In the transition from spring to summer give carp a boilie feast, says Rob Hughes...
There are certain baits and additives that work at certain times of year, so what was a banker in spring might be next to useless in the autumn. Carp are generally water pigs that will eat almost anything at almost any time, but there are periods when certain baits are much better than others and getting it right can be the difference between a good trip and a fantastic trip.
The seasons change incredibly quickly, particularly the transition from spring to summer, which is the time when they are seriously catchable because they want food, and lots of it, to fully replenish their supplies before the rigours of spawning.
Natural food is on the increase but not as fast as the carp need to eat it so the fish are hungry. In my mind this transitional period is boilie season, particularly if you are after the bigger carp.
This golden period will last for four to six weeks, from around a month before spawning up to a couple of weeks afterwards. Thereafter the nutritional requirements of the carp change again and nature, plus of course the increase in anglers in the banks, will give them so many more food choices. Boilies will still work then but not with the same devastating effect.
Boilies are like a banquet. Carp get virtually everything they nutritionally need from a decent boilie with not a lot of effort to either find it or eat it if you put it in right. When I have watched fish feed at this time of year they do have a tendency to just sit and trough. Later on in the year they will pick and move around but at this time of year they sit down at the table, stick on their napkins and tuck in with both fins.
Seeds and pellets are great for grazing fish but the carp don’t feed as voraciously over them as they do over scatterings of boilies. Leave them alone until they have been through spawning and the water has warmed up completely. That’s the time to give them salad!
They will hoover a bed of particles gently whereas they will literally dive into a bed of boilies like a pig at a trough especially if there is competition around. They throw caution to the wind and just scoff, hence the reason they are more catchable.
It’s incredible just how much a carp can eat when they get on it, and there is some continental underwater footage of one carp demolishing 3kg of boilies on his own in a 24-hour period. Granted he was big, and I’m not advocating smashing in kilos and kilos of bait for the sake of it because that’s a waste of money and effort, but if you are on a session and want to keep these fish interested, then get the grub in.
Big hits can be achieved with a generous application of bait, but can of course be expensive. I speak to a lot of tackle shop owners and fishery managers who are amazed how much money people spend on the latest bit of kit, but won’t put an extra £20 into the bait that is going to actually catch them the fish. They do of course make sure they have budgeted for the takeaway and a few beers.
It’s a false economy not investing in bait, and I’m not talking about ‘big spending’ all the way through the year. Just when they really want it! Think of it as treating the fish to a special meal once in a while and the rest of the time you can run on the usual budget.
Believe me, it’s worth the extra effort because you will reap the rewards.