CARP BLOG (Mon): top winter bait tips from the Nash team
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.
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SHORTER SESSIONS SCOPE OUT WINTER CARP
THE majority of carp anglers and also many of the Nash Team often fish short sessions at this time of the year.
Although this might seem like the easy option to the hard core campers amongst us who are still prepared to spend long periods of time on the bank, scraping ice off the windscreen at 4 am and then setting up and tying on rigs at first light with icy cold fingers still takes plenty of commitment.
The longest time I plan to spend on the bank during this January and early February is 24 hours, this will probably involve arriving at the lake late morning and fishing through to the following afternoon.
With regular pre-baiting and maybe even a spot of stealthy raking and swim preparation between visits, this should be more than enough to ensure some regular action.
I also intend to fish lots of short sessions closer to home, dawn til dusk, mornings, afternoons, in fact whenever I’ve got a few hours to spare I’ll be on the bank.
Using the new Scope gear, this being 9ft made up rods, collapsible landing net and other essentials all stored in a tiny 44inch holdall, Rucksack and day chair, I’ll be well organised and ready to go anytime.
Even if I don’t catch every visit, it’s never a waste of time, I tend to think of my short winter sessions as being one long one with gaps. On every visit, I’ll be exploring and looking for the winter holding areas and trickling in bait which should keep the fish active, looking for food and hopefully catchable.
As is the case with many anglers, Amber Strawberry boilies are my first choice winter bait, these brilliant white instantly attractive boilies are hard to beat. I like to pre soak and soften them in lake water, I take the water home and freeze it so I’ve always got some when needed.
There’s nothing new about washed out boilies but I give mine a boost by adding flavours and attractors to the water. This creates a soft, sweet, highly attractive boilie that even the coldest lethargic carp just can’t resist.
Bait confidence is vitally important mid winter and if you are catching well on something it makes sense to stick with it, but if you are struggling or lack confidence in your chosen bait then I strongly recommend you try the soaked Ambers – good luck.
Now here’s a look at what some of the others in the Nash crew have been up to lately…
Mike Wilson – keeping bait going in
Once again another year has flown by and it’s nearly Christmas which means Christmas holidays which also means fishing!
With a huge workload from the Nash winter carp shows to product audit testing it’s hard to find time midweek to get the rods out and due to changing all my gear, everything is everywhere at the moment. I do manage to get out of the office every Friday and take ten students from the Nash Academy to a variety of different Essex day tickets but I’m still gagging to get out and do a bit of my own fishing.
The best thing about winter fishing is catching a carp in all its winter colours and even more so if it’s one of the big girls. In this blog I’m going to talk about how to do exactly that and explain what my favoured baiting method is throughout the colder months.
When all the dense foliage dies off and the lakes begin to get that thin layer of ice that’s when many anglers are reluctant to keep the bait going in and just fish singles. In my opinion it’s a big mistake. I have had a lot of success in winter by keeping the bait going in and out fished other anglers by doing exactly this. I don’t care what anyone says, carp are pigs and they may not be as active in the winter as they are throughout summer but they still eat, it’s just a case of finding them when they are tightly grouped in an area of the lake.
I’ve long known that Scopex Squid was a winner and that it had torn lakes apart, my syndicate had seen a lot of it in the past so I wanted to use it but with a ‘twist’. I spoke to Gary at the bait factory and he recommended the Scopex Squid all seasons mix which as the name suggests is an all year round bait but it’s particularly effective in the winter, so this is what I started to introduce and the results have been incredible! Most people change from bait to bait throughout the year but the best advice I can give is, get on one bait and stay on it all year and get the fish eating it.
Paul Martin – on to heavier stocked waters
As water temperatures fall there’s no doubt that the cold blooded carp begin to slow down and whilst they never fully hibernate it is certainly my belief that they become less aware of their surroundings as eyesight and other senses become reduced.
For me (a hard working family man), this means a move away from my typical low stock waters onto the shallower, heavier stocked lakes. I’m all for grafting for my rewards but you need to try and learn when a challenge is futile given the time available.
This winter I will again be targeting a couple of waters which will respond in the cold conditions.
It’s my belief that in most situations the white colour of my preferred Nash Amber Strawberry’s is likely to work best and its track record certainly speaks for itself.
I will try to bait a couple of swims with 20 to 30 baits a couple of times a week with a mix of 15mm Amber Strawberry boilies and Soluballs but I’ll be giving the boilies a quick boost with the matching Food Dip which they will be left to soak in overnight.
I believe that the brightness of the baits and the elevated smell will help to make the bait more attractive in view of the reduced vision and senses that the cold water afflicts on the carp!
I try to keep my sessions quite short too. I’ll aim to fish no more than 8 hours with 4 hours in each swim if nothing is occurring or there are no signs to go on. Generally I won’t introduce any loose feed when I’m fishing and just fish a single matching pop up on the spots. Naturally I’ll still put my 20/30 baits in when I leave.
This winter of course, I’ll be using my Scope rods and net which suit my mobile approach down to the ground. So far I’ve found that my 10ft 3lb Scopes have handled everything I’ve thrown at them and when they pack down into the 2 rod skin (with the net and handle ) I can be off and onto the next peg in a matter of moments.
So, to summarise, I’ll be setting my targets realistically, lightly baiting a couple of swims and staying mobile – at this time of year it can be all too easy to lose your confidence and not go at all so stack the odds and keep enjoying it!
Adam Garland – consistent baiting is crucial
The recent floods have played havoc with my winter angling plans, as my planed venue is in no condition to be fished anytime soon.
Luckily for me I’ve found a small local water of just less than four acres with a good stock of fish, that’s close enough to my house to visit regularly and keep the bait going in.
Consistent baiting is the key to winter carp fishing for me, but I never know exactly when I’ll have the time to visit my chosen water, so by putting my faith in the ever reliable Nash Classic shelf life ready-mades, I’m always safe in the knowledge that the bait won’t go off and will be ready when required.
White Chocolate is my favourite Nash Bait Classic Boilie and I particularly like to mix these with the Top rod frozen Amber Strawberry baits whilst fishing.
This year I’ll be taking advantage of the sickly sweet Amber Strawberry Food Dip and ensuring that all my baits get a good coating on the bank before being put out into the lake.
I think my bait mixture and the varied levels of attraction between the baits and also the addition of the glug will really grab the carp’s attention. The complexity will also keep pressured fish guessing. And with the water I’m fishing being extremely silty in areas, the Food Dip will really come into its own. As well as boosting attraction the dip also stops the ingress of stinky silt lakebed odours which keeps the baits fresh and attractive for long periods of time.
By introducing an average of 100 baits every three days in to my chosen area, and then scattering a few more classic whites around the lake, I’m confident I’ll be able to keep them active through the deepest of winter.
I’ve caught a lot of fish this year on my favoured combi rig, but through the cold snap and in gin clear water, I’m really keen that my end tackle blends effectively on the lake bed. So as usual I’ll be taking advantage of the ultra stealthy Diffusion Camo range of rig components from Nash. I’ll also be going a step further and using the NXT D cam Mono as a hook- link fished with my own variation of the D rig in conjunction with a snowman hook bait.
Fish feed very finicky in winter and the D rig ensures that should the hook bait be sucked in, the rig maximises the chance of the hook pricking and taking hold in to the carp’s mouth.
I’m not usually a fan of fishing such small waters, but I have to admit to being just a little excited with the opportunity to put the new Nash Scope range of rods through their paces.
That’s just about it from me, I’ll let you know next time how the winter campaign is going, the banks are quiet and the fish are at their best so take every opportunity to get out there!
Jack Brown – mighty maggots do the biz
Thinking back to the last winter I did really well fishing over tight beds of maggots.
The fish for some reason went absolutely nuts for maggots and became completely preoccupied with them, in fact this can sometimes make it difficult to get a take on anything else.
Probably the biggest edge with maggot fishing is the cleaner and fresher the maggot the better. I always put in the extra effort to clean them before and whilst on the bank, before they get fed to the carp.
When I get my maggots from the tackle shop I firstly riddle all the excess rubbish off before adding small helpings of maize meal to prevent them from sweating.
If I know I’m going fishing the next day, the maggots are then placed in air tight bags with all the air squeezed out of them. This puts the maggots in a semi dormant state until I use them the next day, they will slowly come back to life once taken out of the bags and into fresh air.
The air tight bags are also placed into a small insulated cool bag with a couple of ice blocks, again I try and do anything possible to keep them fresh.
Once on the bank, separating the maggots into small buckets or bait boxes will also prevent sweating, with the use of a small riddle and an extra bag of maze I can keep cleaning them whilst at the lake.
I always bait up and fish accurately with maggots, hook bait wise, anything bright, small and balanced works for me. I don’t think it really matters what is on the hair when you get them feeding in a tight area over maggot, but Mutant Corn or a small pink pop up has got me the majority of my bites.
In a fierce cross wind, casting solid bags of maggots accurately is an absolute nightmare, especially when placing three rods tight together, in these situations I switch to a lead clip set up, with a simple anti tangle rig. You can just be patient and cast when the wind is at its lightest but its worth remembering that undertow can have a dramatic effect on where your bait finally ends up.
Jamie Londors – bright colours and strong smells
Bait colour is important in the winter, smells, or more to the point attractor levels and choice can also give you an advantage. On a given day a bright ‘in your face’ bait could be the best option at other times something more subtle will work best.
In the winter you have to get all aspects of your fishing right to maximise your chances and if you are struggling for bites, bright colours and strong smells are the best way to switch the fish on.
As for best winter choices everyone seems to have their favourites and some colour and flavour combinations seem to work well on some waters and not on others. If you have a specific water in mind it pays to ask around and find out what’s working, local tackle shops are always a good source of information. I always take plenty of options so I can experiment and find out the carp’s preferences.
As far as hook baits go, Nash Bait Rainbow pop ups are ideal for this, each pot contains lots of different coloured pop ups in just one well proven flavour.
As for freebies, Nash Bait’s Classic Pineapple is an all time classic that works everywhere, the brilliant white Amber Strawberry is another winter winner, if you’ve got fish in your swim you’ll catch them on the Amber that’s for sure.
That’s it from Nash here on the Angler’s Mail Carp Blogs until the new year. So until then have a great festive season, enjoy the Angler’s Mail bumper double issue (with free gloves)… and enjoy your fishing!
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