FL12Sept - Page 164



A Question of Bait
By Mark McKenna
Send in your questions and Mark will answer them each month in this great new series.
There have been some well publicised winter captures by some
high profile anglers in recent
years who claim to have been
either fishing over large beds of
bait, or claiming the captures
occur red during a concer ted
baiting campaign that involved
large quantities of bait being
introduced during cold weather
conditions. Do you think it is a
good idea to be baiting heavily
during cold weather, and how
would you go about it?
Firstly let me say this: I have rarely
been able to string enough time
together or been able to commit
enough time to a heavy or protracted
baiting campaign in my own fishing,
and as such have rarely been able to
reap the rewards from doing so at any
time of year, never mind winter. Having said that I have been able to get
involved in baiting campaigns with
other guys at one time or another, and
have even been able on occasion to
‘rota’ areas for periods of time with
my mates during late autumn and
early winter, either by design or unintentionally.
The first thing I’ve noticed in cold
water mass baiting campaigns is that
you’d be amazed at times at what
baits can be effective during cold
water conditions. I mean baits that
have been used to devastating effect
during these periods by lads who’ve
had the balls to see their plans
through to the bitter end. For this reason bait choice is less important than
application in cold water than you
might imagine, because the vital tactic in every successful cold water
campaign I’ve ever witnessed in 25
years of carp fishing is that the campaign starts long before the cold
weather sets in.
162 FREE LINE
8am 23rd Nov 2008, air temp 0 degrees 1023mb barometric pressure – good luck!
The time to start introducing your
bait is in October, and you need to
hump it in in reasonable volume without overdoing it. The volume required
depends largely on the stock density
of the water and the type of baits you
intend to use. It doesn’t really matter
whether you use boilies, pellets or
particle type baits or a combination of
the three, and they don’t need to be
‘winter’ type baits, but you do need to
bear in mind that the fish will be less
able to digest fatty or high protein
content during cold water conditions,
so you’ll need to feed less of this kind
of boilie/pellet as the temperature
drops if you want to keep them feeding.
I prefer the multiple bait approach,
and leading on from last months QOB
I tend, along with my mates, to keep
the crushed boilies, pellets, hemp and
groundbait going in to areas that I
know the fish are going to head for as
the water cools. Again you need to
focus on getting the area you’re
gonna be baiting right or you’re pissing in the wind. They’re creatures of
habit and will tend, pressure permitting, to finish the year in similar areas
every year.
Sometimes under immense pressure they’ll still be rooted to the same
area, but just change their feeding
habits to avoid getting captured. I
know of one recent example on a
local water in early winter where they
were observed taking anything that
was being introduced ‘on the drop’
even with leads landing around them,
yet bites off the bottom were so infrequent you could be forgiven for imagining they weren’t there at all, especially as they weren’t showing at all
during the daytime.
If you put a gun to my head and

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