Hard or soft? That’s the big decision to make when it comes to the pellet to pop on your hook. It’s not as simple as going down the route of thinking soft baits are best in cold weather, hard baits in summer.
While hard pellets do play a big part in my year-round fishing, especially when after carp or fishing long-range feeder or waggler, there are times when softer expander pellets are unbeatable. Right now in the middle of summer, faced with a lake holding a mixed stock of fish, is one such example.
Every species will take a soft pellet, especially F1s and skimmers, yet you’re not just limited to using expanders just on the hook. They actually make a great feed to introduce through a small pot on the pole, mainly in very shallow, silty pegs where heavier hard pellets may ‘stick’ on the bottom.
The sizes to use
I’d stick to 4mm and 6mm, using the bigger ones for a mixed bag of everything, dropping down to 4mm for skimmers and F1s.
Hook them properly
Hook expanders across the ‘grain’. You’ll see fibrous strands on the pellet, and hooking across these ensures the bait stays on.
Try feeding them
I’ll feed expanders on shallow and silty lakes where a heavier hard pellet might sink into the muck, but they’re mainly a hookbait.
Add some colour
Colouring baits is a personal preference, but if I’m fishing a venue where the water is heavily coloured, a red expander pellet stands out.