A SMALL cobweb PVA bag is a great way of maximising attraction around a hook bait when water temperatures remain low and too many free offerings can reduce your chances of action. Colin Davidson explains...


Through the warmer months high oil marine and trout pellets are wolfed down by hungry carp but their oil content makes them far less attractive and less easily digested in the cooler months. Alternative bag fillings are far more effective.

1 – Given a choice carp will eat high oil pellets much more readily than low oil carp pellets but low oil versions are the better choice when carp are less active – you just need to customise them to boost their appeal. I use the tiny 1 mm Swim Stim pellets or the Amino Black pellets from Dynamite. The black pellets have the benefit that they are much less visible to pesky diving birds.

2 – The trick is to treat the pellets as a carrier for attraction rather than relying on them straight from the bag. You’ll need something to soak into them. I like corn steep liquor, molasses and CC Moore’s N-Gage XP, but there’s plenty to choose from, whether dedicated boilie additives like Activator from Mainline to liquid kelp, Aminol… Dark, natural food extracts are the best choice.

3 – Put a couple of large handfuls of pellets in a tough freezer bag, and add a good splash of your chosen liquid. There’s no finesse or measuring on this job, just pour a good dollop in. Inflate the freezer bag, twist the top and shake the pellets and liquid around in the bag for a minute or two so they are all well smothered. It’s best done the night before a session to give the liquid time to soak in thoroughly.

4 – By the next morning when you load your rucksack the pellets will have had a serious drink. You can see the difference between the pellets straight from the bag and those you’ve soaked – the colour is from all that lovely attractive liquid they’ve absorbed, which will leak out into your swim. The dark finish to the pellets spooks hammered carp less than light pellets and prevents coots and ducks spotting them so easily.  

5 – Fill a small boilie diameter cobweb bag with a few pellets. I like to draw the link back through the bag and tuck the hook into the parcel, often with a KD rig and a hook bait anchored just off bottom by a shot on the hair. Even if you’ve been very heavy handed with the liquid and the pellets have softened slightly they are so small that they won’t impede the hook point as it is pulled into the bag. Stick with dark hook baits to make the perfect cold water, bird beating presentation.