The new Shotgun feeder could revolutionise pellet feeder fishing on commercials – inventor Rob Wooton shows how it works.
You know when you get an idea and you just can’t get it out of your head until you have sussed it out?
Well, spare a thought for me, because for two years I have wanted to make the ultimate pellet feeder.
Thankfully now, with the help of the skilled engineers at Middy, I can present to you the Shotgun pellet feeder in all its glory!
Like most items of tackle, the final product is some way better than my many Heath Robinson crafted prototypes. I fiddled around with all manner of bits and bobs for months, trying to perfect my design.
Looking back, it has all been very educational, albeit a tad frustrating at times too. That’s how we learn though.
To get to the point, the Shotgun feeder allows me to deliver a compact block of pellets right on the money far beyond where I could ever hope to land them with a catapult for example.
Carp are reared on pellets, and they instantly recognise them as a perfect food source. To be able to feed pellets accurately to the far bank by means of a feeder was my ultimate goal, and now it’s so easy to achieve with this Shotgun feeder.
On venues where groundbait and the Method feeder are not permitted, but pellets are, the Shotgun pellet feeder provides the ideal solution. Here’s how it works and how I’ve learnt to derive the best results from it.
First of all it’s an in-line feeder. Down the centre is fixed a smooth PTFE tube with rounded ‘bushes’ outside the feeder on either end to hold it in place, and to prevent line chaffing of course.
Inside the feeder, located on this small diameter tube, is a coiled spring with a cap on the end and it’s the combination of these two elements that serve to force out the pellets.
Holes in the side of the feeder enable water to flood inside and this is the third element that also helps force the pellets on their way. It took me ages to get that bit right on the prototypes!
The weight on the feeder is on one side only, which ensures it always lands one way up.
Today for my demonstration at Holly Farm Fishery, Leicestershire I’m using a 11ft 6in Middy Carp Bagging Machine quivertip rod with 6lb Middy Lo Viz mainline on the reel.
Setting up is simplicity itself (see picture sequence). The main line passes through the tube inside the feeder, and is then fixed to a standard swivel at the other end.
It’s important to use a short hooklength (if fishery rules permit) with this set-up, as the spring pushes the pellets just a few inches out of the feeder into a neat pile.
I’ve found a 3-4 inch hooklength to be ideal and today with carp in the 2-4lb bracket the main target I’m using 0.14mm, with a view to changing up to 0.16mm should more bigger fish show. The hooklength is attached to the other end of the size 8 swivel and my hook is a size 14 Saiko Power Carp Barbless eyed hook.
The key to using this feeder totally effectively is to utilise dampened pellets which will ‘grip’ inside the feeder and hold back the spring. You’ll see in the picture sequence how I prepare the pellets. It must be done accurately. Too soft and they may clog, too dry and they will not stay inside. My best advice is to prepare them the night before.
Just to demonstrate the feeder in action to the tcf boys, I’m placing a loaded one into a bait tub of water and timing how long it takes for the pellets to come out of the feeder.
It is a gradual process for the first few seconds, before the water seeps fully inside, speeding up the end of the process, and the tension of the spring finally fires out the pellets with force, hence the Shotgun name. It all takes approximately 30 seconds, probably less with the increased water pressure out in the lake.
Okay, let’s put it all into practise now, and catch some fish.
First of all, to prevent the feeder from sliding back up the line, I place an AAA shot around a metre up the line. This also serves to keep the line on the bottom behind the feeder.
I prefer to have my rod set up so that it’s in front of me at just a slight angle, rather than directly in front of me as some anglers do, to avoid cracks off.
This also allows me to watch the tip easily and face out to the lake at the same time, so I can observe how well others are catching in a match.
What’s more, the bites on this set up are plainly obvious anyway. Don’t hit bites which are just plucks, they are just fish milling around the bait. Lift the rod to connect only when the fish is clearly ‘on’ having hooked itself on the exposed hair rig set-up. There’s no mistaking them as they’ll almost pull your rod in at times!
Casting accuracy is essential and in summer it’s vital, if you have a feature to cast to, to land the feeder right up close to the far bank cover, onto the far shelf where the carp grub around for food.
One standard advantage of this feeder is that with the hook buried inside of it on the cast, there is no risk of snagging if you do overcast.
However, to eliminate the risk of snagging up even further, you can use the line clip on the reel, which will restrict your cast to the designated distance perfectly.
The only risk with a line clip is if you hook a very large fish that decides to kite off at speed. Here at Holly Farm’s Trotter’s pool, the fish don’t grow all that large so the risk is small and I use the line clip by preference.
I’m placing a 6mm soft hooker pellet through the lasso knot and fill the feeder up as per the picture sequence.
The rod goes onto the rod rest and I wait for the Shotgun to shoot out its little deposit of fishy goodies. Initially, the key is to build up the swim with several casts to land some bait out there, and then that should soon entice the carp to come sniffing around for the fishmeal they clearly can’t resist.
One carp will probably gobble up the contents of a feeder on its own, so make sure those casts are frequent, otherwise the carp will be jumping out of the water wondering what you are up to and when their next fishmeal fix is going to arrive!
Once a fish is hooked, I prefer to keep the rod down low to my side, and just pump the fish steadily back towards the waiting landing net.
Keeping fish on the move in the water will usually see them swiftly in the net before they have even had time to realise what’s going on!
The cameraman wanted a few to splash around today for good effect and you can do this easily by keeping the rod high for too long. Take my advice though, just pump the fish in with rod at a low angle and then raise it only at the last second to bring them up for netting.
As with the Method, it’s vital not to move the feeder once it has landed, otherwise you will draw the hook bait away from the little pile of feed pellets and that would defeat the whole object of the exercise.
The hook bait needs to be right in amongst that pile of feed pellets and the carp will gobble the lot, hook bait included.
As a match angler, I’m always looking for an edge over my competitors, the Shotgun feeder has won me a lot of money.
However, pleasure anglers can benefit from my invention without a doubt. It must be one of the easiest ways to catch carp consistently on commercial venues.
I’ve finished my three-hour session with around 60lb of prime mirror and common carp, which have come one a chuck once that initial feed had attracted a few fish into the swim.
In fact it took only ten minutes to gain the first bite and catch the first fish from it!
In the right circumstances, the Shotgun pellet feeder is a sure fire winner.
tcf Top Tip
Rather than drill hook pellets, Rob uses a lasso knot on the hair to enable him to mount the pellets swiftly and secure them in place. “I find this more efficient with pellets than using boilie stops and a baiting needle,” he says.
Holly Farm Fishery, Willoughby Road, Ashby Magna, Leicestershire, LE17 5NP
Holly Farm is one of the biggest stillwater fishery complexes in South Leicestershire, with three lakes and in excess of 100 pegs in total. The three lakes, Moby, Gils and Trotters, are stuffed with a variety of species, but carp averaging 3lb are dominant and 100lb nets are commonplace. Rob fished Trotters. There’s a large clubhouse with a well-stocked tackle shop and a very good cafe that serves excellent breakfasts. There are 15 caravan pitches on site
Contact: 01455 202391
Day Tickets: £6
Restrictions: Keepnets in matches only. Barbless hooks only. Only Holly Farm pellets and groundbait can be used for feeding. Any pellet can be used on the hook. Always use landing net to land fish
Name: Rob Wooton
Ambitions: To eat more clams and be more consistent!
Total Coarse Fishing (TCF)