Ian Welch looks at a rig that adds a subtle new dimension to that most deadly of barbel fishing techniques – the legered pellet.

Legered pellet is one of the deadliest of all barbel tactics and is equally effective on rivers such as the small and intimate Loddon, Ouse and Dorset Stour as on the mighty Thames, Trent and Severn.
All pellets will catch barbel but there is no doubt they have a preference for high oil varieties throughout much of the year, and I’m a great fan of Dynamite Baits’ Marine Halibut pellets which just ooze highly concentrated oils and fishmeal into the water to pull barbel toward them.
The 3mm, 4mm and 6mm pellets are brilliant loose feed to use in conjunction with a 14mm hook bait, but rather than just spray your feed pellets with a catapult use a baitdropper or PVA bag to get them straight on the deck in the same area as the hook bait. Spraying without knowing where the pellets are going to hit the bottom could work against you and actually pull fish out of your swim!
My rig is simple in construction and a modern variation of the traditional and highly effective free-running rig.
Instead of the lead free-running on the main line I’ve added a Korda Safe Zone leader, which helps to pin the rig to the bottom and prevents feeding barbel from giving line bites or spooking away in the vicinity of the hook bait.
To help with rig camouflage I’ve incorporated an Atomic Tackle Dung Bomb, which has a fibrous coating that blends in perfectly over gravel, tree roots and other underwater debris. If you are fishing over pale gravel or sand then look for a lighter coloured alternative.
Whichever you choose, match the weight of the lead to the current speed you are fishing. With 2oz a good starting point I attach my lead to a low-resistance run ring to make sure it moves freely along the leader.
At the business end there is no better choice than a Korum S3 hook and size 8 complements a 14mm halibut pellet perfectly. These hooks have really tough points and are perfect for constant recasting over stones and gravel as they will not easily lose their sharpness – a hook with a blunt or turned-over point will cost you fish.
I couple the hook with a hooklength of 20cm of 15lb Sufix Camo Skin. This coated braid is tough with excellent anti-tangle properties, and I strip back 3cm above the hook to give a hinge, which allows for freedom of movement of the hook bait. A Preston Stotz pinched on at the junction of the hinge pins it all to the riverbed beautifully. 
My last little touch is to use a Fox Pellet Peg, rather than a pellet band or standard hair stop, to anchor my pellet hook bait.  Pellets quickly soften underwater and ordinary stops or bands have a habit of pulling either through or off. A drilled pellet fixed with a peg is there for keeps!

To create Ian’s pellet rig you need:

• Korum S3 hooks in size 8
• 2oz Atomic Tackle Dung Bomb
• 15lb Sufix Camo Skin
• Korda Safe Zone leader
• Quick link
• Hooklength clip
• Two 3cm silicone sleeves
• 0.5mm silicone rig tube
• Size 8 Preston Stotz
• Fox Pellet Peg
• Large diameter run ring
• John Roberts Protecta Bead

Step 1
Attach a large diameter run ring to the quick link. It’s a fiddly job but the offset tag on the clip helps.
Step 2
Now slide a piece of silicone sleeve over the other end of the quick link. It’s a tight fit but moistening it with saliva helps to get it moving.
Step 3
You should ensure the tip of the quick link is just visible once the silicone sleeve is over the base of the run ring.
Step 4
This allows you to easily attach the Dung Bomb to the other end of the quick clip.
Step 5
Now slide the silicone sleeve down a fraction so there is a seamless join between run ring and bomb. This is an important anti-tangle feature of the rig.
Step 6
Attach the hooklength clip to the larger of the two loops on the Safe Zone leader. Your main line will eventually be attached to the smaller loop.
Step 7
Thread the Protecta Bead onto a gate-latch baiting needle, rounded end first.
Step 8
Grab the smaller leader loop with the hook at the end of the baiting needle and slide the bead onto the leader.
Step 9 
Slide the bead along the length of the leader and push it over the end of the hooklength clip. It should rest snugly roughly halfway along the clip.
Step 10
Slide the run ring of the Dung Bomb over the smaller leader loop. You can now attach your main line to the smaller leader loop.
Step 11
The bomb should be free-running and rest against the Protecta Bead like this.
Step 12
To create the hooklength, cut a 30cm length of 15lb Sufix Camo Skin and, using scissors, strip off the bottom 10cm of plastic coating.
Step 13
Tie an overhand loop in the end of the hooklength. This will be your hair on which the pellet hook bait will be fished.
Step 14
Snip off a 2mm length of 0.5mm silicone sleeve, being careful not to drop it!
Step 15
Now thread the unstripped end of the Camo Skin through the silicone tube and slide it down the hooklength.
Step 16
Insert the point of the S3 hook through the silicone sleeve and thread it through so the sleeve rests at the bottom of the hook shank.
Step 17
Carefully pull the hooklength through the sleeve to create your hair. The sleeve pins the hooklength against the shank of the hook to give the correct angle for hooking efficiency.
Step 18
Now drill out a 14mm pellet lengthways with a pellet drill. Really fresh pellets make the process easier than old, dried-up types.
Step 19
Using a baiting needle, thread the drilled pellet onto the hair you have created and thread a pellet peg through the hair loop.
Step 20
Pull the hair firmly to bed the pellet peg in place with the flanges resting tightly against the outside of the pellet.
Step 21
To set the length of your hair, ease the hooklength back through the silicone rig tube until there’s a gap of some 2mm and 5mm between the bottom of the hook and the top of the pellet.
Step 22
Having set the length of the hair you can now tie the hook off using a knotless knot.
Step 23
Look for a finished hooklength of 20cm, cut to length and then slide the remaining silicone sleeve over the free end.
Step 24
Tie a figure-of-eight loop (see previous editions of tcf) in the end. This allows for easy hooklength changes should the need arise.
Step 25
Pinch the clip on the Safe Zone leader to open it and attach your hooklength via the figure-of-eight loop.
Step 26
Slide up the silicone sleeve and ease it over the clip to give a seamless join with the Protecta Bead above it.
Step 27
Pinch on a Preston Stotz at the junction of the coated hooklength with the stripped back fibres above the hook. This helps it to lie flat underwater.
Step 28
The finished rig! Use it in conjunction with mini halibut pellet loose feed to bag yourself a barbel from any river in the UK!