However, until the lids arrived there is plenty of time to get out and catch a carp or two.
Falling water temperatures invariably trigger a fairly active feeding spree as the carp prepare for deep midwinter. Pellets are an effective way to target lots of carp, but they are not always great for singling out the bigger fish. That said, I would never go fishing without a bag of pellets. I like to use several different types of pellets as this often works much more effectively than a carpet made up of one type of pellet alone. These are Dynamite's Robin Red pellets, which I have blended with some mini carp pellets. You will note that the larger sizes in this photo are drilled so they can be mounted on a hair rig. Incidentally, Dynamite also offers larger, drilled pellets for all kinds of applications.
I like to blend pellets that are both fast- and slow-dissolving. Naturally, I am a big fan of our own SuperSoft Robin Red pellets, which dissolve very rapidly. Mix these with, say the slow-dissolving Robin Red pellets from Dynamite and you have a constantly evolving bait carpet, which constantly releases a steady stream attraction into the water.
I always feel pellets work at their best when used as part of a baiting strategy, say, with boilies, or paste or crumb as shown in this photo. The dumbbell boiled baits in the hopper are Hydra-K from ABS, a very active fishmeal bait that softens and then breaks down rapidly in the water. In fact, they are so soft that they can be squashed into a paste-like form with only gentle pressure between finger and thumb.
The food signal given off by these baits is astonishing, but being soft they may well be scoffed by small fry before the carp get a look it. It is, therefore, a good idea to keep topping up the bait carpet with additional freebies every four or five hours so as to maintain a continuous flow of attraction. Though you can use them straight off as hookbaits, bear in mind the softening, so it is an idea to buy some hardened hookbaits or wafters from ABS too. These last for ages on the hair so there will be no danger of you fishing for hours with no hookbait!
There are numerous pellets on the market these days all boasting their nigh nutrition credentials. OK, yes some do have good levels of nutrition but many salmon, trout and halibut pellets are way too high in oil to be called nutritious. The fact is that, as in humans, high levels of oil in a carp's diet will lead to health problems, namely fat accumulation in the liver, kidney and body tissue.
(Incidentally, some folk believe that these pellets are actually made out of, say, trout, salmon or halibut. That is not the case. They are named thus as they are the farmed species for which the pellets were specifically designed. As such they inevitably contain excessive fat content as far as carp as a species are concerned.)
This photo shows one of the ranges of our SuperSoft Pellets in an early state of breakdown. The PVA bag in which they were introduced has dissolved leaving the double baits on the hair sitting nicely in a mush of enticing Robin Red-based attraction.
These are one of our most popular baits, Robin Orange and Smoked Paprika SuperSoft Pellets. It is well known that carp adore the taste and smell of paprika in all its forms, which accounts for why these are such a popular seller.
Try this little trick next time you go fishing. First, make up a section of stocking mesh (PVA) and fill it with Robin Orange & Smoked Paprika SuperSoft Pellets. Tie it off at both ends. Next, make a hair rig with a slightly longer hair than usual.
Using a baiting needle thread the stocking mesh and the hookbait on to the hair. Here I have used two baits on the hair. They are Robin Red & Chilli boiled baits.
Once on the lakebed, the stocking mesh will start to dissolve…
… eventually leaving an instant source of attraction right next to the hookbait, partially obscuring the hook in the process.
I always prepare much of my bait many months in advance, and crumb of various kinds is a “must-have” as far as I am concerned. You can speed up the production of boilie crumb considerably by using an electric food processor. Along with the crumb, I will usually add plenty of whole small baits and a scattering of pellets to add to the complexity of the overall attraction.
This is my standard bait carpet. It is a blend of crumbed boilies of many different flavours, several types of pellet, and a scattering of whole 8mm ready-made boilies, mainly fishmeals. I am sure you can imagine what this lot looks and smells like on the lakebed!
I regard spodding as a chore best avoided, as I absolutely hate it. Personally, I think it is anti-social and anti-productive…well, that’s my excuse and I am sticking to it.
I can think of nothing worse that spodding for hours on end just to establish the bait carpet. You’re knackered before you even start. I will only spod as a last resort. In fact, I would far rather fish at a shorter range using a catapult than spod. It causes less disturbance and you fish far more effectively. The photo shows my alternative to spodding; lots of individual stocking mesh PVA parcels of assorted bits and pieces. I usually prepare in advance a large number of these PVA mesh parcels during the winter months when I have a bit of free time on my hands, as I am far too old to be out in the cold.
Rather than spod, I use a caty, and I find that those with softer, more stretchy elastics fire comparatively bulky PVA mesh parcels further than more powerful, less stretchy versions. Fire out say a couple of dozen of these over a wide area and you will actually achieve a better bait carpet with much less disturbance that had you spodded it out.
This little tweak works really well all year round. First, pour some of your favourite attractor liquid into a bowl. In this case, I am using a hydrolysed liquid fish protein.
Dip each individual parcel in the thick liquid.
This is the result. Looks so good I reckon I’d eat it myself.
Alternatively, rather than treat each single mesh parcel why not treat a batch all in one go. Many of the food liquids can be left to soak into the pellets almost indefinitely. These stocking mesh parcels have been treated with Liquid Squid Hydro from Feed Stimulants. They will be left to absorb all the attraction for several months.
Washed out baits can prove deadly at times, especially on hard-pressured venues. However, I actually prefer to take the opposite route by using baits that had had attraction washed-IN, not out! This tactic works extremely well with shelf life baits. Simply take a kilo bag of any decently formulated ready made bait, some flavour, a pot of Betaine and some liquid food. Empty the boilies into a bucket and add 100ml of liquid food additive. Add 10ml of your favourite flavour and 10g of Betaine.
Add water and then shake the bucket to distribute the attraction evenly. Make sure you put the lid on firmly beforehand!
Leave the baits to soak in the attractor-boosted water for 24 hours, adding more water as it is drawn into the baits. You can use the bait from 24 hours on and can leave them in soak for 3-4 days. You may need to add more water until the baits become totally saturated. You will notice that after a couple of days the baits swell considerable and go quite soft so they present a totally different baiting situation to the carp in terms of texture and olfactory attraction.
Not only are they big, soft and fluffy in texture but they also flood the bait carpet with attraction, which starts to leak out as soon as the baits hit the bottom. In addition, being totally saturated, they cannot now take up any more water, and if that water happens to be stinky smelly silt-laden water, so much the better.
Compare the standard bait on the left with the washed-in one on the right. I am sure you can see the advantages of using this method…!
Techni Spice ready made from Nutrabaits are without a doubt the most effective high-attract bait I have ever used. You don't need many - perhaps a three- or four-bait stringer and half a dozen freebies around each hookbait - and in winter they are my number one choice.
Try wrapping a pair of 15mm Techni Spice hookbaits in boilie paste. covering both the hook and the hookbaits. The takes are usually belting runs, as they fish cannot feel the hook or the line as they suck in the hookbaits. Fish the paste-wrapped hookbaits over a carpet of washed-in ready-mades and stack 'em up!
Proof of the pudding!
And with this photo of a lovely common, caught on a paste-wrapped Techni Spice hookbaits, may I close by wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy and successful 2019…Brexit permitting!