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A small, high-attract hookbait and a handful of tiny pellets can sometimes ‘buy a bite’ when all else fails

A small, high-attract hookbait and a handful of tiny pellets can sometimes ‘buy a bite’ when all else fails

Dear Team,

I would like to start using solid PVA bags, instead of mesh bags. Can the team please tell me what baits I should be using and any bait tips you can provide to help me catch more carp.

Thank you,

Stephen Broadacres

This stunning mirror responded to a small PVA bag cast at a showing fish

This stunning mirror responded to a small PVA bag cast at a showing fish

Hi Stephen,

I use solid bags a lot and I find that the little parcel of bait is perfect at any time of year. I’ll start with pellets – our Spod and PVA Pellet Mix is perfect. I would start by covering the hookbait with some pellets, and then add some maggots or some crushed Cell and Essential Cell. Both the Cells are really digestible and the carp love them. Hookbait-wise, you want something light in weight, so that the carp sucks the whole lot up in one go! I would opt for a Cork Dust Wafter. I would pre-soak the hookbaits in the Enhancement Dips for that bit of added attraction.

If all else fails, then when you’re at home, blend up some of your chosen boilies. As stated above, my choice would be to mix the two Cells together. Blend it all right down into a powder form. You will also need a bag of Cell Stick Mix as well. Once at the lake, start by putting a handful of Stick Mix over the hook, then add the boilie crumb – this will protect the hook on the cast. Also, try using a matching hookbait to the crumb as well. I hope this helps to put a few more fish on the bank for you.

All the best,

Jamie Londors

PVA bags aren’t just to be used as a last resort. This carp fell to one placed alongside a reed bed when conditions dictated to fish for a bite at a time

PVA bags aren’t just to be used as a last resort. This carp fell to one placed alongside a reed bed when conditions dictated to fish for a bite at a time


Dear Experts

Can I get some advice please on how to make washed-out baits... I fish a lake across the road from me which is really silty and I have been told if I wash the baits out then the smell of the silt won’t get into the bait. Is that right? Should I use the lake water for this and can I add a liquid additive to the water to boost the baits? I have never done this before but it sounds like a good tactic to use. I have been using the Activ-8 and the Hybrid mixed together – anything else you can think of would be great.

Thank you,

Garry Legge

Be warned, some fish, such as this French mirror, may be deterred from feeding over an area full of scent and attraction. Sometimes, less is more

Be warned, some fish, such as this French mirror, may be deterred from feeding over an area full of scent and attraction. Sometimes, less is more

This upper 50 fell to Max’s preferred tactics of fishing over a mixed bed of sweet and savoury, and/or, light and dark baits

This upper 50 fell to Max’s preferred tactics of fishing over a mixed bed of sweet and savoury, and/or, light and dark baits

Hi Garry,

Washed-out baits can be very effective especially when applied on pressured waters where the fish have become wary of freshly-introduced bait. In fact, this is an approach I’ve used to great success on several of what I’d class as ‘hard’ waters where I was convinced that the larger residents were choosing to search out bait that had been in the water for a few days and which they felt was a far safer option – which actually resulted in them being hooked quicker than over the stronger smelling, fresh bait that had been recently introduced. In addition, another benefit of pre-soaking your baits will be that they help reduce the amount of silty water being absorbed as they will have already drawn in the majority of moisture that they are capable of holding.

Lake water is always the best option, however tap water is okay if you cannot get to the lake a couple of days before you intend to fish. Alternatively, if you are fishing the lake regularly, then take an empty water container with you and simply fill it up and bring it home when you finish, so you have enough to soak your boilies in, ready for your next session. You may also add a liquid additive into the water you’re using to wash-out your baits but be aware this might work against you, especially if you’re looking to target wary fish that may well be looking for bait with virtually no noticeable attractors?

Finally, you mention using a mix of Activ-8 and Hybrid, which are both really successful baits. However, try mixing a brighter, sweeter bait with a savoury one. For instance, try a Link and Essential Cell combination which not only combines a sweet and a savoury effect, but also a combination of bright and darker coloured baits!

Tight Lines,

Max Cottis

Washed-out baits can be revived with a liberal coating of a matching Stick Mix liquid if required…

Washed-out baits can be revived with a liberal coating of a matching Stick Mix liquid if required…


The length of my rigs can vary tremendously, based on what ground I am fishing over

The length of my rigs can vary tremendously, based on what ground I am fishing over

The reason for using a short (6 inch) or a long (12 inch) hooklength has often been a question I’d like answering. I use both sizes and both have caught me carp. Fishing over weed or silt I use a longer hooklength due to using a pop-up – anything from 1-3 inches up off the bottom. On clear waters or over gravel, I tend use a shorter length.

That’s been my approach for a while but I don’t fully understand the thinking behind each one. I’ve had finicky bites that are not quite takes and have wondered if I’d used a longer or shorter hooklengths, would it have made a difference. I am confident in the rigs that I am currently using, it’s just the length in different situations that I’m unsure about.

Thank you for your time and hopefully you will be able to advise me...

Kind regards,Andy Michie

This carp was caught on a very short rig when fishing over a hard bottom, i.e gravel

This carp was caught on a very short rig when fishing over a hard bottom, i.e gravel

I will often use a wafter when fishing over silt or light weed

I will often use a wafter when fishing over silt or light weed

Hi Andy,

You almost hit the nail on the head – the most important aspect of rigs is to use the right one in the right situation. If I’m fishing hard, clear lake beds I’ll use rigs as short as 3 to 4 inches, yet on the silty and choddy areas, I will use anything up to 18 inches in length without hesitation.

The reason for this is simple – it’s down to the movement of the carp while feeding and what the carp can get away with. Carp are a lot more difficult to catch over these harder lake beds as the rig is easier to deal with and this is why we shorten the rig, as it gives them a lot less room to move around.

Out in the weed or silt it is much harder for a carp to detect foreign objects such as hooks and generally the bait is more spread out. Making a carp move further between its food items is key to tripping them up.

Another reason we fish the hooklink in a longer fashion is to be clear of the silt and not have the hooklink dragged down into it, consequently masking the setup. Of course, you can combat this with setups like the helicopter rig, this would allow you to have the best of both so to speak. As with many things in carp fishing there’s a lot of trial and error involved. I will often fish wafters or pop-ups in the silt and weed but almost always like to use a bottom bait from the bag when fishing clear hard-spots, as I believe that with all the free offerings carp feed on these days, a bottom bait is probably the most natural-looking on this type of lake bottom.

Regards,

Dave Levy

Mick Clifford