Super keen carp angler Chris Currie shares why he favours pellets at this time of year and reveals his top tips on how to get the best out of pellet baits.
PROPER springtime is fast approaching and many anglers will be dusting off their tackle from hibernation and venturing out. With the water still being cold it’s not a time to make mistakes with bait.
Pellets are incredibly versatile and can be bought in many different guises, micro, small, mega, flavoured, high oil, fast breakdown – lots of options.
The key is to recognise pellets are all different and use the ones appropriate to the conditions and venue.
In my work as a fish farmer, I deal with varying types of pellets to grow fish and see the fundamental make-up of each and their different application and I follow exactly the same pattern to catch fish on pellets as I do to grow fish using pellets each day.
High oil or low oil?
Trout pellets and halibut pellets are the most popular feed and bait and are extremely effective in the warmer months partly due to their high oil content (typically 15 percent or more), which the fish find extremely attractive, and offers them a readily available energy source.
A carp’s digestive system is governed like all of their bodily functions by water temperature and carp find high oil baits hard to digest in cold water.
The oil in trout and halibut pellets also tends to congeal in cold water, trapping many of the subtle food signals that the pellets would be giving out in warmer water.
If you’ve ever left a bottle of fish or vegetable oil in the garage over the winter and seen what it looks like when it congeals, that’s a very powerful image to keep inside your head.
Do you want to be fishing with a bait in the spring whose oil content can behave like this in the cold?
A pellet lower in oil say (6% oil/fat) like Hemp Pellet, Corn Steep Liquor Pellet (CSL), high attract and flavoured pellet will release food signals much more effectively at this time of year than halibuts and trouts.
Matching the pellet
Most bait companies also sell pellets to match their successful boilie recipes, typically containing the same liquid and powdered additives.
These are a big edge when the water is cold and they are invariably lower oil coarse type pellet formulas, partly for cost and also for manufacturing volume reasons.
If you’ve been regularly using a boilie on a venue that you know the carp like and you’ve caught well on then using these matching fast breakdown pellets with the same attractors is a great tactic.
They tend to be high attract, packed with nutrients and amino acids and also help with your confidence when you use boilies that smell the same.
I’ve been using The Key and the spicy TG Active pellets and on venues where they love those boilies they also love the matching pellet – easy!
A glug and a dust
To further boost the attractive properties of my pellet mixes, I like to add a good glug of bait soak and coat the outer layer of the pellet using two differing applications of additives 12 hours apart so the pellet can really draw in the attractive liquid.
At the second stage I like to add a little powdered attractor that will literally cling to the outer sticky edge of the pellet something like 4G Squid Salt Dust or garlic powder.
Action is often much quicker than when using pellet straight out the bag. Carp respond to the improved taste and smell and it’s just too much trouble for most people to bother ‘preparing’ their pellets prior to a trip.
Mixing it up
They might be a great bait in their own right but one type of pellet straight out the bag doesn’t help you get the best out of these feeds.
Consider a mixture of sizes and colours, they have different breakdowns, tastes and smells and it all helps provide more attraction.
Mixing different pellets together does however mean buying several bags at a time, so the alternative is to buy dedicated mixes that have been pre-blended for you.
I use the Nash Micro, Small and Mega Mixes which are really convenient, just pick a bag up rather than have to shake different pellets together in a bucket in the garage!