Chris Barley shatters a myth about using expander pellets
Folklore has it that loosefeeding expander pellets just isn’t the done thing. But Chris Barley proves otherwise
REGARDLESS of what bait you’re loosefeeding , you’ll typically give it a go on the hook as well. That applies to all baits apart from expander pellets. For reasons that remain unclear, soft expanders are exempt from this rule, having been deemed, by Lord knows who, as only being worthy as a hookbait, never a feed bait.
But why is this?
This is a question that certainly baffles Dynamite Baits-backed Chris Barley. “I have always fed and fished expander pellets,” ” he told us. “I find them particularly effective when I’m targeting ting skimmers, because they seem to love really soft baits. You will still till catch when loosefeeding hard pelletsts but experience has shown me that I get quicker and more positive bites hooking an expander over a bed of the same pellets.” To o see how Chris prepares and fishes expanders, we joined the 54-year-old year-old on the banks of Beastie Lakee on the famous Cambridgeshire match complex, Decoy Lakes (www. decoylakes.co.uk). ylakes.co.uk).
Being a big softie
Hailing from a specimen carp background, ground, Chris likes the idea of ‘matching the hatch’ in regard to the baits he uses. “I wouldn’t feed one flavour of boilie and then fish a totally different one on the hook, so why do it with expander pellets,” he questioned. “If you are loosefeeding one bait, it stands tands to reason you should use that same ame bait on the hook as that is what the fish are seeing and eating.” As a highly-successful matchman, he also likes to plough his own furrow and not blindly follow other anglers’ tactics. This, he feels, gives him an edge. Over a five-hour match an angler may feed around two to three pints of hard pellets. Feeding the same volume of expanders will require only a quarter the number of pellets. This means the fish have fewer single items to pick up, so there is a greater chance of fish picking up your hookbait. Plus, as the feed and hookbait are the same, there’s less likelihood of the fish becoming preoccupied on smaller hard pellets. “On windy days, when there’s a lot of tow on the water, the slightly buoyant expanders will move around in the swim, which can also entice quicker bites,” said Chris.
Expanding his feed
Chris’ first choice of expander pellets are Dynamite Baits 6mm Swim Stim Pro Expanders in both Amino Original and Red Krill flavours. He will mix around 25 per cent Krill pellets to the Amino Originals. These add a splash of colour as well as introducing a different flavour trail through the water column. To prepare the pellets, he pours a quantity into his pellet pump and, after pumping them, he will skim off any that are remain floating. These pellets will be pumped again and again until there are only a half a dozen or so that refuse to sink. These will be discarded. The pumped pellets are transferred to a bait tub and extra water added to keep them wet. At this point, to further increase their attraction, Chris will add half a capful of Dynamite Baits Fish Gutz Feeding Trigger liquid to the water. “Once the 6mm pellets are ‘expanded’, they will plump out to around 8mm-10mm,” explained Chris. “For a day’s fishing, you only need a third of a bag of pellets, about a pound’s worth of bait.”