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Dave's How To - Pellet Fishing On Natural Venues

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Dave's How To - Pellet Fishing On Natural Venues

Dampened 4mm feed pellets, combined with soft 4mm or 6mm hooker pellets are a great way of beating small fish on natural venues.

BEATING NUISANCE FISH Fishing natural venues like lakes, canals, drains and rivers it’s not uncommon to be pestered by small fish, especially when using baits like maggots, casters and worms. Very often small fish attack your hook bait before it has time to settle properly, so anything bigger lurking in the swim doesn’t have any chance of getting in on the action.

An obvious way of avoiding nuisance fish is to use pellets, but then you have the problem of wondering if bigger wild fish have ever seen this bait before. Do you risk an all-out pellet attack where you can seriously come unstuck, or is there another way? Well yes, actually there is…

I’ve found the best way to get wild fish feeding on pellets is to start the session as normal, using your usual baits like maggots, casters and maybe some chopped worm. As for groundbait, again use your normal favourite recipe, however, you can add in a little fishmeal groundbait to help wean the fish in the right direction. But the real secret to success is to get small fish active in your swim, because this is the best way to attract bigger samples. Quality fish are never far away from frenzied small fish activity, normally patrolling around the edges of a well baited swim that’s heaving with small stuff.

Very often what happens next is you try to whittle away at the small fish with conventional baits until something big turns up, but that can take ages. If I can’t get my normal hook bait to settle for longer than a minute without being attacked, I quickly start feeding a few 4mm pellets, alongside any other conventional baits I’ve been using. I also switch to a soft pellet on the hook. Normally the latter gets to the bottom unmolested, which is what you want so anything big in the swim has time to find it. It might take a lot longer to get a proper bite, but when it comes it usually results in a proper rod bender or elastic stretcher!

You can enhance your chances of making pellets work on natural venues by using slightly dampened feed pellets. Wild fish don’t like hard pellets, plus dampened feed pellets can be catapulted further out, which can also be an advantage in some situations. Another good trick is to dust your damp feed pellets with groundbait powder, which ties them in better with any groundbait you are feeding. Yet another good ploy is to feed a mixture of natural and red coloured pellets. Sometimes the natural colour gets lost from sight laying on bottom silt, while red stands out and gains faster attention. I also like using red hooker pellets, which seem to pull bites quicker than darker brown ones.

Typical quality wild fish that can turn by being patient with pellets, on a day when small stuff was blitzing maggots and casters.  width=
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