We know carp fishing with boilies or particles work, but which is best?
There is no such thing as a best approach to baiting as there is always more than one way to skin a cat. Both a boilie only and particle approach are exceptionally effective in the right circumstances and it’s down to the judgement of the angler as to which tactic he adopts.
OK but how do we choose?
There are all sorts of factors that come into play with your choice. It’s unlikely to be a decision made on the day either as it’s usually impractical to prepare for both. You don’t really want to be going to the trouble of cooking up a batch of particle and carrying a 10 litre bucket of it around the lake only to go with a boilie approach. Similarly it’s not economical to take five kilos of your finest frozen boilies and let them spoil in the heat while you fish over a bed of hemp and tigers. Your decision is, in all probability, going to be made well in advance of your session.
Find out what baiting tactics are successful on your water?
First up we need to look at what works on your venue. Whilst we applaud enterprise and doing your own thing it is never a bad idea when starting at a new lake is to know a bit about what tactics are successful. Some lakes can become dominated by anglers fishing with a particle approach making it very difficult to get bites on boilies, whilst the reverse can also be true.
Don’t be afraid to go against the grain
That said, if one type of approach has been used to the exclusion of all others for a number of years it could be ripe for a change and the first angler to do something completely different might reap the rewards. Either way if you do some research you’ll be able to decide whether you want to buck the trend or go with the flow.
There are, of course, lots of venues where anything goes. These tend to be those waters that see a large number of different anglers such as popular day ticket and club venues. If you are fishing a holiday venue abroad, such as a French drive and survive lake, then be sure to speak to the lake owner well before your trip. Remember, for holiday venues it is in the lake owners best interest that you catch, so they will be more than willing to provide invaluable insight into the going tactics.
Adopt your approach depending on the time of year?
There are no hard and fast rules, rights or wrongs nor do and don’ts, merely a number of aspects that might influence your decision. Time of year is one such. Whilst particles and boilies will both work all year round there are particular periods that one might be preferred over another. Beds of seed baits are usually associated with warmer weather with their prime period being from June to the end September. Carp will happily consume large amounts of particle during this time, when a similar weight of boilies might prove to be too much. Food for thought if you are someone who doesn’t know when to stop with the spod rod!
Conversely, come the autumn, they are likely to require a higher quality food source containing more protein in order for them to condition themselves and put on bulk to see them through the winter. Boilies will suit these needs and might well be preferred during this autumnal feed up. Boiled baits may also rule the roost through the colder months and, in small numbers, during spring.
Cost is a factor for anglers who are fishing over large amount of bait
The big baiters amongst you might want to consider cost. You’ll be applying boilie in smaller quantities than you would particles but ten kilos of boilie is going to hurt your pocket an awful lot more than the same amount of particle, especially if you prepare your own. Particle fishing can be cheaper but there is a trade off.
If you are adopting a particle approach for fiscal reasons you’ll have to set aside time to prepare them as, for the sake of your carps’ health, it is essential to soak and boil them properly. They are pretty straightforward to do but it does take both time and organisation which, if it is limited, might be better spent on the bank.
Mmmm, so boilies are more convenient?
They can be much more so, yes. It’s far quicker and easier to buy a bulk load of freezer baits so you’ve got it all to hand whenever you want to go. It’s simplicity itself to grab a kilo of bait and go should you make a snap decision to go on the ubiquitous “quick overnighter”.
Boilies are easier and cleaner to use too. Other than for fishing close to the bank you’re going to have to employ a spod rod to introduce free bait to your swim when particle fishing. You and your kit can get covered in particle juice and general gunk. On the other hand boilies can be introduced relatively easily via a catapult or throwing stick and are generally a lot less fussy and messy.
Your personal circumstances come into play as well. Not everyone has access to a bait freezer and particle fishing could well provide the answer. Maybe the other half isn’t keen on the smell of hemp boiling away on the stove in the new kitchen, leading you towards the boilie route.
Consider which baiting approach better suits your session length
There’s plenty more. Session length might have an effect. Let’s say you’re targeting a lake with pressured, wary carp and you’re fishing is mostly after work trips, leaving the venue before work in the morning. Will a dozen spods of particle spook the fish? Will you be writing off half the session waiting for them to return? Would a few handfuls of boilies catapulted or sticked out cause less disturbance? Alternatively, on a long session, do you want to be feeding on a little and often basis or could you really clean up over a big bed of particle?
Does the nature of the venue make any difference?
Indeed it can. Are nuisance species an issue? If so boilies might be a bit more selective. Mass baits require subtle presentation in order for them to behave naturally, however, snaggy or weedy venues need to be approached with strong tackle in order to ensure you land what you hook. Being larger, boilies lend themselves to use with thicker, robust hook links and bigger, stronger hooks.
Phew! Is that it?
Nearly, but there is one more important consideration. You’ll benefit from thinking about what you really enjoy doing as we all fish better when we are having fun. We all have our favourite types of fishing and there will be some that enjoy boilie fishing and those that prefer a particle approach. If you are someone that takes pleasure from spombing out big beds of bait, particle fishing is for you but, should you consider that a chore you’ll probably make a better boilie angler.