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UKCARP MAGAZINE 28 SEPTEMBER 6TH 2011USING PELLETSextra food signals. I remember a chat I had with top match angler Steve Ringer a few years back, when he explained to me how he would never use hard pellets. He would soften down and flavour his slightly the night before, so they were far more instant. This stuck with me and I haven't looked back since.In the warmer months I like to use chunky pellets, so the warm water does not break them down as rapidly as it does with micros. I do, however, always carry a little bait box with a mixture of 1mm-3mm pellets inside. On some waters I've found 10p sized PVA bags of these minuscule pellets to be instant when casting to showing fish. My most trusted PVA bag mix of pellets would be a blend of the finest trouties I can get my hands on. I source mine directly from Skretting, which is the leading pellet manufacturer. I only use the most expensive pellets it produces, but as I said, they are still very cheap compared to boilies - probably a quarter of the price - and I use them mainly for only PVA bag work. The guy I mentioned earlier who I watched batter a venue by stalking it with trout pellets has also influenced how I fish at close range. I've never found fish to be very confident in picking up large baits in the edge but I've done very well by flicking out 8mm trouties, one at a time, to get fish feeding just a yard or so from the bank. I caught five nice fish from Kingfisher at Bluebell Lakes by stalking them under the trees with a handful of oily pellets, which got by far the best reaction from the heavily pressured carp in that lake.Much as I'm a fan of pellets I do not like them for hookbaits as they are far too much work. I compare it to my surface fishing: I'm happy to feed dog biscuits all day long but I never use one as a hookbait. I much prefer a cut down pop-up or even an imitation mixer. When I use pellets on the bottom I like small hookbaits. I know some guys will cast out a PVA bag loaded with 4mm pellets with a 20mm boilie on the hair, but I've found small baits to be much more reliable. I love using Nash small chopped shaped boilies, and I can't begin to say how many fish these have caught me over the years, especially from day-ticket lakes. They are of a similar size and colour to a washed-out pellet, and perfect to fish alongside pellets proper.I'm not a fan of plastic pellet "Much as I'm a fan of pellets I do not like them for hookbaits as they are far too much work. I much prefer a cut-down pop-up"Scalded pellets can be balled up and fired out with a catty.Catapulting out scalded pellets to lay down a bed of feed at short to medium range.Softened, flavoured pellets are deadly.Warm (left) and cold weather bag mixes of various pellet sizes.

"Autumn is a great time to take advantage of pellets when carp are looking to build up their fat reserves"hookbaits - I know they have produced fish for others, but I'm much happier with plastic corn, which seems to be another excellent bait when fished over a bed of pellets or with a PVA bag. I know corn doesn't look like a pellet but I think two grains of plastic, or a 10mm boilie tipped off with corn, is the perfect sized bait to fish with pellets. I don't know a day-ticket carp that can resist it. Boilies go hand in hand mixed in with pellets, but I have not found particles very good when fished on their own. I also think the combination of pellets and particles is a bit over the top. I know fish find the mixture attractive, but I have found both items are best fished separately. Autumn is a great time to take advantage of pellets when the carp are looking to build up their fat reserves. I'm also happy using them in winter, but in small amounts - a mouthful, enough for a quick bite. It would be hard for me to imagine being without pellets when I'm on the bank. They are instant, and ideal for my short session approach. When UKCarp's Steve Broad came down to visit me at my fishery in Norfolk I explained how well they worked, and it was nice to cast a rod out and show him how instant they were. Two nice mid-doubles in two casts proved how much day-ticket carp love pellets.