"Pellet fishing on the long pole is my favourite method, especially fishing tight across on snake Lake type venues. Itís a method that has won me a lot of matches over the last few years and below I have tried to give you an insight into the rigs and techniques I use in a typical match.... "
The GOT hooker and feed pellets have become a firm favourite with me, and I feel these products give me an edge over other anglers not using the bait. As we all know, confidence is half the battle in match fishing.
For all snake type venues where Iím looking to fish tight across or tight to the edge in about 2ft of water Iíll opt for a 4x10 float. Choice of float is a personal thing, but I prefer a light float with a thickish tip that can be dotted right down to a dimple. This way when the pellet is off bottom it will sink the float very slightly and I can then edge the rig tighter until it sits up - then I know the pellet is just touching. I prefer to fish like this for 2 reasons:
- The bites are easier to hit as the fish sucks the bait in there is no delay on the float
- When carp come in and stir the bottom your bait will rise up more naturally as there in no line on the bottom to weigh it down. Iím convinced carp prefer to blow the bottom and pick off the rising bait.
As for shotting I like to keep it very simple, a bulk of no 10ís grouped just below half way and one no 10 shot under the float so it cocks quicker and shows me if the float has moved.
Generally I opt for 0.16 line for most of my summer fishing and in winter Iíll go no lower than 0.14 - it gives me a little more finesse and the confidence to land those vital larger carp.
When plumbing up Iíll use a traditional plummet first to get the rough depth, and then I get a BB shot with a small piece of float tubing pinched inside - I then hook the shot on through the tubing, and plumb again edging the rig to the far bank until its dead depth. The traditional plummet does not give you this accuracy. Also I know that if the BB shot just rests on the bottom without sinking the float, then all my feed will rest there to - this is important because the last thing you want is your feed rolling down out of your swim!
Hooks are a personal thing, but I prefer Fox series 2 in either 20ís or 18ís - they are super strong and a good shape for pellets.
My open water rig is typically a 4x14 or 4x12 Fox MP1 depending on depth, I shot the float with a bulk of no 8ís roughly 2ft from the hook with no droppers.
I donít like to use droppers because I want the pellet to drop the last 2ft as naturally as possible. I think carp watch the bait as it falls before they take it! Iíll fish anywhere from dead depth to 8Ē over depending on the tow.
When fishing tight across or in the edge, I always drop the rig in pendulum style (see diagram) and keep the float on a tight line so everything is straight as it drops down. This slows the fall of the bait and keeps the rig under perfect control. Itís amazing how many bites you get on the drop like this.
I always feed via the toss pot just before I drop the rig in - so my bait is dropping through at the same time as the loose feed. For the deeper rig its the same principle - I put the rig in pendulum style and watch for the bite as the rig settles.
I also like to drag and lift the rig once it has settled to try and induce a bite. One thing I see a lot of anglers do wrong is strike to hard! You donít need to, just a simple lift is all it takes, very often when Iím fishing with GOT hooker pellets (which stay on well) Iíll lift no more than a few inches into the bite! And if I donít connect Iíll drop the rig down again without checking if the pellet has gone - and often get another bite instantly! Thatís confidence in the pellet still being on because I didnít strike too hard.
This technique can really speed up your catch rate, it takes practice because your natural instinct is to strike hard! The shorter your line between pole and float the better it works!
Pellets and Feeding
In winter or when silver fish are not a problem I always use GOT expanders on the hook in both 4mm and 6mm. I prepare them by pouring hot water on them for a minute and put them into cold water - drain them off and place them in a sealed bag overnight. When I get to my peg I add some lake water to the bag, squeeze the bag to make the pellets sink - I always keep them in the bag covered in the water to keep them soft.
In Summer or when silvers are a problem then its GOT hooker pellets all the way! The Liver and natural flavours are my favourites, they stay on well and certainly catch you lots of fish! For feed it depends on the venue to a certain extent. Alders seems to respond to heavy feeding with 4mm GOT hard pellets, yet Puddledock and Oakfield seem to respond better to a little and often approach with micro pellet and a few 4mm. But whatever the venue I always feed a few hook samples as well.
I tend to feed little and often via a toss pot when fishing tight across, Iíll only loose feed this line if Iím fishing shallow as it can send the carp into a frenzy and you end up with carp sucking the far bank and get frustrated with liners and foul hookers! When Iím fishing the edge Iíll toss pot it when fishing it but feed it by hand when Iím not. That may sound strange but itís something that works for me.
I try to keep everything simple and tidy. I always try to make the pellet work for me in a match because I know that if I can get them going on it Iíll hopefully do a big weight. Often anglers around me will come off the pellet on the far bank because they are struggling or getting silvered out, this spurs me on to keep plugging away across because when the carp do decide to feed Iíll have all the fish in my swim!