Knowing how to use pellets to catch carp is harder than it sounds. Pellets are incredibly versatile and can be bought in many different guises - micro, small, mega, flavoured, high oil, fast breakdown - but that means they can also be a bit confusing.
The key is to recognise that pellets are all different and use the ones appropriate to the conditions and venue you're fishing in.
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In my work as a fish farmer, I deal with varying types of pellets to grow fish, and I see the fundamental make-up of each and their different application. I use the exact same approach to catch fish on pellets as I do to grow fish using pellets every day, so you can be sure that my tips on how to use pellets to catch carp are legit.
Read on to find out how I use pellets to catch carp and try them out for yourself.
How to use pellets to catch carp: high or low oil pellets?
Trout pellets and halibut pellets are the most popular feed and bait and are extremely effective in the warmer months.
That’s partly due to their high oil content (typically 15 percent or more), which the fish find extremely attractive. And it offers them a readily available energy source.
A carp’s digestive system is governed like all of their bodily functions by water temperature and carp find high oil baits hard to digest in cold water.
The oil in trout and halibut pellets also tends to congeal in cold water, trapping many of the subtle food signals that the pellets would be giving out in warmer water.
If you’ve ever left a bottle of fish or vegetable oil in the garage over the winter and seen what it looks like when it congeals, that’s a very powerful image to keep inside your head.
A pellet lower in oil (6% oil/fat) like Hemp Pellet, Corn Steep Liquor Pellet (CSL), high attract and flavoured pellet will release food signals much more effectively at this time of year than halibuts and trouts.
Check out: How to catch carp in winter
How to use pellets to catch carp: matching the pellets
Most bait companies also sell pellets to match their successful boilie recipes, typically containing the same liquid and powdered additives.
These can give you an edge when the water is cold and they're invariably lower oil coarse type pellet formulas, partly for cost and also for manufacturing volume reasons.
If you’ve been regularly using a boilie on a venue that you know the carp like and you’ve caught well on that then using these matching fast breakdown pellets with the same attractors is a great tactic.
They tend to be high attract, packed with nutrients and amino acids and also help with your confidence when you use boilies that smell the same.
Check out: Carp floats: everything you need to know
How to use pellets to catch carp: try a glug and dust
To further boost the attractive properties of my pellet mixes, I like to add a good glug of bait soak.
I coat the outer layer of the pellet using two differing applications of additives 12 hours apart so the pellet can really draw in the attractive liquid.
At the second stage I like to add a little powdered attractor that will literally cling to the outer sticky edge of the pellet.
You can do this with commercial additives, or even with garlic powder.
Action is often much quicker than when using pellet straight out the bag.
Carp respond to the improved taste and smell and it’s just too much trouble for most people to bother ‘preparing’ their pellets prior to a trip.
Check out: How to cast for carp
How to use pellets to catch carp: mixing pellets up
They might be a great bait in their own right but one type of pellet straight out the bag doesn’t help you get the best out of these feeds.
Consider a mixture of sizes and colours, they have different breakdowns, tastes and smells and it all helps provide more attraction.
Mixing different pellets together does, however, mean buying several bags at a time, so the alternative is to buy dedicated mixes that have been pre-blended for you.
I use ready-mixed which are really convenient, just pick a bag up rather than have to shake different pellets together in a bucket in the garage.
Check out: How to catch carp on bread
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