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

Improve Your Coarse Fishing (UK) - - Front Page - Words & Pho­tog­ra­phy Tony Grig­or­jevs

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.”

Stand-out hook­baits

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

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