The Best Winter Carp Baits

Author: Team CCM
Categories: Tactics

Top Winter Carp Baits- James Armstrong

Live System Crumb

To release the goodness and attractors in the baits even more I like to crumb up my baits particularly in winter time. My choice is Live System. It is a very soluble, digestible boilie, boasting a nice sweet taste and an almond-like aroma – a flavour I love to use in winter. The key in winter, especially if on a campaign, is to employ a bait that doesn’t stodge the carp up. They need one that can pass through their digestive system with ease. I further this by crumbing up the baits using a Ridgemonkey Boilie Crusher, complete with particle plate. This crushes the boilie to a crumb, which goes a long way. You are also breaking the skin, releasing more of its attractors. 

Crumb is also nice and versatile meaning that that you can use it in a PVA stick, ball it up and use as a groundbait, also introduce in a Spomb. One thing I do though is add some water and liquids to stodge it up further ensuring that it gets down to the lake bed and does not drift. 


I love the golden grain in winter. With a high water content, it is extremely digestible in winter. The carp love that sweet taste and it passes through their system. I think the one thing that is so effective with corn is the colour. Lakes will often go incredibly clear in the winter and so that yellow visual appeal could be just enough to get their attention. Use sweetcorn on its own or in conjunction with crumb. I like to purchase mine in bulk jars through Amazon, but you can also buy it off the shelf. I personally prefer the canned corn to the frozen stuff; it just seems better quality to me. 

Flaked Maize

This a great alternative to boilie crumb and a cheaper option too. I’ve used flaked maize to great effect in the cold, and I think the main reason is that it’s very visual and once again easily digested. You can add all sorts to flaked maize because it is a very good binder. Simply pour the maize into an empty bucket, add water, mix and then keep doing so until you get a moist, but no wet, consistency. It should mould together once it has absorbed all of the water. Ball it in, use as a spod mix, it is very versatile – what’s more you can add a load of liquid too which will absorb into the flakes. 


These need no introduction. The little wrigglers are adored by carp and I rarely go fishing without them. The only time I wouldn’t use maggots would be if there were bundles of nuisance species present. However, they tend to slow down in winter anyway.

The maggots show up on the lake bed, and the carp love the taste, when they’re having them, you can’t overdo them. 

In my experience maggots are best used on their own, but they can be added to boilie crumb and mixes. Some people flavour their maggots, but I personally find them just as effective on their own. 

If you don’t use all your maggots on your session, then stick them in a freezer bag and then into the freezer. I’ve done just as well on dead maggots as I have alive and it means that you don’t waste them at the end of session. 

Northern Specials

Northern specials have to be without doubt one of the best winter/ single hookbaits of all time! They work all year round, but particularly well during the late winter/ early spring period. The distinctive NS fruit, zesty flavour just screams carp and you can sit back confident behind your rods knowing that a Northern will do the trick!


Another winter winner. Casters are basically the chrysalis of a maggot so boast the same attraction properties but are a little subtler. However, casters are crunchy. They need to be looked after a little more than maggots in order to preserve them. If you’re fishing for a few days you need to have them in a bucket or tub of water. If they float, remove the floating baits. Change the water every day you fish to ensure it’s fresh. Unfortunately, it is very hard to keep casters after that. 


This meaty, fatty, oily hook bait is great in winter, but I don’t introduce it in any quantity because it is very fatty and oily, meaning that it’ll congeal. However, as a hook bait, or as meaty shavings in a stick mix or spod mix, it can be an amazing addition. Slide a disc onto the hair and trim the outside with scissors to release even more smell, oil and taste. You will notice that the fats congeal on the outside in the cold, so I wouldn’t be introduce loads of it, but just as a hook bait it’s amazing!

Zig Rigs

In deep water in particular, fish will sit in the mid layers so a zig-rig can get you extra bites. I like to explore the layers using a zig float adjusting it to different depths to try and locate exactly where they are laying. Hook baits wise, NS Minis are absolutely ideal or I use Zig Alignas in black or yellow. 

Worms, Dendras, Bloodworms

Chopped worms can get you extra bites. I have actually created my own wormery at home, because worm chops leak all sorts of aminos into the water which the carp go wild for. Get yourself some multi scissors which feature several blades and start chopping those worms. Lobworms are really good for chopping. 

If you do any float fishing for smaller carp in the winter time, something I really enjoy doing, then dendrobenas can score well on a smaller hook. They are very lively, active worms compared to lobs. 

Finally, the bloodworm. A very potent, stinky worm that can be found in the silt of many lakes. You know, that little red worm that you often reel in impailed on your hook point. They thrive on that!!! CC Moore sell frozen bloodworm, and using it in your mix can be a massive winner on silty venues. 

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