It was back in April that Tony Booker at Angling Concepts first got in touch with us to tell us about a new range of carp baits they were distributing in the UK. Zoom Carp have been a big name in Europe for some time but it's only recently that their products have made it onto the market over here. The range is quite impressive with everything available from boilies to flavoured maize, but for this review I'm concentrating on the imitation baits.
I won't bore you with my thoughts on the effectiveness of imitation baits; I've done it enough times in previous pieces but suffice to say I'm a true believer. Whether used in combination with real corn or maize to offer a pop-up or critically balanced approach or used entirely on their own, they are quite simply, devastating.
My personal preference is for a total imitation approach, and my best results have come from using two pieces of fake corn on a hair fished over a little hemp, particle mix, or real corn/maize as feed bait. A total imitation approach means you can sit on the bait for as long as it takes knowing that it's not going to get nibbled away by smaller species. It's a bit of a leap of faith but once you start fishing complete artificial set-ups you'll never look back.
My Zoom Midi-Snack rigs; either popped-up with a small line-aligner and anchor weight, or critically balanced by using a long piece of line-aligned shrink tube to make the rig *just* hold bottom. These actual rigs accounted for the two fish below (amongst others!).
From the outset the Midi Snacks, as Zoom like to call them, looked interesting. Designed to visually mimic corn they were just the sort of size I like to use and most importantly, they were flavoured, which I've found can make a big difference. The only problem was lack of time to use them properly before being able to do a full review, as most of my fishing this year has been short sessions fishing off the top. That said I gave a few packs to Chris Knapper earlier in the year and he soon banked one of the resident 20lb fish from Holden Lane Pool, so I knew they must be ok, yet, as is always the case, when I review something I like to actually give it proper test before putting pen to paper, rather than just rehashing a press-release!
As such, it had to wait until our annual trip to Birch Grove. Why? Well, because all we ever use as bait on this particular venue is artificial corn. We have found the fish to be so cagey around boilies and other baits that you could sit on them for a week and blank (and many do). One year Shaun Docksey tried fake corn, got a pick up almost immediately, swapped more rods onto it, had more fish, so we then moved all sixteen rods onto it (between us) and caught more fish, and it's been that way ever since.
Chris Knapper with a Birch Grove 24lb mirror taken on Zoom artificial baits
This year I decided to use the Zoom corn on all my four rods, with the other lads using mainly Enterprise Imitation baits, which we've always found to be very good. Fish fell to all our rods during the week and a week long session gave a good indicator of how effective the Zoom products would be in relation to others used, and by the end of the week more fish had fallen to my rods than any others, not including the fact that I had to pull of on the Friday morning with the rest of the party staying on until Sunday dinnertime! As such, it's safe to say that the Zoom products can hold their own against those of the market leaders, and I'm more than confident they will go on to bag me many more fish over coming seasons.
Julian Grattidge with a nice Birch Grove common taken on Zoom baits
There are several types of imitation bait available. The Midi Snacks are comparable to corn and priced at around Â£1.70 for 12 pieces, the Midi Snacks are comparable to maize and priced at Â£1.85 for 10 pieces, and the Maxi Snacks are comparable to giant maize and priced at Â£1.95 for eight pieces. Price wise you would be looking to pay around Â£1.99 for ten pieces of Enterprise corn, versus Â£1.70 for 12 pieces of Zoom corn, so you could also save yourself a few pennies in the process.
Zoom also do a range of Jointed Snacks, which consist of multiple pieces joined together with a latex hair, so all you need to do is push your hook through a little notch on the hair and pull the hair around to the back of the shank - what could be easier than that?
Ask at your local tackle shop or visit: http://www.anglingconcepts.co.uk or http://www.carpzoom.com for more information