+ You really can catch more big fish on your homemade boilies and ‘dough’ paste baits! Here’s how
Carp baits vary tremendously in quality around the world!
To such an extent that some baits contain ingredients and flavours of types and quantities that can even be repellant to carp after a period of time of introduction into a particular carp water!
So much of the reason for this lies in the nutritional value and health and energy benefits you give to your fish in return for them eating your bait, and this can have massive implications regarding your catch results over time.
The fact that the majority of angler’s use popular, shop – bought ready – made boilies, and bait mixes, can actually give you a massive unseen edge!
‘Shop-bought’ baits will only provide certain levels and of nutrients, making it easier to catch carp on your own designed bait providing you aim to make a bait with different ingredients, or perhaps of better quality or percentage in your bait to the known shop bought baits being used on your water.
For example, if fishmeal baits are working well on your water, why not make your homemade baits with far higher quantities of quality pre-digested fish and shellfish proteins? Or really raise the level of protein regarding the soluble attraction activity of your bait add loads more green lip mussel extract, corn steep liquor, pre-digested liver powder, squid liver extract etc.
To understand bait from a commercial producer’s perspective; he must make a profit, so if he can, he will use the minimum of expensive but most often most highly concentrated nutritional / effective carp attractional ingredients, and ‘bulk up’ their commercial shop bait with less effective ingredients over the long term.
This as a major weakness you can exploit over EVERY angler who slavishly uses shop bought baits for fishing and who wrongly expect exceptional results every session due to using these baits.
Not only is the nutrition / attraction factors limiting and very ‘standardized’ in many ways, but so are the ways they are used by anglers too. Also commercially made baits are produced by machine and most often result in identical shapes and densities. This is not always in your interests if you wish to target those big wary carp that have been absolutely conditioned every day to eating anglers’ shop baits and managing to not get hooked on them.
Many big fish actually eat your free baits perhaps 4 or 5 days or longer after you have gone home, when they have been leached of anything that may be associated as a threat to the carp. (Perhaps certain flavours or types of attractors within the bait.)
Most anglers have heard of using baits with no flavours in, or using baits that have been pre soaked in lake water to mimic ‘safe’ free baits, that abound in pressured carp lakes after a busy weekend.
Also, one important point to appreciate is that if a carp senses a bait, but does not need more of it to fulfil its dietary needs, its brain will not register a feeding response!
That is why being aware of all the carp’s potential dietary deficiencies and providing for them, is so vital because you will achieve takes owing to perhaps merely one ingredient and its benefit, at times when if this ingredient was absent, then the carp will simply ignore your bait!
A carp’s individual metabolism, programmed caution, mode of picking up hook baits and preferences for specific tastes, smells, eating experiences and so on, an individual carp may be easier to catch by exploiting this. Finding a bait it likes it can be landed repeatedly over long period of time, e.g. months or even years.
This shows that a winning formula does not need to be changed as often as the bait adverts would suggest! I know extremely successful anglers who have used the same basic base mix formula for decades And NEVER use flavors!
By using your own mix, you know for certain what ingredients and attractors certain fish prefer, gleaned from experience of past catches and why because YOU know the ingredients used in your own baits, while no-one else does! This gives you an incredibly powerful edge
You can catch the same fish on the same basic bait mix in different parts of a large lake, at steadily larger weights, for years, because it wants and needs it, and has accepted it as ‘natural food’!!! Carp can learn just like dogs about certain actions and rewards, some beneficial and rewarding, others dangerous and stress inducing.
Wary, big fish have been caught TWICE on the same bait on the same day because they wanted and needed a certain bait so much at that point in time!
The most wary fish can eat your bait in confidence, in preference to shop-bought bait, even selectively ignoring adjacent baits! If a carp does not require the substances in your bait, it will not eat it.
In other words, when foods are available of every kind, to satisfy the carp’s natural needs, then if he doesn’t NEED your bait, most likely he won’t even register it as food, unless he’s ill, diseased, or mad! Heh Heh And I’m sure many of us have direct experience of this extremely frustrating situation!
Commercially designed aquaculture feeds, and koi – enthusiast feeds, are rigorously, scientifically tested for optimal growth and health effects. If you want to see this for yourself there are many papers and articles on this subject; especially from sponsored Japanese research institutions and American universities.
It is complex stuff and it takes hours to extract information that is applicable to carp fishing bait formulation. (My research, I hope, will give you a clearer, in depth knowledge of a carp’s essential dietary needs you can apply in your bait design!)
Previously, as baits became more advanced, being based on information gleaned from scientific research, it was made clear that a ‘ high protein’ milk derivative bait would outfit a low protein cereal/bean based bait. Some of these baits had an assumed ‘biological nutritional value’ of up to 96 % ! These were based mainly on milk protein, milk, fish, shellfish and meat protein.
But science has shown that the majority of this protein is not synthesized to benefit the fish at all and is wasted! In fact, baits with a biological nutritional value (or ‘BNV’) of 30 % to 55 % or even lower, are just as effective.
Costs of milk proteins became uneconomical in the 1980s for anglers in the UK, and so anglers experimented much more with cheaper bulk ingredients, and their relative ratios to find success much more economically.
However, so – called high protein ‘BNV’ baits still out fished the low-protein, carbohydrate – based baits in the long run, far more consistently and effectively when it came to the really big fish. And this again proved the benefits of using a balanced nutrition theory bait, correct.
This theory stands the test of time; still today especially after decades of constant hard pressured carp fishing in the UK, where carp are seriously ‘clued up’.
By ‘high protein’, I mean high – quality in terms of your bait’s amino acid profile, and other nutrient ingredients. When compared to a carbohydrate bait with a very low quality of these nutrients available. So when you see ‘high-protein’, don’t assume that 30 – 45% is low.
Semolina and wheat flour, 50 / 50 % mix, for example, may only contain a maximum of 10 % protein, if anywhere near that; it feels to us like the difference between eating pasta compared to stake. It’s like eating sugar; loads of quick energy benefit, but no essential nutritional essentials are being supplied for essential bodily rebuilding and survival.
You don’t hear about body builders thriving on a high sugar diet (this can lead to diabetes among other poor diet effects), but on a high protein, ‘balanced nutritional profile’ diet where every dietary essential need is met.
Most Americans and anglers from countries where carp fishing has not yet become an extremely intensively competitive sport may quite rightly wonder; what all this fuss about bait and it’s quality is really all about, and question it’s necessity!
Even a simple ‘kitchen’ bait like a homemade corn flour dough, with added coke or canned sweet corn juice with catch all day and probably always will on most ‘low or no pressure’ carp waters, around the world!
A high quality boiled bait approach is not necessary on every water; not every carp has ever seen a boilie bait before, and many carp may not even recognise them as food items immediately!
And many waters are so over stocked that there will never be enough natural food, nor anglers’ bait to supply their needs fully, and any bait from maggots to sweet corn, to bread will always catch their fare share of big fish, regardless of any nutritional needs among the fish population.
But on those hard fished pressured waters where big fish have seen practically every boilied bait of every description before and been caught on them previously, they certainly do learn by association, both of the dangers and benefits of eating particular baits.
The ‘HNV’ theory baits have historically simply produced the biggest carp, the most consistently, where anglers are using varied baits of different qualities and designs from attractor baits to the most advanced highly digestible balanced ‘HNV’ baits. (On high angling pressure waters.)
Even where carp are being offered a range of ‘balanced nutritional value’ type shop bought baits every day, some baits will tend to catch more bigger carp than other baits, and this is where the advantages of designing and making your own homemade baits really pays long term dividends.
You see, no one else can go to a shop, buy the ‘new’ bait you’ve so been carefully introducing into the water, (to get the fish to feed confidently on it) and then have someone else catch the lake’s biggest fish as a result of all your efforts. You will benefit directly from your own unique efforts; and often be rewarded with exceptional and very consistent big fish catches!
Good fishing so often results from good bait may your baits be more than just ‘the flavour of the month’ in the latest shop bait advertisements!!!
The author has many more fishing and bait ‘edges’ up his sleeve. Every single one can have a huge impact on catches. (Warning: This article is protected by copyright, but reprints with a link are OK.)
By Tim Richardson. ‘The thinking angler’s fishing author and expert bait making guru.’
For more expert bait making information and ‘cutting edge’ techniques see the expert acclaimed new e-book / book:
“BIG CARP BAIT SECRETS!”