"I expect the fish to be towards the middle of the lake but, as the water warms, they will come in closer to feed."

Spring is one of my favourite times of year to go fishing. You join me today at the lovely Larford Lakes, the daffodils are out and the birds are singing in the trees… but most importantly, the fish are starting to wake up and have a feed!

The Specimen Lake, where we are fishing today is a great mixed venue, with a large head of both skimmers and carp - including some real monsters!

One of the most effective ways of targetting both species at this time of year is the Hybrid Feeder. It is a deadly technique, that allows you present your hookbait perfectly, and is also one of the quickest and simplest methods to set up.

I will come onto tackle a little later, but first lets look at why the method is so effective. It gives you two distinct advantages. Firstly, it allows you to present your bait at range with a good degree of accuracy, but still achieve perfect presentation. At this time of year, you often have to find the fish, especially early in the session, and the Hybrid feeder allows you to do that with great precision.

The fact that the feeder is streamlined in shape, means it flies like a bullet through the air, but the walls around the sides of the feeder mean that your feed, and hookbait stay in perfect condition on the bottom of the lake. A perfect pile of micro pellets, with a bright, target hookbait on top. 

Secondly, when a fish intercepts the bait, even at distance, the self hooking nature of the setup means you hook it, and land it.


There are two strands to a Hybrid feeder attack, the bait you put in the feeder, and the hookbait. Both do very different jobs. 

The end game is a neat pile of micro pellets on the lake bed, with a bright, fish attracting hookbait nestled on the top of it. 

Let me deal with what goes in the feeder first - as in many respect this is the most difficult to get right. Many fisheries now only allow you to use pellets supplied by them, and Larford is no different. So fishery micro pellets will form the basis of what goes in the feeder.

The majority of fishery pellets are supplied by two manufacturers, and there can be some variance between batches. I have seen in the past that people try to give set guidance on how to prepare your pellets, with instructions like ‘soak for 30 seconds’ or ‘soak for five minutes’ banded about.

These can be misleading, given the many different types of pellet available. I picked up a much more universal guide from my good friend Les Thompson last year.

He completely covers his pellets with water. He then watches closely until he begins to see the water around the pellets discolour, before draining it off and leaving the pellets to stand for 20 minutes. This generally produces the perfect micro pellet for use on a feeder. The consistency you are after is a soft outer, but a firm core. This will allow you to squeeze the pellet firmly onto the feeder, and compress them into place, so they stay put and hold your hookbait until the feeder reaches the bottom. Only then, because of the usoaked core of the pellet do they begin to decompress and break down, leaving a perfect pile of soft, slurpable bait on the bottom for a carp to suck in.

Carry a selection of colours as one might work well one sessin and not as well the next.

The contrast between ordinary micro pellets and a Neeonz hookbait is bound to attract fish.


Thats the hard bit out of the way! For me, hookbait choice is a lot more simple. For the last few months, I have been playing around with a new, totally unique product from Fjuka bait.

Basically, it is a hyper -fluorescent hookbait called ‘Neeonz.’ Neeonz are available in four distinct colours - white, orange, yellow and pink. These really are the bright baits, which is a key quality. They stand out on the bottom, drawing in any inquisitive fish.

Its not just the colour that I love about these hookbaits though! There texture and flavour is just as important.

Texture wise, they are soft - not so soft that they dont stay on the hair rig, but a mallable consistency. We all know how deadly soft baits like bread and paste are! These give a similar advantage.

Neeonz are flavoured with a unique attractant called Sensate. Without getting two scientific, this gives off micro particles which disperse quickly, and evenly into the water column. One things for sure - the fish seem to love it!

Finally my tackle. I mentioned the simplicity of this approach - you can quite literally buy everything you need for this approach ready-to-go from your local tackle shop. 

Tackle Guru do a great range of products for this style of fishing. I simply use their system. 

At this time of year, you can start to feed some bait, so the largest size is used. To aid with casting, I use the 45g model with the long stem, and black Hydrolastic to cushion fish on the way in. Hook choice is a pre-tied size 14 QM1, complete with Quick Stop, which is the perfect length and size to accommodate my Neeonz hookbait.

Push a baiting needle into the Quick Stop on the end of the hair rig, push the Quick Stop throught the hookbait and withdraw the needle.

Fill the Hybrid feeder with property prepared micro pellets .

Tamp down the pellets and lay the hook and hair-rigged bait on top. Add a further layer of micro-pellets to mask the hookbait.


In winter, I am a big advocate of saving yourself water - by this I mean casting short, and leaving the furthest reaches of your peg until later in the session, which effectively gives the fish somewhere to back off to.

This time of year, I change my thinking. I expect the fish to be towards the middle of the lake to begin with, but as the water warms through the course of the day, they will come in closer to feed.

For this reason, I start long. A comfortable cast of around 60 metres puts me just short of the middle of the lake. And then its a patience game. Sometimes, bites can take as long as thirty minutes to devlop at this time of year, but it is important to keep your eye on your tip - as it can tell you a lot about what is happening in front of you.

Short plucks on the tip indicate that fish are close to your feeder, while longer, slower pulls show mean the fish are closer to you on the bankside.

Today, I havent had to wait too long for a pull! Ten minutes in and the tip eases round, as the first carp of the day is hooked.

It feels a good fish - and as I get a few turns on it, it becomes apparent that this is no skimmer - a large carp has been hooked!

Soon, it is nodding under the rod tip, and by keeping gentle pressure on the fish, we soon have a good double figure mirror nestling in the bottom of the sprout sack! Get in!

Next cast, I revisit the same spot, and another bite comes fairly quickly. This time, its a good skimmer. I’m convinced that the bright, visible Neeonz hookbait is one of the reasons I am getting such a quick response. 

A procession of skimmers follow from this spot, and Im waiting anywhere between 10 and 15 minutes for bites, which to be honest I am happy with given the stamp of fish.

No more carp though - which is interesting!

A trio of fine carp expertly wikled out by Tom's tactics.

Watching the tip will give you a great deal of information about what is happening out front.

Three bright but different colours of Neeonz hookbaits accounted for Tom's carp on the day.


Fjuka 2in1 Micro Baits - the new hookbaits that are also the perfect winter feed

Sold out
Sold out

As seen in Improve your course fishing Issue 362