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Red Grit Funnel Effect

When it comes to F1 fishing some anglers prefer pellets and some anglers are sold on the maggot route. But how did this division of opinion start? Dale Calvert explains…

About 10 years ago I watched a video of Bob Nudd catching F1s on and off the deck, using a feeding tactic he called the ‘worm funnel’ – attracting the fish into the swim with a worm cloud and then using pieces of chopped worm to drag them down to a concentrated area on the bottom. I wanted to achieve the same results but by using pellets, with one rig and just one bag of loose feed responsible for creating the funnel effect.

Years on, this adapted version is a ‘go to’ approach for me when F1s are being a little more crafty than their usual selves. Now this dead easy method can achieve great results and is very cost effective – it will only entail a handful of 4mm expanders, a bag of red, moist micros and a pot of Bag ‘em Matchbaits Super Spicy Meat & Maggot dye. How easy is that! No need for five pints of maggots and several bags of casters to have a great session, just a little bit of bait prep and you’re off

IMG 9567

This method gets the F1s queuing up to be caught.


Today I have brought Pole Fishing magazine to a very well known fishery in my area – the Cunneries ‘S’ Canal, near Chorley in Lancashire. I’ve picked Peg 2 today as the wind is blowing down here and I to like to fish for F1s with a little bit of a ripple on the top when I fish here, as with the water being only 10 metres across these fish can get spooked easily.

Before I set up my gear I like to sort my bait first. So the handful of 4mm expanders are pumped and left to sit for about five minutes, giving them time to soften. Taking a bag of Bag ‘em 2mm Red Aggressor Moist Feeder Pellets, the trick is to just get a manageable handful at a time and rub them in between the palms of your hands to create a red grit. Doing this repeatedly I will only use about half a bag of micros per session, which is more than enough.

IMG 9517

Rub the moist 2mm feed pellets together to break them down…


I don’t want the same consistency throughout the grit, so no riddling here. This grit will be made up of three parts if you’ve not given it too much of a work over, and will create the feeding funnel – firstly a fine powder for giving the F1s a constant cloudy canopy to feed under, secondly a grit of partially ground micros that fall through the water slowly, and then finally solid micros make up the base of the mix that pin the fish to the deck.

IMG 9538

… add a few of the deadly dyed red expanders, and you have Dale’s highly effective red grit.


This is all in the same tub and will be fed through pole pot after every three or four fish. The cloud and grit will keep them interested while the micros will give them something to eat.

Now I turn to my hook bait. A normal tub of 4mm expanders gets a sprinkling of bait dye. I just pour about a tablespoon over them, shake them around to mix them up and ensure they’re all dyed and ready to go.

Rigs are pretty positive. All my summer F1 rigs are made up on Middy Lo-Vis 0.16mm to a 0.14mm 6in hooklength. All these hooklengths are tied to either an 18 or 16 63-13 hook – my favourite winter all-rounder and summer F1 pattern.

Today I’m using some prototype 4x14 white diamond bodied floats. All but two of my No11s are evenly spaced an inch apart just above the hooklength, and the last two are directly under the float stem in order to get it to settle faster, with three No8s placed on the line above the float bristle to help combat the wind today.

When fishing for F1s on the deck in deeper water I like to use an elastic that bottoms out quickly. The best way I can achieve this is to double up my elastic a little differently from everyone else. Middy 3-4 solid is perfect for the job – on the initial lift into a bite it’s very forgiving, but put some power into it by lifting the pole and it quickly brings the fish up and helps in netting as F1s love swimming around in front of you when hooked.

IMG 9555

One of these every chuck soon builds a weight.


I have three top kits all made up for one swim today, right down the middle, so shipping, feeding and lifting and dropping is all going to be very easy at five sections. Under match conditions I’d feed this line regularly and leave it until the last hour or so, but this is for the cameras and I can’t afford to mature this line so I’ll go straight in on it.

Now when I talk about one line this is a little way from the truth – it’s actually a larger than normal one-swim attack. It’ll measure about the size of a dustbin lid just to make sure that I’m over the lose feed that may have moved due to tow or while the fish are there feeding. So with this method careful plumbing is essential as I’ll only just be tickling the bottom.

My first initial feed is made up of a large pole pot. This will just kick off the session and give me a base to catch off. A simple straight-in lowering of the rig through the red grit funnel and the first bite is almost instantaneous. So quick in fact that I demonstrate with a normal expander to show the difference – using this I have to lift and drop the bait more than half a dozen times for the bristle to shoot away, and then it’s only a bite-sized skimmer. Putting the red pellet back on I’m straight into some gutsy action with a mirror of 3lb.

IMG 9524

The grit provides an F1 feeding funnel.


Shipping back out without feed and I’m in as soon as the pellet hits the deck. This all seems too easy for the next hour, landing fish left, right and centre until a strong crosswind comes along and is now blowing a hoolie. Luckily I’m only fishing short and with those No8 back shot, connecting with the bites is almost foolproof until the swim just fizzles out.

This is where fishing a larger swim than normal is key. All I need to do is lift and lower in 18 inches to the left and the bites are back on! With a bin-lid-size swim like this you can actually have five mini swims on one line. It really does benefit having these for F1s. You’ll sometimes find that when an F1 is hooked it dives left or right. This is an indicator where the larger portion of the shoal are sitting or feeding. They obviously feel safer in numbers, and almost every fish hooked has gone left, so moving my rig left is my first choice

I’m back into a run of fish but three in a row have been foul hooked. Now the key to feeding as mentioned is after three or so fish. This is to try prevent too many fish competing and of course liners, but now I’m foul hooking anyway so I change my feeding a little. Not by the quantity or by how often, but by ‘backwards’ feeding. This simply means I don’t put in any bait until I lift into a hooked fish, turning the pole over and dumping in the loose feed. This will not only allow the bait to be fed upon by the F1s unhindered by my rig and prevent connecting with them incorrectly, but also give the fish some feed without the pole tip wafting above them.

Fish learn patterns. I have found that sometimes feeding F1s just settle easier when backwards feeding and I’ll almost always do this about an hour into the session.

This change in feeding has been the answer and almost certainly improved the swim instantly. After lifting and dropping the red pellet a couple of times it’s game on with another nifty 3½lb common. My ‘double double’ elastic really does make a difference in playing and landing feisty hard-fighting carp. By quickly bottoming out, this fish is quickly subdued and netted. 

IMG 9573

Some of the  ‘S’ Canal F1s are pretty sizeable. 


Angler File

Dale Calvert

Age: 47

Sponsors: Middy, Bag ‘em Matchbaits

Pole: Middy Shock Core Fusion XK55


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