Dave Coster's How To- Fool Cold Water Fish With A Pellet Feeder

As the water turns colder, big fish become less active and often require something different to make them feed. Lethargic fish don’t want lots of grub either, so a great way of activating them is by introducing small doses of micro pellets. Red micros are a good choice because they stand out well over bottom silt and colour wise emulate natural food like bloodworm. The best way of keeping small amounts of micro pellets going in the swim is to use a medium size pellet feeder. Rig this up with a short 4inch trace to keep the hook bait close by, which will also help to avoid tangles.

I normally half load the feeder by scooping up some dampened micro pellets, then push the hook bait in, before squeezing more pellets over the top of it. By burying the hook bait in this fashion it won’t end up tangling around the feeder on the cast. If you use live red maggots, they will quickly cause the pellets sandwiching them in to break down, so they tumble out of the feeder. It takes a bit longer for dead maggots, hair-rigged pellets, mini boilies or banded wafters to emerge from pellet feeders. But you can speed this process up by twitching the end rig in a few inches after it settles.

Once the pellet feeder is fully loaded and your hook bait is buried inside, you will find it casts a lot more smoothly and is unlikely to catch up with any overhanging cover, especially when fishing tight to features. If you are casting close to island cover, or the far bank, it’s best to use quite a heavy feeder so it doesn’t roll down the slope. 20-30g loadings are perfect to prevent excess movement, especially when fish attack the feeder’s contents. Nailing the rig down also creates a bolt rig effect. Its best to have pellet feeders free running, stopped on the main line with a small connector bead.

As long as your micro pellets have been dampened correctly, so they grip together with a small amount of pressure, they will quickly roll out of shovel shaped pellet feeders. As mentioned previously, two or three live red maggots on the hook will speed this process up, as you can see in the accompanying photograph. It took just 30 seconds in freezing cold water for this load to tumble out, pushing the hook bait ahead of it. Lots of different species respond to micro pellets and the good news is, you only need half a bag for a good day’s fishing, along with a handful of hook baits.

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