Hookbaits are something some anglers think about lots, whilst others are less analytical. It used to make me laugh that Ian ‘Chilly’ Chillcott used to take one tub of pineapple pop-ups, one tub of pop-ups that matched his boilies and then about six grains of fake corn. Having fished with anglers who take every size, shape, colour and buoyancy variant of all of the aforementioned, it was a refreshing sight to see such a carefree attitude towards something many read so much into. I guess I’m somewhere between the two. I have my bankers and I have my ‘essentials’. I usually operate a one-in, one-out policy and rarely suffer under-performers for very long!
Release the attraction
Avoiding round hookbaits is definitely an edge, but I think the real reason a trimmed hookbait works so well is that all the nice soluble ingredients get a chance to escape without a skin around them. I noticed this at a carp show many years ago, where in the test tank we were using, you could clearly see against the glass bottom that the trimmed baits were loads more active. I’m sure this is just enough sometimes to make your hookbait more attractive. In fact, it probably offers more than any mega-glug or oil ever could.
Just a quick rub down!
Rather than flood hookbaits with sweeteners, just rub the hookbait around in the lid for a quick extra boost. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes a total saturation in something like a liquid sweetener can be a good thing – like when using plastic baits – but with pop-ups it’s easy to go too far with wary fish. I’ve noticed on a few lakes that this little dab of sweetener works better than the full force approach and it makes sense really. Have you ever tasted this stuff? It makes your tongue go mental!
Remember to name them!
Naming the lids helps me to grab things in a hurry or in the dark! Rattling a load of tubs around does nothing for your margin spot and I try to avoid stacking the tubs as well. I’ve watched some anglers with buckets full of hookbaits and as they rummage around I can hear it on the other side of the lake!
Get ahead of yourself
Pre-tying your favourite hookbaits on floss saves time, effort, and is a nice statement of intent to get you motivated to catch a few! As soon as I have used a flossed hookbait, I re-floss another. We spend so much time by the side of the lake doing nothing as we wait for something to happen, we may as well use the time wisely. Things like this keep me organised, and crucially, off of my phone!