It’s difficult to know exactly what bait to use for your specific carp fishing situation. It’s not always as simple as picking up whatever bag looks and smells good, or whatever bait seems to be in vogue for that month. If you want to catch carp consistently then you need to consider your bait choice in more detail. You need to start thinking ahead about when, where and how long you’re going to be fishing. Try to analyse the situations you may face during your planned session. When you have a clear idea of what you’re expecting to face can you then understand exactly what you want from your bait.
Do you want a bait that primarily attracts the carp?
If you’re fishing for one day or an overnight session, then high attraction baits would probably be the best short-term solution. Many shelf life boilies are made to attract the carp but, due to their lower cost, it often means less nutrition. Also, because they contain many additives and preservatives, it could also mean poor taste for the carp. For these reasons, the life of this bait can be limited, and so they’re best used mainly for short fishing sessions. It may also be a good idea to carry a few different flavours and colours in your carp bag. If previous anglers have hammered fish on similar baits, the carp may have become wary of a particular flavour or colour.
Do you want a bait that tastes good?
In order to create a bait with a great taste you may need to limit the preservatives and attractors, or keep them low so you don’t overdo it with the flavour. For this reason, they may be a little short on attraction but, the good thing about using a tasty bait is carp will keep coming back to eat more. Carp are greedy fish and will sometimes risk eating more of what they like even if they sense danger. Using this type of bait can produce consistent catches over the course of a longer fishing session. This will keep the life of the bait much longer and may last for several days before carp spook off them altogether.
Do you want a bait that contains both primary and secondary attraction?
Many expensive baits on the market use top quality ingredients, they make the bait from a high quality fishmeal base mix, as well as adding a strong liquid attractor. The liquid attractor will diminish over time, but after a long time in the water the natural flavours from the base mix can continue to attract the carp. The combinations of liquid attractors and natural food mixes help give off plenty of food signals, as well as providing a great taste.
Very high quality baits tend to be expensive, but as with many things, you get what you pay for. High nutritional boilies contain all the necessary nutrients required by carp, and as a result, carp will find them hard to resist. They will also tend to have a much longer life cycle and are often accepted as a food source by the carp. High nutrition baits can be very effective when carp fishing sessions last for 5 days or more. They can also be good bait for the winter because carp need to acquire more nutrition with less effort.
High nutrition boilies generally contain less active attractors, thus it may take longer for carp to move in on them. For this reason, it’s a good idea to pre-bait if possible. Learn more about pre-baiting fishing sessions here! If not, another tactic is to scatter a kilo or so out into the swim when you first arrive, but reframe from using them as a hook bait for the first 2 days. Instead, use normal high attract boilies in areas away from where you’ve placed the quality bait. This gives the fish time to get on the nutritional baits and feeding confidently before placing a rig in the area. This sort of baiting tactic can really produce the bigger carp on longer sessions.
Do not assume you can simply soak high quality nutritional boilies into a glug and you’ll get the best of both worlds. It can be possible but, in some cases you may ruin the effectiveness of the bait as the attractors clash. Remember to use your chosen bait for the exact purpose that it was made for!
The bottom line when choosing a bait for your carp fishing session is to ALWAYS USE A GOOD QUALITY BAIT!