Hookbait Tips From Team Mainline
Top carpers from the Mainline Baits team answer some commonly asked hookbait queries with some great tips...
Seemingly every rig I see in the mags these days is a Pop-Up Rig. Are fewer and fewer of the top anglers using bottom baits these days or is this just a trend in order to promote certain rig materials and components?
Wayne Mansford says: “Pop-ups are indeed popular, but in the main I think this is down to the increased chance of good presentation – especially as most lakes seem to contain a healthy growth of weed these days. Rigs suitable for weedy conditions, such as the Chod Rig have also become more widely used; in fact this popularity is probably why similar, perhaps older rigs like the Hinge Rig have also regained prowess. Both these rigs are good examples of why reliable pop-ups that maintain they’re buoyancy are so essential to the modern-day carper. As both presentations are what you might term as heavy rigs due to the use of thick, stiff monofilaments. So it takes a decent pop-up to hold them in the correct position for any amount of time. Confidence that I have always held within the Hi-Visual or Dedicated pop-ups from Mainline – they just never let you down. Now as you rightly said bottom baits are used by less and less anglers, which in itself presents an edge when pressured fish are perhaps more cautious to a bait up, off the deck. Although in this situation I wouldn’t be casting out standard bottom baits, instead I much prefer the hookbaits in the Mainline Balanced Wafter range. These baits sit much like a bottom bait, close to the bottom or hovering just above a flat hook, but contain just a little buoyancy so they react with lightening speed when mouthed by feeding or inquisitive carp. If you’ve not tried them yet then I strongly suggest you do so!”
Is it worth trying really big baits? It strikes me that even a 20lb carp could easily fit a 28mm boilie, for example, in its mouth, but I never really hear of what used to be known as ‘donkey chokers’ in years gone by. Why is this?
Roman Buczynski answers: “Absolutely correct, a 20lb carp can easily take a 28mm if not a 38mm boilie with ease. However, in the UK over the last decade the trends have leant toward the use of smaller baits and anglers using 10mm baits or smaller were seen to have the edge. Without doubt the bait size most commonly used and therefore supplied by bait companies in the UK is below the 18mm size whereas in Europe it will be 20-22mm plus. As these bait sizes are most commonly used it makes sense for companies like Mainline to make these sizes available. I have had extensive experience using ‘donkey chockers’ in the last 12 years and this has been mainly due to the fact that I have done a lot of river fishing as well as fishing venues such as Motorway Pond in East Yorkshire which had a huge bream and tench population. My choice bait for rivers and Motorway was 24mm and this was mainly because it was the largest size I could have commercially rolled in the UK, by a dedicated bait roller. To this day I still have my 24mm river baits rolled and air dried by TB feeds. I will quite happily fish these in a duo and tipped with a 18mm Pineapple Juice pop-up and then wrap the whole package in the matching food bait paste and cast it out! I’ve caught hundreds of carp on this combination especially on the French rivers. It worked well on Motorway because I weaned the fish onto big baits over a period of weeks and the bigger fish responded because it was easy work for them. Why pick up four 10mm boilies when you can pick one 24mm boilie and have the same nutritional benefit? In short for wild unpressured carp I have no issue using large baits, if I’m on a pressured venue and one that sees a lot of small baits used, I will bait up regularly with the ‘donkey chockers’ and then fish over these accordingly. If you’re lake hasn’t seen the use of large baits you won’t be disappointed!”
I am storing some pop-ups in a matching glug and got to wondering whether or not leaving them in the glug for a long time affects their buoyancy. Then I thought, if so, then is it a way of creating balanced wafters?
John Kneebone says: "Over an extreme amount of time you may find that the buoyancy of glugged pop-ups may be effected slightly, but not by much as they can only accept a certain amount of liquid. So they would still work as a pop-up, and to be honest I’d expect to use a tub before any changes were made. Now I will talk to you about balanced baits in a sec, but I just want to quickly let you know about a significant benefit of soaking hookbaits in the Hookbait Enhancement System glugs from Mainline. That being they will harden and get harder the longer you leave them. This can improve the durability of your hookbait as well as its resistance to diving birds, nuisance species and crayfish. Not to mention the increased levels of attraction.
Right, back to the subject of your question. You can create your own wafter hookbaits by mixing together 2-parts Polaris Pop-Up Mix with 1.25-parts boilie mix say the Dedicated Cell Base Mix for example. Shake the dry ingredients in a plastic bag for an even mix before added to one egg and some flavours of your choice, a little at a time to build a paste. Roll a couple of baits from the paste, but before rolling the remainder and boiling (which you must do for around two minutes) add a bait to a rig and lower in a bowl of water to check its balance. It should slowly sink and waft just above the hook. If the balance isn’t quite to your liking at this point you can still tweak the paste with a little pop-up or bottom bait mix accordingly. Once your happy roll out all the paste into baits, boil for a couple of minutes and air-dry for a day or two before tubing-up the baits ready for use.
There is still one, much easier option to take and that’s to simply buy a tub of Mainline Balanced Wafters. These hookbaits are available in three sizes each designed to match a different hook size that provides all the counter balance needed; 12mm – size 8 hook, 15mm – size 6 hook and 18mm matching-up with size 2 hooks. All you need to do is thread one onto a Hair Rig and that’s it – an advanced critically-balanced set-up straight out the tub!”