Just Enough For A Bite in the Winter- Carp Fishing bait Tip
The general perception at this time of year is to either fish single hookbaits or have a small baited area with a few rods presented over the top, with this PVA mesh bags often get overlooked, but they can be a killer tactic throughout the colder months, a small pile of high attract food with your hookbait presented in the middle can often pick off bites when the going gets tough!
Different from the norm
When using bags/sticks I always want the contents to be pushing out as much flavour and attraction as physically possible, due to the weather being up and down the carp aren’t often spending much time at all on the lakebed feeding, you will notice them up in the water a lot sitting where the water is at its warmest, making them feel more comfortable as they are cold blooded creatures. Now normally zigs would be the plan of attack, but with more and more venues banning them due to foul hooking fish/light hooklinks, sometimes they just aren’t an option, so I put all of my emphasis in trying to bring them down through the layers to investigate.
The way I go about doing this is creating an active liquid to use over my bag mix, what I mean by this is combining a liquid food with an oil. You have to be careful when using oils in low water temperatures so that’s why I opt for a hemp oil as its highly soluble, even in the coldest of water.
Throughout the winter I love the NS1 hookbaits and the matching bait booster to include onto the bag mix, I will use roughly 70% NS1 Bait booster to 30% Hemp oil, I’ll add these into an empty bottle and you’ll notice they instantly separate, this is where the activating part comes in. Give the bottle a vigorous shake up and the liquids will merge together, it is then ready to add to your bag mix. I use the Live System bag mix as its visual and has a sweet creamy taste which the carp cannot resist. Adding it gradually will help you get the perfect consistency, you want it damp to the touch but not sopping. Once this has come together the oils will bring pips of the liquid food up and down throughout the water column, which will hopefully grab any passing carps attention.
There is actually a couple of different ways I will fish with mesh bags, it’s not just a one tactic method, if for example, I want the bag to sink slower through the water to avoid it plummeting into any debris on the bottom, then when creating the bag I won’t actually compact the loose feed tightly, doing this traps air in between the food items and it will actually cause it to sink a lot slower through the water, which can help you rig kick away from the lead if using a stiffer hooklink. The same thing happens in reverse, the more you compact it the fast it will sink. Sometimes I may not want the rig the be straight as a nail I might want ‘more rope for them to hang themselves on.’
There are many things you can use in mesh bags, as long as they’re dry/PVA friendly, the options are limitless, you can create stringers of a few boilies if you want to go old-school and cast out a 3 bait stringer but don’t have any PVA tape, just pop them in the tube and you’re ready to go.
There’s also a couple of different ways you can attach it to your rig, my preferred way is to slide it down the rig so it sits over the hook and hook point, doing so will prevent it from getting caught up on any detritus that may be on the lakebed like silt/blanket weed. But if you don’t want to do that you can simply hook it on, be mindful in these situations though that your hookbait doesn’t tangle around the hook, I like to tie a long fuse off of the bag when putting it together which I can then wrap the tag end around the hair to avoid the bait rotating on the cast.
9 times out of 10 when using mesh bags, I will choose to focus on a lead clip presentation with a NS1 Wafter over anything else, for example if you use a helicopter set up you will often find the weigh and drag of the bag as it hits the water will pull off your top bead which isn’t ideal in the slightest! You can use them with an inline set up, but I’d prefer to use a solid bag if I wanted to fish in that style.
There is still a couple of things to be mindful of when using the mesh bags with lead clips, I will always either clip up and ensure the rig hits the clip before entry, or I will trap the line before it enters the water, this will serve 2 purposes. One being, it will help kick everything away from the lead which will help eliminate tangles, and secondly it will stop the bag from dropping the lead as it hits the surface, just like with the helicopter rig, if it doesn’t go in gently then sometimes it can knock the lead off the clip, so you need to be mindful of that when you’re casting and remember to either clip up or trap the line.
Mesh bags really can be a winning tactic when the going gets tough, sometimes a small pile of bait, just enough for a mouthful will serve you better than either a single or a bed of bait, it’s played a big part in my armoury over the winter months and im sure it will continue to do so.