the lake.

Upon my arrival, there were only two other guys fishing, and they were opposite me, way over on the far side of the lake. The swim I chose was the same one that I had caught from back in June when the conditions were very much the same as now: the wind was in my face and waves were lapping the boards at the front, only this time it was colder! I had brought a carp rod with me because I can’t count the number of times I've been feeder fishing and hooked a carp after they must have come in close to investigate the constant trickle of bait that was going in.


I catapulted some maggots out as far as I could get in this wind and set up the carp rod with an 18mm Advanta Pineapple and Coconut boilie and a small PVA bag of pellets socked in the dip. I cast it to the right, about 10 yards out, hoping that it was close enough to my feeder fishing baited area. It was now time to get the feeder rod out, and start some of the fishing that I had come here for.

While sorting the gear, I now realised that I had forgotten my landing net! There was the pole but nothing to put on the end of it and it was a good job I had brought my 42inch carp net with me as I was hoping to catch fish that needed netting. They were going to look a bit small in the big net, but it was better then nothing.

With everything sorted and Muskett behind me keeping out of the wind, I now had my coat and warm hat on and it was time to cast out. I had been trickling maggots in while setting up and I had chosen to start with a size 14 hook with a small bunch of four maggots on a 15inch hooklink, below a Drennan maggot feeder with stop rubber behind that, which I could adjust if needed.

I had cast out around 8yds to 10yds into around 9ft of water, put the rod down, turned to get the disgorger out, when the tip bent round and I was into my first fish! Straight away I knew it was a half decent one by the way it was pulling back. It didn't look very big in the carp net, but it was a roach and over 1lb.


I had brought my keepnet, just in case I did catch some nice ones, and this first fish was enough for me to get it out and into the water. With the fish safely in the keepnet, on went four fresh maggots and they were cast to the same spot as before. I was using one of the swims on the far bank as a marker and the line was clipped up into the MAP safety clip on the reel, that way I could hit the same place every time.

It wasn't long before the tip was pulled round again and another fish was on.

This time it was a perch, the next fish was also a perch, and then back came the big roach and rudd, all ones that had to be netted. I was enjoying this, as each one I would have been happy with if it was the only big fish I had caught on a normal day’s fishing. Around midday, I was eating a sandwich and feeling the cold in my hands from the wind, when a small tap-tap on the rod tip made me put the sandwich down and hold the rod in the rest ready to strike.

On cue the tip pulled round and I lifted into another fish, only this one had other ideas, it was not fighting like a carp – in fact it was more like the other roach and rudd I had landed, but it was really pulling back. I remember standing up to get a better angle, as it was heading for the reeds to my left, and I had to put the rod tip into the water to try and turn it before it made it to safety. I really wanted to see this fish as it was staying deep until right in front of me. With the carp net ready, I gently eased the fish toward me and over the cord.


Oh my God!! There in the net was the biggest rudd I'd ever caught! Admittedly, it looked small in the big net, but what a fish!!

Out came my Angling Direct carry bag, and in went the fish. Not a very dignified way to weigh such a specimen, but as the bag weighs next to nothing it is a good way of getting the weight right (as long as your scales are spot on). As I had my carp gear with me that also meant I had my large Ruben Heaton scales, as well as my small set, that way I could weigh it on both to make sure.

Both sets of scales said the same thing; 3lb on the dot, by far the biggest rudd I'd ever caught...

I took a few pictures on the phone and put him in the keepnet with the others. The afternoon saw a change in the bites and I started missing more and more. I changed the hook size, the hooklink length, moved the rubber stop bead up, then down. I wanted to make a helicopter rig with a short stiff hooklink but I did not have all the components to make one with me, so I kept making small changes until I started connecting to more fish and landing them. Even so, it was frustrating missing bites from fish that I knew could be big.


By 4pm the bites started to dry up and I was getting colder, so I made the decision to call it a day. The carp rod had been out all day without any action, so that was packed away first, then the feeder gear, which just left the keepnet!

An old friend was carp fishing three swims up from me and had said to give him a shout when I got the net out. True to his word he reeled in his rods and came round and took the photos. Thank you Martin Halls for that, I would have struggled on my own!

I counted the fish out before putting them in a carp sling and weighing them. I had caught 40 fish, with a combined weight of 29lbs. I think the maths works out that the average weight per fish was over 11oz. I did weigh a few of them individually, too, and there were fish over 2lb in there.

Later that evening and the days that followed, friends and customers were debating whether they were true rudd and roach or if they were hybrids of the two. You can make your own mind up as to what you think. All I know, is regardless of what they were, that was one day’s fishing that I will live long in my memory.

Richard Howland.

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