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Bait
05 Jun 2017
by Terry Hearn
Does hookbait size make a difference?
Tel discusses differing bait sizes...

Boilie sizes and hookbaits is another one I tend to differ from most and I know that because I know how much bait of each size we roll and sell. Regardless where I am going, both here in the UK and overseas, my usual hookbait size is very rarely larger than 10mm and often whittled down further too. I like my hookbait to be one of the smallest baits in the swim simply because I get takes much quicker that way. Shaun Harrison

Like Shaun, I often like to use small baits, though obviously it depends greatly on where I’m fishing. Double 10 or 12mm boilies is one of my favourite tactics as it goes, and on pressured waters it’s one that regularly seems to out-fish a standard single 15-16mm boilie. The thing is, due to the type of waters I’ve fished, I regularly find that I need to go bigger due to nuisance species. In fact, through this July just gone, I had half-a-dozen nights fishing for big roach off my boat on the Thames, and single 12mm boilies with method feeders were what I used, and that was literally a bite within ten minutes every chuck!

Originally I’d started off carp fishing the swim, but it was a bit slow with just three doubles coming to the rods over the course of the first few nights. What did seem to be responding well to the pre-baiting though was the roach, and as well as seeing them rolling after dark, I actually managed to hook a couple on the carp kit, with 20mm boilies, and whenever I reeled in without having a take for a while I found my baits were always well whittled down. It was clear that there were plenty of them about.

Big river roach are rare old creatures nowadays and so on my next overnighter I left the carp kit at home and went all out for the roach. Obviously I tried good old bread flake, both feeder fished and trotted, but although that worked well it never came close to 12mm boilies on a short Hair. These roach were pretty much nocturnal, the swim always dying at first light, and I was actually baiting up for them each time I left in the morning. A tin or two of corn, chopped tigers, a couple of kilos of 12mm boilies, a kilo or two of 6 and 8mm Robin Red pellets and a big bucket of groundbait… basically not much different to what I was using when I was baiting up for carp. The point I’m trying to make is that although small baits work well, on a lot of waters there are other species that find them equally attractive, and if you’re not careful you can end up catching other species all night, or reeling in with no baits on in the morning.

Those few nights roach fishing were a bit special as it goes. Roaching is normally saved for winter time in my world, but I’m glad I fished for them whilst they were there. The biggest of over sixty roach was 2lb 14oz, equal to my PB, with plenty of others well over the pound. A nice summer break from carping, I just hope I can relocate them come winter time.

Back to the carping. On the small baits being an edge thing, I’ve also known occasions when big baits have been an edge, and nothing to do with having to use them because of nuisance species either. I remember struggling on Yateley’s Copse Lake in the early days, which only contained nine mirrors, and then my mate Dave Swinchatt turned up with 24mm boilies and he pretty much caught them all over the space of just two or three trips. I remember Dave Ball junior telling me a similar story somewhere he’d fished too, where another angler tried huge great golf balls and did really well, much better than everyone else using your average 15-16mm boilies.

Leon Bartropp likes his big boilies and I’m sure I remember reading stuff from him too, indicating that on some waters he sees big baits as a bit of an edge. I just think it’s good to try something a bit different from everyone else, and if possible, sometimes going smaller (or even bigger) can make all the difference.

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