Winter is on us and water temperatures are dropping each week. Fish are eating less, and their metabolism is entering winter-mode. All fish will still need to eat of course, but they will eat much less food, including our bait, within much shorter time period each day. We should still be offering them a balanced and nutritious food source but just use less feed whilst we have a bait in the water. Now could be the time to review or change over to a dedicated winter bait recipe and possibly employ a different tactical approach too.
Those anglers who are still catching on normal summer bait should keep on using it until the action slows, or maybe make a bait change for the sole reason of renewing confidence levels.
In the past few seasons, there has been a switch to using single hook baits fished on their own with very few freebies. This is tactically effective both for carp and barbel. High milk protein type base mixes such as Supermilk or hybrid-type base mixes such as Milk & Honey, Frost & Flood and Buttermilk have been producing great results during the colder months.
Carp bait flavour packages are worth reviewing and my recommendation would be to employ subtle blends of two or even three different flavours all in one recipe and at proportionately low levels. Our confectionery and/or creamy type flavours such as: Plum, TM1, Toppex, Caramel Banana, Cream Caramel & Frost & Flood are all effective in a winter bait recipe. Butt Ringer flavour is one of my top winter flavour choices for this year and most deadly when blended with Plum or Banana. Pineapple Ester is another effective flavour, more than worthwhile to incorporate when making up customised and high-attract bait.
Barbel anglers would do well to revert to quality base mix instead of the ubiquitous pellet approach that we know fills-up the fish and often puts them off feeding for days. Taste F2, Frost & Flood and the new Big Rivers base mixes are purpose made for river species and will produce consistent results until the season ends. These baits will match well with mixed combinations of both savoury and confectionary flavours. This may seem like a rather bizarre recipe blend suggestion, but its highly effective in cold water when the river current helps daw the fish up towards our bait. The complex toffee/caramel/vanillin and fenugreek ingredients present in the sweet and creamy-type flavour combinations are highly effective. Frost & Flood, Milky1 and TM1 flavour, will blend ideally with the savoury type versions such as: Chicken Tikka, The Sizz, ASM & Muskspice. Give these ideas a try this winter and you’ll see!
Tight lines to all.
PS: Keep an eye out for our soon-to-be-revised ‘Tips & Recipes’ section coming soon!