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Dave Coster How To - Use Expander Pellets

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Dave Coster How To - Use Expander Pellets

If you have never used expander pellets it’s well worth giving them a go, because when prepared properly this bait can be absolutely deadly, particularly on commercial fisheries. All you need for expanders is a pellet pump and maybe some liquid flavouring.

Expanders float when first put in water, but once they have been given a few minutes to absorb some moisture, pumping the air out of them quickly makes then sink. If you want to instil some extra fish pulling power, add some flavouring to the water before soaking and pumping.

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After working in a pellet pump for around 30 seconds, expanders sink and are then ready for action. They turn a lot softer than normal feed pellets, plus they are spongey enough to hook directly. On hard fished waters, species like carp and bream will often suck in softer baits like this a lot more positively, certainly compared to harder offerings. Expanders are also lighter in water, sinking slowly and once on the bottom tend to waft up when disturbed. Fish find this characteristic hard to ignore! 4mm sizes expand to around 6mm when soaked and are perfect for lots of species.

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One thing to remember, is once expander pellets are ready for use, they need to be kept in an airtight bait box. If they are allowed to dry out too much they will soon turn back into floaters. I keep mine in a flip-top bait box with no perforations, to prevent wind and sunlight from spoiling them.

Because this type of pellet swells up when soaked and pumped, you don’t need a lot. Normally a couple of decent handfuls is enough for a session. If any bait is left over you can freeze it for another day, either in a plastic bag or in a sealed container.

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Although super soft and spongey, expanders are surprisingly robust. They have a grain running through them, so they stay on the hook well, providing you hook them through the rounded part or the pellet. You can also deliberately dry a few out for use on the hook. It doesn’t matter in this case if they turn back into floaters, because a buoyant pellet will counter the weight of the hook, sinking more naturally. It’s the super soft nature that makes this bait so good, normally producing far more positive bites that standard hooker pellets achieve.

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The great thing about super soft pellets is you can almost completely bury and hide super strong hooks inside them. This often fools the wariest of big fish, giving you a far better chance of landing them on stepped up tackle. Even a strong eyed hook is hardly noticeable in an expander, as can be seen in the accompanying photograph. In weedy venues it can pay off to use eyed hooks, because spade end patterns can cut through your hook length when fish charge into underwater obstructions.

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