Get on the unusual bait carp are falling for right now
As bites get harder to come by, try macaroni cheese on the hook
IT’S been a very busy few months on the commercial scene, and by now fish have seen just about every trick in the book.
Tonnes of maggots, pellets and groundbait have been piled into your local waters, so at a time when the shoals traditionally slow down their feeding habits for winter, it can pay to try something completely different to catch them out.
Your local supermarket is often a place for inspiration, as professional float maker Phil Reynolds has proved in recent weeks.
Popular choices such as corn, luncheon meat and bread are shunned by him. In fact, it’s a much more unusual product that has been doing the damage.
“I’ve tried all sorts of baits to boost my catches in recent winters and I’ve definitely struck gold with macaroni cheese,” explained Phil.
“Weights have been dropping at my local waters but I’ve managed to maintain the standards I set myself in summer by using it for big bags of carp and F1s.”
At this time of year most anglers are looking to boost their baits with various liquids and additives in order to trigger a response, but macaroni cheese is ready to go.
“I use it straight out of the tin. All the gooey liquid that clings to the pieces of macaroni seeps off in the water and stands out a mile in the current clear conditions.
“The shoals in most fisheries are now sitting in the deeper water but I tend to try and find swims where I can find a good depth close to the bank,” said Phil.
“As it is such a soft bait, it can fall off the hook fairly easy so the less you have to ship out, the more chance there is of it remaining on the hook.”
In the event of needing to fish on the long pole, Phil keeps the hookbait out of the water while shipping out.
There’s no doubt that the appetites of commercial fish have now dropped off sharply, and so it is vital to make sure that the one mouthful they will accept is your hookbait.
Phil is convinced that macaroni cheese will be selected ahead of other items at this time of year, but is fully aware that even that will only be eaten in small quantities.
“I only use macaroni cheese as hookbait as I want the fish to pick it out instantly. I will feed small quantities of corn at the same time but this only acts as an attractant and I think it gets ignored a lot of the time.
“Use a baiting needle to get the bait on to the hook and then slide it up the shank slightly. This
“I only use macaroni cheese as hookbait as I want the fish to pick it out instantly”
makes sure that plenty of the hookpoint is showing and means that almost every bite ends with a fish going in the net.”
HEINZ IS BEST
There are several different brands of macaroni cheese on the market, but according to Phil only one will be right for commercials at this time of year.
“It’s got to be the Heinz variety every time. It is slightly more durable than the rest. This means I can lift and drop it to help dislodge more flavour without fear of the hook pulling through,” he said.
Months of practice with the bait have also shown him that the tactic often draws in a bigger stamp of fish, and Phil believes that the fish that have seen everything will still be tripped up when presented with such an unusual bait.
In order to bank everything you hook, use 0.16mm mainline to a 0.14mm hooklength when carp are the main target, or a 0.12mm hooklength when you are in search of big F1s. The best hook for the job is a size 16 or 18 Gama Power, while a 10-14 PR Prolastic is soft on the strike before powering up as a fish charges off.
“The fishing is only going to get harder as the weeks roll by through winter, but macaroni cheese is the banker bait that can keep you catching while everyone else struggles for a bite,” concluded Phil.
Macaroni cheese is a gooey fish feast. Stroft line and Gama Power hooks.