This is a copy off a blog that i found on match fishing scene and the writer of it Merce has given me permission to re blog it , i have decided to do this as it’s a very well written and though provoking . It is in five parts and the first one revolves around feeding , hope you enjoy reading it as much as i did .
Ok, we are going to start here as it is arguably the most important factor. The first point to emphasise is that roach and skimmers feed entirely differently. The best way to describe it is this. Imagine you throw some scraps of bread on your back garden. Birds will swoop in, grab a piece and fly off. Seagulls do the same with chips at the seaside. This is how roach feed. Roach feed like birds.
I had an operation on my neck earlier this year and had to take a few weeks off work. As part of my recovery, I went to stay in a hotel in north Wales. There were sheep in the field nearby. I watched them (very closely of course, lol). Sheep graze. They steadily work their way across the field, usually in small groups, slowly covering the ground. They spook easily and don’t like to be disturbed. This is how (big) skimmers feed. Skimmers graze.
Now I know there are exceptions to this (you can catch big skimmers on pellet shallow at the Glebe and elsewhere) but this is an excellent rule of thumb, and completely influences how you should feed for them. Essentially, roach want it little and often. Whereas for the big skimmers you need to leave you swim to ‘cook’. This is the single most important feeding tip we can give. If you want to catch the bigger skimmers at SM (and elsewhere) than feed a swim and leave it to cook. When you go on it the bigger skimmers will have settled.
So from here, you can build an approach to the match. My feeding/match plan works as follows, from the start of the match. I have two swims at 13m, at 10 and 2 o’clock (we will come to rigs, depths and baits later). One (say the right hand swim) is fed with 4 or 5 big balls of feed at the start (ie ‘feed and leave’). I then leave this swim and start fishing the left hand swim, dripping in the feed via a kinder pot. I also start feeding caster by hand at 5 metres for the roach later on.
So on a good day, I’ll spend the first hour catching roach and odd small skimmers on the long left hand swim. After an hour I will then switch to the right hand swim (now hopefully cooked) and ideally catch a big skimmer straight away. At this point, I will then put 4 or 5 big balls into the long left hand swim, so this can start cooking, while I plunder the big skimmers in the right hand swim until they back off (they will!). You then simply rotate between each of your long swims every 45mins/hour – fishing it out, then feeding and leaving it, and then coming back for another spell later as you alternate between the two long swims. Then finally, if the Gods are smiling on you, you come short in the last hour and bag up on dog roach, plus the odd tench, at 5 metres!
Of course, it never works out entirely as you’ve planned but outlined above is the overall strategy, and more often than not is how the match will pan out. If you need any final proof of the roach vs skimmer difference, think about this. When fishing on these venues if you get a bite as soon as your bait has hit the deck, it will almost always be a roach. But if you bait has had chance to settle for a minute or two, the odds are the bite will be from a proper fish. The roach move more quickly than the skimmers, and will chase the bait down to the bottom. Skimmers however like time to find the bait, inspect it, and then take it. Because of their shape, they do this in a certain way, which is why the rigs are important. We’ll cover that next time.
Skimmers therefore are shy biters – perhaps only crucians and winter F1s are more gentle biters. However, skimmers have one outstanding feature that you can use to ensure you get unmissable, plain-as-day bites – their body shape.
Hold your hand up in front of you, palm facing. That’s a 6oz skimmer that is, with your middle finger (the longest one unless you live near Herbie, lol) representing its mouth. Lower your hand, bottom-edge downwards, until is just above the table in front of you. You are now a skimmer hovering above the lake bed. Imagine there is a piece of corn on the bottom that you want to eat – bend your arm down to pick it up with the tip of your middle finger, and your elbow will go upwards. That is how skimmers feed, they up-end themselves to pick up the corn and then level themselves to eat it. This gap between where they take the bait and where they munch it can be your passport to clear bites.