Our popular general coarse fishing blogger Colin Mitchell (pictured) is back from a trip to Ireland and has a look at how much feed is right.

FEAST, famine or sensible eating… which method of feeding do you think is best to catch more fish?

It’s a common belief that fish – especially bream – do not like a load of groundbait dropping on their heads.

That’s why it’s often recommended that you feed a lot of bait at the start of your session and then just drip feed to match the bites you attract or fish you catch.

But like every aspect of our great spot there are times when you can sling the rulebook out of the window!

Light feeding can often be over cautious.

I confess that there have been many times when I just couldn’t get my hand out of the groundbait bowl and loved to find venues and matches where I could feed lots.

To me lots of feed usually means lots of fish!

Last week I had decided to ball in the bait and then only top up once I thought bites were tailing off from the roach and bream I expected to catch.

Next swim along on Inniscarra Reservoir near Cork my son Glenn went for the one ball regular top up and fish the whip where I fished the long pole and short line.

Both of us fished into the same depth of about 12 foot around 11 metres from the bank, and with similar floats, rigs and hooks.


We both caught but Glenn (pictured above) started to catch a lot faster than me. So it was decision time on how or what to feed!

I decided that I’d do what you are ‘supposed’ to do in this situation and re-ball, topping up my initial eight jaffa-sized balls with five more, all carrying dead red maggots, sweetcorn and a few chopped worms.

The response was instant – as it had been after the initial feeding – but then the swim started to die too quickly for my liking.

In this situation you would normally think about feeding a small ball of bait on a pretty steady basis or even cutting back to loose feed.

But I had this thought that I could ball again – after all the response from the first two ballings had been immediate.

So out went more balls of bait-laced cereal and again I got instant fish.

I still wasn’t happy as bites again tailed off too quickly. My belief was that there were so many fish around they were scoffing everything in sight and then departing.

Now I know it is meant to be carp that react to the noise of bait entering the water – but why not bream and roach too?

I balled even heavier on a regular basis, upped the corn content, and caught virtually very put in.


Glenn shows a small part of his catch.

And going back to the start of this piece…the bream actually fed stronger the more I balled on top of them!

As my Dad used to say to me when I turned my nose up at some sorts of food: if you are hungry you will eat anything!

Final result was that Glenn and I both had good catches…and both went through quite a bit of bait.

Well in actually fact we went through quite a bit of groundbait…

We had also taken a trick out of the Dutch book of feeding by including just small amounts of hookbaits in our feed.

The theory is that the fish grub around the groundbait searching harder for the bits of worms, maggots and other offerings.


I bet we used no more than a pint of maggots between us, a quarter of a kilo of worms and two tins of corn.

Not a bad bait bill for us both to catch nice double-figure nets of bream, hybrids and roach…plus the inevitable perch!

And before you think this worked because we were in Ireland…I’ve done all of the above before now on various local fisheries and had similar results.

The only difference locally was that the Guinness afterwards is never quite as good…

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