The pellet waggler is one of the most exciting ways of catching carp – launching big pencil-shaped floats into open water, blasting big pellets around it and then watching that bulbous orange tip bury before the strike is met with a roaring run of something very big and angry!
It’s also a lot easier on the back and shoulders than, for example, the long pole when presenting a bait shallow to catch carp feeding in the upper layers of the water.
It’s relatively inexpensive to get geared up for a bash on the ‘pellet wag’ with the match rod that’s probably been gathering dust in your shed.
Decisions have to be made elsewhere, of course, and the most important of these is the type of waggler you use. Not all pellet wagglers are made the same and if you look on the tackle shop shelves there’s a great disparity in size, shape, weight and even the materials they are made of. Each one does have a specific job to do.
I carry a range of wagglers for summer fishing but tend to find myself falling back on two very definite types, depending on how shallow the fish are feeding.
Very rarely can you dictate to the fish what depth they will be at by feeding alone, so you have to be prepared to find them!
If I am fishing meat then the whole point is to get a bite in that first foot of the swim, so it goes without saying that a take should come within 10 seconds of the float landing.
If I don’t get one, I’ll wind in and cast again, and I’ll also cast to the same spot to try and build up an area for the carp to home in.
On very warm days when the fish may be cruising, it can pay to cast to thm – a little like dobbing on the pole, seeing a carp and casting the float just in front of it.
I may use meat on the hook but that doesn’t mean that I feed the same thing because carp are so used to pellets.
I think they are better, and they can be fired out with a catapult further and more accurately and they make a good ‘plop’ as they land.
I do cube up some meat too and will feed this if I am fishing at shorter ranges or I sense that the fish are very close to the surface , when a feed that sinks slowly will get more of a response. For feed meat I use plain Plumrose meat in 6mm cubes but the feeding will not be excessive – just three or four 8mm pellets or pieces of meat on every cast.
Finding the depth
Although pellets are the main bait for the waggler, meat can be equally good if allowed, and is great for catching fish in the topmost foot or so of the water – so you shouldn’t really be fishing any deeper than this.
The ‘mugging’ waggler stands out here, fished 2ft deep, but I will go shallower to the minimum-allowed 12ins on most fisheries.
On the flipside, if this draws a blank, the carp could be sat deeper even on the hottest of days, so changing to the big balsa float and going 4ft deep might just trigger a change.
If those carp are feeding a couple of feet deep minimum, pick a classic large waggler. I use Guru balsa wagglers taking 6g-8g of loading as they are a little steadier in the swim and make a good bit of noise on landing.
However fish are visible close to the surface, a big waggler will be no good and this is where a very different pellet waggler comes into play. These take shot rather than relying on a loading for their casting weight. I call these ‘mugging’ wagglers, designed to pick off carp just under the surface.
They sit up immediately as soon as they land, ready to show a bite, and are also relatively unobtrusive, allowing the bait to fall naturally as soon as it hits the water. I use either the 2SSG Guru foam pattern or some homemade specials from my mate Warren Martin that take 3SSG of locking shot. They look old and battered but they’re brilliant for this type of fishing!