WITH rods as good as this one around, it’s no wonder that the pellet waggler is high up the list of commercial fishery tactics. Once the weather warms up it will be a dominant force in matches.
Owning a Middy pellet waggler rod has been a passport to success ever since the launch of the award-winning 3G over a decade ago. This latest 5G version is definitely a chip off the old block, offering top-level performance and quality features at a sensible price.
Like its predecessors, it has a beautifully seamless, parabolic fish-playing action. The blank has plenty of ‘feel’, with a quicksilver tip response that picks up line faster than you can say “up in t’watter.”
The softer action of the tip area blends seamlessly into a steely mid-section, then into the beefed-up butt, so that the full power can be bought into play right at the net.
The pencil-thin two-piece blank uses a process that Middy terms ‘Liquid Carbon’ to give an almost elasticated feel that you have to experience to fully appreciate. A correctly spaced row of stand-off, smooth flow guides enables wagglers as light as 3g to be cast with ease, provided you match your line’s breaking strain to the size of float being used.
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Which brings me nicely on to the float I used for the live test – Middy’s latest Soft Land Stubbee pellet wag. It doesn’t spook the fish, as it lands as silently as an owl on an eiderdown. I’ve found that it flies much straighter if it’s attached without float stops or shot. I tie mine into a small loop of reel line, from which a second loop takes my hooklength. It’s easiest to use if you marry it up with a sensible strength reel line. I reckon 4lb is ideal.
The only other requirement is a rod with a bit of whip in the tip and, of course a favourable wind or, better still, no wind at all. It’s not a big enough float to be powered through a side wind or launched into a head-on hooley.
It can even be used for dobbing fish beyond the pole line, and in the hands of top-end match anglers such as Lee Thornton, who invented it, the Stubbee is an ace up your sleeve.
There’s something ridiculously satisfying about repeatedly casting a pellet waggler to catch carp and F1s from the upper layers. And your enjoyment will boil over if you’re using the right tool for the job. Fact is, you can find loads of specific ‘pellet waggler’ rods on the market, including several carrying the Middy brand. However, this latest 11ft 5G rod is easily the best in its modest price bracket.
It won’t hurl the biggest pellet or splasher wagglers to the horizon on big open waters, but what it will do is chuck out their smaller 4g-10g siblings with ease.
The rod is extremely light in the hand, in no small part due to Middy’s unique A Nomic reel seat that fits neatly into the palm of your hand. This is hugely important in a pellet waggler rod, which you’ll be holding for the duration of your session. Otherwise, all that constant casting, along with regular catapulting, can quickly take the gilt off the gingerbread.
The need to feed while holding the rod is a vital element of pellet waggler fishing and proved very necessary when live testing the 5G at Lincolnshire’s day ticket Hanworth Country Park’s Horseshoe Lake. This is a small water packed with fish of all sizes – just the job.
Irritatingly, though, and typical of all venues in Lincolnshire, it’s plagued by sweeping winds that can make presenting a float a nightmare. As soon as your float hits the water it’s instantly dragged out of position by the wind – and carp, no matter how hungry or daft, are loath to chase down a sideways-moving pellet with a life of its own.
I started the live test using the heaviest 3SSG Stubbee set at around 3ft deep, with a 6mm banded pellet as hookbait. The wind was coming from behind, and although it was strong, with the occasional gust over my right shoulder sending a flotilla of mini-waves scudding across the lake’s surface, it was just about manageable.
The session kicked off with a few small F1s, which made me appreciate the tip-end finesse and forgiving nature of the 5G’s blank. Steady feeding soon saw a few bigger fish swirling on the pellets as they hit the water, and shallowing up duly proved its worth. Interestingly, I could only get bites as the float landed, which meant it was easier to feed, then cast, rather than the other way round. The rod never left my hand, and I needed a lightning-fast strike to zip line from the surface.
Neither of those constraints proved much of a problem for the Middy, which swept line off the water with impressive speed. The rod also handled some half-decent carp without so much as a creak.
Price: £69.99 (shop around), www.middytackle.com