Ask The Experts - In association with Mainline Baits
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I am trying to find a way to catch carp which feed on the spot and don’t move very much. Do you know of a setup that will catch me these feeders as they are not easy to catch?
Charlie McConville, London.
I like to use critically-balanced Snowman arrangements, they take a bit of fine-tuning but are so light that when a carp sucks the bait from a short distance or
even on top of them, they go a long way back and there is a much greater chance of a hook-hold on ejection.
The size of the Snowman can be altered by using a 15mm bottom bait or Dumbell Hooker with a Cell Topper, even a 12mm pop-up and trimming the bottom bait if required so it sinks super slowly like a lunar module landing.
This is ideal if you are fishing around a tightly baited spot as it stands out enough to be noticed but not so obvious to spook them. Secondly, if you opt for a larger 18mm/14mm hookbait combo, then apply the same tactics and trim to suit. I would happily fish this as a single hookbait in the open water, with a micro bag of chops or a three-bait stringer.
I mount these on an IQ D-rig as it enables a large hook to be employed like a size 4 Kurv shank which is masked from approaching carp due to the baits’ position on the D. As soon as it is sucked in, the hook easily finds purchase in the mouth as the baits slide out of the way on the D. The hook-holds are impressive, especially if you have tuned them up with a file.
This is my ‘go to’ setup pretty much everywhere I fish and I vary the 15lb IQ2 hooklink length based on the bottom i.e. 6” for firm bottom, 9” or 10” for softer silt. Fish it on a Helicopter setup and there are never any tangles when casting out and feeling it down.
All the best, George Loughlin
I hope you can help. I’m new to carp fishing and would like to know a little bit about PVA. I need to know when to use a solid bag over a stocking bag and what should I put in them.
Jason Broadbent, Bristol
Thanks for your question. PVA bags and mesh have been around for many years and has accounted for millions of carp caught around the world. It’s a great way to present a small amount of bait around your hookbait.
PVA stands for Polyvinyl Acetate, a substance that when it comes in contact with water will melt/dissolve. Solid PVA bags were first used in hospital laundries to keep items separate from infection. They became popular in carp fishing in the 1980s and the rest is history.
You say in your question you need to know when to use a solid bag over a stocking bag. Well this is down to the venue you are fishing. I like to use a small stocking PVA bag almost every cast, this ensures I have a very small amount of feed around my hookbait.
What I put in this bag is down to what I am fishing at the time. The mesh bags are also good for adding whole boilies as this will concentrate a nice food signal on the bottom and when followed up with some extra boilies added via a throwing stick this can be a good tactic at any time of the year.
When I switch to a solid PVA bag it would be for a couple of reasons. The first one being that the water I am fishing is weedy and this method will better present any rig on a weedy venue. Also, this is the best way to ensure your hooklink doesn’t tangle.
The other reason I use a solid PVA bag is because I want to use pellets or add some liquids to the baited area. Solid bags are a great way to get a good amount of food and smell to the bottom with minimal fuss.
Sometimes casting a solid bag might be all you need to do especially if you are only looking to get one bite. Solid bags have devastated venues in the early and mid-2000s and are something not many anglers use, so definitely give them ago as sometimes doing something different bags you a bonus carp.
Have a great winter, Callum Boyle
I’m about to start on my winter campaign, can you please advise me on what I should be doing, and what venues I should be targeting. Also, I would like to know what baits to use and what rigs will be best.
Steven Hepworth, West Midlands
As winter approaches it’s always a good time select your venue, sort out what bait to buy, and what rigs you want use. My first approach to a winter campaign is to select a water which will reward you.
What I mean is a water that regularly produces fish through the coldest times of the year. Sometimes this can be a local runs water that will give you some great action when the weather is dire.
Alternatively, a lot of big carp waters will reward you if you keep the bait going in. I’ve seen lots of big carp caught during the winter just because anglers have kept certain spots active and primed with bait. The carp will always visit baited areas as long as you start early and don’t leave it until its mega cold and the carp have already grouped up.
Make sure you use a good quality food source and add a little bit of particle to bulk it up; keep this going in from day one and you will be rewarded throughout
the winter. I like to fish two rods directly on the bait very close together and fish them both with tight lines. The tight lines will hopefully tell me when fish are active and I need the bite to register very quickly.
My hookbaits are always boosted by additional bait spray. This will add an extra kick when you need it most. Mainline Baits have produced some amazing Baits Sprays this year designed to add extra attraction to your hookbaits, PVA bags or stringers, they actually taste amazing as well.
My rigs are kept simple, a scaled-down sharp IQ D-Rig would be perfect if fishing wafters, or a simple wide gape pop-up rig would suit my boosted hookbaits.
Points to remember:
• Choose venue carefully.
• Keep a good-quality bait going in at all times.
• Fish tighter lines to register liners and quicker bites.
• Scale down your rigs and make them simple and sharp.
• Boost your hookbaits for added attraction.
All the best Jon ‘Shoes’ Shoes
TIP of the month
As the colder weather approaches it doesn’t seem five minutes ago since I was thinking about getting my bait sorted for the start of the spring! Now it’s the start of the winter I am looking forward to and my bait choice isn’t much different. I chose to use tigers in my spod/Spomb mixes this year just to add a little crunch alongside my boilies, and this very same approach I will use throughout the winter but in smaller quantities.
Mainline Baits have produced some superb particles this year and the Power+ Tigers soaked in Multi-Stim are the ones for me. They are PVA-friendly and I can add a little bite-size bunch every time I cast. The Multi-Stim liquid is a great winter attractor and is very water-soluble which is why I chose them. A simple hookbait arrangement tipped with a Topper makes the perfect little trap in the coming cold months.