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Winter is a very tricky time for fishing especially on commercial fisheries. As soon as the temperatures start to plummet everything seems to shut up shop and hide away until the weather starts to pick up again.
The one method that I would always resort to is the ‘bomb’. The bomb has got me out of jail on more than one occasion in winter and it’s certainly a waiting game that’s far from hectic on most days. I’ll run you through my winter bomb set up and my top 5 hook baits that’ll hopefully put a few more fish in your net this winter.
My Winter Bomb Set Up
Rod Mini 10ft Carp
Reel PXR Pro 4000
Main Line 6lb-0.23mm Reflo Power Max.
Hook Length= 0.13mm to 0.17mm Reflo Power
Hook Size 18-14 PR36 or PR27, both work well.
Terminal Tackle Small Feeder Bead/0.75oz Bullet Cube Bomb/Korum Quick Change Bead
This is definitely one of my favourite hook baits when bomb fishing, especially in winter. It rarely fails to entice a fish into having a chomp. The F1 Sonubaits flavoured corn is worth a go, I’m not usually in to flavourings and additives but this has done the business for me now on a few occasions. I think it’s a bit of a confidence factor as well it offers much more to my hook bait and gives me that little edge over other anglers fishing the standard shop bought corn.
2) Luncheon Meat
Meat is a fantastic bait all year, its natural fatty attractiveness and visual colour creates an awesome winter bomb hook bait. All you have to do is slice off a piece of luncheon meat from the tin and punch out a piece as a hook bait. However be careful not to eat all of your luncheon meat whilst waiting for a bite. I’ve been tempted many times to have a mid-match snack!
Bread has got to be one of the most effective winter bomb hook baits around right now. It fluffs up to an irresistible soft globule of goodness, every fish loves bread! It’s amazing how long it actually stays on the hook, I’ve waited up to 45 minutes to catch a fish on one hook bait. You mustn’t move your bomb though. Once it’s hit the water, leave it don’t move the bomb or else you’ll pull the bread off the hook. I’ve tested it at home in a tank and it actually takes around 2 ½ hours for the bread to naturally fall off your hair!
Bread bites are actually quite strange because the bait is usually popped up. They don’t yank the rod off the rest, you get several little taps and pulls on the tip but I can assure you this means fish on, the fish is trying to shake the hook from its mouth so I always like to lift into any sharp pulls or yanks. Tip- I like to use a heavy bomb when I’m fishing with floating/popped up baits, I’ve found ¾’s oz or 1oz weights to be best. You hook into a lot more fish due to the extra weight in the bomb.
4) Semi Buoyant Band’Um
I’ve only started using the Semi Buoyant Band’Ums recently and I’m very impressed. I love a bright visual hook bait that stands out especially in winter when you have to practically drop your hook bait in front of a fish’s nose to persuade it to have a chew. I’ve caught loads of fish on Band’Ums in the summer and I’ll be using them in the winter from now on too. The yellow and white Band’Ums always seem to work best for me.
5) Expander Pellets
Expander pellets don’t always have to be used on the pole. They are an incredibly effective bomb hook bait as well. How do I fish them on a bomb though? Easy, all you have to do is drill a hole in two 6mm Expander pellets using a very fine bait drill (I use the Rapid Bait Drill). You can then push a Rapid Stop with a Rapid Stop Needle through the two drilled holes to secure the hook bait on to the hair. The pellets swell up and float creating an attractive hook bait right in front of the fishes face! Don’t forget to put a few shot on your hook length to dictate how much you want you hook bait to pop up off the bottom. I do this whenever I’m using floating hook baits!
I only use two methods of attaching a hook bait to my hair. The first is a Rapid Bait Stop, these are small and very easy to use. All you need is a Rapid Stop and a Rapid Stop Needle and you’re away! I use the Rapid Stop’s to mount a wide variety of hook baits such as meat, corn, pellets, bread, boilies and even worms. The second method I use is a pellet band. I use this for baits like pellets, Band’ums, Boilies and maggots.
TIP- The best tip I can give you when bomb fishing and one that you MUST do is to take a flask, because no matter where your fishing this winter I can guarantee you’ll need one!