For the last couple of months I've been trying out these two items from Sillybait. Unfortunately, during this period we've also seen the wettest November in living history, with rivers and lakes overflowing and the water temperatures dropping daily. Not the ideal time to go fishing.
For these tests I tended to fish two rods, one with the Sillybait product and another using bait from a different manufacturer in order that some kind of direct comparison could be made.
Although these sinking pellets are specifically designed for carp angling, you can also catch tench, bream, large roach and barbel with them. They're available in 3 sizes of 4, 6.5 and 8.5mm diameter. I've been testing the 6.5mm pellets for a few weeks and they've now earned a permanent place in my tackle box. They have a very slow breakdown rate, and you should be able to cast with them even after an hour or two underwater. However, for best results I recommend changing the hookbait every 30 minutes or so.
Barbless hooks are almost compulsory with this bait as barbed hooks tend to split them. It also helps if you gently roll them between your fingers for a short while to soften them up a little first, when you see the oils seeping out of the pellet it should then be soft enough to hook. You can, obviously, also use bait-bands to keep them on the hook or hair-rig, which is the technique I prefer to use (usually with a few pellets in a PVA bag as loosefeed).
Unlike other supposed "killer baits", I have never blanked when using these pellets, even when other anglers around me have been struggling for bites. I fished these alongside trout pellets, boilies and bread, and whilst I was catching with the Sillybait product the other baits produced far fewer (if any) fish. The largest fish caught using this bait was a 7lb mirror carp (although I did hook something much bigger, the hook broke in two before I could bring it to the bank!).
If I could only use one bait for catching large fish, this would be the one I would choose.
I must admit to being somewhat dubious at first about a combined paste and groundbait, but if you get the mixture right it really does work. It takes up the water faster than some groundbaits I use, and it's recommended that you mix it at least 5-10 minutes before you use it. It's available in brown, red or black, though the red variety has additional ingredients to make it more attractive to bream and tench.
It moulds easily onto the hook, although it helps of you can tie a boilie stop near the eye to give the paste something more to hang on to. Care needs to be taken when you cast however, otherwise you'll see the paste flying off in one direction and the hook in another. The hook can be totally buried in the paste as it will easily pull clear on the strike.
Although not as successful as the pellets for me, I have caught on the paste, the largest fish being a 5lb mirror carp. My preference, though, is to use it as groundbait in a frame feeder with a pellet as hookbait. When float fishing for roach, it also makes a great groundbait. It's slightly fizzy when you first throw it in, and if you mix it a bit wetter than normal it produces a good cloud when it hits the water. When the roach stopped biting, just one or two small balls about golf-ball size was enough to get them feeding again.
Sillybait products are now marketed through Van den Eynde, and your local tackle shops should be able to order them if they don't already keep them in stock.