How to feeder fish a river that flows both ways ?

OldTaff

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I’ve done a fair bit of river fishing over the years but I’m looking for some guidance / inspiration about how to properly approach my local stretch of river.

Almost daily I fish the River Medway on the stretch from Moncktons Lane to Allington lock with a short pole and it’s really prolific for roach, perch, bleak, dace & gudgeon and I know it has good bream stocks too. I’ve had a session on the bomb and began picking up some small bream quite quickly before a paddle board race mucked up the swim.

The lock is an immense automated barrier that separates the freshwater Medway from the tidal saltwater Medway and also has alongside it a canal style lock for allowing boat passage in & out.

Even during a 30min session the river can go from the ‘natural‘ left-right flow to stationary to right-left reverse flow and back again and depending on how the river is running from rain the natural flow direction can be quite strong.

Common sense tells me that over the course of an hour, irrespective of the style of feeder I have on, the variable flow direction will end up distributing a long carpet of feed to both sides of a selected casting spot.

Should I be looking at only using small feeders to reduce the size of the bait bed & concentrate the fish, short hooklengths to find the fish amongst that feed or will they be hanging off the edges and I need a longer hooklength?

Should I keep freebies to a minimum in my groundbait I.E. casters, maggots, hemp, corn, etc?

Casting often to top up the feed getting washed out of the swim or infrequently to prevent fish following the feed out of the swim?

I was thinking heavy claggy groundbait mixes to keep distribution to a low degree but should I use light explosive ones to draw in fish that the heavier flows might push out of the peg?


Need the help of seasoned river pros for this one


Karl
 

Silverfisher

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How often and for how long does it generally go the other way? I fist a stretch that does it say a couple times an hour tops for all of a few seconds (again due to a lock so varies but I’d say that’s the average) so I just don’t worry about it. All I do is not feed or cast during the brief spell of it going the other way. If yours runs the other way for longer then I appreciate that could be more problematic 🤔
 

OldTaff

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How often and for how long does it generally go the other way? I fist a stretch that does it say a couple times an hour tops for all of a few seconds (again due to a lock so varies but I’d say that’s the average) so I just don’t worry about it. All I do is not feed or cast during the brief spell of it going the other way. If yours runs the other way for longer then I appreciate that could be more problematic 🤔
Can run the wrong way for quarter of an hour or more if they are balancing out the levels - lunchtime today began the wrong way and then went very quickly back to normal with no still period.

However I did drop on what I think are really nice dace:


731A2D86-B645-4937-887B-00E82849B547.jpeg
and even nicer roach

118E949F-4021-4303-AC56-BC5687F250F8.jpeg
 

Silverfisher

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Can run the wrong way for quarter of an hour or more if they are balancing out the levels - lunchtime today began the wrong way and then went very quickly back to normal with no still period.
Oh wow that is unusual can see how that could be a bit tricky. It’s nothing like as dramatic as that on my bit, just presumably when the lock opens it runs down the side streams from the lock cut into the original course and pushes it the other way for a few seconds. Still bizarre how it manages to push against what is reasonable flow though!
 

Total

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I genuinely wouldn't worry about it too much as you say it can/does run the opposite way for short periods of time. Being as you've got a decent depth along your stretch you'll probably find the bottom few feet will continue to run in the correct direction anyway whilst the the surface moves the opposite way...(y)

As I mentioned before after the first frosts you'll be fishing the middle to far bottom shelf anyway.....The bream will always tell if your doing it half right, you'll be catching them....In over 50 years of fishing the Medway I've only ever 'sacked' on it a few times with Bream/skimmers.....It isn't that sort of river, the fish shoals are very, very nomadic....
 

rudd

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When flow reverses cast a meter (or so) downstream (now upstream) of your original spot so your feed goes to roughly same spot as when casting to original spot but in reverse.
 

dave brittain 1

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Pick a spot and stick to it using the same size feeder unless you want to up the feed in which case swap feeders.

Don't muck about with the groundbait and remember it's simply a carrier for the feed and attractant. Your groundbait should be mixed on the damp side of dry so that that you can form a ball that breaks down easily without lumps.

The important part is how much feed to put in the feeder and how frequently to cast it. Basically for roach, skimmers and bream I'd be feeding casters through the feeder with a few red maggots with double or triple maggot on the feeder. Hook length would be around 3ft to start.

Weight wise if I thought I would catch in-between 5lbs and 10lbs I'd be looking to feed a pint of casters through the feeder with a handful or so of maggots. If i thought 20lbs was on the cards it would be up to 2 pints of caster and 1/4 pint of maggots. With weights of 30lbs or more where bream are involved it would be 2 pints plus of casters, a tin of corn and a large feeder however it all boils down to the potential of the peg and how confident you are. the fish will soon tell you but if in doubt step it up at this time of year as you may be surprised. In winter it's the opposite with a more softly softly approach.
 

OldTaff

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Pick a spot and stick to it using the same size feeder unless you want to up the feed in which case swap feeders.

Don't muck about with the groundbait and remember it's simply a carrier for the feed and attractant. Your groundbait should be mixed on the damp side of dry so that that you can form a ball that breaks down easily without lumps.

The important part is how much feed to put in the feeder and how frequently to cast it. Basically for roach, skimmers and bream I'd be feeding casters through the feeder with a few red maggots with double or triple maggot on the feeder. Hook length would be around 3ft to start.

Weight wise if I thought I would catch in-between 5lbs and 10lbs I'd be looking to feed a pint of casters through the feeder with a handful or so of maggots. If i thought 20lbs was on the cards it would be up to 2 pints of caster and 1/4 pint of maggots. With weights of 30lbs or more where bream are involved it would be 2 pints plus of casters, a tin of corn and a large feeder however it all boils down to the potential of the peg and how confident you are. the fish will soon tell you but if in doubt step it up at this time of year as you may be surprised. In winter it's the opposite with a more softly softly approach.

Now that sounds like a plan - trying to find a couple of pints of casters will be fun, need to book some tomorrow.

All the big bream catches I read about come from the town centre stretch but I’m certain that there are plenty loitering on my usual stretch too - only one way to find out
 
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