There are many types of fishing that you could choose when using pellets. When deciding which type of pellet fishing you are going to use, you need to look at your swim. If you want to fish shallow, a pole or whip with soft pellets can be a good idea. For deeper swims, a float rod and hard pellets can be more effective. When your swim is deeper or you wish to fish at distance, I would use ledgering with larger, hard pellets. These types of fishing are not always used in this way, but think of fishing as a learning curve, where it is always good to try something different. In this blog, we will take a closer look at the different ways to use pellets whilst fishing.
Using a hard pellet on your hook (float fishing)
To use a hard pellet on your hook, the best way is to use a pellet band and a banding tool. First, choose the best size band for the pellet you are using, and then stretch the band over the middle of the pellet (using a banding tool helps). Next, put the straight side of the hook under the band so that the point of the hook is pointing away from the pellet. The main problem with this method is that every time you strike, the hook may move. If the point of the hook turns (as is common), the hook is then masked. This mean you have to reel in after every bite to check whether the hook is masked.
This year I have been trying an alternative method, putting the hook through the band so that the hook sits under the pellet. By going down a hook size, the fish will suck the pellet and the hook into its mouth. As you strike on the bite, the hook sets in the fish’s mouth, almost like a reverse hair rig. If you can get the fish to feed freely with some loose feed this method seems to work. I have only used this method with 4, 6 and 8mm pellets. When using a bigger pellet, I use a standard hair rig with the pellets drilled.
Before I go pellet fishing, I mix 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10mm pellets dry in a bucket. I then decant into snappy sandwich bags approximately 500g – I will take up to 3kg of pellets with me and bring home whatever I don’t use. If you feed a swim with mixed sized pellets, the smaller sizes will encourage the smaller fish to feed, which in turn encourages larger fish to move into your swim. When small fish feed, they give off an electrical signal which the larger fish will pick up through their lateral line, meaning fish not only sense the flavour of the food but these signals too. If you then choose the pellet size you want from your mixed bag, you can band that pellet.
Feeder fishing with pellets
I tend to pump or soak my hard pellets in pond water, softening them to go into a cage feeder or around a method feeder. I prefer not to over soften my pellets so they keep some of their shape and size. Again, mixed sizes seem to work best, but not always. Sometimes I will use just one size in my feeder (say 2 or 3mm), with a larger size on the hook. I soak the pellets in pond water, or bottled water if soaking them overnight – never tap water.
Soft hook pellets
Pellets can also be bought soft and ready to use. Soft hook pellets can be put directly on the point of your hook. When you get a bite, the pellet pulls off the hook and the hook sets. I often use soft pellets when pole fishing, as you need to check you still have bait on your hook after every bite, which is easy as you only have to lift your rig out of the water to see if your hook is still there.
Ledgering with pellets
When ledgering with pellets, I will use mixed sizes (8, 10 and 12mm) pre-drilled. I put the 8mm pellets two on a hair, but still feed mixed pellets in a PVA bag or stick. By putting a bag or stick on my hook, this puts small amounts of bait near my hook. I then fire out some loose feed near the point of entry of my hook into the water, which draws in the fish to hopefully get a bite. I also use a piece of PVA riser foam on my hook, which serves two purposes: firstly, the riser foam protects the point of the hook and helps it lift the hook up out of weed and silt and secondly, as the riser foam melts it floats to the surface, giving a marker for your loose feed. Ledgering with pellets is similar to ledgering with boilies – you would use a lead and a hair rig to fish on the bottom.
Floating pellets are used mainly in the warmer months of the year, when the fish are feeding on the surface. For this, I use a length of Fluorocarbon, with a 1-2 metres hook length. Fluorocarbon is see-through, meaning when you put loose feed floaters out in your swim, then the hooked one out, the fish will not see your line attached. When fish can see the line, they will often take all of the loose bait and leave the hooked one alone, and the use of Fluorocarbon can resolve this.
There are many flavours of pellet available, and what works on one lake will not necessarily work on another lake. I think that Marine Halibut is a tried and tested flavour, and over the past few months I have been using Red Krill – on the lakes I fish it works very well. But fruit, fish and meaty flavours also work.
So in my humble opinion, if fishing in the margin (not too far out), use a pole or whip with soft pellets. When fishing deeper, try hard pellets and a float rod. If you want to try ledgering use a quiver tip rod or a carp rod. If you have any questions about these methods, feel free to come into our stores or go to your local tackle dealer who will be willing to help. Remember though that if you speak to ten fishermen, you will probably get ten different answers about how to do something. Therefore I always listen to their advice, but ultimately decide on my own way of doing things.
Tight lines until next time.
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