Feeding a swim correctly is a vital aspect of angling. Jordan Hall manages King’s Pools near Wolverhampton, where we caught up with him to gain his insight into when to use a pole pot or a catapult.
The seasons are changing now and it will become more and more difficult to tempt the fish we pursue. Feeding patterns and feed quantities must be reduced and it’s important to bear in mind just how we deliver feed to a swim. Should it be catapulted out, or deposited with a pole pot?
Making the correct decision can make or break a day’s fishing or cost you a match, so first of all, let’s examine some of the advantages of using a pole pot.
Pots and catties both have their place.
A great advantage of using a pole pot is that they allow you to feed all manner of bait, from micro pellets and single grains of corn to maggots or even pinkies. Some baits, like pinkies, you would struggle to catapult, especially on windy days, so a pot is certainly a winner in such circumstances.
Following on from that thinking, of course leads me to suggest that pole pots offer far greater accuracy when it comes to grouping bait in a tight spot. A pot allows you to feed right over the top of your float, whether you are dripping feed or simply dumping one large hit of bait to the fish.
When fishing awkward swims, particularly tight over towards the far bank, or fishing a very long pole out the range of a catapult where you need to be able to place your rig in small cutouts on the far side, a pot allows you to precisely deliver and place feed right over the top of where your float is.
Potting can be better when fishing close to the island.
In the colder months, especially when trying to concentrate fish in one or two spots, a pole pot will ensure that you don’t spread the bait out too much, keeping the feed, and the fish, much tighter.
Using a much larger pot will of course, allow you to introduce a large volume of bait all in one go to draw fish into your peg, whether that may be on along the far bank or down the edge.
Jordan's record is simply phenomenal.
On the face of it, it sounds like feeding with a pole pot is totally advantageous. However, using a ‘traditional’ catapult still offers its own benefits. For example, using a catapult creates a larger area of feed for fish to come graze over. If you have a lot of fish in the swim the spreading the feed ensures that once hooked a fish does not tend to spook other feeding fish, which can happen if you have them concentrated in a very tight area, when using a pot.
Baiting frequency can be increased when using a catapult. It allows you to keep an almost constant trickle of bait falling through the water to help draw and attract fish, often hopefully resulting in more bites and landed fish.
The noise factor of pinging bait over the top of the float will once again draw fish into a feed area. I’d suggest that all fish respond to noise so it’s always worth pinging some bait over the top if nothing seems to be happening. It’s amazing how many times you can go from catching nothing to gaining a bite every put-in just from the noise of bait hitting the water!
Of course, using a catapult can also save you a lot of time! Rather than shipping in and out to refill your pot, simply pinging some bait over with a catty will definitely save you time during a match and that’s something well worth thinking about when a lot of fish are to be caught.
Catapulting bait is also a great way to get fish to compete shallow for feed, and be able to keep a steady fall of bait through the water that will entice the fish to come shallow. This can be a deadly tactic in the summer months when the fish tend to want to feed higher up in the water column. Pinging is the number-one way to get the fish up and feeding strongly.
There's a time and a place for both methods of feeding
A Time And A Place
Here at King’s Pools I recently weighed in 192lb of F1s to win a match. They were caught shallow, by pinging maggots across to some lily pads. The fall of maggots all day through the water managed to draw the fish up and compete against each other for food. I think this approach was a lot better than if I had just decided to pot a few samples in.
Also, because the bait was spread over a fairly broad area, the fish kept coming since I wasn’t spooking them as much, allowing me to catch more and for longer. Definitely, something that wouldn’t have happened if I had fed via a pot!
By contrast, I can recall a match I won at Heronbrook. Now for those of you who know this venue it’s notorious for being very windy at times, so the option of using a catapult was out of the window because the bait was going all over the shop! So a simple approach of dripping in maggots and pellets from a pot, keeping things neat and tidy, proved best on the day and was enough to bag me 33 F1s for 78lb. The pot was essential that day because the wind was too strong for anything else. It allowed me to place my lose feed directly over me hook bait.
There is no one 'ultimate' way to feed. Both styles have their day.
As you can now understand, there is a time and a place for both methods of feeding, and picking the correct one, or even combining both is essential to winning, or having a productive pleasure session.
On The Day
Today’s session for the cameras got off to a slow start, to be honest. I opted to begin by potting down the middle and pinging to a tree on the far side. I’d suggest that this two-pronged approach to feeding is always a good tip if you don’t know what to expect. I like to start off keeping everything neat and tidy with a pot, then you can feel your way into the day. There’s nothing worse that blasting in loads of bait and destroying the peg, so I play a cautious game, especially in colder months.
After a while I swapped from potting to pinging just to see the response, but it proved no more productive. I think the bright sun, time of day and a chilly breeze weren’t helping my cause either! I kept experimenting with shotting and depth, and soon the fish started to respond best to a small hit of micro pellets tapped in on the far-bank line, feeding for just one fish at a time.
In the end, the best feeding approach proved to revolve around keeping things neat and the use of a pot was best. The pinging line produced some fish, but not enough and of no better quality.
A two-pronged feeding approach can pay off
In conclusion, I would have to say that there is no ultimate right or wrong way to feed. Both pinging and potting have their merits and can be as effective on their day, so keep an open mind and learn from your experiences and those of fellow anglers.
King’s Pools, Shareshill, Wolverhampton, West Midlands WV10 7JP.
Name: Jordan Hall