Tom Maker explains how keeping it simple but effective with his go-to mix will keep the bites coming in the colder months
Why Manilla? – Text Only
Tom explains how effective Manilla has been for him, how to get the best from it, and why Manilla is so special.
I have been a huge fan of The Krill since joining Sticky, and it has accounted for some of my best hits of fish in many years. The Manilla was in the early stages when I joined over 2 years ago now, and I have never been one to jump on a new bait, but could see from the start that it had potential. I used it on the odd session in the winter and caught well. I knew that any bait Sticky produced would be good, but little did I know how good it was.
It was during this winter when I really began to see its potential. It had changed over the years, with various flavour adjustments, and the final version was a vanilla flavour; it smelt and tasted insane. My first real outing was in November, when I was fishing St Johns with my boss, and we got in a good area which had been producing fish. The lake is renowned for being a maggot water in the winter, so I would have been a fool to pass up the opportunity to take a few with me. We both fished with a mixture of Manilla boilie crumb, corn and maggots, and caught fairly well. We had a couple of bites each that night, and it was all looking promising.
The following day, the wind really picked up, with a terrific crosswind blowing across the lake. We decided to ditch the maggots because the tow would have taken them all over the place, so a boilie and corn approach was what we settled on for the night ahead. It didn’t affect things, in fact it improved the activity, and soon we were hitting into the bigger fish. We were using 12mm Manilla tipped with plastic corn hookbaits, and we were both landing 30s not long after getting it all out.
To cut a long but mind-blowing story short, I landed fish to over 34lb, and Darren caught the Big Common at 46lb 7oz, plus the mighty Big Plated at 47lb 7oz. I have been fishing long enough to know certain things can make a difference, and this bait was certainly it. We must have used over 10kg between us, and all the fish, especially the two big ’uns, were crapping it out like nothing I had seen before. That was it – I knew my winter angling would revolve around Manilla and a bit of sweetcorn.
I fished a number of places doing this and caught every time, even when others struggled. I even managed a trip back up to St Johns on 4th January, and this time I used Signature pop-ups, which are my favourites, as hook baits. I managed over 20 bites that session, and again, got through a silly amount of boilies, which is something you don’t expect to do in the winter.
Just to make sure it wasn’t just St Johns, I jumped on Manor for a trip. The lake was fishing slowly, but I stuck the faithful mix out there and dispatched three Signatures over the top of it. Again, I was blown away and shocked. I managed seven bites in a morning, including a really rare 29lb fully-scaled mirror. There seemed to be a bit of a pattern, and although I wasn’t doing a lot of fishing, I was still getting big hits when I did venture out. It seemed that the Manilla had instant appeal, which would work straight away wherever you went.
Through Facebook, I have been asked by hundreds of people if they should come off The Krill and go on the Manilla. As I have mentioned before, I am not one to jump on a new bait, but this seems to serve a purpose for anglers who are not blessed with time. If I was fishing somewhere week in, week out, I would continue to use The Krill. I have had many incredible results on it, and so have thousands of other anglers, especially on big-fish lakes; it just seems to dominate. Not many companies produce fishmeal baits any more, which can give you an edge.
If, though, you are like me and don’t know when or where you will be fishing, the Manilla is hard to ignore. It has instant appeal, smells incredible, and the fish accept and love it from the off. I have used various products in the Manilla range, but try to keep my fishing very simple, so I only really carry a select few with me. I have a small bag of hookbaits, which includes a tub of each pop-up, wafters and glug. Aside from the actual boilie, I carry some pellets and the Cloudy Manilla too. The Cloudy Manilla is almost a joke, and it smells too good to feed to carp! It tastes like nothing else I have ever known, and gives the bait a really milky leakage when soaked into the boilies.
The pellets are similar to the Bloodworm, in the way that they release a nice hazy cloud over the spot, oozing loads of milks and smells into the water. I haven’t got much fishing time this year, so I am going to be using Manilla. I know people hark on about new wonder baits, and I am not saying you will never blank again, but trust me, this bait is something special, and I confident to use it wherever I go.