Fishery of the Week Puddledock
Soft pellets have no place now at top Essex fishery
BOASTING four pretty, mature day-ticket lakes – Snake, Road, Wood and Islands – Puddledock Farm offers 154 pleasure and match pegs as well as a fine specimen lake with fish close to 30lb.
This means there is something for everyone here, making it one of the top commercials within a stone’s throw of the M25.
Recently, though, Puddledock has seen a significant change in the tactics adopted by match and pleasure anglers.
Previously in its near 20-year existence, like many other waters of its kind, Puddledock was a place where a soft pellet hookbait fished over pellet loosefeed would see you pulling out carp after carp.
Alternatively, a large bunch of maggots, meat or worms fished in conjunction with groundbait down the margins would see the last hour of your session come alive as the lumps moved in!
Now it’s all about hard pellets, says Preston Innovations-backed venue regular Jason Collins.
“If you use an expander pellet on the hook, the silverfish will pester you all day,” he says.
“In the past, we would use pellets to get away from the silvers, but these days they have realized that it is an ‘eat or starve’ situation.
“So, to get away from nuisance species, anglers are turning to an exclusive hard pellet approach.”
The advantage of hard pellets in both 4mm and 6mm sizes is their versatility.
“You can band them on the hook, you can ping them from a catapult, you can feed then through a pole cup and you can even colour and flavour them,” Jason adds.
“A great tip here is to match the hatch. If you’re feeding 4mms, fish a 4mm pellet on the hook. I tend to fish 4mms into a maximum depth of 3ft, swapping to 6mms in deeper swims.
“The larger pellets sink more quickly, so they get all the way to the bottom in this deeper water.”
RAIDING THE MARGINS
As well as making the bait bill so much cheaper, swapping kilos of groundbait for a few hard pellets will bring dividends in the way of fish as well.
Fishing both sides, Jason likes to plumb up so his rig is presented around 6ins up the marginal slope into around 3ft of water.
This means the hookbait is kept out of the heavier silt.
He prefers to cup his pellets in when fishing into the wind,
while he throws them in when there’s a downwind.
“Cupping ensures accuracy,” he says. “Throwing gives me a slightly different loosefeed presentation, which can make a big difference on its day.”
Jason usually starts his sessions with around 20 to 30 pellets, feeding little and often throughout the day.
This way he can slowly build up the swim, gauging the loosefeed from the fish’s reactions.
As the day continues, he will ideally end up loosefeeding two lots of 10 pellets every few minutes to keep the fish on the deck and feeding positively.
“Another edge I use is that when I hook a fish, I immediately feed another two lots of 10 pellets to help stop the rest of the shoal spooking,” says the 26-year-old Essex angler.
“It might pay to be a ‘softie’ on some commercial stillwaters, but if you want to get among the carp at Puddledock, especially on this lake – Snake – you’ll have to learn to be a ‘hard man’!
A netful of Puddleduck lumps to Jason.
Fish the pole both across and in the margins.