At long last we’ve had some warm weather. That makes fishing shallow the tactic to be on now.
For many, fishing the long pole is the preferred road to go down, trying to catch carp cruising around near the surface. The trouble with this approach is that in very sunny weather, the fish may not want to venture close to the bank and feed directly under the pole-tip.
The solution is to get the float rod out of the bag and fish a pellet waggler. It’s a very positive, busy method that allows you to fish at different depths and ranges to keep in touch with the carp but far enough out to keep the fish confident and feeding well.
When it’s warm, the first few feet of the water will be the quickest to heat up and the fish know this. They’ll come off bottom and very likely not feed on the deck at all. I love this sort of scenario and will often pick the waggler over the pole to catch consistently.
There are a good few rights and wrongs where the waggler is concerned, however. Get these sorted and I guarantee that you’re on for a brilliant day’s fishing this very exciting and non-stop approach!
Why the waggler works
There are a few positives that the float has over the pole, the first being that you are fishing well out into the lake where the fish will be at their most confident.
There’s no pole being waved over their heads, and any commotion on the bank won’t spook the carp. You can also cast further out, closer in or off to one side in seconds, without having to add pole sections.
The combination of waggler and loosefeed hitting the water makes a serious racket, and this is what attracts the fish and helps to get them feeding. Slapping a pole float on the surface just won’t make the same amount of noise!
The right conditions
Unfortunately, the waggler can be prone to suffering with bad presentation in windy weather, although the good news is that the float shouldn’t actually be in the water for that long.
That said, I’d fancy either calm conditions or the wind blowing over my shoulder for the ideal wind to fish the pellet waggler in.
A stiff wide wind is never as good, but much depends on how quickly you are getting bites. If this is only around 10 seconds then this should be just long enough to keep the waggler where you want it. If bites are taking longer, the float can be pulled offline or across the lake too quickly for the fish to take the bait.
Successful pellet waggler fishing boils down to making noise from the float and pellets hitting the water, and it’s for this reason that you need to cast regularly and not leave the float in the water for too long.
My general approach is to feed and then cast the waggler past the area that I’m feeding, leave it for around 15 seconds, then feed again and wind the float back into this feed and give it another 15 seconds. If nothing happens and conditions allow, I’ll feed again on top of the float and wait another 10 seconds before winding in and recasting.
Different ways of feeding
Although the pellet waggler is a positive method, the feeding doesn’t need to be. I’ll fire in only six or seven 8mm Sonubaits Pro Pellets each time I feed. If I put in much more than that it will force the carp down in the water where I can’t catch them.
Half-a-dozen is enough to make that all-important noise but still keep the fish on the hunt. The only change I’ll make to this is that on occasion I will feed two lots of pellets before casting.
This generally happens only when the fishing is good and I know a lot of carp are in the swim.
How shallow you fish the waggler is dependent on the depth of the lake, so on waters that are say, 10ft deep I’ll fish the float set at 3ft 6ins. This gives me the chance to catch carp on the drop as they swim about and see the pellets falling through the water.
I’ll make changes and come shallower only if I get indications on the float but no bites. This tells me the fish are further up in the water. In this instance, I’ll move the float up the line by a foot.
On lakes with 4ft of depth, I’ll switch to fishing between 12ins and 18ins deep.
You have to be able to get your loosefeed to the spot you want it, and this is why 8mm pellets are best. If the wind is over your back you may be able to fire 6mm pellets the right distance but I much prefer 8mm baits, as they also make more noise when landing on the surface.
On the hook, I’ll fish a 6mm pellet. This is a smaller bait that the fish can pick out from the loosefeed. It’s also worth trying something like a light-coloured SonuBaits Band ‘Um (white or orange) as a change bait.
I’ll always go for a loaded float as it won’t tangle and flies much better than one with big shots around the base.
The Preston Innovations Dura Waggler is a beauty, and between a 4g to 6g loading is ample on most commercial fisheries to reach the distance needed.
I use the dive disc that these wagglers come with fitted to the base as this ensures that the float pops up to the surface immediately upon landing and is ready to show up a quick bite. This also makes a little more noise. In terms of the loading it takes, I add enough brass discs to leave all the orange or yellow tip showing. Bites are positive, so you don’t need to dot the tip right down.
Pick the right rod
Short rods rule for the pellet waggler as you’ll be in and out quicker on the cast and also able to pick up the line much faster on the strike.
The two-piece 11ft Preston Innovations Supera Pellet Waggler model is ideal, and I never have the rod out of my hand except when feeding with the catapult.Sometimes, the carp can almost pull the rod in as soon as the float lands.
Attaching the float
I want to be as efficient as I can when fishing the pellet waggler, and so using a reliable attachment system for the float is key to success.
The Preston Innovations Pellet Waggler Kit has everything you’ll need, with a safe snap link swivel for slotting the float on to and float stops to fix the waggler in place and stop it from sliding down the line when you’re bagging up. I also have a Quick Change Swivel between hooklink and mainline to prevent the line spinning up, which will otherwise happen when winding in many times during a session.
Pellet waggler tackle
My mainline is Preston Innovations Sinking Feeder Mono in 4lb breaking strain. If the carp in the lake are very big I’ll up this to 6lb.
For hooklinks, I’ll happily use Mag Store Hair-Rigs, which are ready-tied hooks with a pellet band already fitted. These use KKM-B eyed hooks and my favourite length of hooklink is the 15ins that they come supplied with. On deeper lakes I may need a longer link to put the bait further down in the water so I will tie my own, still using the KKM-B hook but with 2ft 6ins or 3ft 6ins of Powerline. For a size 16 hook I’ll fish 0.16mm line, upped to 0.19mm for a size 14.