How to use Mesh on Hookbaits for Carp Fishing

Meshing up is a simple process which involves forming a protective skin around your hookbaits, and all you need to do this is a lighter, some Bait Floss and a pair of women’s tights.

I have been meshing up my baits for a long time now; I do it to the vast majority of the hookbaits I use. The food baits are the ones that need it the most, particularly cork ball pop-ups which boast only a thin skin of bait around the cork. The idea behind meshing is to form an unobtrusive, protective layer around the hookbait. This makes it indestructible to anything other than severe cases of abuse from crayfish or the birdlife.

All of my fishing time is spent fishing tricky venues and I need to know that my hookbaits are safe at all times. Besides the carp there are several creatures inhabiting our waters that will also take a liking to our baits and it’s these life forms I want protection from. On some venues the small fish such as rudd and roach can be an absolute nightmare and over time they will destroy your hookbaits. It may be a lengthy process but even the smallest fish are capable of whittling your hookbaits away until there’s nothing left.

A very good example of why Adam meshes up his hookbaits

I use pop-ups a lot and these can fall victim to small fish very easily. Once they manage to break the shell and begin pecking away towards the core of the bait, they will totally change buoyancy and even pop the rig up off the bottom, or worst case, fall off entirely. The mesh protects me from the little blighters.

The birdlife is the main problem these days; on most venues our feathered friends are on the hunt for boilies at all times. Some of the lakes I fish are very large and contain the carp of your dreams, so the last thing I need is for the birds to destroy my hookbaits and force a recast. This can mean boat work is necessary and ultimately the swim ends up temporarily spooked and ruined. Birds can easily break the skin of a cork ball pop-up and, although they won’t necessarily ruin the hookbait every time they pick it up, there’s no telling whether they have or not without reeling in. I don’t want to have to reel in and would much rather have the opportunity to leave the rod in position until it’s time to redo the rods. With a meshed hookbait I know that it will be just fine, even if it is picked up by a bird. This has saved me many times.

Once meshed up the baits can be glugged to the hilt, which boosts their attraction massively
Adam carries a variety of different meshed hookbaits

Because the meshing process is almost unnoticeable and hardly changes the overall appearance of the bait, I now do it to 99% of my hookbaits. Not all baits need it as much as others, but it’s one of those little things that can make a big difference in certain situations, almost saving your session at times.

Once I have meshed up a load of baits, I chuck them back in the pot and give them a good soaking in various oil-based and fishy attractors. This curing process takes the baits to a whole new level of attraction. When it’s time to get the rods out I’m safe in the knowledge that I have highly attractive, long lasting hookbaits that I can leave safely in position for as long as I like.

 How to mesh it up…

  • STEP 1: All you need is some hookbaits, Bait Floss, a lighter and a pair of women’s tights
  • STEP 2: Take a length of Bait Floss and form a double overhand loop knot
  • STEP 3: Tighten the knot down, but not the loop
  • STEP 4: Wrap a hookbait in the mesh
  • STEP 5: Keep it tight and then twist the mesh to secure it
  • STEP 6: Pass the bait through the Bait Floss loop
  • STEP 7: Give the Floss a good tug to tighten the loop
  • STEP 8: Trim off the excess mesh and Floss
  • STEP 9: Using a lighter, carefully blob the tags
  • STEP 10: The hookbait is now securely meshed and ready for immediate use or glugging

By Adam Smith

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