Mechanics of the 'The Bow'

Zerkalo

Regular member
Site Supporter
Joined
Jul 4, 2019
Messages
15,960
Having got used to fishing a big bow on rivers, it definitely helps if you have the right rig, quiver tip, and weight of feeder, but there is no denying it works.

I've been trying to explain it to my dad and get stumped when he asks why it is better than fishing a tight line, other than getting away with a lighter feeder.

The best I can come up with is that the fish dislodges the feeder, hooks itself, tip springs back and you know it's on.

Can anyone explain it better than me?
 

ravey

Regular member
Joined
Mar 3, 2011
Messages
870
You can even cast downstream and employ a bow. The best explanation I have read was in Archi Braddocks’ book “Fantastic Feeder Fishing”, where a full chapter is dedicated to the method, “The Upstream Feeder”. Bob Roberts also goes into it in his levering book. Both books are well worth seeking out, but may be out of print, so you’ll have to get a secondhand copy/copies. The general principle is to feed a bow out and this, combined with the weight of the leger or feeder will enable you to get the balance so well tuned that only a slight pull will dislodge the feeder, giving that easy to read drop back bite. Whe you lift the rod to connect with the culprit, the direction of pull means that you are pulling the hook into the fish. If you are ever in the area, I would be happy to demonstrate the technique to you. It’s one of those things that is probably better shown than described. Having said that, the two sources mentioned do a far better job than I could.
 

ravey

Regular member
Joined
Mar 3, 2011
Messages
870
Just to add to the above, the feeder is sitting on the river bed, on the verge of moving. Once the fish moves the feeder, it essentially ‘gives’ a bit of line to the fish, and while the tip is straight, the feeder offers full resistance, and the fish will often hook itself against the suddenly increased weight. Sorry if this sounds confusing; as I said, it’s probably better demonstrated🙂
 

Zerkalo

Regular member
Site Supporter
Joined
Jul 4, 2019
Messages
15,960
Hopefully I will be back down the Trent some time mate, and if the conditions are as they were last time, I think a maggot feeder would be the way to go. Ideal for fishing this way. (y)
 

ravey

Regular member
Joined
Mar 3, 2011
Messages
870
Yes, it’d be good to meet up again! I did a lot of feeder fishing when I used to fish club matches on the river. Lots of chub back then, and it could make a big difference in catches using the bow. I had a series of lead moulds made for me so that I could balance the feeder better. You are welcome to some if/when you visit next.
 

dave brittain 1

Regular member
Joined
Apr 17, 2004
Messages
2,977
On all rivers the water in the lower layers has significantly less flow that the upper layers. You also have to consider that if you cast up steam and pay out a big/decent sized bow the line is going with the flow so there is minimal resistance. Because of the angle, to a certain extend the line is streamlined as it is going the same way as the flow.

The point where the line come up into the upper layers where the water is faster is on the inside line where it's much slower than in the main flow.

Because of the above dynamics there is minimal resistance, hence why you can get away with much less lead.

Because the bow is downstream if the feeder is dislodged the big bow has a catapult effect and accelerates the feeder downstream and if you are fishing with a 3inch running loop or float stop 3ins above the feeder it becomes a semi fixed bolt rig.

Now fishing direct. You need a lot more lead to hold. Your line acts like a sail and often you can hear the line singing in the wind to to the tension. The fish can feel the tension and will reject the bait as soon as it feels the tip hence the bangs you get that you quite often miss. Add the bigger/heavier lead required to hold and you also have significantly more chance of crack offs or bouncing the fish off on the way in.

For me the bow wins every time regardless of whether it's roach, dace, chub or barbel not to mention the pole feeder where the bow also plays it's part for those who realise it's advantages.
 
Last edited:

Total

Regular member
Site Supporter
Joined
Feb 25, 2016
Messages
20,519
To add to Dave's excellent explanation above, the longer the rod and the inclination of the rod one has when fishing the bow also can be factored into fishing this way.....There's not a one answer that ,suits all this, but a combinations of factors....
 

Zerkalo

Regular member
Site Supporter
Joined
Jul 4, 2019
Messages
15,960
I will admit I still struggle to fish the bow when I'm fishing the weir. It's a short downstream cast in fast flow and even though I fish a bow, the bites are savage Chub bites. Today fishing with a lighter tip rod than a 'Barbel Rod' was a bit of a revelation for me though, makes me think that in a lot of situations, a 'Barbel Rod' isn't really necessary.
 

Total

Regular member
Site Supporter
Joined
Feb 25, 2016
Messages
20,519
I will admit I still struggle to fish the bow when I'm fishing the weir. It's a short downstream cast in fast flow and even though I fish a bow, the bites are savage Chub bites. Today fishing with a lighter tip rod than a 'Barbel Rod' was a bit of a revelation for me though, makes me think that in a lot of situations, a 'Barbel Rod' isn't really necessary.
Fishing with the right rod for the job in hand of course makes the 'job' easier.....Not always possible for obvious reasons, but as you've pointed out above it is possible....I've said to you loads of times before mate, don't overthink things and enjoy it...
 

Zerkalo

Regular member
Site Supporter
Joined
Jul 4, 2019
Messages
15,960
I like my Korum 1.75lb Barbel rods. They're good for the 'tree' peg I fish where it's hit and hold, but not that good for fishing a bow I think.
 

Truly

Regular member
Site Supporter
Joined
Dec 26, 2020
Messages
280
A couple of days ago I was fishing the Nene. The river was moving well, due to recent rain. I tried a bomb on a running link and quiver tip, fished slightly downstream with a tight line. I caught a nice chub, a 2lb perch, lots of small rudd and roach but lost another nice chub.

The swim was about 8 ft deep, however I missed numerous very sharp knock bites.

I have been reading lots of threads on here regarding the 'bow' method. All those missed bites seem a well known feature of fishing a tight line, so I now want to try the bow.

There are lots of members making reference to the fish 'hooking itself' when using the bow, which I think I understand. I think I have also clocked in with the need to balance the weight to just hold bottom.

I have never been a feeder-user, as in the distant past, my ledger fishing was on the Great Ouse Relief Channel, Welland and Fen drains, with Arsely bomb on a link and swingtip. I now have several feeders that I got in a job lot, so now want to try it on the Nene, particularly for the chub. The staff at Floatfish farm tackle shop had a look at my 'collection' of feeders and kindly explained their uses, which was very helpful. None are 'method' nor 'hybrid'.

I have three (hopefully not too daft) questions.

In order for the bow method to be a 'self hooker', do I need to put another stop a few inches above the running link to the bomb or feeder?
(I have never used a stop above the ledger link before.)

How do I decide the length of line below the lower ledger stop to the hook?

If I don't use a feeder, will a bomb work just as well (loose feeding or small balls of bait) and do I need to put a stop above the link with that too?
 

Zerkalo

Regular member
Site Supporter
Joined
Jul 4, 2019
Messages
15,960
Other people will answer much better than me, as I've only just got to grips with it myself, but it was a revelation to me.

On a 'fast' flowing river like the Severn, I fish with a visibly slack line, as in... you can see the bow before it enters the water. It still puts a bend in the suitably rated quiver tip.

Your questions are basically things I've wondered about myself

1) The stop above the feeder seems to help for me, you could probably fish without it, but I imagine this helps to dislodge the feeder on the bite, giving you a drop back bite.
2) Do you mean hooklength? I go for around 2' (more like 3' on the Severn) and shorten up if missing bites, lengthen it if not getting bites as a general rule.
3) It will work with a bomb, but as you say you've got to feed it right, and I'd use a stop too. I use a snap link swivel so can change from feeder to bomb should I wish.

As I say, other people will give more enlightened answers than me hopefully. I have found the bow method works less well unless I have everything balanced in the set up, so it doesn't work as well when I fish with my 1.75lb Barbel rods as the bow does not put a bend in the tip so much and I haven't been setting the feeder up in the same way with a stop above it.
 

NoCarpPlease

Regular member
Site Supporter
Joined
Aug 2, 2006
Messages
4,851
In order for the bow method to be a 'self hooker', do I need to put another stop a few inches above the running link to the bomb or feeder?
(I have never used a stop above the ledger link before.)
I believe that some people use a sliding float stop to achieve this effect ... personally, I've always replaced the swivel and powergum links on my feeders with an embroidery bead threaded on powergum .... which when the line goes through it is effectively a fixed paternoster with the amount of friction that needs to be overcome for it to slide.
How do I decide the length of line below the lower ledger stop to the hook?
This is very much a case of trial and error ... I've used up to 6ft on a low and clear Severn, but as little as 6 inches at times.
If I don't use a feeder, will a bomb work just as well (loose feeding or small balls of bait) and do I need to put a stop above the link with that too?
A bomb will work better in some circumstances. See first answer re. the sliding stop above the weight.

Caveat- I am definitely NOT in any way expert on feeder and bomb fishing ... I can catch free biting species (ie. barbel and Chub) ...but still struggle with roach and dace. I'm much more likely to cast a bomb as a last resort, exhausting all the feasible float fishing options first.
On this link is , to my mind, the best book about feeder and bomb fishing published. You can still get second hand copies, but this web version includes some updates for "safer rigs". Chapter 3 is all about the bow, chapter 4 is the evolution of the method in to the moving feeder, and chapter 7 is the Dink, Dink method.
 

Truly

Regular member
Site Supporter
Joined
Dec 26, 2020
Messages
280
Other people will answer much better than me, as I've only just got to grips with it myself, but it was a revelation to me.

On a 'fast' flowing river like the Severn, I fish with a visibly slack line, as in... you can see the bow before it enters the water. It still puts a bend in the suitably rated quiver tip.

Your questions are basically things I've wondered about myself

1) The stop above the feeder seems to help for me, you could probably fish without it, but I imagine this helps to dislodge the feeder on the bite, giving you a drop back bite.
2) Do you mean hooklength? I go for around 2' (more like 3' on the Severn) and shorten up if missing bites, lengthen it if not getting bites as a general rule.
3) It will work with a bomb, but as you say you've got to feed it right, and I'd use a stop too. I use a snap link swivel so can change from feeder to bomb should I wish.

As I say, other people will give more enlightened answers than me hopefully. I have found the bow method works less well unless I have everything balanced in the set up, so it doesn't work as well when I fish with my 1.75lb Barbel rods as the bow does not put a bend in the tip so much and I haven't been setting the feeder up in the same way with a stop above it.

Other people will answer much better than me, as I've only just got to grips with it myself, but it was a revelation to me.

On a 'fast' flowing river like the Severn, I fish with a visibly slack line, as in... you can see the bow before it enters the water. It still puts a bend in the suitably rated quiver tip.

Your questions are basically things I've wondered about myself

1) The stop above the feeder seems to help for me, you could probably fish without it, but I imagine this helps to dislodge the feeder on the bite, giving you a drop back bite.
2) Do you mean hooklength? I go for around 2' (more like 3' on the Severn) and shorten up if missing bites, lengthen it if not getting bites as a general rule.
3) It will work with a bomb, but as you say you've got to feed it right, and I'd use a stop too. I use a snap link swivel so can change from feeder to bomb should I wish.

As I say, other people will give more enlightened answers than me hopefully. I have found the bow method works less well unless I have everything balanced in the set up, so it doesn't work as well when I fish with my 1.75lb Barbel rods as the bow does not put a bend in the tip so much and I haven't been setting the feeder up in the same way with a stop above it.
Thank you for the reply. (y)
Regarding the length of line between the ledger stop and the hook, I mean to include the actual hooklength and any main line above it but below the stop. In the 1960s and 70s some hooks to nylon had a 'yard bottom'. I used to put the stop just above the yard bottom of the hooklength, which we then called the tail.
Most of my hooklengths that I tie today are either 12 or 6 inches, so to leave 2 feet between the ledger stop and the hook, I would need to position it about 1 foot up the mainline?
The Nene isn't fast flowing unless in flood, however it moves along at a steady walking pace after some decent rain.
 

Zerkalo

Regular member
Site Supporter
Joined
Jul 4, 2019
Messages
15,960
Thanks for replying, Alex. I basically wish I'd listened to advice and fished the bow earlier, but fishing with almost 'bolt rigs' for Barbel, I was still getting 'pull' bites more often than not. It was when I tried fishing a lighter Black Cap maggot feeder with the 'stops' rig, and on a lighter feeder rod that it finally clicked for me.

I've no real experience of feeder fishing on slower moving waters, but what impressed me about 'the bow', was that you can still see rattles on the tip from small fish, then a proper bite will be a pull followed by a drop back and 9 times out of 10 a fish will be on. I'd reckon though if there are too many and too small fish you will still be likely to get a lot of un-hittable bites, but this way you know that when the tip drops back a fish should be on.

I tie my hooklengths on the bank these days so can easily choose the length on the day.
 
Top