In angling size truly does matter, so don’t let the other half tell you otherwise! No, we’re not referring to your rods or anything else for that matter, other than your choice of bait. The advent of the boilie was to create a convenient bait that resists the attentions of small nuisance fish, while providing the carp with everything they need in a nutritional sense. As a result, the vast majority of anglers stick to baits of at least 16 or 20mm in diameter. There’s absolutely no question that these baits will catch you a lot of fish, but could you see a difference if you scaled down a bit?

As a carp goes about its daily business, other than the odd big lobworm that meets an accidental watery grave, it is highly unlikely to come across any natural food the same size as a standard boilie. So, in order to gain the very best, and most competitive feeding response, you should try to downsize both your feed and hookbaits. This is particularly prevalent in the cooler months, as the carp’s immune system has to work much harder to digest a big boilie, than it does a small, low-oil pellet for instance. Of course, if your chosen venue has a high stock of roach, bream or tench, you might not want to go all in with this approach. But you can certainly work some elements in.

Using smaller baits can be a real edge, but one problem many anglers have is ensuring all the food particles reach the intended depth your angling in. By adding a thicker liquid to your concoction of ingredients, it’ll bind them all to create a heavy mix which will still explode with smaller items on the lakebed.

A key and very underused ingredient in this mix is Betaine Powder. It needs no introduction to angling, yet many anglers struggle to find a way of utilising it in a mix. With it being quite a dense crystal, the attraction it gives will remain for far longer in comparison to other similar powders, and here’s how we recommend using it in a bait mixture!


They utilise natural ingredients and are renowned for provoking aggressive feeding even in cold water. As a contrast in colour and taste, crumbed Manilla boilies are ideal, along with some matching Active Mix. It’s also important to add a couple of handfuls of whole 12mm boilies, which are still relatively small, but they will mimic your hookbait and avoid the carp becoming completely pre-occupied in your mix of small items. The mix can be finished off with a sprinkle of feed-inducing Pure Betaine powder and a dash of Cloudy Manilla Liquid to active it and send off a cloud of attraction once the fish start rooting around.

The finished mix will keep the carp rooting around your swim for hours, while being highly digestible and readily accepted even in the coldest of water temperatures. Whether you choose to put out a few spombs, a bait boat hopper load, or just a PVA bag’s worth, it is sure to add heaps of attraction to your swim.

As well as your freebies, it makes sense to also downsize your hookbait too. After all, if you put a 20mm snowman hookbait out over a mix of crumb, small boilies and pellets, it’s going to be like the worst game of Where’s Wally ever! Small 12mm pop-ups such as Mulbz, as well as 12mm wafters like our original Signature range make great hookbaits over a mix of small items, especially if you are looking for a quick bite. If you prefer a more subtle approach, half a 12mm Manilla Dumbell will blend into the mix perfectly, as will a cut down Manilla Dumbell wafter. The choice is really up to you and depends on how you like to fish.

If your venue suits a small bait approach, it is well worth trying and there’s no better time of year to do it! Even if you have a few bream present, they tend to feed with a lot less gusto in the winter, so don’t be afraid to go small; it could pay off in a big way!