Experiment with pellet colour – Dan Squire
The colour of pellets chosen for the hook has a dramatic effect on your catch rate, insists Sensas-backed Dan Squire
WHEN carp compete to hoover up every morsel of bait, they churn the bottom and create vast mud clouds. That murky water may prevent us from getting a look at what’s going on underwater, but don’t for a second be fooled into thinking our quarry struggles with the same ‘blindness’. Some top anglers believe that the colour of your bait can make the difference between success and failure. And Dan Squire certainly subscribes to that train of thought. The Sensas-backed rod uses colour to give himself an advantage when the chances are that anglers on the surrounding pegs will all be using pellets that are of exactly the same shade. “I have spent a long time experimenting with different colour pellets when fishing shallow, and I am convinced my results have improved dramatically,” explained Dan. “It isn’t as simple as randomly picking any coloured pellet – the conditions on the day play a huge part in making the right decision.”
Shallow fishing is still extremely effective, despite a slight dip in temperatures, and when the sun is shining brightly you are likely to see plenty of carp cruising around. You can guarantee there will be even more fish sat a little deeper, and Dan believes these are the ones that are most likely to fall for the bait. “The fish that can be seen easily often aren’t interested in feeding. It is the ones out of sight that are after some grub and will swim upwards to intercept the loosefeed. “The colour of pellets you use makes a huge difference to the number of bites you get under certain conditions.” Fish view the bait as a silhouette. On bright days under blue skies Dan uses dark brown. “You might think that the muddy water would prevent fish from seeing this, but I have caught too many fish by applying this theory for it to be coincidence,” he says. On the flip side, he will turn to white or yellow
pellets on cloudy days because bright baits will be easier to spot against the darker sky. Dan will only use a coloured pellet as a hookbait, as this helps carp pick it out in an instant. He will feed standard brown pellets sold at most fisheries as they sink more slowly, keeping fish in the upper layers for longer.
Keep on feeding
If the fish are rooted to the bottom then the silhouette effect isn’t going to work, so it is important to do all the right things to get them competing in the upper layers. “Any fish that are feeding will only come close to the surface if bait is going in regularly. “They choose to do this as opposed to waiting for it to hit the deck because it gives them a better chance of beating their rivals to the food. “I always have the catapult in hand and will feed six to 10 pellets every 30 seconds.” Dan fires in 6mm pellets that make plenty of noise when entering the water, using an 8mm version as hookbait in a bait band. Not all bait manufacturers have created a range of coloured pellets, but Sensas has a range readily available in tackle shops that are ideal for the job. “One bag of each will last you months on end because you only use them as a hookbait.”
Two essential rigs
Just how shallow the fish are willing to feed will vary day by day. You may see lots of swirls after you have fed, indicating that the carp are competing right beneath the surface. On days like this, Dan uses a 0.1g Malman MTD2 float. “I want the hookbait to fall slowly and I can achieve this with a light float. I don’t need any shot on the rig because the hookbait is enough to cock the float.” When using this set-up it is best to have 2ft of line between pole-tip and float and regularly ‘slap’ the float on the water to create noise that replicates the sound of bait going in.
Big carp can see when a pole-tip is over their heads and this can spook them. By using this length of line you keep the tip away from where the loosefeed is going in, helping the fish feed confidently. As this is a short float, it is only suitable for fishing in the top 12in of water. For swims between 1ft and 3ft deep, a 0.2g Sensas Power Pencil float is best. This is shotted with three No.9 shot spread evenly between the base of the float and the hooklength knot. Rather than regularly slapping this, it is best to lift it out and lay it back in on its side. This helps present the hookbait in a more natural way that picks out even the wariest of fish. Both incorporate a size 10 Preston Innovations Dura Hollo elastic, 0.16mm mainline and an 0.14mm hooklength to size 18 Guru SLWG hook. “This may sound light for carp into double figures, but it is balanced, and you’ll be surprised how quickly you can tire out the fish,” says Dan. It’s no secret that pellets are the ultimate commercial carp bait, but follow Dan’s colourful way of thinking and prepare to watch your results rocket.
YELLOW It is always good to have an alternative. When bites dry up on white baits try a yellow pellet WHITE Start with a white 8mm pellet hookbait on overcast days silhouetted against the dark sky overhead LIGHT BROWN Feed light brown pellets. They sink slower, keeping fish shallow for longer
Pay close attention to your pellet colour and expect more of this
A dark brown pellet looking like a halibut is hard to beat under blue skies DARK BROWN
Banded 8mm hard pellets on a size 18 hook are Dan’s first choice of hookbait
Feed 6-10 pellets every 30 seconds to keep the carp feeding up in the water
Dan always has bags of different coloured 8mm pellets for hookbaits