Neil McKinnon, ace Preston Innovations angler, shares with us why bread makes for the best bait when targeting commercial carp.

WITHOUT doubt one of the most successful baits for commercial carp during the winter months is bread.

It accounts for more than its fair share of match wins and is a must take bait to all commercials during this period. Like most baits, confidence is key and with little practice you can become competent with bread.

There are several factors to consider including target species i.e. F1’s, small carp or larger carp of 6 lb-plus.  I’ve also caught some big roach and skimmers on bread.

Factors that decide on the many variables include size of bait, quantity of discs, hook size and hair length, type of bread, compressed of fluffy, and hook weight.

If you know that your target species are smaller carp – F1s or carp up to 4 lb – then an 8mm punch might be best with say 2 -3 discs mounted on a medium hair length around 20mm from Quickstop to bend of hook. The bread will expand significantly and easily over this length hair.

For larger carp, big is best. I’d usually use 12mm diameter with 4 discs mounted on a long hair around 25-30mm in length. If in doubt then big is usually a wise move and catches the biggest fish.

I think this is because it’s a visual bait, however less and small discs work on very hard days. Ideal conditions are clear water – and these discs often gain instant bites.BREAD2

The bread should be fresh white and of a doughy texture, stay fresh styles, Warburton’s Toastie and Hovis are my favourites -usually Hovis thick white (mainly because it’s the most available) is my preferred choice.

I always punch the bread using cut down pole sections anything from 7 to 15mm diameter, with around 10mm being first.

By punching say four discs in one go and then using an old float they can be pushed from the punch in one go and mounted on a hair using a Quickstop. This allows you to mount the bait in one go against having to do four discs separately.


To keep my bread fresh during the session I take a slice and place it in the bottom of a three-pint container. And  placing a slightly smaller bait container inside the other my bread then stays covered from drying out and in good condition.

Hook size and weight is important when you want to pop the bait off bottom and usually a size 18 or 16 PR27 again depending of bait size. Hook length is 15 to 30 inches and depends on the water depth and target layer.BREAD5

The weight of the hook is probably most important and therefore a small but strong hook is best when popping the bait up. Equally a larger strong hook can be used to pull the bait toward the bottom.

Another key point to consider is when you punch the bread and press it out of the punch. Are the discs are slightly compressed to create a bottom bait? Or are they to be popped up? Popped up discs should be fluffy and bottom baits slightly compressed.


Now get out there fishing!

Bites can sometimes be quite timid indications on the tip with little rattles or drop-backs the norm.

Pull-rounds are less common though do occur. This is because the bait is often popped up and also if you have a long hook length you are less likely to have a violent bite.

As with all styles of fishing, confidence is key. I have often fished for around 20 minutes wondering if the bait remains of the hair…. and then a bite occurs, proving the bait does remain in place over 20 minutes.

It is important though not to wind the bomb any distance once it settles on the cast.

So there you go. Just a bit about bread –  my go-to bait on cold clear water days. Give it go, you may catch a big ‘un first cast!