DAY – TICKET TACTICS
Specimen angler, Duncan Charman, visits a different day-ticket venue each month and explains how he gets the best out of his session. This month he looks into the Pellet Waggler, an enjoyable and active tactic that on its day is difficult to beat.
Last month I mentioned how trout/halibut pellets have revolutionised the way we approach most day ticket venue and how traditional baits such as sweetcorn, bread, maggot and hemp are usually just an after thought when we prepare are kit. I have to admit that I am also dependant on pellet on certain venues and if I were to arrive without any then would feel as if I was dressed in a straight jacket, they are that important. One method that I love and try my best to have a few days out using is the pellet waggler and although I occasionally head to a venue such as Willow Park and seriously bag up on carp, what I like to do is to take it to a venue, such as GAS members only Broadwater, where its rarely used and work a swim in a way very few others do in the hope of hooking some larger specimens. The method although widely accepted as a carp method can on the right water catch other species and I remember fishing at MBK Leisure’s Barons Ponds and constantly slipping the net under quality roach, so don’t over look it for other species.
The reason I love this method is that it’s a very active method and without feeding you just won’t catch. The catapult has to be in constant use, even if this only means introducing five pellets every few seconds but get them constantly falling through the water column and eventually a passing carp will intercept them and start feeding. Once you have one carp feeding others will follow and as the session progresses things should get better and better.
The most common mistake I see anglers make is to lose patience too soon and revert from feeding on a little and often basis to catapulting a big pouchful of bait in every five minutes or so. What you need to try and remember is pellets need to be falling through the water all the time so your catapult needs to be in your hand all the time. Fortunately if the bait has been mounted in the correct manner, bites in most circumstances will be similar to barbel bites, three foot twitches, so you can place the rod down and wait for a carp hooks itself. Saying this I have had times when I have to strike, yet this is usually in the early stages of a session when the carp aren’t competing against each other.
It’s a saying I mention all the time whether an angler is float fishing or feeder fishing at that is ‘fish within your limits’ and the reason it rings true when fishing the pellet waggler is because anglers seem to think that the further out they go the more fish they will catch. Fishing at a comfortable distance and feeding accurately, as well as having confidence in what you are doing are the key points in fishing the pellet waggler. Saying this one more important fact is to pick your swim carefully as casting it in a poorly chosen swim will mean one thing, you will struggle. My advice is to take a stroll around the venue and look at the water carefully. In the summer carp will be spotted cruising around, often with the vast majority of the others in the lake. Find this area and fish effectively and you have a recipe for success.
The way I set up is also important and I much prefer to sit on a match style tackle box as the added height, compared to a carp style chair, makes feeding and casting far easier. The butt of my rod, which is a Daiwa TDR 12ft Match Power pellet waggler rod, is placed on my knee but instead of pointing this directly at the float I place it at slight angle as bites usually see the rod being dragged round, so although I’m float fishing the rod is placed as if I was feeder fishing and watching a quivertip. Mainline needs to be strong and robust and I use Sufix DuraFlex in a 9.9lb breaking strain. This may seem over the top but its only 0.20mm thick so casting isn’t affected and as long as a weaker hooklink is used then even twenty pound plus carp should be landed, just take your time. Instead of making up my own hooklinks I now use GURU pre-tied ones as they are made from reliable quality components and aren’t that expensive. In the past I have preferred to mount my pellet on a hair, mainly as I found tying a band on the hook or the bands constantly breaking a pain, but these GURU hooklinks are very good. Floats come in all shapes and sizes, yet the ones that I have found as good as any are 8g Preston Dura-Pellet Wag. They come with thin splashed discs, which I rarely use, and a few weight discs to shot the float at the desired height, yet I like to shot these down, and then glue the screw in weight within the float as they do have a tendency of working loose. These floats cast like a dream and I simply attach them using a quick change swivel which runs on my mainline and is trapped between two very tight float stops.
The reason for using float stops is that these can be moved under pressure which allows the depth I’m fishing my bait to be adjusted throughout the session. Usually I will start a session fishing my bait at dead depth and cast regularly so that the bait falls slowly to the bottom. If I start getting bites on the drop then its time to fish the bait at three-quarter depth and if the fish are right up on the surface and swirling at pellets as they hit the surface then the bait will be fished just a few inches under the float. It’s just a matter of finding where the fish want the bait.
As for what are the best pellets to use, well this is really what you feel confident in using. Most of the venues I fish insist on using their own low-oil feed pellets and if that’s what I’m feeding and attracting carp with then it seems sensible to use the same as hook bait. Low oil pellets are usually light in colour and sink far slower than high oil pellets, which is good, but I would recommend taking a variety of sizes, more for the reason that if the carp are at range then the bigger pellets will be able to catapult further, however in most cases 6mm and 8mm will be fine.
So there you have it a devastating method but one that needs constant attention to certain points such as feeding, casting and depth changing. This type of fishing is an art and perfecting it, like all styles of angling, won’t come overnight, yet as long as you are on fish you should be able to catch a few and as long as you learn from your mistakes, soon you will be bagging up big time.
Main – Its not often you see me sitting on a match style tackle box but every now and again I love to pop down to Willow Park that’s virtually on my doorstep and enjoy bagging up on the pellet waggler. Note the position of the rod tip, around forty degrees to my left.
1 – Floats come in all shapes and sizes but you will be hard pressed to beat Preston Dura Floats.
2 – Get the carp competing and you should be able to catch carp like this Ghostie all day.
3 – A nice double. Fun on a float rod.
5 – Fine and strong, ideal mainline for the pellet waggler.
6– Low oil 6mm and 8mm pellets are fine.
7 – There are many ways off attaching the float but I keep it simple and use a couple of float stops.
8– This little tool will help band your pellet.
9 – Six or seven pellets every twenty seconds will get the fish feeding!
10 – Top Tip. Add some slicker oil to your pellets as it will add further attraction to your pellets and draw fish to your hookbait.
11 – The advantages of a match style seat box are huge as the height makes casting and catapulting far easier and the rests allow the rod to be placed across my knee leaving my hands free to perform the most important part of fishing the waggler, feeding!