Mitch Hammonds takes us through his step by step guide on how to avoid nuisance species and catching carp
Bulk Baiting in the Summer - Text Only
Adam Penning explains how using particles is not only a cheap way to bulk out your feed, they are also one of the most deadly baits going
The other day I put a picture up on to social media of a handful of tiger nuts. I had a couple of comments straight away, questioning why I am using them when I am a Sticky Baits man? People need to be aware that you need flexibility in your armory, outlook and strategy and although I am a huge fan of boilies, there are times when I add other things to the mix.
I can think of a couple of phenomenal boilie anglers, who just through struggling to adapt, fail at certain times of the year. This isn’t because their bait is rubbish, it is down to the fact that at certain times of the year the fish want more than just boilies and that time is now!
Having that versatility is invaluable wherever you fish and by adding particles to the mix, I really do feel that it will help you catch more in the summer months. The motivation for this subject is post spawning and how the fish will behave at this time of year.
Straight after spawning the carp’s dietary requirements will be radically different to before they spawned. It is well known and proven that particles can be and are devastating once they have spawned. I know that every lake is different, but I visit a lot of places and I am yet to come across somewhere that doesn’t respond well to particles.
There is another element that we add to our bait after they spawn and I don’t know if it’s because they like it or require it, I’m not qualified to say, but that is salt. As human beings, after rigorous exercises we have a hunger for salt and it could be the same for carp. It is a vital mineral to the food chain of every living creature I believe, except for slugs of course.
Let’s look at the scenario we are faced with now, the fish have spawned and, in the buildup, to spawning the fish can be very selective on their diet. As I have covered before, the bigger and fatter the fish are the less they are going to want to eat.
Once the fish have spawned, they are lean and empty. That huge bulk that they have been carrying around is gone and they are going to feel great. The other urge they will get is to eat, to build back up those fats, minerals and so on. So, what are they looking for to motivate them to feed heavily?
The answer to this, for me, is salty particles with the boilies and pellets mixed in. The main bulk though, is those carbohydrates and they form the main bulk of my mix. I am not for one-minute claiming this to be my finding, it is common knowledge for a lot of anglers that big beds of bait at this time of year work really well.
My favourite particle is Hemp and I think good quality hemp is hard to beat. Another classic is a tiger nut and other than a Krill boilie, I don’t think that there is a better bait out there. If you wanted two baits that would catch carp for the rest of my life, it would be boilies or tiger nuts.
Last year I started looking at maize, as a lot of my good friends swear by it. I haven’t used it an awful lot myself, but I have used sweetcorn, which of course is a fantastic bait. I was talking to Simon Scott about it last week and he was explaining how good maize is, but one thing I don’t get is which is better, corn or maize? One point he did make is the toughness of maize won’t be destroyed by smaller fish. It will also sit in situ, on the spot for a long time. If you are baiting a spot and having to wait a while for a carp to find your spot, then nuts and maize are great for this.
There are others, such as maples, that are absolutely fantastic, but these three I have mentioned are my go to mixture and always work brilliantly for me.
You can buy all of these, pre-made from the shops in jars or tins, but for me that becomes very expensive and I feel that I can prepare and make the particles much more efficient and appealing to the carp by doing them myself.
Let’s start off with Hemp and as far as I am aware, the only one that I have found to split really well is the Hinders hemp. Getting good quality hemp is key, as it will all split nicely and be packed with natural oils. I tend to put my hemp in my burko and soak it overnight.
Then the following day I bring it to the boil and leave that for around 25 minutes simmering. Once it is done, I let it cool down and add my salt and Krill Liquid. I add around 10% of the particle weight in salt, so 10kg of hemp would be a kilo of salt. There is no limit to The Krill Liquid as like the salt, it is a natural product and there isn’t really any limit to it, the fish will love it anyway.
Once it is done you can see why it is one of the best baits ever. Its small white seeds coming through the crunchy shells, that salty and oily taste makes it quite irresistible to carp. I really don’t think that there is a better mass particle bait out there.
The next one is tiger nuts, which are a different animal all together. I get my tigers and put them in to some water. If you can use lake water, then do, but if you can’t I don’t think it is a huge issue. I cover them around a third more than the level of nuts to allow for expansion. I soak them for two days and they will be looking much more swollen.
I then boil them on the third day and I do this for around 10 minutes. I turn them off and I then leave them in a black bucket and in the sunlight, allowing them to cook and ferment for days. I then add my salt and sometimes some brown sugar too.
The whole process of creating wonderful tiger nuts takes around 7 days. The ones coming from the jars are in thin liquid, whereas mine will be in thick, syrup liquid and when the baiting needle enters them, you will get this milky fizz appear from the nut. That is a deadly bait, being active and full of natural salts and sugars and trust me, carp adore them.
That thick, snotty liquid that comes off them only gets created when you have the right ratio of liquid to nuts. You want just an inch of water over the top of the nuts, this will allow them to go all snotty. That naturally sugary liquid is absolutely irresistible to carp and this is what I want them to look like when I go fishing.
You can blitz the tigers up too. Chopped tigers are a great additive to a mix and will keep the fish grubbing round for long periods of time. The other advantage that they offer is that they are easily digestible, so they can eat large volumes of bait quickly.
If you want to keep the tigers and preserve them for a few weeks, then add some salt and this will do this. Some people don’t like to keep the bait smelling fresh, they actually prefer them smelling old and rancid. These guys catch a hell of a lot of fish too, so there must be something in it, but for me, I prefer them smelling fresh for as long as possible.
Both are expensive when you look from the outside, but by the time you have cooked them all up, they will double in both size and weight. They are in fact a cheap bait to use if you prepare them yourselves and it allows you to bait heavily when you want too.
If you want a really cheap bait, then maize is fantastic if you are on a budget. Maize is fairly new to me, but one that I have already seen great results on. I take the maize and put it in my cooker, adding plenty of water to allow for swelling. I soak this for two days and once this is done, I boil for around 30 minutes. I then salt it up and leave it for two to three days and it will go wonderfully soft and gloopy.
Particles form the base of my mix, but I do add some pellets and boilies to this. I would say 70% would be hemp, 15% pellets, 5% tigers and 10% boilies. I do like to keep adding boilies to the mix, firstly because carp love them and secondly, coming in to the autumn period that is what I will be using. I want to be introducing the bait into the lake as much as I can in preparation for that time of the year.
I love the boilies and the pellets are great carriers for the particle liquids and I believe that the salty, fishy and naturally yeasty liquid is truly irresistible to carp. If I didn’t add the pellets and boilies, the liquid would end up dripping out the Spomb on the cast. But by adding those baits the liquid will be oozing off on to the spot. What the boilies also offer is that added nutrition that they will be craving after spawning. Baits like The Krill have items in it to actually help the carp heal, so they will be naturally drawn to them.
The spots that I would be looking to introduce this mix to will be very close to the areas that the fish have spawned. The fish will often visit the areas that they have been spawning to feed on their own spawn and the areas are often holding everything they want in the height of summer.
I try and find something that is nice and clean. Ideally, I like to have two spots, one in the shallow water and one in slightly deeper areas. I feel that the shallow spots produce more in the day and the night time can be great in the deeper spots. I don’t always do this, only if the situation allows it.
I would say see where the carp are and find a spot close to where they have been. I want something firm, due to the small food items that I will be feeding. Quantity is a hard one, but it all depends on the stock of carp and if you feel that you are on them. I would say though, this is the time of year that the carp are most hungry and will be prepared to take on big beds of bait.
In terms of rigs, I like a very short rig, as the fish are not moving far between each mouthful. Something short and stiff is perfect and matched with a sharp hook and a big lead, the fish will find it very hard to deal with. I like either a double tiger nut or a trimmed wafter as a hook bait, as they are both small and fit in with the freebies. I like the tigers because I don’t add too many in the mix and having just a few makes the fish want them even more.
I like to balance the hook bait too, which again makes them behave similar to the freebies. They will be sifting through the small items with very little effort, so having a light hook bait is key.