Angling Times (UK)
Steve shows you how to get more action on the pellet waggler
“If I’m not casting or twitching the float then I’m feeding!”
BODDINGTON, as you’ve found out, is very different to your normal run-of-the-mill commercial. First, it’s huge in comparison, with lots of open water that is very affected by the wind.
Second, the carp are big, with an average size of 8lb to 12lb and 20lb-plus fish not being unusual. That means you don’t need many fish to compete.
At this time of year, the pellet waggler is the only way of catching these carp shallow, and I’ve had some brilliant days using it, but on big waters the approach needs to differ greatly from a smaller fishery, where short casts and smaller fish are the norm.
Go big or go home!
There are a few things to consider when fishing the pellet waggler, and the first is distance.
Because Boddington is so big, the further out you can fish the waggler the better. It gives you a real edge over the anglers around you if you can fish and feed past them.
That means your float needs to be much bigger than usual, so I’ll normally use Guru’s big water pellet wagglers in 10g-14g loadings, depending on conditions. These are big floats that are designed for this type of fishing and they’re also very strong, which is important when fishing for lots of big fish!
Pellet size is also important – it’s okay fishing at more than 30m, but if you can’t loosefeed there then your chances of catching are massively reduced.
I like to use 8mm hard pellets as a minimum and will often feed 11mms if I need to go long in less than perfect conditions. Yes, 11mm pellets are big and sink fast, but I feel distance and noise are the two key things in terms of catching.
With the carp being so big there’s no place for 4lb reel lines and 0.15mm hooklengths, because they just won’t stand up to the hammer of a full session. Instead, my reel line is 8lb Pulse Pro and my hooklength 0.22mm N-Gauge. Hook choice is a size 12 or 14
Super MWG. These are a strong yet very sharp hook that I find perfect for Boddington-type venues.
Tie my waggler rig
My waggler set-up is a little different. I tie a 4ins overhand loop in the mainline, then thread a medium line stop up the knot. A snap link swivel is threaded on to the loop before a second line stop is slid on.
Finally, I tie a 1ins loop in the bottom of the big loop and slide the second line stop down to the last knot. The waggler attaches to the swivel and the hooklength to the bottom loop. This rig never tangles, and it’s very strong because the waggler runs on a doubled-up piece of line, which eliminates the chance of a breakage.
The only downside to this set-up is that you can’t change the depth. That’s why I tie my hooklengths long and then
shorten them if I need to. I like to start deep, so if Boddington is at full level and around 10ft deep on the waggler, I’ll look to start off fishing 3ft to 4ft deep.
My thinking here is that by fishing deeper I can cover more water to start with. If I start getting liners and foul hookers, I can shallow up quickly.
Mix up the feeding
If I’m not casting or twitching the float then I’m feeding! I like to try to get into a rhythm, which involves feeding, casting on top of the feed, feeding again, twitching the float to get the hookbait to rise and fall in the water, feeding once more then reeling in and repeating the process. The amount I feed will vary depending on the day, but I’ll kick off feeding six to 10 pellets at a time.
If the fishing is tough, I’ll mix it up and try fishing off the back of the feed. It’s amazing how many times doing this produces bites when there seem to be no fish in the swim at all.
Most of the bites will come on the splash – the moment that the float and hookbait hits the water. It’s important to always try and stay tight on the float. Do that, and when the float does go under, nine times out of 10 you won’t need to strike, as before you can react the rod top will already be pulled round! I don’t clip up in open water – I prefer to be able to cover the whole swim rather than plough a furrow in my feed.
A little tip regarding casting is to always make sure that you feather the float before it hits the water. This ensures good separation between the hookbait and float, something which is very important.
Think about your hookbait choice. I always like to fish a hard pellet the same as the ones I’m feeding. If the carp are eating the loosefed pellets then it makes sense to have the same on the hook. However, if the carp are feeding really high in the water then an 8mm Pellet Wafter can be a great change bait. A wafter sinks more slowly and spends longer on the fall.