How to fish with 2mm expanders

Match ace Jamie Hughes reveals why tiny pellets aren’t just for feeding

How to fish with 2mm expanders

by Angling Times |

When buying pellets, you may have come across bags of small 2mm expanders and thought ‘why would I use these?’.

It’s hard to argue with that in summer, when bigger baits do all the damage, but in winter slipping one of these tiny pellets on the hook can work wonders.

It’s all to do with the size. In the cold, finicky fish like F1s will ignore something that looks out of place, so if you’re feeding micros, dropping a much bigger 4mm expander over the top just won’t look right. Switch to a 2mm pellet and regular bites are far more likely.

Here's how to do it...

F1s are finicky feeders, and tiny pellets work wonders
F1s are finicky feeders, and tiny pellets work wonders

Use positive floats

I need positivity with pellets. I use a slim-bodied 4x14 pattern, but it has to have a wire stem to help it sit up quickly. I’m not after a slow fall of the bait with expanders.

Use positive floats
Use positive floats

Pick a thin bristle

F1s can pick up the pellet and not move the float at all, so you need a slim bristle on your float, say something that’s 1.2mm in diameter. Dot the float right down too.

Pick a thin bristle
Pick a thin bristle

Match the hatch

A 2mm pellet also mimics as closely as possible the micro pellets that I’m feeding, so there’s no apparent danger to the fish – you don’t get that with 4mm pellets.

Match the hatch
Match the hatch

Get the feeding right

My feeding is designed to get one F1 into the swim and to catch. That means a nugget of 2mm micros or crushed expander groundbait potted in on each drop.

Get the feeding right
Get the feeding right

Keep your hooks big

My hook is a size 16 Matrix MXC-5. This sounds big, but it’s actually a bit smaller than a classic size 16 and it’s very fine in the wire, but strong, making it the ideal winter pellet hook.

Keep your hooks big
Keep your hooks big

Fish light lines

I’m happy to use hooklengths as low as 0.08mm in diameter, although 0.10mm is my starting point. With green-grade Matrix Slik elastic I can land any bonus carp that show.

Fish light lines
Fish light lines
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