Winter Baiting Thoughts
Dave levy’s thoughts have already moved past autumn
It’s that time of year when the whole environment is changing around us. Even though we carp anglers can enjoy a whole host of things like cooler water temperatures bringing on better feeding spells, less weed, and the trees surrounding the lakes turning from green to shades of browns and red, there also a few problems to overcome. If, like me, you fish a busy water then the seagulls will be trained to not only be able to hear a throwing stick or catapult from 500 yards away, but they will swarm down to eat most of what you put in. It’s got to the point where I hate the bloody things.
There are, however, a few ways of getting around them without losing your mind or resorting to swimming your baits out in the ice-cold water. Firstly try baiting in the dark, as their eyesight decreases badly from dusk onwards, though of course this isn’t always good if you want to bait accurately. So, the simple answer is Spombing your bait out. If you’re using wrap sticks and the line clip on your reels then accuracy will be spot on and you won’t be losing half of your bait to the flying rats.
Bait and how you use it during the colder months brings me on the the next subject of winter baiting. Have you ever wondered why small baits seem to work a lot better during the winter months? I used to think it was due us fining down our end tackle to small hooks and lighter lines. However, after learning that carp experience a huge decrease in eyesight in the cold water I have looked deeper into their diet. The carp needs a food source that’s very digestible during the colder months, as its metabolism is working so much slower, so smaller food items lend themselves to being more easily digestible. This is why 10mm baits and maggots are so readily accepted by carp, even in large quantities.
For the past few winters I’ve gone to the effort of breaking my baits into lots of bits. Not only is this more digestible, but once the carp are on the bait it keeps them there longer searching for more food. I use Mainline bait, and they pride themselves on the digestibility of their baits. Add this to the broken baits and it’s the right combination for a good winter bait. Using baits like the Cell or Hybrid give you a winning formula. Now this isn’t a plug for the bait I use; I just want anglers to understand they will have much better results fishing bits and pieces as opposed to whole boilies.
When I did well on Cleverley Mere during the winter the only whole boilie in my swim was the hookbait! And that was super critically balanced, so the hookbait would be easily sucked in as the carp sucked and blew the free offering bits. This is a method that has accounted for loads of carp in the winter months.
Breaking up the bait can be a real chore, though. I’ve been through at least a dozen food blenders, which also tend to make the bait too fine, so I turned to a crusher, which is good, but doing three kilos of boilies with one is time consuming and your arm will almost fall off.
I’ve recently been lucky enough to get my hands on a RidgeMonkey Advanced Boilie Crusher. As you can see from the pictures, you simply drop the baits in the top then wind the handle, and the bait is cut up and drops down into the bucket ready to be Spombed out! Hand on heart I can say that this is one of the best products I’ve used in a long time and it took me less than two minutes to dice three kilos of bait into cut-up bits.
Lastly I’d just like to say that as carp fishing has evolved over the years we’ve learned more about the carp as a species and gone are the days when we believed they spent the colder months buried in the silt. We now know carp actually sit off the bottom and are very susceptible to zig rigs in the winter. We also know that they feed throughout the winter; it’s just about knowing what and how to feed them. I’ve given you a few good tips here, so I hope this short article has given you food for thought and puts a few in the net for you this winter.