Fishing to an island
Cage feeder ledgering is a good way to catch fish close to an island. This is Badgers Wood my local Tench lake, which has two islands that the Tench often patrol.
I am going to fish on the slope of the island and catch the Tench as they swim past on their patrol. Interestingly when I plumbed this area, I found a shallow bar extending from the bank to the island. This bar is only waist deep and is probably there to allow wading access to the island.
From a fishing point of view, the shallow bar makes this end of the lake attractive to the fish. Natural food is always going to collect, between the slope of the island and the bar. From my swim, I am at a good angle to cast to either slope or into the valley between the slopes.
Where to fish the cage feeder
I decide fish on the valley near the top and clip-up once I have the distance (21 turns). I use a small cage feeder, refilled and cast every five minutes to slowly build up some feed in the swim.
The rig I am using is a simple running lead rig with the cage feeder. The rig consists of a snap link feeder bead, followed by four plastic beads and a swivel tied on. I made a 12 inch hook length using line that is a pound lighter than the main line and a size 14 wide gape spade end hook. Once assembled the four beads act as a boom, holding the hook length clear of the feeder reducing tangles. I do not usually bother with a float stop up the line.
On this trip I’m loading the feeder with a simple bread crumb ground bait, laced with hemp. I mix the ground bait quite dry. The combination of a dry mix and large holes in the cage feeder, will quickly deposit the feed close to the hook. I have a choice of Sweetcorn or Luncheon meat for the hook, both of which the Tench like and will work well with hemp.
First Tench caught
I had my first proper bite after about 20 minutes. As soon as it was hooked the fish headed straight for reeds to my right. To be honest it took me by surprise and the fish made it to the reeds. Keeping tension on I managed to get it out, but then it found a lily to try and unhook itself. I gave the line a couple of pulls, but the line felt quite stuck. I was beginning to think the Tench had got away, but I let the line go slack just to see if the fish would swim out. After just a few seconds, the Tench had fallen for it and did indeed swim out. After that I played the fish out in open water and got it to the net.
Knowing the shape of the lake bed was a big help. I try to cast accurately each time, which is not too difficult in this swim at only about twenty yards. My rod is an 11 foot feeder rod designed to cast up to 30g. I’m using a 25g cage feeder which I find is a nice weight to cast with this particular rod.
Much like a method feeder, I was seeing little pulls and twitches at the tip. I think these were mainly Roach attacking the feeder and brushing the line. The Tench bites were very positive with the rod pulling round hard. I was catching on sweet corn all morning, I did try the meat, but they did not seem interested in that.
The Tench I hooked earlier headed straight for the reeds to my right. I guessed other Tench to try the same trick. So I applied side pressure as soon as they were hooked and steered them away from the hazard. None of the other fish I caught made it to the reeds, I was able to play them all in the open water in front of me.
By mid afternoon the Tench were becoming scarce. I was still getting twitches on the tip, but I think it was still the Roach. I did not catch anything special on this occasion, but I did have a good days fishing and as an amateur angler that’s all I’m after.
Special thanks to Hassocks Angling for allowing me to film on their waters.