Regulars readers will know by now how highly I rate the pulling power of pellets. This is not simply because I’m sponsored by Skrettings but because I’ve been using them for years with no problems plus their ease of use makes them a cracking addition to my baiting schemes. In a recent blog I’ve explained a little about how the use of seed mixes and spodding them out in larger quantities has, perhaps, been a factor in the poor angling and fish health at one of my favourite waters. I can add to this now with a little story.
As I write this blog John and I are getting ready for a trip to France. We’re on the 2am ferry tomorrow morning and already I’m getting the feeling of sleep deprivation! I was in London yesterday, at Buckingham Palace, with my daughter to collect an award, so it was a late-night trip home after a large meal and some wine. So, this morning I’m just a little the worse for wear. Anyway, I digress.
The lake we go to, Petit Pretre, has been a cracking venue for us. We’ve been for the last three years and been more than happy with the results. We’ve used Skrettings Protec Carp along with boilies from Custom Bait Services and the boiled and prepared seed mix that Bob, the owner, prepares. However, this year we’ve noticed that Bob isn’t selling the seed mix any more. Now it’s pellet power he’s putting his trust in. I asked him why he’s changed and the answer that came back was that 1: It’s a lot easier to use pellets than messing about preparing seed mixes. 2: He wasn’t convinced that the seed mixes were the best for the fish. Basically he said that if using pellets is good enough for large fish farms etc. it’s good enough for him. Personally, I think there’s the ease of use that’s played a big part in his decision, too, which is one reason why anglers should take note. I go fishing to catch fish and enjoy my time on the bank, not spend it boiling up a kitchen-whiffing batch of seeds!
What pellet to use is a great question. I’ve been a big fan of Protec Carp for several years now. It’s a great balanced feed for carp and coarse fish which have a different food requirement to trout and other game fish. Coarse pellets tend to be lower in oil content than ‘game’ pellets and I think this is something to do with the more sedentary life of carp as opposed to trout/game fish as their dietary requirements are different. Don’t quote me on that but that’s the impression I get from looking at the spec sheets for different pellets and on a general knowledge gained from years in the trade. Recently, however a new type of pellet has come onto the mark – Halibut pellets.
Do Halibut pellets contain any halibut? Not as far as I’m aware, no more than trout pellets contain trout – but they are used primarily in the halibut farming industry. They are, like trout pellets, quite high in oil content so are best used as a carp, coarse feed during summer when the fishes metabolism can benefit from the extra oil. However, one of the great things about halibut pellets is the extra goodies that go into them. According to Skrettings their pellets contain: ‘innovative feed technology that enhances and improves the health of the fish you catch. Hook holds and accidental angler damage is repaired quicker, and the health of the fish stock is enhanced, leading to better quality fish for the angler.’ Now, no-one can complain about that!
One of the most important aspects of fish farming/feeding is stimulation to feed and (according to the Skretting blurb) the halibut pellets contain: ‘betaine, green lipped mussel powder, highly digestable fish meal and oils and squid meal making this pellet highly attractive to the anglers quarry, and the optimum balance between protein, fat, carbohydrate and energy ensures the correct nutritional balance for the fish.’ Again, no-one can complain about that!
Recently I’ve been out and about trying out the Halibut pellet alongside the Protec carp. To be honest it’s been difficult to actually say which has been the most effective as I’ve caught fish utilising both feeds. However, for some reason the halibut has pulled in bigger fish. I don’t, for one minute, think this is a conscious decision on the part of the fish to ignore the Protec and search out the Halibut but it’s still very interesting. On our French excursion John and I will be taking both Protec Carp and Halibut Pellets with us and fishing them side by side, so perhaps we’ll get a more definitive answer. I’ll report back!
The Skrettings Halibut pellet is a very dark colour which can help as part of hiding the pellets from marauding diving ducks and, in the larger sizes, come pre-drilled for ease of mounting on a Hair rig. Small points but well worth mentioning as, once again, I go out to catch fish, not spend time drilling pellets etc. All-in-all, I’m very impressed with the Skrettings Halibut pellet and it’ll certainly be used alongside the Protec Carp I’ve been using for several years. So, Feel The Force – get on the Halibut is my recommendation!
MOUNTING PELLETS ON THE HOOK
One thing that’s a perennial problem with any sort of pellet is mounting them on hooks. Some people like to use superglue to glue them to the shank (long-shank hooks are best for this) whereas others like to mount them on the Hair. Keeping a small drill bit – I pushed mine into a cork to get a good grip on it – is one way to do this but, as I’ve said above, Skrettings Halibut pellets come ready drilled in the larger sizes – lovely! However, no matter how you mount the pellet on the hook they do break down quite quickly – that’s one of their great attributes in my mind. There are various ways you can slow this down for use as a hookbait from coating them in some sort of liquid to the method I’ve used in France where baits can be out for some time and also can be attacked by the dreaded poisson chat (small catfish which are endemic in some French waters). I use clear shrink tubing on my baits. It’s a little tricky to use but once you get the hang of it it’s a great way to extend the life of the pellet on the hook. Simply get some clear shrink tubing slightly larger than the pellet, cut a slightly longer piece than the pellet to allow for shrinkage. Next, slip it over the pellet and put the lot into the steam from a kettle. The shrink tubing shrinks tight over the pellet and being clear it’s not so obvious. The result is a pellet that will last a lot longer than one that isn’t coated. Mount it on a strong Hair or glue it securely to the hookshank to reduce any risk of the fish actually swallowing the bait.
BIENVENUE EN FRANCE
So, that’s it for the time being. I’m getting my gear ready for France and will report back on how it went in a couple of weeks. If you haven’t been to France before I’ve written some features specifically on going on holiday to France which can be found elsewhere on the Skrettings blog.