Want to catch more carp while fishing? then take a look at this amazing carp fishing method mix from Angling Times columnist and Nash backed Paul Garner. We asked Paul to give us his best carp fishing bait on a budget and he came back with this golden piece of information.
Rather than use a Method mix that breaks down quickly, I much prefer a slower release of bait from the open frame of the flatbed feeder.
This ensures that the the bait on the feeder will remain the focus for the carp even when their frantic grubbing around on the bottom, complete with waving tails, is washing the pellets all over the swim.
To get this slower release effect is simple – I mix a small amount of groundbait in with the soaked pellets, as here...
1) Cover a pint of 4mm coarse fishery pellets with water and let them stand for four minutes to absorb some of the water.
Pour off the excess water and allow the pellets to stand for a few minutes more until they are soft all the way through.
Add just a sprinkling of Method groundbait to the pellets and mix well so that the dry groundbait evenly coats the pellets.
Use a Method mould to firmly press the pellets on to the feeder in the usual manner.
Leave the hookbait just outside the feeder so that it is not obstructed by the pellet feed.
I like to boost my boilie hookbaits in several different ways to increase their instant and long-term attraction. If you are fishing in the margins, or spodding out bait, then this is the mixture that I favour.
1) Put together a mixture of different sized boilies, all with the same flavour.
2) Next, crumble some more boilies, again of the same flavour, into the mix.
3) Pour some hot water over the baits – just enough to cover them will be sufficient.
4) Add a teaspoonful of liquid food to each pint of boilies. My favourite is Scopex Squid.
5) Add some hemp oil or tiger nut extract to the soaking baits.
6) Leave the baits to soak and soften for about an hour.
Paul Garner explains what his favourite hookbait is and what makes it so perfect.
What makes the perfect hookbait? Mine would need to have the right texture, breakdown speed and buoyancy. It would be easy to hook, of a perfect flavour and colour, and I’d want to be able to change the size and shape quickly.
That’s a big ask, and most baits fall down on one or more counts, yet I’ve been using one that fits the bill perfectly for two years.
Initially developed for fishing the Method for crucians, my set gel baits have become firm favourites and have caught me loads of different species, from carp and tench to chub and barbel.
The beauty of these baits is their versatility. Easy to make, they can be adapted to suit almost any situation and can be used with a huge range of additives for true customisation.
Gels are long-lasting in water, staying intact for several hours. The outside becomes almost slimy as it absorbs water and begins to break down, creating a lovely flavour trail.
I do believe that fish generally prefer softer baits, and gels offer the perfect compromise between a soft outer skin and a rubbery structure.
WHAT IS IT?
The secret to making my gel baits is a product known as Vege-Gel that you can buy from most supermarkets.
I came across this gelatine substitute when first playing around with set baits, and after some experimentation I found that it worked perfectly. The active ingredients are natural gelling agents that set when heated. Vege-Gel is used in baking, but by increasing the concentration it sets to make the perfect hookbait. Better still, just about any liquid or fine powder can be added to give it a distinctive flavour.
PURE AND SIMPLE
Making gel hookbaits is very easy if you follow my method. On its own the gel has virtually no taste and a clear colour, so it takes dyes and flavours very well.
In fact, if you want a really bright bait, adding half-a-teaspoonful of powdered dye will give you an incredibly vivid colour.
The same applies with liquid flavours and additives. The bland base means that the flavour really comes through. Keep levels very low, though, as it is very easy to overdo the flavour level.
I normally stick to about half the manufacturer’s recommended level. Food dips and liquid foods, which are not so concentrated, are ideal for these baits, giving more margin for error and a much rounder flavour to the bait.
You are not limited to just liquid additives in gels. Powders such as krill, squid and liver can be added – and what about groundbaits?
Imagine being able to use a hookbait that has exactly the same smell as the groundbait that you are introducing! All you need to do is add a handful of dry groundbait to the gel liquid and you will produce baits with the same flavour and colour as the feed. This has proved a useful tactic when fishing groundbait on the Method feeder for bream, as the fish just hoover up the whole lot without even noticing the hookbait amid the crumb.
Another gel technique that I have been trying out is hookbaits incorporating micro pellets.
Initially, I ground the pellets down to a fine powder before mixing them into the bait, but although this worked well, it was time-consuming. Eventually, I tried adding tiny 1mm-2mm micros, and they worked a treat!
Once again, the finished bait perfectly matched the feed, giving me a really distinctive hookbait.
The bottom line is that you can use just about any additives you like to gel baits, and by altering the amount of water added go from a super-soft to a firm finished bait that can be tailored to the style of fishing that you are doing.
Recently I have been using larger baits to target bigger carp, and this has been very successful too.
For bigger fish I make the slab of bait slightly thicker, and once it has fully cooled I cut it into cubes and fish it just like luncheon meat.
My results have been excellent, so why not give it a go?
Former champion decathlete Dean Macey likes nothing more than to get down to his local lake for some early-spring carping. So here are some clever carp fishing tips to help him catch...
“My springtime mindset is all about small parcels of loosefeed, regularly fed all day, to keep the swim active.
“If you try to force the issue by feeding heavily at the start you might get one or two early fish but they don’t tend to settle at this time of year. Better to fish for one bite at a time, rather than try to empty the place from the off.
“If the swim is lifeless, I’ll add a bit more feed. Just a couple of catapults or small Spombs over the top will add fresh smell, make a noise and ring the dinner bell.”.
Zigs will catch!
“I never leave home without some gear for zig-rigging to fish from the bottom up. The fish are looking to feed after winter in preparation for spawning, so they tend to move quickly around the water, looking for easy meals.
“I look for ‘shows’ first – ideally fish crashing out rather than just lifting their heads and shoulders through the surface. This means they are moving around the water.
“Start at a two-thirds depth and offer your hookbait up or down to find the level at which fish are feeding.”
Use bait wisely
“Even if I’m zig-rigging, I’ll still put down a bed of loosefeed so I can fish a simple carp rig on the bottom later on.
“It’s easy to combine feed for zigging and bottom fishing. I use a Spod mix including hemp, 10mm Mainline Cell or New Grange boilies and enough liquidised bread and Mainline Cloud 9, mixed 50/50, until a thick porridge is formed.
“The Cloud 9 and liquidised bread form a cloud in the upper layers, great for zig fishing, while the hemp and boilies sink quickly, allowing me to fish effectively on the bottom with a second rod. The Cloud eventually sinks and forms a light covering on the deck.”
Feed & fish tight
“At this time of year, carp
tend to feed only in short spells, so make sure you are fishing effectively over your feed. I’ll use a Spomb to loosefeed, then place one rig right in the centre of the feed, and one on the edge.
“The bigger, more wary fish tend to hang off the bait which is why they are rarely caught.
“Just like a match angler when fishing the feeder, I’ll line up my swim with a permanent far-bank marker before tying line markers on to my mainline. These allow me to clip up so I’m able to hit the same spot, every cast.”
“If the lake has a silty bed, which many do, my bottom rig will consist of 15ins of coated braid to aid presentation. I’ll add a small PVA bag of pellets which slows the rig’s descent and helps it to settle gently on the soft bottom.
“I also fish a size 6 hook, tied KD style where the hair comes off the hook just under the eye.
“With a heavy hook and a light hookbait, the hook point is always looking to drop down and find a latching point – as proved by the five fish I’ve caught today. All were nailed in the bottom lip, an inch down the throat.”
Most anglers will use fishery pellets straight from the bag in their teabags, but they really could do with a boost when the water is really cold. Fortunately, this is easily achieved and takes just a few minutes – just follow my handy guide below.
1) Add a splash of Tiger Nut drink to the dry pellets. This needs to be just enough for a light coating so that is soaked up and slightly softens the pellets.
2) Crush a handful of Strawberry Crush boilies to a fine powder. Boilies are denser than pellets and so tend not to get washed around the swim by the carp so much.
3) Add about 25 per cent crushed boilie to the pellets. Crushing the boilies releases their attraction much faster won’t fill the carp up as whole ones would.
4) Add a pinch of the pellet and boilie mix to a PVA stick but not too much – you want to attract the carp, not give them food to compete with your hookbait.
5) Compress the bait in the PVA stick and tie off the end. For winter fishing you are aiming
to make a teabag around the 20mm-30mm diameter mark.
6) Use a safety boilie needle to pull the hooklength through the side of the PVA teabag and pull the hookpoint gently into the side of this compact PVA stick.
With fishing with meat being as popular as it is especially on rivers and commercials we thought that we'd let bait expert Dr. Paul Garner walk you through the different things you can do to give your meat an added edge when you are on the bank fishing.
Luncheon Meat rules
Bacon Grill and chopped pork and ham were among the first baits I ever used and both still have a constant place in my emergency bait supplies stashed in the car, thanks to their long shelf life and adaptability.
Bacon Grill remains one of my favourite brands, being quite firm and sinking well. It can be easily chopped or punched.
Do check the ingredients list on tins of luncheon meat, though, as some contain chicken instead of pork. This makes them much softer, and some brands are prone to float. All the different versions are worth experimenting with – you’ll soon find your favourite.
Hot Dogs for pole work
A cheap and under-rated meat bait. Most hot dogs contain more chicken than pork, a very different proposition to luncheon meat.
Their soft texture makes them ideal for short-range work on pole or leger. They are quite buoyant too, useful for fishing on the drop or when a wafter-style bait is required to turn finicky bites into something more positive.
You can simply slice hot dog sausages into chunks for larger fish, a useful tactic if you are freelining for river chub.
Most of the time, though, it’s a 6mm or 8mm punched bait that does the business. Use a fine baiting needle to carefully hair-rig these soft baits. They are also ideal for side-hooking on the float. Why not use them as a very visual hookbait when floatfishing pellets for barbel and chub?
Fish Bites are back!
Back in the day I caught a lot of fish on Dynamite Baits’ Meaty Fish Bites – small chunks of meat heavily glugged in fish oil to give them an extra boost that carp and barbel couldn’t resist. Fortunately, they have recently been re-released, and are now available in different sizes. As a ready-to-go hookbait, they are well worth having in your bait bag.
Among my favourite baits in the last few years are the various salamis and pre-packaged snack meats that have become really popular. Peperami is probably the best known of these products, but there are lots of other different varieties available, many of which are useful baits.
Straight from the packet, Peperami is just the right size as a carp bait – simply cut it into chunks and hair-rig it. This tough bait will easily last all night and is loved by carp and barbel. For smaller species I use a bait punch to produce my hookbaits. These can range from 4mm upwards, making them ideal for tench, bream and crucians. These small baits are also useful for larger species when they are playing hard to get.
why not fry your meat?
The high fat content of many tinned meats can make using them in hot weather very tricky, especially if you need to cast them any kind of distance. Their soft texture is ideal for pole fishing, where the hookbait can be carefully lowered in, but use the same bait on a leger rig and the cast will often dislodge the hookbait.
One simple tactic to prevent the hookbait being lost is to push a small piece of dead grass under the bend of the hook before pulling it into the bait. This works surprisingly well, but can impede the hook on the strike.
More effective is to toughen up the meat by lightly frying it, so that it can be side-hooked or hair-rigged. Frying draws a lot of the fat out of the meat and gives it a tough skin. Start by cutting the meat into cubes, then warm up a large frying pan and add the cubes of meat. Keep them moving around the pan and fry them for about two minutes.
I will often add some garlic granules or chilli powder to give the bait an extra kick. Let the cooked cubes cool down on a sheet of paper towel and they are ready to use.