What is a swimfeeder? Basically, it is a method of presenting loose feed near to the anglers hook bait. So why are there so many different types and what are they all for?
When you first enter a tackle shop, the selection available can seem baffling, but feeders can be split into basic types. Method feeders, open ended, closed, flat, and cage all give the angler the opportunity to get attractive free baits near to the hook and draw fish over the baited area.
Method feeders are fished using an extremely short hook link (around 3 to 4 inches) and can have the hook bait either buried within the ground bait moulded around the feeder, or fished outside the ball of bait. The rigid frame is intended to support a stiff ground bait mix which sticks to the numereous plastic ribs within the feeder.Various tackle companies have their own different designs, which may consist of finned, coil, or flat devices. As the fish attack the groundbait to dislodge it, then the hook bait should be taken resulting in a violent bite as the fish is hooked against the weight of the feeder and ground bait ‘ball’.
An open ended swimfeeder is designed to be packed with a slightly compacted ground bait which then swells and is displaced as the feeder rests on the bottom. Used in deeper water, the bait stays in the feeder until it hits the bottom and deposits the feed in a tight area. It can be charged with an inert mix of crumb type bait which can be utilised to ‘sandwich’ maggots, casters or worms to keep them in until it reaches a point of rest before the live grubs break down the mix. Frequently made of plastic, they may be clear or coloured to camouflage them against the bottom of the lake or river. Extra weights can be purchased and fixed to the feeder to enable it to remain firmly grounded when there is a strong flow or excessive depth to the water.
A closed feeder often consists of a plastic ‘tube’ with an elasticated end cap to allow the bait to placed in and then secured. Also known as a maggot feeder, it is generally used to drip feed maggots or worms into the swim. It is available in a variety of sizes (and shapes) depending on the amount of bait required, and the maggots filter out through holes in the sides of the feeder as it descends through the water and this continues when it reaches the bottom. To reduce the flow of bait, some of the holes may be blocked with pegs or tape. Popular in colder weather to present a small amount of offerings with a similar hook bait.
A cage feeder is best used in shallow water when it becomes important to get the bait to disperse quickly when the swim feeder impacts the lake bed to help get a carpet of food out. Made of wire or plastic, it may have spikes on the inside to support the groundbait during the cast to prevent it being dumped before it hits the water.
The final ‘feeder’ to consider is the baitdropper. This is a heavyweight contraption lowered into the swim and tripped by a metal rod hitting the bottom which releases the contents into the flow of a fast moving river. Rarely cast, it is normally dropped into the head of the swim to guarantee the bait moves down along the river bed towards the area to be fished without becoming scattered by strong currents.
Some feeders will have the weight well forward in the design to give casting weight and improved areodynamics over long range; others will have a strip of weight along the side to assist stability in moving water and some could have a combination of both. Most have a swivel, clip or loop to attach it to the mainline. All are designed to permit the angler to present free offerings of comparable baits near to the hook and attract fish into the immediate area; choose wisely and you could have a great session!
Clint Walker, 2009