Pellet Fishing For Big Carp

I’ve been listening to stories from my good friend and match supremo Graham Dack about how he catches 200lb+ of big carp pellet fishing high up in the water.  After a lengthy exchange of texts he convinced me to “give it a go”.  He gave me the bare essentials and method but the rest would be down to me to learn.  As usual I do a lot of homework before engaging in a new method so 25 YouTube videos and a ton of written articles later I felt I had the basic knowledge to get a few in my net. 


Pellet fishing can be great fun
21lb Fully Scaled Mirror

Taking the advice of “Dacky”, I decided to go to Southend Farm Fishery in Waltham Abbey and fish the match lake. Having fished the lake two weeks before, I knew there were a lot of bream on waggler at full depth with corn but this was going to be something totally different. I arrived at the lake at 1pm with the aim of  spending three or four hours getting used to the rigs, feeding patterns and general idea of what to do. I saw that the wind was blowing to the far end of the lake and took a quick walk down there to do a quick recce. As I suspected there were a few big carp topping at this end so I rushed back settled into peg 1. All the swims on the lakes are really comfortable with platforms and plenty of room.


I have been involved in the fishing industry for over 30 years and when it comes to bait I have the advantage of knowing where all the manufacturers bait comes from.  So when I chose my bait, it’s not always brand based.  The fish don’t know what bag it came out of.  For a lot of fisherman it’s more of a confidence thing. If you want to spend £6.00 on a kilo of pellets be my guest. When pellet fishing on commercial waters on a pleasure day, the cheapest pellets are more than good enough.

You may say but why is he putting hemp oil on them then. I put hemp oil on them for two reasons to create a flat spot on the water with the oil that comes off the pellets and to add a bit of weight.  The oil slick gives me a constant spot to aim for for both feeding and casting.  A kilo of 8mm standard cheap and cheerful carp pellet into a bag and added three good cap fulls of hemp oil.  I gave them a good shake until all the pellets were coated then transferred them into a 3 pint bait box.  And that was my bait done. If the hemp oil gets absorbed, then add a little more. There should always be excess oil at the bottom of the bait box.

Banded fishing pellet
Pellet fishing


Any time I try a new method I only take the rods, reels and bait to fish that method.  I find if I bring all my gear and different baits I just get distracted.  The idea was to learn and persevere.  A classic example of distraction was when I could see big carp hoovering up the pellets that were falling out of my catapult. Normally I would have got the pole out, but I couldn’t. 

Floats line and hooks for pellet fishing
  • 5 lb Maxima main line
  • Hook length 0.14mm 4.6 lb Silstar Match 12 inches
  • Float: 3 SSG (4.5g) Middy Specy Wagg
  • Hook: GURU MWG Size 14
  • Pellet Band: Drennan micro natural latex
  • Shotting: Only 1 x No 6 Stoz 12″ from hook on main line


When pellet fishing up in the water, you will be expecting to catch fish in the top four feet of water and this meant introducing 5 or 6 pellets every 10 to 15 seconds to try and get the fish competing for your the loose feed.

To this end all the weight would be located either side of the float.  Only one No 6 Stotz would be present just over halfway down the rig. If it was a match I would also have a rod made up that has no shot down the rig so I have a couple of different presentations. Daiwa Ninja 2500A was my chosen reel, loaded with 5 lb Maxima.  It’s a line that I have been using since I was a kid and it has proven the test of time.  It’s a tough line that is ideal when fishing for big fish.  The ideal hooklength, Silstar Match Team 0.14 4.6lb. Another tried and tested line that has a great breaking strain for its diameter.

10lb carp fishing with pellets
Catching double figure carp on a float is always good fun


I could see a few carp topping out towards the middle of the lake and just sat there for five minutes introducing around 4 to 6 pellets every ten seconds.  It was hard to keep my bait tight as the wind was gusting.  Due to the wind I decided to fish a little nearer so I had a chance of keeping my bait in an area around 3m x 3m. 

I would be patient and try and coax the carp towards me with the splashing of pellets.  With a pellet on my hook I cast past my feed by around 15 feet, fed some pellets then drew my float to the area.  I started getting the odd line bite.  They were super fast digs of the float and were hitting the line.  After another five minutes the float vanished.  It was only a small Bream around 2lb but I was off the mark.

Keep the bait going in

When pellet fishing you really need to keep catapulting pellets in even when playing fish.  It’s a skill in itself but a great weapon to have in your armoury.  Straight back out and bang, the first carp of the day shot off to my right but pulled out after a minutes fight.  After another five minutes and a few bites later I had the pleasure of landing a beautiful roach.  Not what I was after but happy none the less.

I started to up the feed.  6 to 10 pellets to see if the noise and splash could draw in some of these big carp Graham had told me about.  Ten minutes later I cast out and kept a really tight line so the bait would fall slower.  Bang!. Carp on.  A nice 10 lb common.  Maybe feeding that extra pellet worked.  Ten minutes and a few line bites later an gnarly old double figured mirror graced the landing net.

Large roach love pellets too
Big roach love big pellets too so don’t be put off by the size

TIPS When Pellet Fishing

  • Make sure you have a good rod rest set up if you can’t master the art of feeding while playing fish.  This way if you get a bite while feeding, your rod is easily at hand.
  • Make sure you have a big enough landing net head.  You don’t need a huge carp fishing one but one that a 20lb fish will fit in.
  • When practising a method make sure you don’t take anything that will distract you.  You need focus to learn and making mistakes makes you learn.
  • It doesn’t take long to get through a kilo of 8mm pellet so make sure you take plenty of bait. 1kg is minimum but for a 5 hours session I would be looking at taking up to 4kg.
  • Buy cheap pellet.  Fish haven’t got a clue what brand of bait you’re throwing at them.You can always spice them up with oils or flavouring. 

Why not check out my blog on Perch fishing with worms on the Grand Union Canal

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram