CARP BLOG (Mon): catching carp consistently in winter, with the Nash crew
IT’S MONDAY and that means it’s carp blog time. This week we are pleased to welcome the guys from… Nash. Thanks to Nash man Keith Jones for supplying this round-up, with contributions from some top names.
He kicks it all off himself, then brings in input from top carp anglers in the Nash crew.
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SEEKING CONSISTENCY WITH WINTER CARP
SO far it’s been a patchy winter with many anglers of all abilities struggling for consistency.
I’ve spoken to several top anglers in the last few days who are enduring their worst winter on the bank for many years. So if you’re struggling for success at the moment, believe me you’re not alone!
Bait choice is important during the colder months and its often the first thing to be blamed after a succession of blanks, thankfully all Nash bait products are designed as all season carp catchers and very effective they are too. So for me that’s one less thing to worry about.
I find that the bait dips and other bait boosting peripheral products and liquids in the range give me a real edge in the winter, experimenting and coming up with my own little tweaks really does make a difference.
We’ve got some exciting new bait boosting products being released over the coming months which are well worth a look, we must have a closer look at those next time.
Nash Bait’s ready made boilie paste is something we’ve talked about before in this blog. For those not familiar with the product this is the exact same paste used to make the Top Rod boilies and there’s a wide range to choose from.
Some carp often show a preference for really soft baits, this is particularly so during the colder months. A lot of carp have been caught on them this winter by those anglers in the know.
I’ve had a number of exciting close encounters recently with some really big carp in the margins using the brilliant white Amber Strawberry paste. I’ve been squashing the paste flat into ten pence piece size ‘coins’ and rather like when fishing with bread flake I drop the paste literally on the carp’s noses, as it flutters down through the layers it really grabs their attention.
I’ve come very close to catching one on freelined paste hook baits but each time I’ve ended up spooking the fish at the crucial moment. I haven’t caught one yet on this newly found tactic but that’s got more to do with bad angling on my part but I’m determined to crack it!
I can’t resist mucking about with new bait related ideas and another thing that has really been occupying my mind recently is taste.
If you think about some of the most effective carp baits of all time such as sweetcorn for example, these baits tend to be very sweet or very high on taste and smell, whereas most ready made boilies, even the most effective ones tend to taste relatively bland.
So I’ve been boosting the taste of my paste baits and home made boilies with high levels of sweetcorn extract and other natural flavours and I’m sure this is why those margin carp have found my paste baits so instantly appealing.
Fishing with our ground breaking Zig Bugs is another tactic that has been producing well for many anglers recently, in fact I’d go as far to say that the top catchers on many waters at the moment are the anglers who have abandoned conventional ‘on the bottom’ tactics and are instead focussing on the mid to upper layers – food for thought!
I don’t know about you but after such a wet summer and so far a mild winter I’m actually struggling to come to terms with the fact that it is actually winter and even a new year now.
If it wasn’t for the lack of light hours and leaves on the trees I’d probably think it was late autumn but it definitely isn’t.
Anyway rather than being reminded about the weather I’m sure you’d like to know what I’ve been up to this winter and have I been catching?
Well this winter I’d decided not to go chasing big fish and hopefully in doing so fill my boots by catching a fair few smaller fish.
Well fill my boots is exactly what I did when I went on a baiting and raking mission on my local canal when I slipped on the weed soaked bank and got a boot full of cold, stinking black silty water.
That wasn’t really the start to this winter that I’d planned and for some reason or another the 30 odd fish I found resident in that area seemed to melt away and have yet to return.
Having seen winter fish in that area before I’m a little bit confused as to why they’ve done the off and can only blame the unseasonably mild conditions and excessive amounts of water flowing through that stretch of canal which is normally quite still.
After that bad start which only saw a couple of small commons banked after a lot of hard work I moved on to an old stomping ground of mine which holds some really old carp that can be quite catchable during the winter.
The water is Pit One at Frimley and after baiting it regularly with a mixture of 15mm Nash tutties, Scopex Squid Reds and some Amber Attract with Chocolate Malt I’ve been dropping in on the baited area for a few nights fishing.
Luckily the captive audience have been quite friendly and I’ve yet to have a blank session. None of the fish I’ve had have been monsters but like I said that’s not what I’m after this winter.
With still a fair few weeks of long dark nights ahead of us I think I’ll keep at it on the old picturesque lake and hopefully whilst enjoying myself catch a few more fish before the spring comes.
I guess in this day and age a lot of carp fishing secrets have well and truly been revealed and whether its baits, rigs or tactics not much stays a secret for long and any edges are soon copied and cease to be edges.
It would be so easy for me to adopt a bar humbug stance, Victor Meldrew you could say, but no, instead it just makes me work harder so I can catch my share and sometimes more than my share!
The information may well be out there but copying it and doing it on cold winter days are two different things.
But even I get it wrong from time to time and no matter how sharp my hooks are, how many rigs are pre-tied and how good my Monster Squid/Amber Strawberry hookbaits are if I get it wrong…I pay the consequences too.
Just recently I paid a visit to two lovely day ticket fisheries and although I caught carp, a simple mistake each time cost me more than I caught.
On each trip I had ticked most of the boxes and got bait and rigs sorted, got to the water early first for prime choice of peg but in EACH case I didn’t follow my own gut decision but instead followed advice.
First trip I had been told “The Boards” was where I should be and despite a cold wind blowing into it which restricted my casting, I set up there.
I knew at the time I should have been opposite in the calm area shielded from that wind and low and behold I struggled for just a few carp whilst the lad opposite caned them.
Second trip I was told the gap between the two islands was the swim so that’s where I set up. A massive wind right to left was pushing across me BUT this time it was warm.
Yes I caught where I was but two young lads had 6 to my left in an hour as I packed up. Again I should have followed my gut instinct but played safe !
So my advice this month is you just can’t afford to get anything wrong when it comes to winter carp fishing BUT get it right and you will live that dream…Jules…you must try harder my son…..
At this time of year it can be incredibly hard to get a bite on any venue which can often leave you pondering your bait and rig choices.
It’s my belief that during the winter less is often more and you don’t have to change rigs or use lots of bait – just add a little extra attraction to the ones you already have faith in.
Hemp and corn are probably the two most instantly attractive winter carp baits ever, but due to their size and inherent buoyancy it’s often extremely hard to hook fish over this loose feed (unless you pick a tiny hookbait) and if there’s pest fish present – well you can forget about it!
What these and other instant baits generally have in common is a very high moisture content.
For many of us, approaching a lake with a hemp and corn approach is impractical in the extreme due to the pest fish but even where they’re not present, due to their size the baits also require spodding or bait boating out which can be expensive and/or time consuming. It is little wonder then that the simple bag of boilies is so popular.
By their nature most commercially available boilies are required to be relatively free from moisture – so what can we do to make the ‘convenient’ option more like the ‘instant’ option?
If we want to rev them up and make them as attractive as possible then in my experience this is normally best achieved by increasing the moisture levels of the bait using natural extracts and liquids.
Most of my fishing is done with Nash Bait Monster Squid in the red and black versions. It’s a very effective bait in its own right but what I want to do is make it exceptional when compared to the standard bag of baits that most of the other anglers will be using.
There are many, many ways to achieve this but here’s my favourite method of hydrating my baits to the maximum!
From the freezer take a 750gm bag of the Monster Squid boilie pellet and a kilo bag of the 15mm Black Squid. Using a pair of scissors snip a hole at one of the corners so you can insert a syringe. Take an empty bottle and to that add the following;
- 5ml of the Monster Squid Top Rod Formula
- 10ml of Nash Carpmino
- 2ml Pure Crustacean Extract
- 10ml warm water
- 5ml of hemp oil (you might want to leave this out in the Winter)
Shake this mixture thoroughly and then squirt half the mix in each bag before taping the corners of the bags up.
Shake the bag and you will see that most of the moisture will stick to the outside of the frozen baits and as they thaw they will absorb the mixture.
To ensure an even spread shake the bags every couple of hours until all the liquids are absorbed.
So there we have it – a simple method for increasing the instant attraction of your favourite boilie, an excellent tactic at this time of year!
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