Weekend Sport Column – August 11th

Sport 17

Top Action With A Pellet Waggler

There are few more enjoyable ways to catch carp from commercial fisheries than with a pellet waggler. In theory it’s a simple way to fish and it’s possible to catch huge nets of fish using not a lot of bait. An even bigger bonus is the size of fish you catch. Pellet waggler certainly seems to sort out the big girls.

Now I don’t profess to be an expert pellet waggler angler because I only use the technique occasionally but in the right hands it’s devastating and I learned a valuable lesson two years ago from Stainforth tackle dealer Mark Price at Sykehouse Fisheries just north of Doncaster where he’s regarded as a bit of an expert.

I’ve known Mark since he was a talented junior fishing against me with Carcroft Working Mens Club in the days when every weekend would see dozens of coaches rammed with anglers and their tackle leaving South Yorkshire and heading for the River Trent. He was a handful then and nothing’s changed except he’s a lot better at what he does today and he was pretty useful as a juvenile.

As good as he might think he is at fishing he’s even better at heckling and the last thing I would wish on anyone is to have Mark sat behind them critiquing everything they do. “We used to call you the Man at C&A!” He commenced. It was clearly going to be a long day.

“What are you playing at, Bob?”

“You missed that one!”

“Aren’t you striking bites today then?”

“I wouldn’t do it like that if I were you!”

And so it went on, like having a personal shoulder monster constantly whispering in your ear. One of us was enjoying this immensely and it clearly wasn’t me. You know what it’s like when you’re having an awkward day. The last thing you need is an expert Mickey taker waiting to pounce on every mistake.

I was fishing with my oldest fishing buddy, Trev Empson, who works part time in Mark’s shop and even he was getting his share of the verbals. “Come on Trev, he’s battering you, you’re letting the shop down!”

I swear, no-one is immune from Mark’s critiquing when he’s at a loose end. The man is murder, but like I say, he certainly knows his stuff and it pays to listen to what he says because in between the acerbic wit and put downs you can pick up valuable lessons.

Pellet wagglers work best when the weather is warm and fish are cruising in the upper layers of the water near the surface. Basically they are just big floats fished shallow. The idea is they offer enough resistance for a biting fish to hook itself against but the more they are used on a fishery the cuter the bites get so you soon end up back where you started having to strike at every indication.

Normally a pellet is hair rigged and presented beneath the float with no shots on the line. The depth will be set at anywhere between a few inches and a few feet. The simple way to fish is to cast, fire out a few free offerings and then draw the float back into the freebies hoping a passing carp will snatch at the hookbait.

Trouble is the split second you put your rod down and pick up a catapult to fire out some bait is the exact moment when a bite occurs. The number of times it happens is incredible. Logic says it can’t happen like that every time but it does. It sometimes feels like you’re transmitting subconscious messages to the fish. It’s uncanny.

The result is missed bites galore, dropped catapults and scattered pellets. It’s a nightmare. And of course each time it happens Mark is shaking his head, tutting or laughing openly. I’m at the point where I’m ready to smash my landing net pole over his head when he chirps up, “I can cure that for you, you know. If you ask nicely…”

Ask nicely? I’m ready to throttle him and he knows he’s won the battle. Grrr!!!!

“Look Bob, what you do is cast, feed three pellets, feed three more, feed three again and then count to 15. Then do it again before recasting.  If you get a bite while you’re feeding ignore it unless the fish hooks itself. Stop trying to hit the crazy bites and concentrate on the easy ones.”

You know, as much as it pains me to agree, he was spot on and my catch rate immediately picked up. Cheers Mark.

I finished the afternoon session with around 70lb of carp knowing I could do it again the next day and easily double my catch. It’s called learning. The price of my education was having young Price in my ear and letting him have his fun.

When he said, “You ought to have another crack at match fishing, Bob.” I wasn’t sure whether to take his observation as a compliment or whether he was scouting for some new pools fodder. I suspect the latter.

“You used to be good.” He reminded me before he left. Ouch!

Sykehouse Fisheries was created 9 years ago but only opened its doors to the public around 3 years ago. It is an immaculate fishery, beautifully tended with decent intervals between pegs and the fish are in excellent nick. In fact they remind me so much of the strain you catch from Anglers Paradise, very colourful with heavily plated scale patterns. There’s certainly no shortage of carp in the four to 8lb range while Mark has had them up to 17lb in matches.

Anglers must use the fishery’s own pellets but it was a pleasant surprise to learn the owner only charges a pound a bag for them. How good is that? If you fancy trying Sykehouse Fisheries, and I do recommend it, Give Ray a call on 01405 785403 or 07885 745538. For Satnav users the postcode is DN14 9AJ.

Fishery Of The Week – Risby Park Lakes, Near Hull

Risby Park is one of the best known fisheries in the Humberside area. Featuring four well-stocked ponds the fishery has been popular north east venue for the past 25 years. Aimed mainly at the pleasure and match angler it is possible to take huge nets of carp, tench, bream, ide, chub roach and perch. Folly Lake, which opened ten years ago, is a three-acre match and pleasure lake and generally regarded as the jewel in the crown. This renovated historic lake nestles within Risby Wood and is bounded by an ancient folly and boasts generous peg spacing of 12 metres and the match record stands at a whacking 192lbs. The carp pond, Gillen Springs, has thrown up fish to 22lb in the past. From the Humber Bridge you should follow the signs for Beverly and take a left turn for Walkington after the Skidby/Cottingham roundabout. Follow the Walkington road for 100 yards then take your first left for Little Weighton. Risby Park Fisheries is on your right half a mile down this road

For more details contact: Anthony on 07860 255981 or 01482 862049 or visit the fishery website: www.risby-park.co.uk