Carp Baits in Winter
Well it doesn't seem five minutes since I last penned an article for carp.com bathed in the warm autumn sun, yet here I am sat on a cold winter's night underneath my “Nash Viper Bivvy” with a bright moonlit sky above me.
With thousands of stars apparent to even my poor eyesight, I can tell site its going to be a cold one and considering I am the only one here it looks like most anglers have already given up this year. To be honest that's plain daft as although you won't catch as many carp in the winter as you do in summer they are catch able all year round. Look at the likes of Dave Lane, Ian Chillcott and Jim Shelley; even on the hardest understocked waters they can winkle ‘ em out and so can you.
Although there are many aspects to catching carp in the cold one of the easiest to get sorted out for the beginner and expert alike is the choice of bait to use. Now I've read some right tosh about cold water carp baits and I can tell you for a start with. There is no bait that will always catch carp in the winter and there is not bait which will never catch. Believe me, whatever bait you use you will always be in with a chance. However just having a chance is not what carp.com is all about and we are here to make sure we can turn possibility into probability wherever you are in the world. Fancy catching a cold water carp which will make your hands cold and wet and you face beam then read on my friends…
Carp Baits and Tactics
Remember what I said about all baits being winners in winter well that may be true, but only if you learn how to use them properly. More is not better in the cold months and too much of a good thing is definitely not good for your chances in the cold. In the summer months you can literally pick your favourite bait and heave it in and catch but from now onwards that tactic will probably only catch you a cold. Rather than stocking up with piles and piles of your favourite bait get a selection and see which one works on the day. Do yourself a favour and go watch a decent match angler and you will see the array of baits they take is amazing. They have to catch fish in limited time and have to “buy bites” rather than wait for them. The match anglers many not use all the baits he takes out but he will have something to try whatever mood the fish are in. That's the attitude you need to have in winter. How can I buy a bite from a carp which are not wild about feeding in the cold? Easy…read on!
Carp baits that work in winter
Although all baits will catch carp in the cold there are definitely are baits which have shown themselves to stand out as both constant and potent. Now I'm sure some of you will expect me to harp on about boilies and all sorts of weird and wonderful combinations, but to be honest they are not the be all and end all of baits. Although they always go in my bait bag they are a supplement not an essential!!
These baits I wouldn't leave home without:-
Maggots – Without doubt my number 1 fishing bait in the cold and when all else fails these won't. Maggots have a huge advantage over boilies and the like – they move!! That little bit of movement seems to inspire the carp into ‘having' a go. You can simply hook them onto a hook as you'd do with any bait or as I do you can thread them onto a piece of fine line and hair rig them on. This keeps them very lively and allows you to have anything from six to sixty maggots at once. Tie the line to the hook and away you go. If you have water filled of nuisance fish you may need to regularly recast. I tend to fish a bunch of live maggots over sine scalding dead maggots and it works a treat. Don't be tempted to put maggots in your mouth to warm them up before use a hook bait. Firstly it's a fail habit and secondly the shock of the maggots going from the warm mouth to a cold lake will stop their movement full stop…. Don't fall for that old wives tail.
Sweet corn - it's very visual, has great attraction qualities and carp love it in cold. It's much better than Maize and you can either hook it on or use it on a hair rig. I tend to use mine neat out of the cans but soak in Nutabaits Sweet Cajouser favour is a definite winner. When fishing it try using it over liquidised sweet corn. Lots of attraction but the only piece they can find to eat has a hook in it; deadly!
Worms – as with maggots that bit of life can annoy or excite carp into ‘having a go'. Always use them on the hook as a worm on a hair will tie it in knots and have you pulling your hair out. A brilliant stalking bait especially when you can see the fish you are after.
Method Paste – Not for the hook bait but to mould round the lead it is brilliant. You can buy Method Mix or can make your own from adding boiling water to trout pellet. Give them 10 minutes to soak and cool and you can make a wonderful paste to attract the carp. It may look messy and indelicate but carp love it. Try a dark smelly boilie on a hair and its game over!!
Imitation Baits – Carp don't spend all their time on the lake bed and sometimes (dare I say often) will spend much of their time in mid water. By float fishing a piece of imitation corn in mid water the carp may have a go at it. Enterprise Tackle do some brilliant artificial baits or you can use some buoyant foam which is equally good.
Boilies – Can't forget these can we! Providing these are used sensibly in the colder months boiled baits can be very effective. I like to use them as a single hook baits either as a bottom baits or a pop ups. Do not fire out boilies… don't you dare. Simply buy pots of hook baits and not bags of boilies. That will save you a lot of money and catch you a lot more carp.
Additional – Ground bait is always useful and I like the CSL ground bait or Nutrabaits SCF version. Ball Pellets are great as they catapult out like boilies but break down to crumb in 30 minutes. I always take some Chum mixers in case the carp are on the surface and some carp pellets like Nutrabaits , CSL , and Dynamite Swim Stim are brilliant to fish over or use in PVA bags
I tend to go for small rather then large and pink or yellow rather than red or orange. Add a bait soak to match and fish as singler hookers only.
My favourites are ready-mades and are:-
- Nutrabaits – TechniSpice and Cranberry Flavour
- Dynamite Baits Squid and Octopus Favour
- Heathrow Baits – Pukka Pineapple and Indian Flavours
I could go on forever but carp.com is a busy site so try these for starters.
Good luck in the Cold.