It can be surprising at just how big a boilie size for which good-sized carp can comfortably take into their mouths to eat. I have actually hooked a huge 40 + pound mirror carp on a 28mm pop-up boilie when fishing in France – I actually lost it in the end, and YES I still have nightmares about it so DON’T ASK!
I would say it’s possible to use up to 30mm boilies with ease, I would even say that the bigger carp are capable of eating boilies the size of snooker balls! However, there are a few reasons why you should consider using such large boiles to catch huge carp before going ahead with your big-bait fishing tactics!
Big boilies were used quite regularly many years ago and with a great deal of success, but carp anglers today understand that using smaller items of bait seemed to work best for catching carp of all sizes. Many still feel that the bigger baits simply cause carp to be more wary because they may have learned to associate them with danger. This can be true on many of the UK waters, but in fact, there’s another reason why it can be unwise to use big boilies, and it’s to do with a carp’s digestive process rather than their survival instincts.
Carp always try to take the easiest option when it comes to feeding. They naturally seek to find the greatest amount of food sources, and nutrition available with the least amount of effort. In other words, they try to make sure there’s a greater energy content present in each and every meal to compensate for the amount of energy used in finding that meal. From a carp’s physiological and biological standpoint, there needs to be an outcome of “positive energy intake” – if you get my drift!
It’s bit like us, in that we wouldn't eat celery sticks all day because it would cost more energy for us to digest them than the energy we gained from the food source itself - it’s false economic nutrition if you like.
Big baits can work against your fishing success because the carp need to break down a big bait before they can swallow it for digestion. Having to chew a big bait down to size will cost the fish more energy to completely digest a meals made up of larger food items, and because of this they would be more comfortable in feeding on much smaller items that can be easily swallowed without much chewing.
For this reason carp will tend to pick up the smaller and softer baits when given a choice. They can mop up the soft, smaller items as they’ll gain plenty of energy and nutrients quickly and with little expenditure of energy.
Maybe this is reason why a good carp fishing tactic is using a fairly big half boilie of about 18mm as a single hookbait along with a PVA bag of tiny pellets. The carp will be attracted to the selection by the sight of a cluster of food, and as it wallops up the small pellet, it inevitably sucks up the big boilie chop which hooks the fish!
It could also be the main reason why carp seem to prefer chopped boilies over whole ones. All the time carp anglers are suggesting that the carp are wary of big round boilies but, it may simply be more that they instinctively save energy. Wow, if carp keep this up they too could have an obesity epidemic!
There are some good benefits to using huge hookbaits when fishing for large carp. A few are:
One other benefit of using bigger boilies for carp fishing is the possibility of good hook holds. Bigger boilies cause the carp to take more time to deal with breaking them down inside the mouth, and as a result, your hook may end up spending longer inside the mouth and this could mean a greater chance for the hook point to take hold in the flesh. This is more so if the hair is longer so a larger hook has room to drop down inside the mouth.
The tactic of using large hook baits may be best when used as a single-hookbait fishing tactic!
Using Large Sized Boilies can be a different style of fishing for large carp!