Last time we had a look at the use of boilies for big carp during our colder months and the importance of oiling them up a bit to enhance their attraction. Carp do not feed as much during winter as they do during the summer and I think that some carp anglers over feed, especially during short sessions. If you are fortunate enough to be able to spend a few weeks at the water’s edge and can afford to do so, then you by all means feed as much as you like. I have never been much of a ton at a time feeder, partly because my time is normally limited to a few days fishing, and I believe that a lot a feed brings the smaller fish in first, which may keep you busy with a lot of action, but in all honesty; that’s not the size fish I am after.
I have mentioned on many occasions that I believe fish location to be that most important factor when targeting big carp, followed very closely by bait presentation. If you cannot get these two right, you are wasting a lot of your valuable time and money. Look for those visible features in and around your chosen venue, and find the invisible ones with your fish finder. These are the areas which big carp frequently patrol in search of their next meal, and all you need to do is carefully place a hook bait with a handful or two of freebies and wait for that big one to come past again. Putting a few markers out and hauling buckets of feed overboard does work for many anglers, but as I mentioned before, you need the time.
During winter anglers normally feed a bit less and use smaller hook baits, mainly because carp feed a lot less. Stronger flavoured baits are also the order of the day as the flavour acts as the main attraction instead of a lakebed full of feed. Fine oily particles such as hempseed are also great for winter fishing as the release natural oils and if used in smaller quantities, will not quickly satisfy their hunger. I highly recommend pellets, especially oily or flavoured pellets as an added big carp attractor. Pellets become very soft, almost powdery once they’ve been in the water for a while which is useless for the carp as a food source, but its attraction qualities work exceptionally well. In fact, I believe that pellets make carp feed more aggressively as they are attracted to the smell and perhaps a little taste, but nothing much is getting into their stomachs. It will only be a matter of short time until your hook bait looks more appealing, provided it is presented properly.
Cut down on hook bait sizes during our colder months.
When fishing with particles such as tiger nuts and maize, shop around for a concentrated oil based flavour that can be used to boost the flavour levels of your chosen particles. Depending on the concentration level of the flavour, and the amount of particles you are preparing, you should be able to determine how much to add as to not over flavour the bait. Don’t add the flavour during the soaking process, most big sized particles require a minimum of 12 hours soaking time to shorten the cooking process. I like to add the flavour to my tiger nuts about a half an hour before switching the stove off, an obviously allowing the tigers to cool off and remain in the flavoured water. Oil based flavours are very important as the particles draw the oils in a lot more effectively than water or alcohol based flavours. Ensure that you try and keep the flavour levels of your hook baits the same as your feeding particles, those big carp can be very selective, especially if they have been caught before.
Presoak your bigger particles for at least 12 hours prior to cooking.
The mielie bom method has also worked for me on most waters I’ve been to during our colder months. I don’t use off the shelve plain popcorn type mielie bom, but prefer my bom to be peanut based. Carp absolutely love the smell of peanut, and although I don’t use peanuts as ground feed or hook baits, crushed roasted peanuts is a must have additive to my mieliebom. I like to cook my hempseed in a lot of water and will keep topping up the water levels during the cooking process. The reason for this is quite simple, during the cooking process the hempseed will release some of its oils making the water very oily. When I get to the water’s edge I will use the water from my cooked hempseed as the binder for the mielie bom. Needless to say, that a good hand full of hempseed will also be added to the mielie bom along with a couple of freebies of my selected hook bait. My bom will be moulded around my lead and will be a little bigger than a tennis ball, and sometimes I would mould a small ball around the hook bait, provided my fishing area is not to muddy or silty. This method will work well for the beginner carp angler that is a little concerned about his bait presentation, especially when dropping lines in windy conditions. When casting and you’re using a bait rocket or spomb to prefeed, use smaller particles and crushed bigger particles to limit the size, and the amount of bait you’re feeding with. Perhaps add a bit of peanut based mielie bom into your spod mix, this will add a bit of peanut flavoured cloudiness to your feeding area without giving them too much food.
Winter carping can be a waiting, but the results will definitely be worth the wait if you do your part.