Kick start your fishing: Pellet basics

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Pellets are one of the most popular baits at White Acres and fishery manager Clint Elliott shows you the amazing array on offer, and reveals his tips on how to get the best from them.

Clint Elliott
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Clint Elliott

Pellet options
At White Acres only coarse pellets are allowed which are lower in oil content than trout pellets and better for the fish. However they come in varying sizes, flavours and as hard or soft , floating or sinking options.

Soft pellets
Soft pellets are ideal for use on the hook and to tempt bites from fish wary of harder pellets. Soft pellets are available in tubs as ready to use hook baits or you can make your own using hard pellets, often termed ‘expanders’ by soaking them in water to soften them up.

Pellet size

Pellet size is important
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Pellet size is important

The size of pellets to use depends on how you intend to feed them, the time of year and the species you are targeting. For loose feeding with a catapult or throwing by hand you may need a larger pellet than when using a pole cup at the same distances. In most situations I like to feed smaller pellets than those I am using on the hook and 4 mm feeders coupled with 6 mm hook pellets is an ideal combination at White Acres. However if I am pestered with smaller fish then I might step up to 8 mm on the hook.

Shallow pole rig

Shallow pole rig
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Shallow pole rig

Fishing the pole shallow is perhaps the most successful approach on our lakes. My favourite float is a small in-line dibber like the Drake or Preston Innovations PB1 patterns. The Drake is particularly effective when you have to fish just a few inches deep as it is such an unobtrusive float. In-line floats are less likely to tangle than other types. I shot this rig with a bulk of small shots, either ten’s or eight’s depending on float size, and the technique is to ‘lift and drop’ the rig probably two or three times a minute to emulate a pellet just entering the water. I would advise strong line, I use Preston Innovations Reflo Powerline in diameters 0.15 mm or 0.17 mm, direct from either a 12 or 14 elastic. A wide gape hook in sizes 16-14 is ideal with Preston innovations PR 28¹s and Tubertini 808’s among my favoured patterns.

Deep pole rig

Deep pole rig
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Deep pole rig

The Preston innovations PB 13 pattern is ideal for presenting pellets at full depth where stability of the hook bait is vital. I shot this rig with a bulk of shots again ten’s or eight’s, about three-quarters of the distance between float and hook. I like to use three to four number ten dropper shot between the bulk and the hook and I will fish this rig anything between two inches over depth to two inches off bottom. Line’s elastics and hooks are the same as for the shallow rig.

Waggler

Waggler
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Waggler

The waggler is a good bet when the fish prefer a slower drop of the hook bait. Because you will often be casting a fair distance hard pellets attached with a bait band are better suited to this style. Pop the pellet in the end of the bander and roll the next band onto it. Make sure the band is sitting centrally. The band is then slipped over the hook.

Feed regularly

Feed regularly
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Feed regularly

Pellets make a lot of noise entering the swim and carp will respond to this. When you want to catch up in the water, ie. the top few feet, then make sure you maintain a steady trickle of bait loose fed into the swim. Up to a dozen pellets can safely be fed twice a minute and you should still have enough with the fisheries one kilo of pellets limit. If you don¹t feed though you won’t attract the fish.

Experiment

Dampen the pellets
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Dampen the pellets

If you have been catching it pays to vary the amounts fed, either increasing or decreasing but still maintaining the frequency. The fish can become wary of the same feed rate.

Dampen the pellets

Hard pellets straight from the bag although made as sinkers still benefit from a quick drink to just dampen them off. This helps to ensure they all sink and break through that surface tension.