Dr Paul Gar­ner re­veals his take on the pop­u­lar pel­let cone tech­nique

It’s a great al­ter­na­tive to a feeder, es­pe­cially when bites are scarce A

Angling Times (UK) - - WELCOME -

T THIS time of year, fall­ing water tem­per­a­tures after a long sum­mer of an­gling pres­sure can ad­versely af­fect catches at some venues.

Nor­mally re­li­able tac­tics such as the Method feeder can fail spec­tac­u­larly, and a switch to a more sub­tle ap­proach is of­ten needed.

Re­duc­ing the amount of feed makes sense and, strange as it may seem, dis­pens­ing with the feeder al­to­gether can en­cour­age wary carp to feed more con­fi­dently.

The pel­let cone achieves both these aims, but to get the most from the tac­tic re­quires your feed to be ab­so­lutely spot-on. The pel­lets need to be sticky enough to hold to­gether around the hook on the cast, and spe­cial­ist sticky pel­lets are the ideal start­ing point. How­ever, on many venues where only the fish­ery’s own pel­lets can be used, a slightly dif­fer­ent ap­proach is re­quired with the pel­let cone, which can be found in sev­eral sizes in tackle shops.

PUR­POSE-BUILT PEL­LETS

Sticky pel­lets are perfect for the pel­let cone. Once damp­ened, they stay to­gether much bet­ter than nor­mal pel­lets, pro­vided they are pre­pared prop­erly. I tend to think of them more like ground­bait than tra­di­tional pel­lets. The trick is to add water a lit­tle at a time and keep mix­ing vig­or­ously.

Be­cause of their mi­cro-size, sticky pel­lets quickly ab­sorb the mois­ture and will start to clump to­gether. Once they have reached this stage, dampen them grad­u­ally un­til the right con­sis­tency is achieved.

Sticky pel­lets will also dry out quickly, but keep­ing them in an air-tight con­tainer will help. Don’t pre­pare too many in one batch. While they can be damp­ened once or twice, each time you do so they be­come less sticky and even­tu­ally they will turn to mush.

FISH­ERY-OWN PEL­LETS

With most fish­ery-own pel­lets you’ll need an ad­di­tional binder to make them sticky enough for use with a pel­let cone. Sev­eral com­pa­nies now pro­duce a pow­der that achieves this once water is added, and these are ideal if you want to feed neat pel­lets.

An­other op­tion is to add a small amount of ground­bait. This acts as a binder, and cre­ates at­trac­tion by cloud­ing up and spread­ing out.

To pre­pare a pel­let-and-ground-bait mix, dampen the pel­lets as nor­mal, but slightly over-wet them. Next add just a sprin­kling of ground­bait. All you are try­ing to do is add some stick­i­ness and fill in the gaps be­tween the pel­lets when they are com­pressed in the cone, so it’s im­por­tant not to add too much crumb. The mois­ture on the pel­lets should be am­ple to dampen the ground­bait. Be care­ful not to make this mix bind too well as it will then take much longer to break down and could lead to missed bites.

THINK ABOUT COLOUR

Re­mem­ber when red meat was all the rage a few years ago? I reckon

this was so suc­cess­ful be­cause it was some­thing that the fish hadn’t seen be­fore. And guess what? The same ap­plies to dyed pel­lets too.

Most fish­ery pel­lets are sandy-brown in ap­pear­ance and can be dif­fi­cult to colour when dry, but if you dampen them, adding liq­uid dye is a sim­ple af­fair.

Red is the ob­vi­ous colour to use, but be pre­pared to ex­per­i­ment. You’ll find that dark colours tend to work best, which is good news as darker baits tend to blend in with the lakebed bet­ter and the fish set­tle over them more con­fi­dently.

Liq­uid dyes work bet­ter than pow­dered ones and I sim­ply add a few squirts of dye to the damp pel­lets and then shake them well to dis­perse the colour evenly.

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