Fishing pellets come in lots of different sizes, from 1mm micro pellets up to 21mm Halibut pellets. They also come in different flavours, with a high or low oil content but you really need to know which pellet will be best for your fishing situation.
Pellets are made using different ground seed, grains, meals, oils and palatents. Some pellets are pressed and some pellets are extruded dependent on what they are made out of. Take hemp pellets, these are the bi product of hemp oil extraction. Hemp seed is put into a huge seed press, which is crushed under extreme pressure to extract the oil. The waste of the hemp seed is extruded out of a small hole around 6 – 8mm, and a spinning blade will cut them into lengths of around 10 – 12mm. This type of pellet is quite soft and can be broken or crumbled up with slight pressure. Then you have, pressed pellets, where the base mix is put into a female die, then the male part of the die enters under high pressure, compressing it, making a hard pellet. In the manufacturing process of the pressed pellet, depending on how much oil they add to them, will depend on how quick or slow the breakdown time is, when they are in the water.
Pellets with high oil content, like halibut pellets will take a lot longer to break down than standard carp pellets because they have far less oil in them. Just because carp pellets don’t have as much oil in them as halibut pellets, doesn’t make them less attractive. Carp pellets will still have some oil in but will have different palatents in as well, giving off lots of flavour. Just remember, a carp’s sense of smell is far greater than ours so it doesn’t need an overpowering smell sometimes to tempt them. When I used to make bait in the 80’s, I was always told, that if I could smell the flavour in the bait, then it was strong, so just bear that in mind.
Choosing the right pellet is very important, as its no good putting in a lot of high oil pellets in the winter because of the cold water as they’ll take far too long to break down. In the warmer months, when the water temperature is higher I’d use a halibut or Coppens premium select (high oil) pellet or mix them both together. These will take longer to break down than a carp pellet leaving something for the carp to eat and crunch on. I would also add to the mix of pellet, one third bloodworm or hemp pellet because these will start to break down straight away putting some attraction into the area you want to draw the fish too. If I was fishing in the colder months, I’d choose a low oil pellet like carp, bloodworm or hemp type pellet because they will work faster. Hemp and bloodworm (extruded) pellets are great to use all year round but remember in the warmer weather they will break down quicky, just leaving a mush on the bottom that all sized fish will eat. To extend the length of the breakdown of any pellet, you can give them a coating of fish or vegetable oil and this will slow it down.
When fishing on flowing water like a river or canal, I like you use an oily pellet drizzled with mixed fish oil on because the flowing water will get into the pellet quicker than if it was on the lake bed. The motion of the water has a washing effect, constantly removing the outer that is exposed to the water. Also on rivers, they will be washed and bumped into stones on the bottom, which will break and crack them, so the extra oil will help prolong the bait. Another reason, is that the loose oil will be washed downstream, drawing fish upstream to your bait.
Size of pellet is important too. It’s no good trying to put a carpet of bait down with 21mm pellets because the carp will soon find these, clear the area, fill them up and then they are off because they are full. Its best to use a mix of 2, 3 ,4.5 and 6 mil pellets to create a bed because this will keep the fish grubbing around for longer, searching for the finer pellets and not filling them up so quickly.
Please remember, that a lot of commercial fisheries have banned high oil pellets because they are causing issues with the PH levels in the water on smaller venues, so please check if you can use them before you go.