Swimfeeders and blockends are perforated plastic cylinders, approximately 23in long and lin diameter. Swimfeeders are open at both ends and when ledgering are used mainly for groundbaiting with cereal or cereal mixed with samples of the hookbait—maggots, casters, worms, and in recent years, sweetcorn. Used in rivers by bream and chub fishermen, a swimfeeder is particularly effective. Blockends have closed ends and are usually packed with either maggots or casters.

The shape and size of both blockends and swimfeeders is important. A blockend with coneshaped ends, for example, will cast farther and more easily, resulting, in some situations, in a bigger and better catch. A large feeder is usually better than a small one when attempting to hold a large shoal of chub or bream in a swim, but when seeking specimen roach in a small, shallow river a small feeder is probably best.

Early swimfeeders

Experiments with blockends began several years ago when two Oxford anglers, Fred Towns and John Everard, ran a length of nylon through the centre of a small plastic container of the type in which screws and nails used to be sold. Holes were made with a small file heated over a gas or electric ring, and swan shots attached to the end of the nylon. The line was then passed through a swivel which was tied to the other end of the nylon.

With this newstyle feeder, casting was found to be both easier and more

Accurate, with less resistance in running water. Another important feature of this feeder was that the weight was adjustable. If insufficient weight is used in rivers a feeder will roll, which in most situations defeats its object. By adding or subtracting shots, the weight could be adjusted to just hold the bottom, or roll at whatever speed is necessary.

In running water, feeders are fished either stationary or allowed to roll along the bottom. In fast water, the stationary method is usually adopted to avoid the contents being scattered. Only in water of moderate flow—and then not in every situation—should the feeder be allowed to roll or move.

Accuracy is essential

In stillwaters, cast the feeder into the same spot every time: if you do not, the contents will be scattered around like a rolling feeder in rivers. Accurate casting is essential. It is also important when casting to keep the line straight, especially in a side wind. As the feeder is punched forward, bring the top of the rod down to eye level then, as the feeder hits the surface, quickly thrust the top under the water to a depth of 3ft. The feeder is allowed to sink on a slack line. Should it sink on a tight line, it will fall out and away from the swim.

The loaded baitdropper is a very handy means of placing attractive hookbait particles near the hook. It is lowered to the bottom of the swim when a trip wire opens the lid and releases the contents. The match angler usually starts by putting down several droppers full of hookbait samples. Once the fish move into the swim, the baitdropper should be used with caution, for it may scare the fish.

Concentrate your loose feed by using a blockend feeder in strong currents, or an openend feeder on medium to slow waters. These can be stopped 12in from the hook by a split shot fished on a separate link via a pair of swivels, or even fixed paternosterfashion. Try to place tackle consistently into the same area so that a concentration of bait particles builds up there.