What Makes a Good Winter Boilie?


December 10th, 2023



Written by

Rob Warburton

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10mm baits+(1) 1920w

When it comes to carp fishing in winter, bait selection is crucial. Boilies are a popular choice all year round, but what makes a good winter boilie?

There’s certainly some baits that outfish others in the colder months, and the general consensus seems to be to ditch heavy fishmeal baits and opt for more nut/birdseed based baits.

At least that’s what I’ve always done, and it’s served me well. I’m a big fan of putting all the small percentages in your favour, and this is even more important when the fishing is tough in the winter months. A big part of that is obviously bait choice, so I wanted to cover that in this article.

Essential Ingredients for Winter Boilies

A good winter boilie in my opinion will have a nut/birdseed base. These take on water really easily, breaking down and becoming really digestible for carp.

Any other time of the year, I’d opt for a fishmeal bait like the OG Fish, but as soon as we hit the back end of Autumn, I’ll start moving over to a boilie with the following ingredients:

  • Tiger nuts
  • Peanut proteins
  • Birdseeds

The OG Fruit & Nut is a prime example of a bait that fits this profile, and it’s no surprise that you start to see the catch reports for this bait increasing after the first few frosts.

It’s not mandatory to use baits that fall into this category, and even the OG Fish still produces throughout the winter.

What I would do this is steer clear of baits with high oil content. Oils in general are not great in cold water; they inhibit solubility, slowing breakdown times and stopping all-important attractants leaking into the water. – That’s the last thing we want when trying to tempt a bite in the winter!

Digestibility is key

I touched on this earlier and I think it’s something most anglers are now tuned on to; the importance of digestibility. The likes of Tom Maker have been on to this for years; pre-soaking baits ahead of a session to improve their texture but also give baits that washed-out look.

It’s vital at any time of the year but even more so in the winter months. Carp are feeding sparingly, so the last thing we want to do is fill them up with heavy, stodgy baits.

Baits that are soaked, mulched up or just generally break down faster in the water should be the go-to in the colder months. In cold water temperatures, fish have a slower metabolism, which means that they digest food at a slower rate. As a result, it’s essential to include ingredients that are highly digestible in your winter boilies.

Lets talk attractants

I think we all know just how hard it can be to tempt a bite in the colder months. Sitting behind motionless rods can be tough so it’s vital to do whatever you can to pimp up your baits.

For me, I like to soak the baits in the matching sauce ahead of a session. This takes the liquid food on even more, further softening the baits and improving leakage as soon as they hit the water.

It compliments the already-dusted outer coating of the OG Fruit & Nut perfectly, but you can take this one step further by adding in some more of the Magic Dust. – You can’t use enough of this stuff!

Something else I’ll never leave home without in the winter months is a can of evaporated milk. Adding this to your baits gives off a huge cloud of attraction which is often enough to draw down any passing carp. – Perfect for when the water becomes clearer too.

Going that extra mile in your boilie prep throughout the winter can be that little edge you need to tempt a bite.

Shelf life or frozen boilie in winter?

Where possible I will always try to use frozen boilies. I just find them a lot fresher in flavour, but also more soluble which is exactly what we’re looking for.

The only time I’d opt for shelf life baits in the winter is if time of the essence and I haven’t had a chance to defrost any baits. The last thing you want is to be heading to the bank with boilies that you’re struggling to thaw.

In this case I’d always opt to grab a couple of bags of the OG Fruit & Nut in shelf life. Despite being long-lasting baits, they’re still some of the freshest I’ve ever come across straight out of the bag. I think the double-dusting process helps massively with that. 

Boilie sizes in winter

It makes sense to think of the size of the boilies you use in the winter months, as this goes hand-in-hand with digestibility.

Smaller baits take on water and break down quicker, becoming softer and easier for carp to digest. Mixes full of smaller ‘bits and pieces’ always do well in the winter months, and that’s where I like to include 10mm boilies and crumb in my mix. 

Both release attractants super quick and with the added double dusting process, they’re a real winter winner!


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