Get on the pellet waggler! Bag up on carp with your free float - see Steve Ringer’s exclusive column
Get on the Pellet Wafter!
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…
TWIN FLOAT TACTICS
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.
SOAK YOUR FEED
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.