Get on the pel­let wag­gler! Bag up on carp with your free float - see Steve Ringer’s ex­clu­sive col­umn

Get on the Pel­let Wafter!

Angling Times (UK) - - WELCOME -

TH­ESE days it seems there aren’t lots of new meth­ods hit­ting the match scene, but there are a few lit­tle things be­ing dis­cov­ered that are mak­ing a big dif­fer­ence to catches.

One such edge for me in re­cent months has been the use of ‘wafters’ – semi-buoy­ant boilies – on the pel­let wag­gler.

For years I had al­ways felt that a slow-sink­ing hook­bait on the pel­let wag­gler would catch me more fish, but I could never find one that was quite right.

So, af­ter a lot of per­sua­sion, my brother Phil came out with a new bait, the Pel­let Wafter, un­der the Ringer Baits ban­ner.

Wafter boilies have been around in big-carp fish­ing for a lit­tle while now, and are nor­mally fished on the bot­tom. Th­ese buoy­ant baits give carpers an end set-up which fish can eas­ily suck in.

Phil’s wafters are a bit dif­fer­ent, though, and have been de­signed to look like a hard pel­let. They will just sink un­der the weight of a size 14 Super MWG hook, per­fect for fish­ing up in the wa­ter.

Be­cause it sinks slower than a stan­dard hard pel­let it means it spends more time in what I call the ‘catch­ing zone’, which in turn means a vastly in­creased chance of a bite.

It also looks dif­fer­ent to other baits nor­mally fished on the pel­let wag and as a re­sult it has been trip­ping up even the wari­est com­mer­cial carp.

Since it came out I have used lit­tle else for this tac­tic, and I feel I have caught a lot more carp.

In fact they’ve been so ef­fec­tive I even tried to per­suade Phil not to bring them out so I could keep them to my­self for a bit longer, but the secret is now out!

Here’s how to get the best out of this tac­tic right now…


I’ve come to Earlswood Lakes to­day to show you my ap­proach, and the first thing I do is set up two rods.

The first is what I call my ‘nor­mal’ big wa­ter set-up with a big float and heavy main­line. The sec­ond is a far lighter af­fair, geared more to­wards fi­nesse with a much smaller float and lighter main­line.

The idea is that I start off on the big float and catch what I can, but if and when the carp get a lit­tle bit spooky I will be able to pick a bonus fish or two up with the more re­fined set-up.

You see, while the carp at places

like Earlswood come to the splash of the float, af­ter a while they can be­come a lit­tle wary of it.

This is where the smaller float comes into its own, as it goes in with a lot less noise – in fact it sounds far more like a pel­let hit­ting the wa­ter and is there­fore less likely to spook any fish.

The heavy rig is fished on 8lb main­line and the lighter set-up uses 6lb line, which al­lows me to cast to the same dis­tance with a lighter float.

The 8lb might seem heavy to some but the fish in Earlswood are big, av­er­ag­ing 10lb-plus, and with a big float bang­ing around on the line it takes some ham­mer. This is why I like to fish heavy.

Of course, with the small float I don’t have this prob­lem, hence the 6lb main­line.


I carry a range of dif­fer­ent wag­glers, rang­ing in size from the big John Bon­ney floats to the more re­fined Guru pel­let wag­glers which are much smaller in terms of size and weight.

I also carry dif­fer­ent length and di­am­e­ter floats be­cause, as with any type of fish­ing, good pre­sen­ta­tion is key.

For in­stance, I might kick off on a short dumpy float but if there is a cross­wind and it won’t sit right then my chances of get­ting a bite are slim.

How­ever, a switch to a longer, slim­mer float that sits below the sur­face skim will give me the pre­sen­ta­tion I re­quire, which in turn will lead to bites.

The secret is to carry a range of floats and work out what’s right on the day. Ev­ery day can be dif­fer­ent, de­pend­ing on con­di­tions and the fish’s feed­ing habits.


One of the ques­tions I get asked the most about wag­gler fish­ing is how deep to fish. As a gen­eral

guide I al­ways rec­om­mend just above half-depth. To­day, for ex­am­ple, it’s around 8ft deep so I have kicked off fish­ing at 3ft 6ins.

If I start get­ting in­di­ca­tions which might be line bites I will shorten the hook­length to keep the hook­bait high in the wa­ter.

Equally, if the fish­ing is hard and I’m not get­ting any signs, I’ll go deeper to try and find the fish.

In­ter­est­ingly a longer hook­length often re­sults in more bites on the drop, too, as it keeps the hook­bait well away from the float.

Carp often come to the noise of the float but then back away, so a longer hook­length can help to pick th­ese fish off.


On big waters it’s all about fish­ing at max­i­mum range. The carp are re­luc­tant to come close in so you need to use baits you can fire out to the re­quired dis­tance.

I use 8mm hard pel­lets, but rather than fish them straight from the bag I like to give them a coat­ing of pel­let oil be­fore use. Nor­mally I do this at home so the pel­lets have plenty of time to soak the oil in.

Oiled pel­lets not only of­fer more in terms of at­trac­tion to the carp but oil­ing makes them denser so they can be loosefed a lit­tle bit fur­ther out than a stan­dard coarse pel­let.

For a five-hour match I will have with me at least three bags of pel­lets, and at times I will feed the lot.

The funny thing is, the more you catch, the less you will feed as you will spend most of your time play­ing fish!


One of the rea­sons I love fish­ing the pel­let wag­gler is that it’s busy fish­ing, and the busier you are the more you will catch.

I try to get into a rhythm, one that is a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent to how most will fish this tac­tic.

Most an­glers will tell you to feed and then cast the wag­gler right on top of the feed, but I do it the other way round.

For ex­am­ple, if I’m feed­ing a swim at 25m I will cast to 30m, feed at 25m and then wind the float back into the feed area.

If I don’t get a bite I will feed again, twitch the float maybe 50cm into the sec­ond lot of loose­feed and hope­fully get a bite.

If I don’t, I’ll sim­ply reel in and re­peat the process.

When fish­ing in this man­ner I tend to find that 80 per cent of my bites come when the float hits the wa­ter and the other 20 per cent on the twitch.

I be­lieve that by cast­ing first as op­posed to feed­ing, the only splash in the swim is from my float and hook­bait, and the fish will home in on the noise a lot quicker.

I’m con­vinced that on pres­sured waters the carp like to sit off the back of the feed area, and so by over cast­ing I am ac­tu­ally tar­get­ing them where they are sat, in the­ory mak­ing them eas­ier to catch.

I carry a good se­lec­tion of pel­let wag­glers. Long hook­lengths can be short­ened. My ‘big wa­ter’ pel­let wag­gler choice. Oiled pel­lets add to their at­trac­tion.

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