Part I: Choosing Summer & Winter Boilies
There is no doubt that the right choice of boilie can drastically change a days fishing. Various experiments and field tests have shown that carp can be fussy eaters, and at times will choose one boilie over another, even if the boilies are fished side by side in the same location.
There are a number of factors that affect this preference (environmental, venue characterisitcs, time of year), and understanding these can contribute a great deal towards catching success. It is impossible to outline ‘universally applicable’ factors as so many venues and their fish are unique and will behave differently. In fact the art of boilie choice is something that usually comes with learning and mastering a venue.
Often advice from regular anglers at a venue is a good starting point, but there are some general aspects to bear in mind when deciding which boilies will work best for a particular venue. One main factor is the weather and time of year. There are seasonal differences in the way carp feed, and to a lesser extent, differences in flavour preference.
Choosing Colder Month/Winter Boilies
During the colder winter months, fish metabolism slows down meaning they consequently eat less. The carps’ body temperature is equal to that of the water, which being colder in the winter months, affects the ease of digestion. It’s important to anticipate this and adapt boilie choice and lower the amount of bait accordingly.
Another factor to consider when choosing a boilie in the colder winter months is that feed inducing oils do not disperse as easily through colder water. The low temperature results in a thicker viscosity and therefore boilies based on these oils are not as effective as in the summer. However natural aromatic spice oils are more resistant to the colder temperatures and permeate through the water more easily. Therefore a popular winter boilie choice are spicy baits based on these oils such as Trent Baits Tikka Spice.
Winter Boilie Choice Main Tips: The carp are not as active in winter water therefore using brightly coloured, or very smelly boilies makes it easier for the carp to find. Spicy & fruity boilies work best, especially used in conjunction with a few broken/crushed boilies in pva to allow quicker and easier dispersal of attractants in the colder water. Sometimes switching to a smaller 12mm or 10mm bait can also make a difference for the less hungry winter carp.
Choosing Warmer Months/Summer Boilies
As the water warms up the carp become more active in the water, more roaming and digestion becomes easier. This needs to be considered for your summer boilie choice.
Although many ‘summer boilies’ are not as effective in winter, generally most ‘winter boilies’ (fruity/spicy boilies etc) will also be successful in summer. However there are other aspects worth considering for summer boilie choice.
More protein in boilies is good in the summer and suits the carps’ more active lifestyle. This often means more meat based boilies, but fishmeal based boilies are also a popular choice in summer as the attractants in both these type of boiles permeate through the warmer water easier. The carp have a larger appetite due to their increased activity in the summer, so you can afford to be more generous with loose feed then in the winter. The increased activity also means the carp should cover more area of the venue and consequently find your bait more easily, meaning that brightly coloured stinky baits are not as crucial as they are in the winter.
Similarly to winter a switch of boilie size can result in a take under difficult conditions. Sometimes a larger 20mm boilie or two smaller boilies on a snowman rig can trigger a take, but experimentation and mastering the venue/water is the key to success.
Bait companies have now developed boilie ranges formulated specifically for the warmer/colder months and different water temperatures (see below). Although its useful to have these seasonal specific boilies as an option, it perhaps exaggerates the difference in approach between the warm and cold seasons and it is important to remember that many boilies such as the Richworth Tutti-Frutti have developed a reputation for year round success.
Recommended Boilies/Base Mixes for Different Seasons
- Summer Boilies
- PN22 (summer specific range)
- Mistral Baits Nutty No Name Boilies (high protein)
- Halibut Boilies (high oil content)
- Generally Fishmeal/Meat based Boilies
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