by Angling Times |

As the weather cools, there is no better tactic than bomb and pellet.

Massive catches can be taken with this combination at many waters up and down the country.

It’s almost as if as soon as the carp start to feel the cold, they decide to have one last hard feed before winter sets in.


There is no better bait than big hard pellets, in different sizes. At big waters like Boddington, where the carp average 8lb, I’d use a minimum of 8mm pellets, sometimes going up to 10mm pellets for feeding at a longer distance.

If I was fishing a water with smaller carp I would adjust the size of my pellets accordingly.

Every day is different but I always take six pints of pellets with me. It’s rare I will feed that many, especially when it’s cold. It’s all about ‘feeling your way in’. If there are a lot of carp present I will increase the feed but there’s no point lashing pellets in if you are getting no signs or bites.

So the message is to take plenty of pellets, but just because you have them doesn’t mean you have to feed them all.


When dealing with big fish it’s important to have the right rod for the job. I’ve spent quite a bit of time working with Daiwa to design the perfect tool for double-figure carp, and the result is the Team Daiwa 11ft Power Method Feeder rod.

The rod has bags of power for both playing fish and casting, and is fitted with the proper rings for the job. For bomb work I use the 2oz tip, which has oversized eyes to cope with heavy mainlines.



My set-up for bomb fishing couldn’t be simpler. I use the neat and tangle-free Guru X-Safe bombs, which have the benefit of elastic to help prevent hook-pulls when playing big carp.

Bomb weight depends on how far out I want to fish, but at Boddington and the like I will normally opt for the 1.1oz version. Hooklength is 0.22mm Guru N-Gauge, which is strong enough to handle just about any carp you’re likely to hook!

I like to vary the length of my hooklength. If the fishing is hard, I will fish a long hooklength of 24ins or so in the hope that a carp might follow the hookbait down as it falls slowly through the water.

However, if the carp are feeding well I’ll shorten the hooklength right down to 12ins.

The reason a short hooklength makes the rig more positive is that a carp has less room to move once it sucks the hookbait in before it feels the weight of the lead and the hook is pulled home.

If the fish are feeding hard on the pellets they will already be on the bottom, grubbing about for loose offerings, so a short hooklength makes perfect sense in this situation. My choice of hook for big pellets is a size 10 QM1.

Start on 6-8 pellets every two minutes.
Start on 6-8 pellets every two minutes.

Start on 6-8 pellets every two minutes.


On big waters, always feed as far out as you can. If you can fish that little bit further out than those around you you will always have an advantage.

It’s almost like creating your own end peg!

I always start off with the philosophy that ‘you can feed more bait but you can’t take it out’, so I’ll always err towards caution at the start.

As a guide I’ll kick off feeding six to eight pellets every couple of minutes, just to see what happens.

If I start to get signs and catch a fish or two I’ll increase the feed slightly to see what response I get. If I then get more signs and bites, I’ll increase it even further.


My thinking around hookbaits has changed somewhat this year, with a few more options added to my armoury.

My starting point is to always ‘match the hatch’ and fish the same on the hair as what I’m feeding. Even so, one hookbait that rarely lets me down is a big 12mm Robin Red hard pellet, especially at Boddington.

I think there are two reasons why it works so well. First, size.

At 12mm it really stands out among the loose offerings and gives the carp something they can really home in on. Second, colour. Many commercials are coloured, and I have always felt red is highly visible in coloured water.

The new kids on the block when it comes to bomb and pellet fishing are Ringers Wafters. I have enjoyed great success with two 8mm Pellet Wafters on a size 10QM1 hook, which balances them perfectly. Then there’s the brilliant 10mm Orange Wafter. I have no idea why this works so well on the bomb over pellets but believe me, it does! Another angler tipped me off about their effectiveness in this situation and he wasn’t wrong!

If you’re struggling for a bite on the bomb, or if carp are there and you aren’t catching them, try an Orange Wafter on the hair. You might be surprised at the results.

Impact Bombs hold just enough pellets to attract a carp.
Impact Bombs hold just enough pellets to attract a carp.

Impact Bombs hold just enough pellets to attract a carp.


When using bomb and pellet tactics I have always caught a lot of carp by fishing just past my feed.

I believe that on pressured waters carp sit a little way off the main loosefed area, moving in and out and picking up free offerings as they do so.

To take advantage of this I cast the bomb around 5m past the loosefeed. However, to give my hookbait a bit of extra attraction I also to have a rod set up with an Impact Bomb on.

These bombs are designed to hold a few wetted-down micro pellets which then explode off the lead on impact with the water and give my hookbait that bit more pulling power.

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