Carp go for standard boilies in a big way, so why not let other species get in on the act? Don’t belittle baby boilies, says Bill Rushmer.
It’s not just because of their health food content, traffic light colours or whiffy flavours that ordinary boilies make successful carp baits. If you fish with big boilies you can be fairly confident that your carpet of loosefed bait and hookbait should remain unravaged long enough to interest carp in the first place. Their size and hardness prevent the boilies receiving too much interference from smaller species whose mouth gear and guts simply can’t deal with them.
Mini and midi boilies (6mm and 10mm in diameter) on the other hand, are smaller than the normal boilie – and they’re highly attractive and quite palatable to smaller species.
Minis and midis are an excellent all round bait for most species – tench, bream, chub, barbel and even specimen roach. Most tackle shops sell packets of ready made mini and midi boilies – in frozen or shelf life form. If you want to make your own, just scale down your normal boilie-making operation.
Experiment with midi and mini sizes on the hook and loosefed in various colours and flavours. Bill Rushmer swears by the orange Tutti Frutti and red Strawberry Cream midi range for tench and bream.
He also scored with red Bird Seed midi boilies combined with flavour enhancer when he took golden tench to 6lb 3oz (2.8kg) and golden orfe to 5lb 7oz (2.5kg) from Anglers’ Paradise in Devon. Cheese midi boilies have proved very successful for chub and are worth a try for other species too. Prebaiting In most cases baiting your swim by hand or with a catapult, and fishing directly on the feed works very well.
On very hard waters it’s a good idea to bait up over a few days if you can. Start by baiting a large area then gradually reduce the feeding zone. This concentrates any fish into one area. It’s time-consuming but the results can be devastating – particularly when the hookbait is a popped-up mini of the same flavour as the loose carpet.
On rivers or lakes float fishing mini and midi boilies can be enjoyable and fruitful. Gear You’ll need a powerful float rod rather than a spliced tip match rod since the tackle and line required is much heavier than that normally used for matches. It also helps you to cope with any large carp that may have developed the habit of taking small baits. A 13ft (3.9m) float rod with controlled power is ideal.
A good large fixed-spool reel is essential to hold larger than normal quantities of line in case a big carp takes you out into open water. Load it with 200m (220yd) of 3-6lb (1.4-2.7kg) decent quality line with good abrasion resistance.
Tactics When you arrive at the water select your swim and bait up straight away so the bait is working while you tackle up. You can fish boilies with most float tackle set-ups, but a heavy peacock waggler rig is particularly effective – especially on large waters. Make it a heavy waggler with all but the smallest shot locking it in position. Bulking the shot under the float counteracts the weight of the boilie and allows for smooth, accurate casting.
If float fishing is not suitable, try legering with mini boilies. One advantage of legering is that it’s easier to use two rods than with float fishing. Watching two floats at a time is a bit of a strain.
You can fish mini boilies with conventional legering techniques using swingtips, quivertips or some sort of bobbin or monkey climber for bite indication.
Clipped-up and self-hooking rigs are successful. A clipped-up running lead rig is really a scaled-down carp rig. The important thing is not to make the lead fixed. If the line breaks there’s a chance a fish could be dragging the heavy fixed weight around until it dies. Since mini boilies target smaller fish than carp you seldom need to go above a Vaoz (43g) lead in any case. You could, for instance, leger with a 1 oz (28g) runningbomb (don’t use a back stop), with a tight line from the bomb to a clip on the rod. This tension is the secret of the clipped-up/self-hooking rig. When a fish takes the bait it feels the resistance of the line tension and pricks itself. It then bolts and helps set the hook.
An lift (3.3m) rod with a test curve of about (566g) is ideal. Go for a large fixed-spool reel loaded with about 6lb (2.7kg) line. Clipped-up rigs can produce exceptionally violent bites – even bream produce reel churners.
Combining a float with a semi fixed bomb on the end tackle can be a deadly method with mini boilies. It is a useful combination in windy conditions or with shy biting fish because it doesn’t depend on electronic bite alarms or any other indicators for bite detection.
Baiting the hook
Several methods of bait presentation can be succesful for mini boilies. Hooks ranging in size from 8-12 are suitable. Side hooking This is the simplest form and has the advantage that you don’t need to make any major change to terminal rigs. If you’re fishing with more conventional baits such as maggots, it’s easy enough to side hook a mini boilie as a change bait. Hair rig Quite possibly the most popular method for mini boilies, this can be used for single or multiple baits -just thread them on a hair (nylon or a softer material) attached to a hook.
Bristle rig This is a quick and easy method of using a hair which avoids baiting needles and boilie stops. All you have to do is spear a mini boilie with the bristle and the bait remains firmly on the end of the hair during the cast and in the water. You can use more than one boilie on a bristle rig. Pop-up rigs By boiling or microwaving mini boilies you can make floating mini baits. If you put a split shot or some tungsten putty on the line around 5-8cm (2-3in) from the hook, your pop-up fishes 5-8cm (2-3in) – plus the length of hair – off the bed. It stands out from the main carpet of boilies -blatantly irresistible to a passing fish. )