If you’re a fan of coarse fishing on commercial lakes, you have been missing a trick if you are not using fishing pellets. Fishing pellets are the main food source for fish in commercial fisheries and are thrown in by the fisheries staff daily.
Fishing with pellets isn’t as easy as throwing some in the water and adding some to your hook; there is a lot more to it than that. This art needs mastering among the different types, sizes, and tactics you can use when fishing with them.
Join me as I run through everything you need to know about fishing pellets so you can fish with them successfully and hopefully catch more fish than ever at your angling club or local fishery.
What Are Fishing Pellets?
Before we get started, let’s make sure we are all on the same page as to what fishing pellets are. Pellets are small pieces made from fish meal and packed with nutrients and oils. They come in a large range of sizes, types, and colours, making choosing the right ones a little difficult.
They are used in all commercial fisheries, whether they are coarse or trout fisheries, as they provide the perfect balance of nutrients the fish need to be healthy. This is why using them as bait is such a good idea, as the fish are so used to eating them that they won’t be suspicious.
There are two main manufacturers of pellets used for angling purposes. Coppens and Skrettings.
What Are Coppens Pellets?
Coppens pellets come in four different applications for anglers:
Floating pellets – For fishing on the top surface of the water
Sinking pellets – For feeding into the water to stay on the bottom of the water
Hookable pellets – For use directly on the hook as bait
Feeder pellets – For use in method feeders
Pellets are designed to have certain water absorption rates. The ranges cover the following time in the water before they breakdown:
For the purpose of angling, the 3-hour waterstable is the most common for the commercial fisherman, and the 10-hour waterstable for the carp anglers (which are halibut and larger size pellets)
Coppens pellets are much denser and often heavier pellets, which makes them perfect for helping to keep fish on the bottom. This means the pellets take a long time to break down. The downside of these pellets is that they generally sink quickly, meaning they are not ideal for shallow fishing.
Who Owns Coppens Pellets?
Originally established 25 years ago, the Dutch company was called Coppens International and was acquired by the global conglomerate Alltech in June 2016. The company is now called Alltech Coppens.
The company develops and produces specialist fish feed. Coppens is globally recognized for its vast range of high-quality starter feed for a broad range of fish species, including sturgeon, trout, catfish, eel, tilapia and carp.
Coppens exports to more than 60 countries worldwide, the main purpose is for the industrial fish farms but also for the angling, koi, pond and aquarium sectors.
What Are Skrettings Pellets?
Skrettings pellets are much the same as Coppens. Both supply aquaculture feed for fish. Skrettings are available in multiple sizes and colours. Some anglers prefer skrettings for the 2mm sizes as they absorb water quicker and are better for using with method feeders. Large-size Coppens are often favoured, and they hold together better and longer.
Skretting pellets tend to have a more uniform barrel shape with fewer chipped edges. However, both will catch fish, and the preference is with the anglers themselves. I prefer Coppens as they tend to be a little more consistent from batch to batch, but that could be just the fisheries I purchase them from!
Who Owns Skretting Pellets?
Skretting serves the same markets as Coppens – the aquaculture industry. Skretting is the aquaculture business line of Nutreco, a world leader in fish and animal nutrition. Skretting’s central operations are based in Stavanger, Norway.
Where To Buy Pellets?
Pellets are readily available in all fishing tackle shops, online, and also at most commercial fisheries. There is a huge range available.
Many commercial fishing lakes only allow anglers to use pellets purchased at the particular lake they are fishing, and other fishery pellets are not allowed to be used. This is to ensure they know what is being put into their lakes and are safe for the fish. There are many poor-quality pellets available, as well as good ones!
When you buy pellets from a fishery, always ask what type of pellets they are. It should also be noted that pellets are not always consistent and vary from batch to batch.
How Much Do Pellets Cost?
Pellets are inexpensive bait, and one bag can last the pleasure angler at least one whole day of fishing. For match anglers, they may use 2 to 3 bags in a 5-hour match.
Pellets vary from shop to shop, in general, the range is as follows:
Micro 2mm size is around 2.50 per bag.
4mm, 6mm and 8mm pellets will likely be around 3.00 per bag.
Larger pellets can cost over 4.00 per bag.
Bags are sold by weight, so you will get more in a bag of micros than, for example, with a bag of 8mm.
If you fish several fisheries, then it is likely you will end up with several bags of the same size, and it’s best to label the bags to ensure the right ones are being used in the right fishery.
Why Are Fishing Pellets Such A Good Bait?
We have already covered one reason fishing pellets are so good: the fish are used to eating them, but there are many more advantages to them, too.
One key advantage is how versatile they are. You can use them to bait a swim using a catapult, soften them and press them into a feeder, and, of course, add them to your hook as bait. Additionally, every species that swims around a commercial lake will eat them, including carp, bream, tench, roach, and more.
If one bait does it all in coarse fishing, it is pellets; this is why you can choose from so many different sizes and types.
What Are The Different Types Of Fishing Pellets?
The differences between one fishing pellet type and the next are quite large; some are better for particular fishing tactics than others. This is why choosing the right type of fishing pellets is important to match how you plan to fish.
Pellets are packed with protein, fats, crude fibre, and ash. They provide many of the nutrients that carp, trout and other fish require for steady growth and to help them fight disease and remain healthy.
Trout pellets are made from salmon fry crumbs and thus have a super high protein content and a load of oils, too.
This makes it an ideal bait to use in the summertime since the oils are efficiently released to attract the fish when the pellets hit the warm water. You will have barbel, carp, and many other species coming to your swim.
Like trout pellets, Halibut pellets are also high in protein and oils. They are perfect for threading on a hair behind your hook or as a free bait in your swim. It will attract fish from long distances and is specifically good for chub, carp, bream, and barbel.
Coarse fish love hemp, and hemp pellets are designed to break down and go mushy, so create a good cloudy swim feed that fish feel safe eating in. Hemp pellets don’t have much oil in them, so they are great to use all year, and they work best in loose feed, groundbait, and PVA bags.
You can also opt to add some hemp oil to your hemp fishing pellets to give them a more fish-attracting boost. This will help you get more tench and carp into your swim.
Some fisheries don’t let you use super oily pellets like halibut and trout pellets, and if that is the case, the next best thing is carp pellets.
Carp pellets are usually made from vegetable protein, and therefore, they are less oily, but they do break down quickly in the water, so they are good for use as loose feed but not on your hooks.
Drilled pellets are incredibly convenient as they save you from drilling your own pellets, which takes a lot of time. They are the perfect choice for when you want to leave your bait out in the water, patiently waiting for a bite, as they don’t come off easily.
These are also great for when you are casting a lot while pellet-waggler fishing since the pellet won’t fall off a hook.
Corn Steep Liquor Pellets
Corn Steep Liquor Pellets, or CSL pellets as they are called, are made from a savoury mix and smell a lot. These pellets fall apart very quickly underwater and are ideal for creating a pre-baited swim for barbel and carp; they are also perfect for method mixes or PVA bags.
Expander pellets are buoyant and hard; therefore, they will float on the water and are great for fishing or feeding on the surface. You can also soak these in water, and they will swell (hence the name “expander” pellets) and become spongy, making them ideal to add to your hook.
The pellets will still float when soaked, but your split shot and hook will sink them and create a neutral buoyancy bait. These are also great pellets to use as feed when pumped with an expander.
Soft Feed Pellets
Soft feed pellets are a lot like carp pellets, just moister and smaller, and they work extremely well as a swim feed to keep fish in your area. You can also use them on a hair or right on your hook, and they are great for pole fishing or with a waggler float.
What Size Fishing Pellet Should I Use?
Using the right size fishing pellet for the right application is key to your fishing success when using these baits, so let’s look at each size and what it is useful for.
1mm Fishing Pellets
These are the smallest fishing pellets you can buy, and they are great for when the fish aren’t feeding actively, such as during the cold months of winter. They are also perfect when you don’t want to overfeed your swim.
This is a good size pellet for smaller fish like roach and rudd, and they work well with a method feeder.
2mm Fishing Pellets
2mm pellets are known as micro pellets. These are not for use on the hook but should be used as a feed. This size is excellent for use with a method feeder and the perfect size to get fish feeding just before the colder months arrive, when they actually want to eat. It’s best to scald these with boiling water so they stay near the feeder and don’t fall off.
4mm Fishing Pellets
This is the ideal all-around size for fishing pellets, as they can also be used as feed and on the hook. You should soak them or pump them first, and once on the hook, you will catch a huge range of species with them, too.
You can also use these as a loose feed, and you will attract every species of fish in the lake with these.
6mm Fishing Pellets
These are also excellent fishing pellets to use on your hook when soaked and pumped, and they work particularly well when combined with 4mm feed in your swim. They will help you avoid the smaller fish and focus on the bigger fish, and species like bream, F1’s and carp will come running to them.
8mm Fishing Pellets
8mm fishing pellets are the best size for targeting bigger carp in commercial fisheries. These are best used on the hook via a band or hair rigged. Due to their size, using them as feed pellets is not recommended.
What Pellets Should I Buy?
If you are new to using pellets, I suggest buying Coppens and using 4mm for feed purposes and 6 or 8mm for the hookbait. This will give you a basic all-around option for catching most fish types and versatility for creating expanders and adding to a method feeder.
The most common pellet sizes are 2mm, 4mm and 6mm.
What Colour Fishing Pellets Work Best?
As we know, fish are attracted to smell, taste and colour, so choosing the right colour for fishing is quite important.
The majority of pellets are a light brown/tan colour, but others are available. My favourite colour is red; when used on the hook and feeding the brown standard pellets, this can really stand out to the fish, resulting in your bait being seen easily by carp.
Now, fishing pellets can be easily dyed to be whatever colour you like; therefore, you can experiment with different colours to see what works best.
Switching between different colours can often reap good results. Always try to use an alternative colour if one type is not getting you enough bites.
How Long Do Pellets Last?
Pellets will last for 2 or 3 months if kept dry and in a cool place. Whilst you can use them for longer, over a period of time, the smell and oils can dry out, making them less attractive for the fish, which may affect your catch rates.
I have had cases where I kept pellets for over a year, and they still caught fish. By looking at the pellets, there is no noticeable change, but you may find them crumble more and break down in the water.
Thank you very much for reading my article. I hope you enjoyed it and now know everything you need to know about fishing pellets so that you can use them effectively. They truly are amazing bait to use on commercial fisheries and are a game-changer if you have never used them before.
Steve is a seasoned angler whose lifelong passion for fishing has not only shaped his personal life but also laid the foundation for Positive Fishing—a community where he and his team of dedicated fishing enthusiasts share their love for the sport. With an impressive repertoire of skills honed over five decades, Steve has mastered both freshwater and saltwater fishing. Steve holds a special place in his heart for the mighty Carp and the elusive Tench