When anglers set out for their carp fishing holiday in France the subject of bait is always near the top of the discussions prior to departure. What bait to take and how much are the most common questions asked. Of course, if you’re purchasing your bait at the venue then that question will be pretty much answered for you, but even so do you need to change baits or the style of baiting depending on the venue. In short, the answer is …. Yes! You’d do this at home wouldn’t you? You probably wouldn’t fish a shallow silty venue with the same baits that you would fish a deep, gravel pit. Of course, you could if you wanted too but, for most of us we do change our baits according to the water we’re fishing, or at least how we fish them. Going abroad on a fishing trip is no different.
For instance, a normal boilie could sink and disappear completely into the silt on some lakes whereas a broken boilie would flutter down through the water, settling gently on top of the silt where a passing carp could see it. Likewise, a lighter bait, such as sweetcorn or particles would settle on top of silt or weed whereas a round boilie would sink or roll off weed, disappearing from sight.
Boilies can be made lighter by the addition of certain ingredients such as rennet casein or the ever-popular krill meals which are really quite buoyant. It’s quite surprising how, by using krill in a bait, the boilies will be much lighter than normal. When fishing over silt it’s also a good idea to boost the flavour levels a little or why not try making the baits flat or barrel-shaped as they will sink much slower.
When fishing in heavily-coloured water or silty venues colour could also be an important consideration. A dark bait on silt isn’t as visible as a bright colour or sweetcorn for instance and there’s one school of thought that suggests that fluorescent boilies, using colours like those used in pop-ups, can be a real edge on many waters. After all, how many people do this?
Fishing in hard-bottomed gravel pits does not present the same problems. Normal boilies and all particles etc. will settle nicely on a hard lakebed so there really isn’t that much to consider here but don’t forget that gravel pits usually have lots of bars with slopes that a boilie can roll down, plus silty areas at the bottom. And what about weed? Many lakes have a covering of silkweed or, if you’re fishing in weed such as Canadian pondweed, you would be best taking a few different baits with you. As I’ve already mentioned, round boilies will roll right through most pondweeds and disappear right down to the lakebed where it’s quite possibly out of sight. A flat bait, such as boilies made from rolled out paste sheet or broken boilies, will settle in and on the weed making presentation so much better. Seeds such as hemp and sweetcorn will also settle onto weed gently and using bright colours will add that extra touch.
Next, we should consider bait sizes and the use of glugs and liquids. For instance, if you’re going to a lake that’s full of small fish there’s little point in presenting them with 22mm boilies. They would almost certainly be able to eat them but what’s the point – a large bait takes a lot more ingredient to make so why not make up smaller baits for smaller fish – you’ll get a lot more for your money! However, if you’re going to one of the Fisherman Holiday venues that has some real monsters to angle for then one trick to sort of the big fish is to use a big bait. How about this? If you’re fishing a silty venue try baiting up with broken boilies or PVA bags which present the bait on top of the silt, then fishing a balanced bait or very slowly sinking bait on top? What about trying popped-up sweetcorn or something they won’t see every day – a 22mm pop-up? On a hard-bottomed gravel pit why not put out a bed of hemp with a pinned-down boilie over the top to ring the changes? Don’t forget that glugged baits or the addition of liquids will help boost the pulling power of baits in silt. Finally, make sure the silt you are fishing in in fish-friendly – not all silt is good. Some silt, particularly the black, evil-smelling stuff, is a real non-starter for most baits so if you have no choice but to fish in this sort of silt, make sure your baits are changed frequently so they don’t get tainted by the silt and a good idea is to use a boosted flavour level.
Basically, what we’re saying is to think about the venue you’re fishing? What’s the lakebed like? If you take normal boilies will they disappear into silt or roll down slopes or through the weed? If so use broken baits or lighter ingredients or particles such as sweetcorn or maize. How about trying popped-up baits in silt or weed and heavy pinned-down baits over gravel? A little thought could make all the difference!
One excellent feature about the Fisherman Holidays website is that everything you need to make a good decision on venues is available to you. The descriptions of the venues will, very often, give you clues as to what to expect when you arrive. Not every website will do this so that’s a really good reason for choosing a Fisherman Holiday venue – the work has been done for you. Check out the venue carefully and see what depths you’ll be fishing. Is the lake a silty venue or a gravel pit with a hard lakebed? Is it weedy, shallow, or with gravel bars etc. All these details are available on the Fisherman Holiday website so take your time and you won’t go wrong.
Silty lakes: Round boilies or heavy baits can sink into the silt. Try broken boilies or adding lighter ingredients if you make your own baits. It’s also worth making square boilies instead of round if you want the baits to sink slowly. Alternatively try using particles such as hemp which will sink slowly and settle on the silt. Groundbaits are particularly good in silty venues as they cloud up the water and settle really slowly. Try popped-up, and brightly coloured baits too.
Gravel pits: These tend to have large areas of hard bottom interspersed with bars and silty areas. In the silty dips refer to the above but on the hard bottoms pretty much anything goes. Again, bright colours will make the baits stand out and a carpet of groundbait with a bright bait fished over the top can work wonders. Don’t forget that round boilies will roll to the bottom of slopes whereas broken boilies won’t.
Weedy venues: Round baits or heavy baits will just roll straight off the weed and disappear whereas broken or odd-shaped baits won’t. Particles will settle into the weed and can be really effective. Bright colours will show up well against the weed and glugs will attract fish into the weed. Be careful with your choice or rig as you would be well advised to choose a style that’s been developed specifically for fishing in weed.