Carp Fishing In Winter: Bait Sizes And Baiting Tactics

Carp Fishing in Winter is very popular among anglers not only in the US but also in many countries in Europe as well. Preparing for a carp fishing trip is very simple since carp fish are aggressive and tend to go for mostly anything alive, especially sweet food.

In case you want more information about what baits to use, how to make some and how to use them in the most correct and effective way, this article will be really helpful. So let’s read on.

What Baits To Use For Carp Fishing?

Carp fish are aggressive predators which like to eat mostly anything living things- as long as it floats on the water and edible. They also like eating sweet things.

Baits To Use For Carp Fishing

Image sourcE: YouTube

  • Natural baits. The most common natural baits you can use for carp fishing are worms, maggots and insects. You can also use prawns and small shrimp along with mussels.
  • Your food. You might be surprised to know that your food is also very interesting to carp fish. You can use bread crusts, bagels and corn. Other options to use are biscuits, cooked nuts, beans and seeds. In fact, you can try anything that you like to eat to use as carp fish. Keep in mind that grass carp prefer eating vegetation rather than meat so you can try to lure them with fruits (cherries, for example) and grass.
  • Mass produced carp baits. You can buy ready-to-use baits for carp fishing in most of the local fishing stores. There are some popular brands such as Magic Bait Premo, Tandem Boiles and Uncle John carp baits. These products are cheap and offer you a wide range of flavors to choose from as well.
  • Artificial lures. Soft plastic baits that resemble worms and grub are effective against common carp. These lures work well for shallow fishing along with small jigs. You can also try artificial flies when you hunt for carp fish in fresh water areas.

How To Make Carp Bait

In general, carp fish are attracted to sweet baits which you can easily prepare at home or on the site.

How To Make Carp Bait

Image source: YouTube

Dough Balls

You can make the first type of bait from plain flour or cornmeal and strawberry gelatin.

  • First, you need to pour about 240 ml of plain flour or cornmeal into a bow.
  • Heat a pot with about 700 ml of water until the water is boiling. Pour 50 ml of strawberry gelatin into the pot and stir a little bit for the gelatin to dissolve.
  • Then you pour the bowl of flour/ cornmeal into the pot and stir the ingredients all together so that they blend well. Keep cooking the mixture on a low heat and stir occasionally.
  • After you fishing cooking the dough (for about 5 minutes), turn off the cooker and wait for the mixture to cool down.
  • Form the mixture into smaller balls and use them for your trip. If you don’t plan to go carp fishing at the moment, you can put the dough into a plastic bag and store it in the refrigerator. You can keep it for as long as 3 weeks. Don’t freeze the dough.


With this recipe, you can use cornmeal, eggs and brown sugar to make dough bait.

  • First of all, you need to prepare a bowl of yellow cornmeal with some spoons of brown sugar and 3 cracked eggs added into the bowl.
  • Add some spoons of cooking oil and then stir the mixture well until all of the ingredients blend well into a rigid paste. If the mixture is too dry, you can add more cooking oil. And in case it is too wet, add more cornmeal.
  • Pour a small amount of red food coloring to the mixture to make the dough more attractive to carp fish.
  • Form the dough into smaller round baits.
  • Prepare a pan of water and set it to medium heat. When the water is bubbling, add these balls into the pan.
  • Wait from 2 to 3 minutes until all of the balls are cooked.
  • Take them out and drain them well. Put them into a plate and let them cool off. The process will take from about 5 to 6 hours.
  • You can use the ball immediately. Otherwise, you can freeze them inside a plastic bag and keep them in the freeze for more than 6 months.

Ready To Use Dough Balls

With this type of dough ball, you don’t need to use heat at all. It means that you can prepare fresh dough balls on fishing site.

  • To make this type of bait, you will need flour, wheat flakes, peanuts, sugar, margarine and molasses. My recommended quantity is 2 cups of flour and wheat flakes each, 0.5 cup of chopped peanuts and some spoons of sugar, margarine and molasses.
  • Pour all of the ingredients into a bowl and stir them well.
  • While stirring the dough, you can add in cherry-flavored carbonated beverage to thicken the dough. Pour as much as you like until it reaches the consistency you prefer.
  • Shape the dough into smaller balls and use them immediately.

Size Of Baits

Just like when you go fishing for other type of fish, the size of the baits you should use depends much on how big a fish you want to catch and what season you are fishing in.

In term of season, it is commonly known that in the summer, you should use bigger baits than in the winter. Fish are not as active and hungry for food in the winter as they are in the summer. Therefore, you should reduce the size of the baits to attract them better.

And for the next factor, it is also true that the bigger the size of the bait, the higher chance you have to catch big carp fish. However, if you want to catch carp fish in general, regardless of their size, you should go for small and medium sized baits. The recommend size of dough bait is around 18mm.

Size Of Baits

Image source: YouTube

It is also reported that in some types of water, even big carp fish see big bait as a form of dangers. Some tend to go for easy feeding of catching smaller bait. Therefore, you should not go for very big baits. Using dough balls with the size of no more than 30 mm is more effective than any size bigger than that.

Carp Fishing In Winter Tips

  • In the summer, the use of natural baits is the most effective. The fish change their habit from feeding on the bottom to feeding on the surface. It means that you can use any kind of insects and bugs such as worms and casters.
  • In case you want to use aquatic creatures such as shrimps and mussels as natural bait, you should use the bait that the carp fish normally go after in the place where they live. For example, when you go to the fishing site, have a look for what small aquatic creatures in the area- that would probably the food of carp fish.
  • Provided that you use breads as carp fish, you should wet it and shape it into small balls to make it easy to use on a hook.
  • For coldwater carp fishing, you can use rapid breakdown pellets. These baits are quick to attract carp fish with smell, triggering their hunger for food.
  • The most common and effective bait you should try to fish when go carp fishing is corn. Corn works for me most of the time. It has the right color, smell and texture that attract most types of carp fish. Therefore, you should try to use corn first of all.
  • Try scattering your baits around a large area. This will help to attract more fish.
  • Some of the cooked baits such as seeds and nuts are not allowed in some specific areas. The reason for that is there are various cases when carp fish die from eating poorly made baits. Therefore, you should check with the local authority to know whether any kind of bait is banned when you go carp fishing there.

Tactics For Catching Carp Fish

Finally, here are some more tips to help you catch carp fish easily.

Tactics For Catching Carp Fish

Image source: Angling Lines

  • If you want to catch small carp fish, you can use graphite rod with around 4 to 5 pound test fishing line. On the other hand, if you want to catch bigger catch fish, you should avoid using graphite rod and opt for carbon fiber fishing rod instead.
  • In term of fishing line, it is safer to use the braided line to provide extra strength in term you can catch big fish.
  • Carp fish like to settle in shallow water in summer and deeper water when it is colder. In addition, you should choose a place which has a lot of vegetation and is slow moving currents.
  • Finally, be very patient. Carp fish will take a few bites on your baits before they are actually hooked.


I hope that these pieces of information are useful for you in case you are seeking for the most effective baits and how to make them. Keep in mind that these are different types of baits and lures to use in carp fishing and what works for a specific time might not necessary work for another time so keep on trying and learn from your experience.

Along with proper knowledge about what sizes of baits to use and how to use them effectively, I am sure that you are able to catch a lot of carp fish in no time easily.