An Approach To Winter Hookbaits
Here's how to really jazz up your hookers for this winter time
When choosing a cold-water bait for carp fishing, the two factors I take into account are digestibility and solubility. Most of my angling is ‘campaign’ style and as such, I’ll be introducing bait to a water over a number of months. I want the fish to recognise the food source as such, and accept it over time; this makes my job of catching them that much easier, once the bait is established. With location at any time of year being the number one priority, the baiting situation that follows should ensure things fall into place in a simple manner.
Manilla has all the goodness I require in a bait, but it really comes into its own for me, during the cold months. As well as the overall digestibility of the bait, the solubility of the milk proteins in cold water is a key element. The ‘open’ texture of coarse birdfoods and nut meals also allow for ready dispersal and solubility in the water column.
There are one or two things I like to do to ramp up the attraction levels of my hookbaits and make them stand out - almost like a beacon of goodness within that harsh environment of midwinter! With the consistent approach and food-bait style of angling I prefer, I tend to rely on boosting my baits in a fairly natural way and as such, lean towards natural products. My hookbaits will be coated with a thin layer of Manilla Glug: a pure liquid food with no synthetic flavours or chemicals. I use just enough to glaze them without them being swamped. I then add half a teaspoon of Sticky Natural Betaine Powder to the pot. I give all this a good shake to thoroughly coat the baits. Finally, I add a few drops of toasted sesame oil. After one more good shake the baits are beautifully glazed with the betaine dissolved into the liquids.
I prepare these and leave them to ‘cure’ over a few weeks before they’re then ready to use. I’m left with an aromatic, cold-water-soluble outer skin, with the betaine being a great natural feed trigger in its own right. The betaine acts like a layer, if you like, alongside the additional food-bait liquids, with all being dispersed over time. Then there’s that tiny amount of thin, seed oil being a carrier itself, for some of this attraction. Finally, there are the attractors within the matrix of the bait: the natural, sweet vanilla coming through, and the taste.
I always have some supercharged, highly acidic, fruit ester attractor hookbaits with me - I’m all too aware of the power of a single - but I love the ‘real food’ factor and the natural approach when long-term fishing on pre-baited spots.
How Oz ‘cures’ his winter hookbaits
1. Place your hookbaits (bottom baits, wafters or pop-ups) into a bait tub and pour over a thin layer of Manilla Glug; just enough to glaze without them being swamped.
2. Now add half a teaspoon of Betaine Powder to the pot and give them a good shake to thoroughly coat the baits.
3. Finally, add a few drops of toasted sesame oil. After one more good shake the baits are beautifully glazed with the betaine dissolved into the liquids.