Tom Maker explains how keeping it simple but effective with his go-to mix will keep the bites coming in the colder months
Mix It Up Manilla - Text Only
Adam Penning shows us how he mixes it up with Manilla to keep those bites coming through the colder months.
Whole Boilie Approach
After nearly two decades of using a cold-water approach, which revolved around maggots, for the last couple of years, much of my winter angling has reverted to straight boilie fishing. Clean, simple and very effective, making it a refreshing change.
Don’t get me wrong, on some waters I think the maggot and crumb approach is still the best way forward when it’s really cold, but I have found that some venues respond surprisingly well to straightforward whole boilies. On reflection, this could actually be down to the fact that the Manilla is such an outstanding cold-water bait, because I have to say that the last couple of winters have been spent using a version of it, and that was the period when I noticed the results elevate.
The testing and development of Manilla was very successful for all of us, and I’d go as far to say that it revolutionised my winter angling. I would never have believed that whole boilies would out-fish a crumb and maggot approach when it was really cold, but it did, and by quite some margin. Applying Manilla boilies with the throwing stick, catapult and where required, the Spomb, has resulted in some very impressive winter action from several different venues.
I have found that fishing high pop-ups of match-the-hatch bait during the daylight hours, and reverting to wafters and stringers during darkness, have enabled me to get the best from two feeding scenarios, which I found to be distinctly different. In the dark, the fish were tentatively grubbing about in the silt, and a bait popped up even a couple of inches would often be ignored, while a bottom bait/wafter would stand a much better chance of being picked up, simply because it was where they were expecting to find food. Conversely, during the daylight hours, a more obviously available pop-up of maybe 3ins is absolutely deadly. Once I realised this distinct difference in feeding habits, I was able to capitalise throughout the whole 24-hour clock.
As is always the case with my angling, my whole winter revolved around sight fishing, and I was constantly looking for fish activity. If you look hard enough and for long enough, then there are almost always some signs. I move myself into position and apply bait accurately to the area, always just enough to get a bite – maybe 50 baits per rod if it isn’t too cold, and just stringers if it’s really icy.
There is no doubt in my mind that the Manilla is a major breakthrough in boilie design, and in cold water it really does come into its own.
Boilie Crumb Bags
While boilies out the bag can be great, when the going gets tough there is one thing that you can do to help tempt a bite. I have always been a huge fan of using boilie crumb. As good as a whole bait is, by breaking it down in to crumb you are speeding up the attraction leakage of the bait. With the outer seal not being there, the wonderful liquids and smells release from the bait much quicker and in turn, helps pull the carp in. There is something that I have done with my Manilla for the past couple of winters that has stood me in really good stead.
I start off by liquidising the boilies in to crumb. I then heat up some condensed milk and some Cloudy Manilla in a pan. You don’t need to boil it, just gently heated enough for the liquids to fuse nicely together. Both are naturally milky and that cloud enters the swim like an atom bomb. Those wonderful, sugary liquids will soak in to the crumb and begin to release their attractors while on the bottom.
This mix is perfect to Spomb and use as a PVA bag mix. Small bags of this hooked on will add a huge amount of attraction around the hook bait and has been key to some of my best winter sessions to date.