Bites during the colder months of the year are undoubtedly much harder to come by, the metabolic rate of fish begins to slow and as a result, the need to feed becomes less frequent. Often, fishing with too much bait can have a negative impact on success, lessening the chances of getting that long awaited winter bite.
The biggest edge during the period when the water temperatures are at their lowest is maximum attraction, minimum food and the best way of achieving this feeding tactic is through the use of winterised liquids. Liquids play a huge part in adding potent attraction to any loose feed throughout the year, providing an aura of water-soluble food signals around the baited area.
During the warmer parts of the year, thicker fish proteins and oils are much more effective, as the warmer water temperatures allow the liquids to disperse and work efficiently. As the water temperatures cool, these liquids become much less effective and the replacement of winterised ‘soluble’ liquid foods can be used to create a prolonged level of attraction in the water.
Choosing the right liquid in winter is vital; a liquid that is difficult to break down in cold water will release very little attraction into the swim when compared to a winterised, highly soluble liquid that will draw fish in to investigate. This feature outlines a few exceptional winter liquids and how they can be used effectively in the cold to add maximum attraction, but little feed, increasing the chances of getting those winter bites.
In general, a winterised liquid is much thinner in its make-up, often very similar to water itself. The thinner the liquid, the easier it can disperse, which is important in cold water. Thinner liquids also soak into baits much easier and as a result, when submerged, release from the bait quicker and more effectively. The following liquids outlined are proven winter winners, extremely soluble in cold water and packed with feeding stimulants; perfect for that winter bait edge!
The ‘Winter’ Solid Bag
The solid bag is a tactic that is used to great effect throughout the warmer months, packing the small bags tightly with pellets and fishing a small bright hookbait over the top has accounted for many captures over the years. As the temperatures drop, replacing the oily pellets with winterised equivalents such as the highly visual Milkimins or Live System pellets will provide a soluble pile of attraction around the hookbait. This can be further enhanced through the introduction of a liquid, either poured straight into the bag or injected via a syringe. This pure liquid will release straight into the water column, creating a halo of attraction around the bag and rig, dispersing food signals and feeding stimulants in the cold water. Ultramino is a fantastic winter liquid and ideal when adding to solid bags for added attraction, simply pour a small amount of the neat liquid into the bag before tying off and casting out.
Neat hookbait boosters are ideal for packing those bright winter hookbaits full of powerful aromas, drawing fish into investigate in the coldest of temperatures. Concentrated additives work well in small doses, adding a capful of the nectar to a pot of pop-ups and hookbaits will boost the signals given off from the bait. Thin bait additives such as Geoff Kemp’s additive range are naturally highly soluble, working effectively in cold water. By combining flavoured additives with different pop-ups allows you to create unique hookbaits, ready for winter success! Matt Jackson flavours his plastic corn in a combination of Geoff Kemp Mellow Brandy and Betain, which has accounted for carp to over 60lbs in the UK. Tweaking you flavours to find a combination you are happy with can be big edge!
Often, creating a cloudy signal in the vicinity of the baited rig can be enough to draw carp in to investigate. Similar to how you fish a cloudy mix over zigs during the summer, the same can be used in the winter to draw fish in to feed. This is simple to do, but introduces maximum levels of attraction into the water with very little feed. A fine groundbait, such as Milk ‘N’Nut Crush is an ideal carrier of liquids and adds weight to a spomb which means the liquids can be introduced at distance if needed. A small amount of the powder is all that is required, alongside a healthy dose of a cloudy liquid, such as the fruity Amino 365 added neat into the spomb will dramatically increase pulling power around your baited area.
The amount of loose-feed needed to get a bite in winter is much less, but you can make a small amount of bait go a long way with the addition of liquid. Sweetcorn is a renowned winter winner, and even a small handful of bait can often be the key to success. A dose of liquid betaine added to a few handfuls of frozen corn is a trick in the winter, as the corn thaws out, it draws in the thin sweet liquid, further enhancing the food signals from the truly awesome winter bait.
With careful consideration of bait choice in winter, with the addition of liquid to increase the pulling power, maximum attraction to increase the potential of bites can be achieved. Think solubility and liquid viscosity when deciding on a liquid to use this winter alongside your hookbaits and free offerings.
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