When it comes to this time of the year, the temperatures are bitter and being situated in the North of England my syndicate lakes have a lid on them more often than not. Instead of sitting there, moping about, I like to use this time to prepare for when the weather changes and the start of the years campaign. Here are just a few thing that I like to do in order to get myself prepared and ready so I don’t have to think of them throughout the year.
Firstly, sort my gear out, I will be totally honest I abuse my tackle, I certainly give it some stick through the year and very rarely will it get even so much as a wipe down let alone a good clean with soap and water. So being winter I like to give it a little TLC. My old Daiwa reels always go off for a service, and upon there return I like to spool them up with some fresh line in readiness for my first session back.
Secondly, it’s got to be, giving the carryall and tackle box a good fettle. You know what it’s like, leads of all shapes and sizes in every compartment, the odd bait soak leaked in one pocket and a thousand and one tubs of hookbaits all weighing you down. So it’s out with the old, hoover all the bits up and condense things back down again with all good intentions of traveling light once again.
Finally and one I always look forward to every year, prepping the hookbaits for the season ahead. This is something I have done year on year and it is literally out with the old and in with the new. I prep just enough for the year ahead and its very common that by this time of the year I am down to the last few in the tubs. My prep can take anything from two to four weeks depending which hookbait I am doing and I prep everything from my visuals to my food bait hookbaits.
Prepping my Primary Range hookbaits are the most simple to do. I simply tip the whole tub out into a clean maggot tub and add a drizzle of the matching flavour enhancer, giving each individual bait a light glaze. Everyday I will give the tub a shake until the hookbaits have full absorbed the liquid. I will the repeat this process over and over for a two week period. You usually add the liquid around about four times in that period. The final time that I add the flavour enhancer I add a palm full of both fine and course Himalayan rock salt to the tub and shake well. Leave to dry fully and add the whole contents of the maggot tub back into the hookbait pot. To start off with have a really potent hookbait that is perfect in the colder months to be used as a single, as the year goes on these hookbaits slightly loose there potency in smell month by month. This is perfect, the carp are becoming wary as the year goes on and having lost a little pungency, your hookbait isn’t standing out like a beacon like it was in the colder months. A fully boosted up tub should be used from the first to the last in my opinion.
Prepping my food based bait popups, I use both ‘The Formula + Arctic Crab’ and ‘Prime’ range in the warmer months and I like to prep both these popups in exactly the same way using the exactly the same products. I add them both to there separate maggot tubs and give them a light drizzle of both the ‘Arctic Crab’ flavour enhancer and ‘Hot Shrimp Oil’. I again repeat the process over a period of a fortnight, drying them out and adding a little more of the flavour and oil. Finally on their last coating I just add the ‘Hot Shrimp Oil’ along with a palm full of fine and course Himalayan rock salt. I leave them to dry fully out then add them back into there dedicated tubs.
Finally the prep of my enhanced hookbaits and Corkdust wafters. Both undertake the exact same treatment, I add both to a round maggot tub and give them a light glaze in there dedicated bait soak. I leave them a week to soak this all up. I then repeat this process and leave them for a further 24 hours in order to become tacky to touch. I then start adding the ‘Amino feed stimulant powder’ to the hookbaits, and rolling them around in the tub till all the powder is stuck to the baits. Again I leave for a couple of hours and add more powder. I will do this over a period of a few days until the hookbaits are completely dry and a skin is formed on the outside of the bait. If I feel the baits need the process repeating I will do so but usually once you have a nice even coating they are perfect. I will then add them back into the tub and pop in a palm full of Himalayan rock salt in there for good measure. These are then left in a cool dark place for at least a month in order to cure up and take everything on. If you are wondering which powders I use with which range, I like to use the ‘Maxi-Mussel’ with ‘The Formula + Arctic Crab’ range and the ‘Shrimp & Liver’ with the ‘Prime’ range but there is really no rule on which one to use with what.
If you are out there this winter we wish you the best of luck and if you are waiting till the spring remember prep is the key to success.