Tac­tic of the Week

Dr Paul Garner re­veals how you can make per­fect pel­lets for au­tumn ac­tion

Angling Times (UK) - - WELCOME -

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.

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