If you thought that fishing pellets on a river was only for those anglers camped out in search of monster barbel, the results I’ve been having on the Trent this summer might make you think again.
Fishing the middle reaches of this famous river, I’ve been catching dozens of barbel, huge chub and some of the biggest roach I’ve had off the Trent in years – and there’s not been a maggot or caster in sight. Instead, my secret has been to borrow from the big-fish lads and fish just pellets!
Here's how to do it...
Strike the balance
The Middy Speed Feeder is ideal, but you have to balance it. The aim is to find a weight that’s going to be easily dislodged by a fish, but still holds bottom.
Give them a mix!
Maggots and casters as a feed will pull in too many little roach and dace. Instead, my menu for feeding is dead simple – hemp and 3mm Marine Halibut pellets.
Keep hookbaits small
Big fish doesn’t mean big baits. Don’t waste time fishing a red-coloured 8mm when scaling down to a 6mm plain halibut is going to be miles better.
Use strong gear
You need heavy gear. I fish 8lb Middy M-Tech mainline to a hooklength of 0.18mm Lo-Viz and a size 12 hook. I start off with a 1m-long hooklength.
Fish the ‘semi’ bolt rig
I use a variation of my twisted loop set-up. I tie an extra knot in the twisted section around 0.5cm above two Slot Shots. The feeder runs on this half-centimetre but can pull free.
Point your rods up
Faced with a pacey river, you need to keep as much line as possible off the water to cut down on drag placed on the line by the flow. I’d position the rod almost vertically at all times.