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21 Mar 2017
by CARPology
The hookbaits you MUST try this spring
Spring's arrived! But what hookbait should you be reaching for? Here Sharpy, John Kneebone, Kev Hewitt and Mat Woods offer up some advice...

John Kneebone

"White pop-up or snowman"
“By the time spring arrives I’ve normally had enough of drowning winter maggots and will use Zig Rigs to a certain extent, but my out-an-out favourite hookbait will always be a boilie of some sort. In recent years, I’ve found myself targeting big-fish venues in spring and if there is one thing I’ve found big-carp to love, it’s a high quality, food source boilie. So, as soon as the milder days of spring arrive, I like to be introducing some proper food for the awaking, hungrier carp, with hookbaits to match a boilie approach.

“For quite some time, my favourite boilie presentations have been the deadly Hinge Rig and a balanced Snowman Rig. For my Hinge Rigs the hookbait has to be a white pop-up every time. Whether it’s the colour or the high-attract flavour of the hookbait that’s found so appealing by the carp, I’m not sure, all I know and really care about is it works. As for the Snowman Rig, again a bright pop-up, white or perhaps yellow in colour will sit above a bottom bait boilie that matches my feed to provide the best of both worlds, with both attraction and food signals incorporated within my hookbait.”

Nigel Sharp

"Yellow scopex pop-ups"
“For nearly two decades I’ve had the pleasure of fishing for some of the best carp in the country that reside in some of the reputed hardest lakes in this land. During this time I’ve learned that during the spring (which for me starts in the middle of February) the carp are at their most vulnerable because their senses aren’t as sharp as they can be during the summer months. One of those senses is their eyesight so this is why I think the colour yellow tricks them time and time again at this time of year. As for the Scopex flavouring, I’m convinced that because it’s such a pungent smell, it too works for a similar reason when the carp start looking for food.

“With bites coming during both night and daylight hours on them, this again proves that both visual colour and a strong smell of Scopex is the way forward in the early spring. Over the years I’ve caught fish like Frimley’s Charlies Mate, Pingewood’s Pecs and The Car Park Lake’s Heather The Leather and Single Scale on yellow Scopex pop-ups during the months of March and April so I’ll always make sure I don’t leave home without them. Proper deadly!”

Kev Hewitt

"12mm pink pop-up"
“A 12mm pink pop-up is my favourite probably because I like it and use it more than any other colour. If I was to use a white pop-up for all my angling then I am sure that I would catch just as many fish and white would be my favourite colour. The bottom line is, everyone has their favourite colour and most people’s colours vary but they all catch fish. I honestly believe that if you get your location right and present a bait effectively in front of a carp then it will pick up most baits if it wants to, no matter what colour it is.

“I write this just two days after returning from a venue when literally everyone I spoke to says you’ve got to use a white pop-up. If everyone is using whites then quite simply that’s all anyone is going to catch on. I went against the grain and used my favoured pink and had a take from the venue on just my second night on there.

“Like I said at the start of this piece, it’s a personal thing and I’m sure if you fish well you’ll catch on just about any colour. However, if pushed for an answer, and looking at my previous ‘spring catches’ I’d have to opt for a lovely bright pink pop-up.”

Mat Woods

"Black ZigLite"
“So many anglers presume that a little warmer weather is going to have the fish bingeing till their eyes bulge, but seldom has that been the case in my own experience. Zigs are a great way of catching carp that are just waking up from their slumber – fish that are absorbing the rays of the sun in the upper layers and spending time making the most of the early insect hatches. The fish will be mobile, but not exactly charging around the lake hunting voraciously for sustenance. Whilst everyone else is disturbing the peace, making three casts with Zigs at different depths is a much more cautious tactic that, for me, has paid dividends with big hits of spring fish.

“A Black ZigLite is my first choice for Zigs, purely because I’ve caught more fish on black Zig hookbaits than any other. I don’t see the need for hookbait flies with legs, wings and smiley faces – a carp’s eyesight isn’t that good. Plus, the separation of a Hair rig, with the added clearance provided by the oval-shaped ZigLite, gives cleaner hook holds and more fish on the bank. Team with a sharp Xpert Specimen hook and you’re rocking.”

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