Throughout the winter, soft expander pellets have been one of the most important hookbaits for catching carp, F1s and skimmers.
As we head towards summer, though, conventional wisdom says it’s time to relegate those soft pellets to the bait shed and think about hard pellets straight from the bag. But is that right?
Expanders still have a part to play in warm weather fishing, but the trick is knowing when to use them. Get it wrong and your results won’t be half as good, and it all comes down to the type of fish you’re after. For skimmers and F1s when fishing on the bottom, expanders are king.
However, for most carp fishing, especially shallow or when after big fish, hard pellets will dominate proceedings. They make plenty of noise when they’re fired in as a feed and for the hook, they’ll resist the attentions of small fish, and can be repeatedly cast on the waggler or slapped on the surface on the long pole.
Expanders for F1s
Expanders are reserved for silvers like skimmers, but big expanders (8mm) work for carp. Andy Bennett swears by them for F1s all year.
Pick the right size
For carp on the pole, it’s always banded hard pellets on the hook. If you’re after stockies use 4mm baits, but up that to 8mm for big fish.
Make some noise
Usually, I’ll fish the same size pellet I’m feeding, but for shallow work I’ll loosefeed 4mm pellets for more noise and fish a 6mm bait.
Go big at distance
Really big pellets can be catapulted a long way and work well when pinged over the top of a feeder line or the waggler at long range.