HOW TO FISH MICRO BAITS FOR BIG CARP
Right now the biggest commercial carp are seriously on the feed. Here’s how I target these lumps
IT might surprise you to learn that the coming months are among my favourites for carp fishing.
Bites can be fewer than in summer, but if you choose your venue carefully, short day sessions can bring heart-warming action, and the fish tend to be of a much better average size too.
However, I would never set out to fish a windswept gravel pit for carp in the winter months – life is too short! Instead I switch to commercial fisheries, many of which contain fish topping 20lb and even 30lb these days. The bigger fish tend to show up more in the cold – I can only guess that they need to eat more.
Perhaps their senses are a little less dialled in when it is cold? Whatever the reason, catching the bigger fish becomes less of a needle in a haystack right now and if you follow my top tips a new personal best could well be on the cards this week.
Bright baits have a strong track record when the temperature is low. The senses of warm-water species, such as carp, are dulled in the cold – they can lose up to 30 per cent of their sight at this time of year, so it makes sense to use a bait that stands out.
White and pink are the most used colours, but don’t ignore bright yellow, a colour that has fallen from favour somewhat in recent years.
Many companies produce bright hookbait versions of their most popular baits. If a particular bait is catching well on your venue then try using one of these specials. Often the carp will home in on them faster than the darker alternatives.
CUT THE FEED
Don’t be tempted to feed too many bright baits, as they stand out like a sore thumb on the bottom, especially if the water is really clear. It’s much better to fish with just a very attractive single hookabit, than to fill it in.
Remember, carp in most lakes have seen enough boilies to know that they are food, so there is no need for heavy baiting.
If I feel the need to introduce some feed I will be very sparing – just a handful of bait is all I will use over a day, pinging out a couple of baits after each bite.
Reducing the size of the free offerings is another useful ploy. Small 10mm boilies make a great feed, and a larger 15mm hookbait stands out among them.
Anything that makes it easier for a carp to pick up the hookbait has got to be an advantage when they are not feeding strongly.
Pop-ups are a good choice, especially if there are a lot of leaves on the bottom. The buoyant bait will keep the hook clear of any detritus, and it only needs to be anchored an inch off bottom to make a difference.
Critically-balanced slow-sinking hookbaits are my first choice in most swims as they present the bait more naturally than a pop-up. A 15mm bottom bait and a 10mm pop-up combo works great, creating a slow-sinking ‘snowman’ presentation.
Alternatively, carefully core out your boilie and insert a small piece of buoyant foam to create a bait that is indistinguishable from a normal boilie.
BOOST YOUR BAITS
A handful of both pop-ups and bottom baits can be stored in boilie dip indefinitely. The longer they are immersed, the better the liquid will penetrate the skin of the bait and be absorbed, giving a long-lasting leak-off of flavour.
Alternatively, try wrapping a small amount of paste around your hookbait. This will slowly break down, releasing loads of attraction into the water.
I rarely fish without boosting the hookbait in this way, whatever the time of year.
My tests have shown that this simple tip can double the number of bites I receive.