Get on the un­usual bait carp are fall­ing for right now

As bites get harder to come by, try mac­a­roni cheese on the hook

Angling Times (UK) - - NEWS -

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.”


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.

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