A method feeder is a piece of tackle that allows you to present bait particles in the water around your actual hook. The idea is that the bait breaks off into the water and lures in fish to the area.
Method feeders are mainly used for carp and catfish, but they are also used for other species. They are most popular in Europe and Asia, though they can work anywhere. In fact they can work quite well in places like North America where they are rarely seen.
Note: The Angler’s Notebook may receive compensation for purchases made at participating retailers linked on this site. This compensation does not affect what products are mentioned here.
There are different types of method feeders. Fixed method feeders have eyes and are tied directly on to the line. Inline method feeders allow the main line to slide through freely like a slip sinker. Inline method feeders can come weighted, like this VbestlifeCarp Fishing Feeder, or unweighted. There is also a cage or spring style method feeder that is most popular in Asia.
How to rig an inline method feeder
There are many ways you can rig an inline method feeder. But a simple free sliding rig works very well in most cases. It’s also one of the easiest setups to put together. Since the method feeder is covered with bait it is heavy and adds weight to your rig. So the method feeder works like a sinker. The difference is that this sinker brings in fish. In addition, the bait falls off in the water. So you don’t have the weight on your rig when you reel it in.
Rigging a method feeder on a sliding rig is a lot like tying a Carolina rig, except you replace your lead weight with a method feeder. First, insert your line through the hole or tube in the method feeder and bring it out the other side. Then slide a bead onto your line to protect your knot and act as a sort of shock absorber. Next, tie on swivel. If you’re fishing for carp or catfish, you want something strong like a Spro Power Swivel. On the other end of your swivel tie your leader. Normally you want that string to break before your main line. If you’re fishing for carp, you can just attach a hair rig. Otherwise tie on a length of line and then a hook and you’re ready to go.
You can bait your main hook with something that matches the bait on your feeder. Or as mentioned above, you can change things up. So you could cover your method feeder in bread crumbs then put a worm on the hook. Or you can put a thin mix of doughball on the method feeder then use a thicker mix on your hook. If you’re carp fishing any good carp bait will work in this situation. Boilies and field corn can work particularly good on a method feeder rig. You can either press the baited hook into the bait on the method feeder or let it swing freely at the end of your line.
Fixed method feeders
Fixed method feeders are a little different. They are most often used in Asia for smaller fish like barbs. They often have many small hook attached to the bottom as seen on these Milepetus Drum Type Spring Feeders. The idea is to get a cloud of bait in the water to attract a school of fish. When the fish come in they see small pieces of bait or even just balls of foam on the small hooks and bait them.
Rigging a fixed method feeder is pretty self explanatory. You simply tie your line onto the loop. Using fixed method feeders is a little more complicated. In some areas they could be illegal if they have too many hooks. Another issue is the line used to attach the hooks and even the hooks themselves. These multi-hook rigs are meant for specific applications.
There are also fixed line method feeders without hooks like these Fucung Luminous Coil Inline Method Feeders. Using them is much like using an inline feeder, except that they don’t slide on the line. You tie your main line to the loop on one side. Then you tie your hook and leader to the loop on the other.
There are a few problems with these sorts of feeders. The biggest one is the build quality. Even though they are made from metal they can be built in a way that bends or breaks down when you hook a big fish. Any fishing rig is only as strong as its weakest link. I don’t want to lose a fish because a piece of thin metal gave way during the fight. Sliding inline method feeders don’t have this issue as you rely on your line, knots, swivel and hook to hold any fish you catch.
Fixed method feeders are also stuck to a certain point on the line. A sliding method feeder slides down to your swivel when you cast out. Later when the fish takes the hook, the line passes through the method feeder. Since there is not an extra weight dragging things down, the bait seems more free and natural to finicky fish. So for most people in most cases, sliding inline method feeders are superior.
How to bait a method feeder
Using a method feeder is sort of like chumming or baiting the area you are fishing. You can use a number of different baits to do this. Some anglers match the bait on the method feeder to the bait on the hook. Others change things up for variety.
The simplest bait to apply to a method feeder is probably plain bread crumbs. You can also use doughball. One of the best options is to use groundbait or method mix specially designed for fishing, but that can be costly. You can vary the consistency of your bait by adding more or less water. In fast current you want a thick bait that flakes off slowly. In still water, you may want the bait to come off in a cloud as soon as it hits the water.
Whatever bait you choose, the process for baiting the method feeder is pretty much the same. You take a handful of bait and moisten it with water. Then you squeeze the bait around the method feeder. It should stick well enough to be cast. But you do want it to break up in the water so it can bring in fish.
A lot of weighted inline method feeders for carp like those in this Carp Fishing Inline Method Feeder Lead Set on Amazon come with their own baiting tool or mold. With this type of method feeder you first press your bait down into the mold. Then you press the method feeder itself into the cavity. When you pull the method feeder back out, it is already baited.