Tactic of the Week
Dr Paul Garner reveals how you can make perfect pellets for autumn action
Sack up with soft pellets – Dr Paul Garner reveals his bait tips
AT TIMES, especially in autumn, carp can grow wary of hard pellets.
A quick dip on the float that is nigh impossible to hit is a sign that they are not taking these pellets confidently. The softer texture of expander pellets makes them far more attractive to carp (and other species), leading to more positive feeding and better bites.
The texture of expanders allows the hook to be partially hidden inside them. Once again, when bites are finicky, this can make a significant difference.
Finally, you can add all sorts of attractors very easily to expanders, as they will be drawn into the core of the baits as they expand and soften.
I rarely fish with baits that haven’t been flavoured in this way, as it can make a real difference, especially on tough days when bites are at a premium.
Of course, it’s not just carp that eat pellets, and if you are planning on fishing for other species, soft expanders can well be your best choice. From roach to tench, expanders will catch them all and can prove to be exceptional baits.
Most expander pellets will float straight out of the bag, because they are low-density pellets with a honeycomb-like structure.
It is this structure that allows them to soak up liquid and soften right through. Try the same thing with denser pellets and they will simply turn to mush.
Once upon a time all expanders needed to be prepared in a pellet pump, but this is no longer the case. Although there are still good reasons to use pumped pellets, many brands just need soaking to soften them up.
I like to prepare my expanders in small batches, ideally the night before I fish, as this gives them
plenty of time to soak in the liquid. Soak the pellets according to the instructions on the bag, drain off the liquid, then put them in a zip-seal bag or bait tub with an airtight lid. Give them a good shake after 10 minutes so the baits at the bottom don’t get too soft.
I still use my pump when I’m in a hurry or I want a slightly firmer bait. It only takes about 10 minutes to produce a batch of pellets on the bank, although leaving them for longer always improves the consistency of these highly versatile baits.
These small pellets tend to be used as loosefeed, or can be mixed into Method groundbait for food value. A nice common for Paul – try his jelly pellet recipe. These are an ideal feed pellet but not really suitable as hookbaits, except for roach. 3mm 4mm The best all-round pellets for fish of all sizes, these can be used with a decentsized hook. 6mm
These sort out the bigger fish and deter smaller ones, but take a long while to soak right through. 8mm
There are loads of expander brands out there.