The magic of micros! How to get the best from them now
Angling Times’ bait expert Paul Garner explains why tiny pellets make a difference
BRITAIN’S best-selling pellet, micros of less than 3mm, have revolutionised the Method feeder, being incredibly easy to use and devastatingly effective.
Small pellets are obviously designed for feeding tiny fish, which have different nutritional requirements to their older brethren. Small fish need more protein and energy in their diet, so micros tend to be richer than larger pellets. This makes them more attractive to all sizes of fish and normally they do not require any additives to boost them.
Micros also tend to have more binder in them, as they are more difficult to extrude than a larger pellet. This means that when dampened they will stick really well to a feeder and can even be balled-up for feeding.
There is much more to micros than their just being small, though. These baits are often quite specialised and care needs to be taken when choosing the right one for the job. Get it right, however, and big catches are on the cards.
PERFECT FOR THE METHOD
I use the Method feeder a lot and it is surprising how effective this simple tactic is for a whole range of species. From specimen roach and crucians to big carp, I have caught them all on the Method, and very often it is the combination of the feeder with tiny pellets that proves to be the winner.
That pile of pellets on the lakebed looks and smells so appealing to any passing fish, but because each pellet is so small they are quite difficult to feed on.
The wash created by fish in the swim tends to spread them out and make the fish browse, rather than eat the whole lot in one go.
ADJUSTING THE BREAKDOWN
Preparing micros is relatively straightforward. I treat them more like groundbait than normal pellets. Instead of soaking, dampening them with a little water works really well, allowing you to control just how sticky they become.
By gradually adding small amounts of water, and then dampening them again as they start to dry out, you can achieve the perfect consistency every time. Because the pellets haven’t been fully soaked they will also take on water quickly when cast out and break down in a matter of seconds.
For deep water and long casts it is essential that the micros stick together well so that they reach the bottom still on the feeder. For this job 1mm Sticky pellets are ideal, as they bind really well.
For shorter casts and shallower water I swap to 2.3mm coarse pellet micros. These pellets are a little easier for the fish to eat, holding them in the swim for longer, but they don’t bind together so well. This limits them to pegs less than 6ft deep.
For tricky days, or when targeting specimen crucians, I swap to a micro pellet mix containing a range of pellets and salmon fry crumb. This super-rich feed has maximum pulling-power and will bring bites when normal pellets fail.
Because micros are so small you are never going to fish with them on the hook, so what can you use instead? If the fish are feeding confidently then a 6mm pellet or
mini-boilie are likely to be singled out and bites can be expected within a couple of minutes. Most of the time, though, a more subtle approach pays dividends.
A bunch of dead maggots is a superb hookbait, being almost neutrally buoyant, but it can attract too many silverfish on some venues. My favourite bait for singling out larger fish is a rubber caster. I trim these down to just sink a size 16 hook, to give a brilliant presentation.
As the fish suck up the micros the hookbait is picked up just as easily, ensuring great hookholds and plenty of bites.
If plastic baits are banned on your fishery, Dynamite hookable wafters are a great alternative and can be cut to size.
Even a small Method feeder introduces a lot of pellets in just a few casts, but if you want to feed more than this there are a couple of options. First, try making a few quick casts with the feeder – lightly compressing the pellets will ensure they fall away quickly, meaning you can recast faster.
Alternatively, use a 20mm Ball Maker to form perfectly round balls of micros. These can be fed accurately using a catapult with a semi-rigid cup.
Balls of micro pellets are most accurately fed with a catapult.
It pays to carry a range of hookbaits – you never know what’s in the swim.
A rubber caster is a top balanced hookbait for a feeder loaded with micro pellets.