There is no better way to get quick bites than adding attraction with PVA bags to present with your hook bait. A small parcel of bait can be just enough temptation for a carp to suck in your hook bait along with the free offerings that you have presented to them. PVA bags can also be the perfect camouflage for your rig.

Scattering boilies during the Summer months is a great way to get the fish into your swim and pick up baits, hopefully, picking up your hook bait in the process and setting your bite alarm off.

But when fish feed less in the colder months when the water temperature drops, getting them to pick up boilies and forage around for bait is a lot more difficult as they will be moving less during the winter.

High-oil marine and trout pellets work really well during the summer and carp will feed on as many as you throw into the lake. But, during the months when the temperature drops, they are a lot more difficult for the fish to digest. Therefore, using other baits in the colder months is preferable.

pva mesh

What to use in PVA Bags?

Carp very much prefer high oil pellets compared to low oil pellets, but you will find that low oil pellets will be a bit choice when the carp are more dormant. Although, you will need to add attraction to the bait to draw in the carp to start the feeding.

Small swim stim pellets or the 2mm meaty marine pellets will add the attraction, but because they are small, they will bury themselves into the lake bed and keep the fish looking for the bait, but they will also keep the attraction around your hook bait.

Soaking the pellets in a liquid attractant such as CSL will add even more attraction around your hook bait. Putting the pellets into a PVA mesh bag will leave a perfectly sized package of bait to draw in the fish.

Pulling the hook link through the PVA mesh will camouflage the hook and protect the hook from being blunt on the lake bed.

PVA Tape and PVA String

Carp can spook off of piles of bait, so using PVA tape or string to offer a handful of boilies may switch the carp on to your fish when the bags of pellet isn’t bringing the carp in. But just relying on the boilies alone sometimes isn’t enough. Soak your boilies in fish oils, or molasses which will slowly seep out and draw the fish down from the upper layers. There are also a lot of liquid attractants on the market that will spice up your shelf life boilies and rehydrate those that may have been sitting around for a while.

How to use PVA bags to add attraction to your hook bait.

PVA Solid Bags

Solid bags allow you to add liquid directly into the bag itself.

Using heavier attractants such as Korda Goo power smoke will leave the liquid hanging around the bottom of the lake bed, then when the fish come in to feed, they will stir the attractant up and waft it around mixing in amongst the sediment, keeping the fish in the swim, and keeping them guessing.

Solid bags are also great for using small particles such as hemp, and every angler knows that fish love hemp. Solid bags can be great for distance casting.

If the solid bags are tightly packed they will fly through the air like missiles, as long as you have strong rods and a leader, that is. Solid bags are also great for dry bait, such as ground bait and pellets, but they can ultimately hold all different kinds of bait.

Solid bags almost always present themselves well on most types of lakebeds. They are especially good on silt, where other presentations will bury themselves into the lakebed and just completely disappear, a solid bag, filled with a couple of PVA nuggets will slowly sink to the bottom and softly land, and then melt and open up to present your rig perfectly.

PVA Solid Bags
PVA Solid Bags

PVA Nuggets

PVA nuggets are a lifesaver when it comes to keeping the hair on your rig tight to the hook bait so that it doesn’t get tangled on the cast. I believe PVA nuggets should be used on every cast where there is a possibility of your hook being blunted. It will also help keep your hook link straight when it settles on the lake bed.

PVA Mesh

Stick mixes are what I use the most when it comes to fishing with PVA. The beauty of fishing with stick mixes is that you can present bait and stick mixes together adding a lot of attraction to your swim without a lot of food content.

If you feed the fish too much, they may not carry on feeding, effectively killing your swim. Whereas, if you are putting ground bait into your stick mix, you will draw the fish down to your hook bait without feeding them up too much.

Again, you can make up lots of PVA mesh bags in advance or while you are waiting for a bite, you can sit there and tie them up.

All you then have to do is either hook them onto your hook or get your long baiting needle and pull the hook link through the PVA stick which keeps the hook from being damaged from the debris on the bottom of the lake bed.

This really is what I do for most of my fishing as you will see from the photo at the top of this article.

PVA Mesh Durability

Some cheaper brands are very weak and tend to break the mesh when the bait was plunged into the PVA Funnel, they are a nightmare to work with and can quickly make a mess. Make sure you are using the better-known brands when choosing PVA mesh.

What is PVA mesh used for?

Mesh bags are great for quick-fire baiting. Having PVA mesh bags set up ready to go will really speed up casting once you’ve had a fish, ensuring you don’t miss out on a bite when the fish start feeding. You can also use the PVA mesh bags to feed up a swim by catapulting them out.

This will present lots of little parcels of bait around your swim, getting the fish confident on feeding on the little parcels, then they just so happen to feed on the one little parcel with your hook bait in it. To add attractant to them, dip them into a pot of CC Moore’s Liquid Robin Red before casting them into the lake.


What is PVA?

IT’S no exaggeration to say that PVA (polyvinyl alcohol) is a vital tool in the modern carp angler’s armoury, and rightly so, such is its versatility on the bank. PVA melts when in contact with the water, which helps with accurate baiting

What are Foam Nuggets?

These buoyant chunks are folded over the hook before casting to help protect the it from catching on weed or any other detritus.

How do I attach a nugget?

To attach a nugget, lick one end and fold it over the hook on itself.

What are the different types of bags?

Solid bags can be filled with all manner of dry freebies, with boilie crumb, groundbait and pellets being popular choices.

What is a solid bag?

Solid bags are best used when fishing over weed or debris, or when casting to showing fish at range, where they create the perfect tangle-free trap.

What is PVA Tape?

Similar to string, but with a flat, wide profile, tape can also be used to form stringers or used for tying off the tops of solid PVA bags.

What is PVA string?

A thin cord made from multiple strands of PVA, string is mostly used to create what are known as ‘stringers’, where a number of baits are threaded on to a string attached to your hook.

What can I use inside a mesh bag?

Pretty much any bait can be used inside a mesh bag, including that winter favourite – maggots.

What is the best way to prevent tangles?

There are two main ways to attach a mesh bag, either nicked on or threaded down the hooklink, the latter being the perfect way to prevent tangles.

What are the best PVA products for cold water fishing?

The funnel web type mesh would be the best option during the winter as it will melt quicker than a solid bag.

What are the dangers of using PVA Sticks?

The most important thing to know when using PVA in the colder months is that it can be seriously affected by oil. They will take longer to melt in the colder months.

What is the best winter tip?

Another fantastic winter tip is to add a stringer to the rig, this is basically a few baits threaded on to some PVA tape and hooked over the hook to give a small tightly presented group of bait next to the hookbait.

What size of baits can you use?

I have found the 10mm PVA tape to be the best for winter, ideal for baits down to 14mm, anything smaller then you’ll need the 5mm version to stop them splitting.

What is the difference between a stringer and standard steel?

By threading one of the end baits onto the Hair and using it as a hookbait, you’ll have a very aerodynamic rig that will not only cast further but will also literally explode on the bottom, sending the two freebies away from the hookbait and will not be as obvious as a standard stringer.


I have made a lot of mistakes during my fishing sessions and don’t want you to make the same mistakes. I’ve learned the hard way over 20 years of fishing most weekends, testing, tweaking, and testing again and now want to help you excel with your carp fishing.

If you need any help, you can reach me at Fishing Again’s Facebook page

Last Updated on February 1, 2024 by Shane