There are lots of methods to feed your swim when fishing, but which is the best for your next session? From the good old catapult to the revolutionary new TF Gear Air Bomb, Dom Garnett takes a look at some of the best devices to buy and most innovative ways to bait up.
Being able to feed your chosen fishing spot accurately can make a huge difference to success. Do it right and you’ll stack the odds in your favour. Do it poorly and it’s not just bait you’ll scatter everywhere; the fish might also end up miles from your hook.
At shorter range, or for small helpings of bait, the angler can obviously throw it in or use a swimfeeder or PVA bag. But when it comes to putting a pocket of bait on a gravel bar at 70 yards, or getting free boilies close to snags, what’s the best way to feed? Here are some of the best solutions, complete with the pros and cons of each.
Feeding your swim with a catapult
Catapults come in various shapes and sizes and are excellent for projecting freebies beyond throwing range. Some are ideal for small baits and accuracy; others have special pouches and thicker elastic to launch a ball of groundbait or cluster of particles quite a long way.
|Pros:||Catapults are cheap and with a bit of practise you can be very accurate. Perfect for short to mid range.|
|Cons:||At longer range, catapults get less practical. Accuracy goes down and you might fall short or rap your knuckles.|
TIP: For maximum catapult precision, try “locking” your arm straight and holding the catapult on its side. Softer pouches can be gently squeezed for tighter bait placing.
Feeding your swim with a throwing stick
A favourite old school carp fishing device, the throwing stick turns you from noddy into baiting ninja… well, with a bit of practice. Various models are available and they do a grand job of peppering freebies around your baited rig. And it’s undeniably good fun too.
|Pros:||The baiting stick allows you to launch boilies further and more accurately than you could ever throw them by hand.|
|Cons:||Limited to boilies and similarly aerodynamically shaped baits. Only introduces baits one at a time, so not ideal for heavier baiting up (you could be there a long time!)|
Feeding your swim with a spod
The spod is a castable bait funnel that’s rigged up to a heavy carp rod (or indeed a dedicated “spod rod”). They have a fair capacity and are popular with carp and specialist anglers who like to introduce a substantial bed of bait. Although not the most subtle way to feed, the spod gets a lot of fish food out there fast.
|Pros:||Accurate and ideal for long distances and large amounts of bait. Quicker than most other methods when you want to really build up your feed. Works with any kind of bait you can fill it with.|
|Cons:||Tends to require an additional, heavier rod. Creates a lot of disturbance on impact, which could scare off the fish for a while (less of a problem on longer sessions than quick trips).|
TIP: Mix up some groundbait and add a little layer on top of each spod full of feed before each cast; this stops your boilies, particles and other bits spraying out on delivery.
Feeding your swim with a spomb
The spod’s baby brother, this bait rocket style device is a similar concept but delivers smaller amounts of bait more tidily. It’s just as accurate and makes child’s play of getting a decent bed of bait out there. With a trigger in the nose that makes this special bait capsule split on impact with the surface, they spill less of your free offerings mid-cast and are easier to retrieve than a spod.
|Pros:||You can usually cast a spomb on your normal rods, without having to pack a special “spod rod”. Easy to use and very accurate. Less disturbance than a spod.|
|Cons:||A limited load capacity means that the spomb isn’t as quick as the spod when it comes to introducing larger amounts of bait.|
Feeding with the TF Gear Air Bomb
Carp and specimen anglers are already getting excited about the huge potential of this clever new device. It is cast on a rod and line, much like a spod or spomb, but could well eclipse both. With a rocket-shaped profile, the Air Bomb will reach huge distances. But here’s the interesting part: these gadgets actually open in mid-air when the angler brakes the cast. The result? A lovely spread of bait without as much fish scaring commotion.
It works by stopping short of the mark to “fire” the bait forward, so there is also little risk of losing the Air Bomb. And while your bait will be sprayed a little wider than say a bait boat or PVA bag, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. This is especially true on busy waters where carp grow wary of finding conspicuously neat helpings of food every weekend.
|Pros:||Easy to use and casts miles. Big payload like a spod, but creates much less disturbance. Better for getting bait into and under cover of trees and bushes, as the angler stops the device short to “shotgun” the bait into position. Little risk of losing it. Brilliant for surface baits, such as chum mixers and bread.|
|Cons:||Not quite as tight baiting as a spomb or baitboat.|
Feeding your swim with a bait boat
Love or hate them, the bait boat is about as accurate as feeding gets without actually swimming out there yourself and delivering the bait on a tray! Critics may scoff, but anglers use them to introduce bait and position their rigs in the trickiest of swims.
|Pros:||Incredible accuracy, with the ability to put your rig right in the middle of the feed too. Excellent for awkward and distant spots.|
|Cons:||The most expensive baiting aid on our list by some distance. Banned on some waters.|
Need further advice on how to bait for success on your next fishing trip? It’s well worth keeping an eye on the Fishtec blog for expert tips and advice every month, as well as our archives. Previous posts have included our guide to Cracking Carp Baits, Dave Lane’s Guide to Particle Baits and Top 10 Ways to Feed Your Swim More Effectively.