A Particular Approach

This 28lb common was one of 17 carp in two days, fishing for a bite at a time

Writing for Carp-Talk for the first time in nearly 15 years, Andy Murray looks at his way with particle baits.

I have been using bait from Carp Particles since the company first launched a couple of years ago. I like the fact that all the bait is prepared using rainwater and frozen once it has been prepared. It is then delivered frozen and goes straight into my freezer, so when I go fishing I just get out what I will need the day before and I know I am always fishing with freshly prepared particles as well as boilies.

There is a fantastic range of particles to choose from (too many sometimes!), and one of my favourites up to now has been Nutty M&Ms, maples and maize with a nice nutty flavour, but there is something for everyone. Check out www.carpparticles.co.uk to see the full range.

Here are a few tips for getting the best out of fishing with particles, and I guess the easiest way is to explain a bit about how I fish with them. Most anglers use some form of back-up to boilie fishing at some time, there are a number of reasons for this:

  • Using a lot of boilies can be expensive, whereas adding groundbait, pellets or particles can reduce the overall price, especially if you are on a budget.

  • If you are on a water where your bait may not be dominant, then using a particle approach can offer the carp a totally different type of baiting situation.

  • Maybe the carp have been caught on boilies already and are showing degrees of wariness.
  • The carp may be preoccupied with smaller items.

No doubt this list could be added to, but for me using particles along with boilies forms an essential part of my carp fishing; how I approach a water and indeed how I set up a baited area.

Essential Cell boilies and M&Ms – over 30 baits in there, so go steady!
Particles on the hair or a Dissolva hookbait with plastic corn

I am still a bit old fashioned with my fishing, preferring to use a marker float to set up a baited area rather than relying on distance sticks and talking about how many wraps I am fishing at (I still can’t get my head around anglers calling a length a wrap – surely a wrap goes all the way around...). My biggest concern about fishing has always been location. That’s not just the part of the lake or the right swim, but the right line or the right spot within the swim, where I think the carp are going to come through at some point. So, having decided the swim I am going to fish, the next job is to decide the line I am going to fish, then I use the marker float to set the spot. What I want to do is to set up a baited area I can picture in my mind that will stop the carp and hopefully encourage them to stay around and feed; i.e. getting them to mill about and have a dig around, which in turn will result in a better chance of more than one take. When I cast the Spomb to the marker I am looking to keep it moving around the marker to spread the bait out, and I will spend some time and effort trying to place the Spomb accurately in order to achieve this.

The lake I am currently fishing is pretty sizeable at 50 acres, and most of the carp I have caught over bait have been between 50 and 80 yards, but I still take a lot of time making that first decision of where to put the marker float on the spot I want to fish. What I am looking to do is create a baiting pattern around the float that I can fish to, and this is where I differ a lot from how I see other anglers approach this. If I think I have got the line right, I will fish two rods to a baited area the size of a table top or so. I fish one rod tight to the float and the other rod off to the side on the edge or the back of the baited area. Which side will depend on the prevalent wind direction or where I think the carp are coming in from. I usually find the better sized fish will come from the edge of the area. You need to pay attention to this, as it is as true now as it was 20 or 30 years ago. If I am not 100% sure about the exact line I put one rod in front of the marker and one to the back with several yards between them, then bait up in a diagonal line across the marker. Either way, once I have the area set I can clip the Spomb to rebait as I need to.

Currently my favoured presentation

One of the biggest mistakes I see most anglers making with particles is putting too much bait in right at the start. It’s like they are expecting a big hit right from the word go. Just because you have a bucket full of bait doesn’t mean it all needs to go in at the start. Once you put it in, you can’t take it out. What happens if you have chosen the wrong spot and you have to move? Put in enough to get one bite at a time and you may end up having a big hit over a session. The more bait you put in the more carp have got to feed to come across your hookbait, so as rule of thumb I look to have six to eight spods of bait over the area I have chosen and then top up as I get any action. That needs qualifying a bit, as depending on the conditions it may mean casting out a number of times to get the amount of bait I want down in the right spot. Obviously it helps if you can be more accurate and don’t spread too much bait about.

If you look at the picture you can see a handful of bait lying in the Spomb, several half Mainline Essential Cell boilies and a handful of M&Ms. That is actually 30-40 baits, so six to eight Spombs means 200-300 baits in an area! Another little tip with these type of particles is to swirl them around the bucket a few times, so it mashes a few and knocks the edges off. This way I get a bit of cloud as they fall through the water.

Location is key, but location of spots within the swim is even more important!
The little PVA bag helps the hookbait become the centre of attraction within the baited area, and it can also protect more delicate hookbaits from the impact of hitting the water
A handful goes further than you think, roughed up a little bit for extra attraction

I am fishing over silkweed, so some bait will get lost in the weed. If I was fishing on a clean bottom, I would probably use less. Some anglers put in much more than that, in effect cutting down their chances of getting a bite at all. I want enough down to get the carp browsing around and come across the hookbait sooner rather than later. The other thing that can make a difference is the type of particles you are using, so give this some thought.

I also want to make sure the hookbait stands out as well, but not in the over-flavoured way. I have a favoured presentation for this type of scenario, and as you can see from the picture it’s a short Mantis hooklink with a small bag threaded on. At the moment I am having a lot of success with two types of hookbait. The first is a single grain of plastic corn coupled with an Essential Cell Dissolva hookbait. Although the hookbait dissolves, it takes several hours and there is still a small part next to the corn, certainly enough to get a bite. The other hookbait is some of the freebie particles on the hair with the plastic corn. With this sort of fishing I like to keep active, so I will replace the hookbait every few hours or so, always keeping a few ready to go. I want to keep a fresh and attractive little pile there all the time.

I am constantly experimenting, so once I find something that works, I then want to try something else! I am just about to move on to the Hemp & Snails Mix for the autumn period, so I’ll keep you posted!

What’s left of a Dissolva after several hours in the water - perfect for a bite I’d say

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