Liquids and powders are perfect for drawing the fish to your hookbait, without fear of filling them up. Alex Grice reveals a few tricks for getting the most out of these awesome carp attractors...
The incorporation of powders and liquids remains an underused tactic, with most carp anglers choosing instead to fish with just boilies and pellets as a standard combination.
Yet, with a little creativity, these highly attractive offerings can offer the angler a real edge when used in conjunction with other baits.
Powders are highly soluble in their own right, which makes them superb attractors in early spring when the water temperature is still low. Of course, most boilies contain powdered attractors, but when added to bait in the form of a coating, rather than being locked within the skin of the boiled bait, they can boost the instant attraction of the hookbait ten-fold.
This is particularly useful early in the season when the carp’s appetite begins to sharpen. However, at this time of year, the fish often choose not to gorge on large beds of bait, preferring instead to dart about the lake in search of small pockets of attraction.
Powder coatings can also increase the instant attraction of a bait by providing long-term food signals throughout the water column, releasing scent trails and leaching into debris on the lakebed, in the process providing a constant halo of pulling power around the hookbait. Powders can be used in conjunction with liquid attractors in order to achieve the desired baiting effect, providing a double boost to the baits they are applied to. Let’s take a look at how such additives can provide an edge in your carp angling armoury.
The ‘powdered pop-up’ trick
Single hookbaits play an important role in carp fishing once the spring sunshine begins to gather strength. These bright little gems are highly effective in their own right, but by giving them a powdered coating ‘boost’, the food signals emitted increase dramatically. The technique is extremely simple and requires three simple steps.
First, grab a pot of your favourite spring hookbaits (my particular favourites being Fruit Zest Pop-ups). To these, add a good dose of the matching booster liquid, until all the baits are evenly covered with a glossy finish. Finally, add a teaspoon of powdered additive, to the baits before giving them a good shake to ensure that the powder is evenly dispersed. Leave the baits a few days to settle and you are ready to go, armed with some power-packed spring specials!
The bottom bait boost
In early spring, using boilies in any significant numbers can sometimes work against you. Instead, small quantities of boilies that have been given the ‘high-attract treatment’ can be the best way of creating a positive feeding situation. To make these ‘customised’ offerings, glaze a couple of handfuls of bait with your chosen liquid additive, adding a good glug of hemp oil too to make afantastic early-season combo.
Ensure all the baits are sticky to the touch, as this will help additives to cling to the baits. Next, take a pot of powdered additive. GLM, orgreen-lipped mussel powder, is a great spring choice and provides a boost of salty attraction that the fish crave. Once applied, give the baits a good mix, ensuring an even coating of the GLM. After an hour, an attractive crust will form around the baits, which will be bursting with soluble attraction once cast out. Less is often more with this technique, so a thin scattering of baits is all you need to bring those early-season bites.
Pellet pulling power
It’s not just boilies that benefit from being coated – it works brilliantly with pellets too, especially when making up little bags to cast at bubbling or showing fish. Simply add a light glaze of liquid to your chosen pellets, followed by a dusting of powdered attraction. Once these begin to break down on the lakebed, they will release a column of ‘carp appeal’.
Taking this approach one step further, a fine layer of powder can be applied to the surface of the parcel itself. Simply ensure that the pellets you choose (I’m a big fan of the highly-visual Milkimins) are given a good coat of liquid beforehand. In spring, I like to use a classic among carp powders, Betaine, to form a sweet ball of goodness that carp simply can’t resist.
Liquid bag ‘specials’
Using neat liquids in cold water conditions has many advantages. First, it injects maximum attraction straight into the water column, helping to draw fish into the area, where the only food they’ll find is your hookbait.
Second, you can tailor your choice of liquid to the situation faced. For example, pulling fish down in deep-water swims would require an oil, such as hemp oil, which rises through the water layers to the surface. On the other hand, a dense liquid such as Krill Amino Compound would be more suited to fishing shallow water where fish are travelling closer to the lakebed.
This liquid will hug the bottom, leaching into the silt and debris. It’s a devastating tactic in spring and with a little thought regarding the density of liquid that you use, it will certainly help to put those extra carp on the bank.