The FeederMeister P2

After spot of lunch, we moved downstream about 500 metres, just below the weir. Although it was a short distance away on the same river we were now faced with an entirely different set of situations. The river was running at quite a pace off the weir and there was a good 3 metres of depth. There was also the possibility of big bream in the vicinity, as the even bigger river, the mighty Rhine, was just 3 kilometres further downstream.

"We're now in a different situation Michael and you’ve pulled some more bags of groundbait out, can you quickly run through for us what you’re mixing up now?"

"Because of the increased flow, I will be knocking up a stickier mix, which will hold together longer and not disappear downstream so quickly. Although I shall be mixing dry T3 Birdfood to the dry groundbait to begin with, before adding water, I'm not too worried if some of the less absorbed particles drift away. These hopefully will attract fish and bring them up to the feeder, but more importantly, to the hook bait. I’ll even add some dry T3 to the finished feeder mix before putting it into the feeder to maximise this affect."

I then asked Michael what other changes would be made from this mornings session?

"First of all, I’m swapping the heavy feeder we used upstream, for the Balzer Zammataro Masterpiece 115. This is the medium feeder rod in the range, but still a powerful rod and well capable of handling the conditions this afternoon. Even though it's a medium feeder, it's still capable of casting 80 metres (after practice of course). But as the two inside gates on the weir are open and we want to fish in the current then we’ll just be casting between 35 and 40 metres. I’m going to use the Feedermaster 9600 reel again with the same main line and shock leader but this time I’m going to change the rig to a paternoster rig. This is my second most popular set up.

"Lastly, I’ll be changing the feeder itself, from a Speedfeeder to another one in the Zammataro range, the 'Ruhr' model, because I want the weight of the feeder to just hold bottom when empty. If it moves every so often, then that’s fine, it will help to search the groundbait trail for fish that are maybe hanging further off the feed, because as many anglers know, a moving bait can sometimes entice bites. I also help this process along at times, with a little tug on the line to dislodge the feeder when things are slow."

"As you mostly favour using loop and the paternosters rigs, can you tell us about the various situations which they would each be used in and explain the reasons why?" I asked Michael.

"With the loop being a semi-fixed rig, fish are less likely to feel any resistance when taking a bait. This is an ideal method to use on still or slow moving rivers. Because fish in these types of water have more time, it's therefore reasonable to assume they are more cautious. When I say more time, I mean the bait is almost motionless on the ground and basically not going anywhere, therefore a fish can be more particular about what it chooses to eat. Whereas in a moving river, the fish have to take it or leave it relatively quickly otherwise it has gone to another fish below it! They see a particle, or bait, coming towards them and can make a split second decision to take it, this generally makes the bites more positive so it is in this situation that a fixed rig, or paternoster, becomes the more effective method."

How the session went
After pre-baiting a spot around 35 metres with six feeders full of groundbait, loaded with caster and maggots, Michael attached the same size 14 hook he'd used upstream. “A few year back, I would have used a size 10 or even an 8 as my standard hook size on this venue” said Michael adding, “but as fish stocks have drastically been reduced over the years, a somewhat finer approach has become more necessary to catch”.

The 70 gram Ruhr feeder was just holding bottom, occasionally moving a metre or so downstream as the flow slightly shifted. Over the first hour Michael tried a combination of hook baits, but with no success. It was some 20 minutes later that Michael decided to change to an 80 gram model, as the flow had increased slightly. It was then his special 'Spider' combination of worms dunked in a worm Vitimo dip that bought us the first bite of the session... a small bream but nevertheless very welcome indeed. “Phew, after nearly one and a half hours I thought we had used all our luck upstream” said a relieved Michael.

He continued to pick up the odd fish throughout the session, mostly on his spider hook bait, with more noticeable breaks in between when trying caster or maggots on the hook. By the end of the third hour I think Michael probably needed to make a call of nature again, because he asked that question again… "Anyone fancy a go?" Producing less of an eager response this time, Michael added, “come on medium man, it’s only a 35 metre cast!” I replied, "OK, I’ll have a go then.” After piling the worms on the hook, filling the feeder with a few maggots trapped in the middle, a cast of 35 metres was successfully achieved... first time I hasten to add! Even the applause from the bush to my left seemed quite generous considering!

A tug of encouragement
After 10 minutes Michael suggested I make a small tug on the line, just above the reel to move the feeder slightly. I could see by the reaction of the 2oz tip, that the feeder was moving, moving AND moving. “Strike any time you like” said my somewhat nonchalant tutor. A lift of the rod put me into contact with a good fish, a very good fish I thought. After playing it cautiously for several minutes, my seemingly monster fish made another run for it, “that must be a two kilo fish easily?” I remark to Michael, who simply gave me a wink and stayed silent. A few minutes later the fish pops to the surface and slips into the landing net safely. It was just under a kilo, by no means biggest fish of the day. I was amazed, it had taken me several minutes to land it whereas Michael had been achieving the same result all day long with his fish in less than a minute. In the time it took me to land that fish, Michael would have had his feeder settled back into the swim, with possibly another fish hooked!

Before I could ask my next (obvious) question, the answer came back... “practise, practise, practise and knowing the limits of your tackle”!

End of Session
With intervals of between 10 and 20 minutes, Michael had managed to net a total of 10 bream, 5 of which broke the kilo mark. A total weight exceeding 8 kilos in 3 hours was not a bad return for the session. Champions Team would like to thank Michael for a great day out on a great venue and also for being so patient with our reporter!

Useful Tools


When feeder fishing, it's important to stabilise the rod, by securing the feeder rest arm as much as possible. Michael has a special rest in his product range, which relies on a tripod design linked to his seatbox. This, in conjunction with a strong support bar, gives incredible stability to the rod in running water as the arm can also be extended out to give even more support. Models similar to these, with extra supporting arms, are available from certain manufacturers such as Rive, JVS, Milo etc.


A threader. A cheap and useful piece of kit used in sewing. It's for threading cotton through the eye of a needle. In this case, Michael uses it for threading the loop of a hooklength through the tiny eyes of a micro swivels. Note: Please don't tell the wife where you got the idea from!