Feeding loose micros into deep water can be the kiss of death when you’re fishing for F1s and carp, as it leads to lots of line bites and foul-hooked fish.
But for skimmers it’s a very different story. This is a method that I first came across a few years ago after making a trip up to Hayfield Lakes for a silverfish match.
My plan was to target skimmers over groundbait and dead maggots and pinkies. In theory it was a good plan, but despite trying lots of different ways of feeding the swim, after two-and-a-half hours I’d managed just one small skimmer.
With time running out I knew I had to try something different to pull fish into the swim. I’d been told that Kinder potting 2mm micro pellets worked well for the skimmers on there, but I had dismissed it – frankly, feeding loose micros into 10ft of water seemed like madness to me.
But with nothing to lose I decided to give it a go so I quickly attached a Kinder pot and filled it with micros. Two feeds later I had a bite, then another and another, and within 20 minutes I was getting a bite every put-in from small skimmers. The difference was quite simply amazing. I can only think that the micros falling through the water were pulling fish into the swim.
Since that day it’s an approach I’ve used a lot and it’s rarely let me down. Right now, on waters with a silverfish bias, it’s definitely worth trying. I have to admit, it still doesn’t seem right, but it certainly works!
How many pellets?
When it comes to bait it really doesn’t get any simpler - all you need is a pint or so of wetted-down 2mm coarse pellets and a few expanders for the hook.
I always like to prepare my micros the night before, slightly overwetting them so they soak up as much water as possible and expand to their maximum size. In fact, if you have the right micro pellet it’s even possible to use them on the hook!
Coarse pellets are best for this type of fishing as they are light in colour and skimmers can spot them easily as they fall through the water. As I’ve said many times before, I’m convinced that when the water is clear fish feed by sight rather than by smell, so these falling pellets offer a high degree of attraction.
To kick the swim off I like to feed a quarter of a small 100ml Drennan pot of loose micros.
After the initial feed I like to let the swim settle for at least 30 minutes – I’m not a fan of going straight in when fishing for skimmers as I feel they need time to feel confident enough to feed. When I do decide to have a look, though, I will first load up a small Guru pole pot full of wetted-down micro pellets.
I’ll sprinkle half out straight away and wait for a bite. If I don’t get one within two minutes I’ll sprinkle in the other half of the pellets. I’m totally convinced the reason this method works is bait falling through the water, hence even if I’m not getting bites I like to keep a bit of bait going in.
From this point on I’ll feed to bites, and once I start getting a few fish I will feed again. This is a busier than usual way of feeding for skimmers, but it works, believe me!
Start on an expander
When it comes to what to fish on the hook I will always start with a 4.5mm Ringers Coolwater Expander. Skimmers love a soft pellet, and an expander stands out well over a bed of micro pellets, giving the skimmers something they can easily home in on.
I also carry a variety of sizes and colours of expander, just so I can mix it up throughout a session. You’ll often find, for example, that you’ll catch well on a standard 4mm expander to begin with and then bites will go a little bit funny, even though there are still fish in your swim.
I think what happens is that the fish get used to feeding on the micros and start to ignore the bigger baits. When this happens I switch to a 3.5mm F1 Light expander pellet to match the feed and keep catching.
My Rig (click to open in full)